Can Men Tell The Truth About Sex?

Where are the male voices debating contemporary sexuality? No, really, where are they?

I read a very interesting BBC article recently. The author, Sarah Dunant, spends some time outlining her own relationship to the ongoing debate about the role of sex in human experience and in society, and recapping the current state of play in that debate. Then she closes by raising a frank and difficult question, one that needs to be asked.

Where are the heavy-weight male voices debating contemporary sexuality? It’s difficult – getting men to talk honestly about sex. Not the nudge-nudge in the pub, or the throw-away gags of comedians, but serious questioning.

We accept that in the aftermath of feminism growing up male can be hard: but where are the big public conversations about men’s sexuality. The impact of pornography. Has far has our desire changed theirs? Is their line between what is and is not acceptable different from ours?

Such admissions will not necessarily be politically correct. Sex often isn’t. It doesn’t help that when men do open their mouths on the larger stage they are firmly shot down. Both George Galloway and our now ex-Justice Secretary Ken Clarke might have been ill advised in their remarks about sexual behaviour and the law, but like it or not they thought something needed saying, only to be met by a storm of female outrage that effectively stifled all debate.

Yes, we have a long way to go. But we can’t do it without the views of men.

This is a serious matter Ms. Dunant has touched on, and one that needs to be part of the public discourse. Men’s voices aren’t part of the public conversation about the function of sex and desire among us all.

Now, at this point traditional feminist thinking splutters “Hang on a second, men’s voices are all we hear about sex! The male gaze is so prevalent that women’s conformance to it is our main source of human value. Porn is manufactured in vast, immeasurable quantities, almost all of it aimed at male desires. We know about the male experience of sexual desire because we’re constantly told that everything in society has to serve it, from the public appearance of every woman alive to damn near every commercial aired.”

Problem is, while all of that isn’t exactly untrue, it also doesn’t have anything to do with authentic male desire. It’s a description of an imaginary average of male desire, a lowest common denominator that arises from conventional wisdom and social enforcement rather than from anyone’s pants. And for goodness’ sake, if we’re going to be talking about sexual desire, we need to be paying attention to what’s arising in real people’s pants, not what we think is supposed to be. (Why no, if you were wondering, we will not be getting through this article without a boner joke.)

The conventional-wisdom narrative about sex holds that men all want no-strings blowjobs from skinny, big-titted 20-year-old blondes, and women all want meaningful cuddles and commitment from rich doctors with good tans. Both sides of this assumption are utter, utter horseshit. They reduce the richness of human experience and human desire down to two stupid cartoons that almost nobody actually likes, but too many people go along with because they assume everyone else is.

The good news is that sex-positive feminism has made it possible for more and more women to speak out against this tired old nonsense, to proudly own their own sexuality and whatever it entails. Yeah, there’s still a lot of slut-shaming, social enforcement, and stereotyping that goes on, but genuine progress has been made.

Men, however, remain largely trapped by the social narrative. The very pervasiveness of the conventional-wisdom model makes it hard to openly speak out against. If every ad you see assumes that every man wants the same boring thing, you start to think that maybe they know something you don’t. I’ve seen men pretend to want casual sex because they thought they were supposed to, date skinny girls when they liked bigger girls because they were afraid of social enforcement, spend years lying about aspects of their sexuality that they thought made them appear weak or unmanly. And if you sit down and think about it, I bet you have too.

♦◊♦

We do need more male voices to speak up about the realities of male sexuality and desire. Not the stereotypes or the assumptions or the easy jokes, the on-the-ground truth about the complexity and diversity of our loves and lusts. Here at the Good Men Project, we’re trying to get some of that dialogue started, but it’s kind of like push-starting a car uphill. The gravity in this metaphor is the endless drag of enculturated assumptions, hegemonic masculinity, all the ideas that there is a way men are supposed to be, and if you do not resemble that imaginary norm you are Doing It Wrong.

There is a name for this phenomenon; it’s called pluralistic ignorance. It’s when most people don’t like something, but they assume everyone else likes it, so they don’t speak up out of fear or good manners or awkwardness. It’s how a thousand people go along with a plan they all know is stupid, each one thinking they’re the only person doubting it. And it’s how we all just accept the artificial, manufactured, oddly specific and sharply limited stereotype of male sexuality as “normal”.

Get a bunch of guys together and ask whether they prefer the fake women on the magazine covers or real, flawed, human women, and you’ll hear a chorus of affirmation in favor of the real. Real women (and I do not mean anything prescriptivist by that, I literally mean “not imaginary”) are vulnerable, are relatable, come in a rich array of colors and textures and shapes and sounds and smells that is far more interesting to most straight men than the umpteenth iteration of the same Photoshopped swimsuit model, so sanded down and airbrushed she hasn’t even got pores.

It makes sense. Those artificial images are as sexy as plastic. They are a product of industrial and media culture, the consensus result of meetings of marketing committees, carefully designed to meet expectations without ever challenging assumptions, thereby gaining optimum brand positioning to maximize market share with key demographics and I ask you seriously, who wants to stick their dick in that?

The answer, sadly, is some people do. There is a minority of men, a depressingly vocal minority, that fundamentally does think of women as a product manufactured for their consumption. And they tend not to be shy about making their opinions known, especially to women who they consider inferior product.

The same goes, in slightly different form, for the accepted generic idea of male sexual desire. Entirely penis-based, entirely shallow, entirely about penetration and control… you know the routine. Again, most men’s actual desires are infinitely more complex, more nuanced, more silly and vulnerable and far, far more freaky. But the chorus of assumed normalcy is so vocal, and the social sanction for appearing weird or weak so great, that most men don’t speak up, and just try to do what they think they’re supposed to. And so everyone has, on average, rather less fun sex than they otherwise might.

We can’t keep this up. We can’t continue ignoring the phenomenal diversity and depth of men’s sexualities. It is literally killing people. And it’s just so damn silly to start with. It’s hard to speak up about such a deeply personal subject, but there is one thing each and every one of us can do: stop pretending that “normal” is normal.

I am hereby letting all the men reading this know that they are not the only one whose sexual desires deviate from the ones in the beer commercials and the sitcom jokes. It is not just you. It’s almost all of us. If you feel, as most do, that you somehow need permission to stop participating in this false consensus, consider it given. You can stop pretending to be normal, because there is no such damn thing and there never was.

It ain’t much, but Sarah Dunant is right. We’ve got to start somewhere.

 

Photo— istolethetv/Flickr

 

About Noah Brand

Noah Brand is an Editor-at-Large at Good Men Project, and possibly also a cartoon character from the 1930s. His life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. He is usually found in Portland, Oregon, directly underneath a very nice hat.

Comments

  1. What refreshing words to read and digest. I couldn’t agree more. Men and women have been shamed and ridiculed into dumbing down our deepest desires to be pigeon holed into the tightest, narrowest most restrictive models of our sexual possibilities.
    I look forward to reading more!

  2. @David May: While I’m not gay, looking from the outside in, I think you are right, in general, that gay men are in a different universe when it comes to comfort and accessibility in discussing sex. The biggest issue that prevents straight folks from getting there is dishonesty, fueled by many different cultural sources, that prevent men and women from really getting what they want and need. I must say that gay men like Dan Savage, who, I think, goes out of his way to condemn straight men while patronizing straight women, don’t help. For instance, he will will rip straight men for DV but takes it easy on lesbians for doing the same thing. i am not saying that Mr. Savages comments are your responsibility.but gay men can jump on the bash straight guy band wagon awfully easily. My point is that these conversations, though they may happen in different cultural vacuums, what one part of society says or thinks about another can have powerful consequences, The NAACP’s public acceptance (long overdue) of gay marriage as a civil rights issue made a difference in how some perceived the issue.

  3. David May says:

    As a gay man, I read this conversation and wonder: How do men and women ever manage to get together, to connect in any meaningful way? It appears that the space between the poles is fraught with more dangers than rewards for those seeking the Exotic Other. And yet you go on, ever hoping to love and be loved.

    Be that as it may: I think gay men have an advantage. We are free to discuss sex with each other, conversation often as enthusiastic as the sex acts being reported. I’ve written a great deal, from a layman’s perspective, about gay male sexuality, and while I have found a readership, I know my bias is urban, middle class and (even more telling) as a gay man that survived 22 years in San Francisco during the worst years of the plague (which is NOT over, people). What I find is that some gay men are shocked by my writing. One piece I wrote for a gay mahazine was called *How I Fell Into the Wrong Crowd* and was basically a history of debaucheries from my heyday in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The article (which was meant to be at once humorous and nostalgic) was criticized by some because I didn’t show remorse for my actions in a time before AIDS. All of which is to demonstrate that while I initially think gay men have an easier time of discussing and writing about their sexuality on all levels, there is still judgement from within the gay community by succeeding generations of Puritans and old school feminists unable to see past the accepted orthodoxy of a quarter century ago.

    • Quadruple A says:

      I think that there is a lot about feminism that encourages the discourse of women as exotic others. In this world as I understand it if a gay man said to another gay man in a more or less round about way can I touch your penis the other gay man might have a range of feelings and responses but deeply offended and objectified would probably not be one of them unless perhaps if there was a large age difference. If a man of equal age were to be so bold as to ask a woman of he can touch her vagina there is a relatively high probability that that would not go over well.

      There may be reasons for this difference, maybe even good ones for all I know but feminism seems to want to take this difference for granted and not critically examine it. By comparing these two different situations we realize that sexual harassment discourse is not merely about treating women with respect we discover that it is also about treating women as women. But what is a woman? Some women can be quite bawdy? Are we to exclude them from our concept of woman?

      Feminists claim that power differential is sufficient to explain the difference. I don’t think that explanation is sufficiently thought out.

  4. …hmmm, let me try this again.@John:In a perfect world where the myth that women are naturally more empathic is actually true, JP’s advice to you is gold.My experience, the experiences of other men, the honesty of some women and science has taught me that THAT world isn’t the one we live in. It is a fact that empathy and sensitivity are learned behaviors and are no more guaranteed through birth right than the ability be an expert in any field.Yes, one might have some innate talent or predisposition but it must be developed through focused hard work to come into full bloom. One must be very careful when crying or being vulnerable to one’s female partner. Too often,women don’t understand the depth of their own conditioning about gender and are unprepared to handle a man’s vulnerabilities. The consequences can be devastating psychologically for men.Stories abound of women who have asked for their guy to be vulnerable only to later discover it makes her wretch.Or she loses sexual attraction for him and ends the relationship. Several posts on GMP speak to this happening to them. Good guys who thought they were doing the correct, evolved thing got burned when their wives no longer found them masculine or sexually attractive because they were doing the “woman’s work” of raising kids. Clearly, female culture has not, as whole, thought through some of these issues as evidenced by the widespread, strong testimony from men. and women.Trust me, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of this confusion;therapy is expensive.So gender role reversals and being vulnerable are not to be taken lightly.

  5. Many female here talk about their insecurity, especially about their body image. I want to share my insecurity too as a guy. I never buy crap that told men always worry about their penis size. Sorry, i really don’t care a bit of my penis size, and i’m sure many other guys feel the same as me.

    For me, my insecurity is always my personality. Women likes men who have confidence and sense of humour, and i feel sometimes that i’m not really a confident guy. I can be confident on some occasions and i clearly lost my confidence on another. I’m not really funny either, although sometimes i make my friends and my gf laugh. I have many guy friends that more confident and more funny than me. I’m still in college, but i always afraid that i cannot find decent job, i cannot be succesful man, i cannot be rich man. Because i know condifent, funny, and succesful men are attractive to women.

    Sometimes i feel i’m not attractive to my gf when i’m down like that. I feel i’m not a real man, and everyone know that women like real men, not “pussies” like me. I fear my gf would be attracted to other guys who are more confident, more funny, and more successful than me. And it would make me very2 down. And yes, sometimes it makes me not interested in sex. Dont get me wrong, i find my gf very very very sexy and attractive, but if i feel i’m a loser, not real man, i cannot be interested in sex. And i still 22 years old, people said young men should want sex all the time ( and i don’t )

    Usually i can forget those things that bother me pretty quickly , but sometimes it can make me depressed ( sometimes i cry too )

    Call me pussy , loser, “man up” , etc, but thats also the truth of my sexuality.

    • John- those qualities make you “human”. We all have our unique and individual combination of “flaws”. I think it is much, much healthier, and sexier, to recognize your flaws and be open and honest about them. Hopefully it also makes you open to learning and searching about how to address those “flaws”- because that will result in you uncovering rich knowledge about yourself and the world- even if you find you flaws cannot be fixed. I have found that these “searchers” (searching for the answer on who and what they want to be), are far more sexy than people who already know the “answer”. I have been around so many guys that exude what many people understand as confidence, and it’s so fake, such a turn off. They miss out on a lot because the are actually very rigid and think they already know all the answers (same thing of women, but since we’re speaking in terms of masculine sexuality…) . But if you recognize areas in yourself that you want to improve, and seek to improve them in a way that is compassionate to yourself and your loved ones, you’ll find someday that your confidence is inseparable from your self- though there may still be tough days, you will be flexible, open, and OK with your self.

      I honestly believe that your weaknesses can become your greatest strengths- as long as those weaknesses are not harmful to others- and as long as you can be accepting of them. Oh and man, your 20’s are difficult in terms of confidence and self image. I never realized just how difficult until I started to emerge on the other side. Just be kind to yourself. And know that your insecurity probably makes you a better lover, if you are open about it 🙂

  6. OG, I considered not even outing myself on here, but didn’t think that fair. Well, you already probably knew it anyway. Glad you shared your perspective on why feminism is not for you, and I think I understand, or am trying to understand, where you’re coming from. Of course, I see it differently, and cannot describe how much this “ideology” has helped me negotiate life. I see problems with it, yes, but the main reason I looove feminism is because I see it as a movement that is always questioning itself, striving to become more inclusive, and change for the better. That to me is everything. But I am not meaning to impose anything on you here, this isn’t what the discussion is about. I am part of this discussion primarily to learn, and to hear things that I know I need to hear too keep me more grounded and understanding of others- to hear views that this article is encouraging people to share. Selfishly really, the larger purpose behind all of this is to learn how I can improve my future relationships. And I think I’ve learned a lot of good stuff.

    What I meant by saying I’ve been trying to remain “neutral”, is that I’m trying not get triggered by things that my feminist views might normally find problematic. This is so much easier when dealing with individual people, versus speaking in generalities. Though I don’t agree with everything most people have said on this thread, I agree with pieces of what each person has shared, and that’s really helped me round out some understanding. Has not changed my core beliefs- probably has actually reinforced my, as I see them- feminist- beliefs that everyone’s sexuality is different, and that individual men want many more and different things than society, and the more shallow of individuals give them credit for. Seriously this has given me a lot of hope and tips for working with relationships going forward.

  7. @JP:I don’t equate feminism with freedom and equality for women.Admittedly,for what I contend are some well thought out reasons,developed over a lifetime through experience and study,I don’t trust that political faction.I’ve supported women’s equality long before it was considered a quality of evolved masculinity.That most feminists I’ve known imagine that they and they alone define women’s equality is one of the aforementioned reasons for my distrust.Back to the future,that feminists/feminism treat men who commit rape and DV far,far differently than say lesbian/feminists who commit the same crimes has added a measure of cynicism to the brew.Hypocrisy is about as corrosive as rust in the rear quarter panel of a 65 Pontiac.However,I love me some women.I don’t even mind the wacky emotional shit.But what I do mind is when women deny they have shit BECAUSE they can be wacky and emotional:Thanks feminism.Men can’t get away with that stuff,so it’s not equal. We have OUR shit.I admit I enjoy fucking way too much and it hasn’t always served me.I’ve been a jerk on purpose, though seldom without provocation.I haven’t been aculturated to feel a need to subjugate women,feminist theory be damned.I love women but I’ve learned to take a break now and then to tend my own garden.By the way, did you mention you were neutral or was that normal?

  8. Ooooh that feminism = fascism comment stings a gal that has a BS in Women’s Studies (insert “BS” joke here”, and has worked for a domestic violence shelter for 8 years (so yes, I have bias, but have tried to remain neutral!). Really the gems in this discussions are the bits of stories I’ve read from you and others that defy the larger messages and experiences I’ve had, and what I have perceived to be the experience of men. I didn’t come to this post to share my reasons for being angry with men. I came here to reinforce the point of this article- yes, we need to hear more from men. Men need to hear more from men so they can envision other options for themselves. Women need to hear more from men so we know your experience, wants, and needs. And I would have been all about the guy that got sand kicked in his face.

    PS to Wet One- I know the media is BS (funny reference to my opening line). It’s just that so many people don’t- and I can’t bear seeing other’s brainwashed, and having their brainwashing affect my life and the lives of those I love! The only thing that can counter all that negative crap is the sharing of positive, personal, and diverse messages. Yeah, getting a little corny here, I’m done.

  9. First of all,you and Sarah are gems.While I am not tired of your musings, since they are always heartfelt and interesting,I am frustrated that when women express feelings about sexual objectification it is too often done in a gender vaccuum.For instance,you wrote that sexual objectification of men is recent,which it is not.I first recalled it when I was 10 watching Mae West parade on stage with muscular men at her beck and call.The message was that these men were there,in no uncertain terms,for her sexual pleasure:period.If she wasn’t objectifying them physically she did it concerning his status.In the comics books I loved to read there was almost always a Charles Atlas advertisement in which the big hunky guy kicked sand in the face of the skinny guy at the beach there with his female friend;who do you think ended up the girl?There are tons of other examples and yes,in real life,I was the skinny guy. So,I have frustration when I hear women complain about behavior they don’t like but they engage in also. It is just so selfish. The guy kicking sand…is an American classic advertisement.Mae West was once the highest paid actress in America,an iconic figure of female sexuality.These examples are not hard to find.Most of what you wrote I’ve heard and read over the last 30 years,ad naseum. I could live with all of this if not for the overhyped women’s superior senstivity.Which is about as rare as you and Sarah.I have learned in general,that all things being equal,a woman’s angst always trumps mine;if she even knows it exists.Oh yeah, the facism you speak of is called feminism.

  10. “Perhaps some women feel like making such comments about men give them their power back in a world where they often feel like some of their power is being taken away because of the quality or lack of quality of their body”

    Erin and JP, i don’t think all of women who likes seeing hot men , cute guys are having intentions to take a power back from men, or they have intention to objectified men. My younger sisters are only 12 years old, and shes crazy for korean and japanese male idols, she have like a 50 gigabyte sized folder of thousand pictures and videos of korean and japanese idols, who she think are very cute , and some of them very hot according to her. ( And if i remember, i have wrote somewhere on GMP that i found porn on history on my sister laptop, and its not like she visited one site on accident , she clearly visited many porn site regularly)

    Does she have an intention to objectified men, to take a power back from men? I dont think so, i think its just natural to her. I know Erin, you want to make an opinion based on the fact than men are visual and women are emotional, but in my experience, as a guy, some men like me are super emotional about women and some ( if not, many many many ) women are very visual towards men.

    Just because you dont really visual on guys, doesnt mean other women who are very visual are lying about themselves, doesnt mean they have any intention to take a power back from men, doesnt mean thay want to objectified men.

    “For me, I am having a difficult time with the disconnection of everything I am as a woman and my regular, less exciting ways compared to the way female sexuality is often protrayed and favorably encouraged by men and women alike”

    Every women have different sexuality, just like every men have different sexuality. Some guys like me can be very emotional during sex, some guys not. Just because you as a woman dont relate to other women who have different sexuality ( very visual, not emotional ), doesnt mean other women are lying or pretending.

    • You have awesome messages, John. You made me recall a time in my life I had completely forgotten- I used to have posters of teen idol guys plastered all over my room. It lasted for about a year when I was yes- 12 (then I graduated to a rock ‘n roll stage where my room was covered in Ozzy Osbourne, Jolly Roger flags, and even some Greatful Dead). Funny thing is, I could have cared less about those teen idols- I think it was more about connecting with my peers, and asserting independence from my parents; the only way I saw to do that in my innocent suburban community was – pictures of boys. Then I really did get into drugs and rock ‘n roll, not sex though.

      I am not saying that my experience is that of every female. But I see parallels in my growing up to recent more overtly-sexual happenings in pop culture- Magic Mike, Suicide Boys. Some women enjoy the visuals I am sure. But my interpretation of the women around me who partake in this- is more a sense of rebellion in the pushing of boundaries, and fun in the sense of being “naughty”. But I agree with you more than anything- everyone has their own sexuality.

      And to your point regarding Erin’s comment- I wholeheartedly agree. Just because she (you, Erin), may feel different, and not see your preferences reflected in those around you- doesn’t make your way of being any less valid. I for one, will never wear high heals, low cut blouses, and/or short skirts. My ex thought that made me less sexual. The only think that made me feel non-sexual was wearing crap like that; trying to live up to someone elses definition of “sexy” or even worse, their definition of your sexuality.

      • I agree with you, some women maybe just want to get fun with being naughty, some women really enjoy it sexual way. I used to never believe that women can enjoy visual sex ( porn ), until i met my ex gf, the first woman that admitted like to watch ( and masturbate ) to porn. After that i really don’t put men and women in different box of sexuality like men are visual and women are emotional. I just put every human different in sexuality. If my gf not visual, i will not force her to drool over my body, its just not her sexuality. If she doesn’t like oral and prefer penetration for example, i will not force her to like oral. I think It will make your sexual experience easier, if you think your partner as a human, not a specific gender with specific sexuality.

        • Quadruple A says:

          I think those beliefs also lead to antiporn views. We believe the men must be enjoying themselves because they are men but that the women can not because no women would enjoy that can of stuff.

          Also the idea that you can not be direct about sex or you must build up some kind of relationship or a promise of a relationship is based in many ways on the idea of a gender difference with regard to sexual pleasure.

    • John – Again, I didn’t say “all women who like seeing hot guys” are trying to take back their “power”. This isn’t anything close to what I actually said. I also would bet that your 12 year old sister is more a product of a very visual world where she grew up with the internet at her finger tips and easy access to pornography. It’s bound to change and shape your sexuality. I just don’t think that change is positive for either boys or girls men or women. i have been a part of this conversation for a long time and I’ve seen how the conversation has changed. how the way men talk about it has changed. And now, I see the way women are changing from it too. I fully believe that society in general is allowing their sexuality to be hijacked by pornography.

      My response about women objectifying men as a way to take back their “power” was a very possible one to another posters comments. Some women do infact try to take back their “power” by acting in aggressive ways that aren’t true to them.

      And no, I am not at all trying to make I seem like men are only all visual and women are only all emotional.

      But if you really believe , “Hey everyone is different”, Then there is really nothing more to talk about. If everyone is different then not any of us have much to really say right?

      And once again, I never said women were “lying” and “pretending”. Although I do think that women are letting their sexuality get hijacked by things like porn and media just like men have.

      • The Wet One says:

        Of course, there is this little thing called “culture” and it does have a powerful influence on its members. But I suppose that’s what we were talking about wasn’t it? We might not want to lose sight of that fact.

        We could try to live in a cultureless world (even one without a sex culture), but I don’t think that’s possible. Someone has to relate the story of our sexual culture. Stupidly we’ve left it up to the marketers. Well, we’re a market consumer society, so why is anyone surprised? This ain’t communism ya know!

        • wellokaythen says:

          And, cultures are not invincible forces. We are not completely programmed to reproduce our cultural norms over and over again. People reject parts of their heritage all the time, all over the world, in all kinds of situations. People play with cultural expectations, fuse them with things from other cultures, make fun of them, make hybrids out of them, etc. “It’s my culture” has become a very useful license. It lets people out of their responsibilities sometimes.

          If culture really did have absolute control over human behavior, then it’s really hard to explain why cultures ever change at all. If it cultural context was everything, then you would never, ever do anything your parents told you was wrong. How often does THAT happen?

  11. This article reminds me of a boyfriend I had when I was 20 or 21. I was young, quite conventionally attractive, and on top of that, his type, physically and mentally. The conversation went to sexiness and he said he didn’t find me sexy, but did find some Hollywood star sexy. Why? He had seen me eating some food that he found disgusting. I had farted around him. He saw me on days where’d I’d forgotten to shave. This is what he said. I was no longer sexy to him because I wasn’t a fantasy. The woman on that month’s cover of some magazine was sexy, but I wasn’t. Brutal honesty.

    At one point, he said that he would, even in a relationship, sleep with a certain star that he didn’t find terribly attractive so that he could say he did it and brag about it, which goes back to social reinforcement. I appreciate his honesty, but it still sucked. I checked out somewhat, emotionally and physically due to him saying things like that, although the relationship continued. How great is sex and love with someone who says you aren’t sexy and there’s nothing you can do about it? Go back in time and not eat stinky cheese? Not be a real woman? I’m not talking about real women who have curves or fat or whatever. Just that women have flaws. We’re insecure, we poop, we pms, cry, get angry, age, etc. We don’t spend all day at the gym, have a team of makeup artists following us, get airbrushed when we take a picture, can afford plastic surgery, nor are we always and every minute in the mood for enthusiastic sex in whatever way you like it.

    Yet, I’ve been with men who can separate every day life, fantasy, and awesome sex. But I’ve met men who get it. Who can watch me pee or barf, see me tired and without makeup, notice parts of me that aren’t toned or the right size, then STILL want to fuck me enthusiastically and call me ridiculously beautiful. It’s taken me a while to realize this, that not all men are the same, and I thank Noah for writing this.

    As for preferences. You’re allowed them, but I don’t think I’ll ever get it. I’ve been attracted to and in love with such a wide variety of men. And a wide variety of men have been attracted to me. Even ones who stereotypically shouldn’t be. When I’m in a happy relationship, I love a man for who he is. I appreciate, adore, and get turned on by all the little things about him. Can a man do this with a woman? If she has fat bits, try jiggling them. You might be surprised as to how much you like it. If she’s thin, pay attention to the lines of her body. You might be surprised and how beautiful they are. As Sarah said about her ex boyfriend, if you’re not attracted to a woman: DON’T DATE HER. If you’re going to make her feel bad about herself, you’re an ass. A woman feeling beautiful and desired is not only the biggest aphrodisiac, but drilled into women’s heads on a daily basis.

  12. The Wet One says:

    Good convo going on here.

    Remember, DEATH TO THE MEDIA!!!! They are our enemy and we must stand fast against them.

    Jeez, time to quote the Space Marines “On alert sisters, the enemy must be nearby!” Remember it. They are out there and out to get you.

    BTW Og, do you look at porn? Have you noticed how a lot more large women are showing up these days? Like a lot more? Depends which circles you surf in I suppose, but the large women seem to be much more in style. Good to see in my view.

  13. It’s a valid question, and one I should keep in mind more often about a in a lot of contexts (not just men’s sexuality).

    But in the context of the media- yes, I am quite sure that in most cases, they know exactly what buttons to press, what images to share, to make men “want her” and make women “want to be here”. And I think that has created very confusing expectations for men and women. I think it’s important to be aware of, and critical of these messages so we don’t lose touch with ourselves. I believe that’s part of what the author is getting at.

    Heck, just looking at the ads regularly featured on this page- “what is the best non-prescription eyelash enhancer”. The American Apparel “Body Bra”. Jennifer Aniston’s “Smart Water”. Very targeted messages.

    You know- I also think your articulation of “inside-out” and “outside-in” is important in the context of this article- how much of “men’s sexuality” (no, I don’t believe there is a monolith of “men’s sexuality”, but it seems a lot of people here, and generally, do) is something created and defined by individual men, versus a standard set of wants/needs/desires that have been imposed by outside forces?

    You’re right though, I think a lot of people reinforce the media’s messaging without even realizing it. And without realizing the harm it could be doing to themselves and others.

    • wellokaythen says:

      JP,

      Sounds like we agree quite a bit.

      Just thinking of my own life, I interact on a regular basis with some people who say things that are pretty obnoxious, and I am tempted to take their statements as messages to me, as personally targeted to my feelings, when in reality they aren’t really talking to me at all. What they’re really doing is a dialogue with their own weird internal garbage, disguised as a conversation with me. I realized this when I discovered it didn’t really matter what I said in the conversation, they kept on with their side independently of me.

      I see a lot of the advertising around me the same way – “that ad isn’t clearly isn’t talking to me. That’s someone else’s neurosis talking.”

  14. @Jp and Erin: I dated a woman who, by societies standards, would be considered fat.Loved her to death. Thought she was sexy( Of course I told her so) and she was so hot in bed, I nearly lost my mind.Me, I”m a fitness buff and at the time I dated her, I never looked better.I never put pressure on her to fit any ideal. I lost a little weight, I am naturally slight of build,and I never heard the end of it. When I told her that I am extremely sensitive to her issues around her weight, she hated mirrors etc, etc and would never make uncomplimentary comments about her weight, she didn’t get it?!So of course she continued to make insensitive remarks about my physique, while bitching and moaning about how society pressures her to, blah, blah, friggin BLAH. In my view, the empathic comments and points of view you suggests men should have only encourages women to behave in the selfish ass manner that I and other men experience from them.I left her because I wasn’t going to go to therapy where I, as a male, was going to be expected to be responsible for how she decided to in internalize societies BS.It;s funny how in therapy,a woman’s insecurities are made out to be the man’s fault.All women in society don’t succumb to these messages about body type and it is time that women who do stop acting as if it is everyone’s problem.I also left her because if she was too caught up in her bs to realize she had a hot, intelligent, sexy, caring, sensitive guy who loved the way she looked, there was nothing I could do for her.In my view, women who succumb to this BS, are upset because they feel they can’t compete with other women. They are upset because they are not getting the same approving looks and other perks and ego boosting as other women get. All of which they are only too eager to blame on whatever male they happen to be with at the time.There is little or no reward for men who are peppered with these insecurities,there is only blame because he is considered part of the problem.If a woman feels that poorly about her looks then she can do what any woman would tell the average man to do, man up and change it.

    • I think it’s awesome how awesome you thought her body was, and that you communicated this to her through words and actions. I think it’s extremely sad that she could not accept herself. I think the fact that so many women feel this way signifies a larger problem than just individual women being emotionally dysfunctional. We can let it continue, or we can attempt to address it.

      One great way it could be addressed is if more men could share stories like you did in your first three sentences above. A more diverse set of stories, and more positive messages, to draw from in this country, I think, would benefit men as well as women.

      Wow this is the first time I got caught up in a blog thread. It’s pretty addictive.

      • The Wet One says:

        And this (i.e. Og’s former GF) is the result of giving in to the message of the media. I’ve had that GF too Og. Shame to see her go, but you just can’t live with that nonsense for the rest of your life.

        Note to JP and Erin, any woman can be that women. It doesn’t matter how hot she is, but if she has that hangup, I for my part (and Og too I’m sure) will leave that woman. It’s just not worth the massive effort and pain that is involved to stay with that woman. She’ll hate you and you’ll end up hating her. Just admit that you can’t change her, be glad you got to know her and see her bright spots, and move the heck along. Life is too short.

        • Not all women blame men for this. For example, even though I’d be considered conventionally attractive, I blame myself for not being good enough. When I compare myself to other women, I don’t feel anger towards men or my man, I just feel like a failure and that it’s all on me. The only time I ever got resentful was when a boyfriend actively tried to make me feel ugly. For the rest of it, I entirely put the burden on myself for not being good enough.

  15. @Erin: My daughter, who seems to be married to a thoughtful, hardworking young-man, recently posted on her Facebook page this comment while standing next to wax figure of the Rock, a handsome ultra macho movie star, “A girl can dream can”t she.” Her husband because of his body type will never look like Rock and isn’t the showy macho type at all.This generated all kinds of supportive comments from her friends, women, who made it out to be as if my daughter was striking kind blow for women’s sexual independence. Thirty years ago, a female cousin had a bachlorette party that included a male stripper who, according to women who were there, kissed and fondled my cousin.This kind of behavior is absolutely acceptable normalized behavior that women engage in and if the man doesn’t like it he is branded insecure and stifling. Personally, I don’t care.However,it is oh soooo tiring to constantly hear women speak as if they don’t indulge in rank and flle sexual objectification of male bodies and of males as objects of status.

    • I’ve never been to a bachelorette party that included male strippers. In my group of friends, it would be considered gross and tacky. I don’t think this is universally accepted. Maybe more common with younger women though.

      • Ogwriter, it’s not that I don’t think women can’t sexually objectify men. I do. I actually think this is an increasing issue among women who are also affected by over media exposure. But I don’t think that we’ve reached the point where men are nearly as objectified for their body as women are. Does that mean that objectification of men is less important? Not at all.

        I don’t really understand why your daughter would even say anything like that about a wax figure of The Rock or post it for all to see. I don’t even understand why your daughter would say that about the real Rock. I am personally not overly swayed by looks myself as i’ve had intense chemistry with all different kinds of guys. Perhaps some women feel like making such comments about men give them their power back in a world where they often feel like some of their power is being taken away because of the quality or lack of quality of their body.

        There is a big of a backlash with women right now that are trying to take control of their sexuality. Unfortunetly, I think women are taking a much more stereotypical masculine approach to their own sexuality and it’s eventually going to snuff out some important things about what women uniquely bring to the picture within their feminity. In a lot of sexual media, all the softeness and genuniness that can be a big part of the femininity is denied in favor of a harsh more edgy sexual display that is overt and a performance. I think the next decade is going to be a difficult one for women who are going to be caught in al kinds of ideas that impowerment equals sexual overtness and sensationalism over who they may really want to be in a more quietly female way. I look at all the popular pop culture music right now and alot of those ladies seem to enjoy using S&M themes to dress or dance too. Female sexuality is now a performance met to titilate in an overt, edgy harsh display of sexuality. And I think that a lot of women are loosing their own softness because of that.

        I am sorry you are tired about hearing women speak about sexual objectification. It wasn’t my intention to bore you with it or frustrate you with my comments. For me, I am having a difficult time with the disconnection of everything I am as a woman and my regular, less exciting ways compared to the way female sexuality is often protrayed and favorably encouraged by men and women alike. My point in talking about is to be rawly honest about my experiences as woman in hopes that maybe guys might want to understand me (and some women) a bit better? Not to make you tired of hearing the discussion. I just want to be able for men and women to have healthier relationships. I want to be able to have heatlhier relationships.

        • Erin, I am so incredibly with you. I think what you are saying in your last post illustrates the importance of the request this article is making. For men to consider their true thoughts and feelings – and attempt to decipher their authentic selves from larger cultural messages that have been inundating them from birth. Let me tell you- the better the men I am/will be involved with are to their own, actual, sexuality- the more open I will be to expressing mine. It could be really amazing. I have seen glimpses of it in some men I have been involved with, but it hasn’t quite stuck for them yet.

          But status quo- the messages I receive from the media and most of the men in my life make me feel like shit on a daily basis.

          And to the point of women beginning to objectify men- yes it is happening more, and Erin, you describe it perfectly- women trying to “take the power back” in a way that is ultimately destructive! Just like how many revolutions that were fought and won, to ultimately end in even worser fascism than the previous. Or less dramatically- “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” I checked out Suicide Boys- the “type” of boys I would normally be attracted to- the pictures are so phony! Give me someone real, with all of their truly beautiful “flaws”.

          • wellokaythen says:

            I don’t mean this to sound snarky, but are the messages you are receiving the same as the messages that they are sending? How much of our reactions to other people is actually inside-out and not outside-in? At some level in some way the audience is making themselves feel bad. Years ago I stopped assuming that my reaction to a message is the only meaning of the message.

          • The Wet One says:

            I really want to say to both J.P. and Erin, “Remember, everytime you hear the media think “FUCK THE MEDIA!”” They are liars, manipulators and your enemy. Their message is a lie and not representative of the truth.

            That’s a bit overstating the point, but given how it affects you both, I think you both be more at ease in the world if you took that position. The media isn’t going to change because of the effectiveness of their messaging at control people. Realize that they are trying to control you and resist. Cancel the cable, throw out the T.V., get ad blockers galore for your web browser and learn as much as you can about every trick they have to use against you. They will (and do) manipulate your feelings, your fears, your very nature as women (I’m sure they are aware of how best to control women through messaging. After all, the slightest criticism will do) and use against you.

            I note that the same is done with men, but men seem less aware of it or care less about the manipulation of them by the media. For my part, I stopped listening and came to the conclusion that I’m going to live my life my way and to hell with what anyone else (who isn’t actually a friend, family or employer) thinks. It has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders and has allowed me a freedom of action that I didn’t have before making that decision.

            Remember what Morpheus said in the Matrix “Free your mind!” It’s so true. Please, please, please ladies, free your minds of the corrosive overbearing oppressive monster that is the media in women’s lives. Just don’t give it that power and defy it to your last breath.

            • P.S. Mr. Wet One, this is great. Even though I know it already, and spread the same message to those around me on a daily basis, I love the framing and language you use in your post. The urgency and compassion. Going to print it and revisit for sure.

              • JP, I love how you worded that and said, “For men to consider their true thoughts and feelings – and attempt to decipher their authentic selves from larger cultural messages that have been inundating them from birth. Let me tell you- the better the men I am/will be involved with are to their own, actual, sexuality- the more open I will be to expressing mine.”

                When I am able to feel truly open with my guy, truly safe and appreciated and valued, I can be extremely free, open and giving toward him both in and out of the bedroom. But a lot of women are so inundated with rules on who they are suppose to be that they either spend their time trying to mimic cultural messages about who they should be or they close up and don’t let anyone in. Both are ways women let themselves be controlled unfortunately. And I really see women, especially young women, going down some destructive paths. Sadly, they won’t even know they are because they never had a chance to experience their femininity free of cultural messages. They see idolized versions of Lady Gaga and Brittany Spears and they have internet access to porn just as young boys do now and they adopt this harshness to them. this edge. And while sexually that may be very exciting to men, unfortunately, this harshness spreads throughout their life to other areas, not just sex. There have been stories about the amount of younger girls getting into physical fights today like no other generation.

                Wellokaythen, I get what your saying and I have had to learn that too myself. That sometimes I assumed things that weren’t true. And that’s certainly part of the equation too. But we all largely agree that are negative messages in the media out there.

                The Wet One, I am certainly trying. 🙂 Thank you for the advice. As I get older I am getting better at it. But I still worry about it, how it affects me and how it affects women of all ages. I hear the things my Mom says and the way society has discounted older women and I know she feels it. But then I hear the things young girls say and I know they feel the same things she does even if it’s for different reasons. Part of the way I deal with it is talking about it and exploring it and trying to be as honest as possible about the conversation.

                • “They see idolized versions of Lady Gaga and Brittany Spears and they have internet access to porn just as young boys do now and they adopt this harshness to them. this edge. And while sexually that may be very exciting to men, unfortunately, this harshness spreads throughout their life to other areas, not just sex.”
                  “Sadly, they won’t even know they are because they never had a chance to experience their femininity free of cultural messages”

                  So women who watch porn is not feminime? And they watch porn just because of cultural message? My gf said to me, she watch porn just because of simple reason. She find it arousing. She doesnt feel pressured at all by cultural message of how women should be like you said. Not at all. And she still find herself, and i find herself, very feminime and girly. And actually i dont care if she watch porn or not, i still find her sexuality exciting. And no, she doesnt watch porn just to make her look exciting to me, her bf. She watch porn for herself.

                  Like i said before, just because you find your sexuality is different from other women, doesnt mean other women are lying and pretending, or they became “feak” women because of wrong cultural message made by men. Every women is different, like every men is different.

                  • I never once said women that watched porn weren’t feminine. Infact, I never said anything specific about women who watched porn. I said that I see something within women in general in our culture that have adopted a harshness.

                    Of course you don’t care if your partner watches porn. It is more in alligne with how men are stereotypically turned on. Most porn is made for men anyway. Not for women. There isn’ much room for women’s thoughts and minds in porn. It’s all about women’s bodies being the object.

                    I also never claimed that my sexuality was the same as other women’s. I didn’t say other women were “lying” or “pretending” either.

                    • The Wet One says:

                      If women started putting their money where their vagina are (if you’ll pardon that whatever the heck you call it) the same way they do with books (I’ll bet the majority of the purchasers of 50 shades of grey are women) porn and voices therein would change (wait a sec, isn’t 50 Shades of Grey porn? And for women? Hmmmm….).

                      But this is the real world, not a perfect one, so…

                      It would also help if women stopped supporting Lady Gaga, Madonna, the Spice Girls and so on, but again, this is the real world and the media has its power. ‘Ware the media and its wares. That way lies slavery and defeat (to borrow a phrase of the ancient Greeks).

                    • I actually think Lady Gaga sends a very positive, powerful message to women. She expresses her OWN sexuality. She doesn’t pander to men. A lot of people think that expressing one’s sexuality is being sexy and acting sexual in a way to appeal to men (wearing the right clothes, giving the right looks, moaning the right way, doing what you can to look conventionally beautiful). Lady Gaga doesn’t do this. She knows that a lot of what she does and wears and says isn’t ‘sexy’ conventionally, but it’s her brand of sexual expression. I love that. The same goes for Nicki Minaj and Rihanna. They get torn apart by a lot of men who get pissed that that these girls are trying to act sexual while not pandering to *men’s* sexuality. It speaks volumes that they’re successful. It’s a step in the right direction.

                    • lol i dont like lady gaga, rihanna, and nicki minaj not vecause they have their “own brand” sexuality like you said, actually i dont care for their sexuality. I dont like them because i think their music are shit.

                    • The Wet One, I absolutely won’t argue that there are things women need to shape up on! But why does that make you unable to specifically address the things men need to shape up on?

                      Aya, I like Lady Gaga too actually but I think some of her S&M sexuality stuff is over the top and since a lot of her stuff appeals to young teens, it’s a really sketchy line. She has some pluses and minuses to her all in all.

                    • It’s one thing to not like the music, but there’s so much vitriol against these three artists that goes far beyond that. How you wouldn’t bang Gaga (I heard this on public radio), how Nicki Minaj is an ugly b*tch, how Rihanna is a crazy sl*t, etc. You can just say, “hey, their music sucks, yo.” Personally, I enjoy much of them (both for the music and the messages), but I do have a very wide range of tastes when it comes to music. In the pop genre, I find them to be better and more creative than most of the artists out there.

                    • That happens to women no matter what industry they are in. Alot of comments about Hillary Clinton’s looks have been made, Sarah Palin and her daughter…sometimes it seems like the only way men see us is to see if we are “bangable” or not.

  16. Wow, thanks for saying this JP. This is exactly how I see it too. When I hear men collectively say things like, “yes she is hot but I am with you because of x,y and z”, it doesn’t really make me feel that good. I often get the impression men are settling for the women they are with look-wise and seeking out the kind of women they really wished they had, at least physically, through other mediums. I also get the impression that a lot of guys believe this should be enough to make a woman happy that she is what was physically settled for. That she isn’t really allowed to want to feel beautiful to her partner because he really likes other women that hold qualities physically that she will never have.

    The system is so broken. There is a lot of shame on both sides and it’s not always dealt with in a healthy way. I would like men to be honest but I would also like men to except when women respond with their own honesty. If a man talks about how looking at other women is like thinking about winning the lottery, it’s “just” a fantasy, it makes me think that real women are really dog poo and fantasy women are really where it’s at for men .

    WellOkaythen, “honesty” is a funny thing. I think women do want honesty. But sometimes the honest way men think and feel about us and our bodies hurts. Should we pretend that it doesn’t hurt us so that men have a safe place to express what they feel about our bodies at any given time? I am not really sure what the answer is. Avoid asking the question at all because ignorance is bliss? Sometimes men talk about how they don’t express themselves honestly because of negative thoughts or emotions from other women or their partners. And to me, that’s kind of like saying that men do want the room to express what they honesty think and feel but they don’t want to have to deal with honest responses and feelings being exchanged back to them.

    • wellokaythen says:

      It is an awkward position to be in, when telling the truth hurts someone’s feelings, or when someone wants you to be truthful and sensitive at the same time, which is sometimes easier said than done. Thinking about the best response may take a moment, and that hesitation sounds like an answer all by itself!

      One way forward is for people to be more mindful of what they are really seeking and to ask for it more directly. If I’m asking a question because I’m seeking reassurance, then I should say that I’m feeling like I need some reassurance. “I really like it when you tell me ___.” Own your feelings, and make a request into an actual request. That goes for both men and women.

      What took some courage was for me to learn how to ask, respectfully, where a question is coming from if it seems like a thorny question. If it seems like an awkward question or I feel like it’s some sort of trap, then I talk about how I feel about that situation. Don’t ask your partner to decode your signals, and if you think you are being asked to decode them, say so.

      And, if I don’t enjoy hearing about my partner comparing me to others, then I should not ask her to compare me to others out loud.

      • I think one difference btw men and women is that women give each other emotional reassurance all the time and at some level it’s dishonest but on another level it’s not. When a woman asks “does my butt look fat” she’s asking if you find her attractive. She’s not literally asking how fat her butt is. Men rarely understand that this is a female communication style very different from male communication styles. Women dont understand the difference either. I’ve learned not to ask men questions if I don’t want a literal response, but it took me years to learn.

        • wellokaythen says:

          I find this difference very common in my experience as well.

          • wellokaythen says:

            I think this indirect communication style also comes with a dark side. I think women are much adept than men are at the “complinsult.” Women more than men can be viciously polite and can wield a compliment like a knife:

            “That’s a great dress. I would never have the courage to wear something like that.” Insult set up by a compliment. Thank you, and ouch.

            • It goes in line with women being a bit more subtle than men sometimes because women seem able to better perceive non-verbal cues more easily.

              I don’t know if I will truly feel “reassured” if I have to ask my partner to give me reassurance. I don’t know if that’s real reassurance or something he is just saying to make me feel better but isn’t really how he feels. Sometimes as a regular woman it can feel like you can never really win with men. Even no matter how hard you try .

              I don’t think anyone honesty wants to hurt someone if they are a healthy individual. But sometimes the things a man or woman really thinks can be hurtful to their partner. Does that mean that partner needs to not ask certain questions so that person doesn’t have to deal with their honest response in return? It brings me back to avoiding asking the tough questions because ignorance is really bliss. Sometimes I am left with the impression that men want the freedom to be honest about how they think about things but they don’t want to deal with the honest feelings and thoughts it can draw from a woman in return. I think it’s partly because men don’t know how to process emotions always as easily. I think it’s partly because men don’t want to hurt their partners. I also think it’s partly because our culture allows a lot of bad behavior for men when it comes to sexuality and a lot of male sexual behavior is overtly justified. And the combination of those factors can lay inbetween a couple.

              Often times women are dealing with so many cultural messages about their looks and bodies and how they need to be from both male and female centric-mediums that you want to be able to take refuge with the person that loves you. But sometimes you can’t even have that because even he will like the tight young 21’s year old body over you and will get angry at you for even asking about that kind of stuff. And if you feel sad about this, I think on some level men unfairly expect women to be emotionally incased in a sheet of armor so that they remain completely seperate from the things he may be supporting regarding ideals on women’s bodies. It’s a rare time and place where women get any kind of sincerity or reprieve from overly deluted messages about their femininity and womanlyness. Even when you go home at night, those those things still come into your home whether it’s the tv or internet. And so often we expect women not to show any vulnerablity in these areas because we are suppose to be super-women that are unaffected by cultural messages that even our husbands and boyfriends enjoy and are affected by in their own way through their enjoyment of it.

              • Nick, mostly says:

                All of this wondering if he’d rather be with someone else is borne out of insecurity that you need to own. Certainly he should provide you with reasonable reassurance, but he’s not your therapist. If you’re obsessing about not measuring up to others, you should work on that.

                There’s an attractive, single woman spending the night in my house tonight. Oddly enough, I can find her attractive and still prefer my partner to her. Indeed, because I have committed to my partner it would take extraordinary circumstances to make me want to break that commitment, and mere attractiveness (even if she were a Catrinel Menghia doppelgänger) is woefully insufficient to make me want to leave my partner.

                If you’re competing on “attractive” you will always lose. Always. There is always someone taller, thinner, prettier, with better complexion, more shapely curves, perkier breasts, a firmer butt, better hair, and on and on. It is a losing proposition to compare yourself to others, and a sign of madness to expect that our partners won’t notice and be attracted to beautiful people.

                Is your partner treating you with kindness or cruelty? Are they bedding you on the regular? If your partner says they want to be with you, take ‘yes’ for an answer. I can guarantee that if you’re constantly stressing over whether or not he’ll leave you for someone prettier, he will leave you but not necessarily for that reason.

                • wellokaythen says:

                  A man asking his partner these kinds of insecure questions would quite often be defined as jealous and manipulative, and she would be better off without him, because he has some growing up to do……

                • Now a bit of direct honest from one female. Given the choice–I’d rather be treated cruelly, even violently, and have my partner find me pretty and physically attractive than be treated with kindness and have him find me ugly. Being ‘settled for’ is my #1 fear when it comes to relationships. Above all else. I think a lot of women feel like that, maybe not to the extreme of violence, but regardless. Why is 50 Shades so popular? It’s not that there are millions and millions of women who want to be tied up and shit. It’s the pure desire he has for her. It’s intoxicating.

                • I think the issue about insecurities is a complex one. I don’t think it’s fair to simply say, “that’s just your insecurity talking”….or variations of that.

                  I certainly have insecurities. I am sure you also have some insecurities. All human beings have some amount of insecurity. Usually the things that men are insecure or sensitive about are different from the things women can be insecure or sensitive about. I think this is a hard thing for men to understand.

                  Which is why often in the discussion with men about certain subjects, women are advised to approach the topic gently. To be understanding toward him and his needs and the way certain words, phrases and tones can cause a man to feel disrespected or devalued. In such situations, it would be very dismissive to tell a man that he was just “insecure” if he had certain feelings or reactions to something his partner may be doing that cause him to feel devalued. She may not view it as her devaluing him but if he feels that it is, that’s really what matters at that point and time and she needs to make concessions to work with that. Of course pandering to someone’s insecurities and treating them with kid gloves can go to extremes. But that’s not really what we are talking about here. We aren’t talking about extreme unreasonable comments or demands.

                  Does the fact that I have insecurities diminish my perspective or mean I’m not an intelligent person capable of making good points on this topic? I certainly don’t think so. Does the fact that my entire lifetime will always mean I am a work in progress mean make my opinion less valid somehow?

                  I realize that there are things I need to work on my personal life. I am honest enough to admit I have insecurities. But my insecurities don’t cloud my judgement so much that what I am saying is irrational. My insecurities don’t mean that what I say on this subject doesn’t have merit.

                  I have no doubt that if a lot of men where in your situation tonight that them, like you, wouldn’t be leaving their partners for said attractive woman. But just because you aren’t leaving your partner for another woman doesn’t mean the way men interact with their sexuality in regards to their women vs other women doesn’t affect their partners or somehow shouldn’t affect their partners simply because he sticks around.

                  I also agree that there will always be someone more attractive. I just don’t see how that fits in with what I’m saying. It might be a loosing proposition to compare yourself to others but it’s also a very rational human thing to do. Just as men getting excited over watching other women have sex. Women are going to compare themselves to other women. You aren’t going to beat that out of women or rationalize away insecurities you may not understand as a man.

                  I think it’s really unfair for us to be pro-sexual material and not expect women to look at the same sexual material and wonder how they fit into their man’s lives considering this information he may be giving her through his interest. I think it’s unfair to justify reasons why men are attracted to any number of things they are attracted to and expect women to make concessions on his lust for others while also being above these images herself and not having her own response to them or comparison. Women want to learn about men. We are very curious about men in general. We will go to mediums that give us insight into what men want or desire. Sometimes in these mediums the things men may like can weight a woman down.

                  I an ideal world she wouldn’t let those images affect her. In an ideal world neither would he. But he responds to them just as emotionally as she does even if their responses are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

                  I also don’t think that just because your partner treats you kindly and beds you regularly means that issues revolving around how men interact with their sexuality should be dismissed.

                  • Nick, mostly says:

                    Repeat after me:
                    “Just because someone disagrees with me doesn’t mean they think I’m not intelligent or shouldn’t be part of the discussion.”

                    Although… if you were trying to convince me that you’re insecure about your intelligence you’ve done a pretty good job.

                    Speaking personally – and I can only speak for myself really – insecurity is the second biggest turnoff for me, following closely behind vapidity. My ideal woman is strong, intelligent, and confident. (You might notice how “conventionally attractive” doesn’t appear on my short list). A little insecurity is okay; as you say, we all have some insecurity. But the type of insecurity described, the type where you’re always questioning whether he wants to be with you, whether he finds you attractive, whether he’d run off with the hot 22 year old if she’d have him, the type of insecurity that doesn’t respond to reassuring words? Not the least bit sexy, and probably indicative of a need to do some work on yourself, perhaps with the aid of a therapist.

                    I an ideal world she wouldn’t let those images affect her. In an ideal world neither would he. But he responds to them just as emotionally as she does even if their responses are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

                    We can’t control our emotions, but we can control how we process them. If you haven’t learned how yet, perhaps that’s something a therapist or life coach could help you with.

                    I also don’t think that just because your partner treats you kindly and beds you regularly means that issues revolving around how men interact with their sexuality should be dismissed.

                    Go back and re-read what I wrote, in context, and particularly the sentences after. You appear to have missed my point entirely (and my point was not to provide an exhaustive enumeration of all the ways to know he really likes you or to say if he shags you often enough he gets a free pass on being an asshole).

                    • Nick, I think your repeated telling of Erin that she needs to see a therapist is an easy way out of challenging the larger problems that lead so many women to feel the way Erin (and I) describe. Even a lot (no, not all) of those strong self confident women that you describe your attraction to, struggle with the same issues. Many have learned to deal with them, and process their emotions in a way that hide them from you, or make them less ‘offensive’ to others. And as you say, many women don’t struggle with these issues, or find a relationship in which their insecurities are not triggered, or communication is just that great.

                      So how do you think men can read and respond to the call to action in the article above- to make diverse stories heard more broadly, and transform the larger story line available (available to men and everyone else) about men’s sexuality? I can tell you, a lot of what I’ve read here has opened my mind. But not everyone is reading the comments section of TGMP.

                      And yes, I am super insecure. And considering seeing a therapist. But I think if I had received some more diverse, positive messages when I was growing up, I perhaps would have had the confidence to not feel so insecure, or would have had the tools to recognize, process, and work through them before they affected me so deeply.

                    • Nick, mostly says:

                      I wasn’t suggesting Erin specifically go see a therapist (unfortunately English doesn’t have a neutral pronoun to make that meaning clear), but rather trying to illustrate the difference between what I would suggest is a “normal” amount of insecurity and when that insecurity has become clinical. By that I mean if your insecurity is getting in the way of you forming and maintaining relationships, because you’re always comparing yourself to hypothetically hotter, younger women, that’s not healthy. If your partner is telling you and showing you that they want to be with you, and you can’t accept that because of your insecurity, you’re not in good, working order.

                      Blame the culture all you like, but you only have the power to change yourself, and the first step is recognizing when you need help developing coping skills and countering the negative soundtrack in your head rather than letting it run rampant through your thoughts. This is no different than suggesting someone who can’t control their anger or depression or fear seek help. When it starts to interfere with your life it’s time to seek help, and that’s true whether the source of the negative emotions is the culture or of your own making.

                      As for the larger call to action, I don’t know how to change the culture. But perhaps if more of us started ignoring it, its power and effects on us would be diminished.

                    • Nick, your very first comment to me in response to my last post was about how my opinion was simply “borne out of insecurity that you need to own.” I’ve had a lot of experience with talking about this subject and largely men coming back at me to wrap up the conversation in an over simplified version of, “you are just insecure.”

                      The insinuation is that my insecurity may be clouding my ability to intelligently look at an issue. Which is why I made the comment about my level of intelligence and my insecurity being able to co-exist and that my insecurities don’t affect my ability to rationalize an intelligent point on this subject. I am trying to express the point of view that just because I may have certain insecurities, that the points I bring up in regard to this topic, aren’t just a sum of my insecurities. That I am able to intelligently separate the two and deliver a healthy response that is worth considering beyond writing off my viewpoint as a matter of insecurity.

                      I get the impression that you mildly insulted me with your comment: “Although… if you were trying to convince me that you’re insecure about your intelligence you’ve done a pretty good job.”

                      I don’t really understand the point in making this comment. We both know I am not trying to convince you that I am insecure of my intelligence. And I feel like you took this opportunity to twist the point I was honestly trying to get across to suggest more of what you believe to be are my insecure ways.

                      From my perspective you have decided to focus on the wrong part of my comments. You took the one little part where I talked about how my insecurities don’t mean I am not able to intelligently discuss this subject and focused on artfully highlighting and even seemingly putting me down for it instead of looking at the larger context of everything else I discussed at a greater length.

                      Further, you responded by telling JP that you weren’t specifically suggesting I go see a therapist but considering the fact that my post was a honest heartfelt account of my perspective, to which you personally responded to and suggested several times in it as a response to me that a therapist could help me, I am extremely baffled at at how you tell me several times that a therapist may help me yet deny to JP you ever suggested such a thing.

                      Telling a woman, any woman, that they simply need to see a therapist because you personally believe their thoughts are unwarranted isn’t right. You are not not a licensed therapist yourself right? What gives you the right to suggest to others what they may need to see a therapist for? I get the impression that you believe your thoughts on this subject are 100% healthy and correct but because I presented a different way to look at it, I automatically may need to see a professional because you have self defined me a certain way.

                      I agree that we can’t always control our emotions but we can control how we process them. This doesn’t mean we don’t still feel them or talk about them but we can control our behavior toward them. Just because I get upset with my boyfriend when he looks at porn doesn’t mean I have the right to scream my head off at him and cry and through a tantrum even if that’s how upset I am. It does mean that I deserve and am allowed to feel the way I do about it and talk to how it’s making me feel with him. If I was screaming and having a tantrum then maybe I would need a therapist. But I don’t do that. And I don’t believe the way you view the topic is a more healthy way to view it then the way I do.

                    • Nick, mostly says:

                      Erin, I’ve disagreed with you several times on several threads and not once have I said you’re not intelligent. However on several occasions in your replies you defend yourself by saying just because [insert your belief here] that doesn’t mean you’re “not intelligent,” or that you haven’t “made good points,” or that you shouldn’t be allowed to “contribute to the discussion.” You’ve also accused me of looking down on you, of thinking I’m smarter than you.

                      Why?

                      From my perspective, I disagree with your opinion, I present my own, and I put forth arguments for why I think my opinion is a more accurate interpretation. That’s the nature of argumentation, is it not? When you disagree with me, I don’t interpret that as you saying I’m not intelligent. Why is it you make that leap when I disagree with you? It would be one thing if someone attacked your intelligence, but when no one has, why bring it up? From here it looks like insecurity. I could be wrong, but my imagination fails to come up with another reason why you have repeatedly brought up your intelligence when others simply disagree with you.

                      But let’s go back and actually read what I wrote.
                      All of this wondering if he’d rather be with someone else is borne out of insecurity that you need to own.
                      By this I mean unless he is telling you he’d rather be with someone else, unless his behavior demonstrates he doesn’t want to be with you, your questioning whether he wants to be with you is not about him (and by “you” and “your” I mean it in the generic sense – I don’t even know if you have a partner at the moment).

                      My clarification to JP is because I felt that what I intended to say wasn’t communicated in a way that was understood. I’m not saying all insecurity or expression thereof is bad. What I am saying is that if the insecurity is getting in the way of you forming or maintaining relationships then that’s something probably best worked out with a therapist. That is generally the threshold therapists use for determining when something is a problem.

                      Furthermore, I am arguing, in the context of this thread, that his sexual fantasies are not necessarily a comment about you. For support of this idea I offer the example of women who have rape fantasies. We don’t presume those women actually want their partner to be a violent rapist; we readily say, “that’s just fantasy, she doesn’t really want to be raped.” I am saying we should extend the same courtesy to men about their sexuality. If a man likes watching “Naughty Babysitters 12” we shouldn’t assume he wants an actual 18 year old as a partner. Especially if he tells you it’s just fantasy and he doesn’t have a history of hitting on 18 year olds (at least not since his early twenties). If your reaction to him expressing his fantasy is to make it about you, to obsess about how what he really wants is a hot 18 year old, then what incentive have you given him to be honest about his sexuality?

                    • Because in our conversations you don’t give enough press time to my actual talking points without insinuating that I have some kind of handicap, in this case, such as my insecurity, clouding my judgement.

                      Often in this discussion, a lot of men in general will chalk up a woman’s concerns about this issue to just being about insecurity and I think that implies that a woman can’t make a rational comment in regards to this topic without her having to be insecure. So I highlight my ability to yes, have insecurities (that turn you off like sludge and hair clogged in a drain) but despite those insecurities, I am still able to hold an intelligent opinions on this topic.

                      Variations of, “you’re just insecure” don’t address any of the points I’ve made. They also are accusatory comments. Neither does it add to the real conversation I personally prefer we have over the “you’re just insecure” one. Suggestions about me visiting a therapist, made several times, are condescending. They insinuate something is wrong with me because of the viewpoint I’ve brought to the discussion. It also suggests that you believe yourself qualified to advise others on getting professional help. Which also suggests that you do believe your viewpoint is infact from a much healthier place since you apparently don’t need a therapist but others do, per your suggestion based on those who have offered a different viewpoint from yours. So no, this isn’t just about you making an argument. You make it personal.

                      You said: “By this I mean unless he is telling you he’d rather be with someone else, unless his behavior demonstrates he doesn’t want to be with you, your questioning whether he wants to be with you is not about him (and by “you” and “your” I mean it in the generic sense – I don’t even know if you have a partner at the moment).”

                      If you are looking for a way to avoid the usage of “you” and thus avoid confusion, just as you used *he* in your instance, you could also try using “her” or “him” where it applies instead of “you”.

                      Further, the issue goes beyond questioning whether a partner wants to be with someone. It’s also a matter of what makes you feel respected or disrespected in a relationship. It’s a matter of what makes you feel close or not close. It can be matter of a lot of other things then “does he want to be with me/does he want to leave me”. Relationships are much more interesting and complicated then a black and white version of will they leave me/will they stay with me.

                      I personally think that a lot of women simply feel a bit disrespected and under-appreciated when their men are actively pursuing all these other women visually to self pleasure themselves too. I think for some women, it can create a space for her between her and her partner where she feels less close to him, less connected and less desiring of being giving and vulnerable with him. Certainly not for all women but certainly for some. Now as a man you may say she is just being insecure. However, that is completely presumptuous. There are certain things that invoke certain emotions in men. And there are other things that can invoke certain emotions in women. Usually when men express insecurity in an area, women are advised to broach it with sensitivity and understanding so that she is able to better relate to him. All I ask is men give the same curtsey in response. And not be eager to demean a woman by just saying it’s an insecurity which makes her feelings and opinion on the subject void.

                      You elaborated on your thoughts about insecurity. Who said anything about insecurity getting in the way of forming and maintaining relationships? This really seems out there from what we were discussing. At least in response to what I was saying.

                      Who also gets to determine how someone else should feel about something else and self labeling them as simply being just insecure? I see this SO much with men. A woman articulates a way she sees something or feels about something. A man is quick to tell her she is just being insecure or crazy or any number of things she apparently is that a man justifies discounting. She feels further invalidated and he feels annoyed because he thinks something is wrong with her. Who gets to label who and tell another person that their feelings aren’t right ?

                      If a man wants “Naught Babysitters 12” I will assume that on some level, he does want it. He doesn’t have to be leaving me for the babysitter for the content of what he is interested in viewing telling me something important about him and where his head is at at least somewhat. Who cares if he doesn’t have a history of hitting on 18 year olds. I don’t even want to be with a guy that thinks about hitting on 18 year olds. I don’t think that’s asking for much.

                      You said: “If your reaction to him expressing his fantasy is to make it about you, to obsess about how what he really wants is a hot 18 year old, then what incentive have you given him to be honest about his sexuality?”

                      And if his response is to get annoyed with me or put down my natural responses and feelings toward whatever fantasy he is interested in, what incentive does that give me to want to be open and vulnerable and giving toward him?

                      It works both ways. When are we going to stop demanding women just accept and not experience their own feelings in regards to what men are saying about how they view women? When we are going to start asking men to consider the things they are saying through the things they are fantasizing about and be responsible for the messages they send?

                      Maybe it would make a guy shut down to be judgmental about his “fantasies’. If that’s what you even want it call it because I don’t think being bothered or concerned about what a guy is fantasizing about is necessarily judgmental or insecure. But it also can make a woman shut down and turn away from him based on the things he is fantasizing about. Why is that so wrong? Why can’t a woman feel less close or connected to her partner based on the things he is using to pleasure himself with? Somehow a lot of guys seem to believe that a man is warranted to shut down because of women’s behavior but women aren’t allowed to do the same about his. We are suppose to wear these sheets of armor where we remain untouched by the messages men give us about women and about their sexuality while men indulge in them. It’s not suppose to bother us that he is masturbating to doing the babysitter and we are suppose to perfectly understand that it’s not what he *really * wants..but he sure does thing the babysitter is hot! Oh but that’s right, as a woman you are suppose to be totally okay with this, have no feelings, not feel less connected to your partner and just accept that men want to do 18 year olds. But you are suppose to be this perfect woman that is totally not bothered by it. Yeah, that’s real fair. Whatever. So you can hold it over women’s heads that when women have certain emotions it makes a man close up and lie to her and what is she suppose to do? Stuff her feelings down ? Pretend everything is great even if she is hurting? Pretend it doesn’t hurt that he is even getting off to pretending about babysitters? Still be open and vulnerable with him even though he isn’t really even creating the space for that to happen?

                    • Nick, mostly says:

                      So I highlight my ability to yes, have insecurities (that turn you off like sludge and hair clogged in a drain) but despite those insecurities, I am still able to hold an intelligent opinions on this topic.

                      Ooh, I think drain sludge is kinda hot, but I’m more partial to the grease trap in a commercial kitchen than I am to the ordinary shower drain.

                      It’s not that I’m turned off by any hint of insecurity; if I were I’d be a very lonely person indeed. Rather I’m turned off by insecurity that becomes front and center to our interactions, where you have to worry about whether every comment might be interpreted as being about her. That type of insecurity is tiring, extremely tiring.

                      Imagine having a sex partner who repeatedly told you his penis was too small, that he knew you would prefer a guy with a larger penis, and you’re eventually going to dump him for a guy with a larger penis. Meanwhile you feel his penis size is just fine and you’ve told him so on multiple occasions.

                      How sexy would you find his repeated lamentations about the size of his penis? How turned on would it make you to feel the need to repeatedly reassure him that his penis is a good size?

                      You elaborated on your thoughts about insecurity. Who said anything about insecurity getting in the way of forming and maintaining relationships? This really seems out there from what we were discussing. At least in response to what I was saying.

                      I did.

                      I was clarifying when I think insecurity warrants seeking help to deal with your emotional well-being. If someone’s insecurity doesn’t reach that level, then I don’t think they necessarily need to seek help in dealing with it.

                      If a man wants “Naught Babysitters 12” I will assume that on some level, he does want it.

                      By your logic, should I then assume that if a woman has rape fantasies then on some level she wants her partner to be a rapist, or she wants to be raped?

                      I don’t even want to be with a guy that thinks about hitting on 18 year olds. I don’t think that’s asking for much.

                      It depends on what you mean. Do you mean you don’t want to be with a guy who wants to hit on 18 year olds but restrains himself, or that you don’t want to be with a guy who has ever had the thought of hitting on an 18 year old cross his mind?

                      I’m curious, do you believe everything you think and feel?

                      And if his response is to get annoyed with me or put down my natural responses and feelings toward whatever fantasy he is interested in, what incentive does that give me to want to be open and vulnerable and giving toward him?

                      Funny how rather than addressing the question, you appear to have turned a question about him into a question about you.

                      Maybe it would make a guy shut down to be judgmental about his “fantasies’. If that’s what you even want it call it because I don’t think being bothered or concerned about what a guy is fantasizing about is necessarily judgmental or insecure.

                      It’s judgmental when you judge him about it. For example, see what you’ve written above about “Naughty Babysitters 12.” It’s insecurity when you make it about you without any rational basis for doing so (e.g. he expresses no interest in babysitters or 18 year olds outside of the realm of the fantasy).

                      Why can’t a woman feel less close or connected to her partner based on the things he is using to pleasure himself with?

                      Go right ahead. And if he feels less close or connected to his partner based on the things she’s using to pleasure herself with, please remember the goose and the gander receive in equal measure.

                      I also want to add that there was an article On GMP about “Why She Isn’t Crazy”. This might be helpful for you t find on GMP and read yourself.

                      I’m pretty sure she’s crazy, the question is whether or not she’s above the line. Wait, who are we talking about? I missed where someone called someone else crazy and we changed the subject.

                    • The thing I wonder about Erin is…well, this topic of porn seems to cause you so much pain. Why read these pieces? Why get into argument after argument with people who have made it clear that they don’t share your opinions or beliefs no matter how you’ve framed them? I ask that not to suggest you should change your own beliefs but that because these conversations seem to cause you distress and an endless cycle of explanation, pain and then some kind of confirmation of your worst fears.
                      So, it seems that it would be more positive for you to find other things to discuss, other people to discuss them with etc. I”m not asking you to stop posting, only that I’ve been watching these arguments for many months now and I’m not sure how they’d be increasing joy or calm or peace in your life.
                      There are a number of threads on these boards that I don’t comment on for precisely that reason. In fact, I’ve moved away from moderating because it wasn’t doing things for me that increased my happiness. I found myself too personally involved.
                      So I’m wondering why the conversations keep happening for you. You know you don’t like porn, you know you don’t want your mate to view it, that conversation and negotiation is between you and him. Why worry about what anyone else here thinks?

                    • @Erin, like you, I have trouble completely understanding the appeal of porn and I find a lot of it to be really upsetting. It can definitely create a lotof insecurity and feelings of personal worthlessness about myself and anger at men — I’m 45, I’ve struggled with weight issues, I was never the “hot” girl, I’ve received a lotof negative messages frm other people and from society. I think a lot of times I read these articles and comment on them because I’m trying to process my own feelings. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it makes things worse, like Julie says. I think it helps to try to focus on the positive messages I’ve also received in life. I’m sure my boyfriend thinks 18 year olds are hotter than me, objectively speaking, but on the other hand, he still clealy enjoys having sex with me. To be honest, there are men I know who are hotter than my boyfriend, objectively speaking. Sometimes when I have sex with my bf, I’m fantasizing aout other things. The fact is, everyone has a lot of crazy stuff in their heads, and some of it’s stuff that shouldn’t be shared. I think I’ve commented on other articles that the prevalence of porn simply brings to light men’s inner fantasies which I think many woman would just prefer not to know about. What can we do about it? Not much.

                      If you take a Buddhist perspective, everyone has a monkey mind and the best response is compassion, for ourselves and others. Most of what we cling to is not that Important in the long run. Mewalnuts after 18 year olds — well, I’d like to have Bill Gates’ money, Einstein’s IQ and Scarlet Johannsen’s body, and date George Clooney. Ain’t gonna happen. My bf and I can still love being together during the short time we have in this life.

                      Yes I often feel bad because I’m 45 and my boobs are saggy and I compare myself to 22 year olds and feel crappy. But, well, in 10 years things will be even worse! In 20 years I’ll be 65 and my life as a sexually attractive woman will be long gone. Feeling bad is just going to interfere with my ability to enjoy the time I’ve got now. My boyfriend and I went out dancing this weekend and there was a couple probably in their 80’s dancing with each other. I hope that’s me and my boyfriend some day. At that point, who cares what you look like anymore, you are just glad to wake up in the morning.

                    • Nick, yes, I get why always having to deal with someone’s insecurity could be tiring and create distance. I can understand why someone wouldn’t always want to have to deal with that. That’s understandable and human.

                      But I also think there is a huge disconnection between a man enjoying material of 18 year old pornstar babysitters and expecting his partner to remain completely unaffected by what this bit of information is communicating for her. He’s not even completely unaffected by the material. Which is why he is turned on by it. Why is his reaction to be turned on by it okay but her reaction to be bothered by it not? It’s not about whether or not he is going to leave her. Not all situations in relationships boil down to “do they stay or go”. But he is still communicating something to her through that fantasy.

                      I personally think fantasy gives us an insight into someone’s mind. They might not want to actually do what they are seeing. Doesn’t mean that it doesn’t say something important though either. The human mind and what we fantasize about is infinitely complicated. Way too complicated to boil it down to just, “they might not really want to do it so it’s okay.” I mean really, can no man understand why it would be bothersome to see her partner getting off to 18 year old pornstars portrayed as his children’s caretaker? Never mind the amount of men in the real world that infact have slept with the babysitter. Throwing over the old ball and chain for the younger version. This commonplace sometimes.

                      You said: “By your logic, should I then assume that if a woman has rape fantasies then on some level she wants her partner to be a rapist, or she wants to be raped?”

                      I think on some level she wants it rough and dangerous and I think that says something about her from her deeper psychology. How many men would be comfortable with their partners having “barely legal” fantasies about school boys? Maybe men would be okay with this, I don’t know. Maybe it would be hard to figure out if men would be okay with this because men simply don’t have to deal with that on the large scale women are in world that doesn’t like women to age. But I do know that when you hear about yet another teacher having sex with a minor boy, that a lot of guys think that woman is scum.

                      You said: “It depends on what you mean. Do you mean you don’t want to be with a guy who wants to hit on 18 year olds but restrains himself, or that you don’t want to be with a guy who has ever had the thought of hitting on an 18 year old cross his mind?
                      I’m curious, do you believe everything you think and feel?”

                      I don’t want to be with the type of man that has to restrain himself from hitting on an 18 year old. While that’s great if a guy does, I want to be with the type of man that believe 18 year old girls are way beneath him and he is looking for something else.

                      Not sure what you mean by “do you believe everything you think and feel?”

                      You said: “Funny how rather than addressing the question, you appear to have turned a question about him into a question about you.”

                      Okay lets put it this way. I have not given him any “incentive” to be honest about his sexuality because of my honest and open response to something he may like. And he also hasn’t given me “incentive” to be open and honest and vulnerable with him if my honest feelings only cause him to lie about what he likes. So the result is we both feel like we have to hide our true selves from the other. But you only seem concerned about the part where he has to hide his true self, where he doesn’t have the freedom to express what he wants. You don’t stop to think about how that also works with her. Which was my main point. So you tell me what the solution is. If he likes 18 year olds and is masturbating to them is she suppose to pretend she is okay with this and feels good about it even if she doesn’t just so *he* primarily feels safe enough to express himself? Wouldn’t it be more fair for them to both be honest about what they are both feeling? Why is his honesty determined on her? Why is she responsible for him being honest or not? When is he responsible?

                      You said: “It’s judgmental when you judge him about it. For example, see what you’ve written above about “Naughty Babysitters 12.” It’s insecurity when you make it about you without any rational basis for doing so (e.g. he expresses no interest in babysitters or 18 year olds outside of the realm of the fantasy).”

                      I get it. His feelings are valid, her’s (mine) aren’t. Except for the fact that it’s an insecurity born out of a VERY rational basis. And even as you criticize me for being judgmental, you don’t see how judgmental your comment is too.

                      Do you know how in this conversation we often talk about men and what they are naturally biologically drawn to or programed for? How men are programed to like youth and variety and a host of other factors that set the tone that women are replaceable and only as valuable as her age and beauty. What do you think happens when a man is interested in looking at 18 year old babysitter porn? He is re-enforcing those messages about women and youth and looks on an intrinsically biological level. So no, it’s not irrational for women to react certain ways to what men are showing favor for.

                      Alot of women tend to be very protective of their mates. A man seeking out visuals of other women is sending a purely biological message to her and she is going to respond in kind. Just as men respond on a purely biological level to pornography. She is going to want to protect what is hers even if the actual threat isn’t really there. Just like porn is a simulation of sex for the porn watcher, it can easily be a simulation of other naturally biological programming.

                      So lets stop diminishing the ways women respond to these things while we defend the ways men respond to them okay? Just because a woman isn’t haven’t a sexual response to porn, doesn’t mean she isn’t having a naturally biological one.

                      You said: “Go right ahead. And if he feels less close or connected to his partner based on the things she’s using to pleasure herself with, please remember the goose and the gander receive in equal measure.”

                      Above you critqued me for ignoring your question in favor of turning it into a question about myself, or about women in general. Above you’ve taken the question I have and also turned it into being about the man in the situation more so than the woman.

                      You said: “I’m pretty sure she’s crazy, the question is whether or not she’s above the line. Wait, who are we talking about? I missed where someone called someone else crazy and we changed the subject.”

                      Your suggestions, made several times, about me going to see the a therapist recalled into my mind the article about how quick men are to write off what women have to say and feel on certain subjects. Which is why I mentioned the article and it’s usefulness to you.

                    • All of this just makes me so damn sad. All of it has some validity. People do fantasize and find other people attractive. This is just true. I fantasize about other houses besides my own as well. Like having three bathrooms or a pool. If all I did was tell my family how I wanted a new house and didn’t value ours, that would be rude and devaluing all we’ve put into ours.

                      And if all a woman sees is her man’s porn stash and it’s women that are a 180 from her? Yeah, his honest sexuality is gonna wind up having an effect.

                      What is in our heads is ours and ours alone. I don’t see anything wrong with fantasy. But if all I did was read novels that my partner couldn’t live up to (and flaunted them, or was casual about leaving them around) or if all he did was view things I couldn’t live up to… well to me that speaks to passive aggressiveness and a lack of communication about fantasy and attraction and so forth.

                      It’s a very tricky balance. What I keep reading here (and what I think other women are reacting to) is that men love who they are with, but they also love variety and visual stimulation that (in our culture at least) has the (or can have the) secondary effect of hurting their partner’s feelings. And her feelings and honesty on that then seem to hurt the male partner’s feelings and honestly.

                      And I do often see men (at large, not here particularly) framing the woman’s response as repressive. All that winds up happening is both parties becoming increasingly isolated and defensive due to a variety of personal or cultural factors.

                      I am not a big fan of objectification of people. I don’t much like what I’ve seen of the Pron industry, namely it’s pretty boring mentally, but I do value that people value it. Sometimes it just seems like two sides saying, “I want what I want and don’t tell me what to do or how to feel.” and I don’t know how we actually move past that.

                    • Nick, mostly says:

                      But I also think there is a huge disconnection between a man enjoying material of 18 year old pornstar babysitters and expecting his partner to remain completely unaffected by what this bit of information is communicating for her.

                      No one argued that she should be “completely unaffected.” What I argue for is if you want him to share his fantasy life, if you want him to “tell the truth about sex” you should probably not start by being judgmental about it.

                      Does his fantasy life say something about you? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it’s not the actors in the fantasy but rather the scenario. The taboo can be titillating; sometimes it turns people on to be transgressive. Believe it or not, people can enjoys things in their “play” life that they have zero interest in doing in real life. That’s why my argument is that knowing someone’s fantasies is insufficient for judging them or your relationship. If what’s hurtful to you is that he has a particular fantasy, not that he wants it realized in any way, then what you are saying is that you want him to only have thoughts of which you approve. That’s likely to result in you having a harder time finding someone compatible (perhaps even leading you to inadvertently prefer guys who are more likely to lie to you).

                      I personally think fantasy gives us an insight into someone’s mind. They might not want to actually do what they are seeing. Doesn’t mean that it doesn’t say something important though either. The human mind and what we fantasize about is infinitely complicated.

                      I don’t see how those two statements are compatible. How exactly do you have insight into the infinitely complicated?
                      For example, take the babysitter scenario. Perhaps his fantasies stem from having been molested by a babysitter; perhaps his father left his mother for the babysitter; maybe the babysitter was an authority figure in his life and the scenario with him as now being an adult represents a type of power exchange; perhaps the first sex he saw was the babysitter and her boyfriend and now it’s imprinted on him. Or maybe he just thinks 18 year olds are hot and wants to do them. Just knowing that he has this fantasy gives you woefully little information on which to understand his psyche, and I bristle at people so ready to judge others based on it.

                      To add a little twist, what if it was the woman who had the fantasy, either as parent or babysitter? What insight should we draw from her fantasy?

                      You said: “By your logic, should I then assume that if a woman has rape fantasies then on some level she wants her partner to be a rapist, or she wants to be raped?”

                      I think on some level she wants it rough and dangerous and I think that says something about her from her deeper psychology.

                      That’s a dodge. I didn’t say she had “rough and dangerous sex” fantasies. I said she had rape fantasies. Fantasies of a man coming through the window, holding her down against her will, and forcefully having sex with her. Some women have date rape fantasies, of a man slipping something into her drink and having his way with her. How should we judge these women?

                      The point I was making – and that your dodge so conveniently illustrated for me – is that you can’t draw a straight line between the fantasy and who a person is, what they believe, what they want, and what they value. You’re ready to draw the line between “babysitter fantasy = wants to fuck the babysitter” but not willing to draw the line between “rape fantasy = wants to be raped.” I’m not willing to draw those lines.

                      How many men would be comfortable with their partners having “barely legal” fantasies …. yet another teacher having sex with a minor boy…

                      .
                      There is a difference between “legal” (even if just barely) and “minor” which by definition is “illegal.” That distinction is why I’d have a problem with the latter but not the former.

                      Not sure what you mean by “do you believe everything you think and feel?”

                      Do you believe that the thoughts that enter your mind, and the feelings you experience, all represent truth to some extent? Or do you have thoughts and feelings that you know are untrue, that don’t represent what you believe?

                      If he likes 18 year olds and is masturbating to them is she suppose to pretend she is okay with this and feels good about it even if she doesn’t just so *he* primarily feels safe enough to express himself?

                      You don’t know that he likes and wants 18 year olds. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. You are inferring that from his fantasy, and then it’s somehow morphing into fact for you.

                      I get it. His feelings are valid, her’s (mine) aren’t.

                      No, you don’t get it, and stop being an ass about putting words into my mouth.

                      <snip>
                      I’m not going to respond to your “biological” comments. No one knows what of our psychology stems from biology and what from socialization.
                      </snip>

                      You said: “Go right ahead. And if he feels less close or connected to his partner based on the things she’s using to pleasure herself with, please remember the goose and the gander receive in equal measure.”

                      Above you critqued me for ignoring your question in favor of turning it into a question about myself, or about women in general. Above you’ve taken the question I have and also turned it into being about the man in the situation more so than the woman.

                      You realize the title of this article, right? I’m trying to stay on topic and suggest how to go about having men be more truthful about sex. I’m also saying if you adopt this position, do so unhypocritically; don’t resort to any special pleading about why romance novels or vibrators aren’t the same.

                      You said: “I’m pretty sure she’s crazy, the question is whether or not she’s above the line. Wait, who are we talking about? I missed where someone called someone else crazy and we changed the subject.”

                      I’ve got to say, in almost every response you appear to attempt to turn my critique of your ideas into an ad hominem against you. I didn’t say, “don’t believe her because she’s crazy” or “don’t believe her because she’s not intelligent” or “don’t believe her because she’s insecure.” I simply disagree with you on some things, sometimes completely, sometimes only in part or degree. That says nothing about whether or not you’re smart or a good person.

                      Your qualified suggestions, since clarified, but obviously you think I was lying made several times, 2 times is not several about me again, clarified, but you’re not going to let go of this, are you? going to see the a therapist not the same as crazy recalled into my mind the article about how quick men are to write off what women have to say and feel on certain subjects. I didn’t write your opinion off, I simply disagree with it. Which is why I mentioned the article and it’s usefulness to you. Yeah, not so useful when I didn’t call you crazy or dismiss your ideas as crazy.

                      So you tell me what the solution is.

                      (I’m quoting this out of context)
                      The solution is to just listen. Not react. You don’t need to give him your “honest and open response” at that moment. There will be time for that later.

                      Tying this back to my question about believing what you think, our culture appears to have a fetish for “reaction,” a tendency to believe that the immediate response is more true than the measured response. That to verbalize what we feel in a moment is more honest and open. I don’t share that view. I recognize that I have insufficient meta-awareness of how I think, so I don’t privilege whatever signal happens to make it frontmost in my mind. While I may have had an emotional reaction to something, I don’t privilege it above my conscious reasoning about that thing.

                      I’m not asking you to adopt my way of being, but this instead: Your reaction happened. If your reaction is true, communicating it later vs immediately doesn’t change its truth. Keep it for when it’s your turn to talk and his turn to listen. Model listening without judgement and then expect the same of him when you tell him how you feel. If your reaction, upon reflection, isn’t true to what you believe, all the better for not putting it out there unvarnished. Instead you can talk about how what he said made you feel, but how your reaction doesn’t represent what you believe about him or your relationship.

                  • I also want to add that there was an article On GMP about “Why She Isn’t Crazy”. This might be helpful for you t find on GMP and read yourself.

                    • Nick: “No one argued that she should be “completely unaffected.” What Nick: “I argue for is if you want him to share his fantasy life, if you want him to “tell the truth about sex” you should probably not start by being judgmental about it.”

                      Correct me if I am wrong than, it’s not expected that she remain “completely unaffected”, it’s just expected that she not express her own feelings in response to his fantasies? Does a man want his partner to be truthful with him about her emotional life? Or does he want her to squash down her feelings so that he feels good enough to share his fantasies?

                      Nick: “Does his fantasy life say something about you? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it’s not the actors in the fantasy but rather the scenario. “

                      I am sure sometimes it’s about the scenario. That’s why there is stuff called “doing the babysitter”, because some men want to pretend they are doing the caretakers of their family behind their partner’s back.

                      Nick: “The taboo can be titillating; sometimes it turns people on to be transgressive. Believe it or not, people can enjoys things in their “play” life that they have zero interest in doing in real life.”

                      Who knows why someone wouldn’t do something in real life. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to bleep up their family but maybe they still really want to do the babysitter. Maybe they don’t do it because there is no opportunity for it. Contrary to what porn would have one believe, not all “babysitters” are waiting to take their clothes off for the father’s of the family. I really have no clue if a man wants to do it or not in real life. Regardless, he is still having the fantasy.

                      Nick: “That’s why my argument is that knowing someone’s fantasies is insufficient for judging them or your relationship.”

                      I do disagree with that. I think what people have fantasies about is another aspect of them that one needs to consider. Just like any other element in the relationship

                      Nick: “If what’s hurtful to you is that he has a particular fantasy, not that he wants it realized in any way, then what you are saying is that you want him to only have thoughts of which you approve. That’s likely to result in you having a harder time finding someone compatible (perhaps even leading you to inadvertently prefer guys who are more likely to lie to you.)”

                      And if he doesn’t want to hear my honest response to it, then apparently he only wants me to have emotions that he approves of. It works both ways Nick. It seems to me that we are saying that men want to be honest about their fantasies but they don’t want to deal with their partner’s honest feelings in response. Is that really fair?

                      Nick: “Just knowing that he has this fantasy gives you woefully little information on which to understand his psyche, and I bristle at people so ready to judge others based on it.”

                      Your judging me somewhat because I don’t like the fantasy Nick.
                      I bristle with the idea that I need to accept every element of someone else’s sexuality or that I am somehow holding them back or denying them something.

                      Nick: “No, you don’t get it, and stop being an ass about putting words into my mouth.”

                      Did you just call me a name???

                      Nick: “ I’m also saying if you adopt this position, do so unhypocritically; don’t resort to any special pleading about why romance novels or vibrators aren’t the same.”

                      I think vibrators are comparable to sex toys for men.

                      I think romance novels are more comparable to video games for men more than porn movies.

                      Nick: “I’ve got to say, in almost every response you appear to attempt to turn my critique of your ideas into an ad hominem against you. “

                      It’s not such a far stretch. You asked me to stop being an ass earlier. I don’t think it’s far fetched to see why I find you so offensive.

                      Nick: “(I’m quoting this out of context)”

                      How about you also try quoting it in context? I feel like it’s disrespectful to ignore the manner the question was asked.

                      Nick: The solution is to just listen. Not react. You don’t need to give him your “honest and open response” at that moment. There will be time for that later.”

                      Perhaps the best course of action is to leave the relationship since we would apparently want very different things from it and life in general.

                      Nick: “Tying this back to my question about believing what you think, our culture appears to have a fetish for “reaction,…”

                      I agree with that. Which is why pornography gets justified. It’s a reactionary media.

                      By the way, our culture also has a fetish for “youth”, yet you seem to defend that.

                    • Nick, mostly says:

                      I’m sorry, but I’ve grown bored of this exchange so I shan’t be making further responses. Have a good evening.

                    • How about you own the fact that you out right called me a name on this board Nick instead of runinng away and hiding from it.

                    • Nick, mostly says:

                      I guess I lied, I’ll make one more response.

                      I’m not running from anything. I’ll explain why I believe you’re behaving as an ass. If I write that you should wait to hear someone out before reacting to them, that word before indicates that I’m suggesting your reaction come after. It does not mean that you shouldn’t react at all, or should be completely unaffected. And I’ve written that explicitly twice now, and twice you’ve ignored that and said I’m suggesting your feelings don’t matter, that you should be unaffected. If you had simply disagreed, if you had written that you believed it was appropriate to react in the moment rather than allowing time for him to feel like he’s expressed himself accurately, then that’s a valid difference of opinion. Instead, what you’ve written suggests I don’t believe what I’ve said.

                      So, either your reading comprehension leaves much to be desired, or you’re deliberately misreading the words I’ve written. The former would suggest you’re not as intelligent as I’ve given you credit for. The latter, that you’re being an ass.

                      That is why I have no interest in going back and forth with you any longer. I don’t care if people disagree with me; indeed I like to have my ideas challenged since it helps me grow. But if every response is just correcting how you’ve mischaracterized something I’ve written, or how you’ve attributed ideas to me I don’t believe, or how you’ve ignored my words to hammer on a position I don’t hold, then frankly I have no interest in continuing on.

                    • You are completely out of line to justify calling me a name. This last little unreserved bit of commentary from you shows me just how insulting you enjoy being. Which has been a regular part of your conversation in other posts as well. Except those comments where more thinely disguised.

                  • Julie, I think I have a valid voice on this topic. I think the way I see things might help someone else and maybe eventually get someone else to possibly view things differently. I have had a lot of people tell me over the course of talking about this subject that they saw things a big differently because of me.

                    Sometimes I get frustrated and upset but it’s usually because of the personal insults. It’s a passionate issue from either side. I think I have a lot of passion and sensitivity inside me and I consider that to still be one of my best qualities. Even if I get a little too exuberant sometimes. Which does happen. But so do other posters. So I don’t get why you specifically have pointed me out. This isn’t the first time you’ve taken issue with what I choose to talk about.

                    And isn’t that the nature of this website Julie? To talk? We all want to know what everyone else thinks. That’s why we are all here. Should I be any different? I think I make a worthy discussion. Even if someone of it redundant. Alot of the conversation around here can be. But I think that’s the first step in opening up a conversation since there are usually so many different types of people in on it.

                    If someone believes I am taking away from the website, I can step back. But I don’t think I am. I’ve actually have done a fair amount of controlling myself from repeatedly responding to posters that continue to pursue conversation with me.

                    Sarah, I appreciate your comments. I guess I still care about what I look like and I care how men relate to me and other women for it because it’s been my experience that the way you look does affect how men, people, treat you and value you.

                    • Erin, thing is I agree with much of what you say. What I’ve been getting hooked by is the repetition I guess. Like you are knocking your head into a wall over and over again and I can’t see how that’s good for you.

                      I don’t see that anything you say is ever going to change the minds of some.

                      Doesn’t matter. My opinion doesn’t matter here. I don’t think you are making inaccurate points. I don’t think the things you say are all that off base. I just don’t know how or if your life is better from going head to head on the matter.

                      I won’t comment to you anymore.

                    • The Wet One says:

                      And this dear friends is why men can’t tell the truth about sex. Society has enough views similiar to those discussed in this thread that it is best if men just STFU and we all get along a little easier in this world.

                      Perfect solution? Heck no. Pragmatic solution, heck yes!

                      In the meantime, men will find their place in the world to talk freely (which isn’t really here on the GMP, but at least you try), and life goes on.

                      Now, back to the porn!

                      Wet One, out!

                    • Hi Erin, yeah, appearance does affect how people treat us. And it sucks. It really sucks. There is a lot about life that sucks. I could be in a rage 24-7. there have been times I felt that way.

                      I guess what I try to do is remind myself that obsessing to much about my appearance or my value to others based on my appearance just wastes my energy. The most beautiful, desirable people in the world are going to end up the same place I am. Old. Dead. Life is so damn short. A pedestrian was killed right outside my office the other day. She decided to cross mid block so she didn’t have to wait for the light. An elderly driver had the setting sun in his eyes . She was killed. Snuffed out just like that. What did she think about that day? Did she have a good day? What would she have done differently if she knew?

                      I think we are all looking for love, and our complaints about porn often come down to not feeling like we are loved or feeling like men won’t love us the way we love them. I guess we have to realize that all love is fallible and imperfect because people are fallible and imperfect. That doesn’t mean we can’t be happy or at least try to be. Look for men who are kind enough not to flaunt their porn habits and dump the guys who do flaunt it. Avoid the toxic people and seek out the good ones. The goid ones do exist.

                    • wellokaythen says:

                      [This is not addressed to anyone in particular. This just seems to be a good spot to put this. The “you” is meant to be non-specific.]

                      Some part of your self-esteem has to come from inside you. You can’t be totally dependent on other people for your self-worth. If you are totally dependent like that, then you are not a fully formed person, and you will never be happy. You have no good boundaries between yourself and the rest of the world. Your relationships will be terribly unhealthy for both people involved.

                      At some point you have to take ownership of your feelings. At some point you have to recognize that your feelings come from inside you, and you have some responsibility for them. At some point you can’t continue to blame all your feelings on your parents, your culture, the media, and your partners. Some crucial part of it is YOU doing this to yourself.

                      Ultimately, no one actually MAKES you feel a certain way, if “makes you” means all your feelings are just planted in you by other people. Notice that this is the way that bullies talk – “I hit you because you made me mad.” The bully doesn’t take responsibility; he acts like he’s just an innocent, passive recipient. It’s just stimulus/response, not anything to apologize for, right? (And women can be bullies, too. This does not only apply to men and only to physical bullying.)

                      And, it is totally unfair that you have to heal yourself when other people hurt you. Absolutely unfair. They should have to pick up the pieces, not you. Society should pay for all the ways that it has hurt you. And yet, it’s still on you, unfair or not.

                      Your partner may leave you for someone else. That will always be a possibility no matter what you do. There is no way short of murder to guarantee otherwise. (And who knows what he’d get up to in the afterlife?) There is no way he could prove to you conclusively that he will never leave you. Be honest with yourself, there’s always a possibility you could leave him for someone else.

                      Paranoia and jealousy tend to be self-fulfilling. If you treat your partner like you are in perpetual fear of him leaving, then he will leave you. If you treat your relationship like it’s doomed, then it will be doomed. If you demand your partner constantly reassure you that he will never prefer someone else, then he will prefer someone else.

                    • “So the result is we both feel like we have to hide our true selves from the other.”

                      If we’re being honest, isn’t this really the basis of most relationships in the current climate? I don’t think most relationships or people can handle the truth. I remember even reading about some research which argued that those relationships are strongest where each partner has a higher opinion of their counterpart than the counterpart has of themselves. Almost counterintuitively, it seems relationships depend on some delusion and deception.

                      And yes, the way you look does affect the way people treat you and how much they value you. This is as true for women as it is for men. Your average woman is just as likely to not give an ‘ugly’ short guy the time of day as your average man is to an ‘ugly’ woman. These are the realities of the world.

                    • wellokythen says:

                      [Supplement to my earlier remarks about self-esteem.]

                      I forgot to mention something else completely obvious. He may leave you for no one else at all, or he may leave you for a man. He may just leave because he wants to live alone. He may leave you for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with your body, age, or appearance. He may even leave for no reason that you could ever figure out. He could even just disappear or die. There are an infinite number of things you can borrow from the future to ruin your life today.

                    • “There is no way he could prove to you conclusively that he will never leave you.”

                      Some women don’t necessarily worry that a partner will leave them, but worry that he feels like he’s setting or that he doesn’t find them pretty. Feeling physically attractive is extremely important to a woman and her sex drive. You can work on that from the inside to some extent, but isn’t it nice if your partner helps you out a bit?

                      Is it *that* difficult to take 5 seconds to tell your partner that she’s beautiful and the hottest b*tch around? To grab her tits and smack her ass and tell her how hot they are–even if they aren’t the tits and ass of an 18 year old? To avert your eyes from staring at a 18 year old. These things take like…5 minutes a day. Shouldn’t a woman help her partner out if he’s having a difficult time with something? A lot of women have body image issues. If a partner can help ease them, shouldn’t it make him happy to see her happy? I’m happy when I make my partner happy.

                    • Jules: “Sometimes it just seems like two sides saying, “I want what I want and don’t tell me what to do or how to feel.” and I don’t know how we actually move past that.”

                      I don’t either. But I do know that women largely make huge sacrifices when it comes to pornography and their men thinking about and looking at other women. I don’t think a lot of men get how much women have to deal with this on a daily basis with absoluetly no repreive from it. Even in their own homes with their own men. Women don’t get a resting place anymore. They don’t get a safe haven. In their own homes there is visual media 24/7 there to follow them inside and remind them 24/7 that their guy sometimes wants something “different”.

                      Jules: “What I’ve been getting hooked by is the repetition I guess. Like you are knocking your head into a wall over and over again and I can’t see how that’s good for you.

                      How about you let me worry about what’s good for me and you worry about what is good for you. And I won’t assume to know what’s good for you by suggesting you do something or not do something on the board you may or may not want to do?

                      You’ve addressed my repetitiveness before. What you see as “repetiveness” I see as “tenaciousness”.

                      Will I change most people’s minds about this subject? Probably not. But I know what I have to say is of value. I know that I have been privately addressed by other people that told me I gave them a new perspective to consider. I think the first step in any change is conversation. If you look at any great movement in history I am sure they had conversations about change and how to do it ad nauseum. I think this is an important conversation.

                      And frankly, I am kind of annoyed that you specifically pick me out when you know there are other posters on this site that chase this conversation just as much, if not more, than I do. Yet you don’t say the kind of things to them that you say to me.

                      Jules: “I don’t see that anything you say is ever going to change the minds of some.”

                      True, what I have to say isn’t going to change the minds of some. But “some” isn’t “all” right?

                    • Erin, the thing is I agree with you and I’ve said so. You have. No idea how much I agree with you. You go for it Erin. But you can rest assured I won’t address you on these boards anymore.

              • wellokaythen says:

                Thanks for this. This is very well-put. I think you’re expressing the way that many women feel, and I think this is a very common perspective.

                I guess what I was trying to say is that subtlety has benefits, but it also comes with a price. One price is not being able to trust other people when they tell you something, or second-guessing what they really mean when they say it. If you are surrounded by people who use five different levels of meaning when they talk, then how will you ever really feel secure you know what anyone is really saying? At some point you have to be able to accept what he says at face value or else put your doubts in a larger perspective. If I say “you’re only saying that because I asked you to!” or “you say it but you don’t mean it” then I’m playing mind games with my partner, or with myself, or both. If my mind is totally twisted by my own warped relationship to the truth, then I can’t expect my partner to be perfectly attuned to my needs for exactly the right level of honesty.

                Past a certain point, indirectness and subtlety is basically living a lie. At least, that’s where the judgmental side of me goes.

                A big question for me in this scenario is what exactly it means that I have to “deal with” someone else’s reactions to what I say. Of course I have to take responsibility for the effects of what I say on other people, but on some level in some small way that person is responsible for her own reactions, especially if we’re talking about addressing an inconvenient truth. They are her feelings for her to deal with as much as they are mine to deal with.

                I totally agree we’re working with a broken system here. One of the worst dysfunctions is the expectation that your partner will have the primary responsibility for your happiness. Anytime he says or does something that makes you unhappy, he has the sole responsibility to make you feel better, no matter what. I just don’t think that’s true or healthy or sustainable. On some level in some way you are responsible for your own feelings.

                And, I agree with you that many men are afraid to deal with their partner’s emotional response to hearing a truth, so that’s why those men may avoid the full truth. In my case, I sometimes avoided dealing with my partner’s feelings because I perceived that she resorted to “emotion bombs” to get her way. Sometimes the feelings to deal with are expressed in constructive and collaborative ways, and sometimes they are presented in destructive, manipulative ways. I should be willing to deal with the former, but it’s understandable if I’m cautious about incurring the latter.

                At least, that’s been my perspective. I have grown enough to recognize that my perception of what they were doing was way off in a lot of cases and I was just seeing what I wanted to see. But, I think this is a common perspective many men have.

                • WellOkayThen, if I am wrong on this, let me know. But I get the impression that you believe that perhaps the way men communicate is a touch better than maybe how women communicate? You seem to put a greater value on direct communication over something more intricately subtle?

                  I agree with you that subtlety can have it’s positives and negatives. But so does the way men sometimes choose to communicate. I do understand that sometimes the way women communicate makes it more difficult for men, but that can be said for the way men choose to communicate as well sometimes. Ultimately, men and women bring different styles to the table and they all come with good and bad things. I don’t think our goal here should be making women communicate more like men or men more like women, but appreciating what each side uniquely brings in our effort to understand each other better.

                  I totally disagree with the idea that subtlety, to a certain point, is basically living a lie. To me, that sounds like “brutal honesty” is the best policy. But usually with people who are “brutally honesty”, their honesty is more about them and their needs and what they want then thinking about the other person. They want to be able to fully and freely express their needs and want and not deal with the consequences of that.

                  I think for a lot of women when they are in a relationship, they view it as a partnership all around. One where she now is one half of a whole where her feelings are just as important as his ( at least in a healthy relationship) and that just like she takes on her own emotions, she is prepared to take on his as well so that she can be a better parter to him and fulfill his needs. She is now on an island with her man from now on. Men on the other hand I think want to disassociate much more often. They want to be on the island with their woman but they want the option of taking the boat and sailing away for a little bit too. Sometimes that desire for men to want to disassociate a bit, sometimes even for the betterment of their own piece of mind, is really hard for women. Because it can feel like he is pulling away. Which the reality he is even if he isn’t doing it forever. So if a man expects that woman should have to deal with all her emotions on her own in a relationship, his partner is going to feel all by herself.

                  However, it’s not that I think a man has the responsibility to make his partner happy all the time however she wants. But if there is a conversation going on about sex and love, it’s going to require work on bot their parts because sex and love are fundamental parts of a any romantic relationship. Meaning, naturally he can’t be 100% responsible for her happiness. And neither can she expect him too. But either can men expect to want to be honest about certain things and not expect it to draw on certain feelings and questions and even sadness.

                  I get why men avoid certain messy emotional entanglements. But I just don’t think it’s fair or healthy for men to avoid them on the back of the fact that women will infact sometimes have messy emotional entanglements.

                  • wellokaythen says:

                    Honestly, there probably is a part of me that assumes the style that I communicate with is better than other styles of communication. I think of my approach as more direct, so naturally I think direct is better. I can see how my earlier language might give the impression that I support blunt honesty no matter what, but I’m not suggesting honesty without limits, like everything you think and feel immediately put into words for everyone to hear. Honesty can be brutal, and honesty can even be used as a weapon. I’m not backing what’s called “radical honesty,” which sounds to me like social suicide.

                    I am making a general plea for more direct and more honest communication, so maybe I am taking sides. Here’s one reason why:

                    What I’ve noticed is that many women (many people in general) as they get older become more direct in their communication. They seem to worry less about what other people think, tend to speak the truth more plainly, and seem to second-guess themselves less. As they become more themselves and more independent of others’ expectations, they rely less and less on subtlety or indirect questions. They are often admired by younger women who want to be like them someday. I’m not saying anyone’s insecurity goes away entirely, either for men or women, but there’s something going on here that suggests to me that being direct is wiser than being indirect. It seems like a “natural” development that people seem to move towards anyway, so that suggests it may be naturally better.

                    Subtlety can go so far that real communication disappears. I see this happening when one partner expects the other to be a mind reader – “I shouldn’t have to tell you, you should just know what I want.” Sometimes being indirect is another way of keeping a lot of distance between two people. If I ask a really roundabout question, then I don’t feel quite so rejected if the answer isn’t what I like, because it’s more of a glancing blow.

                    I’m not saying “never ever be subtle and always be bluntly truthful.” I’m saying the indirect style has benefits and drawbacks. A person can be so stuck in never rocking the boat, totally obsessed with only saying exactly the right thing that he or she loses sight of any truth at all. (I had this exact sort of existential crisis about myself a few years ago. Don’t let diplomacy take over every part of your life, or soon you won’t really have a life. What you’ll be is a fictional character, not a real person.)

                    • wellokaythen says:

                      [Again, this is the general “you,” not a specific “you.”]

                      I just realized another drawback to having an indirect communication style. If you expect everyone else to have coded meanings, then it’s hard to take anyone’s statements at face value. I could say something with no hidden meaning, and it doesn’t get heard, because you’ll be hearing things I’m not actually saying. All men are liars (because all people are liars), but that doesn’t mean everything we say is a lie. Sometimes what we say really is what we mean and nothing else.

                • WellOkaythen, I am left with the impression that you think the way you communicate, and men in general, is superior. That really rubs me the wrong way. I doubt that most men are even as direct as they really believe. I doubt that they are really as clear and communicative as you seem to think they are. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had misunderstandings with men. Not because my way of communicating was “bad” and theirs was “good”, but because we simply didn’t understand each other. And the reality is that learning how to communicate effectively with the opposite gender is an important skill to learn, and it is a learned skill. For both sides. But not because the way men do it is *better*.

                  I am also bothered by your long speech on insecurity which I think you used to distract from the actual topic to put the *blame* on someone else if they are bothered by their partner’s porn use. I am so sick of hearing guys say stuff like, “you’re just insecure”. (I am not specifically blaming you and I know your speech wasn’t personal against me). I am so much more than “insecure”. It becomes a convenient excuse to make a woman feel even worse and leaves little room to understand what it’s like for her. It also puts these crazy amount of unrealistic expectations on her to expect her to remain unaffected by the material her own partner is consuming in regards to other women! It’s ridiculous how much we expect women to be Super-Women in the face of their man’s “indulgences”. It’s ridiculous how much more we ask women to “give” and “understand” about what her man apparently *needs* that a lot of people, especially men, don’t really seem to ask and demand of themselves in regards to their woman and the other women that walk in and out of their fantasy lives on a darn regular basis. And then on top of it, we blame women and tell them they need to *fix* themselves because they are *insecure*? I am sorry but that is so not right. I am tired of being told to understand that men have “needs” and then told how much I need to *fix* myself because of my needs

      • Suzy F. Jones says:

        Ladies,
        Read Men Need More: More Sex, More Respect, More Gratitude, and More Love and you will understand what WOMEN need as well as MEN need. Here’s the link.

        http://www.amazon.com/Men-Need-More-Gratitude-ebook/dp/B009TTOILU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350961748&sr=8-1&keywords=men+need+more+more+respect+more+gratitude

    • The Wet One says:

      “That she isn’t really allowed to want to feel beautiful to her partner because he really likes other women that hold qualities physically that she will never have.” ?Huh?

      What does that mean? Can’t she feel any way she wants? Does the mere fact that he finds other women beautiful mean that she can’t feel beautiful to him? Or can’t feel beautiful at all? What am I missing here?

      As for differing communication styles, this series of shortt videos explained a great many things to me: http://www.understandmen.com/reviews/index.html

      Prior to seeing this video, how many women (not all, but many) spoke was mysterious to me. Their communication was decidedly different (rather like Sarah found that men’s speaking was different). It’s quite remarkable.

      “I think women do want honesty. But sometimes the honest way men think and feel about us and our bodies hurts.” Fact is a lot of the truth is hurtful. Just imagine the truths of blacks in America. That’s a pretty lousy deal and not only does it hurt, it kills quite regularly. Trayvon Martin is a fine example.

      I get how Erin is affected by cultural imagery and ingrained expectation (I understand it somewhat better as a result of reading this: http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-ways-you-dont-realize-movies-are-controlling-your-brain/ ) but the fact is and must be remembered by one and all that the story we’re told is complete and utter horse manure. It’s designed to sell you something, control you and rule over you. Women get pounded on their looks pretty damned hard in our society (and are afflicted by it more than men for reasons laid out in the videos I posted above), but all the same it’s a tool of control. It is no individual man’s fault, except to the extent that he buys into the crap that the marketers are selling. That said, a man has every right to like what he likes and even if you aren’t 100% what he idealizes, he’s still with you and that says a lot. Women need to understand that men value more than just good looks in a woman. It’s really really true. A man only needs to be with one or two lunatic goddesses before he realizes looks aren’t everything. Men who don’t get this (and almost all of them do) aren’t really worth being with. Note, the mere fact they talk about some other attractive woman doesn’t mean that you aren’t just fine and dandy and wonderful to him, it just means that more than one woman is attractive to him. At the end of the day, looks are merely one component of a woman’s attractiveness. There’s so much more that is at play.

      Nick hit the nail on the head with his comments. You will never win and never feel happy with yourself if you play that mind game. Unless you’re the Queen in Snow White and the Huntsman, well, heck even the Queen lost in that struggle.

      Realize this truth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X19BaEFy5GI&feature=player_embedded
      and DO NOT LET SOCIETY USE THIS FACT AGAINST YOU. My sister has tremendous defenses against the concept underlying this video. Don’t let the slight criticisms that society constantly throws at you rule you. That is a recipe for unhappiness. See the rest of the videos here: http://www.understandmen.com/reviews/index.html

      Anyways this post is long enuf…

      • I think you make good points. I’ve actually gone through periods in my life where I wondered if being in relationships with men is even worth it becsuse it seems like I am NEVER EVER going to be good enough. Nothing I do will ever make me attractive enough for me. There is always someone else who will catch his eye, always some way that my body fails to please him. I’m in a relationship now, but I have stayed single off and on throughout my life and my feelings about my lack of attractiveness is a major reason. I’ve alwsys been average at best, and of course things go downhill with age. I know that any man who is with me is settling to some extent. I’m sure my current boyfriend, much as he cares about me, would probably prefer to be with a hot 22 year old. He knows he doesnt have a prayer of getting a hot 22-year-old so I’ll have to do. I know that sounds really negative about myself but I’m being realistic I have made peace over the years with who I am and where I fall on the desirability scale. You can’t change some things. It is what it is. But, I think many women struggle with similar feelings because you grow up being taught that being the prettiest girl is absolutely the most important. No one loves ugly girls… watch a Disney movie if you don’t believe me….

        • Nick, mostly says:

          Nothing I do will ever make me attractive enough for me.

          That is a telling statement if ever I read one.

          There is always someone else who will catch his eye, always some way that my body fails to please him.

          Those are two very different statements there, and the way you casually associate them make me wonder if you understand that. I would very much agree that there will always be someone who will catch his eye. This is normal, and to be expected. Indeed, the only people I wouldn’t expect it of are those who are clinically depressed.
          But… whether or not your body pleases him is a completely different thing. If he is criticizing you, or saying you don’t turn him on, or that he’d rather be with someone else, it’s not because you’re not as attractive as a 22 year old hottie, it’s because he’s an asshole and you’d do well to be rid of him.

          I know that any man who is with me is settling to some extent.

          So what? We all settle to some extent. There are no ideal matches out there. All of us are lacking in some way or another, all of our relationships are imperfect. Get over it already, find someone who’s 83% of what you want, and round them up to 100%.

          I’m sure my current boyfriend, much as he cares about me, would probably prefer to be with a hot 22 year old.

          Either you’re seriously selling your boyfriend short or he’s an asshole and you should dump him. Given the history of your comments here, I suspect the former.

          He knows he doesnt have a prayer of getting a hot 22-year-old so I’ll have to do.

          The second to last thing on earth I want is a hot 22 year old. The last thing? Someone who incessantly compares themselves to hot 22 year olds, as if my relationship and sexual preferences were so absurdly one-dimensional.

          I know that sounds really negative about myself but I’m being realistic

          It doesn’t sound negative, it sounds like you’re depressed.

          No one loves ugly girls… watch a Disney movie if you don’t believe me…

          Wait, I thought you were being realistic. If Disney is your idea of “realistic” then that (and the depression) explains why your ideas appear to be caricatures.

          • I was sharing what goes through my head, knowing it is often not completely rational. I remember watching Cinderella as a little girl, and feeling horrible about myself because I had big feet. (I was a large girl. My dad is 6’3″ and I got his genes.) I know, stupid. But imagine watching that movie as a little girl and realizing that your feet are so big and ugly, you will definitely never get the handsome prince! You are the hideous step sister! Stupid, yes, but those thoughts get ingrained in one’s psyche … Sigh

            • It’s also telling that I’d probably stay with a guy who beats me if he makes me feel like I’m incredibly beautiful and sexy. It’s no contest. Not feeling beautiful and attractive with a partner is devastating and stays with you forever. Physical wounds heal. Maybe some of us do need therapy.

            • Ironically Sarah, I am embarressed by my small feet!

              I don’t think men usually understand the different ways women can feel unloved and disrespected. Drooling over 22 year olds in a world that is harsh and judgemental on women for their looks and age can easily make a woman feel unloved, underappreciated and disrespected. It might not make a man feel that way but I know of plenty of things that make men feel those things and that would like women to be aware of even if they don’t make me feel that way.

          • wellokythen says:

            Perhaps this is still taboo to say, but a man could be attracted to his partner AND to other women. Attraction is not necessarily a finite quantity where any attraction to others means less attraction to you.

            When did “imagination” about something come to mean “preference” for something?

  17. wellokaythen says:

    Many men feel like they have to choose between sexual diplomacy (sometimes known as “lying”) and telling the truth. I have no doubt that in many cases, they are not really being asked to make that choice and they are just imagining it, but in many cases I think they really are placed in that position.

    Actual questions/comments that I have fielded in my relationships:
    “Does my ass look big in these pants?”
    “Do you ever wish I was more like that?”
    “Did you see what she was wearing to that party? Who would be attracted to that?”
    “She wasn’t wearing a bra. Did you notice that?”
    “I know you look at other women.”

    In most cases, I chose the response that I thought would most likely result in continued sexual relations. She seemed happy with the answer, and I was happy with the results of her happiness. In the cases that I didn’t, her memory of my answer remained crystal clear for years afterwards. (In one case, the memory of my disappointing honesty is starting its second decade.)

    I’m sure men do this to women as well. I’m not saying men have it worse when it comes to the pressure to be diplomatic with their partners. And, I don’t think in most cases that these are trick questions that are calculated to be tricky. In most cases they are just unfiltered insecurities expressed linguistically. But, if we’re going to ask about how honest men are about sex or sexual attraction, we have to consider how much men are actually being ASKED to be honest.

    • Wish I had more time to respond to this post- my brief perspective is that- we need to think about why women are asking these questions, why women are insecure about whether “my ass looks big in these pants”, why it is we think our partner would prefer “I was more like that”.

      Why do women feel so insecure that we ask for constant validation? It goes right back to the basis for this article- the larger cultural message women receive, and the specific sexual messages we receive from many (not all) individual men in our lives- “yes, I would prefer you to look like ‘that'”. But I will settle for you looking like “this”. I ended an otherwise great relationship because that’s the message I was receiving from my partner. Because I didn’t want to have to hold a grudge for years. In fact, 10 minutes ago I walked past him in the hall. He did not acknowledge me because he was busy staring at the ‘hot’ girl in front of me.

      My point- the problem here is not the woman’s questions, or the women’s insecurity. The problem is our cultural conditioning that encourages everyone to think that one ass is perfect, another is not- and yes, I love you, yes you are sexy- but I am still settling for you because your ass is just not “that” perfect.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I see a real difference between:

        1. Sometimes imagining or even wishing your partner looked like someone else.

        and

        2. Actually preferring someone else and just settling for who you’re with.

        If the expectation is that your partner will never be attracted to anyone else and will only fantasize about being with you, then that’s a tall order. Only about 5% of the population should be in committed relationships at all, in that case. (Maybe that’s reality, but it seems awfully restrictive.)

        If once in a while I think my partner’s butt could use a little toning, that doesn’t mean her butt is “too big for me.” I’m sure I am not her eternal physical ideal. I would not believe her if she said she never thinks I could stand some physical improvement. I’m wise enough not to ask and not to dwell on it too much. I don’t demand that she only think about me one way. I don’t expect that she has to find my body perfect or else I’ll ask for divorce.

        If anything less than perfect is “settling,” then all relationships are settling, because no one is perfect.

        • The Wet One says:

          This reminds me of a bitter tearful argument I had with a girlfriend in my youth about “settling.” She made a serious argument about believing in the one true love fallacy. I pointed out that one could not possibly know that they had met the one as it would take longer than one’s lifetime to merely glimpse all the possible people who could be the one (it takes a long long long time to view 3.5 billion members of the opposite sex, longer than a lifetime in fact).

          Why o why was this even an argument? I have no idea, but the idea that she wasn’t “the one” for me was deeply unsettling to her for some reason. Of course, she was right I suppose as we’re not together anymore, but holy, did she hold that argument against me for a long while. A purely rational truth that was obvious upon a moments reflection (not even a “male” truth, just the truth, rather like the sun rises in the east) and she was in tears and we were fighting for hours about this.

          Now I know better than to ever engage in such arguments because it’s really not about the truth. Like as not, she doesn’t care about “the truth” or even my “truth” (which I try to keep consistent with “the truth”). She wants to hear something else. Thankfully, my Sweetie doesn’t ask me ridiculous questions nor try to get me to say things that aren’t “the truth” so as to assuage some emotional need. It’s so much simpler that way. She’s still got a few quirks, but they involve far far far less outright untruths, and charitable shadings of the truth and me not stating my own thoughts, than some of my past girlfriends. It’s a really nice change!

  18. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    I believe that sex is always a bit dramaturgical, so one is trying to give a “good performance.” My belief also, though, is that the dramaturgy, although it may be exciting to both parties, can either develop into or hook into a fetish, and that that may start to reduce sensation and what I’ll call the deepness of the experience. That may demand that the fetish get “ratched up.” In other words become more like an addiction. So I believe that really good sex rolls in the opposite direction of being a fetish, and tends to be about the sensations— pure. YMMV.

  19. @wellokthen:How the,fat butt,comment might go over is dependent on the audience. I’ve dated black,white,latina,phillipino and asian women.Of those,generally speaking,I wouldn’t say it to asian or white women.White women,especially middle and upper middle-class,in my experience are hypersensitive to comments about their thighs,breasts or butt. and let’s not pretend,since we are discussing nerds/geeks, that women don’t make unflaterring remarks about men’s bodies;remember high school?

    • wellokaythen says:

      It leads me to wonder where honesty really ranks in importance when it comes to sex; I’m not so sure it’s at #1 in all situations at all times. Of course it’s crucial, but does it really trump all other considerations every time? Do men and women actually want ONLY the pure truth when it comes to sex? Hard as it is to admit, a lot of us also want a little exaggeration, a little illusion, and some encouraging words that may not be the full truth.

  20. “Where are the heavy-weight male voices debating contemporary sexuality? ”
    Maybe there are things just as intriguing to men and more objectively discussed than sex.
    Sports, guns, Carburetors, bikes, dogs, games, tools, money, work…….

  21. The Wet One says:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/roiphe/2012/10/kids_and_porn_you_found_your_13_year_old_s_porn_stash_what_should_you_do_.html

    More reasons why men can’t talk about sex. Immaturity? Overbearing moralistic parents who want to control your sexuality, think gay conversion therapy, which equates kind of to female efforts to modify male sexuality .

    • wellokaythen says:

      A 13-year-old with a porn stash? Kids today get all the breaks. I didn’t get a porn stash until I was in college. Before that I raided my older brother’s stash under his bed.

      Back in my day….uphill both ways in the snow…no electricity….

  22. @wellokthen: It’s a stupid remark for far too any reasons to list not the least of which is it’s inherit bias. I certainly don’t consider a thick woman to be fat, even though others might.

    • wellokaythen says:

      I think I’ve been assuming that neither Sarah nor her date were African American. Would it make a difference to you if her date was also a black man? Or, what if she and her date were both joking together later about how friendly the waiter was?

      It’s certainly a risky remark with no conceivable up side to it. Well, at least one practical use: it’s generally a good way to make sure there’s no second date…..

    • ! have a few questions to anyone who might like to answer them. Why is it when Lady Gaga,Madonna,Cher,Rihanna,Christina A,or Britanny Spears,who in my oppinion are purveyors of soft porn to teen agers, never get blame for setting impossibly high standards of beauty and edgy sexuality for girls and women? How can they be considered role models for youngwomen; and boys. Aren’t they celebrating,primarily for profit and self agrandizement, female sexual power without bearing any of societal burden? Women who feel disordered because they don’t meet the specific cultural norm, feel bad because they can’t compete. In all cultures,whatever the beauty norm is,women compete to achieve it.The taking back power narrative is overwrought and ultimatedly is passing the buck. This tactic is common and serves a useful purpose which is to exert control and power from the background without damaging ones image as the comparative innocent. One can see this tactic used frequently in mainstream American culture,where if women behave badly it is said that they are simply acting like a man in order to take back power. Personally,I have far more respect for women like Josephine Baker and Mae West,who were clear, direct and unapologetic about presenting and profiting from female sexual power.

      • Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Madonna express their OWN sexuality, not one tailored towards men. That’s what makes it different. None of them (except Rihanna) are conventional beauties. Lady Gaga sings about thinking of other women while having sex with men, hooking up at clubs, enjoying the chase, falling in love–things that happen to most women. Rihanna sings about the kind of sex she enjoys and her destructive relationships. Nicki Minaj makes no apologies for her girliness and eccentric style. You can be strong and talented and still love silly pink things. Britney Spears and Christina A are different. In their heydeys, they did pander to men. The first women I mentioned aren’t profiting in the way Olivia Munn profits by wearing a maid outfit for a bunch of nerds. That’s a direct use of sexuality to profit. The girls I mentioned above at least seem to be expressing themselves, whether or not the guys like it.

        • Assuming Lady Gaga is singing about her fantasies of other women when having sex with men, which you think is positive and demonstrating female sexual power, why is it wrong for for men to demonstrate the same thing? In the thread about men expressing their sexual fantasies you seemed to present very differently than you are now. Would you want your guy to tell you he was thinking of someone else while making love to you? You seem so sensitive to not being payed enough attention to in relationships, of not being reminded that you are beautiful, that you are sexy, that you are singularly desirable over and above others. In that thread, I heard this refrain; pay attention to me,don’t put other images in your heart and mind over me. repeatedly from women and you during the body image debate. Rihanna and Madonna, who I would tell my sons to run from, uses sex for profit as much as any any pimp.

        • And how would you react if your boyfriend tell you that he thinking on another man when having sex with you? Just for your information men bisexuality is real. And from my experience, straight women are more allergic to men bisexuality than straight men to women bisexuality are. I’m straight with slight bisexuality ( maybe i’m bi curious, and this happen to many men ), and i never tel my gf about my fantasies about being raped in prison by another guys, about my fantasies making out with my guy friend, because i now she will be freak out. You want female sexuality is not about men at all, but guess what? Most straight women ( and straight men ) want that men sexuality is all about women. Can you imagine One Direction or other male singer with many fangirls sing a song “Youre handsome” or ” I Kissed a Guy” like Katy Perry “I Kissed a Girl”? I bet they will lost many of their fans. Even Ricky Martin who is gay, his songs are all about women. Men are not having a freedom in sexuality in this society, and no, its not womens fault.

          • David May says:

            But there are a few covers of “I Kissed a Boy” done by different lesser known male artists. That, unto itself, seems to me like a big step forward. And with the popularity of Gay Chicken among college age men, how far away can a popular cover be? I half expect it at any moment.

      • David May says:

        I thought this discussion was about Male sexuality — not female popular recording artists and the sociological implications of same. Did I miss something?. (But I agree with you about Mae West and Josephine Baker.)

        • @David May: You will find on this site that what often starts out as a subject specific to men ( well straight, white men mostly) segues into a discussion about said subject or concern applies to women. That could be just my perception.

          Some of this is good and some it is not so good. This site is far more tolerant of female opinions and input than I have found most feminists sites to be of male opinions and input, which is great. At the same time, I also find that men stand up and challenge women more on this site than other male positive sites. Most other male positive sites spend too much of their time apologizing for being men.

  23. @Cindy: I dated a woman who was a therapist who held the exact same beliefs. Made me wonder how she was ever able to deal with men on issues without bias polluting the process. Reknowed sexual researchers Dr’s Buss and Meston of Texas University have listed over 221 reason’s other than love and procreastion that women have sex. Among them;to get a better job;to get a better movie part, for money, to get a better grade, to get a car, for pity, for revenge etc.

    • wellokaythen says:

      And those reasons don’t have to be mutually exclusive of each other. There are a million combinations of items on the list…..

  24. @Sarah: If my point is true then, body image issues, which take up an enormous amount of time and space in the hierarchy of the public good, are self inflicted wounds.Your final comment, ” I’m not it’s universal but its fairly common.” deserves an asterisk. It is farly common,to a small percentage of the population, mostly white affluent, educated women.who’s concerns recieve far more attention than they deserve.

  25. My sex truth? I became very emotional during and after sex. There are many times i got straight to bathroom, to cry after sex, without her knowing it. I really crave intimacy. I like foreplay, cuddling, kissing, not only to please women , but also to please myself. I dont think penetration is the ultimate goal in sex. I like giving oral to women, more than receiving it.

    What , are you a guy? are you sure you have a penis? Haha, yes I’m a man. No, men dont like intimacy and foreplay during sex, they only want to stick their dick in women pussies. They dont get emotional during sex.

    But yes, i’m a man, and thats the truth about my sex life.

    • Thank you for sharing, John, you sound very self-aware. Your’s is the truth we need to hear. Complicated and vulnerable- as are most of our truths, whether we like to admit it or not.

      With all of it’s honesty, your truth helps me come closer to accepting my own.

      • The Wet One says:

        Hey buddy, what’s wrong with my truth? I’m sensing some kind of dismissal of my truth. Of course, maybe I’m overreacting, in which case I apologize. Still though, some clarification about the “Your’s is the truth we need to hear,” comment would be appreciated. Are you saying your truth is like his, or something else?

      • Thank you. I think its rather funny that many guys and girls are debating about big boobs small boobs thin women thick women about men sexuality. Its like men sexuality is all about women bodies. My sexuality is about myself, what i feel, what i want. Big boobs, small boobs, young women, old women, i dont care! I think women who are too busy thinking about their own body image wont make their partners satisfied. They should think more about the guy, the guy’s body, the guy’s feeling. Many women are too self centered in sex, i find its super turn off. I like when my girl doesn’t care shes fat or not, she has celullit or not, she has big boobs or not, she just want to fuck me because she find i’m sexy, and shes horny!!! Thats what all guys want!

        • wellokaythen says:

          “It’s like men’s sexuality is all about women’s bodies. My sexuality is about myself, what I feel, what I want.”

          Profoundly true, too often forgotten, and needs to be said. Quote of the year, seems to me.

          Not to mention the millions of men in the world who are not attracted to women. They have their sexuality, too….

          • I greatly appreciate this last part of your comment, Wellokaythen. As this article and discussion is (or was) focused on whether men can tell the truth about their sexuality, I’ve seen little said about the fact that some men are not attracted to women at all. I’m bisexual, so I am attracted to both, but except for a couple of comments at the beginning, this entire discussion has turned largely heteronormative, and leaves out the gay, bi and trans perspective. For me, I’m not shy about being both bi and poly, into BDSM, and preferring the sub role there. My close friends and family (and partners) accept this for the most part and I can speak openly and honestly about my sexuality to them. But even in this area, some people in my life cannot deal with or respect some of my kinks and desires. I have been shamed by outsiders and given “I don’t know how you can like that” by people close to me. I find that seeking out a couple of people who can listen and not blame, shame, or pity me for what I want sexually is the best I can manage. To others who seem unable to accept me as I am, it’s just easier to keep quiet and not talk to them about it.

            • The other commenters I refer to are Rick Powell and the “Anon” who replied to him. Good comments from both! I’ve had quite a few encounters to varying degrees with men who insisted they were straight. In my experience, a few were curious about pleasures they’d never tried, but most wanted to be there to get experiences their women refused to explore with them (at least that was their claim). I suppose some of them could closeted and unable to admit it, but many were most definitely straight men with a curiosity. In almost every case, they were paranoid about anybody finding out, ever. In a few cases, they threatened me with violence if I told, even though the encounter had been friendly prior. I know why they want it secret, but I’m fascinated by the fact that so many want these experiences, while adamant about being straight. Complex indeed; very much so.

            • wellokaythen says:

              I think this brings up an interesting related question that I don’t really know the answer to but am curious to find out:

              When it comes to being honest about sex, are men more honest with male partners than with female partners? Less honest? The same? I don’t mean to put you on the spot, but I am curious what your perspective is, if you’re willing to share.

              • I can only speak for me; but I’ve struggled to reach a stage of healing from child sex abuse where I am very open and honest with my male partner and female partner. I say what I need, what I want, as do they, and we discuss and negotiate compromises like any other sexual partnership. Neither of them are interested in BDSM, but my female partner is more interested in exploring away from vanilla. My male partner prefers romantic vanilla. We try to compromise, but it can be challenging. I believe they need to respect my needs/wants; but I also respect their boundaries and limits, as they respect mine. My family, however, does not care for my interest in BDSM, and hopes I’ll “get it out of my system”. I ignore this and stick to a basic “to each their own” philosophy. Balance in my poly relationship is difficult at times, but we’ve managed it for 7+ years and counting.

                Prior to this relationship, I was far more secretive about sexuality, but that was largely due to being conditioned from abuse to not talk much at all, or to trust, for any reason. Among friends, I am told that when a couple is very compatible sexually, they are more honest about desires/wants/needs. In new relationships, they seem to experience more cautious sharing at first. Again, this is just my experience and what friends have told me; not a blanket statement for all gay, bi, trans men.

                I would like to add that bisexual people aren’t any more or less likely to “cheat” than anybody else is. Just wanted to toss that out there, since some of people here seemed concerned about it. I appreciate the folks who refuted those concerns with such aplomb.

  26. Point taken, I’m speaking from the perspective if my own experience, which is mostly with white middle class men.

    I had a really horrible boyfriend at one point in college who picked on me about my weight (I was about 10-15 pounds overweight) We were out somewhere one time and an African American waiter was very nice to me. After we left, my boyfriend said, with contempt, “The waiter really liked you. Black guys like women with fat butts.”

    Yes, I should have dumped him on the spot but it took me a few more weeks. I was 19, and very insecure. Anyway, that’s the kind if message I was talking about in my earlier comment. Although my boyfriend was a douchbag, I don’t think his views were that unusual. Thin is better and men who like heavier women deserve contempt.

    I’m not saying it’s a universal attitude, just that it’s fairly coomon.

    • That was a reply to ogwriter, above.

    • wellokaythen says:

      ““The waiter really liked you. Black guys like women with fat butts.””

      A great example of why it’s so often better for men NOT to say what they’re thinking when it comes to sexuality or sexual attraction.

      Now, my question about this:
      Is a good man someone who never thinks this or just never says it out loud?

      • Actually, I’m glad he said it out loud so I knew what kind of @hole he really was. I should have dumped him immediately but I was too insecure. It took me awhile but he did me a favor. It’s not that I think he was “bad” for thinking my butt was too fat. He was bad for dating me in that case. If a guy thinks my butt is too fat, he shouldn’t pursue me at all. Don’t waste my time if you aren’t really into me.

        • wellokaythen says:

          I’m not trying to be argumentative or willfully obtuse here, but I’m still not sure precisely where it went all pear-shaped, whether it was the thought or the expression of the thought. I didn’t get the idea that he thought your butt was too big for him. Sure, if a big butt (as defined by him!) was a deal-breaker for him, and he put you in that category, then he was with the wrong person. What if he liked you AND part of him wished your butt was a different size? Is that a deal-breaker from your point of view?

          Making you feel bad about your body is a crappy thing to do, whether it was intentional or not. I totally get that. But was it really wrong to have a preference, especially if it wasn’t a really strict preference?

          If a man is a bad man for having a racist thought, then there may be no good men anywhere in the world. By extension that means there are no good women in the world, either. Aren’t there women out there who think that black men will like them because of their large butts?

          It sounds like the ideal here is not so much pure honesty as diplomatic honesty.

          • Ok, I don’t think you get it. My boyfriend told me my butt was fat, and he also implied that the only reason a waiter was being nice to me was because of my fat butt, also what he said was kind of racist actually because the implication about Black men was quite negative in his mind (My bf and I were both white). If my boyfriend thought my butt was so gross, why the hell was he dating me? That’s my point. Don’t date a woman you think is fat then belittle her. He made belittling remarks like that all the time, BTW.

  27. …exactly who hasn’t given women the chance to lead? Why is it that when certain women aren’t represented in the high profile glam jobs it’s because “we”(I don’t know exactly who we is) haven’t let them?I have no doubt there are some women who are great in a crisis and history reminds of this.I’m equally sure that their gender is no antidote to the corrosive effects of greed,ego, corruption and poor decision making in business and politics.If Sarah P. and Michelle B. can lead, what’s holding everyone up? Go for it?!

  28. @ Sarah: The physical type you described probably is culturally specific. As far as men of color are concerned,except Asian men,the physical ideal would be a “thick” woman;tits,ass,hips and a full mouth.This standard of sexiness,for many men of color,is even applied to white and Asian women they may find attractive. As I walk around my city,Oakland Ca, I don’t see many guys,white or otherwise,dating women with the body type you mentioned.So which men do you mean? Obviously,the standard of beauty you accept as normative is not used by everyone,though some seem to imagine it is.What does that suggest about body image issues?

  29. Please someone help me.How is it even possible to have an informed dialogue about human behavior without acknowledging the role of biology? Ignoring the role of biology in analyzing human behavior has fatally undermined the feminists argument.

    • Indeed.

      To quote Camille Paglia, ‘if middle class feminists think they conduct their love lives perfectly rationally, without any instinctual influences from biology, they are imbeciles’.

  30. …a wealthy,attractive former client of mine said this when I asked her why more women don’t run for president,”Why BE the president when you can marry him.You get most of the benefits and far fewer headaches.” The points uncovered by the depth of her bluntness are seldom explored.For instance,the idea that men are essential, in the minds of women and many men, for certain roles is real and explains much.Women are free,if they choose too, relieve men of certain traditional duties,like combat,but they don’t.We wrongly assume women want to do the same jobs as men because that’s where the power resides.Especially in politics and business.You don’t find women lobbying for a 4?% rule in combat units.Gender essentialism is real and has consequences.

  31. “There is a minority of men, a depressingly vocal minority, that fundamentally does think of women as a product manufactured for their consumption”
    YES, well said.
    Islamic radicals are the ones that are so vocal and making themselves known, that people assume this is what is means to be a Muslim, While authentic Islam is a religion of PEACE.
    Its the same with many things including male sexuality. It’s those that are so VOCAL that shape stereotypes, which is just so detrimental to society.
    Great article. It’s important that women acknowledge they want REAL mean just as much as they want to be wanted as real women. And I believe the same does hold true for women. It is silly. Just a mess of people dancing around the truth.

    • Doug Leverett says:

      Brave words indeed , but someone has to say it.Men have been left floundering in the wake of “never before changes” in western society. Women have taken the lead as usual and , via women’s lib, have made some adjustments.
      Why are men so impotent? My explanation, from an ecological point of view, is that western society is controlled by about 30% alpha women and and 20% high performing men ( who think that they are the bosses via a few strokes to their ego).
      Men must learn to understand and talk about their sexuality. Otherwise they will have to cross their legs, look up at the ceiling and hope they won’t be usurped by the family dog.

      • Hank Vandenburgh says:

        I hate to sound like Jerry Pournelle (I’m a liberal, after all,) but all we need is one good social or ecological crisis, and men will be back in the driver’s seat. Allowing women into upper and middle management is fine for not very much troubled societies, but societies in crisis will revert to male leadership at all levels from the family to the top of the state or business (where men are very much still running things.) (Women married to top men are still symbiotes who depend on their mate’s power.)

        Women are great at managing the cooperative aspects of society when things are relatively quiescent. Look at Sweden, for example where they handle much of the state pretty well (in spite of fostering some very ugly and controlling social norms in everyday life.) But men (and their authority and crisis skills) are more likely to rise in real crises.

        We can only hope that men won’t have forgotten how to be men when and if real crises come.

        • Nick, mostly says:

          *meh*
          such gender essentialist nonsense.
          Where do you guys come up with this stuff?

          • Hank Vandenburgh says:

            Too bad I’m probably right. Nick, the term “essentialism” is postmodernist nonsense. Postmodernism is intellectual irresponsible because it has no real epistemology, is obscurantist, is “essentialist” in that it privileges language as power, etc. etc. It can be useful to remind us to take culture into account.

            I tend to go to biology first. And I’m a sociologist, so that hurts. But I respect E.O. Wilson who said an elegant reduction is real science. It’s an indication of how much we value the good opinions of women that we’ve allowed ourselves to become truly deluded (and backward) on this. Three guesses why we defer to women here!

            • Nick, mostly says:

              You’re the one peddling nonsense here. Your assertions make no sense, whether they be about the term “essentialist” (which you haven’t shown yourself to understand), about the inherent leadership qualities of men vis à vis women, or even about valuing the opinions of and deferring to women. What does any of it actually mean? On what basis do you defend such assertions? With what empirical evidence is your view supported?
              Whenever I’ve encountered such assertions their defense has been with much hand waving and circular reasoning. You’ve given me nothing to suspect otherwise here. I’d be pleased to be wrong for a change.

              • Hank Vandenburgh says:

                Unfortunately, and because I need to critique it, I’ve read a boatload of postmodernism. You sound like a receptacle of received wisdom pretty much. The reason that PM with its sub-concept “essentialist” caught on here is that middle class feminists, and to some extent middle class social critics of society of both sexes needed something that would refute both Marxism and Positivist social science at the same time. PM lets everyone sound aggrieved. Even if they have little basis for it in reality. A friend of mine, a woman dean, is angry at me right now for not saying that all men oppress all women tout court. Well, in spite of the algebraicism of belle hooks, the truth is that they don’t.

                Essentialist is a non-word, but I do know what’s usually meant by it. Unfortunately feminist theory since probably Germane Greer (well I also like the more contemporary nancy Chodorow) has been pretty circular. I’ll cop that women as well as men show leadership, but may have different approaches to the same leadership jobs, which is good. But in a desperate crisis, we’d expect that male leadership might hold sway– in crises, some of this would depend of physical presence.

                It’s not that women can never do this–look at the union movement in the 1930s e.g.; it’s just that in desperate crises male domination would probably be a goodor bad addition.

                If a Martian came to Earth and studied us, I bet he’d (or she’d or it’d) use a biological orientation first.

                • Nick, mostly says:

                  Gender essentialism isn’t that hard a concept to grasp, and it doesn’t even need a post-modernism analysis.

                  This post is arguing against the gender essentialist view with respect to male sexuality, the idea that men are uniformly attracted to the conventional depictions of beauty, or will fuck anything that moves, or what have you. It posits that male sexuality is just as varied, just as nuanced, as female sexuality is.

                  Somehow this has become a jumping off point to spout traditional gender essentialist nonsense about how men are a certain way and women another, as if their genital configuration imbues them with special powers (of leadership in a crisis?), or denies them the same if their genitals are innie rather than outie. You don’t need to run off the rails chasing post modernist ghosts or conjure up the visage of Germane Greer (although easier to do with Skype or Apple Face Time) to understand that there is no center to this view, let alone one based in biology rather than culture and socialization.
                  Can women lead just as well as men in a crisis? Probably, but we haven’t really given them opportunity to find out now, have we? (There goes that lack of empirical evidence again).

                • wellokaythen says:

                  “If a Martian came to Earth and studied us, I bet he’d (or she’d or it’d) use a biological orientation first.”

                  I believe this statement would be called Martian essentialism. Or, like Said’s “Orientalism,” this would be “Extraterrestrialism.” People from other planets are always being “Othered,” you know? It hurts their feelings and really privileges earthlings. ; – )

                  • Hank Vandenburgh says:

                    More likely Earthism, because they’d be the essentialists, as I read this. I got a kick out of Said, but I think for real Orientalism, you need to play Maria Muldar’s “Midnight at the Oasis.” It hodge-podge combines Arabian and Indian images, viz: “I know your daddy’s a sultan– a nomad known to all…”

                    • wellokaythen says:

                      Ooh, good point, it’s an essentialist statement about others who are essentialist. (Not even getting into the fact that Martians might not even have a concept of “biological” the same way we do, what with “biology” being a historically contingent ideological construct and everything….)

                    • Hank Vandenburgh says:

                      Can’t agree. Biology is “paradigmatic” (Kuhn.) This means that it may change as a whole every few decades (typically subsuming previous empirical observations,) but it’s not very socially constructed. “Strong” sociology of knowledge positions are typically on of the things that have discredited sociology of knowledge. I agree that much to do with gender IS socially constructed, but it all rests on an empirical base.

                    • wellokaythen says:

                      Martians might well be puzzled by the decisions we’ve made about how we’ve structured scientific knowledge. They might find it odd that our schools teach chemistry and biology as separate subjects. They might find it weird that we don’t separate the neuroscience of right-handed people from the neuroscience of left-handed people. They might wonder why we teach about dinosaurs in geology class but don’t teach about plate tectonics in biology class. They might well wonder why we divide people into sexes without considering foot size at all.

                      Whee, this is fun!

            • Shh… we’re not supposed to tell the truth about sex!

              i.e. we’ll say anything to get laid.

        • Hank Vandenburgh says:

          One could theorize that the red states are more conservative because they are in greater economic crisis– thus men are in the drivers’ seats.

          • Um, actually here in California, we’ve been in a pretty severe economic crisis for quite some time, and hordes of conservative men haven’t risen up to seize power, last time I checked

            I often enjoy your comments, Hank, but your argument here is pretty weak.

            • Hank Vandenburgh says:

              Yes. I thought that one was overreaching myself. But, you know, in CA in a sense they have ever since Jarvis – Gann in 1978. This followed Nixon’s bringing on globalization with lowering the 14% average tariffs to 3%, and starting to send the American way of life down the tubes. CA suffered early with its overinvestment in areospace. Jarvis – Gann restricted property taxes to something like 3% of assessed value– this gutted schools, community infrastructure, and so on. So, it’s often acted like a red state ever since. There were good reasons for J-G, among them “entreprenurial” city councils that’d bring in unneeded malls, because there may have been short-term benefits even to the council members. I know that there’ve been liberal moments lately for CA (I’m from there.) But I’m not sure of anyone outside of San Diego, Laguna, parts of Long Beach, West LA, Malibu, maybe much of LA, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Berkeley, Marin and Sonoma, parts of Humboldt and Meddocino.

            • The Blurpo says:

              ” Um, actually here in California, we’ve been in a pretty severe economic crisis for quite some time, and hordes of conservative men haven’t risen up to seize power, last time I checked”

              and thats a good thing. I distrust conservative people, because they are less likely to adapt in new situations. Progressive people are much more flexible, and thus more fit to solve unhappy situations like crisis or disaster, war ect.

              • AnonymousDog says:

                There are ‘Progressives’ who are just as inflexible and wedded to the past as any ‘conservative’. A lot of ‘progressives’ are still back in the first half of the twentieth century with Franklin Roosevelt, John Maynard Keynes and Herbert Croly, and see no reason to believe that the world has changed. The whole business about “preserving the New Deal Legacy” is about preserving the past’s solutions to the past’s problems, not about today’s world.

        • I hate to sound like Jerry Pournelle (I’m a liberal, after all,) but all we need is one good social or ecological crisis, and men will be back in the driver’s seat.

          I suspect that more men than the women have the warrior instinct.
          We have a good recent example of this in the Egyptian Arab Spring of 2011.

          “If we’re not involved in building the constitutional and legislative future of this country now, then when? Why do we see women, who were almost 50 percent of the protesters in Tahrir, not represented in decision-making rooms?”
          http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0308/On-International-Women-s-Day-Egyptian-women-demand-revolutionary-role

          I remember media reports saying that women were 50% of the protesters in Tahrir Square, They were photoed deeply involved in the organising, and in the footsoldiering of the peaceful protests – well that was before the violence started

          However once Mubarak’s forces decided to open fire and try and end the protests, I noticed in footage and reports that only a few brave women had remained in the square, to die with the men(no doubt some of them had left too). It was mostly the men who were prepared to die for their beliefs – and die some the remaining protesters did.

          In times of disorder those who are not prepared if necessary to die, get ruled by those who are organised and ARE prepared to die

          • Once Mubarak’s forces started firing, the Muslim Brotherhood were prominent in organising the defence of the protestors. Guess which party the current Egyptian President is from?

  32. wellokaythen says:

    When someone asks me a question, very often the first 5-6 things that pop into my head are things that are not socially acceptable to say out loud. They may be deep-down gut feelings, true insights into what my internal self is telling me, but that doesn’t mean that they are appropriate to say in a social setting. By the time I’ve filtered out all the faux pas comments, I’m often left with nothing to say that’s both true and socially acceptable. I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. (Probably everyone does, and I’m just a slow thinker.) That’s true for me for many subjects, but most especially the topic of sex. When it comes to talking about sex, it feels like the “wrong things to say” vastly outnumber the ‘’right things to say” by about 100 to 1.

    So, I associate the challenge of being honest about sex with the challenge of being honest in general. How much are we as a society prepared to talk about ANYTHING honestly, warts and all?

  33. I think it is absolutely natural to have someone else take care of one’s child and I don’t place a moral judgment on the behavior.There is a comprehensive list of morally “unnatural” natural human behaviors related to sex we don’t discuss openly.Another interesting supportive consideration is studies show that men produce spermicide which is designed to kill foreign sperm in his partners vagina.Adaptations like that take a millenium to develop.

  34. ! think there is ample evidence that mate guarding,as a way of ensuring resources are used for one’s own offspring,is a legitimate tactic that works;more or less.We see this resource protection tactic played out in policy and in divorce settlements.It is not related to the maintenance of genetic diversity in culture;people don’t usually have children for that reason.War,immigration,slavery and other push/pull factors, including curiosity and infidelity,guarantee a certain amount of cross genetic pollination.It is fact,however uncomfortable, that men are habitually duped into providing for children they think are their’s.

  35. The truth on the blind date would be this…

    “You look like average woman, 5 points out of ten. I would prefer someone prettier, but I am a average man, so we are well suited to each other.

    In my dream world I would change sex partner every time, because variation is the salt of male sexuality. In reality I wouldn’t cheat, because one monogamous relationship is the most I can achieve with my average market value.

    Yes, I would love too have blowjob every morning, but since it is propably too much to ask, I will settle with what I get. I masturbate to porn every day. I prefer teens, footjobs, granny swingers and female domination.

    You said you were looking for a honest man and here I am…”

  36. It is hard to imagine that in today’ fully entrenched FWB culture that they’re signicant numbers of men who judge a woman’s character by the number of sexual partners she’s had.Biologically speaking,it would seem logical for a man to want to be with a woman who he can trust sexually.For the purposes of passing on genes,fidelity is critically important.One doesn’t want to allocate time and resources raising another man’s child;which happens with alarming frequency.Women also have and use tactics to ensure that their mate’s resources are spent on her and the children(s).

    • Nick, mostly says:

      Biologically speaking,it would seem logical for a man to want to be with a woman who he can trust sexually.

      I keep seeing this assertion and I feel compelled to set the record straight here.
      There is no demonstrable biological basis for sexual jealousy. The idea that mate guarding is an advantageous behavior biologically speaking doesn’t have any support. In fact, quite the opposite is true as sexual non-monogamy leads to greater genetic variation which in turn is advantageous for a species to adapt to change. Females and males alike seek out a bit of “strange” even though they are socially monogamous.

      The vast plurality of animals are biologically driven to mate, often and with varying partners. Everything else is likely due to psychology, which has an inextricable social component we can’t ignore.

      • wellokaythen says:

        And, there is abundant evidence within forager or preindustrial communities that “partible paternity” is a common practice or common belief. In those cases, the culture believes or acts like every child has multiple biological fathers, and every child has men “wasting their resources on someone else’s child.” These are cultures found all over the world, and this is a system that is probably tens of thousands of years old. It’s hard to imagine that it’s “unnatural” and at the same time so ancient.

        If there is an evolutionary biological factor, it’s just as possible that a LACK of biological jealousy could give the better edge in terms of survival of the species. Or, we could take the biological imperative one step further – the MOST successful genes are the ones that can trick other men into raising your kids for you. So, maybe men taking care of other men’s babies is already built into the system anyway.

        • There’s this thing called family planning. Say I cheated, worst case scenario. I’d be on birth control and/or use a condom. If something went wrong or I was irresponsible, I’d get an abortion. If I couldn’t go through with the abortion, I’d put the child up for adoption, ideally one where I had the opportunity to visit the child. I want to *plan* my family. If I ever have a kid, I want to do it right. I want it to be a shared experience with someone I love. I don’t want a child’s life to begin out of deceit and be riddled with secrecy his/her whole life. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a wandering eye. BUT, I have no interest in “tricking” my partner…especially over something as serious as becoming a father. I’m not going around thinking “tee hee, I’m going to find someone of the same race as my partner and have him impregnate me then have my partner raise him as his own.” And in today’s world, sex is no longer just about procreation. In fact, most of it *isn’t.* Most women, even conservative ones, have been on birth control. “Creampie” is only one category in porn.

          • wellokaythen says:

            Very good points. I would also add that humans have evolved brains capable of creating birth control. So, one could argue that family planning and birth control are just as “natural” for humans as anything else about sex.

        • Historically people lived in small communities where they were related to everyone else. So, paternity was less of a issue. By raising offspring in the community, you are still helping your own genes survive, that is, even if those offspring are not your own children, they are still related to you, probably. This is a common theory for how altruism evolved in humans. Your wife is probably a cousin, the other men she might have sex with are all your cousins, brothers, uncles, etc. Sounds incestuous, but that’s how it works.

          Hunter gatherer societies are also,communal and have only weak concepts of personal property, so “owning” another persons sexuality is a foreign concept. I watched an interesting documentary once about an Amazon tribe that was traditionally tolerant of female promiscuity. This changed when the men started getting jobs in nearby mines and ranches, once they had money and learned the concept of ownership, they didn’t want to share their wives anymore. I recall one woman on the program talking wistfully about the days when she could sleep around, but now it made her husband angry. I suppose you could also look at it from the perspective that the famlies used to survive by hunting game that everyone shared. Now they survive by earning money that they don’t share, so there is more of an incentive for men to make sure they are only spending those resources on their own offspring,

          Another issue in small hunter gatherer societies is inbreeding. Many traditional cultures were aware of the dangers of inbreeding and women were actually encouraged to have sex with visitors in order to bring new blood into the tribe. This was common in Polynesia for example.

          Then there are cultures which don’t really recognize paternity at all and believe women are impregnated by spirits or other means. Raising children in those cultures is seen as a communal responsibility

          The truths, there is a huge diversity of cultural norms and practices related to sex.

          • John Anderson says:

            “Your wife is probably a cousin, the other men she might have sex with are all your cousins, brothers, uncles, etc. Sounds incestuous, but that’s how it works.”

            The first Muslim family I met were cousins married to each other. The marriage was also arraigned. I thought it was weird, but realized that in the culture they came from that was how it was. I guess everyone is related to everyone else somewhat, but the funny thing is we might noy be genetically related to our own ancestors if we go back far enough.
            One mathematician supposed that we have two ancestors 100 generations ago. There are about 40,000 genes in the human gene pool. If we took 40,000 and kept dividing it by two we would run through the entire gene pool in 16 generations or something like that. I wish I kept a link to the article.

            • wellokaythen says:

              If we take the story of Adam and Eve literally, we humans are all completely incestuous with each other. Think about it: where did Adam and Eve’s grandchildren come from, if they were the only nuclear family on earth? Creeptacular, if you ask me….

    • “Biologically speaking, it would seem logical for a man…”

      I can’t say anything about logic and biology except that I don’t consider whether any particular fantasy is optimum for passing on my genes before enjoying it.

      When I was single, I did judge women based on their sexual past… to the extent that it indicated (no/few partners) that she wasn’t very adventurous or was uptight about sex. Maybe that’s opportunistically logical?

  37. AnonymousDog says:

    “Where are the heavy weight male voices debating contemporary sexuality?”

    What’s the question here? A debate requires that we have agreed to disagree about a subject. What is the putative debate about, and whose are the two (or more) opposing sides?

    Your particular concern, Noah, seems to be the lowest-common-denominator portrayal of sex in generally available pornography. Is anyone really disagreeing with you?

    Should men and women necessarily express their feelings and experiences in ‘equivalent’ ways? That seems to be what Ms Dunant is concerned about, at least judging by the quotes you include.

  38. wellokaythen says:

    The key phrase that jumped out at me was “authentic male desire.” There’s just not a lot of space right now for that to be recognized as something that even exists. Hetero male sexual desire (just speaking about that for the moment) is most commonly portrayed in our culture as:

    predatory
    rude
    ignorant
    porn-driven
    power-driven
    competitive
    something that makes men uncivilized
    antithetical to reason, compassion, or common sense

    Male sexuality (like female sexuality still to some degree) is this dangerous thing that has to be controlled. It has to be monitored and channeled in appropriate directions. It has to be reformulated into a more politically convenient form. It has to be analyzed to death until a man has to think twice before feeling any particular attraction whatsoever.

    Or, male sexuality is often dismissed with language that suggests that male sexuality is completely simple and therefore insufficient. Notice how often the words “just” and “only” come up when people talk about men’s sexual desires. He “just wants sex” or he’s “only interested in ____.”

    Or, male sexuality is automatically childish or weird. I’ve heard several women comment that men’s attraction to breasts is just silly. They’re “just bags of flesh” is how one woman expressed it to me. (Look, just because you’re not attracted to the same things I am doesn’t mean my attractions are silly.)

    A lot of this boils down to convenient simplification, at least convenient for the people who want to sell magazines, movies, make-up, gym memberships, plastic surgery, etc. There is a lot of debate out there about “what men are really like” sexually, and there are even men making a living giving women the simple lowdown on what all men want. It’s hard to get a rational discussion going when so many people cling so desperately to simple explanations. We even elevate simple-mindedness to the level of Zen wisdom. “Men are from Mars” is an easy shorthand, so pithy that it seems totally deep, man, when it’s really just a poor description. We keep trying to “set people straight” by using simpler and simpler statements, as if that really clarifies things at all.

    We have to be willing to consider, even for the sake of discussion, the possibility that men’s sexuality may be just as complex as women’s sexuality. A lot of women and a lot of men still cannot allow room in their minds for that possibility.

    • “We have to be willing to consider, even for the sake of discussion, the possibility that men’s sexuality may be just as complex as women’s sexuality. A lot of women and a lot of men still cannot allow room in their minds for that possibility.”

      For the sake of discussion? Why not just as a given? Until proven otherwise. I don’t think my wife’s sexuality is more complicated than mine because her’s hinges on emotions. And she needs to be warmed up and she’s more willing to just do without. It doesn’t make hers more complicated and certainly being complicated doesn’t make anyone’s sexuality better… though that’s usually the sense I get when I read that sort of description.

      We’re not supposed to say it, but frankly I’d say it makes her sexuality less complicated, makes her less sexual as a person and less interesting as a partner. Because clearly, it’s not as big a part of her life.

    • The Wet One says:

      What you speak of remind of the church for some reason… Curious, since you’re not talking about diddling choir boys…

    • Quadruple A says:

      “We have to be willing to consider, even for the sake of discussion, the possibility that men’s sexuality may be just as complex as women’s sexuality.”-

      Thank you. You have identified a lot of prejudices here. Maybe someday people will see what’s going on. It looks like we will have to wait a long while until there is a sex positive movement for men.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Many men and women have a lot invested – economically, emotionally, intellectually – in the assumption that male sexuality is totally simple. There’s not much money to be made today selling a message that men’s sexuality is complicated. Oversimplification has benefits for a lot a people. (The benefits don’t outweigh the drawbacks, but there are benefits.) Women can get away with feeling superior, and men can get away with not having to talk about things they don’t want to talk about. And, simple arguments are easier to follow and easier to take for granted. The idea that men are simple creatures is something that people at both ends of the cultural-political spectrum can agree on, both radical feminists and far right cultural conservatives. “Men are simple” is an argument that is really useful for all sorts of agendas, while “men are complicated” just doesn’t seem quite as useful for propaganda purposes.

        Hell, we don’t even have the attention span anymore to read a “Ten Things All Men Want.” Tl;dr to that. We can’t have a pop magazine list any longer than 5 items.

        Whether a sexual side of a person is simple or complex is largely a matter of perspective. It depends on whether you’re looking at causes or effects. The same behavior could be called simple or complex depending on what your assumptions are. For example, let’s say there’s a man who will have sex with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Most people would say his sexuality is simple or one-dimensional. They might even say he has “simple programming.” However, you could just as easily say his sexuality was highly complex if you look at the outcomes. He’s capable of an infinite variety of sexual situations and sex partners. He has the potential for an incredibly diverse sexual history. So, is his sexuality simple or is it complex? Take your pick depending on your agenda.

        In another example, let’s say there’s a woman who has a long list of preconditions that have to be met before she would be willing to sleep with a man. Most people would say her sexuality is complex or is in a complicated relationship with the rest of her life. Women are just more complicated, right? However, you could just as easily say her sexuality was really simple. The number of partners or situations in which she would have sex is very small. Relatively few possibilities of sex exist for her. You could even say her sexual potential is somewhat narrow.

        There’s a larger meta-stereotype that is even harder to break. A lot of people associate “simple” with primitive, stupid, unevolved, and less worthy of respect, while they associate “complex” with advanced, sophisticated, intelligent, evolved, and superior. It doesn’t have to be that way. Simpler doesn’t have to mean “stupider.” Even _IF_ men’s sexuality were proven to be simpler than women’s, that does not mean that men’s sexuality is inferior.

        In response to Ben: I guess I’m still a little agnostic about it. Maybe men in general are more simple sexually than women, maybe not. I don’t think being simpler is necessarily a bad thing anyway, so I’m trying to keep an open mind. You have a good point, though. Why is the burden of proof where it is? Why not assume men are just as complex until proven otherwise?

        • I think that was an interesting point you made about the simple(limited options) vs complex (varied options) types of sexual potential. In that sense, I’d tend to think men are more complex sexually. Though, as you say, it doesn’t make any sense to conclude that simple is better or worse than complex. Or that it can be applied broadly to all men/women.

          • wellokaythen says:

            I’m still working out the kinks (so to speak) of this theory. You can have simple rules that lead to complex lives, and complex rules that lead to simple lives. You could have a simple sexuality that leads to a rich, complex sex life, and you could have a rich, complex sexulaity that results in a simple sex life. Whichever person is “simpler” to you depends on what your assumptions or goals are.

  39. Dear Noah,

    HERE IS A MAN WHO HAS STOOD UP AND SAID IT ALL FOR WHAT IT IS.

    You may like to read this book…

    The sex god – No Mud No Lotus is a thorough and sacred investigation into sex, love and authenticity. It’s a sexually explicit and passionate love story that follows one man’s evolution towards spiritual freedom. The story is told through his many erotic encounters. We follow him from innocence into sexual cockiness, painful infidelities, porn addiction and then onwards into deepest Tantric Love.

    The book explores sex, infidelity, Tantra, sex addiction, pornography, sexual healing, sacred sexuality and eco sexuality in great depth.

    Men will be understood and confronted. Women will be challenged and adored. This erotic mind, body, spirit book aims to expose our guilty and shameful relationship to sex. We live in a world with billions of sexually repressed women, billions of sexually damaged men and millions of people addicted to pornography. Something has gone wrong. The sex god prompts us all to take a good look at the assumptions that we make about our sexuality.

    Sexual energy is immensely powerful, what if we could master it?

    “Finally, a man dares to stand up and expose his vulnerability, his pleasure, his pain and his power in relation to sexuality. By standing naked before us, Ben shows immense trust in the potential for the human spirit to embrace transformation. He shows us the world through the eyes of sexual yearning, sexual licentiousness, porn addiction, and the sensual worship of women, no matter what her age. He offers a clear path beyond sexual addiction. This book stirs the deepest longings of the heart, to be free, to love and to know ultimate ecstasy.” ~Ananda Sarita, Tantra Teacher and author of Tantric Love & Divine Sexuality

    OneLove

    Ben

    http://www.benbelenus.com
    http://www.facebook.com/benbelenus
    http://www.amazon.com/sex-god-No-Mud-Lotus/dp/0957259603

  40. Quadruple A says:

    Hey, wait a minute here. I’d like a no-strings blowjob from a skinny 20 year old blonde with big boobs,.Although I’d prefer meaningful cuddles and commitment with rich (female) doctors with good tans. My point is that we should be careful not to shame desire when it doesn’t fit a norm, whether that norm is men all want big titted blondes or that they should’ t desire big titted blondes because that’s so typical.

    “‘We know about the male experience of sexual desire because we’re constantly told that everything in society has to serve it, from the public appearance of every woman alive to damn near every commercial aired.’
    Problem is, while all of that isn’t exactly untrue, it also doesn’t have anything to do with authentic male desire”

    Okay, the problem with this is that it isn’t exactly true either. Women do dress for women. And many commercials targeted toward women portray attractive women because otherwise they would be less effective. I don’t know if there is some theoretical ultimate where we can say but aha it all part of a system where its male desire at bottom. That’s a theoretical assumption that is unproven.

    And here is the point that I think this article misses. We may that men only want one thing- sex but that doesn’t mean men are free to say and express that desire..Nooooooooo. A guy who admits to wanting no-strings attached sex is still looked upon like hes a “douchebag” in our society. I brought up this with my friend the other day about what she thought about no-string sex and she said “I’m sure that you aren’t the kind of guy that would want that.”

    The sex-positive equivalent for men isn’t for men to be able to express the multiplicity of their desire. Everyone is encouraging them to do that. It’s the typical mainline male sex positivity. The real equivalent is when men have as much right to express their sexuality, however typical “douchebag” no strings attached etc, as women are now beginning to claim for themselves. The other part of sex positivity is removing the assumption that when men do want those things that it is
    “Entirely penis-based, entirely shallow, entirely about penetration and control… you know the routine.” because that leads to the belief that male sexuality should be treated differently and with less respect than female.

    Articles such as this are move in direction of sex-positivity for men. But they aren’t quite there yet.

    • Here’s the problem, Quadruple A. There’s nothing wrong with NSA sex. The problem is that some men make others look bad by lying about it. If you want NSA sex, by all means go for it. But don’t lead a woman on just to get it. Tell it like it is. The other thing is, is that a lot of men don’t respect the woman they have NSA sex with (and sometimes go and talk about it), AND eventually, that woman might want a more intimate relationship, whether with you or someone else. Casual sex gets tiring, unsatisfying, and boring after a while for many people. For many women, it’s much more satisfying within a relationship. But now, she’s a sl*t.

      • @ Aya
        If someone wants to look down on ALL men who want NSA Sex because of the actions of a FEW man, then that’s there problem.
        It’s time people stopped treating men badly because of other men’s actions.

      • Quadruple A says:

        -“tell it like it is”
        Let me address some of the peculiarities that inevitability arise with, “tell it like it is”

        In fact there are some sex positive women that will tell me that you can’t just “tell it like it is.”
        I know one women who told me that it is as easy as saying, “I’m just looking for a purely sexual relationship” When I asked, on the first date? Because certainly not when you’ve initially approached her somewhere and ask her for a date. Or even in those small casual conversation that precede asking someone for a date. Its not accepted in our society to be so “blunt” so quick. Well in response to my follow up question she completely forget that phrase and told me that a guy should never be direct and should instead say that he isn’t looking to get married. Somehow according to her own rules (which evidently change willy-nilly moment to moment) that supposedly sends the message that your motive is sexual without coming across as a creep) Yet I doubt that her own idiosyncratic hermeneutic will apply to all women. I imagine many women will take “i’m not looking for marriage” to mean, I’m looking for a nice girl but not necessarily commitment.”

        Another women I talked to said that if a guy says, “I’m not looking for a serious relationship” then that means he can’t be trusted because that’s a deliberately deceptive line. Why? Just because. She wasn’t against casual relationship but the guy had to know the right lines. Again she had her own particular idiosyncratic hermeneutic and if guys didn’t know the right lines they need not apply.

        A woman I recently talked to basically told that some women like it when a guy is straightforward but other want to be fooled a little bit at the beginning stages of a relationship. Another woman who was sex-positive said that you can’t be upfront. You’ve got to meet her on a number of occasions before you bring up your sexual motives and of course even then she will be offended.

        To say that because men can AND should “tell it like it is” in a world where its not usually acceptable to be blunt is mind boggling solipsistic and obnoxious. Its thinking that just because you feel totally comfortable with a person asking you point blank for something sexual then all men are allowed to act a certain way.

        Well I can tell you that most men will agree and even a lot of women, that that is not true.

        And of course, there is my friend who tells me should would be very offended if a guy asked her for sex. But at least she was consistent in her anti-casual sex beliefs.

        • The Wet One says:

          Again, I say that prostitution is the answer. It avoids all those complications. Then you can hit up the dating sites and find what you’re actually looking for in a relationshipship (once you’ve mastered sifting through the b.s. and seriously dating ). Pay up for your casual sex and seek relationships tension and desperation free. Genius isn’t it? Kinda gross to the many, but ah frack it. You aren’t the many are you and they aren’t living your life are they?

          • Quadruple A says:

            Prostitution is not the answer for everyone because that implies that casual sex can not have an important relational component or meaning.

            One such relationship component involves the desire to be desired. A prostitute may be doing only for the money or because of economic circumstances. Some prostitute may actually want to do what they are doing and if they so happen to be STD free then I would totally dig that possibility.

            Your prostitution solution implies that you agree that there is something to be solved. I don’t agree with your solution though.

            If you enjoy her sexuality then you might not want her to leave, because you see a desirable aspect of personality through that sexuality, even if the focus is on sex.

          • Prostitutes are women who have been abused their entire lives. Many of them have been kidnapped, sold into sex slavery, and intentionally addicted to drugs by pimps who beat them and steal the money they earned by literally being holes for unfeeling men to cum in. Encouraging men to rent their bodies and abuse them further is contributing to another human being’s misery. If a woman’s misery is a man’s entertainment, what does that say about him? Volumes.

            • The Blurpo says:

              and here we go: the shame rutine. *yawn*

              • If you can’t be upfront, I would much prefer a man hire prostitutes if he wants casual sex than to play with a woman’s emotions, lie to her, or waste her time. It’s honest and a transaction.

              • The Wet One says:

                Exactly my friend. Exactly. Why try to be honest when assumptions about whatever it is you want to do arise?

                So every woman who’s a prostitute (including those who say they’re not oppressed or abused or what have you), is all those things you say? Really? Funny that…

                Anwyays…

            • This type of generalization shows a blatant ignorance of the sex industry. While what you describe is true in many instances, there is an entire range of sex workers. The underlying commonality is of course, money. Those that are kidnapped/addicted/forced as you say are treated this way because they are catering to a low income community and have to maintain a profit margin. [“Crack Whore”]

              Urban prostitution is usually performed by immigrants with no other job prospects to survive while they build a more stable future. [“Massage Parlor”]

              Suburban prostitution is becoming more common with the slipping economy and is performed by: average struggling women trying to make ends meet; young girls exploring their sexuality; women who want a higher quality of life; and women who genuinely enjoy giving to men. [:Independent Contractor”]

              Sex workers are people, it is noble to help those who are in need of it, but it is insulting to categorically dismiss them all as victims worthy of nothing but pity.
              That attitude is a large reason many voluntary sex workers feel deep shame for doing what they want or are comfortable with. It is also why so many involuntary sex workers go back to the life or do not leave if given the chance.

              So, next time, please pause a moment before jumping to conclusions about people.

              • Yeah, every so often in my surburban community (lower middle class) you’l read in the paper about a ‘Housewife’ prostiution ring being busted (happens every couple of years or so) I wonder if that’s what all those ads that claim “Make hundreds to thousands of dollars a month from you’r own home” are really saying. (snicker)

                • John Anderson says:

                  Boys are actually more likely to be prostitutes than girls. Here are some facts according to the DOJ.

                  https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/203946.pdf

                  ◆ Juvenile prostitution as encountered by police is more likely than adult prostitution to involve multiple offenders and more likely to occur indoors and in large urban areas.
                  ◆ Police report more contacts with male juvenile prostitutes than with female juvenile prostitutes.
                  ◆ Male juvenile prostitutes tend to be older than female juvenile prostitutes and more likely to operate outdoors.
                  ◆ Police are less likely to arrest juvenile prostitutes than adult prostitutes, but more likely to arrest male juveniles than female juveniles, and more likely to refer female juveniles to other
                  authorities, such as social services agencies.
                  ◆ Police are more likely to categorize juveniles involved in prostitution as offenders than as crime victims, but those categorized as victims are more likely to be female and young.

                  Table 1 on page 5 indicates that among adult prostitutes 53% of the incidents are men prostituting themselves.

                  There was an article on the purchasers of boy prostitutes in Canada as compiled by an NGO. There was a surprisingly large percentage (at least to me at that time) of buyers who were women. I can’t seem to find that article. If I find the stats, I’ll share it, but it appears “the victims” of prostitution are largely men and boys.
                  .

            • JahBless101 says:

              I’ve read 2 comments from Cindy on this thread and I’m pretty sure she is a troll. Please do not feed the trolls.

              Also, with the growth and development of GMP over the past few months, I’d recommend setting up a registration process for commenting and contributing. I’ve been a casual reader and commenter for several months and I’m extremely encouraged by the improvement I’ve seen in content and readership (it seems like more people are visiting). This is awesome, but we need to regulate the comments in order to promote positive discourse and to keep trolls off the site.

            • Prostitutes are women who have been abused their entire lives. Many of them have been kidnapped, sold into sex slavery, and intentionally addicted to drugs by pimps who beat them and steal the money they earned by literally being holes for unfeeling men to cum in.
              Unless you’re able to back that up with some sort of proof that all prostitution works that way then I don’t think you have challenged The Wet One’s ideas on prostitution.

              Do the things that you describe happen? Yes they do. Does that represent the majority of prostitution? Even if it did does that somehow prove that prostitution is inherently bad or does that mean that there are people who engage in it with nefarious purposes?

              I recall back in June or so where someone did a post which was the first chapter of a web comic about a prostitute. She was presented in ways similar to what you describe here and more than a few folks responded no so kindly (and yes a lot of those responders were women).

              Encouraging men to rent their bodies and abuse them further is contributing to another human being’s misery. If a woman’s misery is a man’s entertainment, what does that say about him? Volumes.
              Yes it says plenty about the men that take pleasure in such misery. But what does it really say? Does it say that he is acting out in this way as a way to cover up his own pain? Does it mean that he is just an evil bastard that gets off on the mistreatment of woman?

              You seem to want to paint up this image of, “A man that hires a prostitute is a bad person and we all know why…..” when that is simply not true.

              Oh and you don’t rent prostitutes, you hire them.

          • The Wet One:

            I totally agree, most of the issues men have can be solved by going to a prostitute. However, I think some men are more into luring a woman,being dishonest, and getting it for free. Thats the problem.

        • I have been thinking about this and I think if a guy came right out and said he wanted casual sex or a NSA relationship, I might or might not be offended depending on the context. That’s why I think women give you conflicting answers. If it was a guy I didn’t know or on a first date where there was some sort of prior expectation that we were both looking for a potential relationship, yes I’d probably feel offended because I would think that he didn’t have a very high opinion of my character, or he just thought that I was good enough for sex but not good enough for an actual relationship. if it was a random guy approaching me and asking for sex, I’d also be seriously creeped out and wonder about his mental stability (because asking such a question to a stranger really violates social norms)

          on the other hand, I probably wouldn’t be offended if a friend broached the subject. Again, depending on the context. I can imagine it happening, maybe, with someone I’d had a flirtatious sort of relationship with, where we both understood that a serious “relationship” wouldn’t work for whatever reason. In that situation, it would be better knowing up front that it was strictly casual NSA sex or a FWB situation. I’m not sure I’d agree to it though because I get emotionally attached to guys I have sex with. So I wouldn’t be able to handle it well. I’d probably tell the guy, “I’m flattered but I wouldn’t be able to do that without developing feelings for you, so probably not a good idea.”. I did have a FWB relationship once but it got very complicated. Also, I had a few ONS’s in my youth and learned I don’t enjoy ONS’s very much.

          • Hmm, my experiece with casual sex or NSA sex is, casual sex is not something prepared like ” wow thats girl is hot i’m gonna talk to her and bring her to bed” “I’m gonna talk straight to her that i want to bang her” . No, its just like i get along with girl, and somehow its ended in bed. I didnt have intention to have sex with her, but its just happened. And if you would believe me, most of the time is the girl that pushed me to bed ( or pushed me to wall ). Really, i didnt use any mind tricks or cheap talking to get her to bed, its just happened. And yes, sometimes i developed feeling to girl i have casual sex with.

            • Quadruple A says:

              “Hmm, my experiece with casual sex or NSA sex is, casual sex is not something prepared like ” wow thats girl is hot i’m gonna talk to her and bring her to bed” “I’m gonna talk straight to her that i want to bang her”

              This approach precludes the need to be honest. So in that way it does address the question of how to be honest by suggesting that a way to not need it. On the other hand that may not be the only way to go about things and anyhow the prescription that you can be honest implies some way to be honest in a context where honesty is required.

              Actually the impression that a girl is so overwhelmingly hot and openly sexual that you would want to approach her with and immediate sexual purpose doesn’t happen often. I went out this very night with that intention but even though were some attractive women, none of them were quite that attractive and if they were that attractive they didn’t convey any particularly intense sexuality. On the other hand I’ve heard that many men are different than me and are in fact regularly and immediately physically attracted to women in that way. In fact that often seems to be the predominant male stereotype. I don’t know where you are on this scale and if that may have something to do with your approach to sex?

              So whether an immediate sexual desire is something that only occasionally happens to you or very frequently happens to you I would think it would be a lot nicer to imagine a world where sexual overtures were welcome.

              Another thing is that a man may want to find a relationship of that nature even if the feeling is not immediate. They might begin to look for a relationship that develops in that manner. I’m not as worried about that particular manner or approach as I’ve used to be.

              I also think that maybe in some ways you are allowing the circumstances to control what you get out of your relationships? It looks like in most of these cases it was the women who made the first move? But why? Was that because you didn’t feel comfortable making a move? Were you dating them? How exactly did that suddenly happen? In a college environment things like that seem like they can happen more spontaneously but outside that I think people go on dates or quasi-dates.

              • wellokaythen says:

                NSA means “No Strings Attached.” It took me a second to get the acronym. I was wondering why people were talking about having sex with the National Security Agency. Hot cryptographer-on-cryptographer action…..

            • John:
              A lot of men do prepare for it. Its not a chance thing. One example is the “couch date.”

          • Hank Vandenburgh says:

            I think I want to question the idea of being “offended.” (I do know that women – and sometimes men – often have a visceral response to sexual or other issues.) But I think that we’ve moved way to the right (if you’ll excuse the idea of moving right or left here) on issues of sexual communication. I’m not so dumb as to come out and directly invite a woman to have sex right away, because it usually doesn’t work, but I wonder if takling offense to the invitation is part of a new ethos here (very similar to that of my 1920s-born parents.)

            As sort of an ex-hippy, I think I remember a time when it was okay to say, “Do you want to ball?” And that people sometimes reacted favorably to that. And that that seemed to be a healthier time to me. I never proposed this quite that directly, but maybe pretty close. As did some of the women I was with.

            Some of the stances taken by contemporary women seem to be based on the man needing to go at risk (even reputational risk, the “creep” stuff,) but usually at least risk of the friendship if he’s forward.

            Abd the idea of victimhood gets fixed somehow in all this. A woman and I were telling another woman how to get her husband to do oral, and another woman (not part of the conversation) said that we had “made her see” an image she didn’t want to see, and were thus at fault. She was offended– but I think this concept has been extended way too far.

            • Quadruple A says:

              “I’m not so dumb as to come out and directly invite a woman to have sex right away, because it usually doesn’t work, but I wonder if takling offense to the invitation is part of a new ethos here (very similar to that of my 1920s-born parents.)

              As sort of an ex-hippy, I think I remember a time when it was okay to say, “Do you want to ball?” And that people sometimes reacted favorably to that. And that that seemed to be a healthier time to me. I never proposed this quite that directly, but maybe pretty close. As did some of the women I was with.”

              I think it would be much more healthy for society to return to those values that the 60’s had once unearthed. I see our contemporary values as part of a general attitude toward increasingly selfishness and insular ethos, where iPhones are given priority over human contact and openness toward the “other” is replaced by an excessive tolerance toward the intolerance that some have to another’s over-proximity.

              And what is with this idea of men needing to take risks in this particular way? That presupposes the idea masculinity is in some ways directly correlated with impinging on female grace. That places feminism and male sexuality directly at odds with each other. There are no “nice guys” in this system. Your either offending someone or you want to offend someone. It’s a weird ritual, and I imagine that this particular era that we are living in will be subject to a great deal of psychological and cultural analysis and high American literature, regarded by post-modernists as unnecessary since we supposedly post-historical creatures, once we realize how strange, and ugly!, yes ugly!, our society has become.

          • Quadruple A says:

            @Sarah Your reply brings up points that others have said to me. I wasn’t sure if you were trolling me. I asked my therapist to read this during a session, because I’ve gotten troll vibes from you before and I didn’t want to be unduly influenced by something if its not sincere. Since the ideas you bring up don’t seem especially unusual I’ll respond to those ideas.

            ” if it was a random guy approaching me and asking for sex, I’d also be seriously creeped out and wonder about his mental stability (because asking such a question to a stranger really violates social norms”

            Is it against a universe norm that implies mental instability to be straightforward? I’m not sure….

            Here is what one person recently told me on how. This person is a counselor at a university that has a blog.
            ” I guess my thought is if you are asking someone on a date you want to make it clear that you want to keep it casual. That way she can turn you down before actually going on the date. If she asks what you mean by casual, you can say you are just looking to hook up with women at this point and don’t want much else. ”
            I asked what “hook up” meant and she said:
            “And yes, when I say hook up, I mean have sex.”

            Its implied that this person isn’t just saying that I can say “hey you over there want to have sex with me?” Do you agree with this counselor?

            If you think about it honestly don’t think that it is necessarily right to take it personally if a person wants a sexual relationship with you and not a “relationship”. Relationships tend to lead to emotional expectations of commitment from a person. So its better to only be in a relationship with somebody who you are really right for and somebody who is genuinely special to you and not just special to anybody. Because everybody is special in some way.

            I think that one night stands are almost by definition something that you didn’t enjoy enough to continue the relationship. If you enjoyed the sex you would probably want to be fuck buddies and in that case you might even call it a relationship since your both fucking and your presumably want to be on friendly terms with each other. Sometimes a one night stand can become an actual relationship that isn’t just sexual.

            Please anybody who has an opinion on this, I’d hope for you to answer this. Particularly about whether you think that counselor was right.

            • @Quadruple, sorry if you’ve gotten a “troll vibe” from me, that’s not my intention ever. I define a troll as someone who makes intentionally outrageous or inflammatory statements just to stir things up and create a reaction. I’m always sincere in my comments about what I’m thinking/feeling about the issue at hand. I don’t always agree with what others say, and they may not agree with me, but I don’t think that disagreement in itself is trolling. I enjoy the discussions here because they often give me a different perspective or another way to look at things. The question in this article is “can men tell the truth about sex?” and I think that’s an interesting question, it makes me think “hmm, what would I do/feel if a guy came right out and asked for sex?” that’s kind of what I tried to express in my answer. I apologize if I’m not clear sometimes. I mostly am typing on my phone or iPad.

              When I thought about the question, can men come out and ask for sex, I concluded that my reaction would depend on the context. There are situations where, yes, I would be offended or creeped out. If a guy I didn’t know came up to me in a coffee shop or something and said he wanted to have casual sex with me, well, that is a bold statement in a socially inappropriate context. It would not be something I would expect from a “normal” person. That is an extreme example however and I don’t really imagine it would ever actually happen. Closest thing I can thing of is a time at a bar when a random guy walked up to me and asked if I wanted to go have a drink with him in his van. (!!) I assumed that was a sexual invitation. I was a little taken aback because it was so out of the blue, and said no, then avoided him for the rest of the night because he felt a little scary (I was only like 21 at the time and he was older, and seemed a little sketchy).

              I agree with your counselor that if a man wants to date me for the purpose of casual sex only, I would prefer to know that up front. I’d like him to say something like, “I’m not interested in exclusive relationships but I really like you and I’d like to have a casual sexual relationship with you, maybe one time and then maybe more than once if it works out.” I would probably not agree to it (not my thing) but I think I would appreciate the honesty, at least. It is better than dating for awhile and sleeping with him, then feeling rejected because he doesn’t want anything more than that.

              I was just being honest when I used the word “offended.” in some contexts, I would probaly be offended by a guy who just came right out and said he wanted sex from me. I wouldnt throw a drink at him but I’d walk away feeling a combination of insulted and hurt. Insulted that he would think I’m “that kind of girl” (I acknowledge, that’s my issue, going back to a sexually conservative upbringing) and hurt that he viewed my character so poorly (ditto). If I thought of him as a potential boyfriend, I also might be hurt that he didn’t reciprocate those feelings and only saw me as being good for sex. Again, maybe that’s not a rational reaction but I can see it happening.

              I once almost had sex with a friend of mine on a casual basis — we talked about it, and I decided it probably wasn’t a good idea because he was married. I was very attracted to him, and I was sorely tempted just to have a “fling,” but I don’t want to sleep with married guys. He was perfectly clear that he wasn’t planning on leaving his wife and any sex we had would be completely casual. I wasn’t offended by the offer, though I was rather perturbed by learning that he would so easily cheat on his wife (which I hadn’t realized) and that knowledge gave me a bit of a “yuck” feeling. I realized I’d been flirting with him a lot because I thought he was “safe” and I toned it way down afterwards. My bad.

            • Re one night stands: I’ll be blunt, I don’t enjoy them because it takes me awhile to become comfortable enough with a guy that I can relax and get an orgasm. I have to be completely relaxed. If I’m anxious at all, no dice. Just doesn’t happen. I usually can’t get an orgasm with a guy until I’ve had sex with him several times. Now, there is a lot more to sex than orgasms, but a ONS is all about immediate sexual satisfaction, it’s not about building an intimate relationship (by definition!). So ONS’s have always left me feeling, well, a bit meh. If I really like the guy, there is also emotional fallout because I tend to feel very emotional when I have sex. Maybe that’s the oxytocin? I feel warm and cuddly afterwards, and the idea that this guy will never call me again is a bummer.

      • The Wet One says:

        Aya, this is why prostitution exists. I.e. you don’t pay for sex, you pay for her to leave. It’s a very honest transaction. One that’s criminalized for reasons that aren’t entirely clear…

    • wellokaythen says:

      “…because that’s so typical.”

      I forgot about that tried-and-true prejudice about male sexuality. You’ve identified it here quite well. There’s a clue to how someone feels about male sexuality when that person refers to a man’s desires as “typical male fantasies.” Have you ever heard the word “typical” used in a positive way when it comes to male sexuality? Most commonly, the connotation is as an insult. How often is “male fantasy” used as a positive phrase? Not too often.

      • Quadruple A says:

        Yes, you got it. Sometimes I love this site and at other times I just can’t figure out what it is about the idea that you shouldn’t espouse misandry that people fail to get. Just treat people like equal human beings gosh darn i! But in reality life just isn’t that simple.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking this. What men get props for varies pretty widely based on the audience. Here, we get claps for dissing conventionally attractive women. Why? Because bigger girls are inherently better? If they’re all just as good, why can’t I like what I like? Because someone wants to assume I’ve been trained to want it? Because god knows there’s no reason men ought to like young, conventionally attractive, promiscuous women. Eww, just the thought of them sends me running to the bathroom… to throw up? Right.

      • I don’t think what you like is a problem. What’s a problem is when people assert that all men can or should only like conventionally attractive, thin young women with big boobs, and that all other women are ugly, disgusting and unloveable. Because, honestly, that’s the message I feel like I get from men most of the time, in most places.

        • The Blurpo says:

          @Sarah: and also from women. Actually I find women to be the one who are more critic against the esthetic of other women. I have been dating and befriended women of all sizes and appearance.
          My female friends in most of the time were the one who criticize the, not so pretty and not so fit women I have been walking with ie : you can do much better, why waste with her, honestly she’s ugly. Or she is not so good looking, were did u find her? ect.

        • @ Sarah

          The opposite message gets said alot to, especially when a man makes it known that he finds a woman who’s famous for her physical appearance attractive.
          There’s this mindset going around that if a woman has the body of someone you’d see on tv and in magazines than she’s “fake”.

        • Speaking as a man, I’ve never been told I should only like young, thin, and big boobs. I feel more often told the opposite. Generally by women… something along the lines of “real men like women with curves.” or “a real man wouldn’t be interested in someone almost young enough to be his daughter.”

          Also women never quite come out and say it explicitly but there’s often and underlying current of, “She too pretty to be smart.”

  41. Well the whole rape fantasy thing is a thorny kettle of fish.For men to even talk about it is like trying to run through a key hole lined with razor blades while not getting ripped to shreds.I’ve known women who’ve wanted to be smacked,choked,handcuffed,called sluts and ho’s and some wanted to act out the old being wonked by a big blackguy thing. Currently being choked while having sex is popular.I’m curious as to how many men have been poached.Some women are mate-poachers;they enjoy and attempt to have sex with someone else’s partner,often someone they know.This has happened to me many times.

    • Quadruple A says:

      I have to agree with you that men can’t express rape fantasies. The desire to be choked does seem common and its usually the woman who requests that. I don’t think think a man could express that desire openly.

      Sometimes sex has a dark side. And being honest about sex means being able to express and speak about that dark side. Yet men are typically in the aggressor dominant role in sex so that means that it is especially risky for men to talk about sex. Not always acknowledged is the fact that women may want these kinds of aggressive sexual behaviors and exploitation is not the only way of describing them.

      • Well, personally speaking, any man who would even express a desire to want to rape me, is a man I would run screaming from. But not before considering changing teams.

        • The Blurpo says:

          “But not before considering changing teams.”

          I dont know what you mean with changing teams????

        • Quadruple A says:

          When women talk about rape fantasies its understood to be a non-literal expression of desire but obviously that is not always the case with men. Actually were not referring to a man expressing a desire to rape you or anyone else. Somehow I suspect that you know that.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ ogwriter
      “Well the whole rape fantasy thing is a thorny kettle of fish.For men to even talk about it is like trying to run through a key hole lined with razor blades while not getting ripped to shreds.”

      How can this possibly be true, when feminists say all the time that there is no societal stigma associated with rapists whenever someone points to the damage a false rape accusation causes or when they fight anonymity for the accused prior to conviction? Sarcasm aside, I think it’s a bit more acceptable for a man to express the fantasy of being raped (CFNM) rather than raping. Maybe that’s because society doesn’t look at men raped by women as having been raped, but rather as being “lucky”. I would suspect that both of these fantasies are a form of BDSM.

  42. John Anderson says:

    I think the reason men can’t and don’t tell the truth about sex is that when men talk about sex, society and women assume that is the way that man views his relationships. What a man may value in a sex partner is not the same as what he values in a life partner.

  43. Most men are incapable of telling the truth about male sexuality, mostly because they are keenly aware that most women, and a majority of men, are incapable of hearing or acknowledging that truth. {link to Tom Cruise/Jack Nicholson scene in “A Few Good Men.”/irony alert/}:

    “You want the truth??? You can’t handle the truth!”

    Or, maybe, in this case, it’s that only a Few Good Men are capable of knowing the truth, and even fewer, of living that truth.

  44. QuantumInc says:

    Reading all this is quite depressing. To think that the ones closest to you would disbelieve you when you tried to be open about it. Admittedly your significant other would have good reason to feel insecure if your preferences in a woman didn’t match her qualities, but there are certainly powerful elements of a sex-negative culture at play.

    Something to remember is that we borrow much of our assumptions about the nature of sex from a time period when chastity was mandatory, sex was generally ungodly, and rape would absolutely destroy a woman. Example: In some parts of Afghanistan, if a woman is raped her own family will kill her to regain honor, because apparently she is damaged goods. Although some of these ideas are forgotten (except for some religious conservatives of course) other parts of that ideology persist.

    Rape is a serious threat for women. But I think the fear of rape goes way beyond the actual threat. Not to mention the ways women misidentify that threat. It colors much of what women do, from going to the bathroom in groups to friend-zoning certain men such that they mentally erase those men’s sexualities. Of course what makes these fear of rape so much worse is that the line between rape and sex is rather blurry in mainstream culture. We rarely talk about sex at all in a direct way, this article confirms it. Some people find direct sex talks to be a massive sexual turn off, as if acknowledging what they’re about to do makes it all unappealing. Probably because of the underlying assumption that you’re not supposed to consciously decide to have sex, let alone think about it rationally.

    There are also a lot of time where forceful men are seen as desirable to women. There is a great stereotype that women are attracted to “dark triad” types, even if they don’t know it. Pick Up Artists always insist that the way into a women’s heart is pretty forceful when it’s not deceptive. In “Mad Men” Don Draper once finger-raped a woman, not even out of lust, but to intimidate her, and the interwebz were alive with how sexy it was. In “Gone with the Wind” one of the greatest romantic films, the guy literally carries the woman kicking and screaming to his bed and then they cut to her with a look of massive post-coital satisfaction. “50 Shades of Grey” is a cultural phenomena among women, and it includes a romantic hero who usually ignores consent, but still gives the woman endless pleasure. In the super-popular “Twilight” series the vampiric hero recognizes that his sexuality is dangerous and refuses to have sex with the heroine (though she gets what she wants post-marriage, and then it nearly kills her). A friend of the CEO of Girls Gone Wild once defended him against a rape allegation by pointing out that he had a huge dick, (presumably pleasurable to women).

    The point being that there is a stereotype that proper male sexuality is supposed to be rather dangerous. Not something you would want to place trust in. A woman might desperately want it, but sees sex as playing with fire. It’s worth courting for the orgasms alone, not to mention the possibility of fulfilling all of the mythical female roles. However actually trusting male sexuality? LOL NO

    • Hank Vandenburgh says:

      Having been through the 60s-70s, I saw many people approach if not attain healthy sexualities. I don’t know where the current discourse portrayed here comes from, but it’s sad.

    • Quadruple A says:

      In “Gone with the Wind” one of the greatest romantic films, the guy literally carries the woman kicking and screaming to his bed and then they cut to her with a look of massive post-coital satisfaction” – The Gone with the Wind scene is usually edited to look much less offensive. In the unedited version her screams are very intense and visceral. Its almost impossible to find information about the original version on Google because of covert commercially motivated censorship (one of the results calls it the most “subtle” rape scene ever) but trust me I’ve seen it.

      “The point being that there is a stereotype that proper male sexuality is supposed to be rather dangerous. Not something you would want to place trust in. A woman might desperately want it, but sees sex as playing with fire. It’s worth courting for the orgasms alone, not to mention the possibility of fulfilling all of the mythical female roles. However actually trusting male sexuality? LOL NO”

      Its kind of a double bind which men are placed in. Fire may be hot, so hot that its intensity is beyond what consciousness is bidden to think of. Yet if men aren’t fire they aren’t as desirable.

    • I think a lot of people misunderstand the appeal of 50 Shades of Grey. It’s actually a quite conventional, formulaic romance novel. (And badly written at that.) Despite the BDSM stuff, it’s basically a story about how a mysterious, powerful, super-wealthy man falls hopelessly in love with a sweet young ingenue. They spend like half the book negotiating their sex contract before they even have any sex! They talk a lot about their feelings. He’s constantly telling her how amazing she is. He buys her a new car. He worries about her not taking care of herself. For me, the whole book was like — blech. But if people think the appeal of the book is because women want to be abused, that’s not it at all. I’m not saying there isn’t a lot of weirdness there, mind you.

  45. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    What’s happened, I believe, is that the sexual harrassment discourse has overflowed its (very appropriate) beginnings in the workplace, and begun to be used everywhere. There’s nothing at all wrong with asking men to stop street accostations. But the same murky language (e.g. “uncomfortable”) which has plagued workplace sexual harrassment cases has begun to be used outside the workplace. I’ve nothing at all against a woman getting in a man’s face, and telling him to get away, but indicting men for making women feel “uncomfortable” just offers too many chances that what the woman feels is projected. What usually happens is the she says nothing, of course, but later “reports” the man as a perv, or whatever. When this squeemish era is over, I’ll be grateful, but I probably won’t live to see it.

  46. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    I’m coming in late, folks. My theory is that much of the lying about sex is done by women. (Oh, not completely. Porn is pretty much a lie, and insofar as men are colonized by it and want it reproduced, they’re spreading a lie. I think that’s pretty much what the article above was arguing.)

    But women are giant liars about sex, at least most of the upper middle class feminist types I talk to. In recent years, I think, the idea has been to prevent men from having too much sexual kniowledge, and secondarily, perhaps, to reign in the sexual market, so that women aren’t (in general) giving it away too easily. This is the root of much of women’s slut shaming and tsk-tsking. But, actually, silencing is the main weapon. I had an encounter where a woman and I were giving another woman some help with a sexual problem on a board when a very sick woman jumped in to judge us (particularly me.) Both women who’d been part of this helping-helper triad then jumped in to also bust me for being graphic (all three of us had been.) The reaction was so immediate and so hypocritical that I started working up a theory of epistemology of women’s norms around sex, which I’ll be presenting at NYSSA this month.

    In this context, I was told I was a perv, and I am no longer able to make direct statements on that board, even helpful ones. I think that women have fallen back on a notion of repress ourselves in order to repress men. You hear TMI and such now when it would have been impossible for my generation to even think in thise terms. So, women’s silencing is a major form of lying about sex. It’s almost as though they don’t even want men to be good lovers, because it would open things up too much.

    One women told me that women talk frankly among themselves, but I know from my wife that this isn’t often quite true. They euphemize, talk around, silence and so forth in reality. To get too close is perhaps to be a “slut.”

    • Quadruple A says:

      “In recent years, I think, the idea has been to prevent men from having too much sexual kniowledge.” – This is so true. And to keep men confused. “unwanted sexual attention”? Good luck figuring out what’s “unwanted” because not all women are the same.

  47. Random_Stranger says:

    “There is a minority of men, a depressingly vocal minority, that fundamentally does think of women as a product manufactured for their consumption. And they tend not to be shy about making their opinions known, especially to women who they consider inferior product.”

    Ugh…does it really matter that these people are men? Isn’t there simply a minority of people, male and female, that use others, sexually or otherwise for their own purposes? Do not these men and women make their opinions known, especially to all people they consider inferior product?

    And why close with the limited ambition of expanding the popular understanding of male sexuality among men only? Do not the opinions, attitudes and perceptions of women towards male sexuality also form and reinforce our popular understanding of normative male sexuality?

    I get that this article may have a male audience in mind, but if we wish to ask men to speak more on human sexuality we should also ask women to do more listening.

    • Random_Stranger says:

      oh…and one more corollary: is there not a minority of women who have a vested interest in preserving the current system as much as this depressing vocal minority of men, and who commence daily by their action, expressed or withheld, for its survival?

      • Hank Vandenburgh says:

        Absolutely. And it’s a partial confirmation of the ev psych/sociobiology point of view, unfortunately.

  48. When I discuss music with my friends, of both genders, it’s perfectly acceptable to say “I like punk rock music,” and they will interpret this as “He likes punk rock.”

    Very rarely is the statement “I like punk rock,” taken to mean “He feels a sense of entitlement and that’s the only reason he’s turning down classical music.”

    Yet, for some reason, when the subject is “sex” instead of “music” the second form of argument becomes much more acceptable despite being obviously wrong. I like macaroni and cheese because I enjoy the taste, not because I feel too entitled to eat macaroni with red sauce. I like to read science fiction because I find books of that genre entertaining, not because I feel too entitled to read nonfiction. I like to hike up mountains because I like the views from high places, not because I feel too entitled to walk through a valley.

    I have sexual preferences. These preferences, though sexual, no more reflect a sense of entitlement than do my preferences for strawberry ice cream and creme brulee.

    Until this can be widely understood, I’m just not convinced that putting my voice out there is ever going to be worthwhile.

    • The Wet One says:

      I hear ya bro. It took me a number of years (YEARS!!!!) to figure out that it’s ok for me to like XYZ type of woman (mind you, a whole lot of women fall in that XYZ category). And while it’s ok for me to like XYZ type of woman, it’s just wiser and prudent not to advertise said fact. Because it just is. Opening one’s mouth and admitting to such preferences is generally damaging to valued things (like the love of my beloved Sweetie), so I do what wise men have done for a good long while. STFU. Simple, precise, actionable and successful.

      And that’s before getting into all the other complicated discussions one can have about sex.

      For the record, in case Sweetie is here, I still don’t and never really have, been all about blondes with big boobs. Blondes are so… Blah. Ya know? Common. Not really my type. Sure, I’ll turn my head, but that’s not saying anything. I wouldn’t kick ’em outta bed for eating crackers either, but seriously, dark haired girls from the world over definitely have the upper hand in attractiveness in my books.

      That’s dangerous talk right there. Best said to the void, as Mike L. so well understands…

  49. Random_Stranger says:

    “Problem is, while all of that isn’t exactly untrue, it also doesn’t have anything to do with authentic male desire. It’s a description of an imaginary average of male desire, a lowest common denominator that arises from conventional wisdom and social enforcement rather than from anyone’s pants”

    ..its also a description of a system that co-opts the male sex-drive as a means of accomplishing a commercial, political or social objective. Such artifacts of culture do not exist to satisfy male desire as an mere end in its own right -despite what feminists may think.

  50. I’m physically attracted to woman with hips, breast and butt, but who are in shape.
    Some people confuse a man’s attraction to curvy woman for an attraction to big woman.

    • Nick, mostly says:

      I don’t really have a type myself. I’d just as soon go for Christmas Abbott as I would Parker Posey or Margaret Cho. I don’t really go for extremes, although to the extent I am I’m a bit more partial to “extremely fit” than I would be to “extremely thin” or “extremely overweight.”

  51. “Authentic male desire…”

    I think there is can be so much shame involved in what turns on a male that they don’t dare admit the truth…

    I just saw a documentary about street girls (or girls “in the life”) made by GEMS/Rachel Lloyd….and it was shocking to see young girls who started out aged 13-14 groomed into that “life” by “boyfriends” (or really pimps)…it was heart-breaking really to see teenage girls (and some of them seemed downright retarded, besides emotionally immature) to be lured into servicing johns…when they get arrested they are taught to say that they are really 18 or 19 (but it is so obvious that they are so much younger)….Very few men would want to admit out in the open that they use such young street girls …..

    • Nick, mostly says:

      But what proportion of men would you say are attracted to those girls precisely because they’re underage?

      <anecdote>I remember being hit on by a girl when I was about 24 and I flirted back with her a bit (I should say I was in a committed relationship at the time and wouldn’t have moved beyond “harmless flirting”). She asked me to buy her some smokes to which I said, “here’s $10, can you get me some Suzy Q’s while you’re in there?” That’s when I discovered she was actually 15 and my attraction went from 10 down to 0, simply because the age difference went from a suspect 3-4 years to almost a decade. I suspect most men would have the same reaction I did.</anecdote>

      There are all kinds of horrible people out there, exploiting other people. Sometimes the people they exploit are underage girls. Just as often, the people they exploit are underage boys. I would avoid drawing any conclusions from this as to what men really want but might be afraid to “admit out in the open.” Those men who want underage girls? They’re called hebephiles and the vast majority of men do not fit the category.

    • And this right here is a good example of why you’ll never GET the truth. I have no interest in participating in a conversation when it’s insinuated before five words come out of my mouth that I’m a child molester or that I hire prostitutes. This is exactly the point he’s making.

      I personally have never had any problem telling folks I’m into BDSM. I don’t get judged for that very frequently. What I DO get judged for is saying I appreciate attractive bodies on women, but wanting to have sex with someone has next to nothing to do with their bodies. I’m attracted to people, not to some individual part of them, be it physical, mental, or emotional. But gods forbid I tell that to anyone… even my girlfriend has acted like I’m insane when I tried to explain to her I’d be no less attracted to her if her weight doubled, and wouldn’t want most of her friends even if they looked like Jessica Alba. My way of processing attraction really just doesn’t have the language necessary to describe it in the current dialogue.

      That’s just one example. Wrap your head around someone who doesn’t buy in to the basic premises of attractiveness in our culture, then try to imagine fitting that view into the existing dialogue. If I can’t do that, how am I to talk about the emotional conditions that make [insert relationship or sexuality topic here] when the people I’m talking at assume they already know how I think and feel just based on my downstairs plumbing? The idea is absolutely laughable. It’s like explaining the concept “Humanism” to a teabagger.

      Best conclusion I came to is just say to heck with it. I have a snowball’s chance in hell of being understood or taken seriously all but a very few close (and male) friends, so why would I try and justify or even defend feelings and desires that really shouldn’t have to be explained to people I don’t owe jack to? Why do I have to defend myself for being who I am? It’s a lot easier to smile, nod, and shut up, and I have no intention of doing otherwise until the people I am to talk to can prove they can conceptualize something other than the preexisting frames of reference. So far the number of people I’ve found who can do that can be counted on two hands.

    • The Wet One says:

      For the record, which I’m well and truly fine to admit to, I’ve had the benefit of having sex with a few dozen prostitutes. And I’ll tell ya, it was GREAT! Well, most of the time. A few times it was like, WTF did I just spend my money on, but otherwise, never a dull moment. All kinds of great experiences, cool conversations and so many hot hot hot women!

      Like everything, it got kinda old after awhile, but hell, while it lasted, dang! It was good. Still tempting to this day, but now, in that committed relationship where boundaries have been drawn and some things are never spoken of anymore at all.

      But I’m a brave (or stupid, not 100% sure on that one) soul, operating in a different country, with different laws. Yanks can’t be quite so free and easy with discussing their sexual activities.

      And no, I’m not a woman hater or woman abuser, but I know that a significant number of people reading this post think otherwise. I know I don’t have to care about what they think, but a lot of men don’t have that freedom, or even that freedom of thought.

  52. I must say that as much I am excited about the possibly of having a real adult conversation about sex and it’s consequences, I am also filled with equal amounts of dread for all of the things could go wrong. As a man I know that the role I play in society, as the cultural repository of all things sexual and evil,leaves me nervously vulnerable to attack from many different but threaded sources.These feeling are heightened because I am black.The last time I tried to have this comversation in a public forum, o it was on Dr Lou Ann Brizendine’s website and I was called a “killer male” by some hardcore feminist loon. Dr B. is brilliant and has a dazzling resume too long to list. And who has written many books, including The Female Brain and The Male Brain, in which she speaks to male and female sexuality. For me, what is just as impressive as her resume is her admission that, in the face of scientific evidence contrary to her previously held feminists views, she admits that she was wrong. Moreover, she acknowledges what most women in general and most feminists won’t admit is that feminists have been wrong on a number of issues relating to the sexes.Let’s start with truth about sex .According to the experts, based upon solid unbiased information gleaned in the search for donor matches, probably 1-10 children are unknowingly being loved and provided for by a man who mistakenly thinks the child is his.Simply put, men, good men, are being duped by their partners, who are getting pregnant by another man, duping the good man into taking care of another man’s child. Yet another reason to avoid marriage .Of course, one doesn’t hear open truth and open discussion about such niceties in pop culture.We are too busy blaming and shaming men.So, to me the biggest toxic elephant in the room isn’t what men want to say about sex, but is why can’t they? I disagree with John D.’s assertion that men are their own worst enemy( in some ways we are ) in this regard because men lack the tools of engagement; That certainly doesn’t describe my adventure.I almost never expect honesty from a woman, no matter how long I’ve known her concerning sex, unless it is in her best interest to be so;or the woman is detached enough she doesn’t consider me a threat..Most of the honest dialogue I have heard over the years has come from experienced men in my life;usually spoken in dark rooms and in hushed tones, while sipping a strong cordial.Even before I ever thought to be interested in girls, I heard that because of my gender, I would be inexorably drawn towards promiscuity( and a bunch of other stuff as well)which didn’t explain my sisters experimentation with promiscuity one bit.To understand the primary reason for this patterned deception is to ask the question,”Who’s being served?” Women are being served and this gives them enormous power and benefits in culture as the presumed innocents.Women are able to hide societal prohibited behavior in plain sight without the burden of condemnation,while pointing an accusatory finger at men. The Wet One is right about the title of the article:it blows. Lesbians and feminist use the same technique where rape and domestic violence is concerned, hiding the crimes of women by blaming men exclusivesly at the top of their lungs.When was the last to time you saw a commercial telling lesbians and women in general to stop raping and beating each other up?Never!

  53. The only voices being heard from men are the caricature (“Durr, me man want sex without commmitment!”) and the collaborator (“I agree with whatever the feminists say. Men suck!”)

    • The Wet One says:

      True, but I gotta tell ya, sex without committment is not too bad. Even regular sex with the same person sans committment is pretty darned good. Been there, done that.

      That said, committed sex is the best so far I’d say in my experience. Gets a little vanilla in a sense, but it’s still great. However, every so often, you see a woman and you kinda wonder… But can’t say that aloud. That’s nuclear bomb launching territory.

  54. And to answer the question in the title.

    Yes we can tell the truth. My question is when will the people that claim to so desparately want to hear the truth from us actually start listening rather than telling us what our truth is?

    • if you could tell the truth, what would you say?

      • If I could tell the truth what would I say? Well I’d tell the truth (at least as best I could without getting too personal) for the question of the moment.

        Let’s try. Ask me a question.

        • Ok, well… What do you think women should know about male sexuality that they don’t know?

          What do you wish people understood about male sexuality?

          What is the most important thing you feel people misunderstand about male sexuality?

          If you could create any kind of world you wanted, how would male sexuality be expressed in that world?

          • What do you think women should know about male sexuality that they don’t know?
            That sexuality for each individual male isn’t just a copy/paste job of the same “big boobs, tiny waist, looks like she’s 17 years old” girl. Yes there are a lot of guys who do embrace that but for all that is holy when I tell you that I actually do prefer older women don’t turn around and call me a liar and then tell me I’m all about disrespecting women.

            What do you wish people understood about male sexuality?
            It’s variability. I wager that if every guy in this thread right now were describe his idea of an attractive woman the answers would not be as uniform as we told they are supposed to be. And even if they didn’t what would be wrong with it?

            What is the most important thing you feel people misunderstand about male sexuality?
            The presumed lack of variability. This presumption that we must all be into the same things is a big contributor to male sexuality is so restrictive. Funny thing is when it comes to gender discourse men supposedly have the privilege of being open about their sexuality. I’ve lived as a man long enough to know that’s a load of bull. The problem is those ideas of “the norm” that are mentioned in this post have been copied and pasted onto guys and then we are told that we have this freedom and privilege when in actually it’s a mask. Sure we COULD hide behind it because if this supposed privilege is nothing more than a mask then how much freedom to males have when it comes to sexuality?

            If you could create any kind of world you wanted, how would male sexuality be expressed in that world?
            Honestly it would be real simple.
            1. Identify as male?
            2. Is everyone consenting?
            3. Is everyone being upfront (as in not committing adultery) about it?

            If the answer to all three of those are “yes” then they can just build the rest as they go along.

            • Noah Brand says:

              Heh. You and I just posted similar points, Danny. Also, right there with you on digging older ladies, man. I dated younger women for a long time, but just lately I’ve been much more interested in older women. As ever, it’s all about diversity.

              • ::Looks out the window to make sure he doesn’t see four serious ass looking horseriders::

                Yes that does happen from time to time. I’ve had a preference for older women for the longest time. Even before the cast of American Pie made it hip to like them.

              • John Anderson says:

                When I was in my teens and 20s, I didn’t have a problem dating “older” women, but that put them in their 20s / 30s. Now that I’m 45, I’m reluctant to date a woman under 30 because I can’t shake the feeling that she’s wasting her time with me and should look for someone her own age or is in some way “damaged” and I’m unknowingly taking advantage of her. That’s one reason I reject the advances of my 28 year old friend. It hurt to hear her resign herself to never being with a man. I considered allowing her to satisfy her curiosities with me, but figured it would be more harmful to her in the long run.

                An “older” woman now would mean 50 or so. My stalker made me another cheese cake. I ate it because she brought it to my job and shared it with some other employees. I figured she wouldn’t drug us all. I probably should take it seriously, but she wanted to do something “fun” and “nice” and I just couldn’t bring myself to say no besides the fact that she a customer. She’s 52. The guys thought she was about 35 and wondered why I don’t go for it. She might be OK, but I can’t get over the number as well as you know, the stalking. At this point I tend to not date older women or even women within a couple years of my age.

                Assuming I find a non-psychopathic woman in her 50s, how do you get over the number? How do you deal with people when they tell you retirement homes are not night clubs? A guy I know was dating a woman in her 60s when he was about my age and got messed with a lot. When she broke it off with him, people were saying, don’t worry maybe my grandma can fix you up with one of her friends.

            • Thanks Danny, that is interesting. I wish more men would be willing to talk about how they find a variety of women attractive, not just the cliches we see on TV and movies and porn.

          • The Blurpo says:

            well Im not Danny, but I answer that question anyways:

            Right now, Blonde girls with shapes who do nasty things with other women. Ginger girls will also do.

            A clique, I know but its the truth.

          • Noah Brand says:

            I would suggest that framing it as “male sexuality” is starting off down the wrong road. It implies a mass uniformity where none exists. Any individual man might be completely asexual, or have his desires directly largely inward to a fantasy life, or define himself entirely by his sexual exploits, or draw strict lines between his sexuality and the rest of his personality, or any of a million other variations and degrees of sexual interest and expression. “And the wildest dreams of Kew are the facts of Katmandu, and the crimes of Clapham chase in Martaban,” after all.

            I guess what I wish people understood about male sexuality is that it is enormously diverse and unpredictable.

            • I think that the problem of the mass uniformity you speak of isn’t with the people using the term male but with the people who hear the term male and apply all those presumptions. To me male pretty much means male body.

              Ideally male sexuality would be more, “I am male and this is my sexuality.” rather than “I am male so whatever you think male sexuality is about is what I’m all about.”

          • The Wet One says:

            I’ll answer your question Sarah.

            1. Variety is the spice of life. For my part, as a male, sometimes, a different lady every day is a wonderful thing. The same lady everyday can be great, but there’s nothing quite like having 3 different hot women all in the same day. It’s quite the trick!

            On second thought, is there really anything to understand to that question? Don’t we get it already? Now, could society kinder pander to our interests and lay off the guilting, shaming and formation of barriers so I can get on with my womanizing? Like jaysus! Get out of my way!!!!

            2. The most misunderstood thing is that men don’t always feel like the men described above, at least I don’t. Eventually, the emptiness of it becomes fairly apparent and impossible to ignore. That said, one always wonders about going back to it as there are always new adventures to be had. A little trip back, doesn’t mean that one doesn’t mean that one does not love the love of one’s life anymore. But try and get her to believe that. It’s generally not in the cards. Just not in the cards…

            3. I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking? Are you asking for my fantasy world? Purely in respect to sex? That’s too limited a fantasy world. At the very least it’s gotta have orcs and something like Sauron (I hate the greys of morality that plague our world. A nice clean break between good and evil would be awesome!). Could you help me out and describe this world for yourself so I can kinda tell what kind of answer you’re looking for?

            Maybe male sexuality should be a suicidal thing like with mantises. You slip her the sperm packet, and she bites your head off and eats you. At least it has the benefit of being a real death after the little death right? And you go out on a high note! Is this the kind of answer you’re looking for?

            • I think in my perfect world, beauty and wealth and status so on would have less power and both men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes could fully enjoy their sexuality without feeling they are always being judged and found lacking. Men as well as women. There would be also be no shame around sex, it would just be considered an enjoyable and fun thing to do. People would have sex because they like each other and for no other ulterior motives. No one would talk about alpha males vs. geeks or hot chicks vs. ugly chicks. There would be no need for PUA or books like the Rules. The words creep and slut would disappear from our vocabulary.

              Well I can dream can’t I!

          • Random_Stranger says:

            “What is the most important thing you feel people misunderstand about male sexuality?

            If you could create any kind of world you wanted, how would male sexuality be expressed in that world?”

            Well, I won’t pretend to speak for all men but in my not so isolated case.. but a women’s desire and arousal directed at me personally, trumps any airbrushed detached photo of a body part anytime. Yes, a women’s desire matters, it matters very much.

  55. Typically men do not communicate emotions, feelings and sentiment in the way women do. Men are more fact-based, driven by observations and data. So we talk about sports and work and cars, whatever we can quantify and make sense of so we don’t fumble over trying to express ourselves and suffer embarrassment as a result. Sex is perhaps the greatest of all subjects when it comes to being inhibited when expressing the male experience on all levels, physical, emotional, mental. So combine our general tendency to favor “safe” subjects with the inverse “unsafe” subject that is sex and men don’t seem to have much going in terms of conversation with each other. That limited access to the shared experience of our gender handcuffs men from ramping up our sexual dialogue across the gender aisle. Might a straight man enjoy anal play? Of course. Would he share that with a male friend? Almost definitely not. Women can talk about vibrators and sex, even having pleasure parties where a sales rep demonstrates toys. Men have fantasy football drafts. In some aspects male sexuality is muzzled, confined to a narrow scope of understanding. But that is our own fault because ultimately we have a hard time talking about sex openly with each other, so there’s no way we can shift the generalizations foisted upon us by mainstream culture.

  56. The Wet One says:

    Ummm… Yeah. Now that I’ve read the arcticle, I’m underwhelmed. Sure, it’s convo that needs to be had (I suppose), but I don’t see it happening.

    First of all, most people confuse sex and love. The two don’t necessarily go together though all too many are confused about that. But yeah, good luck with that conversation there folks. You’ll need it.

    The Wet One

  57. The Wet One says:

    Just with respect to the title of this article, what kind of STUPID IDIOTIC QUESTION IS THAT?

    Everyone knows that men are absolutely, positively not permitted to tell the truth about sex. Let’s not play dumb here. Jaysus!

    BTW, thanks for the stating the obvious. It’s clear that many don’t know this, but all the same, EVERYONE knows that men can’t tell the truth about sex. Women don’t like it.

    Seriously. Get real people…

    • What would the truth be? I am, actually, curious.

      • The Wet One says:

        E.g., if a man says that he generally wants to have sex with most women he sees, that’s a real problem. That’s not every man, but I assure you, that’s some men.

        Another e.g., would most men choose to be monogamous if they had a realistic choice? I have my doubts about that. Personally, given the choice, I wouldn’t be, but that’s not really something I say anywhere other than where I’m safely anonymous.

        I could go on, but every man’s truth on sexual matters is a bit different as each is an individual with their own truths. That said, a whole lot of what is true for men, remains verbotten in public discourse and in private discourse because hell is unleashed when the truth is spoken. I’ve been down that road. No point in going there. Just no point at all.

        • I think maybe what you run into is the truth that what is best for men with regard to sexual behavior and expectations is not necessarily best for women and visa versa, both in general and in particular. Monogamy is one area where I think a lot of hypocrisy reigns — most people (if we are honest) would like the opportunity to have sex with a variety of attractive individuals, but if we allow our partners to do that, there is a rather good chance that they may eventually find someone who they prefer to us, because face it, none of us are so great that we can say with absolute certainty there isn’t someone out there who is better. I honestly don’t know how couples manage to have non monogamous relationships — the insecurity would kill me. I think I’d rather be alone than deal with that kind of emotional roller coaster. But that’s just me. Anyway, I think a lot of women do feel bad in some ways about male sexuality — on the one hand you can just get sick of being the object of constant unwanted sexual attention from men (especially when you are younger) and on the other hand you always feel like the men you care about might easiy forget you in a microsecond if a prettier face/body walks by. It creates a lot of mental and emotional stress and that’s why I think some women react badly to,these discussions.

        • Most of the men I know do actually prefer monogamy. It’s not that they don’t want to have sex with other women (I’m sure they do)–it’s that if you open the door for non-monogamy, his woman will have sex with other men too. Most men I know can’t stand the thought of their woman with another man, sometimes even thinking of other men. Some men even rage if their woman is physically intimate with another *woman*. Yes, there are men out there who don’t do relationships. But most men I know actually choose to get into relationships, even when there are plenty of options for them to not. For whatever reason: intimacy, kids, someone to do shit with, love, someone to share income with/have do the chores, infatuation, jealousy, a partner in crime, parental pressure/influence, true love, whatever. It’s also a lot of work to to find a different woman every night/weekend.

          Some people are also more prone to monogamy than others. There’s a whole spectrum. Many women, if asked to be blunt, would also mention how they want to have sex with other men. Maybe not as randomly, but within the context of mini exciting affairs. There’s a difference between being truthful and being mean. Me telling a partner that I would really like to give his friend a go in the sack for a couple of weeks probably wouldn’t sit well with him. That’s why it’s tough to talk about sexuality honestly, for both genders.

          • @Aya….

            “Most of the men I know do actually prefer monogamy.”

            What about teh womenz?”

            I think you have put forth a realistic depiction of just what life is all about. It is just a real shame that we as men and women cannot be more open and honest with one another.

            Personally, I much prefer a monogamous relationship. That was always been my preference in life. However, due to circumstances….I now eschew all formal relationships. However, I cannot judge others for wanting variety. We are all attracted to a multitude of people over a lifetime. So, it is quite normal.

            In my case, because of my beliefs…..I always felt the need to exercise restraint. Though now single, I still prefer just one or two women as friends with benefits. They have been many other opportunities for sex with other women. I have passed. Just not into that.

            Anyhow. Great comments.

          • Very good comment Aya. You nailed it why people (both men and women) can’t be totally honest about their sexuality in public.


  58. We accept that in the aftermath of feminism growing up male can be hard:

    Because growing up male was easy up until about 2000 and then all of a sudden it got difficult?

    …but where are the big public conversations about men’s sexuality. The impact of pornography. Has far has our desire changed theirs? Is their line between what is and is not acceptable different from ours?
    Simple people don’t want to hear them. I’ve done posts at my own blog about men and sex toys and the myth behind the idea that male masturbation is okay. I can tell you first hand material like that only goes unnoticed or actively denied (I especially loved the person that told me that men really do have the freedom to masturbate and that it’s women that get the short end of the stick).

    Someone laments about men not speaking up about sex. Men speak up. Men are told they are not telling the truth or are just trying to silence women. Men argue back they are not. Chaos ensues. You can see evidence of this right here in the pages of GMP.


    Now, at this point traditional feminist thinking splutters “Hang on a second, men’s voices are all we hear about sex! The male gaze is so prevalent that women’s conformance to it is our main source of human value. Porn is manufactured in vast, immeasurable quantities, almost all of it aimed at male desires. We know about the male experience of sexual desire because we’re constantly told that everything in society has to serve it, from the public appearance of every woman alive to damn near every commercial aired.”

    Which of course contributes to that male silence. Men try speak up but since in the realm of gender we are actually all the same it’s assumed that we are just going to say the same thing. Kinda like the argument that men don’t need their own spaces because…wait for it…the whole world is a men’s space. (Yes we simultaneously have the privilege of speaking freely and the oppression of getting shut out of sexual conversations, both because we are male….)


    The gravity in this metaphor is the endless drag of enculturated assumptions, hegemonic masculinity, all the ideas that there is a way men are supposed to be, and if you do not resemble that imaginary norm you are Doing It Wrong.

    Well of couse this happens. We can’t have men actually speaking for themselves can we?

    • @Danny

      “Men are told they are not telling the truth or are just trying to silence women. Men argue back they are not. Chaos ensues. You can see evidence of this right here in the pages of GMP.”

      I’ve seen the same thing, this comment for example actually went on to be “comment of the day”:

      “What does your appearance have to do with your being a creep? Quit creeping on people. Read body language. Get over yourself. Have a sincere conversation. Quit being so predatory. That’s it.”

  59. John Anderson says:

    Are you talking about sex or are you talking about relationships. In my mind they are two different things. I’m physically attracted to the beer commercial / centerfold / model / porn star type woman, but looks aren’t the most important thing to me in a relationship. One of the problems with society is that they don’t give men (and boys) credit for understanding the difference between fantasy and reality.

    I’m not sure how the trend is going, but there is a group of guys I know in their 30s who like thick women, women who are closer to average dimensions. I’m not from that generation and don’t keep up with the younger set, but I’m wondering if this article is supporting stereotypes of men as it simultaneously blasts men for it.

  60. I’d like to hear straight men fess up about their one-offs with other men, about their male crushes and romantic friendships. Having participated, as a gay man, in all of the above with straight men and having written about it, I’m always surprised that straight men don’t. Or maybe I’m not surprised.

    There’s an article on Good Men Project, a good one, about this subject, but it’s not in the man’s own words. And he’s anonymous. So falls a bit short.

    • It will remain anonymous Rick because of the simple fact that men are not allowed to experiment or enjoy anything other than straight vanilla. Ask almost any man who has admitted to a girlfriend/woman doing something that is out of the male stereotype and you will know the problem. If you’ve ever kissed a guy, you are 100% gay. Most women want absolutely nothing to do with a guy who has ever done anything with a man and a huge percentage of people think that bi men don’t exist and are just on their way to gay. Men can’t like kink or bdsm except as a dominant and we certainly cannot enjoy things like crossdressing. Men shame other men and keep them from admitting to enjoying a more diverse sexual life but the biggest culprit is women. Most men are afraid of sharing their desires with women because most women will be repulsed and shame them for it. Men are far less able to be open about what they want and desire sexually than women because women are far more judgmental in this area than men. When asked about fantasies and desires you get men who say how they want a three some with two women and the other go-to BS instead of what they REALLY want, because they don’t want to be judged as less a man and they really don’t want to lose a good relationship because they get branded gay.

      • I don’t think the “culprit” is women as a group shaming men. If it is, then surely their male peers do just as much shaming.

        • That is entirely possible. Depending on where one grew up (meaning culture, location, race, religion, etc….) it is entirely possible for a guy to grow up in an environment where it can be clearly seen if women or men are more responsible for gender policing/shaming.

          I can say for myself that whenever guys have tried to come at me over something like keeping my nails long I can end the questioning in a few seconds by standing my ground. Women on the other hand? No they seem to be unable to handle the idea that a guy might have nails that look better than their own.


          If you’ve ever kissed a guy, you are 100% gay. Most women want absolutely nothing to do with a guy who has ever done anything with a man and a huge percentage of people think that bi men don’t exist and are just on their way to gay.

          Pretty much. It’s nothing for a woman to declare that any man she dates better be 1000000% percent straight. It’s almost as if her guy cheats on her with another woman she’ll be cool but if he cheats on her with another man then it’s time to pull out the handbaskets for a one way trip. And from what I can tell fear of AIDS does not compeletely explain this stance.

      • I’d be hesitant to get involved with a bisexual man because I’d be worried about STD’s, mainly. Also, I don ‘t know if there’s any basis for this, but I’d worry that he would cheat more than I’d worry otherwise. It seems like there would be a lot more opportunity. As for cross dressing etc., I’m not interested in women, I’m interested in men. I wouldn’t be at all attracted to him if he wants to play with being girly or having a feminine role. I’m not judging anyone for those feelings, I think it’s fine, but it would not be a turn on personally. Some women might be okay with it. I don’t think most guys would be too excited if their girlfriend wanted to dress up as a lumberjack — and I dont mean a sexy “lumberjack” I mean with a fake beard or something. When men say they like lesbians, they like girly lesbians, not unshaven granola dyke-y lesbians.

        My boyfriend once asked me to role play being in a dominant role where I bossed him around and he had to “please” me. I went along with it but it felt super weird and basically I had to fake enjoy it because it really just felt silly to me. I’m willing to do it once and awhile but I’d get tired of faking it if I had to do it all the time! Bless his heart. I’m glad he felt secure enough to share that fantasy and I was a good sport, but honestly it’s not my thing. I like the yin-yang male-female energy during sex, and I like being the female.

        • Nick, mostly says:

          Because… men have higher rates of STIs than women do? The research is mixed on this.

          As for infidelity rates, unfortunately there aren’t any good statistic to go by. However there is research to support the idea that people of all genders and sexual orientations are less likely to cheat when they enter into committed relationships. I’d probably take my chances on the bi-guy who wanted to put a ring on it over the straight guy who doesn’t know where this thing is going.

        • Sarah, I wasn’t really talking about bisexual men or men on the down-low, although it would be great to hear from those guys, too. Rather, I was talking about the predominantly straight men who have had a sexual experience or two with other men and what they felt about it.

          Did it make them feel “gay” or less of a man? Did it change their sense of identify at all? Was it no big deal? Or whatever. We never hear from those men, or rarely. Or if we do, it’s often anonymously. Having played with enough of them, I know they’re out there. It’s just that gay men who are part of such an experience seem to be the only ones willing to talk about it.

          And maybe it’s because of fear of comments like yours.

          As for the rest of your comment, I confess it left me a bit confused. Lumberjacks? What?

          And is there evidence that bisexual men are more likely to have STDs than men who slut around only with women? I don’t know. And who was talking about sluts anyway?

          • What I meant about lumberjacks is that both men and women tend to have ideas about what kind of gender roles they want from a partner. It’s true that I don’t think most hetero women would be interested in their boyfriend cross dressing, but most men aren’t interested in having their girlfriend dress in a masculine way either.

            I don’t know what the stats are on STD’s, but I thought I should be honest that would worry me about a bisexual partner.

            • Random_Stranger says:

              Glad you’re in touch with your fears…having expressed them so, you’d probably be well served in grounding them in a basis if possible, or understand your bias if not.

          • And BTW, I was responding to Anon

        • Nick, mostly says:

          As for cross dressing etc., I’m not interested in women, I’m interested in men. I wouldn’t be at all attracted to him if he wants to play with being girly or having a feminine role. I’m not judging anyone for those feelings, I think it’s fine, but it would not be a turn on personally.

          I must say, episode 15 of the Sex Nerd Sandra podcast really had me thinking about the role of fantasy and role play in sexual expression, and the idea that a particular “scene” isn’t necessarily our identities. That is, just because she dresses as a lumberjack for a night doesn’t mean she identifies as a man.

          That’s probably the big thing that stuck out to me in your comment – a sort of equivocation between role playing a particular identity and inhabiting that identity. Having worked in a catholic high school, actual teenage girls are the farthest thing from sexy in my mind. If my partner, however, were to want to role play as naughty teacher/student I feel like I could distinguish between the particular role she was playing and the reality of actual school girls. I wouldn’t suddenly become unattracted to her because she was 20 years my junior.

          That’s not to say there aren’t people who do identify with the roles they want to play. I don’t know if you see the distinction there and whether that distinction makes a difference to you.

        • I figure different strokes for different folks. Some guys don’t like some women and some women don’t like to date certain guys.

          Although as far as STI’s go I find in my experience that men who identify as straight and are in their 40’s living in a small town tend to me much more careless with unprotected sex than the bi or gay men I know and to a degree younger men who are straight.

          As for cheating. I’m a bi female and have had men who wouldn’t date me because they felt bi equated to slut and that obviously I would cheat on them. I’ve had other men who saw the bisexuality as a security blanket as in at least I won’t be interested in other guys (which was a leap in logic) and that if I slept with another woman it’s not cheating it’s hot. These guys didn’t last long in my life either.

          I’ve dated bi men. I found those relationships to be quite satisfying and I didn’t worry about their cheating. I’ve been cheated on, the mistress and the cheater. One thing I’ve learned in all of that is that it doesn’t matter what orientation a person identifies as anyone can and may cheat. One of my bi boyfriend had been all of the above as well and what interested me is that he was the mister to a few straight identified men in hetero relationships. Bet their wives would be absolutely shocked.

  61. Noble concept,but I don’t see it happening in my lifetime. Why? You speak of men discussing this as a single gender group and women will just not let that happen. Sure, you have totally gyno-centric sites(Jezebel and others) ,but ever notice that even on sites like this that are suposed to start conversations by men about men there is a heavy female influnence. I’m not saying that’s good or bad I’m just saying that anytime women dominate a conversation, you’ll just get what I call the ‘Yes Dear’ syndrome. It’s how we’ve been trained our whole life( who of us didn’t yes our moms and then go do what we wanted towhen we were younger) You just figure out at a young age it’s easier to keep quiet and ‘yes people to death’ when necessary

    • AMEN BROTHER.

    • Random_Stranger says:

      “…conversations by men about men there is a heavy female influnence.”

      Its called the “female gaze” and it tends to dominate our perspective on what is healthy and normal affecting all things interpersonal, including sexuality.

    • John Anderson says:

      “It’s how we’ve been trained our whole life( who of us didn’t yes our moms and then go do what we wanted to”

      So true, that’s why my mom still thinks I’m an angel.

  62. Allelujah!! Finally…

    There is however one key problem with the whole issue… Womens rights, opinions, etc… seem to be equally brandished about by a similar sort of vocal minority akin to the trite, BS magazines that tell women how to think this month, what position to try and whether they should be eating celery or nothing but sprouts.

    Men are considerably worse, identifying more with their sports team tribe than they do with each other and there’s still this whole Macho attitude where you don’t discuss your feelings, much less what you’d like to do with round peg A and slot/hole/[other] B. You might as well ask them if they knew their parents had… you know… S.E.X. for all the information you’ll get out of them..

    Perhaps I was lucky (and perhaps not), I couldn’t stand the macho BS, got “in touch” with my inner self and confused the proverbial out of myself for years but along the way I spent considerable time living, studying and then working in a predominantly female environment where you couldn’t help but follow example.

    There’s only so many months before an individual finds himself as “one of the girls” in an environment like that. One where frank and very eye-opening discussion, debate about ALL topics encourage you to be the same. All this talk about men being obsessed with the size of her jugs, etc… is nothing compared to the millimetric detailed character assassination this “harmless” girl chat involved but that’s a side issue.

    What I learned above all else is that the women I knew and know, REALLY wanted was equally as complex, as most men.. And if they ever actually realised that the key is to actually communicate… you know… with each other!… then there would be a whole lot less complaints, and probably less time spent watching the TV or pussyfooting around bad sex (edit: Yes, awful, unintended pun!)

    Frankly, the point where men actually start discussing sex frankly will come sometime after other issues such as proper equality where discussions about making Corporate directorship quotas based on things like “no more than 40% of one gender” rather than “minimum 40% women”… or parenting benefits, access rights, etc.. based on the person rather than the gender… Once those issues can be addressed, spoken about and not drowned out in a roar of extreme feminist outrage, then, may’be we can expect men to start saying what they think, fell and desire… It’s a long flipping road.

    • Random_Stranger says:

      “no more than 40% of one gender”

      Do you mean “50%” or is there a third gender I’m unaware of? Or maybe you meant that 20% should be classed as neither/both gendered???

      • LOL… Realised I got that a bit wrong… *epic Logic Fail* That should have been:
        “No less than 40% of one gender”

        But to come back to the point… I probably should have been clearer.. I believe Germany has indicated that boardrooms should have no less than 40% female board members. So you could have 100% female, or 60% male/40% female but no more than 60% male…

        The point was that by focusing in on what women should get to detriment of everything else is short sighted and frankly patronising to women. If the rule is “No less than 40% of any gender” the same effect is covered without positive discrimination.. It’s inherently fairer.

        But this all distracts from the whole point of the article… So moving on…

Speak Your Mind

*