Sex / 20 July 2011, 07:15am / ROWAN PELLING
London – First of all there was slow food. Then slow travel. So I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone wrote a book called Slow Sex – although, as one friend wistfully put it: “What other sort is there on the far shores of middle age and beyond?”
Mind you, author and sex instructor Nicole Daedone clearly has something more artisanal in mind than the creaking coitus of your average married couple.
She is teaching, as the book”s subtitle has it, The Art And Craft Of The Female Orgasm, which, she claims, with the right partner and advanced technique, can last for anything up to four months. No, that’s not a mistake: four whole months.
How on earth would anyone find the time to eat or work, let alone put out the bins or floss their teeth? Back here in the land of the ten-second orgasm, most of us are more concerned about the fact we find it hard to squeeze in a proper conversation with our spouses than anything else.
In Daedone’s world, however, women can experience a four-month orgasm through the applied practice of “orgasmic meditation”, or OM, which allows them to live in a continually aroused state that helps them embrace all areas of their life with sensuality and vigour.
Clearly, further investigation is called for, which is how I find myself heading for San Francisco, spiritual home of alternative everything, where Daedone originated the concept of OM.
On the plane I hide her salmon-pink volume within the pages of the Daily Mail and flush when the matronly New Zealander sitting by me asks what I am reading. “A self-help manual,” I squeak.
I can’t think of a polite way to tell her, as Daedone writes in her introduction: “It’s a way that any man can bring out the orgasm in any woman, in just 15 minutes.”
The reason Daedone uses the phrase “bring out’ is: “I have never met a woman who is not, right now, at this moment, orgasmic.” I look at the kindly, bespectacled, 60-something Kiwi reading her book on Tudor Britain and find it hard to share her certainty.
Daedone weaves the story of her own quest for spiritual and sexual enlightenment throughout the volume and there’s occasional waffle, of the Eat Pray Love variety, about her Uncle Bob’s great-tasting tomatoes and her grandmother’s home cooking. But there is no getting away from the fact that this is the most daring book you will ever read.
The author’s reasoning is this: the male climax is not a thing of great mystery, it’s the elusiveness of the female variety that creates most problems in the boudoir. One sex survey reported that only 26 percent of women said they had an orgasm in their last sexual encounter, compared to 76 percent of the men polled.
This leads, as Daedone says, to the deduction that many women’s experience of sex is “a problem” that must be treated with scientific rigour – meaning widespread diagnosis of female sexual dysfunction and a frenzied quest by pharmaceutical companies, desperate to find a “female Viagra”.
As Daedone says, the pressure to produce a movie-style sexual experience in unison with their partner is pushing women from the realm of their natural sensuality. Central to her philosophy is the notion that most women experience orgasm in a different way from men.
Many, she claims, feel harried towards a male-style sexual peak which can rob them of their own pleasure.
Daedone also says people’s bafflement at what she teaches stems from a basic misunderstanding of the term orgasm, which they interpret from a male viewpoint.
She argues: “Orgasm is the body’s ability to receive and respond to pleasure. Pure and simple. Climax is often a part of orgasm, but it is not the sum total.
“Make this distinction and you change the whole game. You discover that women are just as orgasmic as men – maybe even more so. You discover that women want sex as much as men do – just not the sex that’s usually on the menu.”
The answer to the age-old conundrum is disarmingly (or deceptively) simple. She advocates stroking. The concentration must be so total that all other distractions are removed.
The man keeps his clothes on and the woman only removes her garments from her bottom half. The stroking takes place in a prescribed manner (see the book for full instructions and graphic illustrations unsuitable for a family newspaper), on a home-assembled stroker’s nest (basically a soft mat and a couple of cushions) in a condition of Zen-like tranquillity and – this may scare off those who have stayed with me thus far – with the lights on.
The woman’s job is to concentrate “mindfully” on the sensations she feels, without letting her thoughts run to grocery lists. The man’s role is to concentrate on his woman.
However – brace yourself – the man is supposed to describe what he sees and provide a running commentary.
I imagine Daedone does not realise the average British male would find it easier to stab himself in the eye than talk in an intimate terms about his spouse. It often seems British males have evolved whole practices – train spotting, scale model Spitfire making, stamp collecting, rugby, DIY, collecting vinyl – to avoid any form of emotional openness.
The reticent UK temperament has never seemed ideally suited to eastern notions of advanced sexual practice. Whenever Sting sounds off about tantric sex, you can hear the collective wince of a nation going: “Yuck, I don’t want to hear about it.” On some innate level, we Brits fear the rigorous effort and sincerity required to reach higher levels of sexual ecstasy might demand a humour bypass – the simple truth is many of us rate laughing in bed over multiple orgasms.
Furthermore, Britain is the refuge of the gentleman amateur: we think it’s just not cricket to professionalise sex.
The culture clash was obvious in my first exchange with Daedone – a statuesque, charismatic 43-year-old, with a lioness mane of golden-red hair – at her pop-up “orgasm shop” near San Francisco’s Union Square (where books, DVDs, T-shirts and chocolate were on sale to the faithful).
Daedone was reaching for a fitting metaphor to explain the principles of Orgasmic Meditation.
“Do you do yoga?” she asked. I shook my head. “Any exercise?”
Um, not really. “Do you play a musical instrument?” Nope. My mastery of the fine art of pottering has no useful analogy for OM.
For, despite the leisurely moniker, Daedone makes it clear Slow Sex requires dedication. She tells couples to set aside 45 minutes daily, over ten days, to get any sense of OM’s benefits. Which seems to rule out people with small children who scrabble to find ten minutes a week for a little man-on-woman intimacy.
What do men get out of it? They seem to do all the giving, while women lie back and receive.
This is where the musical instrument metaphor comes into play. Daedone points out that nobody asks a violinist what they get out of endless hours of practice: their virtuosity and joy in making the instrument sing is reward enough. This, she says, is a direct analogy for a man’s devotion to his partner’s intimate geography; he takes pleasure arousing her.
Daedone introduces me to three male OM practitioners. These young men are all handsome, charming and eloquent – any woman would be happy to step out with one of them. And they are all eager to tell me of their experiences.
A buff chap called Robert says: “You learn so much about yourself and her in the stroking… there’s a definite feeling I get in my body while doing it.” His friend John adds: “Before stroking, I was numb to my surroundings and didn’t trust my senses about female emotions.”
One OM practitioner tells me a furtive man had come in the previous day and asked: “What are you selling?” He replied: “We’re not really selling anything – it’s just information, but you can buy a book if you want to learn about it all in depth.”
The furtive man said suspiciously: “You’re not selling anything and it’s about sex?” On being told, yes, that’s the case, the man replied: “I sell sex pills down the street. How long does your stuff last?” The OM soldier said: “It lasts a lifetime – and you only have to buy the book once.”
OM is sex, but not as we know it. The practice is about re-sensitising women and igniting their desire rather than telling you how to have red-hot sex.
Daedone stresses that OM is not foreplay; it’s practised separately from sex and away from the bed and is not designed to induce orgasm, but to keep the woman on a plateau of sensation.
The way I read things, OM is a form of recalibration that prepares the body for better, more intense sex. It seems far-fetched until you consider how the intense practice of Pilates and stretches are an essential preparation for ballet.
Daedone believes most people don’t know the lightest touch can produce the greatest sensation in the female body and that the most important thing is stripping away the barriers to true feeling and becoming joyfully, guiltlessly connected.
The lights-on, talky-talky strategy is designed to help dismantle inhibitions.
She acknowledges that many people will thinks she’s nuts, but she’s the one with 10,000 hours of OM practice and even Richard Dawkins is convinced – he’s planning on featuring OM in a BBC documentary about the rise of women.
Men should take comfort from Daedone’s sympathy for their sex. Her book has a section entitled What Women Should Know About Men, where she makes some brilliantly simple points that modern woman, in her complexity, often misses: “approval turns him on”, “men get confused when women withhold information” and “[being] nice is the trump card”.
She opposes the idea that women should withhold sex to maintain sway over the men, writing: “If you want him to treat you like an equal, then be his equal.”
Bravo, I say, to Nicole Daedone’s brave new world, where men merit kindness and women are orgasmic. – Daily Mail
Slow Sex, The Art And Craft Of The Female Orgasm is published on August 4 by Grand Central Publishing.
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