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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

The Art of Human Caring…

Good morning, Netizens...

[Originally attributed to Megan K. Scott of the Associated Press]
Maybe men had it right all along: It doesn't take long to satisfy a woman in bed. A survey of sex therapists concluded the optimal amount of time for sexual intercourse was 3 to 13 minutes. The findings, to be published in the May issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, strike at the notion that endurance is the key to a great sex life. (Sex therapists: A few minutes is best, Associated Press)

I absolutely LOVE these surveys, where clinical psychologists, sex therapists and other clinicians expend gobs of hours and resources studying our sexual habits. I remember how, in my generation, there was a time when sex was still considered to be a taboo subject, when polite society did not openly discuss such things in public. I remember the consternation and pandemonium the Masters and Johnson's study on human sexuality made when it first went into print. According to some, this was the proof that the Last Days had truly arrived.

I think these clinicians, and so many others, may have missed the boat entirely.

Nothing in my life prepared me for human sexuality in my 50's. Nothing in any book I have ever read told me how, in the parlance of the male gender, “it still works”, because obviously it does. It is just not as often, that's all. Please stop laughing.

When my wife was 50 years old, incredible as it might seem, she conceived a child, and for nine long, hot summer months, she carried a baby girl nearly to full-term. We were both exhilarated beyond words, and both of us absolutely ecstatic. In my mind's eye I still can clearly see the day she came stumbling up the sidewalk in front of the house, tears streaming from her eyes for she had miscarried at 9 months 3 days. For several days, the ashes of our daughter, Camilla Laird, sat on the bookcase, and a week or so later, we put her ashes to rest in the silent waters of the Clearwater River near Kamiah, Idaho during a Bluegrass Festival. I cannot write this without tearing up, so intense are the memories of those days that followed. Later on that day, Rhonda Vincent sang an Alison Krause song that somehow gave us closure:

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the starry crown?
Good Lord show me the way!

We sat there, amid hundreds and hundreds of strangers holding hands and bawling like a pair of motherless calves.

Our marriage, were it not based upon compassion, would have never survived the test of the loss of our daughter. We learned more about compassion and supportive tenderness from that terribly sad experience than either of us have ever known in our complex experiences in life. I have never heard of nor read any book that prepares people for tragic losses in their lives, although there is no lack of books about sex. Someone needs to write an instruction manual for tenderness.
It's a beautiful (but crisp) day breaking outside. What is the worst loss you ever suffered personally, and how did it impact your lives later on?


Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.