Chapter Four


He who laughs last laughs best.

You bet! And all these years the Puritans have been laughed at because they have chosen not to talk sex, sex, sex, night and day, nothing but sex. Well, catch this! Half the sex words the big talkers use, they don't even know what they mean.

This "foreplay" they brag so much about; do you know what they have in mind? Ten--maybe fifteen-minutes of fooling around in bed before comes the bump and the boin-n-ng! Fun? Sure, it's fun; but do they think that is all the play sex is fore? Ha!

Sexual foreplay, for a Puritan, does begin in bed--when he is a baby in bed with his mother, as he is nursed, cuddled, and bounced. Play? Obviously; babies love it (and mothers don't mind it too much, either).

But play leading up to sexual relations? Right on; I kid you not! A baby's being played with at this time, in this way, is a very important factor in determining the sort of sex partner he will turn out to be in years to come. Indeed, the play he gets from his mother here will stand him in good stead for the play he is to give later in that ten minutes preceding the bump and the boin-n-ng.

Nevertheless, much more of sexual foreplay takes place outside of bed than takes place in (and I am not thinking of the back seats of cars, either). As parents play with the child in all sorts of ways and in all sorts of situations, as parents play with each other in sight of the child, as the child plays with his brothers and sisters--the whole playful mix--it all makes its contribution to heightening his experience of the sex act when the time comes, because the whole secret is in learning how to give out with play and to receive the play given out by the other (although neither of these should be confused with what we mean by being "played out").

This, by the way, is another reason why parents, would-be parents, or could-be parents (which should about cover the spectrum) have some obligation to confine their sex to marriage. Every baby has a right to this sort of foreplay, and parents have failed in a rather serious way when they bring a baby into the world under conditions that deny it to him.

However, sexual foreplay does take on new and interesting dimensions when it graduates to the level of heterosexual awareness and intrigue.

No! We are not yet ready for the bump and the boin-n-ng; far from it. That's the trouble with people nowadays. All the time hurry, hurry, hurry! Rush through the foreplay in order to get to the real thing--as though that is all there is to sex! With these people it is not so much foreplay as forework (often no longer than a foreword--which, in case you were wondering, is why this book has three of them; it is an effort to slow things down a bit). Play, in order to be play, has to be done for its own sake; it ceases to be play if used only as a means for getting to something else.

The stage of sexual foreplay we now are discussing is the time for boys and girls to get to know one another as persons--as boy persons and girls persons--through a wide range of activities together, and yet without making a big deal about pairing off and getting serious (which, again, is to take the play out of foreplay). This stage is very important to the entire sex process. When it is omitted or foreshortened--as modern pressures tend to do--the result often is the slavery of sex addiction described earlier. Sex that is impelled by its "gotta haves" is sex that never learned the relaxed leisure of foreplay.

At the proper time comes the foreplay of dating. Girls and boys begin to pair off, learning how to play on a one-to-one basis. While they are at it, they would do well to learn a wide repertoire of games. When bump-and-boin-n-ng is the only game a couple knows, the play inevitably is going to get stretched mighty thin--particularly when one considers that here are being learned the play skills for a lifetime.

At this point, then, these couples (who ought to be freely coupling--in the Puritan sense of that term--uncoupling, and re-coupling) would be wise to concentrate on other games and leave bump-and-boin-n-ng until later. It is time to be thinking about commitment but not time to be making one yet. Hurried commitments almost invariably are poor commitments. As the wise old Puritans used to say, "Look before you leap." And the fact of the matter is that the game of bump-and-boin-n-ng involves major amounts of leaping whether the participants intend or desire it that way or not.

Then comes engagement. The foreplay and the fun begin to intensify as the commitment starts to jell. Engagement is designed specifically so that the intimacy of the play and the depth of the commitment can feed upon each other and develop together. To skip this period or to shorten it to the place that it becomes more of a bombing raid than what any communiqué would term an "engagement" often stunts the commitment and stuns the intimacy.

But although its major purpose is the nurture of commitment, engagement has another very important aspect also. This is its escape clause. Of course, most couples could care less--because they are certain that they will never need to use it. Many if not most couples, of course, do not use it. However, many others do use it to very good effect; and many others more would be better off if they had used it. When it becomes apparent that the commitment is not developing into a true marriage, the escape clause enables the couple to disengage with as little hurt and damage as possible. To break the engagement after it has declared itself to be a marriage always increases the pain and difficulty.

Consider, then, that to introduce the intricate intimacies of intercourse tends also to close off escape hatches, making unpromising engagements that much harder to dissolve. Of course, the rising intensity of the foreplay is making restraint more and more difficult, but those couples who are man (and woman) enough to do it are wise to keep their options open and retain the control in their heads rather than passing it over to their pulsating genitals. The important thing is to build their commitment as strong and deep as human skill and power (and, I would say, God's help) can accomplish.

Now I know that there are hordes of potent plungers who are impatient to the point of rut and rape over all this guff about years and years and years of foreplay. They aren't interested in all that. They'll worry about commitment if and when they need it. They'll do what they feel like doing now and handle the consequences in do coarse. Not for them this baby talk about milk and then meat. They want--and they are gonna have--meat now.

Two comments these people might take time to ponder. The word "foreplay," which we have used to identify all this preliminary activity, is meant as an accurate label. To call it "play" is to suggest that it has value in and of itself. It does not need the payoff of the big twang to make it worthwhile; this play is that which is most appropriate, most profitable, and most enjoyable for persons at their particular stages of development.

The truth of this observation would be quite self-evident--except for the fact that modern social pressures and persuasions have managed to brainwash people into believing that sex consists entirely in intercourse, only of orgasm, and that therefore our salvation and fulfillment as sexual creatures lies in getting to it ... the quicker the better. And it is precisely at this point that the Puritan Revolution is going to need to focus its overthrow.

Second, these people who are so sure that they can handle their sex life according to their own rules and always make it come up roses ought to look around themselves a bit. Sexual disappointment and unhappiness in all their manifestations constitute one of the major evils plaguing our already overburdened society. The victims range from studs and nymphomaniacs who waste their lives chasing the unattainable star of ultimate experience to impotent and frigid half-humans whose genitals refuse to pulsate at all.

My guess is that a major share of these disasters can be attributed to faulty foreplay--either because the person felt he was good enough that he could afford to cut corners or because he got cheated out of what he should have received at one stage or another. And there's the rub: because sex-sick parents simply have not the wherewithal to produce a healthy setting for the sexual foreplay of their children, and because a sex-sick society scoffs at the need for such, the disease is self-perpetuating and bound to become endemic. All joking aside, it just might be that a Puritan Revolution is more crucial for the survival of our civilization than any of the revolutions being heralded so boldly today.

Yes, of course I know that some people defy all the sexual laws of God, man, and nature and still apparently manage to come out on top. Also, some guys fall off the top of twenty-story buildings without killing their fool selves. But what makes you think you should be so lucky? It still is true as another old Puritan slogan says: "Better safe than sorry!"

"Well, it took us the better part of a chapter, but we have finally made it to marriage, reaI foreplay, and a binge of bump and boin-n-ng (ah, bliss!)."

Hold on just one minute. I'm writing this book, and I'm the one who gets to say when the chapter is over. I'll take care to let you know.

As long as you insist on referring to that ten-to-fifteen minutes in bed as "the real foreplay," you are still going to have problems. That isn't enough play to do the job. A man and wife ought to learn how to sneak in a little foreplay every now and then, while clothed as well as unclothed, at any old time and any old place, even in front of the kids and other people (it is particularly important that some of it be done in front of the kids, because that way they get some foreplay of their own out of it).

Now of course, most of this should be what we might call "camouflaged foreplay"--although some of it can be and probably ought to be overtly sexual. There is no need to tell observers that what is going on is sexual foreplay (it isn't necessary either, to tell your partner that that is what it is), even though this is the very truth of the matter. And obviously, because the kids are supposed to be participants as well as observers, the kind that goes on in their presence should be of the camouflaged variety.

But this sex play can take the form of nudges, prods, whacks, or tweaks; the form of hugs, kisses, nuzzles, or wrestling matches; the form of winks, smiles, gestures, or jerks; the form of compliments, presents, teasing, or jokes (it is most helpful for parents to have some private jokes that mystify the kids; it keeps them aware that they are witnessing a relationship that has more to it than they yet can dig). This foreplay should take any and every form the couple can devise; but it probably is more important for them to work at these techniques than at those of the bawdy bed--these are usable much more often and so provide that much more of sex for everyone around.

And, beloved, when you have built up a head of steam with this anywhere-anytime-everywhere-all-the-time foreplay, then the ten-to-fifteen minute session can itself take off from a very high level. And the bump and the boin-n-ng? Ah, bliss!

End of chapter

(Aren't you glad you let me do it my way?)

Copyright (c) 1971