Pillow Talk

“Post coitum omne animal triste est”, wrote Galen. One wonders how he knew what all the animals feel. For many human males, however, this is more or less right. The root of their problems is detumescence. The more of their self-image they invested in their erections, the more they are compelled to feel that orgasm is a mixed blessing. For they get the good feeling only at the price of losing their pride and joy. If they are young enough to become erect again immediately, they can have their cake and eat it, for a while, but this is merely postponing the evil hour. This is why many men think that the medical condition called priapism sounds like a really neat idea, although I am told that it is in fact exceedingly painful and distressing.

In detumescence, therefore, men feel that they have lost something, as in a sense they have: “something has gone out of them”. The emotionally warmer the woman, the less this ought to matter, because then Galen’s “sadness” is replaced by what we call the ‘afterglow’. But this is not always the case. A man in the grip of what we might call the Detumescence Complex is vulnerable to disturbing reflections on female superiority; whatever his performance, ultimately the woman can, theoretically speaking, leave him exhausted and take another man. She may not remotely want to do so; but that does not prevent him thinking that she can. Neither does it prevent some women taunting their men with the prospect, simply because they can. Such a strategy – beloved of zero-sum players who cannot conceive of any kind of relationship other than in terms of making the other party feel bad – is liable to breed suspicion or even misogyny.

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  1. Written by The Ghost in the Machine
    on September 22, 2013 at 15:26

    This squib seems imprecise. Perhaps you should make a distinction between orgasm and ejaculation? They are not the same! It is entirely possible for a man to have the former — and in fact a very extended orgasm — without ejaculating. That is my experience, although not frequently.

    Mantak Chia has written numerous books that merit reading, and he suggests exercises that are not difficult. My own experiences and practices, however, were arrived at by chance.

    Galen’s famous quote always struck me as a bit…strange. After ejaculation, I do not experience any of the problems you speak of associated with detumescence. This is after all a natural and inevitable physiological process. Neither more nor less.

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