Laughter, the Funny Kind with Paddy Ducklow

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There are lots of reasons to laugh. First, laughter is fun – and fun is reason enough for all of us to laugh lots.

Secondly, because non-laughers are usually boring and uptight people. The kind of people we don’t want to laugh with anyways.

Thirdly, because laughter cleans out the psycho-social pipes when things are bad.

Now you need to know that there are two kinds of laughter: “laughter, the funny kind” (LFK) and “laughter, the mean kind” (LMK). LFK brings people closer and LMK breaks, butchers and belittles that which is important.

I am talking about LFKs or “laughter, the funny kind.”

Cleaning out the pipes: You saw it in “The Bucket List” when Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson laughed until they cried. Well, they needed to laugh. They were both dying and they were leaving those who wanted them to live. (Go rent the film. You will laugh and cry and get your pipes cleaned all at once.)

The laughing contagion: Do you remember in high school when you couldn’t stop laughing and when your teacher threatened you with “whatever” (you were laughing too hard to remember) and that she began snickering too? Laughter is contagious and that is a good thing. You avoided a detention or writing lines or visiting the principal. The laughter contagion brings people together when they are opposites.

“No laughing matter”: You have heard that truism; that the severity of the situation requires solemnity or reverence or some other form of sadness. However, authorities from the Bible to Reader’s Digest remind us that “laughter is the best medicine.” A best-selling Norman Cousins book and a popular Robin Williams film, “Patch Adams,” teaches us that laughter might even heal people. Still, even if you die, laughter is the best way to go. It’s called “dying well.” It’s a funny way to go.

Getting unstuck: Unsolvable problems are usually better solved through laughter than “serious, urgent, important” strategies (“SUI” sounds like a pig call doesn’t it?). If your life has 20% problems and you invest 80% of your resources in strategies like problem solving, worrying about things, and “daring to discipline,” well, you are likely to add to the unsolvability of it all. Makes you want to laugh. Or cry.

“So what’s this all got to do with sex?” you asked.

Good question. Of course if you have looked at yourself naked recently, laughing is way better than crying!

And if you think about orgasms, erections, the “missionary” position, all that wetness, well, it is pretty funny isn’t it?

And of course, all orgasms don’t call for the “Hallelujah Chorus!” (That’s a joke.)

“So, a guy walks into a bar…”

ducklowsDr. Paddy Ducklow, Psychologist

Paddy is the Erb-Gullison Professor of Family Studies at Carey Theological College (UBC campus) and is in private practice doing marriage, family and sex therapy.

First Time

Dear Eryn-Faye,

My fiancee and I are both virgins. We are waiting until marriage. We would like our first time to be natural (i.e. no condom/ interference with contact) but also do not want to get pregnant. She has medical conditions that prevent her from being on any pill/insert/hormonal supplement. We would not mind bringing in condoms after the first time. Any advice?

I totally understand your desire to have the first time feel as natural as possible. However, there is no way to guarantee that you won’t get pregnant. Even though using a condom is not 100% accurate, it is the best option when you cannot use the other methods (the pill, the patch, the shot, the IUD, the ring, etc.). You will raise the risk of pregnancy significantly if you choose not to use a condom. You could look into a spermicidal lubricant so that you are not completely unprotected, but this is certainly not fool-proof and you could easily get pregnant on your wedding night. If you do choose this option, have your fiancée apply it as a “test run” before your wedding night to ensure that she is not allergic to any of the ingredients in it. Ultimately, the two of you need to make the decision together as to what is more important – protecting against pregnancy or having a “natural” experience – because you can’t be guaranteed to have both at once.

But as a professional, who has coached hundreds of people in the area of sexuality, please allow me to give you a few pointers which you might find helpful. Oftentimes, we have preconceived (and incorrect) notions of what sex will be like before we actually engage in it. Understanding the realities beforehand greatly increases our chances of enjoying that first experience.

  1. Most men, when they have not had sex before their wedding night, experience orgasm very quickly. This will not be a contentious issue if both of you are have realistic expectations on your wedding night. Having a condom on actually helps you have longer staying power, which will be helpful to your bride’s enjoyment of the experience. Just a thought.
  2. Take a lubricant on your honeymoon. The ability to lubricate to the extent needed varies from woman to woman, and having a lubricant on hand will greatly increase her comfort and therefore enjoyment. I am a fan of water-based lubricants as they are the easiest to clean up, but feel free to find what works for you.  Here are some choices.
  3. Encourage your fiancée to go to the doctor a few months before the big day, tell him/her that she is a virgin and about to have sex for the first time. If the doctor sees that she is particularly small, there are ways for her to stretch herself in preparation for you. While this might seem a bit embarrassing right now, trust me, it is so much better than her being in a lot of pain the first time (or first week or even first month) that you have sex!!
  4. Read up on the female orgasm!   The male orgasm is far less complex than the female orgasm. Fewer than 30% of women have an orgasm through vaginal penetration alone – the vast majority of women need stimulation on the clitoris in order to orgasm. Allowing your bride to “go first” will increase the chances of sufficient lubrication, allow her to be more relaxed, and ensure that both of you will be satisfied. If she doesn’t have an orgasm on that first night, don’t worry! The two of you have a lifetime together to figure it all out. (However, do write me back – or have her write me – so that I can give you some tips and suggestions for that department!)
  5. Be prepared for a clean up afterwards! Bring a hand towel, or box of Kleenex to bed with you so that you don’t have to sleep in the “wet spot” your first night together. Besides, great sex often requires a shower afterwards!

I realize that my answer goes beyond what you were asking originally, but I would love for the two of you to have the very best experience possible on your wedding night. Remember that sex is not a “gifting” that some people are endowed with and others are not. Instead, think of it as a skill set that the two of you will learn and perfect over time together. I would love to hear from you again (and your fiancée too) if you have any further comments or questions!!


Eryn-Faye, Passion Coach