“Sex, sexual dynamics and how we define our sexuality, is one of the major deals in everyone’s life.” – Molly Parker
If you’re a regular reader of the Iced Vovo-pink delight that is my website, you’ll know that every week I share with you some tantalizing tidbit or another – whether it’s that 84 percent of women get turned on by ear nibbling, 45 percent of men are sick for cut-out cossies, or 0.1 per cent of all sex goes on in space (all completely made up, but you catch my drift).
Not only was there a time when such salacious stats weren’t tolerated, sex wasn’t talked about at all. Not even by people having it! Couples could go their whole married life without seeing each other in the nuddy. They weren’t even looking each other in the eye while doing it, so you can image that talking about each other’s frustrations, pleasure or incompatibilities was completely out of the question and even immoral for some.
Back in those sexual dark ages (which were only 100-odd years ago), sex was predominantly thought of as a necessary evil. Case in point: a quote from a book titled Sex Tips for Husbands and Wives from 1894: “While sex is at best revolting and at worst painful, it has to be endured… when it cannot be prevented, it should be practiced only in total darkness. Lie perfectly still and never under any circumstances grunt or groan while the act is in progress.”
Yeeeah. So you can see we have come a long way. And it was William Masters and Virginia Johnson who started the revolution.
Busting the myths
Before the original sex researchers, Masters and Johnson, came along, hanky-panky was a hush-hush affair. People did it, but with what must be only very rare exceptions, they were certainly not studying it. So groundbreaking was the pioneering pair’s research that TV network Showtime has whipped their story up into a series, Masters of Sex. Among other things, Masters and Johnson were first to “discover” women were capable of multiple orgasms. I say “discover” because one can only assume some women were already well aware of it. This was quite the revelation to the mostly male scientific and medical community, though. Imagine that.
They also ascertained that most men masturbate (92 percent, actually – which, in related news, leads me to believe that eight per cent of men are chronic liars). Also, that a woman’s sexual peak is in her thirties, and that homosexuality is not a mental illness, as was previously believed. The duo also observed that men need a breather between sexy sessions, unlike women, who are basically like Energiser Bunnies when it comes to orgasmic energy; capable of climaxing again and again without a break.
But they didn’t stop at the very young and nubile – no sir. They also discovered people aged 70 and beyond were fully able to hit the hot spot; that there was in fact no age at which sexual function disappeared. It may take our elders a little longer to get aroused, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. I dare you not to picture your grandpa and grandma pounding private parts right now… Ahem. Moving on.
Rules of attraction
Most importantly, however, Masters and Johnson were the ones responsible for coming up with the very ahead-of-its-time four-stage model of sexual response – a biological progression that dissects sex into neat boxes. It seems to take a fair whack of magic out of the act, but still, it was a very impressive revelation.
The four stages are of course excitement (which can be brought on by the mere thought of getting it on), plateau (genitals start to swell, breath quickens), orgasm (the holy grails; fluids a-go-go) and resolution (the body now returns to its standard, not-quite-as-fun, non-electrified state). And they ascertained all of this in a decade when the only fornication that was condoned was the kind that led to procreation. A time when oral sex, even between husband and wife, was illegal in a lot of places.
The sheer fact that the pair were watching people get their rocks off in a lab in order to come to all of these conclusions was outrageous in itself – it got them on late-night talk shows and the cover of Time magazine. So if you’re thinking of changing careers… well, don’t dismiss the idea of furthering human knowledge of the best activity ever invented. Because, if you ask me, it’s a pretty sweet way to earn a paycheck.
Have a fun week,
P.S. If you found this introduction into the meanders of sex particularly interesting, don’t miss out on any of my columns, I’ll be sharing tips and tricks of the trade every week!