• Robert Clarke MFT


When talking about sex with male clients I often use “touchdown” as a metaphor for climaxing. It comes in handy when you get tired of technical jargon and frankly, I think it represents the final step in our cultural view of what sex should be.

I don’t personally subscribe to the idea that sex is all about the touchdown. Can you imagine how successful a team would be if they didn’t give time to working on their running or passing game and just kept their eyes on the end zone? To go further with the metaphor, sex can (and should) involve many other things, and frankly, a field goal or touch-back, or successful pass should all count too. (Heck, just getting the team on the field should mean something.) And after scoring points, what’s wrong with a little bit of celebration (post-play)?

Our culture that focuses on the little blue pill and male arousal as a sign of machismo is forgetting so much more. And putting pressure on two people who could have a really good time getting aroused and “playing around” and doing things that don’t necessarily involve a touchdown, takes away the joy of some activities that can be very enjoyable.

Two of my favorite authors who don’t subscribe to our cultural view of what sex should be, are Esther Perel, author of several great books including, Mating in Captivity, and Leonore Tiefer, who does an amazing job of talking about sex and how it is affected by culture.

... But, to continue with my point, let me be a little more blunt about the whole touchdown thing and talk outside the metaphor for a moment. I often talk with clients (this usually applies to straight men and women) who are distressed because the male is not always reaching orgasm when they have sex. In conversation it becomes clear that rather than enjoy foreplay, or focus on the other partner, or focus on things that feel good, like touch and exploring each other’s bodies, couples are frequently focusing instead solely on the male reaching orgasm. When the male orgasm doesn’t happen (and sometimes it doesn’t, for everyone), both parties take blame. The man thinks it’s his failure and the partner thinks it’s theirs. And then it becomes a situation when the “baby is thrown out with the bathwater,” and the entire experience is labeled as a disaster. What a shame that the enjoyment of foreplay, touching, kissing, and so many great exciting things are forgotten when a touchdown doesn’t happen. (Sorry for drifting back into football here...)

What is your definition of sex? Does it have to involve orgasm? Try something different sometime and forget the touchdown. Try focusing instead on just getting on the field and warming up, then see where it goes. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with a touchdown, I think that can be quite enjoyable, but it’s only part of the game and there are a lot of ways to gain yardage and score points. If you want to get a touchdown you might just have to stop focusing on it.

Welcome to my blog!

My posts are purely my own thoughts and opinions and are not meant to give you advice, but instead to give you insight into some of my thinking. My hope is that you will find useful information here as you navigate your life and relationships.