Why Men Are So Obsessed With Sex

obsessed

Steve Bearman looks at some of the influences in men’s lives that can lead to an obsession with sex…and how that can be overcome.

 

Have you ever encountered a baby whose gender is unknown to you? Not knowing can feel profoundly uncomfortable. We barely realize how great the differences are in how we treat male and female people, in what we expect of them. These differences are by no means subtle, but they are so much the air we breathe that we can’t even see them. We have almost no experience of relating to human beings not on the basis of their gender. If we did, we would be at ease with someone whose gender we didn’t know. Instead, the first question we ask about a new person in the world is whether it’s a boy or a girl. Maybe if we can’t tell the difference, it’s because there isn’t one!

Nonetheless, from the moment of our birth, if not earlier, we are treated as gendered beings. We are not merely considered to have a gender, we are conditioned to have it. Moment by moment, day by day, and persistently over long stretches of time, the ways boys and girls get treated shape their identities. And the way boys learn to be male almost inevitably leads them directly to some kind of obsession with sex as they grow older.

Isolating Boys

All babies are considered okay to smooch and squeeze and hold close, female or male, but when they get old enough, boys stop being held and cuddled and stroked. If they reach out to adults for intimacy, we refuse them in the name of “self-sufficiency.” Though this promotes independence, it does so at the cost of intimacy. This isolation is reinforced by early sexist conditioning. Boys are taught that they are different from, and better than, girls, even that they should shun or hate girls. If they are fortunate enough to escape this particular piece of the conditioning and continue to have equal relationships with girls, they are quickly marked as “sissies” and called “girls” themselves. Loving or tender relationships with other boys get them similarly marked as “faggots” and put them in danger of violence and being ostracized.

Instead, boys are encouraged to develop relationships with other boys that are primarily competitive: playing sports, jockeying for higher rank in social hierarchies such as teams, clubs, and later on, gangs and fraternities. These groups often come together to do violence to other groups, either by “beating” them in competitions or in less symbolic forms of violence. In the armies in which so many of the world’s men at some point participate, we learn to kill and to be prepared to go down fighting, and this model repeats itself in gang wars of all kinds. These violence-based communities fulfill some of our needs for companionship and connection, when nothing gentler is available, and so they may not seem to contribute to male isolation. However, competitive and adversarial groups offer solidarity within the group at the cost of turning everyone else into an enemy. They breed fear of other people, even of the others within our group, with whom we also must compete for rank. We may not be alone when among the group members, but the internal isolation is intense. Relationships between group members buckle and break from the pressure of having to defend, protect, and prove ourselves. This is very different from the nurturing ease and satisfaction of a mutual, equal, fear-free relationship.

A systematic enterprise of denied contact, humiliation and name-calling, being ostracized, sexist conditioning, homophobia, competition, and training for violence leaves boys more and more on their own. This habit of being “on our own” becomes familiar. Isolation is a piece of the heritage of our conditioning as boys that we carry with us into our manhood. This description of male conditioning will not exactly match every boy’s experiences. But certain factors are almost universally present in one form or another for boys growing up in our present society. Isolation is one of three primary factors in our early conditioning that later leaves us vulnerable to sexual obsession.

What happens to human beings who have been, since early in life, isolated from intimate connections with other people, cut off from their own feelings, and numbed to bodily awareness?.

Suppressing Boys’ Feelings

Young people naturally seek out other people for help and support when they are faced with painful feelings. When they get hurt, feel scared, become outraged or embarrassed, frustrated or sad, they seek and expect attention. The loving attention of another human being is necessary to feel these feelings and to heal the hurts that caused them. The isolation of boys keeps them from seeking out the attention they need, prevents them from even believing it’s okay to ask for help. They are left to deal with feelings themselves. Even worse, they are loaded down with messages that feelings are not something “real men” experience. They learn that, “Big boys don’t cry.” The process of crying is interrupted, and the tears are responded to by being ignored, laughed at, or answered with threats of violence.

Being scared is yet another thing boys are told threatens their maleness. They are expected to leap into any activity, no matter how dangerous or unfamiliar, without appearing fearful. Other feelings are in similar ways denied them, and they quickly learn that expressing emotions actually makes their situation worse. Over time, the only ways boys keep from showing their feelings is to train themselves not to feel them, to dull their awareness of their own experience, numb themselves to emotions. In the course of doing so, they decrease their ability to feel any feelings, joyful, painful, or otherwise. At the same time we become disconnected from other people, we are cut off from our own feelings.

Desensitizing Boys’ Bodies

As a subset of all the feelings we are forced to numb ourselves to, we “lose touch” with how our bodies feel. We learn, sometimes literally, to harden ourselves against pain, strain, and physical effort. The training to “act like a man” is present when young boys are encouraged to ignore physical injuries, not to cry, to bear the pain and go on as if nothing happened. This is exactly the training needed to convince men to work ourselves to the point of abuse, in both the workforce and the military. The sensuality of being alive in our bodies, aware of our senses, and breathing full breaths has been written off as an unmale attribute. Sensuality has been replaced with routine. Though we notice extremes, we are unable to perceive subtleties of feeling. Tenderness and gentleness, subtle and slow as they are, have been lost. Born into bodies marvelously equipped to feel, we are forced to shut down and accept numbness.

Is Sex The Answer?

This description may sound quite extreme. Yet it is only a picture of what is considered normal to impose on boys, what we take for granted. We don’t like to believe ourselves to be in such an extreme state. We think anything we made it through must not have been that bad. If it doesn’t seem, as men, that we have been so separated from each other, from women, from our feelings or our bodies, this may be because we have lost our memory of being that integrated, that connected. For most of us, the joy that is possible in our daily lives is so outside the scope of our experience that we have difficulty even imagining it. So consider here for a moment that most men alive have been through some form of this systematic conditioning. What happens to human beings who have been, since early in life, isolated from intimate connections with other people, cut off from their own feelings, and numbed to bodily awareness?

There was a time when we could perceive a loss of vividness, when it was clear that what was being offered us in our adult lives was far less than the abundance we knew was possible. As we stood facing the possibility that we would have to cope with the loneliness of isolation, the emptiness of lost feeling, the dullness of disembodiment, just then, intimacy, passion, and sensuality were all offered back to us in one, solitary form. Sex, we were told, is the answer. Everything you have lost can be found through sex. But here’s the catch: sex is the only way you can get it back! Imagine yourself in this scenario. The urgent need to pursue sex would bear down with great pressure.

Adolescent boys are exposed to a social imperative to get laid in order to prove their maleness, long before they even know what “getting laid” means. They are bombarded with sexual images through television, advertising, and pornography. These images are very compelling, somehow conveying to them that the great mystery of life can be experienced through sex. Every story of “true love” in the cultural mythology implies that relationships are built on sex, that sex consummates love, that feeling sexual feelings is the same as being in love. Directly and indirectly, we are handed sexuality as the one vehicle through which it might still be possible to express and experience essential aspects of our humanness that have been slowly and systematically conditioned out of us. Sex was, and is, presented as the road to real intimacy, complete closeness, as the arena in which it is okay to openly love, to be tender and vulnerable and yet remain safe, to not feel so deeply alone. Sex is the one place sensuality seems to be permissible, where we can be gentle with our own bodies and allow ourselves overflowing passion. Pleasure and desire, vitality and excitement, seemingly left behind somewhere we can’t even remember, again become imaginable.

Adolescent boys are exposed to a social imperative to get laid in order to prove their maleness, long before they even know what “getting laid” means. .

This is why men are so obsessed with sex. We are born sensual creatures with an unlimited capacity to feel and an effortless propensity to deeply connect with all human beings. We are then subjected to continuous conditioning to repress sensuality, numb feelings, ignore our bodies, separate from our natural closeness with our fellow humans. All of these human needs are then promised to us by way of sex and sexuality. This is an effective lure because sexuality genuinely can be a potent source of love and pleasure, intimacy, sensuality, and beauty. But in no way can sex completely fulfill these needs. Such needs can only be fulfilled by healing from the effects of male conditioning and suffusing every area of our lives with relatedness and aliveness.

From Passion to Obsession

It’s as if a being of extraordinary power and passion had been reduced and dulled and diminished over many years. The memory of passion was put to slumber deep within this being, and the being walked through life with an elusive sense of something missing, something wrong. One day, a billboard appeared, and on that billboard, surrounded by images of naked bodies and erotic acts, were the words “PASSION AVAILABLE HERE!” So excited was this being to get at even the possibility of passion, which he could feel awakening deep within, that he rushed impulsively forward, never taking the time to read the small print at the bottom of the ad. This is what the small print said:

If you follow this path, be prepared on your way to reawakening passion to pass through a land called Obsession. Be aware that most men never make it out the other side. Sex, which will feel like the answer to your loneliness and deadness, will turn out to reinforce those feelings. You will come to feel more alive when thinking about or engaged in sex than at almost any other time. When you do experience sex, you may come closer to another human being than you can remember ever being. Sensing the safety to do so, you will begin to care deeply, and to feel all the joy and pleasure and every other feeling that has been trapped inside of you for so long, including all the fear you have never been safe enough to feel. And so the closer you get, the more scared you will feel. And you will find ways to pull back, and you will begin to believe that it is not safe and that you are just as alone as you have always felt. You will come to blame your partner or yourself for the inadequacy and for the inability of sex to make you back into the great, vulnerable, courageous, and free being you were born to be. But because some taste, some glimpse is available through sex, you will be driven to seek it out as the solution to your life-sized dilemma. If you escape the self-condemnation of sexual repression, you will desperately search for new kinds of sexual contact, real or imagined, to make you feel whole or to make you feel anything at all. But no matter how much sex you encounter, it will not be enough to fill your enormous need to love and be close and express your passion and delight in your senses and feel life force coursing through your muscles and your skin. All sexual desire will become tainted with your desperation. Passion and desperation will begin to seem one and the same. You will be Obsessed.

Sex quickly becomes addictive for most men. Like all addictions, it offers what feels like temporary relief from difficult circumstances, only to leave us more thoroughly immersed in those circumstances, and feeling as if more of it is the only way to even come up for air. Even if we do not engage compulsively in anonymous casual sex, pornography, masturbation, or fetishistic attempts to recover what has been forgotten, sex nevertheless takes on an addictive character. When we automatically fantasize about sex and sexualize people we meet in passing, when we are sexually engaged and feel an urgent need to have intercourse, to “get off”, to orgasm at all cost, we are being driven by these addictive impulses. It is difficult to accept that such attempts to get back what we’ve lost will always ultimately fail. Even if we accept it, we can’t find our way out. An addiction this persistent occurs for very definite reasons, and until those reasons are addressed, escaping the addiction may not be possible. In the absence of healing, the addiction serves necessary functions.

Men are frequently believed to be fundamentally malevolent and untrustworthy, particularly because of our “uncontrollable” sexual desires. In light of the compulsive form sexuality often takes, we attempt to repress all of it. Yet repression is exactly the wrong idea. If sex really is one of the few areas of our lives where we can still feel, can still tell that another person is actually there with us, can still sense the joy of inhabiting a body, then repressing sexuality, vilifying it, or sublimating it into work, plugs up one of the few remaining springs of vitality. Repression is not the solution. Repression is, in fact, the origin of the problem, and additional repression squelches our vitality even further. Passion, not repression, is our greatest ally in the battle to liberate our complete humanity. The message being offered us by our sexual obsession is that we are reaching for something we know we so badly need. The passion and the desire for closeness behind the obsession are our guides, despite the fact that they have kept us isolated when followed without reflection or awareness. Sexual obsession, when turned inside out, holds the key to our liberation.

Reclaiming Our Full Humanity

My vision for myself and for all men is that we reclaim every piece of our humanity that has been denied us by our conditioning. Obsession with sex can be healed when we reclaim all the essential aspects of the human experience that we have learned to manage without: our affinity for one another, caring connections with people of all ages and backgrounds and genders, sensual enjoyment of our bodies, passionate self-expression, exhilarating desire, tender love for ourselves and for one another, vulnerability, help with our difficulties, gentle rest, getting and staying close with many people in many kinds of relationships. If sex makes us feel more alive or less alone than anything else, this is an indication that vitality and closeness are glaringly missing from every other part of our lives. Because of the nature of male hurts, our healing requires that we get in close, and stay close, with other men and women whom we choose as our allies and to whom we choose to show ourselves. It requires that we move back into our bodies and care for them deeply. Because we have been alienated from other people, our feelings, and our bodies, we must now reclaim each of these in order to take back our humanness, and in doing so, end the desperation and the lack that keeps us obsessed.

When we fill our lives with the things we previously expected only from sex, our lives are richer, and even our experience of sex is transformed.

The instruction manual for men reclaiming our full humanity, recently unearthed, contains the following highlights.

Reclaim Intimacy: Begin by directing the unconditional, loving admiration you used to reserve for people you’re attracted to, outward toward all kinds of people in all kinds of relationships. Start ten new kinds of relationships with people you never imagined could be your dearest friends and most dependable allies. Who are the people in your life who are ready to receive your trust and vulnerability? Give your trust to them and ask the same in return. Since there are no limits to the closeness possible with another person, what fears do you have to face to get even closer? Share those fears and ask for help instead of trying to manage them alone. Let the people in your life know what it’s really like for you, and enlist their help to bring closeness back into your daily existence. If you choose to have a primary partner, please remember that no matter how strong the relationship, one person is not enough for any human being to be close with. It is in your nature to desire closeness with all people, closeness that rarely has anything to do with sex. We have yet to discover what it will be like to have so much and such varied closeness in our lives.

Reclaim Feelings: The passionate intensity you’ve saved only for sexual encounters can fire up all areas of your life. What else besides sex ignites that much passion? What dreams and desires for your life would you need to rekindle in order to burn as brightly about your daily existence? Take on the challenges that make waking up exciting, that fill you with a sense of wonder and magic. Expand the envelope of who you think you are. Find feelings long buried and set them free. Cry wet tears and laugh with your whole voice; tremble with fear and giggle with embarrassment; storm with outrage at the cruel ways we’ve been hurt; weep with tenderness at the beauty of our existence. We need one another to feel these glorious feelings, so ask for all the help and love and attention you need. And you do need it. We just can’t do this alone, and we should never have had to in the first place.

Reclaim Your Body: Sensual pleasure is our birthright, and it is available in thousands of forms besides sex. Take off your shoes and walk barefoot through the grass, the mud, the rain. Learn to breathe freely, so that every breath reminds you that you are alive right now! Dance, finding and releasing the movement within you, reveling in the gorgeous organism that you are. Touch your body freely and frequently, reawakening your senses. Take joy in the movement of your muscles, the feel of your sheets sliding on your skin as you lie down to rest, the splash of cool water on your face, and the swish of that coolness in your mouth as you drink. Become aware of the food you take in, not only savoring the taste, but also cultivating a sensitivity to how it makes your body feel long after it is digested. What would it take to slow yourself down enough to notice how much feeling is always available for your awareness? As you rediscover your senses and your infinite, creative range of movement, play like you did as a boy, when no one had to teach you how. Play hard and play soft, inventing ways to be in exuberant contact with everyone in your life.

From Obsession to Passion

If sex is expected to be our primary source of contact, feeling, pleasure, and love, our main connection with the memory that life is exciting and mysterious and joyful, then of course we will be obsessed with sex. Luckily, the conditioning that has put us out of touch with all these things is completely reversible. Every quality we have turned away from can be reclaimed. The passion that narrowly fixates upon sex can lead the way to a wide-open life vibrant with passion. The desire to be close that has been confused with sexual desire can motivate us to create closeness everywhere. When we fill our lives with the things we previously expected only from sex, our lives are richer, and even our experience of sex is transformed.

It is possible to be completely relaxed about sex. When sexual desire is purged of desperation, urgency, loneliness, and fear, then sex can be inspired by joy and sexual relationships can be healthy and whole. When sex is a choice, one of many choices, with no rush to get to it and no cost in missing it, it’s possible to be at ease with sex and sexuality. Sex can be an exquisite celebration of intimacy and expression of love, a place for healing, a time to play with all the vigor and enthusiasm we had as children. Sex can be a place to express the passion cultivated by living a vibrant life and to delight in the ecstasy we all deserve. Sex can be separated out from all things that it is not. It can stop being the sole source of all the things that it is. We are making the long journey out the other side of the Land of Obsession. On the other side is a rich, full life beyond our conditioning, where passion takes new forms each day and we are deeply related, never alone. A new paradigm is possible for men, wide open for us to explore.

 

Originally published in Male lust: Pleasure, power, and transformation (pp. 215-222), also appeared on interchangecounseling.com. Steve Bearman, Ph.D. is the founder of the Interchange Counseling Institute and creator and leader of its San Francisco-based Year-long Counseling and Coaching Training Program.

 

—Photo The Integer Club /Flickr

 

 

About Steve Bearman

Steve Bearman, Ph.D. is the founder of the Interchange Counseling Institute and creator and leader of its San Francisco-based Year-long Counseling and Coaching Training Program. He earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. In addition to teaching counseling skills classes, for the last 20 years, he has been leading workshops on community building, relationships, ending jealousy, overcoming anxiety, gender role conditioning, healing body shame, death and grieving, spiritual practice, and group facilitation. Steve wants to create a world where the best parts of what we call "counseling", people helping one another to heal and grow and become free, are a part of people's daily lives and everyday relationships. You can find his best guesses about how to make that happen on the Interchange blog.

Comments

  1. GemGirl says:

    Good article.
    I always sensed that a lot of men pursued sex to deal with a variety of emotions, as if sex would make it all better in the long run. This is what helped me as a woman learn to set boundaries so my body would not be used by men to cope with non-sexual issues.

  2. So i read this article. I do think it offers up some good points, but part of it made me really angry, because it acted like men have a monopoly of feeling isolated, unloved, a lack of being seen & emotional intimacy growing up. I would like to argue women have similar challenges.

    My experience as a woman, being a severe sexual abuse survivor, being praised only in relationship to my body & how good of object i looked like, has been extremely isolating, lonely & has left me intensely scared of rejection when i am my true self.

    Woman are bombarded with the message that their worth is hugely related to them being an Object of men’s desire. How good they look is hugely related to popularity, being asked out on a date, praise etc. This is incredibly lonely & fear inducing. Women are socialized that their primary worth & utility is as a sex object & for men’s sexual gratification.

    I think what really bothers me about this article is that it paints men as victims of society without looking at what their chosen actions do to women. Actions are a choice. I can’t tell you the number of men I’ve been in relationship with who I encouraged to open up about their feelings, to be vulnerable, to share their authentic selves with me, men I begged to respect my sexual boundaries & listen to when i said no & not sexually assault me–lots of these men were so called Feminists & men that actively read the good Men Project.

    I think what really bothers about this article is that once again it is all about YOUR perspectives in relation to women’s bodies & women in general. It doesn’t even touch on how women feel to be treated in such degrading ways, why that would be a motivator to change your behaviors.

    I agree that how men & women are socialized in this country & the world is super fucked up. It is a crime how we raise most or our children & what is considered acceptable behaviors or condoned in adult society. Still, most of the articles presented to women on their relationships with men have titles like “How to be a better girlfriend” “What is your man really feeling” “What does a man need” & so on. I feel the fundamental problem is an inbalance of power & oppression. If someone asks you to belittle a woman or see her as a sex object, you have just as much choice to not accept that role as a woman who is conditioned to act like an airhead & spend most of her hours trying to look a certain way & treating herself like a sex object.

    If you work on yourselves without considering the woman’s perspective & her own challenges, then it is once again women contorting themselves in relationships to be there for their emotionally distant abusive men.

    I think that’s what made me mad about this article, women’s challenges & loneliness & personhood & need for connection isn’t even considered or viewed from such a skewed perspective that men have a monopoly on these things, which reinforces the same male dominated I, egoic, mindset that leads to rape, sexual assault, exploitation, abuse of women.

    The men i have been in relationships with & there have been a lot & a lot of feminists & men who spout a lot of rhetoric from their heads about how violence towards women is wrong, were the very men that sexually assaulted me when i was vulnerable & thought only about getting their own needs, desires whims met at my expense. I feel this article reinforces that mindset, it just spins it in a progressive lens, but still All Important Men, are seen as the center of the Universe, their needs, their emotions, blah blah . .

    What i would have liked to have read is not, sex is not so important, but rather sex is super important, it is the highest act of sacred, spiritual (not mentioned at all), emotional & physical intimacy & expression of connection that there is. And the women that we debase for Our Needs, what the real prescription is, is not to look elsewhere for emotional intimacy (which is part of the whole running away & problems) but to actually RISK being vulnerable with the person who made themselves deeply vulnerable emotionally, spiritually etc. to you through sex.

    This article is like go find intimacy in other relationships, & then you won’t need sex so much. But still this is subtlety still reinforcing the main problem–men have trouble Risking emotional vulnerability with the woman who is risking it with them, men don’t have an integrated view of sex that it is tied to Spirit, God however you say it, emotions & connection, instead of divorced of it. This article is still not so self aware because it is subtly reinforcing the same problem. No where does it talk about risking emotional vulnerability with a significant other, honoring how sacred the sexual connection is, the merging of two souls. It’s subtext is, Sex isn’t really necessarily about love (therein lies the perversion– this mindset) & look to others for connection. Said more plainly, when you can divorce sex from love & sacred spiritual merging & oneness & connection, then you are already participating in a perversion mind-set & way of being.

    I do commend the author for moving a little closer towards what it all is about. I mean obviously we all need to be fulfilled humans, risk authentic connections, look at ourselves & fill our needs (in healthy non oppressive ways) so that we can become WHOLE humans to connect in significant other relationship with other WHOLE humans, but it is missing the ROOT or the main point this article i feel & is subtly reinforcing the deeper problem.

    I think part of this article is a step in teh right direction. How men (and women) are socialized is messed up, but it doesn’t hold men accountable in the way that women are demonized daily & blamed for the entire problem. (Like a woman in sexually assaulted & she gets blamed for her behaviors not his . . .She suffers lack of support, a safe place to share her feelings etc. & he is often seen as the victim or made excuses for which is totally backward.) This article is once again excusing mens abusive behaviors towards women as ooh poor him. Not, he needs to be man enough to risk the same amount of emotionality vulnerability & connection she has. Not, she needs to be even more understanding of how hard it is for him, while he doesn’t consider her isolation at all.

    My recent ex (huge feminist who rants all the time against sexual & domestic violence all the time on his Facebook) & posts articles by you all, sexually assaulted & raped me off & on while i was brain injured & had no family. He would post tirades about the very things he was doing in the present right while he was doing them. When i met him, he played up how he was socialized by his dad not to feel his feelings & how hard it was for him, & i ate it up & cared about him & encouraged him he was safe with me to cry & feel & be himself. No matter how hard i tried to be a safe person & to help him heal & change & grow, he got more & more aloof, distant, abusive & demeaning. What I really needed to realize is like all of us, we all have hard stories, but still you have to hold each other accountable, especially men who have enjoyed & continue to enjoy a huge imbalance of more power–power over, which is ultimately corrupting & desensitizing & numbing when any of us partake & decide to use that given the choice. We all have choice to abstain for behaviors where we have power over another person or oppress them in some way–whether emotionally, physically, sexually or spiritually or intellectually (like instantly shooting down someone’s ideas or acting like you know the answers & they are wrong without truely hearing them or considering their vantage point.)

    If the women’s perspective, or the sacredness of sexual connection was addressed here, then i don’t think i would have gotten so angry at this article. Men considering just their own viewpoint & hurts is the problem & i have seen countless abusive men, play that card over & over with me, how they’ve had it so rough & i need to be more compassionate with them & to use it as an excuse to be further abusive & more egoic & more self centered & not even considering my personhood, safety or needs or feelings at all.

    Yes, it’s good if men learn how to be emotionally authentic, risk intimacy & yes it’s good if they don’t rely on one person, one woman to provide all of that, but what annoys me is that it doesn’t get to the heart of oppression. The heart of oppression irregardless of gender, is when anyone given the opportunity to have power over another, takes it or creates that scenario. The saddest part is THAT is what causes the disconnect & further isolation & narrowing & numbing of self, since we are all ultimately ONE & equal & connected. So this is the choice. But to take that choice over & over again & then spout oh poor me, i’ve had it bad, is exactly the dynamic I’ve seen over & over played out in womens relationships with abusive partners–whether physical or sexual violence. Women having too much compassion, women considering their partner’s needs & hurts at her own expense & the men & society encouraging & reinforcing that.

    Do you think it’s easy for women to be so emotionally vulnerable all the time? No, not really. It takes huge courage & strength to trust again after being abused, to have anatomy that makes us more vulnerable, to be emotionally open once again or compassionate or to have empathy towards our partners, to view sex as sacred & not split off the spiritual & emotional component of sex & say, oh it’s not really such a big deal.

    So please consider this in your Good Men Project. I think a better title might be, Men Considering Women Project or Men Feeling Their Feelings Project. Or True Courage is Vulnerability & authenticity with our partners project . . . You touched on some of these ideas in this article & that is a step in the right direction, but saying sex isn’t that big of a deal & run away from intimacy with your partner & look for it elsewhere . . .I just think you missed the elephant in the room. Of course it’s good to have full life & have close friendships & then you bring a whole person to an intimate partnership. But all things being equal, sex is the highest form of connection, but what perverts it is when we don’t realize that & treat it like it isn’t such a big deal. And be a man & risk the same vulnerability she does. Don’t expect your partner to be the relationship glue or grease. Don’t expect her to center around you & your needs & how you were wounded. Yes caring is good, but exploiting your power once again in these ways is not.

    It’s hard to articulate this fully, but i hope you get more an idea of what it is like to be a woman & shut down time & time again–not valued for WHO we are, not listened to, not respected, shamed & treated like our main worth is how we look & our bodies & our ability to be relationship glue & compassionate & understanding of many of you decide to be cowardly & run away from respecting us, honoring us & risking being emotionally vulnerable with the person you share the highest form of sacred connection with through sex & intimacy. All the rest is perverted bull shit. Thanks for listening.

  3. Some great research-backed statements here regarding gender socialization. I think it’s also important though, to remember that some developmental research has supported the notion that there are sex-based differences (not socially-constructed gender differences) between boys and girls (toy preference, etc.). Overall a nice application of gender socialization research to sexual/romantic relationships and male relationships in general.

  4. I feel like the italic section describes how I feel, too. Women also seek affection, approval, love, acceptance, intimacy etc via sex or sexual behaviour. We are becoming such a disconnected society and sexual obsession surrounds us, it’s not just men being impacted.

  5. Excellent article. Always a pleasure reading through the Good Men Project. 🙂

  6. I’ve never really interpreted it as “being better than a girl” really.

    My thoughts growing up were that people saw women as having intrinsic value. Being the “attractive gender”, able to give birth, more cooperative, etc. They didn’t need strength because the need for strength was an immature “man” trait.

    And that with men, the only thing we had going for us was our strength and our money-making power. And thus we owed both of those to women. If we were physically weak, or more emotional, “like a woman”, we lost the only parts of ourselves that have value. But unlike women, we had no intrinsic value elsewhere.

    So the image was that a man who has “only” the strength of a woman is about as low as you get. Then a man must prove his strength or prowess in order to be considered a woman’s equal. And then at the top of the best people in the world were strong women.

    That’s why a lot of the narrative of woman-hating leaves me confused. That it wasn’t about hating women, it was about us not having the privilege to be accepted without being physically strong, stoic, or having high income.

    It even fits the narrative of a boy having to “prove” himself a man, while a girl just grows up into a woman. And dating made sense: She has intrinsic value, therefore a man must prove HIS value to HER in order to be her equal. He must initiate and pay. It made sense why only men would be conscripted, why men would be the majority of the homeless, why women would be granted more welfare, be considered better parents, and why their victimization would be the most important topic:

    If someone punches me, I should deal, or punch back. If I can’t, I’m not a real man. If a girl gets punched, particularly by a man, it’s a travesty that should be dealt with swiftly and aptly covered by the media.

    Do you see how this narrative can be so strongly reinforced? And do you see how it can leave a pit in your stomach every time you are told your mere daily actions are an act of hatred against women?

    And back on the original subject: In this narrative, every woman deserves to love and be loved. While only a “real man” can be trusted to love, or deserves to be loved. Thus, guys will try to 1-up each other and take sex whenever they can get it. A man who wins is a “stud”, while a girl who lowers her standards is a “slut” for falling for the schemes of the undesirable male gender.

    • I know you wrote your comment over a year ago Webz, but I just came across this article today, and must say, I greatly appreciate your insight. It is one I haven’t heard much and as a woman deeply interested in knowing men it helped me a lot. Thank you.

  7. Dina Strange says:

    I’d probably be obsessed with sex way more if there were more attractive men who actually KNEW how to have sex. A lot of guys have no idea, but somehow feel that they do. I also think a lot of women fake that they enjoy sex with their men not to hurt their feelings.

    Also…just sex is boring.

    • Theorema Egregium says:

      Possible. But men are bad at sex mainly because they are never taught how to be good at it. Maybe because it is assumed that they couldn’t possible improve in any case, for reasons of being, you know, dumb male animals.

      Also women are just as bad as men. Men just never talk about it because they simply don’t expect a woman to give them pleasure. Pleasure for a man is what you manage to pick up for yourself while working your ass off to please her. That’s why men usually have orgasms even in bad sex — they give them to themselves. Bad orgasms, often enough. Women on the other hand either get given orgasms by their partner or they have none.

      This is a generalization, obviously. In fact, it’s the worst case scenario. But all too often if applies.

      • Actually most guys are learning how to have sex in porn nowadays. Porn made by men, for men. In the mainstream/standard (straight) porn they all learn women should look perfect while guys have no sensuality or the potential to have hot(ter) bodies, they are just their penises. Women should be there to mostly serve and get nothing in return – even thought she moans and orgasms… while pleasuring the male and not receiving anything in return, so likely. Yes, I see, most males DO want women to have pleasure… but only if that pleasure comes from pleasuring their male master and doing everything the male wants. That is not really how that works in real life. That is what sex is about for most males: their own pleasure and some kind of twisted sense of “dominance” over women. Most of the times these women are labelled sluts and whores. Men are just men. Sex ends when the man ejaculates, who cares if the woman wanted some more.
        If most men actually cared about women’s pleasure and also putting effort into their looks to be more appealing to women (because women are not blind) that would show a lot more in the mainstream/standard porn as well. If it doesn’t show there, it is because most men could care less. They give what men ask for. That is the reason why women prefer amateur (straight) porn or just solo guys or male-on-male. And yes, most women actually like seeing the guy truly enjoying and being pleasured by a girl as much as hot as him – it’s just that they prefer it when women are also being treated like people worth of being pleasured, not living blow-up dolls.

        In American (and alike) culture, women should work their best to look hot and be sexy, while men can be (and usually WILL BE) below average – but he needs to make the effort to initiate things, and maybe be the aggressor in bed. But then again, I only hear about women loving pleasuring their men, but not receiving the same in return. Men themselves a lot of times admit to not caring about women’s pleasure.
        Men should not expect women to long for their bodies and want to love it, ask them out or initiate sex if they won’t put more effort into looking good, it does not even need to be as much as the average woman (at least trim your body hair, wear more appealing clothes, have a more charming hair style, dry skin is bad, apply some lotion). That is what makes most guys feel attracted to women and motivated to go after them after all, even if many guys forget about that.
        Just think about a woman dressed (boring, baggy clothes) and groomed just like the average man (masculine hair cut, hairy body, never even a bit of make-up, dry skin – no lotion!) – and see if many guys will still like it that much, or if they really won’t prefer the more “feminine” (more vain and appealing) woman instead. http://www.city-data.com/forum/relationships/1367221-why-do-some-lesbians-date-other-2.html – most guys will agree that is super unappealing… funnily enough, most will look and dress just like that themselves.

        • Dina Strange & Suzana.. I totally 100% agree with you. And I find it really sad that most women make themselves sex slaves, pleasing the man but not requesting from him to please them. I did that mistake when I was younger cause I though “I don’t want to hurt his feelings” but in reality it’s him who doesn’t give a shit about yours. It’s all society’s fault cause girls are not as valued as boys, so they somehow try to “feel accepted” by the males. Which I think is disgusting. Anal is also a good example, it’s a common fact it hurts pretty bad but a lot of girls will do it to please their bf. ABSOLUTELY SICK. Men should feel ashamed & we girls should NOT fake something we don’t like. We should be straight honest even if it’s not what the boy wants to hear. Just be honest people, is it that hard?

  8. In case you have never considered this, a woman can feel used by her man when he puts so much emphasis on just sex for intimacy.

    • Just as a man can feel (and be) used if he is unlucky enough to de with a woman who has no/little interest in sex. So whats your point?

  9. There is more to intimacy than the intimacy of sex – something that men need to learn.

  10. The title of this article is sexist. Not all men… no not even nearly all men are “obsessed” with sex… and yes, some women are.

    • mahler9 says:

      It’s an article on Good Men Project, an article about men. It’s not sexist unless it denigrates women, and it doesn’t do that.

  11. It always feels weird reading these descriptions about how boys are brought up, because it’s the exact opposite of my own experience. If I feel bad about something I immediately find someone to talk to, and I’ve never seen the appeal of doing dangerous stuff just to “prove that I’m a real man.” Maybe it’s because I’ve got Aspergers (not self-diagnosed). I’ve never really given a damn about peer pressure.

    • Agemaki says:

      I hear you. I feel the same way about the men do this/women do that stuff. I’m biologically female but I don’t feel like I was raised as a girl or as a boy and I identify as being some of both. From what I have read about people on the spectrum we tend to be less extreme in our embodiment of gender norms. I personally have always loved that I don’t feel compelled to care about peer pressure (though I only recently found out that I was on the spectrum). I’m currently in a relationship with a man on the spectrum and he also doesn’t feel the need to prove his adherence to his gender. He never holds back about sharing his feelings with me and so we are able to be very open with each other. Good communication helps a lot with having great sex too!

  12. actualPicture says:

    I am not obsessed with sex. But my wife is. Even after 20 years of marraige, She wants sex between us each day. and this count is apart from her masturbating habits by her electric dildo.
    But i can not tell this in known public setting. Gender stereotypes (just like this article espouses) does not allow me to tell this in space, where sex between couples is talked about. Here internet’s anonymity is allowing me to talk about it.
    Women are as much as sex creatures , just like men. They are additionally just brainy enough to hold it back, knowing that male will initiate; and this gives her power.
    If you are brainy enough then you can too play sexual politics between the couples, and subtly make her initiate half of the times, when she wants “it”.She is also sexy creature enough.

  13. Mikey-no says:

    What a bunch of nonsense. I’m a happy, successful man with a lot of love and sensual connection in my life. And yet, somehow, I’m still obsessed with sex. Why? Simply because wanting to reproduce was evolutionarily advantageous to my ancestors, so genes that cause horniness were selected for. It’s evolution 101. Why do we need any answers beyond that? Why try to pathologize everything?

  14. Really appreciate this article! It’s given a ton of insights into boy’s and men’s behavior that I didn’t have before. Not sure why some people are upset that the article didn’t touch on women. Isn’t this the Good MEN Project? The focus of this site is on MEN.

    Anyway, I like when a guy can open up, and I’d never call him names or tell him to keep his thougths to himself. As women, we get conditioned to think men only tolerate our emotions and interact solely to get sex. So when a guy makes a comment, we feel de-indvidualized. From the neck down I could be anybody, so why would I be intimate with someone who doesn’t really care who he’s with? Long as it’s female, he’s good to go. But then they guy treats you differently after getting sex, so there’s more to it than just a bodily function, whether people own up to that or not.

    End result? My mind has been expanded, and I have a much better understanding of where men are coming from. And I don’t take this explanation as an excuse for men to behave badly. If a guy makes an R-rated comment about my body, that is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. But my goal is to let the men in my life know that being around me is an emasculation-free zone.

  15. Great article. Spot on. Personally, I’ve realized a certain connection with humanity in sex: vulnerability and validation. And I think sex can provide a real feeling of epiphany and relief, especially in a relationship, to feel and confirm acceptance of another human being. Too many social customs discourage the kind of validation for men that women can get from the platonic expressions of love with other women (and male friends). Women may also get the same validation from sex, but they can get it in other ways, too. Plus, because men are often thought of as callously oversexed, women often think of sexual interest towards them as a cold desire to “use their body,” and not as a compliment or validation.

    I would take this topic further, to show how it results in the expression of sexual deviance and pathology in society. Because of the pressure of funneling all needs for intimacy through sexual closeness combined with the puritanical influences suggesting sexual closeness is dirty and immoral, I think it not only results in obsession and addiction, but in special cases it results in increased incidences of fetishist behavior, rape, and molestation. When this desire for human connection (quest for sex) is met with disinterest and/or disdain, as is often the case in the dating world, it isn’t difficult to see how someone might become exceptionally alienated and bitter, and subject to deviant psychology.

  16. great article, thanks!

  17. For context: I am a woman with a healthy and happy sex life that has included a number of male partners.

    To the respondents who seem to be defensive about the word ‘obsessed’ I would like to say that from the perspective of the former sex partner of a few sex-obsessed males, there is a difference between ‘obsession’ and ‘healthy sexual appetite’. (This is not retaliatory… I am still friends with all three of them and care about their wellbeing.)
    Here are a few qualities that my experiences with them had in common: There seemed to be an urgency to have sex that was not aligned with the circumstances leading up to the sex act. They were not particularly ‘present’ with me; they were not noticing my cues (even very clear ones) and I suspect that they don’t know even now how inattentive they were. It rather had the quality that they were elsewhere, and it had an isolating effect on me.
    It was like looking into an empty well. I have no doubt that it was healing for them to be cared for unconditionally in the face of that, but it still didn’t fill the well.
    I experienced those sexual encounters as creating distance, not closeness. Maybe not after one or two sexual encounters, but certainly once the pattern was established.

  18. So I’m a transguy. I lived as a (begrudging) women for 31 years prior to my transition. Of course my opinion is not the end all, be all here, but I feel like I do have a unique perspective having lived both sides of the fence. I can’t speak to the effect of being socialized male and the effect on a person’s relationship with sex. But what I can say is that I feel the author is missing a HUGE piece of the pie by not discussing the biological nature of men – TESTOSTERONE MAKES YOU WANT TO FUCK… umm…ALL THE DAMN TIME.

    I always had a healthy relationship with sex prior to my hormone therapy, but I’ve got to tell you – after a year taking my “vitamin T”, I started to gain a new respect for guys and specifically guys going through puberty. I thought the sex urges during my female puberty were intense… yeah, no. They couldn’t hold a candle to what I experienced on T.

    I know sexuality and sex drive is not all hormone driven – but by not even discussing it, well, that just feels a bit…lazy.

    • Input appreciated, Ethan. Interesting viewpoint. Thanks!

    • Hey Ethan. I’m 47 and was suffering from low-T. I was put on clomid to boost my T.
      You are 100% correct that higher the T, the higher the libido.

      I think it’s interesting that the author didn’t look into biology as a factor too. As you said “lazy”.

      I have a follow up question. I believe it is widely proven that even when women experience high sex drives, it’s typically only in terms of a committed relationship in which she’s “heads over heels” in love.

      In other words, a woman’s fantasy is to bang the same guy until he’s sore & bruised whereas a man would rather have multiple partners–almost any attractive woman will turn his eye.

      After the affects of T hit, did your preference for select partners or many partners change?

      • Older women also get estrogen to get higher libidos.

        And no, many women have high, high sex drives everyday, in a relationship or not. Actually feeling safe to have sex is another subject. How much sex you have does not determine your libido. We live in a sexist society were women are afraid to have multiple partners, are more conditioned to have relationship sex only, etc.
        Many women’s fantasy is to live in a free world where they can have multiple partners without feeling shame, without facing humiliation and violence (like Swedish or Finnish women can already do to some extend). And of course, a world where men will make themselves attractive enough – let’s be honest, most guys do not put enough effort on their looks and manage their appearance much less than the average woman. Almost any attractive men will turn women’s eyes, but the negatives are too much to risk in many situations and societies. Going out with someone you don’t know too well with double your strength is something most women already consider risky.
        The same way, many men’s fantasy is to bang the same woman he is in love with.

        In fact, most people that have experienced real sexual intimacy with someone you love would not trade that for anything else, including me.

    • The problem is, a lot of trans men feel less desire while taking their “vitamin T” as well. How do you explain this? A lot of the desire trans people can experience also comes from the satisfaction of the transition.
      Many trans women also experience higher libidos, wanting to fuck all the time and so on. How do you explain this? Higher strogen? Or just feeling better about their bodies finally matching their minds? That is complicated matter.
      Also remember, you will never experience what a born male can experience. Women’s bodies weren’t made to handle more testoterone, just like men’s bodies and strogen.
      The only thing we know is that testorterone may give you more urgency – you need to get off NOW. Now about libido, desire (or more than strogen for that matter)… we can’t really tell.

  19. Thanks for finally writing about >Why Men
    Are So Obsessed With Sex – The Good Men Project <Loved it!

  20. I like what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to blogroll.

  21. Hi, I check your new stuff on a regular basis.
    Your humoristic style is witty, keep up the good work!

  22. Checkout this article. It will shift how we all look at sex!

    http://www.psychedelicadventure.net/2012/07/pleiadian-teachings-on-sexuality.html

    • @Banu,

      I thought you were Sema?

    • Very good article. I certainly has much truth!

      I check out the entire website. I found some really interesting stuff. Notably, Kriya Yoga! I read the first part and the two Part 2s. Interesting.

      Going back to the original article on sexuality, it really did make a lot of sense, especially the part about exchange of energy, frequencies, and ‘electricity’ from ONE partner.

      Thanks for the link!

      Cheers!

  23. Great post. There is a sexyst way of educating us, both boys and girls. Boys are supposed to be more distanct and cold, as an adults, is it no perceived in many situations the seek of love expressions as a strength,and it seems a sign of weakness. Obsessive sex I would say and not sex is the shortcut to pain and ansiety of many who misses love and recognition. We should let the flow of love be more natural and forget about judgements, not as matter of freedom, but also for our happiness and health.

    Since I am not a native english speaker, please excuse me if I made any writing mistake, hope the message is clear.

    Best
    Alan

  24. I think women too have the same sexual drives as men. They are just more selective and find fewer men attractive. So it appears that they arent as interested in sex as men.

    • Allen
      American woman are said to have a median of four sex partners during their life time( an article in The Daily Beast). That is probably the socially acceptable number of sex parters a women can have in America today.
      Do think this an expression of how selective she is sexually ( only find a few men sexually attractive) or is it simply an expression of standards for ” purity” she has to live up to to be respected as a women?

      • @Iben,

        “American woman are said to have a median of four sex partners during their life time( an article in The Daily Beast).”

        That is the self reported median Iben. We know that women tend to under state their number of sex partners, significantly. It’s due to slut shaming……Men tend to overstate their number of partners. So, it begs the question: What is the real number? I really do not know. But, I can tell you, on average, it is considerably higher than four!

        Also, it depends on what part of the country you’re talking about. The large metropolitan areas on the East and West coasts of America are very very different in sexual behavior. In NYC ,for example, the average woman/girl starts having sex at 15! The average Iben. Also, sexually active women in college are likely to have four sexual partners by the time they graduate. Some even in an academic year.

    • @Allen,

      Ditto!

  25. the wording of the title assumes there’s something wrong with men’s sexual appetite, I love sex and I don’t have any traumas from childhood it’s just that I’m alive, that’s all. It’s not an “obsession”, it’s just being a healthy male. please stop guilt tripping men for having a libido. Probably women should be encouraged to explore their sexualities more instead.

    • Albert
      Maybe you are one of the fortunate few ! Be thankful,but what makes you think all men are like you?

      • common sense says:

        How about common sense? How about Occam’s Razor? Does it make more sense to pathologize an innate drive? Or to say, as per the article, “I seek sex to prove that I’m a man!”

    • @Albert,

      Here here!!!

      I am with you 1000%. I tune out all this rubbish and noise about men being obsessed with sex. Loving sex and being obsessed are two different things. Even if a man IS obsessed with sex, I question if it really a bad thing!

      Merry Christmas!

    • @Albert,

      I may have misunderstood the intent somewhere, but I read the article as an explanation as to why *some* men are obsessed with sex (i.e. not that *all* men are obsessed with it). I agree that the title doesn’t spell this out so well, but the sub-title does:

      “Steve Bearman looks at some of the influences in men’s lives that can lead to an obsession with sex…and how that can be overcome.”

      I don’t believe there is a guilt trip meant. I took the following lesson away: “We, as a society, are unfairly treating boys/men and demanding that they shut themselves off, emotionally. We are doing this in a multitude of subtle and explicit ways and it is dishonourable. In their isolation, they will seek out emotional outlets, which can result in some very negative sexual (and emotional) behaviours. If we want to honour our boys and men, we must change the discourse.”

      As a woman, I found the article interesting and eye-opening. Will I take it as gospel? No. Will it cause me to open my eyes to how we treat boys/men and ask the men around me to explain their side of the story? Yes, most definitely. In that way, I think the article succeeded.

    • This isn’t about sex being wrong at all; it’s about recognizing on a societal level that men often have no outlet for seeking intimacy BUT sex, and that’s why they are often “obsessed” with it, meaning “unnaturally occupied.” You might have a great sex drive on your own, as many men do, and that’s fine: but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a part of you that isn’t driven to have sex for dubious, or ulterior, psychological reasons.

  26. That’s all fine and good. But to get intimacy, sexual or otherwise, requires a partner that is willing to accept and respect a man being vulnerable. After repeated rejection, or even belittling, over many years when a man reaches out for such is it any wonder that it gets to a point where sex is considered a conquest and achievement that can’t be matched anywhere else.

    Just saying that men should be more accepting and open is a clear recipe for failure and disaster. Few out there in the wide world are ready for such on the part of a man.

    Just like sexual approaches are usually rejected causing men to turn to other outlets, emotional opening is likewise rejected. And in a gender based relationship, it seems to me, both must be nurtured and explored in one way or another. And a man must, to have healthy relationships, receive both even if not necessarily from the same partner.

    Then we go to the point of women decrying “emotional affairs” when a man gets part of his support from another woman, even if there is no physical intimacy. Futher forcing men to shut off from others.

    Yeah, in an ideal world, we would all be loving and caring and open and intimate with one another. But human society gets its cues more from chimps than bonobos. And all of that leads to men being closed and callous and withdrawn and always “going it alone”.

    • @Keith,

      “And all of that leads to men being closed and callous and withdrawn and always “going it alone”.

      Yes, it does Keith.

      But, should a man allow all this to really destroy him mentally and emotionally? I fully understand how all this can really lead to a man developing a hard heart so to speak.

      But, why not approach women of different racial and ethnic backgrounds? You will discover they are quite different. Not in every single case. But, more so than not.

      Men in America (namely White men) need to expand their horizons! However, if one remains stuck on race and only want a blond blue-eyed princess, then I guess they really do not find other women so attractive.

      I am member of the human race. So, I certainly find women of ALL ethnic groups attractive. Obviously religious difference can really complicate things to a point of being un-workable. Otherwise, I say full steam ahead!

  27. Good vision on the routes of at least part of men’s world. It’s like a cultural matrixian dictatorship and I’m sure that the human beings that are born women suffer from a parallel version of that dictatorship as well. It’s good that we grown our consciousness to the natural needs and expressions of human beings that were born men, and, because of that, are still being put under such cultural miseducation, limitations and difficulties. Thanks, Steve.

  28. For the last 40 years, men have been told that we are all potentail rapists, abusers and
    pedophiles. Male sexuality has become at best a joke, or at worst somthing threatening.
    Unless, of course it conforms to certain Feminist expectations. Women are presented as
    being above simple desire and doing us a favor by indulging our “animalistic” urges. This
    is why men are increasingly opting out of marriage and cohabitation. There is simply no
    benefit in it anymore.

    • Hi Wes
      “”””” Women are presented as
      being above simple desire and doing us a favor by indulging our “animalistic” urges. This
      is why men are increasingly opting out of marriage and cohabitation. There is simply no
      benefit in it anymore.”””””

      I wonder if men that choose to opt out also opt out of romantic relationships with women?
      Imagine when lots and lots of men opt out, and choose to be free and not in committed relationships with a woman. They still want their sexual needs met, that’s my guess.

      That means women will have a larger pool of men to choose from for sex, not fewer.
      All the men that earlier was forbidden because they were married are now free. Yes,there will be more women as well but the majority of women are not primarily interested in casual sex. And women as mothers do not have time to roam the streets every night to find a man for sex.

      Will this new way of life ( men opting out) benefit men,and fulfill them sexually ?
      It sounds to me competition can be hard each and every time a man goes out to find a parter to spend the night with,
      This new lifestyle will not give a more “even and fair “distribution of sex to men.

      Societies changes. Marriage is not that important as has been traditionally in the western world.
      I am curious about new models that can better satisfy our needs and give a good life and a better society.

      The opting out men must have ideas for alternated lifestyles. They say no the old, but what do they say yes to?
      Not all the men that opt out plan to go Galt.
      Not all men that opt out believe in Ayn Rands political visions. Or do they?

      • @Iben,

        Hello Iben!!! Merry Christmas to you!!!

        You ask,

        “I wonder if men that choose to opt out also opt out of romantic relationships with women?”

        Yes. When man ‘opts out’ I think he is really done with women, period. There are some who will eschew romantic relationships and have their sexual needs met by sex workers etc.

        “The opting out men must have ideas for alternated lifestyles. They say no the old, but what do they say yes to?”

        I don’t think so Iben. The men I know who have given up on women do not go for alternative lifestyles. That’s why thy opt out Iben. They are hurt and saddened. They were not able to find what they really cherished: a loving relationship with ONE woman.

        “Will this new way of life ( men opting out) benefit men,and fulfill them sexually ?”

        No. Once they opt out they are also giving up on sex too.

        Iben, men are not serial dater and serial monogamist like women. They, on average, cannot be such. Only a small percentage of men can go out and have lots of women for sex. Trust me when I say this. I am speaking of here in America.

        Things are so poisened here in America between men and women. Each possess warped notions and ideas about attraction. Men leap before they learn meaning they want the most beautiful women….Alternatively, women only find a few men attractive.

        Remember the post by the woman who was heavy into casual sex? I think she singled me out on her blog. Don’t recall her name. In that piece, a poster named KIM stated to me, “Don’t worry, most women don’t have sex with moderately attractive men.” Well, that sums it up Iben. If the moderately attractive men don’t have a chance, what makes you think the majority of men have hope?

        What I have discovered that’s really positive is that immigrant women and the children of immigrants here in America do not share these attitudes. So, my advice to many frustrated White men here is to look at ethnic women. They are very feminine, loving, caring, and not as narcissistic , self centered, and high maintenance as your typical middle class and upper middle class White women here.

        Unlike your country, where racism is not so institutionalized, many White men have great difficulty crossing the color line so to speak. It is truly their loss. It’s funny how the actor Ryan Gosling, who women in America think is so so hot and a major sex symbol, is dating a woman of Hispanic descent. Why? Maybe because he is Canadian and has a more open mind? I don’t really know. I think a lot of White men here would do themselves well to follow his lead.

        I would never limit myself to one race of women. I have travel to Asia, South America, Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Romania). I know there are other options that are even better.

        Cheers!

        • Jules, based on the comments you have left in response to this article, I can only assume that you are intelligent, articulate and that you have feelings. I’ll take it one step further and assume that you, like just about everyone I have ever encountered, don’t like being judged.

          “not as narcissistic , self centered, and high maintenance as your typical middle class and upper middle class White women here.”

          Please be careful about how you speak about others. As a “typical middle class white woman” (North American, no less), I find this generalization offensive in the extreme and categorically false. I can’t deny that you may be encountering some very materialistic women, but the women of my acquaintance who fall into this ethnic and socio-economic bracket do not fit this description AT ALL. And condemning us like that is wrong.

    • Wes,

      I feel your frustration. You are right, men are bashed for wanting sex. I can see how it can feel unfair. The point isn’t that we are mad men want sex. What is unhealthy is using sex to meet all other emotional needs. Men want and need intimacy and touch as well but it doesn’t have to ALWAYS lead to sex. Do you disagree? You guys are limiting yourselves and missing out on other ways of connecting when it is always about sex.

      I suspect that you don’t have a daughter. If and when you have one, you will probably consider how other men will be after her for her p**sy. YOU will probably be that way even more so, judging from your comment.

      The moment a man respects a woman he desires the way he respects his mother, he will win her over. He will have her heart, soul and her body. Forever. I am telling you this genuinely, even when we play Seductress, we are all little girls inside.

      I think that how taboo sex is actually is damaging and hurtful to both men and women. Do you think calling women “Ho” makes them want to have sex more or less? I encourage you to put yourself in women’s shoes. Imagine, as a man, how frustrating it is for women to evaluate you (or even want to use you) for money. Can you get in touch with this feeling? Now, switch roles and imagine women feeling the same frustration when they are constantly being chased for their body and what they can do for men.

      My message isn’t just to you. it is to all men. WOMEN DON’T OWE MEN SEX. We don’t have to give in and spread our legs because you guys are frustrated at work or have no other way for stress release.

      Sex is to be shared and enjoyed. NOT expected.

      Thanks for reading!

      • @Sema,

        “Men want and need intimacy and touch as well but it doesn’t have to ALWAYS lead to sex. Do you disagree? You guys are limiting yourselves and missing out on other ways of connecting when it is always about sex.”

        I would disagree with you. You see, there is a minimum threshold of sex where sex for a man ceases to be just about sex. If a man has enjoyed a robust and fulfilling sex life, then he can see how touch and intimacy does NOT have to always lead to sex. Most men in America NEVER get to that point. Thus our focus on sex. Most men are way undersexed in America. This is NOT the case for most women.

        What you are talking about is a luxury for most men. Only a few men (the oversexed) resort to using sex as a means or substitute for emotional needs and intimacy. If you are only getting sex sporadically or maybe once a year for many many years in a row, would you not considered such a man sex starved? I do not think he is starved for emotional needs. It is this aspect of male sexuality that women just cannot seem to grasp. I think it is because women assume most men are getting sex. Such is not true. Look at the large percentage of involuntarily celibate men in America. Look at the high percentage of sexless marriages. The evidence is every where.

        Only when men ( in large numbers) have healthy sex lives will they think about intimacy and other emotionally healthy ways to connect with a woman. I am not hopeful because women find so few men attractive.

        That is why we have so many involuntarily celibate men. It also explains why so many men have simply given up (opted out). Many men have grown up as children in unhappy marriages. Fathers have discourage these men from marrying. Thus, men are simply eschewing marriage. Why? It is likely to become sexless.

        Hence, as Wes stated above, there just isn’t anything in marriage anymore except sexual frustration and misery. If a man is wallowing in sexual misery, no woman can expect emotional availability from such a man. Can you really blame him?

        • As an earlier poster said, I can’t agree or disagree with this because I just don’t know. But I wanted to say that if it’s true, I am deeply saddened. I want to thank you, Jules, for writing it – it explains a lot and has changed my perspective.

          “Only when men ( in large numbers) have healthy sex lives will they think about intimacy and other emotionally healthy ways to connect with a woman.”

          I am reminded of something I heard as an adolescent (paraphrasing, here): women want to have sex in order to EXPRESS the intimacy they feel with their partner and men want to have sex in order to CREATE that intimacy. (I always considered this a cruel cosmic joke and figured there was no hope for us if it was true…)

          I don’t know if it’s true, but it would seem that Jules’ quote I’ve copied above argues in favour of that sentiment. Men want the healthy sex life first and THEN they’ll think about a deeper, emotional connection. I think what Sema is saying is that some of the men she knows stop at the “healthy sex life” phase and never move past it – once in a healthy sexual relationship, they continue to use sex as a means of releasing steam. It is very frustrating to realize that, in refusing to have sex with our partner (as is perfectly within our rights), we are being held responsible for their emotional well-being, as well as sexual. It can feel like blackmail. (“Have sex with me or else I will become an emotional wreck.”)

          {I don’t mean to devalue your very valid arguments – I just think that you and Sema are referring to different scenarios.}

          As a side note (and we’re maybe getting off the original topic, but whatever): I kinda get a misogynistic vibe when I hear the term “sexless marriage” referred to in the way it is being used here. I may be reading that wrong, in which case I’m sorry for calling you out on it, but it comes across as “a marriage in which the wife has unfairly and unfeelingly shunned her husband in bed”. I would ask that everyone keep in mind that the sexless status of a marriage is NOT automatically the woman’s fault (though she may be the one saying “no”, she may have perfectly valid reasons for doing so). She may in fact feel as helpless and lost over it as her husband does. Compassion will help resolve this situation better than shaming/blaming will.

      • I completely agree with this, Sema.

        It’s one thing if you, understanding what is being asked of you, want to offer your partner emotional release in the form of sex, but it’s quite another for your partner to simply expect and take it. Finding out that your partner just had sex with you (or wants to in the future) for selfish reasons is not a good feeling.

        Good sex is a sharing of needs and desires. No-one likes feeling used.

  29. I think the argument is well-made, but the premise is flawed, and – sorry – sexist. women are as obsessed with sex as men, if not more so. We’re just conditioned to feel ashamed of that and keep it quiet. If a guy says “I’d hit that”, he’s supposedly proving his virility, whereas a woman behaving the same is “slutty”.

    In a safer space, it will come out…then you get things like the comedy stereotype of the “oversexed” forties to middle aged wife frustrated by the fact that her sex drive is higher than his

    • Yes, this article focused on mens oppression rather than women’s oppression, but I don’t see why that would be considered sexist. I don’t remember reading any pieces of this that implied that women don’t face their own brand of sexual oppression from our society. I appreciate that this article was strictly about society’s sexual expectations of men rather than making comparisons between expectations of men vs. women.

      If you’re willing, Amanda, I am interested to know which pieces of this article seemed sexist to you. Who knows, I may just have blinders on.

    • Good point. It’s definitely possible for two different parts of the same nation–two different political, philosophical, or cultural mindsets–to exist at the same time.

    • No. God, no. What culture do you live in where women are as obsessed with sex as men? If that were so, there would be so much more advertising appealing to the sexual desires of (heterosexual) women; there isn’t because it doesn’t sell. What does sell with women is the promise of romance and security. THAT’s how women are conditioned to get and feel male intimacy. In fact, I think women often deliberately disregard sex as a tool of intimacy because they believe all men want is sex without intimacy, and they don’t want their intimacy rejected. I think it might be comparable to compare women’s search for security and romance as an obsession, but except for a tiny percentage of women, I don’t think sexual obsession is remotely the same.

  30. I’m surprised at many of the comments. At what point did this article ever imply sex was bad or male sexuality was bad? Did we read the same article? I think the article is really more about non-sexual needs than it is about sex – it’s saying that we are conditioned to use sex to meet needs beyond the sexual, when sex should just be sex – we can get those other needs met in a wide variety of ways and don’t need to depend on this one activity to meet so many of them. i think it’s true that for many men they have been raised to see sex as the only way to be close to another human. It’s natural for humans to want to be close to other humans, we’re social creatures, there’s nothing “non masculine” about admitting we want to connect.

    • Fully agree with you Ron, thank you for your comment. It surprises me how many people get really defensive and are missing this point.

    • Hi Ron,
      At what point did this article ever imply sex was bad or male sexuality was bad?

      I think it’s right up there in the title. I think few people would agree that being told you are obsessed with something is a positive or reaffirming remark.

    • Agreed! The problem isn’t with sex it is about using sex to fulfill other emotional needs. It leaves men and women crippled, disconnected from themselves and codependent.

      • Holly Lahey says:

        Nowhere in this article did I read that women aren’t raised to be obsessed with sex as well. This article is taking on one perspective which it states in the title. Also, just as it is clear that even though there are plenty of blonde jokes stating blondes are stupid, clearly there are intelligent blondes. This is the same, there are a large number of men (and women) who are obsessed with sex and I personally agree, along with the author, that it’s detrimental to our society in some ways, as well as personal relationships and even mental health. I think the true point is that being obsessed with sex, or anythingfor that matter, can be unhealthy and this article just has an opinion of why that may be and How you can better yourself if that’s what you decide. Keep an open mind people.

  31. In addition, Corporate America profits from addicting men to their lust through porn, advertising, video games and movies. As a woman, I can tell you it greatly reduces the quality of my life to walk around the earth not as a person, but as the drug fix for one half of the population who are conditioned addicts. So de-humanizing to BOTH sexes. Thanks! Great article!

    • Truth be told says:

      Agree 100% with what you have said, and believe its precisely why corpo-piratistic takeover of everything, makes it so much harder for women to stand on solid ground, attain equality and dignity in a culture that seems to despise the very thought they might even be entitled to such a thing, systemically pre-programed to be otherwise and for objections to be swept up as any number of denigrating labels.

    • I think you might be a little out of touch with today if you think video games are only marketed towards boys and men. Even the violent ones.

      • Not only, but mostly. And still, even for the ones market exclusively towards girls it is still the female character who is the “pretty” one, with very little to no male “eye-candy”.

        • Well, boys are the primary buyers of the product. It’s like me crying about why isn’t barbie marketing dolls to boys? How come eyeliners aren’t marketed towards men? Huh?

          Only a retard CEO would decide to produce an item that doesn’t service his/her market. When and if girls make up 50% of the gross purchases of games, then 50% of the games will be tailored to them.

  32. My one big problem with this piece – and fundamentally I agree with what the author is saying – is his use of the word ‘sex’, when he specifically means bad sex, emotionless sex, scared sex, sex as an ego boost, sex as revenge, etc.
    It means you can read this piece as setting up a dualism between on the one hand sex and on the other intimacy. I think that’s problematic if you’re addressing men (and maybe some women too) because as well as the worst thing in the world, sex *in itself* can also be the best thing in the world, the physical transport that enables intimacy, love, trust, connection and all those other goodies to happen (although they may not, and the goodies are not the ‘reason’ to have sex).
    The thing about sex is that it’s just sex. It’s a physical thing we humans (because we’re animals) do that just happens to also be the most pleasurable thing that many of us will ever experience; the need to do it is quite literally pumped into our bodies by glands expressing testosterone and other hormones.
    Everything *around* sex is cultural, conditional, heavily mediated by morality, power imbalances and social expectation.
    But the act itself is utterly neutral. Innocent, really.
    For that reason, you have to be scrupulous about not equating sex with bad stuff and other things – intimacy, maturity, trust, emotional integration – with good stuff. You have to avoid dualism and splitting at all costs. The danger of splitting is not that sex WITH all that other emotional conenction added doesn’t make it better – on the contrary, it makes it even better, vastly better – but that you’re setting up an impossible standard for a lot of men to reach straight away. There’s nothing worse than the man who is beating himself up because he thinks he’s got intimacy issues when really he’s being shy, or hurt, or panicky, but is otherwise doing just fine.
    The author comes kinda round to this point of view at the end, in his last two paragraphs. What we’re all looking for really, he says, is passion. Perhaps. But I don’t think you have a cat in hell’s chance of finding passion if you turn it into an aspiration. On the contrary, it has to surprise you, or it’s not passion.
    And let’s not forget that if you do surrender to passion, you’re also surrendering to the chance of being hurt in a more complete and devastating way than you ever were when you were busy being an immature, objectifying male. Love is always joy *and* pain.
    So, nice piece, but please, less of the sex/intimacy split, less of the musts and shoulds, and a bit more compassion please for us poor immature, clumsy males groping our way towards union with another.

    • thewhitetigersb says:

      Very astute reasoning Fergus. I agree with you on almost every element you wrote.

    • Fergus, you got this perfectly.

    • Fergus, I don’t disagree with what you wrote but thought to gently remind you the author is talking about obsession with sex…the name of the article clearly states that. And so your points are not quite valid in this context.

      • Hubris Personified says:

        But you are missing the same point that the author did – that there is a person on the other side of their fuckstick, and being obsessed with sex can only truly be cured, and brought to the highs it should be through a compassionate understanding of whats actually happening.

        Meanwhile, the original author really seems to think that men have no agency, like they are not complicit in their sexual addiction. But I guess the reason he has reader is that he doesn’t say: hey asshole, while you were out saying whatever you had to sow your wild oats because you thought that was the cool thing to do you were slowly eroding you soul, and destroying your will power. Mayhaps, you should once again look at the awesome power of the life creating vehicle known as fucking, and take a month long cold shower before attempting to find some purpose in your life other than eat, sleep, fuck.

  33. There are too many sweeping generalizations, many dated, many completely off mark, promoting a perpetual victim identity. I disagree completely with everything written here.

  34. Tim McKinstry says:

    “Boys are taught that they are different from, and better than, girls, even that they should shun or hate girls”?
    Quite a few comments I didn’t really connect with. They are more like just one perspective or one particular persons experiences. But presented as if it is the case across the board.

    • Exactly the point I was going to make. Where is the writer’s evidence for this?

    • I’d say, from the opposite view, growing up alongside with boys I did learn a lot about the gender differences children are taught.

      Apart from asian countries which value male children more ( because they get to continue that family name and they are only allowed to have one child) marketing and commercials for children’s toys are a huge part of how children learn the gender difference. “No girls allowed” was a catchphrase during the 90’s video-game marketing and it still is a huge part of western culture today. You can read more about this here. http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/12/2/5143856/no-girls-allowed

      • You can’t honestly say that you’ve never overheard some guy say, “Don’t be such a girl!” Or better yet, “quit being such a pussy!”. Pussy only belonging one other place in modern English, of course, female genitalia.
        That is directly taught girl-hate.
        Not a perception thing. Pretty blatant.

        I had to remove my daughter from a martial arts dojo when the new “teacher” started asking the male students (ages 8-11) where their bras and makeup were when they did not win a match or meet his classroom expectations. This was in a mixed gender class setting! WTF….seriously.

        • That’s not accurate. It’s not hate of women, it’s gender policing of men.
          If anything men are far more gender policed than women by the population at large.

          This is an attitude that directly detriments men, not women. Furthermore (despite the language) it has nothing (or very little) to do with calling the man a woman (and therefore beneath other men).

          It has to do with de-masculinizing him as a penalty/cost for not doing manhood “correctly”. This doesn’t automatically mean feminizing. A man (or women) can be unmasculine without therefore being feminine.

          This can be shown by the many more put-downs that have absolutely nothing to do with female body parts:

          Man up, turn in your man card, turn in your balls, strap some balls on, loser, wimp, cry-baby, sissy, man-child, boy.

          There is no equivalent put-down for women. There’s no such thing as calling a woman “not a real woman, turn in your ovaries, turn in your woman card”. A female bodied woman is always a real women, but not so for men.

          This shows that the male role is more about performance and service. Women are success objects and men are objects of utility. When he ceases being useful, the cattle prod comes out.

          Please refrain from trying to paint male gender policing as having anything at all to do with women. I know that’s the popular meme, but it’s not based in fact and is actually just a narrative (and a badly broken one at that).

          • Meant to say “women are sex objects” not women are success objects.

            The point is: we all have our crosses to bare. I just wish some people would stop trying to claim the crosses men bear are actually being born by somebody else.

          • Anonymous says:

            Well said John D

  35. dick pecker says:

    I disagree with the article. I don’t remember feeling Im better than girls or like I should shun them, ever. But Idolike having sex with them. Hot, young, sexy, whatever. I believe it’s in a man’s genetic make up. End of story. Relax people.

  36. There is some truth in this article, especially on education, the Oscar winning film “The White Band” is a great illustration for this. But then there are fundamental flaws. There is an implicit view of what is “good” that may be in opposition to our biology. The role of testosteron is very important and does lead to differences that this article doesn’t account for. Seems like a female sexuality is seen as “right” and if men deviate they need to be healed from that. Reminds me of the feminists of the 70ties that saw all genital sexuality as violent and demonized male sexuality all together. The role of conditioning is vastle overestimated in this article, biology and evolution totally neglected. A more wholistic approach would be appropriate.

    • He didn’t say male sexuality was bad. He just pointed out how some men have had other aspects of their lives cut off and end up hoping to fill other needs through sex, when sex should just be sex. If you are fulfilling your other needs in other ways you don’t need to only use sex to feel fulfilled, you can enjoy sex for what it is.

  37. John T Mainer says:

    Suck it up, buttercup. When you are an adolescent you need to toughen up, you need to learn to control your feelings, eat the pain, and turn it into power. You need to compete and win, you need to lose, and keep competing until you win. You become comfortable with who you are, and learn to judge others by the standards by which you have learned yourself. The sex drive is part of the passion and power of manhood. I don’t care if you lust after men, women, or both, your sex drive is as much a part of you as your creativity, your ambition, your curiosity. Love is something else, something deeper that you may encounter, sometimes with the romantic passion, and sometimes in other forms. You do not have to cut off your balls (metaphorically) to be a caring husband, or a loving father. Lust and love coexist fine. You can have sympathy, empathy, and understanding without being a crying emo-boy. There is no one right way to be a man. If someone is telling you that you need to be less strong, just to be fully human, that person is speaking to their own sense of inadequacy, not any problem of yours.

    • Some people are so “macho”, in a very sad way…

    • I didn’t get the impression at all that he’s saying we should be “emo” boys. All he’s saying is it’s good to express your feelings and enjoy a variety of passions in your life so you aren’t dependent on just one as your only release in life. he never said sex or lust was “bad” at all, but if you’re addicted to it and using it to try to fill in holes in other parts of your life, you’re going to be unsatisfied.

  38. Why are women so obsessed with air, food, water, clothing, and shelter? Sex is a strong biological urge, necessarily made so by the process of evolution. If men did not want sex, then people would not have sex, and the human species would die out. The causes are 100% chemical and biological, not cultural. Get a woman to start injecting androgens directly into her bloodstream, and watch how horny she gets.

  39. Shara Thome says:

    I appreciate the insight and wisdom that you shared in this article. As men and women we are standing on the edge of a new paradigm…with an opportunity to explore new ways of living together. We need to let go of our old attitudes and conditioning. We can work together with honesty and integrity and trust to find a true way to love one another. I believe it is our mission.,,,and a path to peace on Earth.

  40. Terryl Todd says:

    This is word for word Charlie Kreiner’s Breakthrough. I am grateful someone has gathered all the tried and true pieces of Charlie’s work and getting it out there. Charlie would be grateful true. He did his workshops within and out of the U.S. Also worked in prisons and the Israeli Army. Attending his workshops year after year in Oregon and California and then becoming an Ally, Educator and Administrator for ‘Breakthrough For Men’ in Monterey Bay, I have directly witnessed the miraculous liberation of hundreds of men; healing the wounds and damages of the ‘Male Role’ as well as the oppression of the ‘female role.’
    Reading through some of the responses here is delightfully amusing–nearly everyone is throwing their unhealed ‘stuff’ at you. You have definitely triggered needs for healing.
    Thank you Dr. Steve Bearman.

  41. Rex Bohannon says:

    I couldn`t wade through the whole thing plus comments, because I read enough to see that there is something vital missing. All the thinking is hopelessly modern which means scientific materialist which means that human/ alive/ being/ self/ mind/ spirit stuff is looked at as not real, not in the universe (absurd as that on the face of it is). There are MEANINGS to the terms masculine and feminine, otherwise we would not have the words. We are talking about actual SOMETHINGs. The principles called the masculine and the feminine. Body and spirit are one; matter and mind are one. It has been shown time and time again that maleness/male identity, femaleness/female identity are synchronistically aligned with body physiology and that typical boy and typical girl behaviors have primoridal components unexplained by conditioning and environment. They are built-in, not inhibiting any individuals free will, not determining behavior or shape of unique individual identity, but nevertheless…. We are divided into two genders for the higher `spiritual` purpose of `separating in order to unite`; we are created `incomplete` in order to bring endlessly original recombinations into human evolution…………. The gender differences and identities are THERE, part of the Design; the desire, since feminism came in – plenty good, ok? – there has been a subconscious impulse to pull back and down, inhibit the masculine in order to give female individuals space and time to catch up with individuation…., all to the good. BUT, there is an advantage the female physiology already has: that every fetus starts out female and then it is a rather dicey process that makes a male develop further, the male physique is always more or less `masculine`, the smaller upper body relative to the width of the hips characteristic of the female, only develops to some degree or other, more or less towards the wide-shouldered male goal in the fetus that has the `second testosterone bath` in the womb….. female is the universal base, male is the contingent exception. Look at all the ways women feel about men, and all the ways men feel about women; this would not be erased if we had a totalitarian, enforced gender-blind ethos. Meanwhile, let individual gender variations proliferate like stars, but let`s stop this reduced and reductionist pathetic modern hoopjumping to make things fit in neat symmetrical boxes….. and many many etc., etc., etc.s….`

  42. Rudi Kramp says:

    It’s also stereotyping. Not all men are obsessed with sex.
    At school the girls would be with older boys, thus an unreachable image. A guy’s sexual peak is late teens and early twenties. That is also straight after puberty. (A women’s is late thirties and early forties.) Guys also get bombarded with images of sexy women. One can also think about what else is there now for an adolescent guy to associate with masculinity. A case of get while they can.

  43. Very Accurate. Thank you

  44. This article certainly contains part of the answer. Thank you for a tiny slice of a very large pie–masculinity. For other slices, please feel free to check out my essay: http://journals.sfu.ca/pgi/index.php/pacificamyth/article/view/45/73

  45. Further to my comment, which hasn’t appeared yet. (Yes I know, the screening process isn’t instantaneous!)

    A positive outcome of reading this article was it also coincided with a friend of mine returning from a tour; and he’d been away for six months or something; and quite against character I told him that I’d missed him. Because I think it’s true, if we were more emotively expressive with each other in day to day life we wouldn’t be so dependent on sex as the sole means of achieving it. So reading it proved pretty inspirational.

  46. I love this article, by the way. The fact that sex is often men’s sole gateway to intimacy, because the other gates are barred by socialization is a sound explanation for some of my experiences.

    Reading this article coincided with a recent and relevant occurence:

    I just came out of a two month relationship; throughout it was “how do I know you’re not just using me for sex” from her. Okay, so the rose, the trips to the museum, the meals, the conversations, the holding hands in public, the breakfast the next morning etc. etc. is supposedly something I’m enduring and only pretending to enjoy so I can get to the good stuff… all righty, if that’s what you want to assume; then it came to an abrupt end because I was upset, not by something she did, but something to do with the politics in the shared house I’m in; initially she tried to change the conversation, we had sex and then we napped in each others arms, and then when I woke up I admitted I was still smarting about the incident. She tried to change the conversation again and make out it didn’t matter but I had to talk about it. I started to talk about my feeling of isolation, I’d lost contact with so many friends over the last two years, the place that I’d learnt to call home didn’t feel like my home anymore and the one person that lived there whom I felt I could have a normal conversation with was moving out (I unexpectedly had a tear in my eye at that moment – I didn’t realise I was going to miss him so much), and I felt I’d have to move out to, but I didn’t really want to because I loved my room and I’d kind of designed the layout myself. And she said “I’m going to go home”. I wasn’t blaming her, I wasn’t aggressive – push all the negative stereotypes from your mind! She did express concern that I seemed emotionally unstable, but as far as I can tell I was merely being emotional; there was no unstable about it. I wasn’t punching walls or yelling. I was just letting it pour out. She agreed to wait for me to get dressed so I could walk her to the station, but it was clear she wasn’t going to be coming back. A day later I realised that that wasn’t such a bad thing. I thought – this is the thing I needed you for; this is the thing I only feel comfortable doing with the person I’m having sex with (for whatever reason – I feel more okay being vulnerable with a lover than I do with anyone else in the world) I want to open up to you and tell you about how I’m not happy with things when I’m not happy with things, and this is the thing that makes you want to walk away? That’s a fail, right there. She’d spent all that time worrying that I was using her for sex and never wondered what I was using the sex for; the thing I was ACTUALLY using her for – to put myself in the position that I could open up to someone with emotional honesty, but by so doing of course, I became “the downer” when what she was actually using me for was to be “the upper”.

    • Sad face at your experience @Joseph. Perhaps her fears were to ally projection from her side?! Sure sounds like it.
      I have read wisdom recently from a female life coach about how women ask for emotional intimacy from men, but when they express it, real-raw, women are unable to cope with it. As they have been socialised not be able to handle it and that it makes the man seem ‘weak’. She also says that a lot of women assume they have natural empathy for just ‘being women’. But she states (and I agree) that this is not the case.
      I forgot her name right now – I will remember it if you would like to hear her audio mp3 or visit her site.
      I have been in your position AND the ladies position, I don’t need to tell you that they both suck, but are kinda important for growth. Thats if you are that see aware and want to learn from each experience, of course. Don’t get down by it, recognise that red flag next time right?
      x

    • @Joseph, I get what you’re saying. I have been through many relationships where I have found men only talk after sex. But only if they feel safe enough through the quality of the intimacy shared with the sex. many men actually use sex like another form of competition with all the invisible men they might brag to about “the conquest” rather than letting themselves be there and just enjoy it for themselves in the moment. As a woman I find it difficult that I have been expected by so many other people to want to go out again and again with the same person, but for me it has been just as interesting at times to have a selection of sexual experiences for my own learning and experience of my own body.
      I sometimes feel okay about a guy “using me to feel and become able to talk about emotions” and sometimes I am not. I sometimes want the intimacy of someone who already knows what I like and how I respond. But I also have times when I like to be surprised (& no I don’t mean a rape fantasy!!)
      What this article tells me is that there are men who feel the human needs that I feel: for variety, and for continuity; for security and comfort and for excitement and challenge.
      While I can’t claim a PhD I can claim experience running a male-consciousness raising group in prisons. I haven’t documented these sessions (held many years ago now) because prison demands a safety level around intimate conversations that I consider to be even more demanding than academic rigour. Besides, I had not intended to “run the group” but only provided information I felt the participants may be interested in exploring if they could find the right person to lead it for them. They entrusted me “on the spot”. You could say it was experimental without the hypothesis ever having been put.
      The main point I am raising from both the article, and many of the comments I have read here so far, is that we tend to experience life through a range of relationships, especially in our younger years. Then we find a preference for particular things within relationships that reflect more of what we think or feel we want, and gradually we plateau or seek out repetition of those preferences. Some relationships seem to only be about one thing (maybe it looks like sex but is the emotional release; and vice versa). Enduring relationships usually cope with a range of expressions – even as marriages where roles may be visible to the world but the intimacy behind closed doors varies only to the knowledge and degree the couple choose.

      To me the point that Steve Bearman makes is about the health of all our relationships the more we allow ourselves the scope to experience life fully within ourselves as our starting point. Rock climbing was an interest until I couldn’t figure out how to advance beyond encouraging or belaying those with less interest or experience than myself. Ask an experienced person to help me progress and it was like I was asking them to step back to my self-limiting plateau. Finding the right mix with each individual we meet to be able to extend without sounding fearful and to take comfort without seeming stuck is the great balancing act we all have to contend with – hormones or not (or including adrenalin, serotonin, etc)
      The French used to say “Viva La Difference” – now I think we are more aware of Life is the Differences!

  47. Joe Sparks says:

    I agree, men are taught that they can only be close in the context of sex, and at the same time, that they do not need closeness to have sex. Men are also oppresses in such a way that their preoccupation with sex, and their frozen feelings of desperation and loneliness, seem only to be “answered” by sex. Excellent article!

  48. Tim Goldich says:

    I agree with most of what’s said here, and I’m uncomfortable with what I perceive as underlying slant and/or assumptions. Too little empathy toward men. Too easy to frame the male as “wrong” or “defective” (female sexuality Good; male sexuality Bad). And biology (including a 10 times higher rate of testosterone) is dismissed for being “politically incorrect.”

    I seem to see this “everywhere” throughout the “mainstream.” Men, not very invested in their own male point of view but invested instead in women’s point of view around men. Men absorbing feminism (“female-ism”) uncritically, but rejecting any form of politicized male perspective). Men applying accountability sans compassion toward themselves, but compassion sans accountability toward women. Men saddled with Full Responsibility for all outcomes; women held up as models of perfection for men to aspire to.

    • Hi Tim
      Women have produce both testosterone and estrogen in their bodies .
      A high level of estrogen give a higher sex drive, just like a high level of testosterone does.

      So the fact that woman have lower levels of testosterone does not mean they lack hormones that influence them sexually. Ask any woman that use sex replacement therapy during menopause and you will learn how estrogen makes her want more sex.
      This is a great article.

      • This isn’t true. Testosterone increases sex drive in and of itself. The reason some women who take estrogen have an increased sex drive is because an increase in estrogen causes women’s bodies to produce more testosterone. It is NOT the estrogen that’s causing a sex drive increase, the the testosterone produced as a bi-product. (Similarly, men with high levels of T produce more estrogen – this is why ads for testosterone include “breast development” as a side effect. Our bodies balance one with the other.)

        Make no mistake: Men are biologically wired to be more sexual. I never understand why this is so contentious. The proof is both physiological and evolutionary.

        I think some men may find that it is the only socially sanctioned way for them to express intimacy, but there is no scientific evidence to suggest that social constraints actually cause men to be more horny. That part’s just natural.

        • Most of the testosterone in men is “used” to keep the male body, well, manly. Learn a little about how our hormones are “divided” in ours systems.
          There’s no scientific evidence to suggest women have less sexual urges, or that Asian males have less than Black males, for exemplo. In fact, we can see males and females of any race are mostly equal (of course, sexual desire is different for each individual).

        • I understand why so many men like to hang on the idea “men are biologically more sexual” , i dont mean to crash your worldview but what you’re stating in your comment is just your desired belief. Time time open mind to new facts and research.
          http://www.livescience.com/21114-testosterone-sex-drive-masturbation.html

  49. Hi Hammurabi

    🙂

  50. Hi Iben,
    I’m not really sure what you are answering to.?

    And yes, you are right that my ex didn’t behave like most women do. First of all that she would even talk to me, and then date and have a relationship with me…

    But anyway. I don’t fear women. That has nothing to do with me not getting into a new relationship.
    They are just not interested. When I was young, my two best friends were two very goodlooking and popular guys. I used to talk alot with women back then, but sooner or later they always wanted to know “Who’s your cute friend…?”. Nowadays they won’t bother talking/responding to me at all.
    And it’s just not worth the effort anymore. I haven’t been with anyone for 5 years, and I’ve been out of dating for 5 more years. I never had a clue, and I don’t expect it to just magically appear one day. It is what it is, I take care of myself and do my best to enjoy life. I still spend time with family, and friends with families and partners, so it’s not like I’m totally void of human (male or female) in life.
    But I’ve never been “interesting”. I can talk to a girl, but as soon as someone else enters the room and say hi, it’s like she turns away and I’m immediately forgotten, if you know what I mean

    • Hi FlyingKal

      What can I say.
      I am glad to hear you take care of yourself and enjoy life. Sier dere livets fylde i Sverige?
      If I knew how you could find someone I would have told you. But I don’t know. Everybody have something to offer others. We just have to go on, and fill our life with what we love the most. That is what I try to do. Fill myself up with what I love the most.

      • Hammurabi says:

        @IIben,

        Hi Iben!

        It’s your old pal J****s.

        xoxoxo

      • Hi Iben and thanks for answering.
        Vi säger väl “Livets goda” eller “Livets glädjeämnen” i Sverige.

        I don’t know what to do either, other than continue to do my best. Then again they say that only a fool will continue to do the same thing and expecting a different result, so I’m really at loss here…!

        I thought of one little peculiar fact. As I’ve probably said before, I’m an occasional rock/mountain climbing. An activity that usually requires a team of at least 2 people. And in a society where I guess about 75% of the climbers are male, 8 of my 10 most regular climbing partners are female…

        • Hi FlyingKal

          Your climbing partners must like and trust you! That is a good sign.
          Maybe you should go climbing more often?
          Do what you love the most, then you become fully alive.
          Don’t chase the ladies, just do what you love the most, be fully alive and trust that something will happen when you least expect it.

          • FlyingKal says:

            Hi Iben,
            MOre often? I already climb as much as time and weather permits. But you know what it’s like here up in the North 🙂

            I’m not “chasing the ladies”. I haven’t made a conscious effort for this situation to develop.
            My female climbing partners all have (romantic) partners who are either non-climbers, or climbing at a much higher (mre difficult) level, or they are way out of my age bracket for regular dating.
            Maybe I’m not good enough, or competitive enough, to go climbing with “the guys”. I don’t know. And I’m not complaining, it’s just a statement of facts.

            But yes, they do seem to like and trust me under these circumstances. I just take that as a sign that I’m not totally useless and a woman-hater in disguise after all.

        • Hammurabi says:

          @FlyingKal,

          Do you exude confidence?

          How do you dress?

          When you go to a bar alone, do you act and look like you own the place?

          Are you charming? I am a very charming man. I love to talk to people, so the charm comes through.

          Hygiene?

          Shoes? This one is important. I simply avoid the rubber bottom ones. I like a dress loafer. Make sure they are polished!

          Cologne? Women love sensuality. Try Chanel Bleu or Chanel Pour Monsieur.

          Dance? Take some classes! Salsa….

          I am a man of average looks. But when I go out, I am in the Top 5% in terms of attractiveness. All due to the above.

          • Well,from the time I was 13,I did things exactly as you described,except of course going to bars.I had some success and some failures.I haven’t done those things in 30 years and I continue to have some successes and some failures.Think of it,maybe women that want those things in a man aren’t your cup of tea.As an adult man,tired of the traditional scene and all of baggage that along with it, who still wanted to be attractive to women, nothing worked better than getting into the gym,putting on muscle and getting fit.When I am fit and strong my confidence is supreme,I am healthy…anything is a is a bonus.

          • Hi Hammurabi
            Yes!
            ✺”Cologne? Women love sensuality. Try Chanel Bleu or Chanel Pour Monsieur”✺

          • Hj Hammurabi,

            Sorry for the late reply, but I have missed this one.
            The answer is “Yes”, and “above average” on all of the above.
            At least I used to have charm and confidence. But it has worn off during the years as i’ve been deemed unattractive and uninteresting. Pne of the most common comments I’ve got from women in my younger years was “Who’s your cute friend?”

            One thing about dance, though. I like dancing. Maybe I’m not all that good, but I’m interested and have taken several classes over the years. And one of my girlfriends I mer through mutual friends who were all very good and eager dancers. And I thought “Great, now I have people to go out and dance with. I can improve, and I have a partner to share my interest”,
            That was not to be, however.
            I user to take her out to dinner and dance, but as soon as the tables were cleared she wanted to go home, claiming she was tired.
            But then she would frequently go out with her co-workers and dance all night long.

  51. Hi FlyingKal

    Yes sometimes life sucks .
    We are not always loved or desired even if we have a spouse or a partner to share our life with. And your ex did not behave like most women do FlyingKal.
    .
    Do not fear to meet new women and start a relationship.
    It is like after an car accident , get into your car and drive again the next day, otherwise you can become afraid of cars and driving.

    Women are not usually as complicated and emotionally close up as your ex.
    The more you think about why your last relationship was frustrating sexually , the harder it will be to start a new relationship. And if she still love her, then bring her back home.:)

  52. @Michael So men aren’t attracted to other men? Hmmm, that’s interesting. I didn’t know that.

    • He may also be missing the part where a LOT of people, heteros included, have sex in ways that simply cannot lead to pregnancy. Not sure how evolution explains our fascination with and enjoyment of oral sex.

      Reproduction is definitely part of sex. It’s absurd to say that it has nothing to do with biology or reproduction. But it’s equally obvious that sex can’t be boiled down to nothing but reproduction.

  53. Michael Russell says:

    I think you missed the part where sex is for reproduction. Sex is a biological imperative, and evolution has preprogrammed men to be competitive to eliminate other men from the sexual pool. We desire multiple partners, but we don’t just desire sex, we want healthy, young sex partners. We don’t want sex with other men, or our mothers, we want hot, young, healthy women. It is not a disease, it’s normal, and good, if you want the species to continue.

    • Hank Vandenburgh says:

      @Michael That too. But an older woman can be pretty hot, and way more skilled. I think this stuff is a template, but is modified by taste.

    • Hi Michael Russel

      If we want the spices to continue by producing as healthy babies as possible, them the old men must leave the young hot beautiful women alone and leave breeding to young men only.
      Old sperm are not of good quality ( old men’s sperm).

      • Hammurabi says:

        @Iben,

        Yes, this is scientifically true. Most old men (60+) do not not have sperm of good quality. Birth defects in babies produced by old men rise dramatically.

        • Sperm quality actually starts decreasing at age 35. When 40+ the risk of having babies with genetic desorders is already very high (like, say, Down Syndrome. The risk gets really higher).

      • If the goal is to make healthy babies then defects in fetus would be automatically aborted, mentally disabled would be sterilized and anyone who’s got a high likilhood of making children that are substandard to this goal of healthy. The poor would also be banned from having babies since they cannot afford to look after them to a decent degree. We could isolate the best genes from a whole host of people to make a superior gene pool to carry on. How far do we take this eugenics though for the ideal of “healthy”?

        ( No I don’t believe in this, although I do believe in ensuring a child will be born as healthy as possible and some extreme illnesses in a fetus should simply lead to abortion to save them a life of misery)

        • Hey Archy,
          Poor people can potentially make healthier babies than rich people can because they actually hang out with their babies and give them love, instead of being obsessed with money, which always takes parents away from their children. money does not equal health.

    • Evolution doesn’t only move in one direction. We have also evolved these pesky little biological things called brains. We’ve evolved a brain that can understand cause and effect, for example the understanding of where babies come from. We’ve evolved a brain with the capability of inventing birth control, celibacy, artificial insemination, childfree communities, and family planning. We’ve been practicing infanticide for millenia — hardly a reproductive imperative. The reproductive drive doesn’t explain very well why so many sterile people keep having sex or why pregnant women sometimes have a spike in their sex drives when pregnant.

    • Show me any species where males go after “healthy” females (where healthy means anything else than being able to ovulate to attract males by the smell). If they exist, they are clearly the minority. Females are mostly the only ones that care about health – in their males. Males have to be strong, beautiful and extroverted to attract females – and they mostly accept any heathly state of a female. Then again, even nature is flawed – beautiful exteriors aren’t always a sign of healthy or fertility.
      Youger females are supposedly better to breed just like younger males are. They both have to be healthy to breed. Males only care about and feel attracted to the female’s smell when she is ovulation, he goes after her and that’s all. Males mostly never care about the female health – she is the one that, most of the times, is going to rase the “babies” alone and his job is mostly only to donate his seed. The only males that care about their own babies are the monogamous types.
      A lot of males want sex with other males (and females with other females), and naturally with their own mothers or sisters as well.
      Now you are talking about MEN, as humans. And I’m sorry, but to talk about humans as just merely irational animals is too cynical, wrong and limited. Of course straight men would enjoy young females (and nothing wrong if you are young as well), and women would enjoy young males (supposedly healthier, better looks and sexual prowness and only valuable sperm). Of course healthy people supposedly could make better babies – but it’s not always. I just really don’t see any link between what you say (that is mostly cultural and maybe some biological truth) with our actual biological truth, as even the most dedicated biologists can’t say how we really are/were as irrational animals without culture or societal interference. Not that we ever could, because we are now, in fact, rational – and culture, morality and such ARE our natural state now.
      In fact, I think you are just an ignorant sexist straight guy that thinks women are just sexual beings created to please men – even men too much older or not as hot as them. That women are only their physical attractiveness, only useful when young and “attractive” and that without it they are anothing. And the most bizarre, nauseating part: that males weren’t created for the same thing and shouldn’t be necessarily physically attractive and are a lot more than just their bodies. And that, of course, females don’t have the “right” to want the same. And this, boy, you can’t prove how or why.

  54. SwivelEyeFarage says:

    TREAT ALL YOU READ ON HERE WITH CAUTION (pinch of salt & skepticism required)

    I, for one, am not entirely convinced by any polemic such as this on this site by a supposed academic who yet provides absolutely no referencing and citations for any claims (appallingly abysmal by anybody’s standards).

    In terms of educating others through providing actual empirical studies exploring effects of variables mentioned within cultures & societies, the level of provision here is none.

    Vagueries are for cack-handed lazy academics who have no right to put letters after their name when their work flies completely in the face of academia & the methodology of writing it up properly.

    It really simply is not enough to wave a few letters after your name around and expect readers of what is published to take what is written to be true as a-given. In terms of the Social Science studies of Gender & Sexuality studies, the standard of work this article is exceptionally poor.

    Steve Bearman: Don’t wave your PhD around if you can’t even be bothered to provide any actually transparent credibility & accountability to what you are writing. At least drop the letters after your name if you can’t be bothered to.

    It would be ideal if people participating in discussions would also cite source material of experiments & empirical studies. I do appreciate the responses here that treat the article with a warranted degree of skepticism & cynicism. Citing counter-evidence in support of contrary arguments would be ideal for this too.

    It’s a discussion, but it’s not a good enough discussion on this site to be able to take it seriously, because all of the talking is in simplistically wide, sweeping, generalistic terms. You can’t have a quality articles or discussion where there is absence of the credibility to make the articles and discussions an INFORMED debate.

    • Plain Jane says:

      SwivelEyeFarage: Did you gather nothing from the article other than your pre-disposed notion of this being utter poppy-cock? What was your takeaway other than insulting a man who only wishes to give an honest opinion of a matter he, himself may have personally experienced?
      You’re candidly implying that this article has no credibility what-so-ever, and do you truly believe that? Have any anecdotal moments in your life where you’ve wondered and questioned your sexuality and the way you experience and translate your emotions?
      Have you ever battled with an issue of intimacy and closeness with another human being that you couldn’t quite navigate through?
      I can certainly see why you’re disappointed. And I, myself would have like to see a few linked articles backing his claims regarding loneliness and sexuality. However, these are facets of the human condition and I’ve experienced them myself more than enough to relate to what this article is asserting. Instead of being so skeptical, have an open mind.
      It’s tragic that you can’t take anything positive AT ALL from this piece.

      Fine let’s have an INFORMED debate. What about this article do you believe is false or skewed?
      You’re certainly not discussing the aforementioned material but the creditworthiness of a man you don’t even know. It’s natural to proceed with a bit of skepticism and caution, but you outright disengaged yourself from the message and instead attacked the article, not the point. So please, make a valid one.

    • Hank Vandenburgh says:

      I’m pretty much with this article. I think Steve can claim the authority of his actual praxis, as opposed to the dry “objective” data that studies typically produce. Modern psychology tends to carve things up in small pieces that are typically not very useful, and possibly not very true, since they’re usually attentive to very artificial circumstances. This essay follows in the tradition of the human side of Freud, Wilhelm Reich, and other humanistic psychologists. We need more of that back. The positivist tradition (which is typical of “masculine” thinking) has been way over-emphasized. Yeah, that’ll body-armor you right up. And hey, “cack-handed” (is that projection?) I have a PhD, too.

  55. Hi Steve
    An interesting article in today’s The Guardian.
    Not much obsession with sex in Japan.

    ✺”Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?…….

    Some experts believe the flight from marriage is not merely a rejection of outdated norms and gender roles. It could be a long-term state of affairs………

    demographer Nicholas Eberstadt argues that a distinctive set of factors is accelerating these trends in Japan. These factors include the lack of a religious authority that ordains marriage and family, the country’s precarious earthquake-prone ecology that engenders feelings of futility, and the high cost of living and raising children.”✺

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex

  56. I think this was an excellent article that helped me understand things better for men. I’m really glad it was written.

  57. Hi A married guy
    I am sorry I was angry when I wrote about porn.
    It is so stupid of me to go into that debate, because it always make me upset.

    It is a pity marriage and sex can be so problematic. Marriage is great if two can make it work, but it can also harm us emotionally for life. Marriage can destroy your health if it is bad.
    I wish you could make your wife visit a sexologist,or therapist to figure out want is wrong between you two.
    The fact that a women say no to sex, does not always mean her libido is gone. It simply means she don’t want to make love to you, now….

    Sometimes it is best to end the marriage , but with children and economic obligations, that can be difficult. And it is hard to know if the other person loves you or not,when the relationship is painful.
    The sad thing is love can die.

    Marriage sometimes demands more from us than we can possibly give, and I think anyone has the right to leave instead of being destroyed emotionally. I did that in my marriage. I left.
    Nobody asked me why. It is private anyway.

    • FlyingKal says:

      The fact that a women say no to sex, does not always mean her libido is gone. It simply means she don’t want to make love to you, now….

      I’m well aware of that. And that just makes it that much worse, doesn’t it?
      “Oh, I really wouldn’t mind having sex. It’s just that I don’t want to do it with you, specifically.
      Which IS kinda ironic, since we’ve promised to love each other, like, forever, right…?”

  58. Hi A married guy

    Marriage is a strange institution .
    More and more I see the impossible demands on us in the promise me make for life.

    But men in happy sexual relations also love their porn.
    I have NEVER met a woman in my whole life that demanded that her husband did not watch and use porn. Have you?
    I did not when I was married. It was never an issue. What he did in his room was his business, just like his choice of friends and choice of hobbies and which organizations he was a member of,or what political party he voted for.

    But is do feel free to have an opinion about porn, and I do feel I have a right to freedom of speech just like any other person in a democratic society..

    The howling I refer to is the reactions we see here on GMP when we discuss porn.
    And if a woman tell that she is critical to pornography the way we see it online today, men react strongly in ways that makes me wonder what is going on.
    I do not talk about men in sexless marriages but the average Joe,

    Is it a marriage if the spouses stop making love?
    Why do we respect this contract that much, unless we see marriage as a promise to God?
    I did not promise God to stay with a man for life no matter what happens between us, and I never will promise neither God or any man a thing like that.

    • A married guy says:

      I wonder if these aren’t two different groups, the men who read and comment here and average Joes. I know I didn’t find my way here because I was so happy with my married life. I know, in general, I’m not moved to comment about something I feel middle-of-the-road about. I wonder if this doesn’t give a somewhat skewed perspective about how things are in the world at large.

      Kind of like an orthopedic specialist who spends his time replacing failed artificial joints–if there is such a niche profession. Seeing only failures in the course of his daily work might color his perception of the procedure, making him somewhat skeptical of the procedures or his slightly less expert colleagues who only place the initial prosthesis. The two might meet over lunch with the specialist saying, “These things never work.” while his colleague insists, “I do this all day long and they almost always work.” They both see what they see, but serve two different patient populations.

      I guess I mean to say we’re all biased by our surroundings and by what we’ve experienced most recently. I certainly agree that you have a right to an opinion and to give voice to it. I hope my initial comment did not come across implying otherwise.

    • FlyingKal says:

      Hi Iben,
      But men in happy sexual relations also love their porn.
      I have NEVER met a woman in my whole life that demanded that her husband did not watch and use porn. Have you?>/i>

      Yes, I have met and talked to many women, both IRL and on boards like GMP, who would have nothing to do with a man who looked at p0rn.
      And, I have NEVER met a men who preferred p0rn over a happy and mutually satisfying sexual relation with his partner!

  59. Hi Ogwriter
    I hope you are well.

    You write :
    ✺” From my lens the writer did at least imply that the woman’s emotional worldview is the
    standard of being men should aspire.”✺

    I don’t think it is possible for any parent to raise their sons as inhumanly as he describes here and at the same time raise their daughters into perfectly emotionally healthy beings.
    Women are not raised any better than men, only a bit differently .
    Some of us are raised more like boys. I fear I am. Raised to be be independent from a tiny age, told to walk to the kindergarden by myself far from home all alone back and forth every day.

    Women are not emotionally more healthy than men as far as I know.

    But we do experience men sexually( if we are heterosexual ) ,and I can tell you Ogwriter that it can be a lonely experience.

    Not men are the same. And men from other cultures are different from men in the Western societies. It took a man from an Arab culture to experience sex in ways I have never experienced with any other.

    Western men’s attitudes to sex, and their own sexuality need to be talked about.
    Listen to the arguments men use when they feel somebody want to restrict their use of hardcore porn , the ordinary kind we see on the Internet today.
    The howl we hear sounds like it comes from a animal in a life threatened situation, and fighting for its life. Why?
    The aggression is so fierce , the the insight totally lacking that it frightens me.
    Why do they see life without pornography as a living hell? (Or women trying to destroy them?)

    Listen to what they see as problems in marriage. Often they express the suffering to about sex. Sex the way they define sex.
    I do not say men don’t see other problems in their relationships as well, but at least in my marriage all the whining and accusation was about sex.

    So I like this article.
    Both men and women need to look at sexuality with new eyes.
    Also women must look at our expectations and what is sex for us, and what we give and don’t give.

    Most of us build our life around models and ideals of monogamy but can not make it work.

    Men feel trapped in sexless marriages, and have promised to be faithful for life.
    http://www.elle.com/beauty/health-fitness/sexless-relationships-394316
    Sometimes it is women that feels trapped and want out.

    • A married guy says:

      For me, anyway, it’s not a feeling of destruction, but of control. My wife’s low libido already controls our sex life together. I find it incredibly offensive if she’d presume to try and control the solo side of my sex life as well.

      I don’t “see life without pornography as a living hell.” That is marriage. And the freedom to be sexual as an individual is cold comfort. Like an occasional drop of ice water in the midst of an inferno.

      Though, if a person has shut down the coupled part of their sex life and then starts to intrude on what the higher libido partner does alone, I could see that as coming across as destruction. As the stamping out of their partner’s sexuality. Though, that’s probably an unnecessarily violent metaphor when low-libido men and women seem quite comfortable letting their partners wither via neglect.

      “Western men’s attitudes to sex, and their own sexuality need to be talked about.
      Listen to the arguments men use when they feel somebody want to restrict their use of hardcore porn , the ordinary kind we see on the Internet today.
      The howl we hear sounds like it comes from a animal in a life threatened situation, and fighting for its life. Why?
      The aggression is so fierce , the the insight totally lacking that it frightens me.
      Why do they see life without pornography as a living hell? (Or women trying to destroy them?)”

    • @Iben The social reengineering of boys throughout Western culture has been in full swing for decades now.One can see it in our institutions and spread liberally throughout pop culture in movies,books, tv,etc. .My sons faced this bias in school where the message was,if you were a boy,tone yourself down!! Well,I let them know in no uncertain terms that I did not require them to teach my sons gender relationsor how to manage their personalities.They have parents and an older sister,thank you very much. The inhuman treatment you noted has been happening for quite some time. Men talk about it all the time on GMP.Have you not been listening?You wrote, “Women are not emotionally more healthy than men.as far as I know.” Of course they aren’t, however,that isn’t the message being delivered by many women. Frankly,I am entirely bored with the porno conversation. Porn is a staple entertainment in the middle class.So are strip shows,wife and husband swapping,sex clubs,fetish clubs,and the list goes on.As you said, we say we want monogamy but we suck at it.We suck at it because we suck at being honest about sex.Personally,I have experienced the conficted behavior some women have regarding sex in a variety of ways.I have had relatives of girlfriends come on to me.I have had friends of girlfriends come on to me.A married woman and office manager where I worked -Nancy-asked me to come over to her house to keep her company when her husband was away on business.NO,I am not implying that I am an irresistable piece of man flesh.Quite the contrary,physically attractive people are abundant and one is just as good as the other.Besides,what’s attractive is relative,therefore the need for sexual variation is not restricted to goodlooking people.Nor are the clandestine efforts to attain sexual variation.We have determined that being horny is bad and sex outside the relationship is sign of big trouble.Maybe its a sign that he or she doesn’t love you anymore.Come on!How many perfectly good relationships have been ruined because someone got laid?Love has nothing to do with it.It’s a sign we are horny.Its a sign of boredom.We fake falling in love to have multiple sexual partners.Our lack of courage to confront who we really are on many fronts is the problem.Rather than admit to that we destructively point fingers and conflate our sexual issues,as well as others, into a political contest.Can we,at least for a moment, not pretend that sex, in order to be real, must occur between people in love.That is most absurd.Desiring sex is neither good nor bad,it’s biological.Using or having sex in the wrong context is wrong.The behavior, not the act.I have very little reason to believe that the adult conversation about sex you ask from women will ever happen.It would be disadvantageous for women to have that conversation.As it stands men shoulder most of the blame for infidelity,why change that?Furthermore,as a commodity,sex is more valuable if it’s rare.It’s about power and control then,isn’t it?Infidelity is common among humans,men and women alike.It’s an historical fact.Women are making the same mistake black people made believing politics alone would delivery them a balanced, full life.The mainstream fascination with porn is an attempt to communicate feelings that are being ignored.Porn is a surrogate,a prop,a vehicle,a metaphor.The truth is our communication skills suck too!

      • Ogwriter, some people suck at monogomy, some people don’t. If you don’t want to be monogomous, don’t. Some people do want to be monogomous even though it sometimes means making difficult choices that don’t lead to their personal and immediate gratification. No one denies that making choices that involve our own personal immediate gratification are sometimes hard. But usually the reason you make choices to deny your own personal immediate gratification is because the rewards later on our greater. And there is infact a quality to being loyal to someone that is infact pretty darn special and cool. Does that mean everyone should be monogomous? No. But it doesn’t mean that being monogmous is unnatural.

        I think men shoulder most of the blame for infideility because historically, men did infact cheat more. It was more accepted when a man cheated, even encouraged at some points in history. Even today, it’s more likely to be accepted and forgotten. Hello Bill Clinton. Obviously times have changed and women are certainly catching up in the cheating department. Does that mean women are ignoring that? I don’t think so. Does that mean monogomy doesn’t work? No. Does that mean that people don’t want monogomy? No. Even when they may fail.

        I do agree that there is alot to be communicated through porn. Men seem to love women’s bodies but they don’t seem to really like or value women very much as people. And *that* is a conversation that a lot of men don’t want to have.

        • @Erin What’s up Erin? I do not know how you could possibly conclude,logically,that men have been unfaithful more than women.?! How could you even begin to compile that kind of information and vet the info for accuiracy? Many women are very good at deception around sex.It is a fact that a certain percentage of women cheat on their husbands and partners,getting pregnant by lovers and give birth fooling their husband or partner into taking care of someone else’s child.Talk about cheating.But I guess we can’t tsalk about that because it is irelevant. You write,”Men seems to love women’s bodies…” If that is the case, why are then men blamed for not liking women’s bodies, causing women to have bodyimage issues? Honestly,none of it makes even the slightest bit of sense to me.

          • Hi Og, I explained what lead me to those beliefs.

            That’s right, men do seem to love women’s bodies, just not women as people very much sometimes. Men love the female bodies that fit into the standards society has created for women. Largely the kind of bodies you will find in a lot of male entertainement where a majority of the women are young, big breasts, small waists and white. But you are right, when a woman’s body fails to be the fantasy men largely seem to be continually seeking, they don’t like her body that much at all either.

  60. Hammurabi says:

    @Alastair,

    “That said, the common tendency in some circles to present stereotypical masculine traits as problematic or subtly to stigmatize them, rather than recognizing them as realities to harness and to celebrate, is concerning to me.”

    You comment was awesome!

    I cannot speak for other countries, but here in America I find this tendency for the upper class elite feminist to not want to recognize that men and women ARE different. I have religious influences and believe in God. I also believe that God CREATED man and woman to be different.

    You are correct. We should be celebrating our differences as strengths, rather than trying to make men more like women. Many feminist continue to argue that men and women have more in common with one another than that which is different. I depends on perspective I suppose.

    I am a very masculine guy. Never once have I considered changing anything about my personal masculinity. I am also an individual who is kind, compassionate, and loving. Am I an emotional chap. I would say No. However, that does not mean I do not feel or express emotions on occasion(s).

  61. Attributing such gendered phenomena so overwhelmingly to cultured messages strikes me as insufficient to account for the reality. Although the notion that gender, while culturally constructed and conditioned, has very deep roots in biological difference is decidedly objectionable to many, the notion that it can tidily be detached from biological facts is very problematic.

    Cultural messages aren’t all powerful and we are not entirely malleable, unformed, and plastic beings which they can mould at will. Perhaps one of the most immediate proofs of this can be seen in the many failures of cultural messages to achieve their ostensive goals. We have all heard numerous narratives of young teens coming out as gay. Having been exposed to countless cultural messages about heterosexuality and heteronormative masculinity and no matter how hard they tried to conform, the messages didn’t work for them and they knew that they were different (or ‘born that way’), not conforming to the messages with the natural ease of their male peers. Even focused attempts to impose the norms upon them with even more determination through therapy and other less formal means met with utter failure.

    The question of why the cultural messages didn’t work in such cases should also be turned around. Why is it that the messages that most males receive have so much power, traction, and resonance? Why these messages rather than others? Why does the cultural conditioning to be competitive, less feeling-oriented, and more detached prove so effective and powerful, when so many other forms of cultural conditioning that boys and men are exposed to have at best limited success? Also, why is it that boys, even when raised as girls or in a manner designed to resist such impulses, still tend to default to masculine norms with such consistency and experience the cultural conditioning that they received as a coercive imposition upon their nature?

    While being sex-obsessed isn’t destiny for males, it is a very real danger for many if not most of us. And this applies even for those of us who were raised in contexts that had an innocence with respect to sexualization that is virtually inconceivable in countries where pornography is not heavily censored (Playboy was banned in Ireland when I was growing up there, as were other such magazines) and there is access to the Internet. In my experience, for instance, puberty often felt like a form of possession, without cultural messages to which to attribute or explain its impulses. The actual cultural messages were helpful in reining in the dangerously obsessive ways in which sexuality and gender identity could have developed, but they were not responsible for those tendencies themselves.

    Male bodies and hormones are different from female bodies and hormones (this is a fairly interesting discussion of the profoundly powerful effects of testosterone upon personality, emotional life, interests, behaviour, etc.). Some of these differences occur more on a spectrum (e.g. hormone levels, forms of sexuality, build). Others are, for the most part, fairly binary (e.g. sex organs). We are not puppets doomed to a particular form of gender expression. However, nor do we have complete freedom in these respects: men aren’t entirely plastic and amenable to any form of masculinity. For many of us as guys, controlling our aggression/assertiveness, becoming more sensitive, open to feelings, controlling our sexual urges, etc. is not something that comes naturally at all, but something that we have been working at all of our adult lives. While such masculinity is possible, and the powerfully resonant stereotypes that stop us from attaining it are limiting and dangerous, it is an achievement, not something that comes naturally to us, even though it can be more fulfilling of our nature.

    That said, the common tendency in some circles to present stereotypical masculine traits as problematic or subtly to stigmatize them, rather than recognizing them as realities to harness and to celebrate, is concerning to me. Many of us as men find the vision of the sensitive, emotional, and relatively unassertive feminist male profoundly alienating on many levels. We relish competitive and hierarchical contexts and find contexts that prioritize inclusivity and egalitarianism stifling of individual expression and demonstration of strength, recognizing that constantly playing to everyone else’s weaknesses, while necessary in some contexts, is not universally healthy or fulfilling. We develop thick skins because it enables us to celebrate our strengths with each other.

    We are not unwilling to express feelings, but feelings just don’t play such a central role in our self-expression and identity. The subtle expectation to express feelings is one that many of us find oppressive: we don’t ‘feel’ in the way that many, especially women, do. A sense of agency can be far more integral to our identity and sense of self than feelings can be, even though we have feelings and don’t ignore them. And this is OK. The idea that we should all conform to a more typically feminine mode of subjectivity isn’t healthy for men.

    For many of us, we have a very positive relationship with our bodies, although it is of a very different kind to that which many women seem to experience. This relationship is less about the more delicate forms of sensuality, although we can enjoy those too. We enjoy our bodies primarily for their functionality and capacity to pursue sensation, rather than their more passive receptivity or appearance. We delight in the strength and power of our bodies. We delight in adrenaline and the exhilaration of physical competition or extreme exertion. We love to push our bodies to the limit together and against each other, exploring the scope of their potential. We feel at home in our bodies as we demonstrate mastery and skill through them, as we build, create, or make music. We use our bodies expansively, we project our voices, throw out our arms in self-expression, and take wide assertive and confident stances. The capacity to withstand pain and physical effort is not about alienation from our bodies at all, but about the greater enjoyment of a particular form of relationship with them.

    We can also have close and deeply fulfilling relationships with others. However, those relationships are often less concerned with sharing personal feelings and are more externally-oriented: about the joy of exploring strengths together in competition or collaboration, about shared creation, mastery, or enterprise, about finding common interest in a hobby, area of study, or nerdy obsession, or about the sharing of some powerful experience. These relationships are extremely rewarding. While they may not always be the best contexts to address feelings when we need to share them (although often they can do this just fine), this limitation should not dull us to their profound importance in men’s lives. My concern is that we don’t present the limitations of such forms of subjectivity as indictments upon them. Rather, we should address the limitations and make room for the exceptions, while recognizing that most men will tend to express a subjectivity that differs rather sharply from that of the women around them. And, once again, that is perfectly OK.

  62. Sounds like unilateral disarmament to me.

  63. Stereotyped Male says:

    Lots of interesting assumptions about male behavior and upbringing.. Just one question.. Does this mean, women are NOT obsessed with sex? 🙂

  64. Hi Ogwriter

    You say:
    ✺”Without this almost manical desire to have sex, the future of
    our species might be in doubt”✺
    How many are we on this earth now? I don’t think men should worry so much about reproduction of the population of this planet.:) only taking care of those already born.

    And yes Ogwriter, women do like to be understood,that is true.
    But nowhere here is Steve saying men shall become like women. He says:
    ✺”We are born sensual creatures with an
    unlimited capacity to feel and an
    effortless propensity to deeply
    connect with all human beings.
    We are then subjected to
    continuous conditioning to repress sensuality, numb feelings, ignore our bodies, separate from our natural closeness with our fellow humans. All of these human needs are then promised to us by way
    of sex and sexuality. “✺
    I feel like proposing to Steve right here and now.

    • @Iben From my lens the writer did at least imply that the woman’s emotional worldview is the standard of being men should aspire. I wasn’t the only one who received it that way.Caitlan thinks boys who are raised with the same expectation as girls cope better in the world.How she could determine such a thing is well beyond my ability to undrstand.Besides,the anti-male pro-female slant of our schools at every level suggest that being expected to view the world through a woman’s eyes is detrimental to males.The reason for the explosion in population is not sex drive.It’s because of better and more available food,water and medicine.The idea that humans have an unlimited capacity to feel is romantic ,liberal,pc social engineering propaganda.What does it even mean?!Even if it were true that frail,selfish, humans posessed an infinite capacity to feel-we do not-of what benefit is it?I feel,I feel,I FEEL….what about we?!There seems to be this belief that having an infinite capacity to feel is inherently a good thing.How a woman feels is controled by hormones,this doesn’t make her feelings right.Nor does it mean that her feelings are good or healthy.Real life is not a John Wayne movie where men are strong and silent and women are emotional and weak.In my view an over abundance of testosterone or estrogen can have equally dire consequences.The irony is that many men are eschewing marriage,at least partially,because of demands like this.

  65. Brilliant article, Steve.

    I just bought the book. I have been mulling over the question of what it means to be a man in the 21st century amidst all of the conflicting views and stereotypes. This post has definitely given me some answers! Looking forward to what the book will reveal too.

  66. Great article Steve, agree entirely. Also think that many males are not taught to self regulate from a young age, unlike most females. The boys will be boys mentality doesn’t help males learn to control behavior, nor accept responsibility for it. Males learn to transfer rather than solve problems and stress.
    In my experience, males who were raised with same level of expectations as females in their family have coped much better as adults.
    Keep up the narrative, we need to become aware of genderized nurturing, and ideally get rid of it 🙂

  67. I think you may have missed naming one of the primary instigators of sexual obsession in men and women:biology.Dopamine and other feel good drugs,which are released during sex,,are potent motivators that shouldn’t be discounted as contributors to sexual obsession.Additionally,the sexual drive in men feels normal and reasonable because of the obstacles men face in getting sex.Without this almost manical desire to have sex, the future of our species might be in doubt.For mre,I have no desire to be as emotionally driven as the typical woman.I say this because the often out of control nature of the emotional world of many women is used as the standard which men should attempt to achieve.Additionally, many women DON’t want men who are as emotional as they are.They just say they do because they perceive a man whose “in touch with his feelings” will help him to understand her better.Even a cursory examination of culture reveals that men are full of healthy emotions centered around sharing,giving,caring,family and community.Men have written and are writing tomes about freedom,equality love,sacrifice,creativity,authenticity and the like.Many have died pursuing the aforementioned qualities for the betterment of others.Lastly,the presumption seems to be that real communication predominantly happens thru verbal means,which is not true.Perhaps the real problem is our flawed definition of communication.

    • Hammurabi says:

      @ogwriter…

      Yup. Spot on for me too.

    • Og, I don’t think a “manical” desire for anything sounds too healthy. I also don’t think men primarily perpetuate the speices. I also disagree that men are not just as emotionally driven as women can be. Even the desire for sex and the connection sex breeds (otherwise one would just mastrubate) is highly based on emotions. I think men are JUST as emotionally drive as “the typical woman”. It’s interesting however how you attached posiive motivations to a “manical desire to have sex” while you say women live in an “out of control” “emotional world.” If a man’s “manical desire to have sex: is such a positive thing, then isn’t a woman’s “manical desire to connect to her emotions”, just as positive?

      Now I do agree men are very much capable of having healthy emotions cenetered around sharing, giving, caring, family and community. But that doesn’t mean that how men approach sex is always healthy or even healthy most of the time when we look at how our society deals with sexuality. No one is trying to besmirch men so much as maybe grow to an even healthier level of understanding and relating.

      I also never go the impression that the author was the only communication at hand was verbal. However, just because non-verbal communication happens, that does not negate the importance of verbal communication.

      • Erin I did not say that it weas healthy.In as much as men are still the pursuers in some cultures, they make it happen.I don’t think either way of being-sexual driven or emotionally driven, is healthy.At the same time,in measured doses, both ways of being have there place in culture.If oine wants to get a PHd, one better be prepared to be manical about it.I would suggest that every attempt to get sex by men or women is healthy.I have experienced plenty of unhealthy efforts by women and men

        • @Erin I would suggest that not every attempt by women or men to have sex is healthy.Is it healthy for women from a variety of countries,Britian, France,Japan and the US,to name a few,to go on sextour vacations, often to poor countries,to exploit the men there for sex?Ironically, these women make the claim that they are seeking companionship and initimacy not sex.In my mind, this glaring contradictio and hypocrisy,speaks to the aforementioned screwy world of a woman’s emotions.
          Biologically speaking, the emotional center of a woman’s brain is larger than a man’s and has been proven to be more active. Women,of course, are prone to viewing this as a good thing,ignoring the pitfalls, since it affirms their worldview.I beleive that men are meant to balance this.If men behaved exactly like women do in this regard it would be disastorous.That my brain is designed the way it is must have some benefits as well as pitfalls.I accept those as they are.I am not trying to become the perfectly evolved being.Are there things that I can learn from some women,yes.However,I am not intererested,in the slightest, in being a woman.

          On communiucation:
          When it comes to communication,the entire conversation revolves around men being more verbal.Most experts agree that verbal communication is but a small part of the whole pie.If that is the case,it seems logical that some of this conversation should center around learning the other ways we communicate.I think men say quite a bit without .words.In truth, I don’t place much faith in what most women say,since the way she feels could change suddenly with little provocation other than a change in hormones.Granted, a change in hormones is a big deal!I think women give far too much credence to whatever they may feel at a given time.I offer no judgement of this way of being.It is neither good or .bad.I do reserve the right choose to deal with it or not, in a that works for me.

          • I never heard of a “sextour vacation” or women doing this. Although I have heard of men traveling to visit countries where prostitution is either legal or there is a heavy sex trafficking market where they can sleep with very young girls or boys. All in all, I think the purchasing of sex and the exploitation of sex is something men are more willing to engage in then women. There seems to be a way bigger market for selling sex to men then women. Especially in the form of prostitution or strip clubs which out number their catering to men vs women.

            Plenty of women have friendships that are not “disasterous”. Plenty of women in loving and romantic relationships with other women do not have “disasterous” relationships in the light of a man not being present. While there is always a positive and negative to side to all things, while there is certainly a positive and negative side to women’s emotions, the world won’t implode if two women have a relationship. The suggestion that the absence of a man means for disasterous relationships among women is really insulting.

            And yes, I actually consider my emotional capabilities to be one of my better qualities. Although I do not always manage them perfectly and have at times regretted things I’ve said and done with my emotions were very strong. I however don’t need a man to temper my emotions. While not perfect, I can and do often do that on my own.

            I certainly think men and women are meant to compliment each other though. Especially so in heterosexual relationships. The differences are sometimes and often what leads to attraction to begin with.

            I think you will find that in our digital age, and the evolving of gender roles, that verbal communication has become more important then ever. Whether it be through actual spoken words or written. While I agree that non-verbal communication can also be important, I don’t think it’s fair to disparage the power of verbal communication.

            As for hormones, women often get blamed for having them. While men are often justified within their own “hormones”.

            • Hank Vandenburgh says:

              Erin, There is some female sex tourism in areas such as the Caribbean and Africa. It does seem to have more of a “companionable” aspect, but it’s about the sex too. You can google this. A film to see is Vers Le Sud. Even the venerable Shriley Valentine touches on this in regards to Greece.

              • I’ve never heard about it before this. I wonder how the female sex tourism industry compares to the male sex tourism industry.

  68. Lori Lothian says:

    I enjoyed the depth in this piece and yes, see that pleasure, intimacy and sensuality are often only accessed by men, through sex. And then sex becomes a pre-occupation as an inroad to these things.

    However to discount the role of testosterone makes this picture incomplete. Men in andropause who experience lowered testosterone levels also experience less drive for sex–and vice versa. As a woman in menopause, I can certainly attest to the role of hormones (or dropping hormonal levels) in my own diminishing obsession with sex.

    Yet, this piece really hits on a lot of what I am experiencing with my husband, who at 59 has a drive for sex that is not about hormones as much as a way to find passion and intimacy. Yes, these need to be reclaimed for self, by self, rather than rely on a sexual partner as a quick and temporary fix.

    Great piece. Will promote it widely.

  69. I hate to bring this up, but it’s hard to be completely relaxed about sex, knowing that from birth, the most sexually sensitive part of my body has been systematically removed in order to lessen my sexual pleasure and sensitivity.

    • I think that that systematic removal is becoming less systematic. I am so sorry that that is what happened to you but I know more and more parents choosing not to do it and I know I certainly won’t for the reason you have given and because no one should choose how to alter someone’s body for them. Obviously it is something that has greatly effected you so you can speak out about it to stop it if you are not already doing so!

  70. Mike Sliwa says:

    Well done.

  71. I only skimmed this article but will read later in depth. Granted I only took one anthropology class in college but the groups studied in New Guinea separated boys and girls by adolescence. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with that acknowledgement of differences in the biology. “Our” society has done a lousy job in terms of conditioning men and women to “fit” rigid stereotypes and expectations. We can do better than we have done in the past.

  72. Totally agree with above, excellent article. It gave me a whole new perspective from a male point of view. As a female I have taken for granted how I am allowed to express myself emotionally. Due to my own conditioning I have believed that men are not capable of “real” feelings. It’s nice to know I am wrong. Thank you again for such an honest insightful article.

  73. Excellent, Excellent , Excellent Article.

  74. Hi Steve
    Great article. All men should read this.

Speak Your Mind

*