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Sample Excerpt:

The Lovin' Ain't Over
Chapter 4 Regaining Intimacy
Page 37

Earlier we said that knowing your partner could make loving better rather than worse. The key is that it should be easier to talk about loving, and your likes and dislikes, with a person you are comfortable with.

One woman told us that the security of the relationship lets her "do things with her body" that she would not dare do with a new partner. She said she feels "free to explore new ideas." Prostate cancer therapy forced this couple to rethink how they made love and to share their thoughts.

Start with the idea that when suddenly faced with impotence, you have to relearn how to make love. The best place to start is by learning what your partner likes. In the course of talking in support groups, as well as in private conversations, men have commented that they "don't know how to begin." When they were younger, erections came easily; the erection seemed to be the "switch." After some kissing and playing, the "switch" turned on, and they would go directly to intercourse. This may have taken just a few minutes.

Now, they find that this method is no longer enough to give them an erection. So "what do we do?" This lack of knowing what to do reflects the fact that many couples have forgotten "how to make love."

Making love is an art. It is like painting. The painter uses brushes and paints to create an effect on a canvas. He or she has to know what will happen when a certain brush is used. The painter decides on the effect he or she wants to create and selects the right brush. The brush is the means by which the painter creates the effect with one or more paints. One may think of the "loving" brushes as the kiss and different kinds of touch. For ex- ample, a kiss on the neck may produce one effect. Running the tongue from the lips down the throat to the breast will produce a different sensation.

The other variable in all of this is the partner. One approach to loving does not work for all men or all women. Each of us reacts to different stimuli, humor, certain touches, etc. Each one should know, and ask, what the partner likes and doesn't like. Understanding what action will produce what effect in the partner is one of the key benefits of long-term relationships.

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