Celebrity Sexpert: What We Can Learn About Sex From Neil Diamond

Sometimes young people don’t think they can learn a lot about sex from older people – which is a shame, especially when that older person is Neil Diamond, one of my favorite song writers and performers of all time. Any time, that is – even times and places that have, sadly, not been graced with his sequined jackets.

Having been to several Neil shows from Vegas to DC, I’ve picked up on a few sex lessons we can learn from Neil Diamond. In no particular order, sex lessons from this week’s Celebrity Sexpert are:

-       Sex outdoors is a beautiful thing. Don’t believe me? Believe Neil: take a listen to “And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind” and then tell me that sex outdoors, on a bed of grass, under the sunshine, with soft wet kisses, isn’t sexy. Try it this summer: I will if you will.

-       Words are the best sex toys. While I like vibrators and flavored body dusts as much as the next person, I think that words – the things we whisper, promise, or say to excite or soothe or arouse – are what makes for the best, most pleasurable and connecting sex. If someone can connect with their partner through intimacy, it’s often more than enough. It may be one of many reasons why I adore Neil’s somewhat autobiographical song “Longfellow Serenade,” when he sings “and in my way, I loved her as none before, loved her with words and more.” And, yes, I think we all know what that “more” is.

-       Love is all you need. So you think the Beatles came up with this gem? Perhaps the title, but not the sentiment. Love was all that Romeo and Juliet needed. Odysseus and Penelope, too. So it is with Neil who, in “The Boat that I Row,” sang about fighting for someone and trying to win them over with nothing material in the world – not even a bouquet of flowers – but love and adventure. Sometimes as people become “adults” (whatever that is), they think they need a bunch of other things to make relationships or sex work (i.e. money, stability, similar backgrounds) when, really, if you have love and attraction, you can often make the rest work and live happily together, “Forever in Blue Jeans” style. So don’t give up on that kind of sensual, magic love if it’s what you want or need.

-       Sex should last and last and last. I’m not talking about how long a guy “lasts” in bed (ejaculation-wise). Whether people come quickly or take ages to do so, the pleasures of sex can go on as you lay in bed, kiss, talk, touch, and consider having some sort of sex or touching or licking again and again. So yes, let sex last. An hour? Perhaps. Or all night, as Neil reminds us in “Cracklin’ Rosie,” a song that’s all about taking it slow.

-       One night can be enough. It certainly was in “Desiree,” a song about a young man who comes of age – sexually speaking – with an older woman who came to him for one night only. If both people know that’s what they’re getting into, one shot at kissing or sex can be enough. But if one person wants more and the other isn’t into it, it can be a sad state of affairs, so tread carefully.

As much as I pride myself on being a sex expert of sorts, let’s not forget that we can learn about sex from the world – and yes, even the songs sung blueby besequinned singers – if only we open our ears.

What’s your favorite Neil Diamond song or pearl of sex wisdom gleaned from his music?

Debby Herbenick, PhD is a sex researcher and educator, a widely read sex columnist and author of Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction. Follow her on Twitter @mysexprofessor.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.