“Technique in art has the same value as technique in love-making. On the one hand, heartfelt ineptitude has its appeal, and on the other hand, so does heartless skill; what you want is passionate virtuosity.” – John Barth
In the World Peace series I extolled the virtues of “spine-tingling, goose bump-raising, electrifying, all is right with the world sex, the kind that makes you skip for no reason, not care if your boss yells at you, or if your car payment is late.” But what quantifies “great” sex? How exactly does one become an amazing lover?
For the record, given the vast realm of what can be enjoyed sexually, my tastes are admittedly fairly vanilla. That said, regardless of your fetishes or predilections, for the purpose of argument we will operate on the supposition that great sex is based on a combination of the following three factors:
1) Passion: your enthusiasm for the act of intimacy and/or your partner
2) Technique: skill and physical compatibility, and
3) Resonance: your emotional connection to the person you’re intimate with.
This presents some interesting scenarios. Any two combinations of the above can result in pretty good, but not great sex. Technique removed from passion is cold and mechanical. Clumsy enthusiasm is annoying. Being emotionally connected to someone with whom you’re physically incompatible is incredibly frustrating. The elusive and complex cocktail we seek ideally requires all three.
And it all begins with passion.
“Whereas circe turned men into pigs, art turns us fully into people” according to Baltasar Gracian. “Passion separates art from artifice;” it’s the difference between sleight of hand and alchemy, between parlor tricks and magic. Passion is raw unchecked emotion; it’s animalistic, bestial and not meant to be controlled. Passion transforms technique into art, elevates a physical act into a transcendental one by seamlessly melding art and science. All great artists, be they great musicians, painters or great lovers all have this in common, and it’s not technical proficiency: it’s how they make you feel.
If you never feel like you want to cut off an ear, you’ll never paint Starry Night or enjoy the kind of sex that penetrates a persons soul as deeply as their body.
Unlike orgasms, passion can’t be faked: you either have it or you don’t. Passion and technique can combine to create a powerful sexual chemistry. I’m on record as saying “technique can be learned by anyone; you can’t teach passion.” However, if you already feel passionate about the person that you’re with, where and how does one learn technique?
© j summers 2011
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