Matching Yin for Yang in Bed

Men should be less manly in the bedroom.

So advises Bernie Zilbergeld, author of The New SexualityThe Truth About Men, Sexand Pleasure, which combines common sense on how to improve your sex life with uncommon knowledge — such as the fact that a soft penis can provide nearly as much pleasure as an erect one.

He won’t argue that men and women are fundamentally the same, but he says many differences are learned. As boys and girls, we were more alike than different, he says. As we grew up, we developed social roles that discouraged men from displaying softer virtues. By matching yin for yang, men will give themselves a much-needed break. And women won’t mind the change.

He suggests adopting the softer skills of listening, opening up and communicating. The big payoff is relaxation and comfort.

“It’s too bad we think of the qualities of sensitivity and concern for your partner as feminine,” he says. “All qualities can be cultivated by both sexes.”

Cast aside the macho ethic of performance-on-demand, of always being in the mood, of pretending you know what to do even when you haven’t a clue.

Zilbergeld suggests you:

  • Relate more non-sexually as a path to closeness and trust.
  • Find numerous expressions of affection, including holding hands, cuddling, hugging and kissing.
  • Change your mind if you believe all physical contact must lead to sex.
  • Practice being attentive.
  • Legitimize crying.
  • Take your partner’s feelings, ideas and opinions seriously.

All said, Zilbergeld believes men need to balance sensitivity with assertiveness.

Since the 1970s, some men — perhaps internalizing the Alan Alda male ideal over the Burt Reynolds image — have become too timid, too careful, he says. Balance is key.

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