The Joy Of The Quickie

The Joy Of The Quickie

If your lover took you out to the city’s finest restaurant night after night, wouldn’t you soon be craving burritos and beans at your local Mexican place?

Sure you would, and this ennui with routine is true for sex as well. Romantic, meaningful sex is wonderful—but sometimes it just seems like a lot of work.

Consider this probably not unfamiliar situation: You are horny, but you don’t have the time (or desire) for a prolonged love-making session. You just have an itch you’d like your lover to scratch, then you’d like to get back to your spreadsheet...This is the moment for a quickie.

You mean no disrespect or lack of love for your partner, but this isn’t about love—it’s about lust. Wonderful, old-fashioned, heat-seeking lust. It’s not that anyone would do. No, this is about the pleasure you can get from, and the desire you can have for, the person you are with.

A quickie full of animal need and immediate gratification is a part of being alive and vibrant together. If you feel insulted because your partner wants you this way—or embarrassed that you just want something closer to what Erica Jong called the “zipless fuck”—you haven’t understood that a quickie is a form of intimacy. It is giving intense, sudden sexual access without asking for motivation or justification.

I know this sounds more like a male rationalization than a female fantasy. And plenty of women are put off by a partner’s request for passionate sex without romantic foreplay.

But I have interviewed a number of wives and girlfriends who say more or less the same thing: “Sometimes I don’t want the music, the flowers, the words, the tender tracing of my body. Sometimes I simply want to be tackled when I am coming through the door, and made to feel insanely desirable.”

Quick doesn’t necessarily mean second best. We don’t dislike the sandwich because it is not chicken Piccata. Au contraire—we sometimes choose the sandwich over more elegant competition precisely because, in its own humble way, it is satisfying and special.

Of course the sandwich has no say in the matter, and a partner does. This is why communication makes all the difference. A woman can enjoy a quickie as much as a man if she is turned on and therefore "ready."

As one told me recently, "He thinks I don't want quickies, but he's wrong. Sometimes I feel as irrationally randy as he does. I just have to be in the right mood, and I need to know he is being sexy, not pushy."

A code phrase that each person understands can set the stage immediately. For example, "I want you--now!" or "Take me" can be the signal for playful, intense sex.

Clients say that as long as they negotiate what conduct is welcome between them, it is perfectly all right for one person to grab the other and start stripping off clothes. (Although someone has to tell men that tearing off an expensive blouse is not a turn-on!)

The eroticism of surprise--a reminder of the full force of your lover's need and desire--can be a powerful tool. Granted, you wouldn't want a diet of nothing but sandwiches or a sex life that was continually Wham, bam, thank you Fran/Sam. But as an additional spice, the quickie can be part of every creative lover's cookbook.

Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., is a therapist and professor of sociology at the University of Washington.