Taking time to stop and smell the roses

Taking time to stop and smell the roses

Taking time for simple pleasure is a well-recognised meme. For instance:

‘Stop and smell the roses’ or

‘Gather rosebuds while ye may’ or

‘Carpe Diem’ or its translation, ‘Seize the day’!

Very often this sentiment is expressed when a person feels the simple pleasure of the moment – or perhaps they suddenly realise they are missing the simple pleasure of the moment having been caught up by interminable busy-ness. At such times we remember that all things end, and that appreciation of the moment is an essential joy.

Rarely have I heard of erotic pleasure referred to as a “simple pleasure”. And why might this be?

A moment’s thought and memory may provide some answers to this conundrum. Why is erotic pleasure not seen as a simple pleasure? There are numerous reasons and the simplest is that erotic pleasure (sex, fucking – whatever term might be used) is almost always seen as a gateway process that must inevitably lead to at least to one or all participants having an orgasm or ejaculation – or at least some form of penetrative sex. And this is as logical and reasonable and determined as night follows day.

Any erotic touch leads to erotic charge, being turned on, which must, apparently, be taken care of. Men must eventually stick their penis somewhere (mouth, hands, anus, vagina). Partners must be penetrated, clitoris’s, if they are present, must be appropriately stimulated. Orgasms must occur and ejaculations must happen. Erotic charge must be tamed through orgasmic release. And then the afterglow or the denouement, and things return to normal. And when there is only a short time available, then it is called ‘a quickie’.

This means that for a person to have a simple erotic touch then there is something that must be taught and practiced and form part of an agreed process. The teaching is the overcoming of the need to release erotic charge, the perceived need to ejaculate just because I am turned on. Being turned on and holding that feeling and letting it into every part of your life is a novel and extremely strange idea for many people. There are two very straight train tracks that, for most people, they must get on and these wil inevitably get them to orgasm or ejaculation very quickly. And if this does not occur in the proper manner at the proper time then misery previals. And many people have taught themselves that masturbation is the simplest and easiest the way to fix erotic charge.  

And, after many years or decades of release or diminishment of erotic charge through masturbation, and then later through sex, a person getting an erotic charge through simple erotic touch is like climbing onto those train tracks – the rest is inevitable. However, following the train tracks to ejaculation or orgasm is not inevitable, it is just that, for many people, we have programmed ourselves that way. Think of a friendly massage from a partner – it all too easily leads to turn-on, turn-on and sexual touch, erotic touch and sex, genital touch, penetration of something, and then possible regret and resentment – what happened to the massage?

The converse for women (when they are not taught something similar to men) is that simple erotic touch from a male bodied person begins a process that must inevitably lead to penetrative sex, messiness, an orgasm (if they are lucky), having to redo their clothes, lipstick, hair, undies, and similar outcomes. And if they do not, then there are inevitable emotional consequences: am I good enough, did I do it right, do they still love me?

What a palaver. No wonder there is little taking of lots and lots of time with erotic touch. No wonder there is no equivalent of ‘Stop and smell the roses’ or ‘stop and stroke the vulva’ or ‘stop and stroke the penis’ like there is all the time in the world. The whole process is all so programmed: are we genetically hardwired for this? Perhaps we are culturally hardwired? Or are we neurally hardwired after practicing it for decades?