That little Cupid prick, Part 2

Might as well blog the book as I go along…

I’m now at Chapter 4 which, I’m told, is the start of the “relevant scientific research” part of the book. Also, the entire rest of the book is apparently all about “relevant scientific research.” This makes me happy.

I’ve discovered the best way not to be annoyed by the spiritual wawa stuff is just ignore it. Between every chapter has been a subchapter dedicated entirely to “Wisdom of the ages” where she explores various religious aspects of sex without orgasm. I just skip them entirely. Since one the basic purposes of religion, IMO,  is to explain things that are otherwise unexplainable, these sections aren’t that interesting to me. Again, I’m not saying there is no value in reading what ancient people thought about this stuff, but I don’t care to read it any more than I’d care to read what the Catholic church was teaching in the 14th Century about astronomy.

The other thing I’d really ding her on is her overuse of anecdote. The book is filled with these little stories about people whose lives were all kittywampus but, following their abstinence from orgasm, suddenly found nirvana. She oversells the positive impact of denial. I know it can be a force for good in a relationship, but it’s not magic and it won’t do your dishes for you. For example, this is from her husband and co-author from, I believe, his journal:

I’ve seen big changes in other aspects of my life, too. My finances are sorting themselves out, and my professional life is expanding in directions I’d always wanted it to—but was unable to take it before. The opportunities continue to flow to me effortlessly and work out great. I have a lot more confidence in myself. I’m calm and focused. And I’m now comfortable with being in a partnership instead of seeing myself as a separate entity who happens to be involved with someone at the same time. I’m much more optimistic about relationships.

The part about being in a partnership as opposed to seeing yourself as a separate entity and the development of general optimism about your relationship? Yes. Fucking hell, yes. Of course, no matter what we do, I will always be a separate entity, but my relationship with Belle feels more like a partnership now than ever and I’m happier being in the relationship with her than I ever have been (excepting, perhaps, at its very beginning — which fits into the book’s premise perfectly).

But. Finances sorting themselves out? Professional life expanding? Confidence? All because you’re not coming anymore? As a guy who doesn’t come anymore, I’m not sure how those things are connected. Also, calm and focus is not something I get from denial. There’s a zen to it, but I wouldn’t go so far to say it makes me calm and focused.

That being said, I do get their enthusiasm for denial (I’m not calling it Karezza because we don’t do that). I have often felt genuinely so enthusiastic myself that I’ve wondered, “Why doesn’t everyone do this?” It’s the best fucking thing. And, truth be told, I do think a whole lot of relationships would be benefited by denial. However, I don’t think I’d ever be so presumptuous as to tell people if they only stopped coming they’d win the PowerBall and their teeth will get whiter. Because, as the author points out, we are wired to crave orgasm. Saying we should ignore those cravings for a pot of gold on the other side of the denial rainbow is a hard sell. It just feels wrong. Also, I’m firmly of the opinion that the changes to brain chemistry brought on by extended orgasm denial create feelings of enthusiasm for the practice not unlike those the religious faithful feel when espousing their beliefs.

An example of that (and the over-reliance of anecdote) can be found in this extended passage. Forget for a second we’re talking about sexual practices and instead are talking about Scientology while you read it.

A friend brought an appealing young man to a party at my home. Lars was a gifted graphic designer, sensitive, sincere, courteous, and somewhat shy. He was accompanied by a polite, and much older, woman. I didn’t realize they were lovers.

A few weeks later the friend who had brought them both to my house showed up again. He was shattered; Lars was dead.

Apparently Lars had only been with the woman a few months. And during that time he’d experienced periods of utterly uncharacteristic, violent behavior. For example, he got into fights in bars and had even been threatened with arrest. My friend, who had known Lars’s whole family for years, also talked with his lover after Lars’s death. She told him Lars had become sexually aggressive. The night of his death the woman had refused to participate. She went into another room to lie down. He came in later, sat on top of her, and demanded that she make love. She said no. He pulled a gun from behind his back and shot himself in the head.

Now, it’s possible that there was no link whatsoever between his emotional-behavioral deterioration and his sex life. It was clear to me, though, that some sort of severe imbalance certainly corresponded with the period of their intimacy. Deeply affected by this tragedy, I made a solemn promise never to use my seductiveness to put a lover at risk. I was also committed to discussing the careful management of sexual energy with anyone who showed the least curiosity.

Get that? Orgasm might leads to violent, suicidal behavior. The implications are clear. Save a life: Stop coming. Also, apparently, don’t be sexy. Have you heard the Good News?

While I fear I may be coming off as overly harsh, I still do have high hopes the promise of sciency stuff will redeem the book for me. I’m still not even a quarter of the way through.

7 Replies to “That little Cupid prick, Part 2”

  1. Tom,
    As always your take on things is interesting. I also found that there was an over-reliance on anecdotes- but my perception is, that’s a very american thing. It seems to me (a Brit, BTW) that EVERY book I pick up that’s written by some guy from across the pond HAS to start with an anecdote. Don’t they get that some people aren’t interested in the plight of some (almost certainly) fabricated person? Give me the info already, and stop padding.

    As for the “Wisdom of the ages” bits, or “spiritual wawa stuff ” as you put it, I also skipped over them- they break up the flow, not really relevant- but I have gone back to most of them, as I find the perspective of other cultures interesting. I wonder if those bits were put in to balance the fact that Karezza is banned by the catholic church?

    Personally I reckon that she could have written half the number of words, and kept sales volume/price up just by having “BANNED BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH” flashed across the cover..

    In spite of all this, we’ve been doing the Karezza thing, and its really quite simple, and almost as rewarding as advertised (though my career hasn’t taken off!)

    I’d love to hear what you think after you’ve read as much of it as you can stand, and given it a go for a few weeks.

  2. The book has nothing to do with science, and it has everything to do with (often false) perceptions and prejudices about “aggressive” aspects of male sexuality. The author is very anti-pornography, anti-kink, and anti-erotic, and generally negative about sex, especially when it comes to male stereotypes. It isn’t enough that non-goal-oriented sex is fun or lot of us, there has to be pseudo-science behind it to support a certain world view. The author is also very against any well known sexologist (Kinsey, Masters & Johnson, etc.)

    If you strip it all away, this isn’t much different than using “Sensate Focus” as sex technique advocated by many “mainstream” sex therapists, but of course the author hates Kinsey, so won’t go there or realize the similarities.

    You can read about sensate focus here. One of the uses is to get over sexual dysfunction, anxiety, etc., but I think it is helpful to any couple trying to slow down and reconnect:

    We are here because of billions of years of things humping each other for in kinds of ways for all kinds of reasons. Why the cult like need to pretend like one has it all figured out?

    I will get off my own soap box now.

  3. Hi Thumper…I wrote a brief summary about Cupid’s Arrow in the Chastity Forums a while back.
    Here’s the link. There was a blog written by Kelmag that describes the science part of orgasm very nicely, but I can no longer find it. I really didn’t care for the “religious” and whiny preaching in the book at all.

    I’ve never heard of sensate-focus before, so thank you TCS….learn something new everyday….

    For my wife and I chastity play came about strictly to bring intimacy back into our relationship. It gave her more control over how often we had sex and most importantly not allowing me to take things into my own hands. Previously, her low sex drive resulted in more porn surfing for kink to get off when I masturbated . The overall effect was that we both felt lonely with no way to bridge the gap. Then I started to surf on the topic of chastity and found Thumper, Tom, Sarah and a few more….which eventually led me to buy a CB600S. After two years of chastity play, our marriage has changed significantly for the better. I no longer have anxiety about being able to orgasm or not. It doesn’t matter whether I cum or not, my kink is getting her off. I pretty much feel that if she orgasms I’ve had an orgasm too! It’s very strange, but that’s the way it feels sometimes. The strangest thing that has happened (now in the 3rd year), is that I cannot really wear the device to work, but when the weekend comes I can’t wait to put it back on….is that weird? I mean now I feel naked without the device. Some times during the work week I wear a brass cock ring that I bought at the hardware store, just to remind me that I’m kept in denial…like a big wedding ring (ha!). Maybe that’s what everyone should get when they get married….: )

    1. Your journey doesn’t sound all that different than ours.

      It’s very strange, but that’s the way it feels sometimes. The strangest thing that has happened (now in the 3rd year), is that I cannot really wear the device to work, but when the weekend comes I can’t wait to put it back on….is that weird?

      Nope. Not to me.

      I mean now I feel naked without the device. Some times during the work week I wear a brass cock ring that I bought at the hardware store, just to remind me that I’m kept in denial…like a big wedding ring (ha!). Maybe that’s what everyone should get when they get married….: )

      I don’t disagree!

  4. Hey
    I know I’m quite late to this post, and I’m going to refrain from commenting on your interpretation of the book until I’ve read all of the reviews but I couldn’t not comment on what denial does for my partner.
    The longest we manage is about 3 months before he comes out but there is always a stark change in his personality when he is in chastity. He’s generally an introverted quiet man, and I’m not saying he becomes the life and soul but he suddenly seems to have more faith in himself so yes it comes across as an increase in confidence. As part of his degradation he is told that he’ll be discarded if he doesn’t do his chores and live up to my expectations, which as I’ve then chosen him (above all other possible slaves) seems to have the same effect on his confidence as well as his perceived safety and security in our relationship and therefore all others too.
    And because he is more comfortable in his own skin, his confidence increases, he comes across more that way at work, and the deceased anxiety means he it’s able to deal with stuff that he normally avoids (like financials etc). Just my 2p worth…

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