On Withholding Sex

Joanna Schroeder offers a practical guideline to couples who are challenged with mis-matched libidos. 

Let’s be honest—sex is a big deal. Great sex makes you feel like you’ve transcended into some heavenly plane. For some people, it’s a bond between partners that can’t be created in any other way. When you look at it objectively, it’s sort of odd what a big deal we humans have made of it. It’s two bodies, moving in a weird way, with the ultimate goal of achieving orgasm, a goal which can be reached any other number of ways without all the mess. And yet if you consider all of our sex-related industries here in the USA—from pornography to Viagra and everything else—we worship sex probably even more than we worship any religion. Any way you look at it, sex matters to human beings.

That’s why a loss of libido is such a huge deal. When once you were full of desire and lust, now you feel like a flat line—no ups, no downs, no nothin’. You can observe someone is attractive, you can remember when you had insane sex, but it becomes sort of like skiing or shooting skeet. It’s fun to do a few times a year, but you don’t need to do it every day. You most likely don’t even think about it all that often.

In the times when a person’s libido is low, having sex is so far from his or her mind that often it doesn’t even occur to them that they aren’t having it. Lots of people find those times in life to be very productive for work and other non-sexual relationships. Of course, problems arise when person who is in the “flat line” stage is in a monogamous relationship with someone who’s still burning with desire. Then it feels terrible for everyone.

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There are a lot of caricatures of a sexless marriage, first and foremost that of the couple who had a blisteringly hot sex life early on in their relationship, and once kids come along, the wife is no longer interested. Her sexy lace nighties become giant flannel pajamas buttoned up to the neck. Eventually, the husband becomes so weary from being rejected that he either has an affair or shuts down completely and becomes an asexual being, completely emasculated.

The truth is, we aren’t actually entitled to anything—even when we’re committed to monogamy.

The next caricature of a sexless marriage is one in which the woman becomes a bitter crow of a wife who uses sex as a tool to get what she wants or as a weapon to punish her husband for being “bad”—and not in a fun way, like with a spanking—but by abstaining from him, forcing him to the couch. The man in this scenario is so sex-starved and sex-crazed that he will do anything to get some, and will always relent, leaving this caricature of a wife smirking over his shoulder with her new Prada bag by the bedside.

We often hear both of these scenarios referred to as “withholding sex”, when in truth, only the latter is actually withholding sex. In both situations, the couple isn’t having sex the way they used to, and both are probably dissatisfied. But in the first scenario, the person who has no desire isn’t “withholding it”—they simply don’t have it to give.

And that’s where the point of miscommunication becomes tragic. In many relationships (we’re going to presume the relationships we’re talking about are monogamous, for the sake of this article) both partners feel entitled to sex—and to a certain type and frequency. Both partners feel entitled to have their needs met by their partners, and because of their belief in monogamy, they cannot have their needs met elsewhere.

But the truth is, we aren’t actually entitled to anything—even when we’re committed to monogamy. Sex is sort of like a gift given from one person to the other, and it becomes truly great when both partners are equally giving. As Dan Savage says, “good, giving and game” are the three Gs that are the foundation of a great sex life.

In reality, during 50 years of a life together (some lucky ones get 75 years, imagine that!), we’re not always going to be able to be good, giving and game. Sometimes we are a flat line. Sometimes we have no desire. Sometimes we need a lot of space and don’t want to be touched. That’s life as a human. It’s messy and imperfect and trying to match two humans together is almost never easy.

I think most people recognize that this mismatch will occur at times, but they intellectualize it and don’t quite realize the impact it could have upon their relationship as a whole. And the harm done to a relationship that becomes sexless over time isn’t necessarily from the lack of sex itself, but from a fundamental miscommunication that happens which can turn a good thing toxic…and fast.

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In order for me to explain this miscommunication, I’m going to have to do some generalizing. What we all know is that gender expression is an ever-shifting spectrum of masculine and feminine traits, and no one person owns the definition of what is “manly” or “womanly”. But there are some general trends we’re going to cite here in order to facilitate the conversation. Knowing that we’re generalizing, we recognize that anyone who doesn’t feel this way or fall into this pattern is just as authentic and entitled to their own way of being.

Also, while most of this article will presume that either partner can have a loss of libido, there is a unique challenge when a male partner goes through a lack of desire. While we won’t dive into the specifics of that here, please check out a unique and helpful article called “But He’s Supposed to Want it More”: The Damaging Expectation of Higher Male Desire by Hugo Schwyzer.

With those caveats in mind, let me explain how these sexual ups and downs become toxic and snowball into huge divisive issues.

First, there is a fundamental divide between the way most women and men regard sex. As traditional thinking goes, there is a saying: “Women need to have intimacy in order to have sex whereas men need to have sex in order to experience intimacy.” That’s a HUGE generalization, but sometimes there’s a kernel of truth there. My blogging partner, Eli, and I always joke about how foreplay to a man need only be his partner saying, “Wanna have sex?” His partner could look ugly, smell bad, be sick or have just eaten a head of raw garlic and he’d still want to do it. It’s a joke, but the truth is that for many guys it’s easy to get turned on and easy to perform.

For some women, all the factors have to be right. Not only do the sheets have to be clean, but her legs have to be shaved, the kids have to be away at the grandparents’ for the weekend, and Mercury can’t be in retrograde.

Thankfully, this is just a joke, but the truth behind it is important to understand. In a relationship, if one is an “always on” and the other is an “only in certain circumstances” person, the “always on” is going to have his or her feelings hurt by multiple rejections. It feels very personal. When his wife says, “I’m not in the mood, work was so stressful today,” or “I’m bloated,” the husband who is an “always on” can’t help but imagine what it would mean if he begged out of sex. To him, it would mean, “I don’t like you enough to have sex with you.”

In turn, an “always on” woman who is rejected multiple times may also have to contend with a cultural voice that has taught her that men are sex-crazed and always horny. When a woman is faced with a man who has a lower libido than her, she may not only question her own desirability, but also his fidelity, masculinity, or even whether he’s gay. In truth, he may love her dearly and desire her completely and still have a lower libido. This doesn’t make him less of a man, it simply breaks with the cultural narrative about men and sex that we’ve been hearing since the first time we heard the phrase, “boys are only after one thing.”

Let’s take a moment with the part that both genders may share: the shame. When the higher-libido partner is rejected multiple times, he or she thinks, I am not desirable and maybe even I am not lovable—no matter how untrue it may be.

He can tell himself that his wife is different from him, but often there’s an internal voice that says, “That’s just an excuse, man, she just doesn’t like you. You’re too _____ and she just doesn’t want to do it with you.” On top of that, society tells the guy that he’s not supposed to feel bad about himself, he’s not supposed to feel fat or ugly or hairy or short or whatever message the rejection keys into. He’s a dude, he’s supposed to feel awesome about himself at all times. Insecurity, especially body or sexual insecurity, is for chicks.

And so he probably wasn’t given the language to say to his partner, “I know you’re not in the mood and I respect that, but I gotta be honest… Being rejected makes me wonder if there’s something about me that you don’t like, and I’m worried that I don’t turn you on anymore. Even worse, I’m worried that I’ll never turn you on again and that really makes me feel like crap.”

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It’s not just men who have communication problems when it comes to sex in long-term relationships. The first assumption about men and sex that many women go into relationships with is that the desire for sex isn’t really about us. You’re men, you’re sex-crazed. We’ve been told this since our first sex-ed class. Even if we know better intellectually, a part of us often tells us that your desire to have sex has more to do with putting your thing in a warm spot, and less to do with knowing, loving, or connecting with us. So we think our rejection of you won’t phase you. Sure, it might make you mad or frustrated, but we don’t assume it’s going to hurt you.

Even if we know better intellectually, a part of us often tells us that your desire to have sex has more to do with putting your thing in a warm spot, and less to do with knowing, loving, or connecting with us

Beyond that, there is an idea in our minds that if we do any little thing that might turn you on, we’re guilty of feeding your frustration and therefore deserving of your anger. When I worked in retail buying, a coworker of mine and I were ordering cute pajamas for the store. We would tack on an extra of any item we wanted to buy for ourselves once the delivery came. There were a lot of traditional top-and-bottom sets and a few sexy little shorts or nighties. I asked my friend if she wanted me to put one on the order for her.

“No way,” she said. “I can’t wear anything but sweats to bed. I don’t want Sean to get the wrong idea.”

This is an example of how we’ve turned sexuality into an all-or-nothing equation. If Karen wore a tank top and little shorts to bed, Sean would want to have sex, and if she wasn’t in the mood just then, she would be the guilty party who incited his desire and then rejected him. And so she only wore sweats to bed, every single night, as an insurance policy that if Sean became aroused, it somehow wasn’t her responsibility.

As goofy as the pajama example may seem, this all-or-nothing attitude does a lot of damage to marriages, and ultimately it’s the fault of both partners. As we said before, sometimes the guy doesn’t feel comfortable enough to say, “the lack of affection or sex is really hurting my feelings. I’m starting to feel really bad about myself.” Even if he did, because of our expectations that men are obsessed with sex and are almost animalistic, the woman may not be able to hear the statement without defensiveness. She may be hearing, “You’re an asshole for not having sex with me,” instead of, “I feel like an asshole because of desiring you when you don’t desire me back.”

The version that the woman is hearing is filled with blame, guilt, responsibility and maybe even a threat (of him looking elsewhere to have his needs fulfilled), regardless of whether he intended them to be there. And let me tell you what will kill someone’s libido: guilt.

This guilt is what keeps many lower-libido partners from reaching out for non-sexual affection or non-penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex. If you think you might not want to have intercourse, the idea of reaching across the bed for a snuggle, or intertwining bare legs, or even kissing, becomes guilt-inducing. You think, if I snuggle in and spoon, he might think I want to have sex. Then I’ll have to say ‘no’ and he’ll be mad and I’ll feel like a jerk again. And so that gap between two partners who once couldn’t keep their hands off one another becomes a giant chasm, and both partners are left unsatisfied. Now they’re not only not having sex, they also have lost all physical affection.

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So, how do we bridge this gap?

With honest communication where both partners are ready to engage without defensiveness. I like a version of the Imago Therapy model of mirroring, particularly a model set up by Dr. Bill Cloke in his book Happy Together: Creating a Lifetime of Connection, Commitment, and IntimacyI’ve simplified both the method in Dr. Cloke’s book and the Imago method into a simple bare-bones framework so that it’s a great place to start communicating about sex. I highly recommend reading Happy Together for more ideas and further extrapolation. Also, this is sort of a cheat-sheet to help you get started, but I highly recommend seeing a therapist individually and/or as a couple for more information.

The first step is for one person to say how they feel about something—one simple thought or feeling. This is done without accusation, just a statement of how they feel. The partner listens quietly until the first person is done with the first thought. Then, instead of defending or even responding, the second partner tries to re-state what she heard so that everyone’s clear on what’s being said. It might look like this:

“Karen, I feel like our sex life has really fallen off a cliff lately, and I love you and I really miss that connection.”

At this point, Karen needs to remind herself that she is not to be defend herself, as much as she may want to. Instead, her job is to tell Sean what she believes he’s saying. She could say this:

“What I’m hearing, Sean, is that we aren’t having much sex lately and that you miss having sex.”

And he can correct her here if he wants. He may say something like, “It’s not just the sex, I really miss the connection we have when we’re having more sex.”

Then she can say, “Okay, I get it. It’s not just the sex, it’s also that connection.”

At this point she can say how she feels about this subject, and the roles will be reversed. He listens quietly and then repeats what he thinks she’s saying, and they clarify until both people feel heard.

Karen may then say, “I miss the connection too, and I really miss my libido. I don’t know what happened to me. But every time I say ‘no’ I feel so guilty, and I know you’re upset, and that makes me feel worse, and then I really don’t want to have sex.”

Sean then repeats what he thinks she’s saying. The couple continues this pattern until they both feel more resolution. The key here is to just try to understand what your partner is saying. Don’t judge and don’t defend. Just explain, listen and clarify. Those three words will get you where you need to go.

If anyone starts to feel really angry, the best thing you can do is walk away for 20 minutes with a reassurance that you want to try talking again in 20 minutes. As Dr. Cloke points out, once a person’s blood pressure starts to rise and they feel evoked, it’s hard for them to remain reasonable and stick to the guidelines of the communication model. And the goal isn’t to dump anger on someone, it’s to move through and past the issues that are making us angry.

Once you have a really good understanding of what’s happening inside each other, you can move on to the final steps of finding ways to avoid the problem in the future by doing things differently.

You wouldn’t try to cut down a tree with a kitchen knife. It may get the job done, but it’s far from the best tool for the job. If someone can offer you a saw—or better yet, a 316E Husqvarna chainsaw—you should at least give it a shot.

I know it seems really forced to keep repeating each other’s words. No one wants to follow a script to talk to the person they’ve been with for years and are in love with. But the script is just a tool, like any other. You wouldn’t try to cut down a tree with a kitchen knife. It may get the job done, it may even be what you’re used to, but it’s far from the best tool for the job. If someone can offer you a saw—or better yet, a 316E Husqvarna chainsaw—you should at least give it a shot.

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Finally, I have to address the people who actually do purposefully withhold sex—the ones like the woman with the Prada bag in the caricature I referenced in the very beginning. Those people are jerks. Sex is not a tool. It is not a weapon to be wielded. And unless you’re a sex worker or client, it is not a commodity to be bartered.

There may be traditional relationships where this works, I can’t say for sure, but in my mind, sex should never be used as a tool for manipulation. In a famous scene in the Bravo home remodeling reality series Flipping Out, a wife tells lead designer Jeff Lewis that he can’t go over budget because she’s all out of sexual favors, which is the only reason her husband allowed her to do the renovation in the first place. It’s a joke, we all laugh, but in truth this is probably a pretty unhealthy model for a long-term relationship.

In this scenario, she may feel like her voice, wants or opinions don’t matter unless attached to her sexuality, and he, in turn, may feel like his desirability has nothing to do with his value to her as a human. Without his wallet, he isn’t good enough to be found desirable to his own wife, and that’s obviously a recipe for disaster. If one partner doesn’t eventually leave the relationship, it’s likely one (or both) of them will find an outsider whose sex and affection—or respect and partnership—comes without a price tag…sexual or monetary.

The good news is that I think this is a pretty rare occurrence. My guess would be it’s more common that the couple has gotten themselves into a bad cycle of isolation and poor communication and are making repeated bad choices that may feel like one is withholding. Regardless, the model for communication I outlined above would still be really helpful.

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While no one ever has the right to demand sex from someone, the person whose libido is lower isn’t automatically granted absolution from the problems in the relationship. His or her responsibility isn’t to have sex when they don’t want to, but rather to solve the problems at the root level to the degree that they can. These solutions are as varied as the issues that cause the libido disparity to start with, but a good place for most people to start is with a visit to a doctor for a general check-up to see if there is a hormone imbalance (yes, men too!). Other ideas are adding at least 20 minutes of exercise into the day 5 times per week, going off the birth control pill (use a back up method though, folks!), seeing an acupuncturist/herbalist, seeing a therapist alone or together, doing yoga, looking at some sort of visual stimulation like empowering pornography or even just hot black and white photos (Tumblr is a great place to start), or reading a sexy book.

The partner with the lower libido also may need to step outside of his or her self-implemented sweat pants-straitjacket and engage in whatever form of pleasuring that both partners feel comfortable with. Some ideas for women may be to start with just kissing his neck while he pleasures himself, or telling him a dirty story while he does it. If even that is too much, reach out for some comforting non-sexual affection and offer your partner some verbal reassurance such as, “I know it’s hard that my libido is so low right now, but I want you to know that I do find you so attractive, and I’m so glad you’re my husband (or wife). I love you so much.” Just hearing those words, coupled with affectionate touch, can go a long way.

The partner with the higher sex drive will need to understand and respect that these efforts are being made, and should take some comfort in them. The efforts do matter, even if healing the sexual rift may require a bit of time and patience. The partner with the lower libido, in turn, needs to understand that there can be fallout from a long period of unmet sexual needs, and try to be understanding that the other person may need to self-pleasure more or even use pornography. We hear a lot about women being uncomfortable with their husbands using pornography, but it is something that should be discussed. Pornography spans a wide range of definitions, from sexy art photography all the way to hardcore fetish porn. The couple, together, needs to discuss what boundaries to draw, just as they discuss boundaries with sex. If both partners are comfortable with it, they should watch some porn together in order to ease the conversation. It may even ignite a little spark!

Either way, both partners should do their very best to compromise with one another in a time when one partner doesn’t feel like having sex. After all, you love each other and you want it to work out. Pressure, anger, resentment and manipulation will only cause you to be further apart.

 

Also read: Is Marriage Obsolete? by Lisa Levey

Read more sex and relationship advice from the author on She Said He Said

 

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Alyssa L. Miller

 

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About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is the type of working mom who opens her car door and junk spills out all over the ground. She serves as Executive Editor of The Good Men Project and is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on sites like xoJane, hlntv.com, and The Huffington Post. Joanna loves playing with her sons, skateboarding with her husband, and hanging out with friends. Her dream is to someday finish her almost-done novel and get some sleep. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    @OW The idea of other directedness seems more salient now than in the fifties, the time mentioned in The Lonely Crowd. We do have more feminism now, but it seems to have been martialed in support of very traditional ways of women constructing their culture. So it’s fairly sex negative, and it really seems to reinforce very traditional ways of women marrying up, cirtiquing men, using old school femine wiles, etc. Surprisingly women seem even worse at being other directed, the condition Riesman critiqued. In the 1960s-70s, this seemed to go away for a while. My wife, like me ex-counterculture, is very inner-directed. She says she can’t imagine being afraid of other women’s opinions in the way they’ve been described here. I agree that men are other directed too. But a nice part of stereotypic masculinity is the development or character and individualism. So maybe less so.

  2. @wakemenow: Feminism, even though you are not a feminist, must be addressed in any discussion of how to fix things between men and women. For instance, this presidential election season, which was supposed to be about jobs, was purposely framed by a feminists agenda, The War On Women”. We have, for all intents and purposes, a feminists president who has ignored some legislation aimed at helping men and boys. The effects of feminism on culture and on men are persistent and enduring.

    On crazy. I am sure that some men can be( other-directed( hate that term), however, you and Sarah were plenty explicit in describing the behavior as common among women, not men. You were equally explicit in that this behavior is uber difficult to deal with and understand, if at all.When the discussion starts to become, “Well, men do it too”… I get suspicious because it sounds like denial and avoidance.

    Even though you have said that women need to be held accountable it feels like you are also holding the opposite position.On the one hand you agree with accountability but you say that maybe women can’t help it because they are different from men.

    Well enough. Then submit to the gentle criticism. “Honey you are acting crazy, you know how you get sometimes.” Again, considering whats at stake, a loving, monogamous, etc, etc, relationship, it seems a small price to pay. One cannot have the whole cake for themselves.

    As for my focus on this issue.Number one, it’s in the closet and men are not supposed to bring it up or complain about it, “You how women are? is all we are allowed to say. So when you say men should bring up these issues in order to heard, then you question why I am doing that very thing, its confusing.

    I have been burned by the sexual other directedness and n other ways as well, enough times to require psychological skin grafts. It is unwise for me to take such a thing lightly. Which segues back to why your comments seem to be double-sided to me. You readily admit that the behavior is destructive, confounding, and often unintelligible. You also suggest that men should just ignore it as maybe its just the way women are.If its wrong, address it, don’t cover it up.
    I, probably, more than most men am stubbornly committed to being heard and also to change. Thats why i am on this site and not a feminists sites( n been there done that), though far too often this one feels like a feminists site.
    In my mind and in my experience, there is an imbalance between the masculine and feminine having nothing to do with politics. As I said before, it makes little practical sense to engage with someone in a discussion about how to improve the relationship when only their feelings are considered important. So the fix is easy and straight forward. Do unto others as one would want others to do unto them. Of course there are other factors that impact the relationship like our economy, mass incarceration( which the President refuses to talk about), a bloated military industrial complex,a host of isms and much more.I am not saying it is all the fault of feminism or women.

    However, as I said we are out of balance. For my entire life I have heard about how evil, lustful, warlike, simpleminded and emotionally deficit, as compared to women I am all because I am a male.For issues of mental well being, I cannot and will no longer stand for or entertain the possibility of dealing with such nonsense.

    Yes men do contribute in myriad of ways there own demise. No doubt about it. But, the idea that men aren’t heard simply because he doesn’t complain loudly enough is not the entire story. He must compete with the female voice that doesn’t actually want to share that space unless she is first. Many t imes on this site, where some women are truly supported, men must fight for space to be heard.

    • @ogwriter: I’m sorry if you find my attitude as “double-sided,” I can only speak from my own perspective.

      First off, in my last post to you I was trying to say that it helps me to learn from you how feminism impacted you earlier on and way back when, because I have been on this planet for a shorter period of time and can only speak from the perspective of someone born in the early 1980s, reading about the second-wave of feminism before my time. Didn’t affect me the way it affected you, but then again, it came to permeate our culture, and yes, we seriously need to address this. I completely agree. It is no trivial matter. The pendulum has swung somewhere weird and needs to be adjusted because screwing everything up for nearly everybody on one level or another. The new info you shared today helps me comprehend how long you’ve been living under this frustrating situation, hence the attention you pay it.

      But I can only speak from where I stand. Didn’t keep with the election nonsense this time around and haven’t had interest in the two-party bs circus since shortly after the 2000 election. Life under a rock is preferable to dealing with the daily backs and forths broadcast on television, but I know enough about Obama to agree that he is feminist-friendly. Speaking of which, have you ever read the book “Habits of the Heart” by Robert Bellah, et al.? In it, they reference what they call “the administered society,” and that I believe correlates with what we see on the feminist/pro-State/pro-Big Government/pro-social workers involved in everything/leftist/pro-micro-management end of the spectrum calling itself the Democratic Party (the Republican Party has its own issues, but that’s for another day). Feminism factors into that endgame, I have come to believe, so that’s why I keep yammering about other “big picture” concerns that tie in. Not to deflect attention away from feminism and its impact on society. So that is understood, assuming I’m being clearer now.

      But I don’t equate my womanhood with feminism, and while feminism has affected it, it does not define it. Furthermore, questions pertaining to women I respond to accordingly without dragging my opinions in about men, if I can help it. You readily dismiss a woman saying that men behave in similar ways, as if it’s just a post-hoc rationalization to excuse women’s “craziness.” No, it’s just a separate matter from the topic being discussed, and men really do have plenty of their own drama. Might be a little different, but still pretty darn irritating to put up with, generally speaking.

      I cannot speak on this matter without being personal. I am socially awkward, and increasingly so. My relations with women are probably more troubled than most, to where I barely relate with members of my sex, upsetting as that is for me at times. So I can barely viewing members of my own sex as aliens of sorts, not to be disrespectful, just lack much exposure and positive, close interaction with them. The social awkwardness is something I struggle with a great deal, especially when it results in being (fairly frequently in recent years) cursed out and dismissed by women, whom I’d like to get along with as well. So, while I appreciate you are approaching these matters as a man dealing with psychological pain pertaining to women, I have my own problems relating with women that I doubt you grasp. But I figured that was neither here nor there in the discussion we were previously having.

      As for straddling the fence on women’s accountability, I was offering up my ponderings. Emotionality is not restricted to women, and my focus was on how sensitivity may be making it difficult for a great many people to “adjust” to modern living in all of its complexities. Men claim women are preying on them, so I can see how that can happen in such a money-driven society. Feminism may encourage this, but the tendency is shown in non-feminist women as well. I am simply curious as to what the root cause(s) could be, and I don’t think it’s as simple as blaming feminism alone. In my world, though exercises are worthwhile for drawing out the larger view. I’m sorry if my way of relating isn’t coming across as clear as I’m trying to make it.

      Can my man tell me I’m acting “off” or hormonal or whatever? Yes. And we do talk about these things without huge fights erupting. I’m not sure how to respond to your comments like this. I realize you are speaking about women in general, but we’re each individuals at the end of the day, and I really have no clue what other women are thinking.

      I did NOT readily admit women’s behavior is “destructive, confounding, and often unintelligible” anymore so than men’s behavior. That I did not. We were discussing women, so I tried focusing on that exclusively for conversation’s sake, as if I don’t write enough already.

      This feels like a feminist site to you? I wouldn’t know, haven’t yet explored beyond responding to this comment thread.

      I would not say men are not being heard because they don’t complain loud enough. I only say that it helps when men honestly show their emotions at times, because those of who care do need to know what they’re experiencing. That’s all I was trying to say, not to make you feel like you aren’t doing enough personally. Obviously we don’t know one another and I try not to make assumptions about people over the internet. That’s the problem stereotypes, IMO…they get out of hand in a medium like this.

      I apologize if I’ve invaded and made it difficult for men to be heard on here. That was never my intention. My thoughts are a bit difficult for me to express briefly. My goal originally was only to share with others dealing with the torment of a lack of sex in our relationships, and apparently I got to talking on side issues. But I thought you wanted me to address the issue of feminism, so I’ve tried to, and shared my own views which take into account more than that. I’m trying to learn to accept that some things are more important than sex, much as I’m kicking myself over that aggravation, and I’d rather work it out with someone I genuinely enjoy the daily company and affection of. I did not come here to dominate your board, and I’m sorry if that’s how it comes across.

      • My typos were atrocious. Further apologies. Didn’t proof-read obviously.

      • Thank you, wakemenow, for your brilliantly articulated comments. I too have been in the boat where I’ve been denied sex by someone who truly loves, adores, worships me, and finds me attractive. Regardless of all that, being denied sex over and over can get really frustrating and even insulting. At some point, you just put the ball in his hands and stop initiating. When I was in my earlier 20s, I was on the other side of it. I lost my sex drive with a partner because he made me feel insecure, I lost a lot of weight due to the industry I was in, and I was on terrible birth control. Now that I’ve been high libido for several years, I understand his frustration.

        It’s said that women’s behavior is “destructive, confounding, and often unintelligible” Can you understand that maybe many women feel the same way about men? A lot of what men do simply doesn’t make sense to me or seems cruel. One example off the top of my head–How many women on here have asked “if I’m having regular, enthusiastic sex with my husband, why does he have to go to strip clubs and watch p0rn and web chat when it makes me feel so sad?” only to be attacked (this was in another thread on here). Many women don’t understand why a man *isn’t* emotional sometimes. Sometimes I truly can’t control my passions and my feelings. I do try to change, but I’m an emotional, passionate, hormonal woman and I’m upfront about that in my relationships and I’m upfront on how to react with me (if I’m pms-ing, don’t take every little thing I say as logical and to heart). I like throwing caution and logic to the wind sometimes. Life can more exciting that way, but I do understand that logic has its place, and that it’s very important. Why would it have to be I who has to change who I am completely? Can’t there be some level of compromise? I’ll try and understand you if you try and understand me. Men often don’t understand women’s actions, but it goes both ways.

        • “Many women don’t understand why a man *isn’t* emotional sometimes. Sometimes I truly can’t control my passions and my feelings. I do try to change, but I’m an emotional, passionate, hormonal woman and I’m upfront about that in my relationships and I’m upfront on how to react with me (if I’m pms-ing, don’t take every little thing I say as logical and to heart). I like throwing caution and logic to the wind sometimes.”

          Word of warning, sometimes when some women get into these emotional time periods they will rant about what he hasn’t done and use terms like “You always do this”, during this time women can say some stupidly highly hurtful things. “You don’t love me”, “you’re always with your friends” etc which can negate n belittle any time he has spent with her, to me at least it feels like a kick in the balls and hence why the logic problem arises. Imagine being told you’re shit in bed and can’t do anything to make me feel better as a man because one time you didn’t get me off yet there were plenty of times you did? Surely it’d hurt. Be mindful of your language n avoid direct statements as men are raised to pay attention to words. Stick to stuff like “I feel like SOMETIMES you do X and it makes me feel Y” and hopefully you’ll avoid triggering a war of words because you’re generalizing and he’s taking it to heart. Throwing logic n caution to the wind n expecting him to realize you’re expressing your emotion vs wanting him to pay attention to your words logically is a recipe for disaster, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been left stumped because a woman has done this n said you always do x, when I can prove I haven’t always done it. It’s very hard to try understand what she is trying to tell me because sometimes it makes zero logical sense to say to my male mind of thinking.

          Easiest way to deal with men is imagine him taking all of your words to heart, if you say always he will hear always. It’s a very stereotypical way of dealing with a man but it’ll probably work 9 times outa 10. Don’t assume men aren’t emotional either, we’re just excellent at hiding it behind a poker face as it’s a survival instinct reinforced by cultural gender roles of being stoic n never showing weakness. You may find it hard to know when I am sad because I can put on a very neutral poker face, or I seek activities to cheer me up which may look like a normal day (sex, gaming, etc), or possibly it’ll come out as anger and you may just assume I’m cranky.

          • @Archy: Your comment here is excellent and you raise a VERY important point. This is something I struggle with and have been working on for several years now, though sometimes I fuck up and say some shit that is wrong, that is hurtful, and that is not okay. Words can never be taken back. They can wound on a level that will last a lifetime, that is true. And I aim to always keep that in mind, often as I have to repeat it to myself. I have a sharp tongue on me which I attribute as inherited from my Papa, and we can be bastards if we’re let off our leashes. It has a lot to do with how emotional we are and how seriously we can take offense to disrespect or feeling humiliated. He let his out and went too far and unfortunately damaged his wife and kids (and to a lesser extent me, though he and I were close). I don’t want history to repeat, and that thought never leaves my mind. He turned abusive in language and physically (toward the rest of the family), and I feel as though I could be that way too if I let myself, and this is unacceptable to me. It is unfair and unjust for my loved ones, and it’s not how real love operates. Luckily I saw this as a teenager and have worked on keeping myself in check ever since. Not always successfully, particularly when it comes to my mouth. In my first marriage, I showed my ass. He did too, but that doesn’t make it okay. We were jerks to one another, but he is now deceased and we made peace a few years ago. But just knowing how I could be in that situation changed me, made me have to think seriously and deeply about who I am and who I want to be.

            Now, in my current relationship I am much better at watching my mouth. There are slip-ups but I don’t tear into him as I have others, because he doesn’t deserve it. The man truly loves me, and that’s a gift from the heavens, because he’s a good man. He’s a sweet and good-hearted person. He works hard and he’s earned a great deal of my respect in the time we’ve been together. However, with that said, let me say—and this is not to detract from all I explained above—that passive aggressive behavior SUCKS whether it be a man OR a woman bringing that shit to the table. We had a row the night before Thanksgiving and yes, as is so common, the argument went back to our sex life and yes, I see now that I was hormonal at the time too. Recipe for problems that began with his passive aggression after a bad day at work. The thing is he springs that way on a fairly regular basis, and I’ve known other men (and women) like that, and it is difficult for more direct types of people to not get hot-headed over. He takes after his mother in that way, not to knock her, just the truth. They have issues being direct, partly because I think they feel it’s rude, but also partly because I think they want people to intuit what they’re thinking and feeling. I realize we typically associate that sort of behavior with women, but personally I’ve experienced this with a number of men, and I assume anyone handling that would get frustrated. It makes communication difficult, if not impossible, because sarcasm or coyness obscures what they really mean. I’m not clairvoyant and find this behavior extremely annoying.

            But anyway, TMI winding down. We worked it out and are back to smoother sailing. Just needed to get that off my chest, since it’s an example of one those things men (or women) can do that can drive their partner nuts and antagonistically bring the situation to a head. This is a big reason why I encourage men to show and tell their emotions in an honest fashion, because it’s a mystery to comprehend when they resist doing so. But as with me and my hormones, we talk about it and hopefully he will be more cognizant going forward about the passive aggressiveness, though we both need to continue working on the tendency to over-exaggerate when we’re upset. “Always” and “never” are strong accusations that rarely accurately reflect reality.

            One thing he eventually came out with is how it feels when I put so much pressure on him to be more sexually active. After our fight we were able to sit down and discuss this and it made better sense to me this time around why he’s been resistant to initiate in recent months. But he also admitted that laziness is a culprit, which upset me for a while, but then I stop and think about it and realize we’ve both gotten lazy. We just don’t put in as much effort these days, partly because of work demands and falling into a routine. We’ve been slacking, but then I have to wonder, is it so bad? I like my time alone to write and peruse online, and he needs his rest. We’re a couple of procrastinators who’ve grown chummy, relaxed, and cozy in time spent at home. Maybe I am asking too much of him and of us sexually, and maybe my passion can be more productively directed toward so-called “intellectual pursuits” that i enjoy. He tells me that infidelity boils his blood in a way he cannot explain, and I can relate as a jealous and protective individual myself. So to step out in our case is to be a hypocrite. Doing unto the other what we don’t want done to ourselves. He’s not the sort of man to cheat, but also he’s not the one with the high sex drive and adventurous past. But then I think that I did get to do all of that, got to try most of what I wanted, got to see how relations could be in various scenarios, and maybe it is truly time to hang it up and move on. Change is difficult, but that isn’t to say it isn’t rewarding when needed. I’ve been learning a lot throughout this relationship, and one thing I know is that prior to being in a committed relationship all thoughts on the subject are theoretical. Because we imagine things will go some way has no relation to what actually winds up happening, and we wind up tested, not only by our partners but also by our own selves and the values we purport to hold dear. I guess it’s all talk until the rubber hits the pavement and we find out what’s what and who we are collides with what we wish to be. I’ve been drinking a little tonight already and will apologize for running on. The topic is mismatched libidos yet so much can factor into the equation.

            • “I’ve been drinking a little tonight already and will apologize for running on.”
              It’s all good.

              I’ve been hit before, and I’ve been had someone use a silver tongue on me and tbh I think the silver tongue hurt more. My insecurity n anxiety disorder is largely from actions such as verbal abuse, being outcasted by peers, made to feel ugly. The times I’ve had a fight I’ve actually become friends with some of them after, bruises heal but those words don’t automatically heal. Of course severe physical violence does a heap of damage but sometimes I’d rather be slapped than be degraded by words.

            • @Archy: Took a catnap and am back sipping tea in the insomniac hours of the morning. I hear what you’re saying there about hitting versus harsh words. Living in a society that discourages all forms of physical “violence” (as even slapping is routinely referred to as) can make it seem that speaking is always the more civilized approach. It can be, but not always. I witness men duking it out and returning to friendship on down the line, and I admit to being a bit envious at times that male interaction with one another provides this outlet for hostilities and checking disrespect. As a girl I was raised up thinking physical displays of that sort are bad for us, unlady-like, and so was encouraged to hurt with words, as I assume most girls were. But words can cut like a knife, and I too at times would rather just be slapped than verbally degraded and emotionally torn to bits. But with men and women’s physical disparities (me being a short gal) I see how that creates a tricky equation when we fight, with most men being taught that laying a hand on a woman is never okay. So then they too treat us more verbally with insults and cut-downs because it’s deemed the only socially-acceptable means for a man to feud with a woman. I often wonder if we wouldn’t be better off allowing a REASONABLE measure of physical correction in our relations, and I already know this notion is extremely unpopular and invites scorn from other women when I mention it.

              Talked to my guy about it in the past, and he’d prefer to walk away rather than let it come to that, which I respect as reasonable too (though not always guaranteed to happen when people are fired up). But there are times when I do probably deserve to be slapped myself, and for some reason people act as if this is never okay for me to admit out loud. But don’t we all know it’s true? I’d rather that than be verbally abused, because words slung carelessly in the past took a great enough toll on my psyche already. I can relate with what you said there about how much words can and do inflict pain. But so long as we as a society place such a premium on zero tolerance for any physical scuffling, especially between the sexes (however minor), words will remain the weapon of choice, and that creates problems in itself.

              Because we’re going to fight. That’s just the way humans are. In a perfect world we’d all stay calm and rational at all times and be able to settle our differences without physical or verbal escalation. But this is no perfect world, nor will it ever be. Just as I understand men’s pride not wanting to tolerate blatant disrespect, I feel the same way, yet I feel by acting on the impulse to check the other and establish the boundary they’ve crossed is real, I’m declared “crazy” or completely inappropriate, not unlike how we view children who step over the line with adults. That was very frustrating. So then I cry out of frustration, and that too is deemed “crazy” and evidence of me being “out of control” or trying to draw on sympathy. Then the indignation sparks inside me and the verbal war of words begins out of a sense of feeling punked out and belittled. Provided no more effective means of handling the conflict, that’s where the dispute can easily spiral to.

              Luckily my current partner and I get along well and rarely get that riled up, though we’ve had our spats and I’ve broken a few items just to put that anger somewhere, but not at or on him. And luckily he understands this and doesn’t think it’s crazy and seems to appreciate me taking out my frustration on inanimate objects that can be repaired. We both approach the relationship wanting to watch our tongues, so when upset those feelings have to find release some other way, and I think it’s what makes this relationship so workable is that he doesn’t apply this double-standard that says I as a woman need to keep all rage under control and vented through whatever proper channels others deem as lady-like. He’s had his fist-fights with other men in the past, so I can hurl my own jewelry box or bang on a wall if I need to. I’m sure he’d say it beats listen to me scream. Ha The point seems to be how people handle conflict resolution, and among couples I really think it comes down to complementary methods (not the same for each, mind you, just methods that don’t clash and stir up a bigger shitstorm). And I think this is determined between individuals and sincerely wish the State wasn’t granted power to tell everyone what is or isn’t acceptable in all cases. But I realize how controversial that take is and imagine it will be misunderstood by most others.

            • I’ve always thought that oversized puffy boxing gloves designed to have little impact as they spread the load would be great for people to work out there differences. Hit each other n exhaust your energy without being able to cause damage as the load spreads over a wide area, it’d be like pillow fights using very light pillows. Maybe one day VR games could do it, maybe add in a slight shock so each could hit each other, feel a bit of pain then get the fuck over it. Hell I’d do that shit for fun.

        • @Aya:

          Thanks for the nice comment. :) It did help reading what you wrote, because I too am a passionate woman who’s become increasingly hormonal unfortunately since getting off bc pills. May have always been hormonal, but now it’s definitely more of a challenge to manage. Overall though, what never changes is being passionate and curious. And that alone can make relating with others a bit tricky especially when those passions are geared toward inquiries that are non-mainstream. And I love my passion and feel it’s one of my greatest gifts, despite how fiery it tends to make me when feathers are ruffled. Hormones and passion are a hell of a combo, and I’m not so certain the human can be in full control of that. Hence crimes of passion like when someone catches their lover screwing somebody else in their own bed, in their own home. I can’t type that without my blood pressure rising. The disrespect is immense, and hormones might be all it takes to push me over the edge and land me a lengthy prison sentence. Just sayin’. That is how I feel.

          There are times I turn into the female equivalent of the incredible hulk. Ha It’s funny and yet not funny at the same time. Sometimes I don’t mind it, frustration is vented and life goes on. Sometimes it screws up relationships between lovers and friends. I get that and am doing my best to remain cognizant of that., because the propensity exists within me. Be it because I was born and raised in the Deep South or because of my genetics and bloodline (stemming also from “cultures of honor”), I can be an intense person. Being woman probably adds a “special” dimension to that. Ha But what can one do but work with what they have?

          Part of it’s about knowing oneself, and part is about creating oneself. That seems to be the message life is sending me. Those thoughts came to mind, so I decided to share. But I also want to say that it’s easy to come off flippant about it, which I think kinda parallels men’s tendency toward stoicism that Archy mentions in his reply to you. Men are worried about showing their weaknesses to one another, and I understand that, but so too are we women a bit protective over who we are. Just as men are emotional creatures too and it can’t be helped, the sexes are emotional in different ways. The priorities are different, and yes ogwriter (as you stated in a reply below) that has everything to do with biology and how the sexes separately evolved.

          When I think of hormones I don’t know why but my brain always turns to Rick James saying: “Cocaine is a hell of a drug.” LOL That may make no sense to anyone else, but to me, seriously, hormones are a hell of a force to contend with. Men are driven by hormones too, just different ones that attract them toward different things. We all know this. But women’s hormones are a special case in a way, it is true. They can be a force to be reckoned with. Hurricanes come to mind. And you kinda have to laugh at it, because what can you do? Such is life in this body. Try your best and be upfront with close others, and that’s what you can do. It’s a dilemma that I doubt many women are happy about. It does suck, but what all do menfolk expect us to do about it? And that goes back to ogwriter’s comments that I’ll address below.

    • holmesr64 says:

      ogwriter, I haven’t read anything you’ve written other than this comment, but straight out I have to say your claim that feminism is to blame for ANYTHING in relation to relationships between women and men is absolute rubbish. (If it matters to you, I’m a man, married 22 years with children.)
      Your comment that you stay away from feminist blogs etc is telling.
      Can I be so bold as to suggest you go BACK to said feminist blogs, and take your medicine. If you are offended, affronted, insulted or enraged by things you read there (inasmuch as all feminist blogs are the same, which they aren’t, but whatever), step out of your male, white, middle-class shoes (I’m guessing, but even if you only wear male shoes, it’s still relevant) and try to walk in the shoes of a woman. Because even a woman of today, despite the supposed feminist revolution that allegedly brought equality of the sexes, faces many more hurdles in her life than you ever had.
      I’m not going to lecture you on the merits of feminism- there are many more out there who do that better than me. But I ask you nicely- get over yourself, get some perspective and grow up.

      • Victor Greed says:

        He believes the correlation/causation thing so blindly that I don’t believe we can do something about it.
        Did Feminism help change many aspects of society, womanhood and female/male relationships? Of course. Most good things, maybe some things got kinda twisted as well. Just like any other movement in society. But now to say anything bad is only because feminism is the most illogical approach one can make.
        Do you know aaaallll the good things we accomplished in the last 40 years or so as well? Well, if you are going that way, @ogwriter, better give Feminism their due credit as well. Be a good man. ;)

  3. One woman (cm) wrote above:
    I do not consider giving and receiving love as mercenary act or quid pro quo exchange. Each day it’s a choice. Women feel loved through acts of attention and are turned on by it. Men feel loved through acts of sex. When a man gives of himself and attends to my well-being, he shares a part of himself with me and he adds long-term value to my life. I will remember it forever.

    Sure, relations are all about sharing and caring, being there and helping each other.
    Yet, what stands out to me as a pattern from numerous conversations like this, is that women somehow seem to have a feeling of entitlement or privilege that *their* need to feel loved and cared for are more important and always has to be taken care of before they can “reciprocate” and (eventually!) have sex with their (higher-libido) partner. If they don’t get what they need first, they can just shut down.

    This is probably where a great deal of the mercenary or “transactional” feelings towards sex come from.

  4. One woman (cm) wrote above:
    I do not consider giving and receiving love as mercenary act or quid pro quo exchange. Each day it’s a choice. Women feel loved through acts of attention and are turned on by it. Men feel loved through acts of sex. When a man gives of himself and attends to my well-being, he shares a part of himself with me and he adds long-term value to my life. I will remember it forever.

    Sure, relations are all about sharing and caring, being there and helping each other.
    Yet, what stands out to me as a pattern from numerous conversations like this, is that women somehow seem to have a feeling of entitlement or privilege that *their* need to feel loved and cared for are more important and always has to be taken care of before they can “reciprocate” and (eventually!) have sex with their (higher-libido) partner. If they don’t get what they need first, they can just shut down.

    This is probably where a great deal of the mercenary or “transactional” feelings towards sex come from.
    If you are always in the position of being required to act first, and at the mercy of someone else’s whim whether your performance was good enough for a award in return, it’s very easy to grow resentful when you find out that most often it’s not! Especially when at the same time that action is lauded as something that’s supposed to be shared!

    • FlyingKal: You do make a good point, but look at it this way. Lets look at the model where a man gets sex first, and then shows attention and care for his partner second. She can have sex with him, but it won’t be good sex. Most men want enthusiastic sex where the partner is truly enjoying herself (that’s probably why you get so much crazy exaggerated moaning in p0rn). But see, if my partner doesn’t make me feel beautiful, loved (in a serious relationship), and special, I’m not going to have as great of a time with the sex, despite being high libido. He might notice, he might not. Maybe I’ll be looking elsewhere, maybe I’ll simply be going through the motions. This isn’t with malicious intent. It’s simply how my sexuality works. I don’t believe that sex is transactional, I believe that it’s something wonderful shared with two (or more) people.

      I don’t believe that a man has to jump through hoops to “earn” sex. I enjoy it too. At the same time, I’m not going to have good sex with a man who doesn’t give me that attention I crave and makes me feel secure. Even if I put on a great performance, I won’t actually be *feeling* it. I also believe that a woman should make a man feel desired, safe, and loved (in a serious relationship). It just makes for a better dynamic.

      • I disagree, Aya. I know many women need to feel sexy and special to have good sex, but its not necessary need serious relationship. It just needs a man who want to make his partner satisfied, that’s it. Even if he had not any feeling for her( and she had not any feeling for him ) , if he truly want to enjoy sex and want her partner to enjoy sex, with basic attractive physique ( not necessary god like chiseled body, just not repulsive ) and some confidence, even one night stand with complete strangers ( not necessary super strangers, but just few conversation ) can make any woman orgasmic. I said orgasmic. Why I would said that? From my experience.

        Most women argued it needs emotional connection and serious relationship to women to feel good for sex. I said not. It just needs a decent non asshole guy with non repulsive physique who are not super shy , can initiate basic conversation and ultimately, want and know how to make his partner satisfied. The last part is the most important. The reason why many men cant make her women orgasm its not because lacks of connection, its because those guys don’t know how to give women pleasure. That’s it.

        The key is men who don’t have sex just for the sake of get sex, but have sex ( giving and receiving pleasure) . Its not necessary need serious relationship and emotional connection. As a fitness model, I know even good looks and physique make up for the most of it. Good looking man who are decent man ( not asshole ) plus want to make woman satisfied, I think its a killer for most women ( maybe not for all women )

        Again I speak from my experience.

        • I never said that they needed a serious relationship. I was simply stating that within one, love is important. What I’m saying is that a lot of women need some context, and even outside a serious relationship (at least for me)–trust and feeling attractive to the guy are of upmost importance. Physique isn’t really that important to me. I orgasm better with a guy who has that ‘spark’ with me, regardless of his technique and body, because I know how to communicate what I want. And emotional connection doesn’t always mean serious or love–it often just means some sort of context and chemistry.

          • Well lets agree that every women is just different. For you maybe phsyique is not important , but I have met some girls who think otherwise ( and had some casual sex with them ). Again my sex is not lets bang some women there but more to have good times together.

            And I said there’s no need for emotional connection doesn’t mean there’s no context and chemistry at all. Well its hard to explain. Its like we are both attracted to each other, but its not love ( because its just casual sex ), and its not really emotional connection, but there’s an attraction there. As a guy who considered good looking, I know there’s an attraction for my physique too. But not just for my physique, one of my casual partners said she attracted to my shyness and think it was cute. Another said I’m hot and funny ( although I don’t think I’m funny? ). But I think there’s no real connection to us, just attraction.

        • @John:

          Orgasm itself isn’t the whole picture. It’s difficult for me to find the right words here, but I know men tend to place a premium on “getting the woman off” as if that is the end goal. whereas for women it isn’t necessarily. I’ve orgasmed with people I wasn’t even attracted to and didn’t consider particular enjoyable sex to where I’d care to repeat it. That’s just how it goes sometimes. Physicality. But that has little to do with long-term commitments and sex. I do agree with Aya that feeling secure and appreciated are huge turn-ons. Can’t explain why, blame it on biology, but it’s a reality. Can a woman enjoy sex repeatedly with a man she’s purely physical with and not dating? Yes, but for me personally I’d eventually get aggravated and walk on. That missing component becomes too much to live without, at least in my experience, so we seek out someone to commit to and share live with in an intimate way. And there security and feeling more than mere attraction comes to matter so much more. Physical attractiveness may certainly matter, but it’s not all that matters in the long-run.

          And as I type that I’m struck by knowing that security and comfort can lead to taking one another for granted and not making so much of an effort to keep the sparks alive. Sparks apparently come and go. There is an allure to being with someone who you’re not terribly bonded with who you can’t so easily predict, and that can be very titillating. I know plenty of men appreciate this as well, not because they don’t love and aren’t committed to their wives, but because it seems to be the way we’re wired, to want what is not ours, to fantasize about what’s outside of what we’ve established as a norm in our daily lives. It’s a conundrum of sorts, the stuff erotic literature is made up of, and I don’t have a good answer to it. Probably never will. But I do know when it comes to truly gratifying and intensely personal sex, it often comes down to being with a man who I trust, believe in, deeply appreciate it, respect, admire, and love, not merely someone I’m physically attracted to. Superficial attraction is pretty cheap and the novelty wears off fairly shortly, IME, speaking as one woman.

          • I agree with all of you said wakemenow, what I dont agree is if you ( and Aya ) said all of those criteria only exclusive to women sexuality. What I trying to say is women sexuality and men sexuality is not really different. Speaking of this :

            “Can’t explain why, blame it on biology, but it’s a reality. Can a woman enjoy sex repeatedly with a man she’s purely physical with and not dating? Yes, but for me personally I’d eventually get aggravated and walk on. That missing component becomes too much to live without, at least in my experience, so we seek out someone to commit to and share live with in an intimate way”
            “But I do know when it comes to truly gratifying and intensely personal sex, it often comes down to being with a man who I trust, believe in, deeply appreciate it, respect, admire, and love, not merely someone I’m physically attracted to. Superficial attraction is pretty cheap and the novelty wears off fairly shortly, IME, speaking as one woman”

            This is what exactly me, as a man feel. What goes between physical turn on, emotional turn on are also happen to me as a man. This is what I dont like when a woman talk about the differences between men and women sexually. They talk about us as we are only a sex pig that the reason we became interested in sex is just for physical reason, and that’s why we are so different compare to you, emotional creatures. The reality is we also emotional ( besides physical ) , and women are also physical (besides emotional).

            I get very emotional during sex, sometimes I even cry during/after very emotional sex with someone I love. My previous girlfriend don’t understand this, because she thought men are not emotional. When I rejected sex from my ex girlfriend because I didn’t feel appreciated , cared, and loved, she accused me of cheating. She asked me If I’m gay. Women sometimes don’t understand that men also emotional and need emotional support to became interested in sex, and if we don’t, the first thing they think are if we cheated or if we are gay ( or because we don’t find you physically attractive, because they think men only turn on because of physical reason).

            Physical and Emotional aspects of sex are lies on spectrum , both for men and women. I do think we could understand more each other if we do not think we are so different.

      • Aya, thanks for your answer.

        The thing is, I’m not asking for a model where a man gets sex first, and then shows attention and care for his partner second, every single time. Does it have to be binary? Can’t she show him that she loves him, just like that, without him “jumping through the hoops”, at least once in a while??
        (If you know the sex was good and he gave you all the attention you wanted the last time?)

        • I guess I’m a bit confused on the jumping through hoops thing. I don’t believe that making your partner feel appreciated, attractive, and special is jumping through hoops. I would want to do that for my partner/partners regardless of sex. And I don’t know too many women who demand diamonds and roses and crazy stuff in exchange for sex. I certainly never have. I do believe that if the woman is lower libido, she has the responsibility to ask herself ‘why?’ Am I not attracted to my partner? Is it a hormonal issue? Is there something that he’s doing/not doing that’s turning me off so I can tell him? Is it stress? A lack of time? Is it jealousy? Have we gotten lazy? Do we need to spice things up? Then to work on the problem if it’s possible. I believe that if a man is lower libido, he has that same responsibility. And ideally, the higher libido partner would be at least someone patient and communicative. The problem is that a lot of resentment can arise from such a situation, on both parts.

          Additionally, sometimes I wonder if the stuff that you *don’t* do is just as important as the stuff you do. If you have a partner who insulted you, stared at other women while you were out, abused you , put you down, was always looking at p0rn, etc –in some cases, all he would have to do to would be to NOT do those things in order to make a woman feel sexually secure. Is that also jumping through hoops?

          And you’re right, it doesn’t have to be a binary. Usually it becomes a cycle, good or bad.

          • Looking at other women to some degree isn’t controllable, I’ve never seen anyone succesfully ever stop noticing other people. You can stop staring of course but I notice women all the time for about a second before my brain really catches on, like magnets for the eyes. I also notice beautiful skies, cars, wildlife, all kinds of stuff. Any movement and my eye naturally jumps to notice and taht happens outside of my control. When I do notice I am looking at someone I usually stop straight away as I don’t wanna make em feel uncomfy but it’s pretty damn hard to never look in the first place especially for highly contrasting white skin with a dark top n lots of cleavage for instance and a necklace, so many leading lines n things to draw attention.

            Turning your head to look is making an effort to look, which can be controlled. So do women in general want men to not notice, or do they mean the specific gazing where you can control it and you’re purposely looking?

            • @Archy: Ya know, I wonder about this too. Because I have a tendency to get spellbound by attractive women too (though not attractive men, oddly enough, never really have). A lot of women take offense to men noticing other women, and I have mixed feelings about it. Like you stated, men who turn and stare at another woman bother me. Men who don’t even attempt to not check out attractive other women bother me. But just noticing people doesn’t really, because I too am drawn to attractive women and can’t seem to help it. Don’t want a lesbian relationship with them (ha, I imagine that wouldn’t work out! Not with my track record with women!), but it’s difficult NOT to notice their youth and exuberance and fleshy curves, and sensual lines (and cleavage!). I almost get annoyed that other women insist on distracting me in this way since my experience has shown that the most attractive gals tend to dress provocatively yet not be very friendly people. As if they get indignant that others notice their neckline is cut down to here. I don’t like all those side complications, but just noticing people I think is natural and the way our brains are wired and not something to be ashamed of. Staring and gawking though is rude and disrespectful when with someone else.

          • @Aya:
            Thanks again :-)

            Yeah, I’m also confused about the jumping through the hoops thing. It’s just that whatever I do never seems to be good enough. And I am not doing ANY of those things (among other things) that you say a partner shouldn’t do.

            The thing is, I don’t know whether anyone really demands diamonds and roses, etc, either. Because… all there is, is talk. But no communication, if you know what I mean.
            Noone ever told me that the sex was bad, or that the hormones were low, that there was someting I did or didn’t do.
            Quite contrary, everything’s been just great, could hardly be better, according to their words! And yet, there’s just no attraction, and no interest in trying to bring forth the issue and trying to resolve it.

            And I guess there is where this “jumping through the hoops” thing really comes in…
            It’s when you have a partner trying in (his) earnest, doing almost whatever to get to the root cause, yet rarely giving anything in return and no clues to the mystery whatsoever. It’s quite a powerful hold you got on that person, to do almost anything you want!

  5. @wakemenow: Well, my typos are worse than yours.You are missed ( by me anyway) when you are on self imposed hiatus. ;m) Your opinions are always so well thought out and equally welcome. I think you are fascinating and would like very much if my son’s could know a woman like you someday. My eldest son just turned 26 today. I certainly understand your take on the Democrats and the cynicism has been well earned.

    My last word on the crazies is this;You have figured out what many women much younger than you have not—own it and lets move on, it’d really that simple. The generational shift between you and I, in this context, concerns the fact that I have been acculturated to accept, without question or power, the negative consequences of this behavior. Perhaps those pressures are not what they once were.At no point have I ever expressed anything other than a desire to deal with this behavior in straight forward nonjudgmental fashion by having a strategy to do so.

    Of course men have their shit too but it’s often different shit. Too often in these types of forums, the tit for that game is played instead of just saying, no that’s my shit not your shit. Lets talk about my shit then we can talk about your shit then maybe WE can get OUR shit TWOgether. We have for the last 40 years focused our attention as a country on critiquing and changing the negative behavior of men. I don’t have a problem admitting to those negative behaviors specific to men that are bad for culture. But we live in a culture that wrongly and stupidly accuses men of random shit like loving war and violence, and of rape and subjugating women. They say that all men even men like your grandfather are privileged. This kind of propaganda is evil.This narrative of shame is not accidental and serves a useful purpose in controlling men. Shame is probably the primary psychological control tool used in culture to control and influence men.

    I understand that with so much diversity to have a concrete notion of femininity and of masculinity is impossible and not necessary. What is necessary is for men to be allowed more acceptance to define himself and not just be a tool for and of society, while getting no credit or appreciation. It is absolutely critical for the individual in a complex society to have acceptance for the role that they play in society. We can learn much from other cultures or subtexts of cultures where the poor and middle class man who works with his hands still gets respected and has a place of honor in society. In some sectors of the Hispanic, black and Asian communities, that haven’t bought into the morally bankrupt and dysfunctional model we currently are discussing, they don’t experience the same disconnection between the genders. For instance, latino men and African American men, because they prefer on average, curvy, thicker, women,” their ” women don’t suffer nearly the body image issues that upper and middle class white women do. And for some STRANGE reason, those women( white women) don’t know this or if they do don’t find those men attractive enough alternatives or don’t care that these men would find them attractive and sexy. What does this say about body image? In this case it seems like a choice to accept a narrow negative view of what one looks like. WOW! Talk about going off on a tangent!

    • @ogwriter:

      That anyone can see my grandfather as “privileged” is something that burned me to the core about feminism. He had a rough life, particularly due to abuse experienced at the hands of his mother, stepmother, and father, made to basically exist as their slave. It’s s sad story. But he did then turn that anger and pain onto innocent people who were trying to help him. And there goes the human melodrama…

      I would perhaps responded sooner had I received these emails. Didn’t see your comment until now.

      The body issue complex is weird, and I too see that it affects middle-class white women in a way separate than women of other races or even lower-class white folks. I don’t know what to make of it either, but I do see a lot of them attracting toward men of different races who are more accepting of larger body types.

      All men aren’t war-loving, irrationally violent, potential rapists and it is incredibly messed up that we are raised to see men in this light. These prejudices affected me too when I was younger, and it does none of us any real good. Real predators exist, but that is not the fault of mankind in total. These sexist attitudes are destroying positive relations between men and women, and that’s unacceptably misguided to the point of being cruel. I get that people are trying to protect themselves, but we wouldn’t be so wary of one another in the first place if not for tv and movies and news stories scaring the crap out of us at every opportunity. It is so sick and sad.

      That is very kind of you to say about your sons. Thanks. I’m humbled by that remark.

      And I hate to bring it up here since it may seem like a distraction, but my ex-husband died on Oct. 23rd and that did make me blue for a few weeks there. That obviously has nothing to do with any of you or your board here, so I wanted to state that since it’s something I’ve been coming to terms with that seemed to affect how I’ve been relating on this thread. Thinking about gender relations and whatnot and reminiscing about the past combined to make me a bit sentimental, so I needed breaks away to think, those hiatuses you speak of. Plus, my current relationship calls my attention, and I work quite a bit more around the holidays. But I truly don’t wish to dominating you guys’ board since I understand the necessity to maintain people’s spaces as they need to. I came on here not knowing a thing about this site other than it came up in search results when I was researching couples with mismatched sex drives, but being titled The Good Men Project tells me it’s men’s space first and foremost, so I’m trying not to write too much (as is my custom, as a talkative person in real life). For clarity’s sake I share that.

  6. @ wakemenow: I must take issue with your point that men and women evolved separately. The reality seems to be that the two brains of men and women evolved in relationship to one another not in isolation. In this way, the masculine and feminine define each other. I think we can see plenty of evidence of this in society.(ies) Often what this means is men have a expectation that women( the feminine) will be good at the things he is not and vice versa. So, what we perceive as the masculine or the feminine to be is usually in response to some need that must be and or can only be fulfilled exclusively or, at least, easier by the other.

    • @ogwriter: Hmm. What I meant was refer to our evolutionary past that men and women have evolved to want to different things in a partner in terms of our humans’ historical needs. I am going on what professor Robert Sapolsky teaches in his lectures and also what seems evident when examining differences between the sexes. But that is in agreement with your statement that we evolved in relation to one another, not in isolation, and I apologize if that wasn’t made clear enough the first go-round. No one exists in a vacuum, and I’d never assume as much. Furthermore, the “feminine” and “masculine” traits are exclusive to one sex or the other, so being the yin to another’s yang is a highly personal search for the one who suits you as an individual. I am apparently masculine in some ways, as some see it, though a woman, and the men I attract most to are masculine yet sensitive in ways one might typically ascribe as “feminine,” in some ways at least. That’s how we fit and complement one another, and I don’t believe I’m entirely unique in this regard. It’s tough when discussing gender because there is so much overlap of traits we like to compartmentalize as belonging to one or the other when that, it turns out, is an oversimplification of the complexities of being human.

      • Sexual traits as they’re traditionally thought of ARE NOT exclusive to one sex or the other, I meant to say. I will become better at proof-reading on here eventually. The beer makes me lazy, that too is true. Ha

  7. I’ve been in a sexless marriage for over 20 years. I had trouble getting aroused by my wife from the beginning. But then again I found I would lose sexual desire for all the women I dated before I got married too. I simply needed the excitement of being with a new partner in order to get aroused enough to perform. My wife agreed to marry me if I promised to seek Sex Therapy after the wedding which I did. I went to a number of therapists over the next 3 years but none could help. They said that due to severe childhood abuse as soon as a relationship I was in started to get emotionally close anxiety would shut me down sexually. It was hard for my wife to accept at first but she finally did and our marriage is great except for the sex. I think this proves that sexless marriages can survive and thrive.

  8. Some great links in this post!
    Something you haven’t touched on is the difference in libido acceding to age. I am in a relationship with a man 10 years older than me (he’s 37). He says that as he has aged his libido has dropped. He can now only orgasm once a day, rare occasions he can go twice. He says that the lady doesn’t really make a difference to this performance. I am 27 and I have a high libido. I am ‘on’ all the time. I never say no and he sometimes says no. I have found now that I am starting to wait for him to initiate sex more often, as thats the best measure as to when we will have it. It is a huge turn on for me when he takes the lead anyhow. I have started to wonder though, if I let this slide and we stay together will I develop resentment? We are good communicators and talk about everything, but I haven’t approached this ‘initiates’ subject yet as I am unsure how to express it. one thing is for sure, I am ‘hell no’ ending up in a sexless ltr.

  9. Good points. We do worship sex. To extremes that really diminish a lot of other important relationship elements. And we do vilify the one with the low libido a lot. I know men and women that have been made to feel worthless because their libido is lower than their partners. I know a majority of people who say their partner feels entitled to sex and specific frequency and style. And very few that actually accept their partners different drive as is. Most insist there is an imbalance causing it and few can realize different strokes different folks, we are all made differently. Enjoy the sex you have when you have it. Often with less pressure or stress around it the levels become more closely matched. Sex rarely happens in satisfying ways when it’s being fought about.

  10. This all good and fine, except when you’re the woman with a very active libido and your partner, who has almost no sex drive, is practically rationing sex. What then?

  11. The lower libido person is far more likely to be the wife, and women are far more likely to be indifferent about sex more of the time. Certain triggers can excite their libido, but this usually comes too infrequently for the husband in a long marriage. In these cases the wife should consider the long term value of having sex more often than she would on her own accord. Women often enjoy sex far more than they expect to and the effort required is not so great that it should be a deterrent. Given that men often agree to activities that take far more time and effort than sex, it just seems absurd that women would use the excuse that they are too tired or just don’t feel like it.

    Of course all of this applies to men with low libido as well, but they are in the minority. And those men may need some additional help getting an erection when the wife is in the mood since men can’t perform intercourse until they are aroused. But then there’s always oral sex and men shouldn’t be reluctant to provide that when there’s no alternative.

    So there are two simple solutions to these similar problems. For women, there’s K-Y jelly and for men there’s Viagra. Use them.

  12. Tom as woman, KY is the worst advice to turn on a woman.

    If she’s is dry, there is a reason. If she’s not wet, he’s not making her wet. Lubing her up with KY is subtle form of taking sex from your wife when she’s not ready. Think about it.

    Men may want work to get her in the mood. How about more compliments, how about helping her with her self-esteem, how about making her feel important, how about helping her feel secure. Help her with her goals, add some adventure to her life.

    Men are misguided. KY is not a solution to a dry wife.

  13. @ Tom
    men can’t perform intercourse until they are aroused… and neither can women

  14. Victor Greed says:

    “And those men may need some additional help getting an erection when the wife is in the mood since men can’t perform intercourse until they are aroused.”

    Women also do not get wet and expanded when not aroused.
    Anyways, the though that many American men believe masturbating using another person’s body while their partner just lays there is something sexy is scary as fuck. Do you guys really feel comfortable to fucking penetrate someone not aroused enough? Or to fucking drug them – give them viagra – so you can use their dick (I see, at least the guy could also feel pleasure here or even orgasm, but still)? Haven’t you guys thought not even for a moment that not everyone has such “sex worker” tendencies?
    What about masturbating? You masturbating while the other kisses you, or the other helping you in the masturbation? Even oral sex, I agree. But the rest seems way too much.

  15. @cm…..

    “Men may want work to get her in the mood.”

    “If she’s not wet, he’s not making her wet.”

    And just what responsibility does the woman bear for her own sexuality? This is just a red herring. Either you feel sexual towards your partner or you do not. It’ really that simply.

    Women just do not wish to take ANY responsibility for the sexual status of the marriage. If they do, it is as rare as hell! Yes, there are things that we can do to stimulate libido. However, there must be a desire for the partner.

    Many of these wives are just turned off and done with their husbands, for whatever reason(s). Why they (the married women) just don’t fess up and be honest about it is absurd. Instead we get all kinds of BS like what your saying….

    Don’t you get horny for sex? I am sure you do. It’s just that you don’t want it with your husband. Or if you do want it from him, you demand he do all the crazy nonsense…But, if you had a lover on the side, none of these demands would be necessary. This is what this man finds utterly offensive.

  16. Nick, mostly says:

    As with everything, it depends…

    It depends on why she might have vaginal dryness. If it’s because of hormones, some type of lubricant may be appropriate. However if it’s because she’s not turned on, then lubing up and just sticking it in may help with chafing but it’s still going to be an unpleasant and likely painful experience.

    I would recommend finding something other than KY though, and unless she asks for it I’d avoid the warming or tingling (aka burning and numbing) varieties.

  17. Do women ever get dry for medical reasons unrelated to arrousal?

  18. Curious One says:

    Thank You cm. I could only wish that my husband understood that! Thank again, he is an intelligent man, but yet, you could say we live in a sexless marriage…not by my choice Great article. KY is definitely not the answer. Thanks again for giving me this information, (all of it)

  19. wakemenow says:

    Personally, I completely disagree with the cm’s advice here. Lubricants have proven very useful for me since even before I ever began having sex. If it weren’t for lubricants, condoms would’ve been a bigger pain to contend with (and would’ve been more prone to break due to friction), but even with condoms taken out of the picture, I remain a fan of using good quality lubricants regularly (which I wouldn’t include KY among). This is one of those matters that totally comes down to the individual, because not all women lubricate naturally as quickly or as thoroughly as the next. Sometimes we want to get down to playing spontaneously without taking much time for foreplay in advance, but in the absence of extended foreplay dryness can make it uncomfortable. Beyond that, I enjoy the easy gliding sensation, the slip, it provides. It’s totally beneficial when playing with toys. Just an all-around useful tool IMO.

    But I will say I’m picky about the particular ones I care to use. Try one that goes sticky after a few minutes and it will turn a person off if that’s their only experience with lubricants. Personally I’m not a fan of KY or Astroglide and will never again purchase either brand. My personal favorite these days is Liquid Silk (even comes in a convenient pump bottle). Another lubricant I used for years and found especially compatible with condoms is ForPlay DeLuxe Gel Plus. In case that tip may be of use to anyone.

  20. Hunter @Green Detective says:

    R O M A N C E more successful approach than H O R N Y S E X. Message? Oil? Shower? Soft Music?
    Ease into the moment. It could last longer.

    Ask directions! Do I turn right or left? What is the cross street? Don’t assume she is not attracted to you. Unlikely.

  21. In all fairness there are comments by women detailing their guilt, etc over their low libido so I do think quite a lot of women take responsibility for it. I can understand that you probably mean some women and yes I find it offensive when people dodge responsibility, it takes two to tango.

    “Men may want work to get her in the mood.”
    “If she’s not wet, he’s not making her wet.”
    These only apply in some cases though, it could be things like depression, work stress, etc making it impossible for him to do anything. He could be the best lover in the world but still fail, just as for some men they cannot get or maintain an erection due to a myriad of reasons. Doesn’t mean every time the partner is at fault, the partner of course should try their best but there are other reasons such as medical issues that need to be addressed.

  22. Jules,
    I respect your frustration, but you’re a man, you understand women are different.

    Women need attention and help to get us in the mood. We give sex and intimacy as a response to what men give us. Sort of a give-receive process. It’s not always equal, sometimes we give first. When men give us positive attention, we are grateful and aroused. When they give us negative attention or none, we feel he does not care and we are not aroused.

    For example, recently, my man helped me with my resume and career direction, I went primal on him and the arousal lasted about 3 separate times, but then it fades. He needs to routinely help me and give attention to keep my interest up.

    Here’s a past example of ‘neglect’ from a different guy. There was a period of about 6 months before he even gave me a compliment. He was stingy with his attention. This is what he harshly said to me, “I told months ago you were pretty, what more do you want from me? I’m here aren’t I?” I felt like I had to beg for a stupid compliment, I felt pathetic and certainly not aroused.

    Not all men are created equal when it comes to giving good attention or helping women. Especially these days, we can’t ask for a man’s praise, help, or guidance, because that makes us ‘weaklings’, but that’s exactly what turns us on.

    Some men think cocktails and KY is the best way to get a woman in the mood. No amount of KY will make me desire him or make me want to share my most vulnerable and intimate self with him.

  23. Nick, mostly says:

    Yes. There are many non-arousal-related reasons for vaginal dryness, from menopause to OTC and prescription medications. Mucinex doesn’t just dry out your nasal mucous membranes.

  24. Apparently dryness is a major problem for many women around menopause, due to reduced estrogen. There are estrogen creams that can help, or so I’ve read. I’m not menopausal yet but it is close. Personally I’ve never had a problem with lubrication if I am aroused but sometimes the arousal circuit in the brain is glitchy. Fortunately I still have a healthy sex drive most of the time!

  25. Yes, dryness or wetness can be unrelated arousal in women – it can be related to hormones or other factors.

  26. Booster Blake says:

    Thx “CM”. This is exactly the sort of feedback that men need to hear. You rock!

  27. @cm: Well, there isn’t anything you have written here that isn’t abundantly clear for most men. if he’s had more than two relationships. You confirm what men have been writing in this post. Essentially the sexual relationship between some men and women is mercenary at it’s roots.It’s quid quo, pro, sort of. Additionally, you speak of one kind of contextual arrangement.

    This context is consistent with the expectations that a woman has in a monogamous relationship. She then uses the leverage available in that circumstance to keep him tethered to that system. Why wouldn’t she. Who doesn’t want constant attention and support? The question for men is who would you rather be the woman’s sexual surrogate or her primary intimate partner? A woman turned me on to lubricant and she had no problem using it as a foreplay aid.

    The truth is, like Aya, who had sex surrogates stand in for her low libido boyfriend (with his approval), women are sexually fluid and don’t necessarily need cons
    tant attention and ego stroking to get put in the mood. This is an expectation they only have for certain kinds of conditions and relationships.The same can be said of wakemenow who would like to have alternative sex partners because her boyfriend is low libido and she likes variety.

  28. Hunter @Green Detective says:

    Consistent positive relationship essential for consistent sex life. Roller coaster doesn’t cut it. Again, perhaps a written contract will help couples stay focused. From these comments, it couldn’t hurt.

    Dismally negative generalizations about women. Suggest sharing specifics, and we may be able to help. Did someone die? Still grieving? Lose a job? Struggle with kids? Health problems? You can’t hit a re-set button for daily dose of mojo. Ignore the red flags, and you’ll break up for good. Trying to help.

  29. @cm

    “Women need attention and help to get us in the mood.”

    Some women. I have two FWBs who love sex like I do. They like my sexual attention and are always in the mood for sex. I have an easy job and it’s very rewarding. I like it too!

    Only when women get in these long-term relationships and/or marries does this attention and getting them in the mood stuff come up. Otherwise, women have sex all the time with men who give them hardly any attention except for sex.

    Just saying.

  30. @cm…

    “Women need attention and help to get us in the mood. We give sex and intimacy as a response to what men give us. Sort of a give-receive process.”

    This is just not true. If married men knew all they had to do was to give their wives some attention to get sex, it is a “no brainer.” But, for those of us who have been married or are married and sexually frustrated, we know it is not this simple, at all.

    So many married men have been beaten down psychologically by these wives who refuse to have sex with them and always conjure up loads of bs reasons. Many of these same women are cheating on their husbands at the same time.

    If she does not want to have sex with her husband anymore, then why doesn’t she just tell him? That all 90% of married men want to know. Just be honest and allow the guy to go.

    The thing with me is the realization that most of what I lived and believed about marriage, women, and sex turned out to lies. So, for 30 years of my adult life, I believed in falsehoods which ended up wasting so much of my life on one woman.

  31. Ogwriter, With all due respect, I do not consider giving and receiving love as mercenary act or quid pro quo exchange. Each day it’s a choice. Women feel loved through acts of attention and are turned on by it. Men feel loved through acts of sex. When a man gives of himself and attends to my well-being, he shares a part of himself with me and he adds long-term value to my life. I will remember it forever.

    I certainly do not view working on my resume, career direction, or compliments as ego stroking or leverage, it’s for our well-being. I’m not required to bake his favorite treats, send him jokes to cheer him up when he’s feeling blue, show gratitude, or stand by him when he lost his mom. I do it for his well-being. He’s more than just a penis…there’s a whole man’s life attached that stick…I don’t take it casually. And there is whole woman’s life attached to our vaginas…we are not just holes to stick it in at random.

  32. @ogwriter..

    “The question for men is who would you rather be the woman’s sexual surrogate or her primary intimate partner?”

    I would much rather be the woman’s sexual surrogate. The primary intimate partner is NOT going to get as much sex.

  33. @cm: I didn’t write that you exemplified any of the points I made. If, in my opinion, I have to give my sexual partner anything other my full participation in the act, besides meeting her needs in the act, is a mercenary arrangement. In our culture, we just attempt to clean it up in deference to social constructs like love, religion and so forth. Something in exchange for consistent sexual gratification, it doesn’t have to be money, is a mercenary arrangement. Nor did I suggest in any way that women are just holes to stick in at random.

    As far I am concerned, the idea that giving a woman constant attention in order to turn her on is ego stroking and pedestal pushing, which most men don’t mind doing sometimes. At the same time many men don’t like playing that game because they get trapped in a never ending cycle of co dependency because women are taught to internalize what others think of them. I’ve had it done to me too many times too,mention.

    When that happens and she doesn’t what to have sex with him it’s his not the fault of her depressed ego of her insecurities or her mood swings etc. If men had the same needs, their women would drop them for acting too female. So when you say she would called a weakling for asking for help it’s men who really suffers that fate.

  34. Clarity helps. I’m not certain what your point of view is. It appears you have strong feelings towards many things.

    Personally, I refuse money or material items in exchange for sex. I do not like put a man in position to buy me something to love him. It makes him feel like a John and me like a ‘purchasable item’, it’s icky. I would rather have his guidance, help, encouragement, and support any day: the stuff money can’t buy.

    FYI. Women are not taught to internalize, there is no class every woman on this planet took to internalize. Just as there is no class every man took to be insensitive or visual. Our natures are slightly different. Women are extrinsically motivated, while men are intrinsically motivated. In other words, women evaluate ourselves in relation to others. That’s why it’s a running joke, “do these jeans make me look fat?” We evaluate ourselves based on the outside world…thus it affects our esteem. If I could shut that female voice off, I would. Believe me, every woman would.

    Also, men and women compete differently, we need different motivation. Check out Coaching-Women on the net. It’s helped me in my relationship. My man knows what I need, instead of making him guess or play a game…that’s when relationships get painful–the guessing games. Clarity helps. There is research on this stuff.

    I’m not a ‘weakling’ or some frail girl. I’ve been in the military, combat vet, served as cultural liaison in the Middle East, traveled the world on my own, MBA, yada, yada, yada. I simply understand men and women are different, I’ve accepted my female nature, we need positive attention to get us turned on, negative comments, or neglect turns us off.

    Money and KY do not make me desire HIM…his attention.

  35. Booster
    Examples…
    Flattery…such as You’re hot! You look great in blue!
    Praise….Honey, that was an awesome idea, I’m lucky to have a sharp girl like you.
    Help…Let me take a look at your resume and I’ll see if I can fine tune it for you.
    Guidance…Have you thought about going into this field?

    Too easy, good together time, no cost, only attention. Help with her concerns and be creative. See if she lights up and smiles for you.

  36. Curious One
    I cannot speak for some of these other women, because their life experiences are different. One girl was a sex worker in her youth and her current partner was turned off sexually. There may be reasons he turned off that we do not know here. He may be threatened by her past or maybe she made comments that he wasn’t good enough. There is no judgment, but consider the sources carefully. I know many women use sex appeal as a means to get some attention.

    I know when I am not in a relationship I do not ‘need’ sex. I do not find myself craving sex like a man; it just shuts off naturally, until a man tries to get my attention. I ‘need’ attention when I am not seeing someone (help, guidance, someone to watch my back) but I can live without sex.

    Most married women I’ve talked to over the years, say the same. Arousal naturally shuts off when a man does not keep our attention and my female friends are not freaking out wondering why we are not aroused like a man. It is because we are not men, we have different needs.

    Despite what the advertisers claim today, sex is still an intimate bond between two people who care about each other’s well-being, not a simple physical transaction that cocktails can fix. Men and women have not changed that much over the millennia. The word ‘duty’ often gets taken out of context from the Bible. Back when that was written, it was also an honor and a man’s duty to attend to his wife’s life. They didn’t have to explain ‘his duty’ to men. Men took responsibility for her well-being. It is still a man’s honor in many parts of the world.

  37. @cm:

    Sex can mean a lot of different things to different people. Not everyone seeks an intimate bonded experience each time they desire sex. It’s more complicated than that, for men and yes, even for plenty of women. Women don’t just “naturally” tune out and cease desiring sexual fulfillment unless a man is vying for their attention. That may be your personal experience, and that’s fine, but none of us are in a position to speak for all of womankind.

    Besides that, please don’t insult me. My partner is not turned off by me or what I did for work years ago. I understand that plenty of women feel threatened by sex workers and can’t seem to control their snarls, but please try. I would never tell my man that he isn’t good enough or compare him against past clients. Why do that? Why would I intentionally harm my lover like that? And why would you, a stranger, suggest as much?

    There is a big divide created between real intimacy and dedicated partnership and lesser involvements of a casual nature tethered to transactions directly. I realize from what I learn from men that a number of married women do treat sex transactionally within their own marriages, and that strikes me as a pity and a recipe for problems. Certainly isn’t a way to maintain true intimacy and closeness. But apparently it can and does come about when one partner strongly desires more contact and physical attention than the other.

    I have been clear here that my partner and I get along well, that our relationship is otherwise strong, and that his workload is very draining on him since taking this new position, and that I am simply far more driven than he is sexually. Our conversations over time have brought to light that he was never a super sexual person to begin with, despite being excited and playful earlier on in our relationship. As he says it, sex just isn’t that important to him. And his views strike me as kinda similar to what we might expect of a woman rather than a man; in turn, my own views and drive probably leans more toward the male end of the sexual appetite spectrum. It’s a criss-cross situation where the roles wound up being reversed due to our natures and differences in socialization, hence why I opened up to discussion here among men about this problem, thinking we might be able to relate to one another. Arium’s story fits most closely with where I’m coming from. It’s a tangled mystery to make sense of, human sexuality is, and I, for one, believe this conversation extends beyond gender assumptions.

    So, yes, consider the sources carefully, as you say. As I’m sure we all are already.

  38. @cm..

    “Most married women I’ve talked to over the years, say the same. Arousal naturally shuts off when a man does not keep our attention and my female friends are not freaking out wondering why we are not aroused like a man.”

    I realy think this is a red herring. I’m sorry.

    Many of these married women have lost interest in their husbands, period. Even if he were to give them attention (and he probably still is giving them attention) they still have little interest in sex with HIM. Half of all married women cheat. Is it for attention? I think it is just plain old lust. It’s just that women just cannot seem to bring themselves to admit as much.

    You putting all the blame of the men for failure to give a woman sufficient attention….The woman is blameless in your world. I respectfully disagree. There are many women who marry the wrong man for the wrong reason(s). How is attention (more) going to solve that problem. It will not. Why? She does not love him. She never did. Or, she just does not like him…

    Please look outside the box. I just think you are too narrow in your analysis.

  39. @cm

    “The word ‘duty’ often gets taken out of context from the Bible.”

    You know King Solomon had several hundred wives and concubines. Do you think he attended to all their needs? If you go back to Biblical times you are going to find all of this type of stuff as well as harems.

    I do understand where you’re coming from on this. However, I am proof that sex is not an intimate bond. Yes, I do care about my friends/lovers and their well being. But, our relationship is primarily sexual and not intimate or emotional.

    This is a very interesting perspective from a woman who was very much into casual sex:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/casual-sex-kitten-confessions_n_1921180.html?utm_hp_ref=own-relationships

  40. Jules–what about finding a woman who would let you stray a little if her libido did go down? Or someone who you’d let stray a little if things got stale? You’d still have a primary partner (or partners) with the connection and all the benefits of partnership–but if sex got infrequent for whatever reason, there would be options.

  41. @Aya..

    No. Not interested in such an arrangement.

  42. Just a guy says:

    I think the “benefits of partnership” are overstated for a lot of men, myself included. As in, “nice to have but not worth the sacrifice and trouble.”

  43. Precisely.

    The so-called “benefits of partnership” are lousy and a poor value for most men. Simply not worth the aggravation, torment, and mental anguish.

    Until women get honest about sex and marriage (not holding my breath), I really think they (women) should stick to marrying the men whom they want to have sex. Women need to stop subjecting perfectly decent men to humiliation and torment for purely selfish motives.

    Aya’s comment above reflects the most honest perspective on how women really think. I note her use of the word “stale” when referencing the issue with the man. While she uses the words “low libido” to character the the female issue. In essence it is a variety/novelty issue with women and a quantity issue with men. I happen to agree with her assessment. Just do not care for her solution.

  44. Jules,
    I understand your pain, the man I am with right now is awesome, but he had growing pains with the “crazy-beotch” for his first wife during his youth. Then he had a friendship in his second marriage. Now he has love and mutual respect with me, without the carelessness of our youth. It takes a long time to figure out that relationships are about GIVING and SERVING and adding value to another.

    I think we’ve all said it, focus on GIVING, rather than what’s in it for ME attitude. If a man or a woman is not willing to GIVE to the other routinely, then we are in a relationship just to GET something, or we just grow complacent. At that point, we may as well avoid the opposite sex and keep life simple.

  45. Hank Vandeburgh says:

    Jules, I think the benefits of partnership include getting emotional needs met (a lover will meet emotional needs for a while, then move on,) doubling income (necessary today,) having a way to have children, and so on. I’d like to be able to play around, but I have an agreement with my partner that I won’t. Age has probably saved me. At 67, I’m much less interested in doing this than I used to be.

  46. @Aya: The solution you recommend for Jules, for the overwhelming vast majority of men, finding a woman who will allow him to be serviced by another woman when his primary isn’t into it is almost impossible. Which I think is one of the reasons many men sneak around to get their sexual needs met. Go on Craigslist and you will find that putting an ad up for a casual sexual relationship for a man is a largely fruitless endeavor. While for women it’s offers a gold mine of possibilities. Just another sexual advantage in being female.

  47. @cm: These two points you raise,”women are “extrinsically motivated” and women evaluate ourselves in relation to others.’ exemplify my point. My experience has taught me that these kinds of desires far too frequently, lead to co dependency. The man becomes expected to be the caretaker of her self esteem in myriad ways. This is a societal expectation.

    This is an un-fulfilling role for men that has been made worse by feminist logic which tells women that they are simultaneously independent of men but reliant on him for helping her to feel good about herself. Perhaps, worse of all is the fact that men have been doing this thankless job for generations while scant respect and appreciation. However, there are few women how would not criticize his so-called natural male selfishness, or his lack of sensitivity and empathic response as compared to women.

  48. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    Yes the anti-KY business here is as stupid as the anti-Viagra stuff that also used to pop up here. My wife has always been an eager beaver, but since her late 50s, we’ve used KY. Works good. I have also known far younger women who ran a little dry, even when they were orgasming like crazy. They were also usually the “do me harder and faster” women, as opposed to wanting slow. Some of these women (usually astrological fire signs, if you care) were also impatient with foreplay.

  49. Oh so true…….In years past women were supposed to take emotional care of her husband. That now is seen as sexist for a man to expect, yet he is the responsable party in her emotional health. Cake-eaters

  50. @Aya: I know what the benefits of a relationship are and I have experienced them before in my life. I enjoy having those benefits as much as anyone else. However, it isn’t as easy for me, because I am a man, to simply spice up my stale sex life with my primary partner by getting an outside lover.

    How many women do you know would go for that arrangement when for them it is unnecessary because if they want there are always readily available men. Women who withholding sex, for whatever reason, are not usually amenable to that kind of arrangement.

  51. @wakemenow: First of all, where have you been? I do trust that you have been well.
    I agree with your premise that cynicism, in general, is a problem in some quarters. As solid as your premise is … there is a concern. If we lived in a culture that understood and was supportive of the fundamental idea that a mans emotional self and well being is as important as a woman’s, putting your premise in play makes sense. We don’t as yet, no matter what the neo intersectionalists feminists say, live in that culture.

    Since we don’t, men have to find alternatives ways to cope with what they face in the quest to find a good relationship.Who are we to say that for those who make that alternative choice,that they should not in order to pursue some elusive, literally, unexplainable phenomenon called love. What men like myself are trying to do is have some calm,consistency and predictability in our relationships, That desire, judged on its own merits,doesn’t demonstrate an avoidance of or condemnation of love.

    On the matter of whether or not said behavior is malicious or not, at some point, it doesn’t matter. Just because someone didn’t mean to hurt you doesn’t mean it’s ok or should be tolerated. Too often people use this frame of reference, “but I didn’t do it on purpose”, to shield themselves from righteous anger at their behavior and to blind themselves with denial.
    Given that so attention has been paid to the importance of men validating whatever feelings a woman may have at any given time, this denial by women is unbearable and controlling.
    I would agree that men and women both contribute to the good function or dysfunction of a relationship but that doesn’t mean that the blame is equally weighted, which seems to be the assumption. As I have written before, I will take a good functioning relationship over one steeped in the romantic gobbledygook of love.

    For me, having FWB, while not ideal, clobbers being in love with someone who hasn’t ever taken the time to even learn what a male issue is but demands a as condition of engagement that I be fluent in womanese. It just doesn’t add up.

  52. @ogwriter: Hello. Been busy tending to other matters lately. Actually not been the best of weeks, but what can we do? Had some stuff going on that has had me reflecting some on life and living and failures in love and whatnot, so please pardon me if my tone winds up being a bit sentimental or short. Just trying to make some sense out of this thing called life…

    Good comment btw, ogwriter. Your argument makes a lot of sense and I can understand the conundrum we find ourselves in. No, we do not live in a society that values men and women fairly — hell, we live in a society that doesn’t value much of anyone properly (overvaluing a few claiming the most power and encouraging us working peons to fight out the pecking order from there on down). And that leads back to the main argument I’m trying to make, which is that using one another won’t likely lead us toward greater appreciation and respect, and thereby undermines the objective if it is to heal these horrific societal wounds. But you’re right, when it comes to practical considerations in daily life it’s tough to get one’s needs met. Can’t all hole up and live as celibates, and who would want to? I respect that Jules is upfront with the women he sees as FWBs, and of course it’s ultimately his own decision on how he arranges his life. I do get that, but call me a hopeless romantic — it troubles me to know how many of us are coming to view sex and having needs met as pure transactions increasingly devoid of deeper significance and closeness. Women are using sex (and kids) to gain access to money and status; so then men turn around and use women for sex on their own conditions. I wonder where this strategy will eventually wind us all up. Toward less competition and deception? Probably not.. So then I wonder what might prove fruitful.

    Personally I consider it a very good idea for people to cease having all these kids since that seems to be dragging down couples more than nearly anything else, what with the stress and financial demands that entails. Would give us more time to learn and look more deeply into life while taking away a major form of leverage being wielded unfairly, at the ultimate cost to the children raised up in such unhappy circumstances and the greater society being shaped by this flood of discontented people. That’s my numero uno concern, though no, it’s not directly related to Jules’ story. Just needed to set that out as something I care deeply about, since slowing the flow of people entering this clusterfuck we have going on in modern times surely would be an improvement.

    Now, I can understand your desire for calm and predictable relationships, and I don’t really take issue with that. Not all unions are based on romantic love, or don’t start out that way necessarily, and it works for plenty of people. I see how a functional arrangement is preferable to a dysfunctional one where one partner wields an unfair advantage, absolutely, and yeah, as it stands today there probably isn’t much reason for people to marry under the current conditions. Won’t get an argument out of me on that. More women do need to take into consideration men’s perspectives and help in restoring their rights. At the end of the day, this should be about humans and not merely categories thereof.

    I do get all of that. *sigh* Just getting weary of all the fighting I see out in society, the cruelty so many are showing one another, the unwillingness to lay down our arms and check our own egos and try to imagine a way of living beyond the tit-for-tat game that’s become all the rage. Maybe I’m just a sentimentalist — guilty as charged. And maybe my arguments do seem abstract taken in light of the bullshit going on on the ground. I just wish for us all not to lose sight of one another through all of this or grow so cold that we come to see one another in terms of utility and little more. I know that’s not what Jules was trying to promote necessarily, and I’m not directing all I’ve been writing at him specifically. Just a prayer I’m putting out into the universe, I guess.

    As for womanese…that shit’s impossible to be fluent in. I’ve nearly given up trying with other women. There is a code of sorts a lot of women adhere to, apparently learned early on in life, but they won’t explain it, yet expect others to read their minds in order to figure it out. That truly is a pain in the rear, and women can be more clear if we try.

    Oh, and not to forget to respond to your point about personal responsibility. That is true, and it’s at the core of what I’m coming to think about in terms of life philosophy and all that jazz. It is true that we women do need to take more responsibility for our life choices and their consequences, I do agree. Because the system can be corrupted and used to one’s advantage is no reason to go ahead and do that and risk everyone’s well-being and sanity. No disagreement from me there either, though I would extend this to include men as well, my experience having shown them not to be the most responsible lot either, generally speaking. Sure, plenty hold down jobs and generate income and pay taxes, but responsibility of course goes much farther than that. When it comes to attitudes, I’d say assholes abound nearly everywhere, in all races and creeds and sexes. (So cheery today, I am. :P ) I guess another point I’m trying to make is that we all could stand to be better, and ultimately it does come down to the individual deciding in him or herself, because no one can be forced to follow a higher path if their heart isn’t into it.

    So anyway, sorry to ramble all over that one. I debated jumping back into the conversation since I am feeling rather blue lately. It is depressing what we all have going on today. Heart-breaking really. But the only power I have is to work on me, to do what I believe I need to do, so I guess I’ll go back to doing that now. Take care and I hope you are well also.

  53. Gonna generalize a bit here on males n females so take this as a very basic guide to stereotypical males n females. “Womanese” from what I understand it relies more on body language than verbal so try to pay more attention to vocal tone and her body language. Women also tend to exaggerate their emotions in speech whilst men tend to focus highly on the spoken word at a very literal level too. She says “You always do this to me” and it is a common argument and taken literally he might think “no, I don’t always do that, you’re lying” when she may not even mean it to be that often.

    Apparently women have 5 vocal tones and men only have 3 which seems to cause more confusion. My personal observation is a lot of men expect women to think/act like men and a lot of women expect men to think/act like women and that causes a SHIIITLOADDD of fights. The books of men are from mars, women are from venus explain this better.

    ht tp://www.professorshouse.com/Relationships/Marriage-Advice/Articles/Exaggerating-and-Ad-Libbing-When-Arguing-with-your-Spouse/ – This talks about it a bit.

    I’ve found that since reading the men are from mars, women from venus books n stuff like that I have found communication a bit easier with women I know. Now these are just generalizations of how men n women speak n act but I do think there is validity in them as a guide, not a rule. Whether or not is it learned behaviour or instinct…who knows, probably a bit of both. Basically the problem comes down to 2 genders having slightly different communication methods and not much emphasis in society for them to actually learn how to decode each other. Expecting someone of the opposite sex to act like your sex is a hugeee problem.

  54. Most men don’t realize that even women can find it difficult to deal with other women — I can’t tell you how many crazy misunderstandings, emotional meltdowns and bizarre behavior I’ve experienced with female friends, co-workers and roommates over the years. Any social group of women is likely teeming with often unspoken jealousies and grudges. Don’t get me wrong, female friendships can also be deeply loyal and supportive. But there is always a subtext going on whenever 2 or more women are communicating. I am a bit socially awkward and geeky, and I always had difficulty with my female peer groups. I tended to be friends with geeky guys or with just 1 or 2 similarly misfit girls. In college and later in the workplace, I had to learn by observation and trial & error how to interact effectively in female social groups. I learned the hard way, often getting on someone’s bad side for reasons I never fully understood. Men have my complete sympathy in this area. The thing to keep in mind is that women communicate on multiple levels and words are only the top level.

  55. sorry, i read all your comments, but I think most of your comments are just so wrong. You just stating basic stereotypes that men and women are different. Its not, we are not really different. Many women don’t really need to get their ego stroked to get aroused for sex. If yes, why would many women masturbated? Many women masturbated since teens even before having any relationship. Why? Because they have sexual urges, for the sake of pleasure, not because bullshit like men giving them attention and because of that attention women get aroused. LOL Many young women get wet and aroused simply fantasized about hot men ( or women ) and SEX. for the sake of sex, not giving and receiving. Well not so different from men???? LOL BECAUSE ITS NOT!!!!

    If women need to receive attention and love before get aroused, why would any women masturbate? Maybe you are just women with low sex drive who are never masturbate ( i know many women like you ). But most women can get aroused simply because they find a man is hot and want to have sex for the sake of sex.

    Women get their sex drive up and down because of hormonal response and menstrual cycle, but their sex drive is not different from men. Most women who are aroused want to have sex just because they want sex, simple.

    And all those giving and receving attention, men and women AGAIN is not different. Women want compliment and affection. So Men dont??? WRONG!!!! Men also need compliment and affection. Sometimes we can lost sex drive if we dont get affection from our women.

    AGAIN, we men and women are not really different

  56. Some of my best female friends absolutely HATE most other women, they can’t stand the stereotypical cattyness, it makes me laugh but feel sad taht they haven’t found decent female friends. I get annoyed around certain kinds of guys, macho behaviour, super-competiveness n aggression get tiring quick.

    Body language can be harder to understand than the spoken word I think, you can read into body language in multiple ways. A woman who is touching you may be friendly, or be showing sexual interest for instance whereas saying “take me to dinner” is a pretty damn clear intention.

  57. @Sarah: Not that you are religious or anything,but BLESS YOU! The point you bring up about difficulties in reading and therefore communication with women THAT even women have is exactly why so many men are eschewing singular loving monogamous relationships.It too complicated, too energy draining, too fussy and entirely co dependent. Once a man goes there with his girl, he is trapped in a never ending cycle of frustration that she isn’t held accountable for.

    It is interesting that men deal with this bizarreness and seldom get credit for it, yet there is never ending stream; of men don’t listen to women, men don’t care about what women think, men don’t validate women’s feelings, men don’t stroke women enough,etc. I think women don’t truly know how good they have it. They have the space necessary to behave in ways that cause people around them to be minimized, in deference to their needs. Men are so tired of this. More importantly, men are tired of women denying they sometimes behave irrationally. This is also why men attribute qualities like deception, and unpredictability to women; behavior, which, of course, women deny.

    What you say about women communicating on multiple levels is true of all humans.The difference is that men are acculturated to suppress that side of themselves so that women can occupy that space,freely.

  58. @Sarah:One question.If what you wrote is true, why should any man deal with this kind of bizzarre behavior in women?

  59. On the topic of the “bizarre behavior” of women… What if much of this points to something in us women that really is different in men, and not that we’re all just trying to be difficult to live with? Yeah, I get irrational sometimes, I know that. Most men I’ve known do as well (maybe not in the same ways or as loudly, but…), though their guyfriends may not be aware since the dynamics behind closed doors in the presence of one’s partner is a whole separate matter usually than how we behave out in public or even around friends. The majority of our emotionality, for both sexes, winds up being crammed up in our personal/private lives, probably because that’s the only place we feel free to be our full selves. Through that are we are putting too much pressure on one another to have our needs met that won’t (or can’t) be met outside of the comfort of our homes and bonded relationships? Does that not point to problems within the greater society that are damaging and draining us as individuals, to where we’re then taking out the resulting frustration on those closest to us?

    That’s not an excuse for women to misbehave horribly and mistreat their partners (or men either for that matter), but the talk tends to revolve around women behaving the worst in relationships, and I don’t know if it’s fair to expect women to behave and think and communicate as men commonly do. Or, fairness aside, it isn’t a practical expectation because real differences do exist between all of us, and obviously not only because of our sexes, important as that is. When I come home, I take off the public mask and try to heal so as to be able to go back out and do it all again the next day, and I’m sure plenty of men feel this way also. The strain of modern living could make anyone batty, and perhaps especially the most emotional among us (which would include a lot of women). It’s a thought.

    Another thought: In conversations I’ve had with men in the past, two of whom come to mind were clients at the time, where we weren’t arguing or experiencing any drama, just chatting about gender differences and the like, the topic of respect came up. Both men I had known and worked with for years, who clearly liked seeing me and other women, directly stated that they do not respect women and don’t believe other men do either, or that men even are able to. That befuddled me, and it hurt me, having come to see these men as friends of sort over time. They weren’t talking about escorts exclusively, didn’t reference feminism, and one was even married with a daughter — this is simply how they (and they claimed other men they knew) feel about womankind as a whole.

    Can anyone else shed any light on this? How many men really feel that honest mutual respect is impossible between men and women? I assume their underlying arguments had to do with women existing on a different plane than men (in terms of agendas, utility, intellectual capacity?), but even with that I struggle to comprehend their views. If indeed many men do feel this way toward women, and vice versa, then, well, why would we expect our relations to become anything other than transactionary or, worse, hostile one-upmanship? This contradicts the totality of my personal experiences, but perhaps others do see it this way, and I wonder how prevalent such attitudes are.

  60. I’d say they’re talking a load of shit. I respect women just as I respect men. I know many men that respect women and some who don’t (who funnily enough are always dating women and not single). Many of us do feel women act different to men but we still respect them, some behavior I’ve seen females do has confused me but I’m sure they get confused at some stuff I do.

    I think what confuses men is quite a lot of women show more of the emotional spectrum to men and we aren’t used to it, some women focus solely on emotions to the point their arguments don’t make logical sense (cue the “you always do this” stuff), but if you look at their emotions alone it does make sense but not all of us men are trained to see that. “It’s a disaster”, “It’s the worst thing in the world!”, stuff like that said over some pretty trivial shit that we see, maybe her clothes she wanted to wear aren’t washed, and her speech sounds like she is over-reacting but really she’s just venting frustration n anger like I would if my fav clothes weren’t ready when I wanted to go out (and I have done this, but I say more like “F this, F that, F’ing clothes aren’t ready”). The exaggeration of words really throws me off when women say it because I hear one thing, but she’s trying to say another. I’m not meant to hear it as really the worst thing in the world, but as something that is upsetting n annoying. That’s just an example that some women do and in my experience far more women do that particular thing than men, men do other annoying stuff that I’m sure women find confusing.

    Something women probably would hate with me is my sheer love of breaking shit that annoys me, I lose my temper sometimes when tired n hungry and if an object annoys me I sometimes break it such as when I put a cabinet door on and it fucked up badly I threw that piece of shit 10m into the backyard n busted the hell out of it with a hammer. Felt GREAT, and no I don’t hit people just stuff I can fix that I own. I need to buy a wrecking yard:P. I’ve seen other men do this too and I laugh my ass off when it happens, it’s at the point you give up caring about that object n destruction takes away frustration. I’ve never seen a woman do this though I’m sure some do it.

  61. @wakemenow…

    I would not say I do not respect women.

    It is more of a feeling of distrust and disgust when it comes to sexuality. This is the only area where I harbor real feeling of disgust. As for intellectual, professional, and human respect, I have no beef with women. Women are my equal. I am not superior in any regard.

    My only gripe with women has been what I perceive to be a lack of honesty about sex, sex and marriage etc….As a former husband I just cannot understand why a woman who said she loved her husband AND loved making love to him would not have sex with him. That simply told me she was a liar. In essence she was dishonest.

    As ogwriter stated: the central problem is our society and culture does not take men’s emotional and psychological well being as seriously as women’s. A man’s hurt and pain are frequently dismissed by a wife, our society and culture. When a man realizes this either he goes nuts, becomes depressed, or something worse. The bottom line is unless he develops a coping mechanism, he is bound to become emotionally damaged.

  62. @Archy: Ha! I hurled my jewelry box against the wall several months ago. Broke it, stuff scattered everywhere had me on my hands and knees searching for probably an hour to re-collect it all. Surprised the heck out of my boyfriend. But it did make me feel better in that instant, so yeah, I get that. Haha Frustration happens and we each handle it as we do, some more productively than others, but dammit — sometimes breaking shit really is called for, however irrational it may appear to onlookers. :) Liked your comment, Archy!

    And that’s pointing back to what I’m wondering about pertaining to all of us. We’re frustrated for a variety of reasons, some having to do with our partners directly, plenty not yet we may at times lay the heavy on them when we shouldn’t. Men and women do this, so it’s not as if men are pillars of rationality and reasoning putting up with female nonsense. Ha. No. Maybe that’s true for some couples, perhaps serving as evidence of them being mismatched if it proves unsatisfactory overall. But that’s simply not the whole picture or even a realistic caricature, not in my experience. But then again, I’ve known far more men than women.

    Wicked people do exist, but more often I think it’s a matter of people being misguided, whether by feminism or some other “ism” or our stupefying American culture or modeling our lives in accordance with economic theory even where it doesn’t fit, etc. And where does the common person today receive worthwhile guidance from? Quality parents and mentors, if you’re blessed. Otherwise virtually nowhere, so a lot of it is on the individual to make sense out of life and living for him/herself. We are making mistakes all across the board through our acceptance of conventional “wisdom” without knowing or imagining anything better to compare ourselves and this life up against. A lack of role models, one could say. And that’s real, and it affects us all, albeit in different ways.

    Life’s journey has taught me a lot, and it hasn’t always been rosy and there are probably a number of people out there who think pretty poorly of me or some past experience we had. I’ve mistreated men and been mistreated. Life choices made a decade or more ago came to haunt me in ways I never would’ve imagined. I actively contributed to the destruction of my first and so far only marriage (with help) because I was young and relatively dumb and naive and mistook dominance and aggression with “empowerment.” Made poor financial decisions I continue to live with. Threw fits that leave me embarrassed to ever return to certain bars again. Cheated for the first time on someone who absolutely didn’t deserve that, and now live with the shame of my selfishness (relating to my long-time craving for sexual distractions when times are tough). With luck and introspection, we learn as we go. Because I met men and women along my journey who fared no better doesn’t provide any comfort — it’s rather sad actually, and it causes me to wonder why life seems out of sorts for so many of us, why we’re doing what we’re doing to one another, and what crazy-making factors contribute to this chaos. Being male and female and managing the differences that entails can be difficult enough, but that’s not the full scope of what’s eating at us. That is, however, most readily identifiable as a concern, because it’s closest to us and impacts us intimately.

    I don’t know. It just seems to me we people are casting a lot of blame at one another for problems that affect us all and yet aren’t completely within any one person’s control to change. We can learn to open our eyes and examine life more closely, and some days I think that’s about the best we can hope for from one another. My apologies for rambling up a storm.

  63. Yeah I’ve put my fist through a wall in anger before, but I stopped doing that since it takes a while to patch it up, repaint it, etc. Anything I throw out though is fair game.

    No one is perfect, there is shit I regret. My first relationship ended badly as we rushed sex, I freaked, and ended it there as I knew my feelings weren’t the same as her’s. I always told her we’d see how things went but still I regret that I didn’t know my feelings better, though I’m not sure I could really know my feelings until I went through it. I had thought I liked her a lot but during a few days we met that all disappeared (met her online). It broke her heart and I felt like a real jerk, I also went from very little physical contact to full on sex in a day or 2 which freaked me out more with anxiety as it was all new and basically just too much to handle so fast. It’s pretty bad when you’re half way through sex n feeling like you need to stop but push through it hoping it gets better and then after you feel like not being touched because it’s all too much.

  64. @Jules:

    I agree that our culture and society is growing hostile toward men and shows little concern about your/their psychological pain. Couldn’t agree more, and it’s tragic. We see it in men being treated as disposable bodies behind a weapon in our military, and we see it in the endless reel of sitcoms ridiculing men as dumb apes pleased by sex and food who serve the primary purpose of going out to a job and bringing home bacon they have little say in its use. I saw it in my grandfather’s frustration working hard and receiving little respect and in the anguish he covered for decades with alcohol. But I also see how what we have going on doesn’t benefit all or even most women either, regardless of what some women themselves might like to think. I think the way things are becoming is dangerous for everybody, even as women appear to be afforded higher standing in the new game. None of us are better off present time, and it’s being reflected in our collective unhappiness.

    So what do you think we can do beyond arranging our own personal setups to minimize the harm we personally experience? Legislation can only take us so far, so how else might we enhance the trust and work toward society-wide improvements? In case you have any ideas you’d care to offer.

  65. @wakemenow : As I read your response post I thought you were recanting what you had said before. I realize it was my interruption of it and obviously was not be what you intended. I have read it probably ten times and each to time I walk away with the same feeling. Sorry about that.

  66. @ogwriter: Perhaps I don’t explain myself well. And perhaps we read into things what we want to see rather than what’s actually being said.

    In reference to your reply to the question I posed to Jules, you stated that people must come to value men’s emotional needs before you feel they can change. But I wonder if this is true, considering how important empathy is to this dilemma. By vocalizing and demonstrating your needs out loud and without reservation, might that not bring around women to a deeper appreciation for men’s struggle in all of this? Help them see what they share in common with men inside? It seems to me keeping silent on the matter hasn’t served men’s interests well at all, but rather than lashing out angrily or turning cold, why not instead try bringing your emotions to the table and laying out the truth for others to see and feel? Maybe they have remained ignorantly blind because your suffering has been kept so quiet. It is a thought.

    I don’t hold out much hope for change either. But when you speak of how society treats men, I think it’s important to note that many of those members of society giving men a hard time are other men. It is often men who hold standards they expect other “real men” to adhere to prove their worth, and it is often other men who enforce the code that tells men they shouldn’t cry or show signs of weakness. I know this is true because I hear it from men, and I’ve witnessed many men willing to cry and show pain around women because they feel we will be more sympathetic to what they’re going through. Perhaps this depends on the men in question, be that differences in class or race or fraternal bonds that allow or disallow displays of male vulnerability. But from what I read on MRM sites, I see men are very willing to cut down their brothers and shame them for behaving too effeminately or for siding with women on issues. The society we speak of is comprised of men AND women doing this to other men AND women, not just one sex attacking and mistreating the other while bonding with members of their own sex. Like Sarah and Archy pointed out, women aren’t exactly getting along with one another, and I’ve just noted that plenty of men are choosing to avoid one another as well for similar reasons.

    You continue bringing up feminism to me despite me repeatedly stating that’s something I do not support. This appears to be your fixation, and important as it is to check the influence is having on legislation and our culture, it’s not the root cause of all that ails us, IMO. Feminism has become a shallow attempt to make sense of the world, framing all problems in terms of gender inequalities, and it has come to outlive its purpose in recent times, as many movements eventually do. I wouldn’t suggest feminism as a means to solving our problems when it too has become one of the major problems we as a society are contending with.

    As for your comments to Hank on other-directedness…I can’t help but be taken aback a bit by this focus on women’s “craziness.” Perhaps modern life has a more profound effect on the most emotional among us, namely women, and I think this is demonstrated through droves of women seeing doctors for depression and anxiety problems. No, I don’t think we’re coping too well, for reasons I’m not completely clear on. Though I do agree that women evolved totally differently than men in terms of social bonding, which had a lot to do with shared parenting and care-taking among groups of women, whereas men have historically been pitted against one another in competition.

    Perhaps women becoming involved in more competitive arenas of life hasn’t served us well psychologically. Maybe we’re many of us simply aren’t geared for what our business world has come to ask of us, but I doubt men are all that much happier with the conditions themselves. Personally, I do blame modern economics claiming dominance over all considerations is harming human life, and it’s further complicated by having men and women compete as we now do. But I see no way to roll back the clock and I’m not sure what to envision going forward that could reinstate a greater sense of balance between the sexes. Probably will require more women accepting our natural limitations and realizing what it’s doing to us and our families when we give money supreme importance in our lives, but I think it we need men too to come to grips with this.

    And no, I’m not a communist or a socialist or even a liberal — just noting what seems so obvious to me, which is that most of what people are fighting over and manipulating others for is money. Money in return for status and power. It’s a take on the age-old domination game, except now money is needed for everything, and we spend so much of our lives chasing it.. To generalize, men are better at acquiring it through jobs, and women aim for access to it, in part, through men, not merely because we women are evil and cruel but rather because what we’re best at is actively being devalued. So then women turn toward preying on men instead, and that’s the tragic twist of fate that bothers me most about the modern economic frontier. I don’t think it’s an issue that can be resolved without rectifying that end as well, seeing as how our social realm seems to follow suit and closely mirror whatever economics asks of us.

    And of course, that’s not all of it. What I was trying to saying in the last two long posts pertained to our individual moral responsibilities not only to others and the wider collective but to our own selves. It’s an unpopular topic I’m finding out, but important nevertheless. There is truth in the notion of change beginning with oneself, despite how limited and powerless one can feel to do much to affect the larger problems facing us. And granted, “crazy” feelings and depression certainly don’t help with feeling motivated. The more bogged down someone gets, the easier it is to blame another rather than see one’s own contributions to the problem. I do understand that, and I don’t have an answer. Life strikes me as bewildering despite all the creature comforts we now have to ease our suffering.

    I seem unable to write brief posts. Sorry about that.

  67. @wakemenow: To be clear, I am not saying that all women are cruel or should be vilified as worse than men. In fact that kind of rhetoric, from either side angers me to no end. I am sick of the divisions.And I too want peace and calm.

    I want to know exactly what is expected of me as man in society, not 50 million different versions. I also know that I am a part of problem and am not perfect. However, 43 years ago ago when it occurred to that men had to change, as a 14 year old growing up in San Francisco, I started that process for myself. The only problem was the people saying I needed to change hadn’t figured everything out.
    They thought of themselves as perfect and as the embodiment of all that was good and right. Men were comparative knuckling neanderthals. These people blissfully and with arrogance, ignored biology and its influence on the behavior of men and women. I blindly followed their idiocy before, I shall not do it again. Their influence in so deeply intertwined into American culture culture as to be almost indistinguishable.

  68. @ogwriter: Your latest explanations clarifies a good bit for me. I can only imagine how wacky the situation must have been in San Fransisco in the ’60s and ’70s with all the social experimenting of that era taking place. I’ve always assumed California was the birthplace of the feminist movement…and I can only grasp that period in time through what I read since it was long before I was born. But you have my sympathy for getting caught up in all of that, frustrating as I’m sure it turned out to be.

    I’m glad that your goal isn’t to seek divisions or to cast blame, and in my last post I was referring to a “general you” in a few places where I should have made that clear. Sorry about that. Wasn’t trying to preach, at least not to others, just that I’ve been reading elsewhere online where lots of blame is cast and people seem so up in arms toward one another, to where they seem blinded to their doings and choices. But it helps me knowing others do take seriously the need to better know and take control of themselves and their situations, since that’s what I personally keep returning to in my own life. Being a good bit younger than you, please pardon my naivete on so many topics. I am still learning and trying to find my voice.

    Though I’m not sure going forward that society will be able to offer concrete expectations for us based on the sex we belong to. I think perhaps those days may be over and that from here on out we will have to decide who to be on our own, according to standards we set, since the greater society is so diverse to the point of becoming a project of trying to herd cats. Could be wrong, I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure there will remain 50 million expectations launched about pertaining to women within this schizoid, contradictory culture. It is frustrating not knowing who to be or what is best to aim to live up to, and I’m struggling with these questions inside.

    Anyway, don’t want to take up anymore of your time today, having written a book this week on here already. Just wanted to say mainly that I appreciated the extra information to help me know who I’m talking to and how feminism factors into your views. Take care.

  69. @wakemenow: You should know that I am not saying or trying to imply that you have intentionally trued to shut me out of the dialogue. My point is that, too often, women think that simply asking men to open up as women do, and share their feelings, and fears and insecurities, that those feelings will be well received. Or that women will gladly get out of the way and accept men in this context by sharing this space. This is simply not true. As has been noted many to times, one of biggest failures of feminism was its decision to ignore the role of biology in gender relations.

    The truth is, women are just as reluctant to share what has been their power base as men have been to share their traditional power spaces.
    Secondarily, though I am shaped by my early experiences as a youth I am not bound to them. Life moves forward at an ever increasing rate of speed. And as such so must I. You, my dear, are an important voice in this discussion that needs to be heard and felt by others. You are one of the few female voices that I admire and respect in this debate genre.Why? Because, i know you listen and care. And perhaps, more importantly, I know I matter as a man to you. I can’t say that about many women in my life, who just don’t see the ways in which the lives of men and women are inextricably linked. Women don’t understand that making unilateral decisions about how the masculine or how the feminine is to be defined causes chaos. You do, and that’s big! and rare.

  70. @ogwriter: Still making my way through the comments I’ve missed. I really appreciate what you said here and it very much helps me to feel more comfortable conversing on this thread. My talkativity turns me into a prolific writer (as this post will confirm), so I do worry about coming across as not allowing others the room they need to express themselves in kind. That you appreciate my contributions here makes me happy, as I haven’t found many welcoming forums to discuss these sorts of matters and so wind up writing more for myself in private instead.

    “one of biggest failures of feminism was its decision to ignore the role of biology in gender relations. The truth is, women are just as reluctant to share what has been their power base as men have been to share their traditional power spaces.”

    Very true. While I can understand women wanting to be recognized more so in the public domain and to influence politics through our voting power, things wound up getting seriously out of hand during the second-wave of feminism you grew up with. Not sure how or why exactly that disconnect got started, the notion of men and women being essentially the same and biology playing no important role, but time has proven the assumption false. Unfortunately for us our society has come to be predicated on this erroneous logic. I get how women feel uncomfortable with the idea of us being deemed separate but equal (especially considering how such language was used to justify racial discrimination), there being concern we will automatically be relegated to a secondary role, or at least that’s how the role is perceived as being. And undoubtedly this fear stems from historically feeling undervalued for our contributions to society, which I can understand since we still observe flashes of the skeleton of painful inequity (made all the more pronounced by Abrahamic religions in their heyday).

    Something that comes to my mind is this. To lead, one needs to gain the respect of others. Yet instead so many people all up through history aim to rule by dominance, by eliminating choice, in other words by dictatorship. When we look back at history we see more men behaving in this way because leaders often tended to be male, and women can make the mistake of assuming mishandling power is a uniquely male trait, brought about by a “man’s world,” and thereby less likely to occur when the supposedly gentler sex assumes positions of power. And that is a lie, a horrible lie, made all the worse because biological differences do tend to favor men for leadership roles (whether benevolently or malevolently handled).

    While there remain exceptions worth noting, those female exceptions tend to not behave and think as typical women either. What I mean by that is we womenfolk, generally speaking, tend to be more conformity-driven and peer-oriented (hence references to us being especially prone toward other-directedness). This way of being is illustrated in women being more groupish than men, and in groups conformity is prized as aiding in keeping the peace and holding people in line to protect the mores of a given community. The problem here is that conformist groupishness stands in stark contrast with the will of the individual and those qualities needed to honestly assess and critique the group and its members, as well as lead with characteristic integrity. This is something I think women struggle with accepting about ourselves, because it implies we are lacking when compared against the male standard. But I don’t see it as lacking, just a big difference between types of people and how we’ve evolved over time. History didn’t typically serve women who broke from the herd and rabble-roused and fought authorities perceived as unjust, because this jeopardized the life of her dependent offspring. Men, however, weren’t shackled in the same sort of way and therefore could serve in the role of protector and hunter and warrior and whatnot. One could say that this is not a luxury mankind possessed, but a responsibility and a duty that was necessary to fulfill. And I think that’s what women have trouble coming to terms with, especially now as we live in concrete jungles of our own making and are free from many of the threats that plagued our ancestors. It’s a short leap to assuming the past is the past and that all can be level and equal now, but that’s not reality.

    We can’t help but come to the table colored by the ends of the spectrum our sex shows a propensity toward, and it seems to me fewer people today are demonstrating a willingness to respectably rule their own selves (that goes for men and women alike), yet women are increasingly demanding the perks of rising in rank and being recognized while expediting the process required for them to get there, leaving aside concerns for qualifying merit. In other words, we seem to think we belong everywhere by virtue of being women, the common argument being the we women are underrepresented in various aspects of society previously. But then there’s little talk of what we bring to the table aside from a female perspective, as if that alone is so valuable as to warrant entry. (Nevermind that men aren’t automatically valued for showing up with their male perspectives if that’s all they brought.)

    And I could go on and on (and did, and moved it to my personal writing log). That was my attempt to touch on the problem with the feminist agenda. A nap is in order before heading to work. Take care.

  71. @wakemenow: I always read every word you write…twice.

  72. @ogwriter: Just took a look at a couple other pages on this site finally. Wooh…some heated arguments on here. Perhaps I’d better just make this thread my home and not venture out. haha

    Read the commenting rules too and it says we’re not supposed to get off-topic. Hmm. Drats. Surprised I haven’t been flagged yet. Such tough topics to stay in one vein with.

    So, in the interest of remaining on topic, I’ll say there’s still very little sex taking place over here. Decent amount of cuddling. A little porn watching by me in the wee hours of the night. Thankfully I have an awesome toy, and beer, or else what would life be? We managed to not have sex for a whole month (hence our Thanksgiving feud). That duration set a new record. But then again, it was a dumb month.

    So how’s everyone else doing in the sex department right about now? Any improvements or changes?

    @Arium: Figured anything new out with your situation? Has the counseling helped any, if I might ask?

  73. @wakemenow: I haven’t had any counseling yet. I am a terrible procrastinator. This is one situation in which my procrastination doesn’t hurt anyone else.

    The counselor my psychiatrist recommended is out-of-network. Since I have had no expenses applied to my out-of-network deductible this year, I may as well wait until January, when the deductible would start over anyway. In the meantime, I found a counselor in-network who might be worth trying instead, in order to save money.

    I’m also taking some time to think through how I would want to proceed if given the chance. Do I really want to put my relationship through the strain of asking to open it, only to realize that I have no reasonable prospects for finding other partners? GMP recently had a post regarding casual sex, but the advice wasn’t targeted toward someone in his late 40’s.

    J has been making an effort toward more frequent sex. She doesn’t like sessions 24 hrs apart because she fears she will become sore. Recently we tried 36 hr intervals and that is working out OK. She even suggested morning sex before she left on a business trip this week!

    As for you a month is a very long time. I don’t know if I ever went a month with my ex. My libido was lower then, but even 2 week droughts contributed to the demise of the relationship due to the loss of feelings toward each other. (It didn’t help that she was insecure about my porn use, which did not include videos from the Internet back then.)

    I recall you saying you were trying to adjust to a conventional sex life, but often not getting one’s needs met often leads to feelings of resentment.

  74. wakemenow says:

    @Arium: I often wonder what a counselor can really do to help people in this sort of situation. Encourage people to change the way they behave, in hope that this will eventually alter our thinking (going the cognitive therapy route)? Or…?

    I am curious to eventually learn how the counseling goes once you’ve decided on a counselor. From what little past experience I’ve had with visiting counselors (for other matters), it seemed all they want to do is listen, not offer up much advice, and I can’t see how talking out the frustration would wind up alleviating it in this sort of case.

  75. @wakemenow: I’ve left out details regarding my reasons for seeking counseling.

    I don’t want to continue the conversation here, so if you’ll comment on my blog, I can keep you posted there.

  76. Victor Greed says:

    Nah, dry vaginas seem okay for these guys. It is not going to hurt… the male, so that is okay I guess.

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