Are you making love or having sex?

KATHERINE FEENEY
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2013
sex positions

PLAYING YOUR POSITION: Does your understanding of sex play a role in how you make love?

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So some people prefer to think of sex as 'lovemaking'. For others, sex is 'just sex'. I like to think of sex as both, and - kookily - even as an activity that might actually relate to procreation, maybe, even, sometimes, too (but let's set the kid bit aside for now, shall we? This is henceforth an adults-only zone...).

See, I've been thinking lately whether there's one other as yet relatively under-explored element to this discussion that could bear a bit of scrutiny.

Regardless of your definitional bearings, is it true or false that some sexual positions can only constitute one reading or the other? To wit, is it the way you actually do it, not just the way you feel about doing it, which really characterises your sexual experience?

I came to this line of enquiry while watching the Kama Sutra recently. Hopefully you're familiar with this ancient manual, especially as it's readily available in so many formats these days and there's really nothing to excuse you from not trying to learn how to be a better lover.

So, as you'll know, there are positions which are better for him, positions better for her and positions that might not be outstanding for either from a sensory perspective but serve to create an intimacy between lovers considered essential to the proper development of one's sexual literacy - a noble pursuit if ever there was one.

And this is fine when you consider those who take the Kama Sutra seriously will change it up frequently enough that all angles get a look in, so realising the full variety of sexual experience.

However, we all know that a fair whack of folks having sex have but a few moves in their repertoire. And perhaps, of those moves, fewer still 'work' reliably, with 'working' understood as either 'feels good physically' or 'feels good emotionally'.

Therefore, is it not reasonable to assume that someone's understanding of what sex is, and how sex should be enjoyed, could entirely be the result of the way they're using their bodies?

Take the missionary position for example.  Here's a way of having sex most of us begin with. And there's nothing necessarily wrong with it - missionary can be fine - but it's fair to say it's not a position which is consistently outstanding for everyone involved, always. What Missionary does do, however, is allow for the lovers to maintain eye contact, which can create a strong sense of connection and emotional intimacy.

The same cannot be said for what most of us would call reverse cowgirl.

Here's a sex position which allows for a deep connection of a very different kind. There's no eye contact so there's less emotionality. There is, however, intense physicality - this is a position that can feel as good for her as it looks, and feels, for him.

But unlike missionary, not everyone manages to 'do sex' this way. It can be too confronting or too challenging or to 'porno' for some - as are many other ways of shagging we'll toss in the 'positions for shaggers' bin, as opposed to the 'ways of the lover' pile.

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And so we begin, perhaps, how it is some people have such vastly different understandings of what, and how, sex is - differences of understandings which, importantly, do not automatically relate to differences in gender as is so often assumed.

Thus the question becomes how do you understand sex, and does that understanding have a relationship with the way you are having it?

- Sydney Morning Herald

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