How About We End the War on Sex?

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Mark Greene

GMP Senior Editor Mark Greene is an Emmy Award winning animator and designer. He blogs and speaks on Men's Issues at the intersection of society, politics, relationships and parenting for the Good Men Project, HLN, Talking Cranes, The Shriver Report, The Huffington Post, Mamamia and Role Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter @megaSAHD and Google.
Click here to read more GMP articles by Mark Greene. Get Mark's fully illustrated children's book FLATMUNDER for iPad from iTunes about kid's fears and the power of play. For kids ages 4-8.

Comments

  1. FlyingKal says:

    Hi Mark,
    You forgot,
    “#8. Sex: I’m quite happy without it, and therefore so should you, thank you very much”

  2. JOhn Schtoll says:

    Actually Mark, men aer called ‘dogs’ , ‘users’, ‘lowlifes’, and are the subject of countless daytime tv talk shows.

    • Loverats (if they are promiscuous whilst married), Creeps (if they’re not promiscuous but are trying to be), Leches (whether they’re promiscuous or not but are trying either to start to be or continue to be), Losers (if they’re not promiscuous, want to be but have given up trying to be), bastards (if they’re successfully promiscuous), pervs (run out of parenthetical comments… er… if they’re promiscuous in a less conventional way I guess), sleezeballs (if they’re open about their sexuality). I’ll admit their are less but there are plenty of words that shame men about their sexuality.

      As for the slut/virgin dichotomy we do have our own; I went on a dating website near the beginning of this year (yes, I know “desperate”? Yes I was. P*** off); it wasn’t one of the dating websites I stuck with by the way, it was one of the one’s that I very quickly decided wasn’t for me (I stuck with Tastebuds in fact which very sensibly matches people by music taste which is quite a good indicator of compatibility if you ask me… check it out. I only got two dates out of it… only one of which was successful, but since this is two more than I got from any other I’d say that’s a good recommendation – and it’s free and there’s no air of desperation about it because whilst you’re failing to meet someone you are at least swapping music recommendations – oh my god I’ve just done a sales pitch – that was inadvertant) but this other website asked me the direct question “Are you a gentleman or a player? Be honest.” – er… How does one answer that; it’s like saying “Are you untrustworthy or no fun at all? Be honest.” – oh so this is that slut/virgin dichotomy girls are always complaining about. Er… I’m someone who likes sex, has a high sex drive, but likes to be sincere, honest, open and respectful to the needs and desires of my partner, is certainly more than capable of monogamy but if that’s not a mutual preference would rather be open with each other about the subject rather than keeping each other in the dark, and admittedly probably won’t be ready to make a long term commitment straight away… what… does… that… make… me?

      Gentleman or Player! I don’t want to be defined in those narrow terms! Bugger off.

      Hence I opted for a site instead where I could say “I like Radiohead, Tom Waits, Muse, The Doors, Cohen, Dylan… etc. etc. etc.” those are terms I feel far more comfortable being defined by!

    • John Anderson says:

      Don’t forget man ho or himbo.

    • John Anderson says:

      One other thing. We shouldn’t forget that sometimes women who don’t put out get shamed too. They might be called a tease (sometimes dick tease or cock tease). She could be called frigid. If she accepts gifts without putting out a user or possibly gold digger. It may not be as cut and dry as the author states. The shaming isn’t just dependent on the actions or inaction of a person. It’s also dependent on the motivations of the shamer. How do they want to control the other person’s sexuality.

      • John, that is a brilliant observation. In fact it is almost impossible to avoid shaming from one quarter or another for your actions or inactions and the only way to not go completely mad from the double binds is say f*** you to the lot of them! Anyone who shames for whatever reason.

  3. Doug Zeigler says:

    God damn that was spot on, Mark. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest reading the excellent book “Sex at Dawn” by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá. It explores what sex and relationships were prior to agriculture making us stationary as opposed to nomadic. Really makes you think.

    As a father of 4 with one of our daughters recently turning 12, I find myself struggling with how to respond to any sex/relationship question she may pose. Hopefully I can remain as open-minded in my response as my mind wants me to be.

  4. Hi Mark
    May I ask you some questions :
    Obviously we need some rules and regulations for sexual activity.

    What kind of rules for sexual activity do you support Mark Green?

    As soon as I started to think about a society totally without rules and regulations for sex I see many problems. I am glad it is not my task to make rules and regulation! I felt more helpless the more I speculated about this issue. It is far more complicated than I first though.

    Here is some of my thoughts:
    *Different religious groups have different rules. The rules and regulations in Islam and Christianity is not exactly the same, but both have strict rules. Anyone that want to follow the rules for their religion must be free to do so unless the rules are against our laws.

    I think we need to protect the vulnerable:
    *Children
    *And other extremely vulnerable people need protection.
    *Animals need protect from sexual abuse.
    * laws that prohibit spreading dangerous STD.
    *laws against falsely accuse men of fatherhood, when they are not the father. But this is not rules about sexual activity.
    *all sex must be consensual.
    * we need values that say never exploit or lie ,trick others into sex,or have sex with others when you understand that this will harm them emotionally or otherwise. This is one is difficult!
    *we need values that say value yourself,have self respect sexually.
    *…….WHAT MORE?
    What other rules do society need for our sexual life Mark. What is your suggestions?

    Are all the conflicting and negative views we now have a result of different religious beliefs,history and our focus on the family,and marriage to be the institution to be protected ? And who benefited historically from the sexual suppression of women? Why this massive suppression even today?

    It is easier to control a person that is sexually suppressed.

    Europeans have a different values from you in America about sex, nudity and circumcision.

    • I didn’t get the sense that he was suggesting NO RULES. I don’t think he was even talking about any kind of written rules, just social mores and how we ought to change them for our own sake–i.e., stop defining female interest in sexuality as slutty, and stop defining men as evil dogs. I would say that would help relieve the pressure on individuals and help lower the incidences of warped sexual behavior, especially that which IS harmful (children, rape, etc.).

  5. PursuitAce says:

    End the war? Well do we casual observers have a say? You’ve got to give us some entertainment.

  6. As Lynn Saxon writes in “Sex at Dusk: Lifting the Shiny Wrapping from Sex at Dawn”, when some bees do it the penis explodes and the male drops dead. In other bees they sexually harass females so females can’t feed. In others the males fight until they are all dead, sometimes females are killed in the crossfire. As for birds, there’s a lot of rape in waterfowl, and some infanticide by males, as in many other species (eg lions, gorillas, various monkeys).
    Come on folks – sex in the natural world is full of nasty stuff. Cut the crap about it being harmless fun.

    • We’re not insects! The more intelligent a species is the more harmless the fun appears to be; Bonobos and Dolphins seem to be able to enjoy pleasurable victimless sex.

      We’re not talking about being reckless, we’re talking about guiltlessly embracing it and stop judging each other over it, aren’t we?

      • Dolphin males form alliances, abduct a fertile female, and prevent her escaping while they all mate with her. As for bonobo sex, “Sex at Dusk” provides convincing evidence that most of it is about females getting to food, for example, males will move ahead to a food source and the females don’t get to eat until they have sex with the males.

        Gary is making the point that getting our DNA into the future is behind our desire for sex and that this is a powerful, natural force. As he says: “Make little portable packets of your DNA. Run out and add them to the gene pool. Repeat.” (Not that females are making millions of these little packets everyday, nor do they have the potential to keep repeatedly adding to the gene pool in the way that males can.)

        Of course sex means a lot more to us and of course most of us are decent people who wish no harm. And, of course, religious sexual shaming can cause untold misery. But no, we’re not going to find evidence from other species that sex is nothing more than harmless fun. I doubt very much if sex can ever be guiltlessly embraced because I suspect that millions of years of evolution that produced traits that got some genes into the gene pool and excluded others (i.e. includes inevitable competition and conflict) is going to include stuff that is unavoidably selfish (conscious or otherwise). In fact, it is more likely to be selfish if we refuse to acknowledge that there is a darker side to our own (male and female) sexual natures.

        • For the record, the animal kingdom is invoked here not to make a case for nice sex but for the primacy of sex as a central motivation for human animals. A motivation some people seem to feel is to be suppressed and shamed.

  7. Re: Iben, yes, all religions have their own rules. What should NEVER be allowed is for any particular religion to be in control of the laws that govern all of us. In the US the conservatives in the tea party are trying to institute their version of Sharia, which is the Islamic set of codes that must be followed or you will be punished…and most likely you will be a woman. This is what must be stopped! People are in charge of their own bodies–keep your religious beliefs to yourself, poisoning only your own family, not mine! That means that ADULTS, male AND female, choose whether or not to have sex and with whom. As long as it’s not rape, or forced, then it’s consensual and no one else’s business. Unfortunately we have all been inculcated into a system of morality based on extreme versions of Christianity that say sex is evil, particularly for females.

    Traditional marriage process? They date, he tries, she says no, not until we’re married. He’s so horny he finally proposes. After the ceremony he thinks “now I’ll get sex anytime I want it, and I don’t have to woo her or compliment her, or even bother to shave anymore.” She thinks, “Now I don’t have to do any of those nasty things he kept wanting me to do for him anymore.” See where the problem comes in? Both are unhappy and unfulfilled. He looks for ways to cheat with females who he will have to woo, she looks for ways to cheat with males who will make her feel special. Simple solution? Stop calling women bad names for wanting to explore their own sexuality, so they can discover what they like and how often. Then they can choose a mate with those same predilections. Now that’s a formula for happy marriages.

    • Hi Fiona

      I agree 100% when you write:
      “Re: Iben, yes, all religions have their own rules. What should NEVER be allowed is for any
      particular religion to be in control of the laws that govern all of us”

      Yesterday I read about a Danish Muslim sexologist ,and how she gave advice to Muslims about sex. Can a Muslim have oral,anal, and use sex toys? It is interesting to read, but it is unfortunately in Danish:
      http://www.information.dk/469186

      I have absolutely no problem with the fact that persons of different religions have different rules and regulations. If somebody do not use contraceptives that is their choice. Etc.

      I can not see why we all can live peacefully side by side without trying to control each others behavior unless we hurt each other. And what gives one little group the right to set the standards and laws for everybody else?

      Meat eaters and vegetarians manage to be friends. Car-free bicycle lovers can be friends with persons that owns cars.

      I can be friends with persons that live in polyamorous families,and persons that value monogamy. What is the problem?
      There are some limits to my tolerance. Phedo sexual behavior ( phedofile) one thing i do not what I tolerate. I also have some other limits.

      Why can’t we tolerate each others differences and still live peacefully together in a society ?
      America must be one of the most multiethnic and multi cultural societies in the world,so why this strict narrow minded views on sex?
      Do you only elect Puritan politicians? No you do not,Kennedy and Clinton was not Boy Scouts.

    • @Fiona

      “Stop calling women bad names for wanting to explore their own sexuality, so they can discover what they like and how often. Then they can choose a mate with those same predilections. Now that’s a formula for happy marriages.”

      How about women stop marrying men whom they are neither sexually attracted to or even love.

      Now that’s a formula for a happy marriage too!

  8. I’d forgotten “himbo”. “Himbo” comes under that whole heading of being “whipped” doesn’t it? If you’re getting lots of sex, but it’s suspected by friends that the lots of sex you’re getting is on her terms instead of yours, it’s “you are whipped”. But “himbo” is kind of tied up with the “whipped” idea; it’s the idea that you are tailored to women’s tastes rather than an individual. Perhaps himbo is more plural women, whereas whipped is singluar woman, but the idea is still “you’re getting sex, but we’ll still spin that somehow to make it seem like a bad thing”.

    How much puritanism in our culture is actually down to jealousy and envy? Are we more judgemental of girls who are promiscuous because we know it’s easier for them to be so and we would do the same if we could and don’t feel it’s fair?! And isn’t that also why the older we get the more judgemental we get towards the promiscuous young? Why those in unhappy marriages are more judemental towards promiscuous singles? Isn’t some homophobia down to the fact that the gays appear to get more sex than us? (although that’s a generalisation that isn’t true in all cases; I have a gay friend who finds it equally difficult as any single heterosexual and it would probably be very hurtful to him to suggest that he is in a priveliged position – it would compound his feeling of failure even more). But people who are struggling to get the sex they want, I think, generally are more judgemental towards those who aren’t struggling as much.

  9. John Anderson says:

    One thing I don’t believe was touched on are the reasons for the war on sex. The state doesn’t want to be burdened with the cost of a child so they push the cost on to (mostly) fathers. If women control the supply and men provide the demand, who benefits from this? We know that there are billions poured into cancer research / prevention every year, particularly breast cancer. How much money would be lost if there was a cure?

    “(Reuters) – The Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity defines its mission as finding a cure for breast cancer. In recent years, however, it has cut by nearly half the proportion of fund-raising dollars it spends on grants to scientists working to understand the causes and develop effective new treatments for the disease.”

    “In 2011, the foundation spent 15 percent, or $63 million, of its donations on research awards that fund studies on everything from hard-core molecular biology to the quality of breast-cancer care for Medicaid patients.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/08/us-usa-healthcare-komen-research-idUSTRE8171KW20120208

    and part of the research is to study “the quality of breast-cancer care”, which doesn’t seem to me to be looking for a “cure”. Prostate cancer by comparison gets almost no funding, but scientists have found that Viagra can minimize the side effects of Doxorubicin so it can be used to treat prostate cancer.

    “Lab tests on cells and mice found that when the anti-impotence drug was combined with powerful chemotherapy it not only reduced the size of tumours but also protected the heart at the same time.

    The US team are now planning to carry out clinical trials on patients to see if the results are just as successful.

    Doxorubicin is a standard chemotherapy drug that works by triggering cancer cells to commit suicide but its use is linked with irreversible heart damage – often occurring several years after treatment stops. ”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8028038/Viagra-could-treat-prostate-cancer.html

  10. Hi John

    You lost me when you wrote :
    “✺One thing I don’t believe was touched on are the reasons for the war on sex. The state doesn’t
    want to be burdened with the cost of a child so they push the cost on to (mostly) fathers. If
    women control the supply and men provide the demand, who benefits from this? We know that
    there are billions poured into cancer research / prevention every year, particularly breast cancer.
    How much money would be lost if there was a cure?”✺

    What are the reasons for the war on sex,that is the question .
    But tell us why do you bring breast cancer into the discussion ?

    Are there any other reasons for war against sex than the value to protect the institution we call family, and monogamy?

    Sex before marriage is said ( by Christians) to threaten marriage and the family.

    Having lots of singles running around having sex makes it hard for all the married people, it increases chances of infidelity.

    Is the family less important in societies that are more positive to sex outside of marriage?

    .

    • John Anderson says:

      Hi Iben,

      I included the part about breast cancer because some people have suggested that the sheer amount of money that is spent on breast cancer is an impediment to finding a cure. If an organization makes 100 million a year to fight a disease should they spend it on trying to eradicate the disease knowing that it will put an end to its cash cow or does it spend it on treatment knowing that fear and pain will lead to additional contributions.

      When we talk about the war on sex some profiteers like pornographers and condom manufacturers are obvious. There are others who may not be as obvious. Let’s assume for a second that men use sexual violence to control women. To keep the patriarchal structures in place, they may encourage boys to be insatiable beasts. Let’s also assume that women have special protections and access to resources in society to act as a buffer against men. The people who provide those resources as well as some who may unscrupulously benefit from those protections to control men (It might be useful to be able to have your husband arrested on your word only.), may have an interest in ensuring that certain gender roles/stereotypes remain intact. A group of reactionaries may arise who try to weaken those protections / resources, which could lead to increased abuse and the war continues.

      When people define themselves strictly in terms of opposition to something else they run the risk of winning and losing their identity. Could they be purposefully rejecting the idea of a middle ground to ensure opposition? You have people who are strict abstinence is the only way to prevent births and those that are abortion on demand. Most people are believe are in the middle, but the conversation is controlled by the extremes because they have the most to lose.

    • FlyingKal says:

      Hi Iben,
      Is the family less important in societies that are more positive to sex outside of marriage?

      Family as an institution is probably (I’d say undoubtly) less important in those societies, yes.
      But if by “family” we mean people we know, love, grow up and spend time with, I would say No, probably not.

  11. Tom Brechlin says:

    A lot of people are thinking about sex a lot of the time??? Really? And how do you come to that conclusion?

  12. As a woman in her early twenties, I’ve come across a lot of emotionally immature guys my age whose misogyny stems from their inability to get layed. They resent women for not responding to their attempts in the way they want. You try to explain to them that gender inequity still exists (the pay gap, workplace, violence etc.) but they think it’s all bullshit because they can only think about it in terms of sex. And sex is one of the only situations in which women have the upper hand…you know, because men are horny all the time and can’t control their impulses and always have to try so hard, whereas women just have to be there.

    • I agree with what you wrote, Sophie…PUAs call emotionally immature guys “CHODES”….so easy for guys like that to blame others for their problems…Tyler Durden does a weird funny voice (that sort of sounds like Cartman from “South Park”) of a “CHODE” on a negative rant and complaining about stuff…(NOT ATTRACTIVE!)

  13. The Steinmetz article is rhetorically effective, like most nihilistic statements are. You swing at a set of restrictions that everyone tends to bristle at, but are non-committal (like Steinmetz himself) about what you think the world would be like.

    So, when someone says, what’s this Ferrett guy talking about!? One person can say, well, he doesn’t mean be promiscuous…. He means find love. Another person says, well, obviously, he’d tell his daughter to use protection. Another insists on testing. Some say that all sex except strangling bdsm is green lighted. And on it goes. Everybody assumes that some reasonable limits to sexual expression MUST be suggested by parents. But failing any sort of consensus, we are left with an idiocracy of the lowest common denominator…. Or worse, one capricious individual asserts an arbitrary line, and then everybody gets mad.

    This is not ‘culture’…. It’s the opposite. It’s what the Tea Party does when they say down with government. Joe blow says, keep your hands off my medicare. Jane doe says, but I like the library. Jimmy sweat says, don’t touch defense. And then you have a government shutdown.

  14. Once again, gay people and our sexuality are invisible on GMP. Sex is about the need to reproduce our DNA, bla bla bla. And Mark has the gall to use “gay rights” as a tag on this post. I appreciate the recognition of pleasure, emotion and meaning as important dimensions of sexuality, but they seemed a bit like afterthoughts. And no commenter has acknowledged your queer peers as folks who don’t procreate this way.

    • John, my friend, I’m sorry but the Good Men Project is an amazing place for gender and sexuality discussions of all kinds. My article is strictly about sexual urges from a biological standpoint which arguably do stem from the need to procreate first instilled in bacteria eons ago. It in no way states that that is the only reason to have sex. It, in fact, states that we have transcended these “simple genetic imperatives”. If you’re looking to fight the power, you’re picking the wrong fight here.

Speak Your Mind