Masculine Sexuality: What Gets Overlooked

Dr. Ley argues that the oft-blamed trope of “sex addiction” isn’t real.

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Almost anywhere you turn these days, if a man’s sexuality is news, it is usually news in a bad way. In the media, when a man gets in trouble for making bad decisions around sex, he is invariably called a sex addict. Between 85 and 95% of all so-called sex addicts are men. I don’t believe that sex addiction is real, and in fact, I call it a myth. But more than that, I believe that the concept of sex addiction represents an attack on male sexuality. Not only are almost all supposed sex addicts male, but all of the allegedly addictive sexual behaviors are behaviors that are predominantly engaged in by men. These behaviors include masturbation, use of pornography, prostitutes or sexual entertainment like strip clubs. Promiscuity, sex without commitment, and use of sex to manage stress or tension are also things that are frequently a part of male sexuality, whether we like it or not. But, male sexuality is not a disease, it is not evil, and it does not overpower men’s lives and choices.

In sex addiction, there is a common perception of male sexuality as intrinsi­cally selfish, as overly focused on “scoring” and sexual conquests, on anonymous, “soulless” sex, and on the outward manifestations of virility.  But there are other, neglected sides of male sexuality. Men are actually far more focused upon women’s needs, and upon closeness with women, than we give them credit for. Nancy Friday wrote that “Men’s love of women is often greater than their love of self.” Men give up friends and male camaraderie and accept a life of economic support of women, even leading up to an earlier death, all in order to be with women. More than half of all men describe that their best sexual encounters came when they “gave a woman physical pleasure beyond her dreams.” Men redi­rect their selfishness away from their own satisfaction, and toward a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment, by giving sexual satisfaction. Male sexuality often involves an intense focus on the needs of their partners, and men gain great pleasure, even a strong sense of manliness, from giving their lover sexual pleasure.

In fact, men’s desire to sexually satisfy their partners comes at the price of their own satisfaction. When a man is unable to make his partner orgasm, many men report incredible frustration, disappointment, and self-doubt. Women even complain that men put so much pressure and intent upon helping the woman achieve orgasm that the act ceases to be pleasurable and starts to feel more like childbirth. In such cases, women fake orgasms, not for themselves, but to satisfy their partner’s needs. Until a woman has an orgasm, a man doesn’t think he’s done his job, and his masculinity hangs in the balance.

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Men are taught from a young age that they must be sexually competent and sexually powerful with exaggerated and impossible ideals. Surveys of sex in America find that, compared to women, men are far more insecure and anxious about their sexual performance. Nearly 30 percent of men fear that they ejaculate too soon, and one man in every six reports significant feelings of anxiety about his sexual abilities to satisfy his partner. These are huge burdens that men carry, and are just one reason why many men pursue other forms of sex.

Recent sociological research found that men actually experience greater pain than women from the ups and downs of romantic relationships. These researchers found that not only did the negative aspects of a romantic relationship hurt men more than women, but the positive aspects and benefits of that relationship also have greater impact upon the man than the woman. Because women are better able to access outside support from friends and family, they often fare better than men, who are typically isolated, burdened with the expectation that they shouldn’t feel pain, or if they do, they must suffer alone.

For men, physical affection and sex is one of the main ways we feel loved, accepted, and regarded. For many men, it is only through physical love that we can voice tenderness and express our desire for togetherness and physical bonding. Only in sex can we let down boundaries and drop our armor enough to be emotionally vulnerable.

Sex plays an even greater role in the lives of men as a form of acceptance and mutual regard than it does for women. Women touch each other all the time, with hugs, holding hands, closer body contact, and smaller “personal space.” Men shake hands. Really good friends might, at best, punch each other in a loving way, do a careful “man hug,” or even swat each other’s buttocks, if it’s during an approved masculine sporting event. So the body-to-body contact that sex offers feeds an appetite, a craving, one that is often starved near to death in men.

Everybody today seems to accept that men seek sexual variety, and that this is “just the way men are.” This concept originates in evolution­ary theory, where the argument goes that men seek to spread their sperm far and wide, with as many women as possible, in order to reproduce as much as possible. In contrast, women are generally disposed to seek out “quality” in their mates, rather than quantity, given that it is a lot more work for a woman to reproduce than for a man.

But most people don’t know the rest of the story. The fact that men masturbate more than women and pursue activities like pornography, prostitutes and strippers are all ways that men express that sexual drive for variety without having to invest the enormous time and resources needed to meet the approval qualifications of most women. There are other, more subtle side-effects as well, such as the fact that men tend, on average, to be larger than women. This is a downstream effect of evolutionary pressure, as a larger size helps a man secure more mates and fight off competitors. But another consequence of this is seen in the many men who die in their youth from doing unbelievably stupid, risky things (the show Jackass comes to mind), as well as the fact that men die, on aver­age, at least ten years before most women. These risky behaviors represent high-risk, high-payout reproductive wagers by the forces of genetics, where successful men gain the opportunity for reproduction, and successful genes are passed on.

Within the sex addiction model, there is intent to “separate the behavior from the person,” and to split men from their sexual desires. Male sexuality is portrayed as something that men must guard against, and describe it as though it is a demonic force, lurking within our souls, which must be constrained, feared and even rejected. Men are portrayed as powerless to control themselves, in the face of sexual arousal that is too strong. As a result, men are told to be ashamed of the sexual desires that society and sex addiction theory has called unhealthy. But an essential part of man is lost when we encourage men to split them­selves from their sexuality.

Unfortunately, as we teach men to be men, to understand, accept, and express their masculinity, we rarely attend adequately to the loving, nurturing, and amo­rous side of men. The most positive way that society and media currently portray male sexuality is when it is depicted as bumbling and stupid-making, a force that turns men into fools, easily led by our penises. But more often, male sexuality is depicted as a force that hovers just on the edge of rape, rage and destruction. The sex addiction myth argues that healthy men must reject many parts of male sexuality, such as our desire for non-intimate sex, our use of sex to meet personal needs, even our view of sex as fun and exciting.

I disagree. What is necessary for a healthy man, for a complete masculinity, is the in­tegration, consolidation, and incorporation of these aspects. When we try to split off our desires for love and sex from ourselves, excising them from ourselves as something external and dangerous, we run the real risk of creat­ing men without compassion, without tenderness, and without the ability to nurture. It is easy to suggest that what we are trying to excise are the base, primitive parts of men’s eroticism, those desires to rape, dominate, and sat­isfy oneself selfishly, but in truth, those desires, as frightening as they can be, are integrally linked to male emotional desires for safety, acceptance, and belonging.

Those things that make men admired and respected—their strength, courage, independence, and assertiveness—are the same things that contribute to the differences in male and female sexuality. By condemning these characteristics, we run the real and frightening risk of abolishing qualities that are essential to healthy masculinity.

A healthy sexual male is one who accepts and understands his erotic and sexual desires, along with his drive for success, dominance and excellence. Healthy sexual choices come from internal acceptance and awareness, not rejection and shame. Research has shown that all men have the ability to exercise control over their levels of sexual arousal and sexual behavior, but no men can fully suppress their sexual desire. Healthy men can be men who go to strip clubs, visit prostitutes and watch pornography. They are men who make conscious choices, accepting the consequences of their actions.

Wilt Chamberlain was famously promiscuous, bedding thousands of women across his career and life. A shy, excluded kid, Wilt grew into a star. But he never chose to marry, making the conscious choice that promiscuity was important to him, and that he could not ethically commit to a single woman. Though he slept with many more women than any of the alleged sex addicts we hear about, Wilt was never called a sex addict, because his sexual choices were part of him, part of who he was, as a man. This is, I think, the goal for all men – to make their sexual choices an integrated part of who they are, and the kind of man they desire to be.

 

Photo—william.neuheisel/Flickr

About David J. Ley

David J. Ley is a clinical psychologist in practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he oversees a large mental health clinic. Dr. Ley has been a guest on the Anderson Cooper Show, the Dr. Phil Show, numerous radio shows and has written for the London Telegraph and The New York Post. Interviews with this controversial, award-winning author and expert have appeared in Glamour Magazine, Salon, Huffington Post, and his work has been referenced in Playboy Magazine and in newspapers and magazines around the world. David is a husband and father who believes strongly in the need to support a healthy form of masculinity. He is the author of The Myth of Sex Addiction (Rowman& Littlefield, 2012) and Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them (Rowman& Littlefield, 2009).

Comments

  1. Well, ok, then.

    If a man can’t make a woman orgasm, perhaps he could take the effort to learn? Instead of going off with prostitutes or random sex partners. Maybe, just maybe, pay attention to her body language, what she says, non verbal cues. Ask her, maybe go down on her. Do men think getting pumped from behind and giving head leads to mind shattering orgasms for women? If so, no wonder they are in a state of confusion and insecurity over their inability to pleasure a woman!

    • Useful info for some but what about women who can’t orgasm alone, let alone with a man, where nothing he does can bring her to orgasm? Sometimes it’s not the other person’s fault. Hell I’ve been on medication and received oral sex for over an hour without orgasm, wasn’t her fault, it was the side effect of the medication which inhibited orgasms. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons why people have difficulty reaching orgasm and not all of them actually involve the partner at all.

    • Just described over 90% of the straight American males. American men are SUPER SHIT in bed.

  2. While this article presents some very positive aspects of male sexuality in some aspects it’s premised on the idea that so long as a man is honest with himself then what he does is ok.

    I agreed with this to an extent until it came to promiscuity. No promiscuous man is honest with all of his sexual partners. Promiscuity is a self seeking, not self sacrificing, activity. For every promiscuous man there is a victim who thought he really meant it when he said “I love you.”

  3. “things that are frequently a part of male sexuality, whether we like it or not”

    There is so much truth in this article that I can’t respond to it all. But I will point out that the notion of men caring more about wome than we do ourselves as referenced in the quote from Nancy Friday is one that has changed in many young men, myself included. We have accepted that marriage most often ends in divorce and ensuing financial ruin for men and while we are still attracted to women, we won’t go quietly to the wholesale slaughter currently taking place on the sacrificial altar of marriage and divorce court. They try to shame us and call us Peter Pans, not-real-men, and even misogynists, but in reality all we’ve done is begun to care more about ourselves than about women or having children. A revolutionary change and one that has been attacked violently. Respect to the grass-eaters of Japan. All men should care more about themselves than about women.

  4. Jesus, thank you for making me gay!

  5. Live without sex? Well I could but I wouldn’t want to. I don’t pretend to like it because I really do like it. And I also like the thrusting and think giving oral can be quite erotic..just as Sarah said. I also like the weight of a man ontop of me, his sounds and faces. Do I *always* feel like having sex? I don’t. But I don’t want to live without it either. There have been times when I didn’t *feel* like doing something right away but if my boyfriend gave me time to warm up and was fun and playful and accomdating toward me, I was very happy to be accomdating back. Sometimes it’s even just to have sex even if I know I’m not going to orgasm because I like the closeness. I do think that a lot of guys CAN be selfish when it comes to sex Jean. But they can also be very giving. It’s not right when a man uses the idea of cheating to threaten his partner into sex. It would put me in a bad place too if my partner threatened such a thing. But it’s not right either if a partner denies their mate sex either. In most cases, when someone doesn’t feel like having sex for long periods of time, there are other things going on that need to be addressed. And hopefully, if a man’s partner was experiences difficulties with sex and intimacy he would want to be there to help her through it to see what is going on. It could be something they could work on together. He might not get the sex he wants right away but at least they would both be working to help their partners out. She would be working on uncovering why she doesn’t feel like having sex ever or anymore and he could work on being more connected to her emotionally before having his sexual needs met.

  6. EyeLean5280 says:

    I believe sex addiction is real, but very rare. We’re on a witch hunt over it because, as always, America responds to thorny issues that involve pleasure with hysteria.

    • See, it’s funny because I think sex addiction is more around then we know. While I do agree that sex addiction is overly exploited in the cases of men in the lime light being called out for it, I do think that among us regular people, sex addiction is probably much more an issue then we want to deal with. We’ve gone from being over chaste about sex and have tipped the scale the other way to a “free-love-do-whatever-makes-you-feel-good” way of life.

    • Eyelean,
      I dont think every man accused has an addiction, but i think it’s becoming more and more common, esp with porn addiction. I mean nowadays we have 12 year old boys going to the hospital for dehydration because they spent the day watching porn. And also grown men with hernias from constant masturbation. Men leaving the living breathing wife/gf in bed alone so he can have fun at the computer. That unfortunately is the present and will become even more common in the future. But I’m sure women will just be expected to tolerate it.

      • I mean nowadays we have 12 year old boys going to the hospital for dehydration because they spent the day watching porn. And also grown men with hernias from constant masturbation.

        Bullshit. Without a source, those sound like urban legends, but even if you could show documented cases to back up those claims, you would have to show evidence of them being commonplace occurrences for your “Nowadays we have…” generalizations to hold true. Otherwise, they’re just stories of medical curiosities, not trends or epidemics. And even if those unusual things happened somewhere, it would be rather sensationalistic to claim that *porn* caused dehydration, or *masturbation* caused hernias.

        Dehydration comes from not drinking enough water, and I’ll bet you any amount of money that failing to hydrate enough while playing sports lands more 12 yr. olds (or any other age) in the hospital for dehydration than porn, but that doesn’t mean sports are a morally repugnant addiction. It means people need to stay hydrated. Hernias usually come from heavy lifting or strain, neither of which are common to masturbation, though someone who already has a hernia might aggravate or notice it more during masturbation. (If you can find a medical expert that says otherwise, cite it, but my consultation with Dr. Google couldn’t find a single instance of a medically trained person describing a hernia caused by masturbation, or saying that it was common “nowadays”.)

        Men leaving the living breathing wife/gf in bed alone so he can have fun at the computer.

        You mean that living breathing wife/gf who isn’t in a state of constant readiness and willingness to have sex? Would you prefer he force himself on the woman he loves and respects whether she’s in the mood or not? Perhaps I’m jumping to an unwarranted conclusion, but I don’t get the feeling that you’d be happier if men just stayed in bed next to their living/breathing wife/gf and masturbated without the aid of computer, in which case the bottom line of your complaint would be that the person who wants sex less should have complete control over how much sexual satisfaction either partner can get, even when it comes to self-pleasure. That sounds a lot more selfish to me than leaving the bed for some porn so as not to disturb or inconvenience someone who has no interest at that moment in engaging in any sexual activity with you. I would expect a loving partner to not only tolerate that, but appreciate it.

        • “You mean that living breathing wife/gf who isn’t in a state of constant readiness and willingness to have sex? Would you prefer he force himself on the woman he loves and respects whether she’s in the mood or not?”

          This is where a lot of the social narrative surrounding relationships and porn pisses me off. There’s this ridiculous expectation that both people in a relationship will have the exact same libido, and if they don’t, then the person with the higher libido should just suffer through it. So pretty much yeah, Marcus, I’m agreeing with you.

        • Marcus said: “You mean that living breathing wife/gf who isn’t in a state of constant readiness and willingness to have sex? Would you prefer he force himself on the woman he loves and respects whether she’s in the mood or not?”

          Why do women have to be in a constant state of readiness and willingness to have sex for her man to perhaps exercise a bit of self control? I’m not saying a man should never masturbate. But I find the arguement strange when it’s pitted on the back that women need to always be up and willing to have sex for a man and if she isn’t, then he just needs to use other women, visual or otherwise in return.

          When did we create a society where the second you felt something, you need to act on it? Look, I get it. Not everyone feels horny at the same time. Sometimes a man’s in the mood and his woman isn’t. But when did we become unable to control themselves partially? Giving us (or men in this case) the only options to masturbate to porn, force himself on the woman he loves or go out searching for it through other women? Aren’t there other choices?

          Your comment suggests to me that the second a man is horny, he needs to have something right there to supplement for his needs. That no longer do we need to practice much self control when it comes to flighty, whims and fancies. And yes, I think sexual desires can be a flight thing and should be controlled at times. I don’t personally believe the over PC commentary that if it feels good and doesn’t hurt anyone, do it. I’m not sure that’s a good enough criteria to do or don’t do something. There was a time in history when porn was not as accessible. And that while men may have used it, they didn’t use it as much as how it’s incorporated into life today. And I think this argument I’ve been seeing among men lately, the argument that the second a man feels horny and he doesn’t have a warm body available to him to satisfy himself with, he needs to seek out all other kinds of things, is just a reflection of how important porn has become to society. Overly important. What did men do 30 years ago with internet porn? I’m sure they survived. And I’m sure they didn’t need an endless stream of internet beauties to masturbate to to supplement the times when their partners couldn’t be the perfect little sex goddesses that many men seem so focused on today.

          There was also a time when using some self control and restraint could be a positive thing if it meant bigger rewards later.

          Perhaps it’s selfish when a woman doesn’t want her partner to use porn every time he’s horny and she isn’t available for it. But perhaps it’s also selfish when men use porn the second they feel horny and defend it on the back of a real life woman being a real life woman. Not a fantasy. Being a woman who doesn’t always feel like having sex. Perhaps the endless stream of perfect little sex receptacles that have been provided for a largely male viewing audience as in reality change the way men see real woman and have discounted real woman’s emotional needs vs his sexual ones for said x amount of perfect little sex receptacles.

          I just wonder what men did before internet porn. I think they put their Playboys down more then men that have the internet do today.

          • I’m sure women 200 years ago didn’t need romance novels, dildos, vibrators, porn, and a whole host of other masturbatory aids yet some women use them today.

            What did men do before? Probably fantasized about other women as much as they do now except they used glimpses in their memories, playboys, catalogues, pictures of movie stars, etc. Perhaps men of before were shamed into masturbation being naughty, dirty, sinful so they masturbated less. Perhaps they saw hookers, or perhaps women had more sex with them, perhaps they simply didn’t do anything or did a hobby to cope.

            I think it’s something the couple needs to talk about and both men and women need to come to an agreement on what is fine for their relationship. If he/she is fine with her/him playing whilst watching porn cuz the other isn’t in the mood then so be it. If they don’t agree, they need to work it out. It shouldn’t automatically be selfish either way.

            The orgasm is a wonderful tool for destressing, I use it a lot to relax and calm down my anxiety. I can do it twice a day and those days I’m usually the least stressed, I have a high sex drive and maybe my partner won’t equal that.

            Self control is an interesting term, it’s used both positively and negatively, it can be shameful, eg, Why don’t women keep their legs together until marriage, can’t they show self-control? It can also be positively viewed, eg, I held back from punching that annoying person out. Now the question is, does a guy need to use it to stop masturbating everytime he’d normally do it? I don’t think so unless it’s interfering with their life, it can be quite a positive tool to use of course but it can also be quite detrimental for those that have trouble limiting themselves.

            “Perhaps it’s selfish when a woman doesn’t want her partner to use porn every time he’s horny and she isn’t available for it. But perhaps it’s also selfish when men use porn the second they feel horny and defend it on the back of a real life woman being a real life woman. Not a fantasy. Being a woman who doesn’t always feel like having sex. Perhaps the endless stream of perfect little sex receptacles that have been provided for a largely male viewing audience as in reality change the way men see real woman and have discounted real woman’s emotional needs vs his sexual ones for said x amount of perfect little sex receptacles.”

            I’d guess many see it as a “harmless” way to get off without bothering the partner that doesn’t want to have sex, a way to burn off energy, lower anxiety, feel good but also respecting their partners wishes in regards to them not being ready for sex. The couple needs to workout what is an acceptable way for THEM individually as her wishes or his may mean they don’t want their partner looking at porn. I disagree though for anyone who assumes it’s always going to be the woman not wanting her partner to look at porn for example, each case is individual.

            “There was also a time when using some self control and restraint could be a positive thing if it meant bigger rewards later. ”

            Could also be a negative thing, unneccessarily going without orgasms for a period of time and for what, because your partner isn’t ready? Well masturbation is always available. If you’re unlucky enough that you and your partners sex drives differ greatly then why would should one simply stop masturbation if you can’t fulfill their needs? Why be in a relationship if you both don’t work at taking care of each others needs? This also varies by each relationship, and also extends to emotional needs, comfort needs, etc. If 1 isn’t putting the effort in for the “touch” need like cuddling etc then they need to lift their game within reason, same for sex, all forms of intimacy.

            There is such a focus on “other women” being used, who says he is THINKING of other women? Who says they aren’t simple visual representations of her as an aid to the mind, where his mind places him as the male actor and his wife as the female actor? When I look at porn I often find myself simply thinking of the person I like and the porn just helps to see the “bits” (I can imagine the face easy but bodies can be hard to imagine). It basically ends up as me not watching porn, but imagining myself having with the person I like. The couple could always make their own porn to help that along as well though not everyone is willing to do it.

            Now do all fantasy methods get women/people bothered? Are they bothered when someone watches a violent movie or plays a violent game? They’re afterfall fantasizing about murder. Or is it mainly sexuality that gets people insecure? People let off steam in all sorts of ways, why does porn and masturbation cop some of the harshest judgements of a persons character?

              • Well there you go. Masturbatory aids for both genders seem to have been around a long time.

                I’ve often wondered if men truly were more visually turned on, or benefitted more from visual based porn vs women. I’ve heard women tend to like romance novels and the written word porn more, not sure if its true. So that could be a reason visual porn is more popular with men. I also wonder if it’s simply along the way men were socialized into liking the visuals more and what effects that has had?

                I know for myself that I can be turned on quite quick from visual stimulus, a few seconds, is that similar for women or do they need additional or different stimulus? There seems to be quite a lot of arguments between the genders regarding porn and I am curious as to what differences there are which might cause issues, maybe one gender is generally more horny, maybe one prefers 1 type of stimulus.

                I realize there will be individual differences person to person, but as a whole it seems the genders do have a clear difference in what they desire. I do hear more n more about women enjoying porn though so maybe how they were socialized plays a part in what they like.

                • Archy, I get it. “They do it too!” So why get into the specifics of men when you can point to the other direction and justify everything under the umbrella of “they do it too” right? It’s a common argument. I’m of the personal believe that not everything between men is 50/50 all the time. There are issues women face that can be common to their femininity and there are issues men face that can be common to their masculinity and how each gender doesn’t always fully accept or understand one another. But if we are forever going to use the, “they do it too!” argument to justify specific topics and issues highlighted within one gender over the other at any given time, we aren’t going to get very far.

                  I’m aware that women masturbate and they use certain devices to help them masturbate. I am not against masturbation. If a woman wants to use a vibrator, fine. If men want to use those things that replicate a vagina, fine. But those inanimate objects are different from a visual media world that sets very real expectations of sex. My beef is mostly with the current climate of over indulgence in all things sexual because it’s pushed in our faces 24/7 and because we easily seek it out ourselves 24/7. If you over eat and are overweight, you are demonized in this culture. If you get your sexual “needs” met at any rate or style, you’re just exploring your sexuality and are “healthy”. I don’t think more in your face sex in our culture is breeding more healthy sex to be honest. My beef is the main messages I see presented in a lot of male and female media populated about expectations on who women need to be to be worthy of a sexuality. I am sick of going to the movies and seeing another movie where the actor is 10 years older and playing next to a young pretty co-star.

                  I also don’t think women are not nearly as predatory sexually of exploiting men negatively as a lot of men seem bent on through their support of porn and certain stereotyped ideals of beauty within women. Romance novels are usually about kind, strong men that save the day. Unrealistic but it’s not abusive. Porn is often about young 18 year olds dressing up in school girl outfits being told what a four letter name she is while on all fours. I know it’s not PC to say but I think those situations are different. I also never once heard women ask their men to play out, dress up, act out, from anything they had seen in a romance novel. I have heard of numerous times where men have asked women to play out, dress up, act out what they see in porn. I have heard many men compliment and encourage women to be more like porn stars in the bedroom. I have never heard a woman compliment or encourage her man to be more like a Romantic figure in a book. Further, while I do think a lot of women enjoy romance novels, I wonder what age and demographic is that spends time reading them. Because when I was younger, I read them. But as I got older,I out grew them. I also never masturbated to a romance novel in my life. I just liked the story. I also have had this discussion with a lot of women who also don’t masturbate to romance novels. They just seem to enjoy them. Like men enjoy video games stereotypically. You are broaching on a whole other discussion and one I don’t agree is aligned 50/50. If you want to compare romance novels to something, compare them to video games for men. Both are stereotypically enjoyed by one gender. both can have fantasy themes and stereotypes of each gender. Both can have sexual elements in them. But I doubt most are masturbating to them. You will also have to get into the specifics of romance novels vs erotica. Not all romance novels are created the same. Isn’t that your argument when it comes to porn? How many women buy which kind of book. How many women are actually masturbating to it. I get it. Women masturbate too. But you completely ignored my comments in favor of the old “look over there” trick.

                  As for using sexual release for distressing, I have no doubt that’s true. I just doubt that relying heavily on masturbation as a means to distress is a healthy way to go about such things. There are other ways to distress regardless. This is not anyone’s only option. And if masturbation is being used to counter the uncomfortable feelings of stress, then masturbation is being used much like a drug to put the mind at ease for a short fix rather then dealing with the problem. Much how other people turn to drinking or other items. I had a talk with a man recently that said he use to really be into art and making things, but now all he does is work, come home, masturbate to porn. This guy works, he has his own place, he’s successful outwardly. But he gave up something infavor of porn. I wonder how many people today really looked at how they spent their time and how much time they wasted doing certain things when they could have been doing something they use to enjoy, or spending time with their wives/husbands, albeit free of sex, or with their kids. I really always wonder about that.

                  I am also not of the belief that just because something doesn’t interfere with your life to the point where it’s spinning out of control and obvious, that it’s not infact harmful. I don’t think we need to see people living on the streets, with no home or work for them to be doing unhealthy things. My dad was a total work and alcoholic. But he still maintained a very successful business and family. And don’t get me wrong, It’s not that I think masturbation is wrong. I think what we have today is a society that relies over heavily on masturbation the second they feel a little twinge in their pants. And that the kind of sex that is portrayed in a lot of media, not just porn, is really disturbed. Such as the fact that so much popular media shows older male actors with young female counterparts and really marginalize older women.

                  Finally, we’ve had this discussion before…Didn’t we agree that when it comes to porn, it’s probably a combination of men thinking of other women and perhaps thinking of his own partner too? I still fail to see how a man using other women to think of his own makes any sense. I think that this is more of a man toggling around in his mind between the bevy of beauties at his fingertips and using his own partner in the mix of those girls as well. Which would point to him partially at least thinking of other women. I don’t consider that the positive you do.

                  I am not going to talk about violent movies. That is not the topic here. It is yet another case of you wanting to point your finger over there and say “look over there.”. I wish you had spent more time addressing more of the specifics of my post if you were going to respond to it. But you went off on your own agenda.

                  • “Porn is often about young 18 year olds dressing up in school girl outfits being told what a four letter name she is while on all fours.”

                    Okay, I’m not addressing the rest of your comment here, because it’s wicked long. I’m just addressing this bit that I quoted. For some reason, no matter what we tell you, you are unable to view porn as anything other than abusive. Most porn is not like that; most porn is not like what you described in your quote. We’ve had this discussion, and yet you are still basing a lot of your assumptions on the idea that porn=abuse.

                    • No matter what “we” tell you? Because the way you see, this collective “we” (you and Archy?), something is the right way and the way I see it is wrong? Who said?

                      We disagree here HeatherN. I used the very real stereotype to describe porn because that is exactly what a lot of porn is. Minus the school girl skirts or not. I am not ignoring all the vast amount of other sub genra’s of porn out there. Most porn has a very stereotypical archetype. I do not think porn is the equal oppurtunity entity you do. Is this where I tell you, “no matter what I tell you, you are unable to see that’s exacly how porn is”. That wouldn’t exactly be fair to you would it? We see the media differently. I do think that the majority of porn sets up stereotypes and standards that remain the same .

                    • There are plenty of issues in which there is no right or wrong answer, and where perception does matter…and where different perceptions can both be valid. The problem is that this isn’t one of those times. You can argue that the type of porn your talking about is problematic…that’s an opinion. The problem is that you are assuming the type of porn you’re talking about is what most porn is. And in order to make that claim, you’d need to provide data.

                      On the other hand we (yes Archy and I) are saying that the majority of porn isn’t abusive, and for evidence we use our own experiences googling different types of porn. Porn is a huge industry. It has as much variety as any other medium. You can’t make sweeping generalizations about movies or t.v. either…because those media are just too big and too diverse. Porn is the same, it’s big and it’s diverse.

                    • Annatasha says:

                      Porn, strippers and prostitutes are what I think the article is focusing on. Those professions are a matter of supply and demand. If a man is with a woman or women that meet the level of his needs he really doesn’t have to go outside the bonds of the relationship. I think one of the original points being lost is the different levels of desire for sex. The expectations of the women seem to be that the man’s drive is wrong and needs to be brought down to the level comfortable for the woman which involves changing the basic driving force of the man. That leads back to the supply and demand situation.
                      Men will interchange a woman with other women in his thoughts. We can’t make them stop and nor should we want to. The biggest complaint I hear from my male friends is the amount of control a woman has over their lives. Often it’s over things a woman thinks their man is doing wrong, or it’s dirty, or it’s not the way they think it should be done and often morality is brought into it. And almost all of them feel they are doing their damnedest to make their woman happy and it still isn’t enough.
                      Men are not women. To point out a male behavior and then give a value judgment on what they do will never change the friction felt between men and women. To say something like, “well that can’t be good, can it?” or “ I don’t consider that positive and healthy, do you?” is adding a value judgment to the thought. A value judgment can be words used to criticize and evaluate, to advise, warn, and persuade. The purpose of those words is to guide choices of ours and others by commending or prescribing. Much of what I hear from the anti-anything group is when there is a behavior they don’t like is to prescribe what they believe will fix it to their liking. And many women don’t like their men being a guy. Granted a woman can civilize a man and make him presentable to society if the family life didn’t do that to a child. But a guy will always be different than a woman.
                      There is a large contingent of men who hate women and many more are just tolerant of women because they want to be in their good graces. This is because women want to control every aspect of their man’s life. Tell me the name of a sitcom where a man isn’t a bumbling idiot who couldn’t leave the house if it weren’t for his good wife.

                    • I’m with you, except for the way that you’re gender essentialising. The idea that “women can civilize a man” or that men have a higher sexual drive are huge generalizations. Some men have higher sex drives, and some women do. Some men have multiple partners, and some men do, etc, etc.

                    • HeatherN said: ” And in order to make that claim, you’d need to provide data.”

                      I need to provide data to support my claims but you don’t HeatherN? I see. Interesting.

                    • Erin, I could provide links to a bunch of different porn sites that provide a range of porn…but I’m thinking you’d not really want to look at them all. I’m simply saying that porn is diverse, which isn’t making a generalized claim so much as taking apart your generalized claim. I agree that the type of porn you keep referring to exists. I’m just saying a lot of other types of porn also exist and in great quantities.

                      So yeah, for my data, I’d suggest you google amateur porn or real lesbian porn or “porn real couples.” Or for a look at porn with women who don’t fit the stereotypical body type – google the term porn with any of the following: big bush, big women, small breasts, pregnant women, long labia, mature women. You’ll find a whole bunch of very diverse types of porn out there. Heck, just google the term “porn” on it’s own and the third site you’ll come to has a whole bunch of amateur porn on it, that most certainly isn’t the stereotypical type of porn you’re talking about.

                    • Oh, porn sites is the data you want to use? Well, go ahead, provide the links to the porn sites. It’s not like I’ve never seen porn before. You think I am not familiar with the stuff that is out there. I’ve purposely made myself familiar with it because I had such issues concerning porn and my relationships for a long time. So I have done market research on it, you can say. You can email me privately though because GMP already believes this argument played out in this article. erinr31581@aol.com

                      By the way, it’s funny that you just told me to “google” the word porn. I’ve done that on my own accord many times to make my own point. It’s just funny thaty ou think it makes your point. I’ve googled porn, and the very first couple links I came across seemed pretty degrading toward women in my book. And most of the women were infact young, with big breasts, and nice little bodies with maybe one or two older women thrown in. So it pretty much supported my claims when I did that little experiment more then a few times on my own.

                  • GMP Moderator says:

                    We don’t want to stifle discussion, but this is going in circles. Feel free to keep discussing it in private e-mail. Or, if anyone has something new to bring to the conversation that is great too.

                • “And if masturbation is being used to counter the uncomfortable feelings of stress, then masturbation is being used much like a drug to put the mind at ease for a short fix rather then dealing with the problem.”

                  For me, I have an anxiety disorder so I can get too much anxiety at times, masturbation and orgasm basically kill down the anxiety massively. I’ve been nervous before a surgery and I’ve masturbated, it reduced me from very jittery to quite calm. I also use it for the days where I am TOO anxious, it allows me to continue on the day in a calmer mind and I am more able to focus on things. I believe it’s to do with oxytocin but I’m not 100% sure, as far as I know there is a certain neurotransmitter released which helps combat adrenaline and gives a calming effect and is also responsible for men falling asleep after sex at times.

                  Of course like many things you can become addicted to it, so everyone needs to keep it in moderation.

                  “Finally, we’ve had this discussion before…Didn’t we agree that when it comes to porn, it’s probably a combination of men thinking of other women and perhaps thinking of his own partner too? I still fail to see how a man using other women to think of his own makes any sense. I think that this is more of a man toggling around in his mind between the bevy of beauties at his fingertips and using his own partner in the mix of those girls as well. Which would point to him partially at least thinking of other women. I don’t consider that the positive you do.”

                  Well you aren’t me, so you have no idea what I think but I can assure you in the times I am thinking of someone special they pretty much have 100% of my mind, the porn is simply to visualize the body which I have great trouble imagining. But I never said I don’t ever think of the women themselves, there are times I do think of those who are in the videos but it usually depends on what I feel at the time, and if I currently have a crush/like someone. I tend to have my mind full of 1 woman when I am in love or have a huge crush. It can be a positive.

                  Erin, seriously, how many pornographic videos have you seen? Are you watching a wide variety of websites or are you googling for very stereotypical stuff? Are you looking at just the degrading porn or all of it? You’re making major sweeping generalizations yet a few have said they can find plenty of porn that doesn’t fit the bill, and quite frankly I think you have a negative view of porn and are projecting that negativity across the medium by ASSUMING most porn is the same. Can you provide evidence that the majority of porn is degrading, with older men and younger actresses? My most recent viewing of porn had actresses aged 18-40ish, men of similar range, and in fact quite a few of the videos were solo with no s words, they were infact extremely sensual videos of the woman masturbating to a real orgasm (or a damn good fake one!).

                  I’m growing tired of debating the porn stuff with you, all I can say is I know there is negative stuff and gladly would see it removed but there is also a lot of good content which I refuse to allow being tarred by the same brush, it’s offensive to the couples in the videos, and quite frankly borders on the typical anti-porn shaming.

                  The reason I mentioned the other mediums was to understand if sexuality was a specific problem, I’m not tryign to derail, I’m trying to understand you better. I took somethings which are fantasy where the reality of them is offensive, violent, would land you in jail even, but wondered why they are seen as ok by many yet porn cops the bad rap so much. Quite frankly I think it’s healthier to fantasize about sex vs violence, but maybe fantasy itself isn’t bad. It’s also to point out that fantasy doesn’t have to mirror reality, it doesn’t mean the person wants what is in the video. Hell I’ve fantasized about being in war’s, no way I’d want to be in them, I’ve fantasized about orgies but the reality of them doesn’t seem appealing, fantasized about various things that I don’t have any intention of ever doing in reality. This I think is important to realize because maybe what some women think their men want is very far from the reality of what they want. I hope you’ve thought of all of the possibilities but I do appreciate you opening up and discussing the issues, it’s given me some more understanding on what others take from the medium and will help me when I do get a partner by ensuring I ask her about what is ok and what isn’t. To some people it can be a harmless bit of fantasy, and others it can be quite hurtful n negative, neither is right or wrong and I think it’s important couples decide this together.

                  I also actually agree on the over-sexualization stuff, I see ads for cars with beautiful women, I don’t wanna see the woman….show me the engine, the specs, etc. I’d be happy to see porn and related imagery to stay indoors, in adult-only areas, and just lowered in everyday life. I’d love to see more diversity in movies as well, I don’t want to see a pretty girl in an action movie just because she’s pretty, show me a woman who can handle herself n kick ass and don’t focus on her looks. Thing that pisses me off is seeing the armor differences in some movies and games, the guy has full body protection and she has a glorified bikini, how does that help protect her?

                  Would porn itself be more acceptable if society wasn’t flooded with feminine sexuality imagery? I have a feeling part of it’s dominance is the taboo nature of nudity mixed with suppression of sexuality, part of the forbidden fruit stuff.

  7. This article is very interesting when placed against the backdrop of a feminist movement to encourage women to live promiscuous lifestyles. Look, I know its about choice, but bottom line, how do you expect men to respond to the avialibility of all that sex? You expect him to be faithful? You expect men to even want to ever settle down? I wish the pop feminsts of today would at least take the time to think about how men will naturally react to a world that rewards men for sexually attractive qualities and punishes them for being a virtuous man. To be very frank, it sucks to watch all these super single men have access to all that cheap easy sex while you are stuck trying to do the right thinkg and sacrifice for those you care about, when in the end its the goodlooking loser that is rewarded with all the sex. Sure, feminists will tell me to just deal with it, but if you lived a year in a mans body (a man that would otherwise have access to all that sex with different women if he weren’t ina relaionship) you would understand the inner struggle in a man torn by his natural instict in a world where women now provide easy access to sex, and his desire to be a good man as well.

    • But a lot of guys posting on this website complain that sex is not all that available; women are supposedly so picky and judgmental that only a tiny minority of men ever get laid, apparently.

      • Hi Sarah,…we are dealing with a very touchy subject between men and women…lets just say we are trying to get it right. As for your comment, I’ll have to say, and very few comments mean much to my wisdom, that what you are hearing of available loving sex…yeppers…there isn’t much for many men…hardly ever for

        many..

      • So I see a lot of women writing about not wanting “to settle”, or resigning themselves “to settle” for a man, who apparently isn’t quite up to their standards. What’s this about?

        It seems like this fits with what Ray, others are saying, that 90% of women are looking for those 10th percentile of men. Muscular, big career with money, “good men”, idk.. . It seems very patriarchal to me actually. Alpha males.

        To me, it seems like dating sites, people often have a consumer-shopping mentality they bring to relationships. They have a long-ish list of features to exclude almost all choices. Which might be fine choosing new shoes. It’s a mentality that’s of course highly developed in our consumer culture.

        But relationships in my experience aren’t about avoiding “problems” because there are always problems and in the long term, if that’s what you want, bad things are sure to happen: your partner will loose their job, get in a long career funk, have health problems, gain a lot of weigh, have a time-consuming family relationship, mental health issues like CD or depression, not like your leisure time favorite activities, etc. Relationships are about learning to love your partners faults and overcoming “problems” together so they become a triumph to celebrate. It brings you together more.

        As Dan Savage says, you get a short few criteria to reject people with. The rest, you learn to love. That is the stuff you grow by. Rejecting everyone just keeps you from learning and growing as a person.

        • “10th percentile of men”

          I mean top 10%. 90th percentile.

          • Allan–I think you might be misunderstanding what ‘settling’ means from many women’s point of view. I actually hear a lot of men saying, “I have money, I work out, I have skills and talents and dogs…why do women disrespect me?” For many women, it’s not about a ‘list of traits,’ but about chemistry and getting along. The last time I had list of criteria was before I ever had an actual relationship. I’ve learned a lot since. I completely agree with what Dan Savage says–that the more criteria you have, the more life and good people you miss out on. Your comment shows a disconnect between the sexes. I always thought men were the ones with more specific preferences. He likes hot Blondes or Asian chicks or skinny girls or whatever-cup tits or a vagina that looks a certain way. As a woman, it’s all about chemistry and connection for me, whether it’s a casual relationship or a long term one. ‘Settling’ for someone has nothing to do with abs or chiseled chin or money or the exact same interests–it’s more to do with never having felt that ‘spark.’ The ‘spark’ fades, sure, and you have to face up to a lot of problems, but realizing you never felt it at all or that the attraction is completely gone is different.

        • Muscular, big career with money, “good men”, idk.. . It seems very patriarchal to me actually. Alpha males.

          Well, yes,of course a lot of women like those qualities in a man.

      • @ Sarah:
        I like to think “discerning,” not picky.
        It may be that women perceive the totality of flaws and damaged potentialities that make a man unsuitable, in the last analysis, for her bed. Many of these shortcomings bear some connection, in my opinion, to Dr. Ley’s short summary of the lack of what you might call erotic preconditioning in men in Anglo-Saxon societies: limits on touching, expressions of warmth, tenderness, noncompetitive companionship, etc. These are all debits we expect women to make good on, it seems. Mostly by sleeping with us, possibly by loving us in some other fashion.

        What would be the attraction for a woman in taking on a reclamation project of that size? That’s asking them to use their sexuality as a kind of tow truck and drag our damaged being out of its own ruts.

    • @ Ray:
      Having democratic expectations for sex is a bad idea.
      The talents are as unevenly distributed as in any meaningful field. The exceptions reap the glories. Why should an average man believe he’s got high returns coming on his averageness? I think that feminism wounded this conceit, and wounded it deeply. It dissolved a private (hence ultimate) source of confidence for middling men everywhere that no matter what, they were entitled to pick from the high shelves of womanhood.

      Feminism reimposed averageness on that great mass of American men vicariously participating in the heroic exploits of a few. Average men have to take their lumps: critiques, rejections, indifference, celibacy. A lot of us prefer resentment to reinvention (and almost anything to self-examination). Maybe love will be a less bitter game for a generation born under different rules.

    • Thanks Ray,
      Pop feminists dont seem to get that men are more sex oriented and less relationship oriented. They dont seem to get that men are not women!

    • Lil Bit says:

      I especially enjoy that you believe it is the woman’s responsibility to keep A Man’s actions in check.

      “Look, I know its about choice, but bottom line, how do you expect men to respond to the avialibility of all that sex? You expect him to be faithful? You expect men to even want to ever settle down?”

      Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you need to take it.
      Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

      Do you have such low opinions of males to truly believe they have no self-discipline? that the only way for a man to reject something is that it is not offered in the first place?

      Unofortunately, based off the evidence, this is the case. but to propagate this belief seems counterproductive.

    • “you would understand the inner struggle in a man torn by his natural instict in a world where women now provide easy access to sex, and his desire to be a good man as well.”
      The same struggle women face. Females have natural instinct to sleep around. Human females are always in heat, and they are always looking for the best male… and then the other best… and the other…
      Sex is not reward, though. That you think so just makes you pathetic. In fact, in nature it’s mostly females who have these great orgies with many males. Female nature right there.

  8. “Healthy men can be men who go to strip clubs, visit prostitutes and watch pornography”

    I am not of the belief that all these things are necessarily bad things, but as they way they currently operate in MAINSTREAM society, they are arguably very bad for women. While I don’t want to demonize men or their desires, how can we say that a man with a healthy sexuality is one who actively participates in activities that degrade and bring down women? Please note, I am not saying that men should be punished for having many partners or for viewing pornography or anything that some traditional communities might label as being sexually deviant. Nor am I saying that all women who participate in sex work or pornography are necessarily “imprisoned” by the patriarchy. Men, women and everyone in between (gender queer folks!) should be able to have as much consensual, no-harm fun as anyone when it comes to sex. However, to say that healthy men can engage in certain activities because it meets their sexual needs feels dismissive of all the complexities and issues that arise from mainstream sex work, strip clubs and pornography (complexities and issues that affect men as well as women).

    Perhaps I am taking that sentence too far, but I think Esperanza’s comment expresses my anxiety best, ” I do not know what this article is supposed to demonstrate beside trying to make women accept all aspects of male sexuality, no matter who gets hurt in the process, whether it be their significant other or people in the sex industry”

    • Otherwise, I was actually quite taken with the article up until that point.

    • “However, to say that healthy men can engage in certain activities because it meets their sexual needs feels dismissive of all the complexities and issues that arise from mainstream sex work, strip clubs and pornography (complexities and issues that affect men as well as women).”

      How many of these complexities arise from the social (and in the case of prostitution, legal) stigma associated with them? If there was more transparency and perhaps regulation of these industries, there’d be less room for exploitation. Instead prostitution is largely illegal in the west, strip clubs and pornography is viewed as an already ‘dirty’ profession, and as such exploitation and abuse is expected. It becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophesy.

      • And if you were to go to a men’s 12-step sex addicts group and listen to the stories, you’ll hear of boys who grew up neglected and sexually abused, who never got help dealing with that or growing up into “healthy men”, good relationships.

        It’s all very self-fulfilling.

    • Where I live there are legal brothels, regulated with guards, safe sex is mandatory, etc. So if I went to that brothel, would it be degrading or demeaning the worker?

      The fact that some porn is degrading doesn’t make all porn degrading, that’d be as silly as assuming movies are degrading because someone filmed a kid being bullied. When a man looks at porn it doesn’t mean he has to look at mainstream porn, nor degrading porn. As others have commented here it seems amateur porn is the most popular amongst the GMP commentators and I reject any notion that amateur porn is degrading as a whole.

      “. However, to say that healthy men can engage in certain activities because it meets their sexual needs feels dismissive of all the complexities and issues that arise from mainstream sex work, strip clubs and pornography (complexities and issues that affect men as well as women). ”
      And quite a lot of clothing is made by very low paid workers, hell many goods are produced in such conditions. Do you support those industries as well knowingly? Or do you assume it’s all legit and ok, which I’d say many men probably assume of the strip clubs (legal ones at least). It depends on where they are going, what sex workers they use, what porn they watch, so your comment is actually dismissive of the legit, non exploiting aspects of the industries.

      I find that when there is a discussion of porn someone usually comments about how bad the industry is and then conflates the negatives of the industry with ALL porn, that is shaming in my book. As a man who watchs porn I reject the notion all porn is degrading, I understand some productions are bad and if I know of them I will avoid them (I usually watch amateur stuff anyway) but why the attempt to throw in the negatives?

      Do you eat meat? Did you know that in some cases chickens are grown couped up in a cage in horrific conditions? If you eat meat, how could I assume you live a healthy and respectful life when you support an industry that is inhumane to chickens? Do you wear clothes? Did you know some workers are exploited terribly so by buying and wearing clothing you’re supporting an industry which is horrible for those workers.

      “how can we say that a man with a healthy sexuality is one who actively participates in activities that degrade and bring down women?”
      See, that’s a classic case of shaming the men. You paint the entire industry as negative and thus his actions directly help keep the negativity going, yet the same could be said for pretty much every single industry which has had instances of poor working conditions, exploitation, etc. If I make porn with someone and someone else masturbates to it, are they participating in an activity which degrades and brings down women? What about if it’s gay porn? Hell the porn industry has instances of degrading men yet you dismissed them by failing to mention them, it was Just about the women and how the women suffer.

      Hell sex itself is degrading because some women and men are degraded, do you have sex? You’re participating in an activity which degrades men and women, how is that healthy? Understand yet? Sheeesh!

      • @ Archie

        To your question:
        Yes.
        It degrades you both.
        That’s why brothels have guards: to keep the reaction to a repellent soul experience below the nauseated rage one might expect.

  9. AlekNovy says:

    Masculine Sexuality: What Gets Overlooked

    The number one thing that gets overlooked is that we wait for men to DO everything, while women sit around and JUDGE.

    In 2012, we still have almost all women (and even most so-called feminists) waiting for men to do all the work in initiating, getting, finding and making sex happen – and then they get to bash the men for stuff they refuse to do.

    Until we start tackling the big elephant in the room, female laziness, I am wary of articles talking about “overlooked this overlooked that” where everyone keeps ignoring the number one most overlooked element – female passivity and laziness in sexuality and courtship.

    • Wow, this is a hostile comment. Sad to see things like this on a site called GOOD MEN Project.

      • Yes, I agree the hostility isn’t very appropriate. From him… But I notice you’re advice on how men can meet outdoorsy women, at http://geargals.com/2011/10/25/how-to-properly-meet-outdoorsy-women/ seems to be all recommended behaviors for men, actions, (“Take the initiative to create a connection.”, Ask for a phone number. A date. An email address.”, “Be up front about liking her. “) while commenting about not being “swarmy”. And rather judgemental polarity about negative behavior like “Don’t gaze at her bike and drool”, “treated like freaks of nature”, “incredibly shallow”, “turn tail and run”…

        There’s almost a hostility I sense from you about men’s behavior. That also isn’t very appropriate. Which isn’t to say there’s not truth in what you are saying, but just that it’s depowering to both men and women to play the sex role games we tend to be trapped in. Blaming each other is just a sign of it.

    • Even if women asked men out more often, there’s no guarantee they would ask you out. 🙂

      The truth is, we live in a world where 90% of the men are pursuing 10% of the women and 90% of the women are pursuing, or waiting to be asked out by, 10% of the men. And a lot of people are going home alone.

      • Sarah, why don’t more women understand this? When feminists speak of the so called “double standard” don’t they realize that when they say “men” are deemed “studs” and admired for their sexual conquests, what they are really thinking of is this small slice of the male populatuion that they themselves worship! And of course other men admire that 10%. The vast majority of men are shut out of the sexual marketplace but you don’t hear feminists talking about their plight. The average (or below average) women has a sexual power that the 90% of men could only dream of. Yet, all men, the fat guy, the bald guy, the nerdy guy….they all want sex just as much as that 10%!! Isn’t the “double standard” logical when you think of it in realistic terms? How would these women, who feel so empowered by their sexual powers…how would they feel in the body the 90% male? I think they would come to understand the “stud\slut” distinction is mere logic and has nothing to do with some bizzaro patriarchy social conditioning. Hell, any guys here ever remeber talking abiut “exploring your sexuality”? All I know is I have an organ between my legs that is rick solid evry morning I wake up and gets aroused anytime I see a woman with curves. Yet, to have sex, despite the fact I think about it constantly, I have to compete with other men to get it! Do the “modern” “empowered” “liberated” women have to compete for sex? How would you feel if yoiu were hard wired by millions of years of evoiution to want sex all the time, yet must compete wi constantly just to get it with a decnt looking woman?

        • I agree that in theory it is far easier for women to find a sexual partner, if ALL they want is sex. Heck, men want sex so badly they will pay money for it. I think most women however don’t just want anyone with a d*ck, they want to feel a connection, even if it’s just a casual hookup. Most women will reject a man immediately if they don’t feel a “spark.” I’m making a generalization but I think most women will tolerate sexual frustration rather than have sex with just anyone who comes along. What men have to do to create a spark is very complicated and it’s different for every woman. But this explains in part why many women are passive and wait to be pursued; they are waiting for that spark of attraction before they will do anything.

          I also note your reference to “decent looking women”. Women who are not conventionally attractive, older, or otherwise seen as less desirable do not have guys flocking around them. I was never a “hottie” myself and I spent a lot of time being ignored by men. So, unless you are in the most desirable 10% of either gender, you will have a tough time at it. No one really wants to settle if that means “having sex wuth someone I have no attraction to.” On the other hand, if someone is always rejecting available prospects they may need to reconsider their criteria.

          • Terence Manuel says:

            I wonder if most women would need a spark for George Clooney, Tom Brady, or Brad Pitt?

            Sarah2 is correct. However, average guys like me are having a ball. Not bragging but I do not have trouble getting women. Why? I listen to them. I get them to talk (usually about themselves). I express interest in them. Look her in the eyes. Make her feel special. I create some “sparks!” Eventually ignition will occur with some. Most guys just don’t have any game. Sorry.

            I can even get some of those 10%. Many are lonely and simply need a friend. Women crave attention like we men crave sex. I believe in giving the people what they want!

            Life Is Short. Enjoy!

            Cheers!

      • @ Sarah2

        Totally agree!
        And 99 percent of male complaints show how hard it is for us to get over that.

    • Aleknovy:

      “waiting for men to do all the work in initiating, getting, finding and making sex happen”
      Sorry, that’s how courtship goes. Men tend to be hornier and oftentimes warm up to women than the other way around (think about, it’s men who are much much more likely to fall in love at first sight), so of course, they do most of the initial work.

    • Lil Bit says:

      It’s not laziness or passivity.
      Think of it in this term.
      A person has to eat but the food is scarce and has to go out and capture/kill/attain what is needed.
      Imagine if this person instead had food showing up on the door step every morning.
      Do you think that this same person would continue to go out day after day to hunt for something that is practically handed to them? People tend to work smart, not hard.
      What person would go searching/hunting for a need that shows up on their front door every morning?

      In a nutshell, it’s all about supply and demand. If men weren’t so “consumed” (for lack of a better word) with getting sex. If they had the mentality of “it’s fun, it feels good, I desire it, but I dont’ NEED it to live. If men lowered their SUPPLY, women’s DEMAND would go up.

  10. David Ley, I am a medicine man and a Shaman. You expressed exactly the same message I have had so much trouble sharing with human beings. I am rarely understood. Your workstudy on man sexuality is expressed well. Others can “pick through” your meanings, yet, as a genuine man, I could not have expressed it more clearly.
    My acceptance of your truth means I have experienced and lived in every word and felt the deep grief of all of what you speak of. Thank you. for being my voice.
    I have twin brother, a master in his own right in communication and healing emotional upsets, a Love Coach extrodinare in my perception. He jokingly, and truthfully says, tongue in cheek: “Sex is a lot like air. It’s not a problem, unless your not gettin’ any.” Shaman smiles. (*__*).

  11. Why do men think that women buy sex toys? Because their men do not satisfy them.

    • You’re view of men and sex toys seems to be the same. And like any product, you throw it away without a second thought when it quits being useful.

      No one feels good in that kind of relationship. You obviously don’t.

    • I think some women use toys because they are single
      *shrug*

  12. Esperanza, I totally agree with you. You made more sense than any male in this forum. Men are always trying to cover up the fact that they need and desire sex much much more than women. Listen men, we women are just not made like you. We can go quite a long time without sex. In fact, some of us can live without it. It is not that important to most of us. Some women will not admit it, but they really don’t like it. When you think they want it, believe me, they are trying to make themselves like it because, you like and need it. Women have to go through too many changes to get an orgasm and sometimes we just don’t want to go through all the hassle. I guess if men would spend the time that they are suppose to on foreplay, then we could want it more. Most women do not get a cotton pickin thing from all that thrusting and drama that you all do. That thrusting is meant for your selfish feelings. And women get tired of stretching their jaws to accomodate something in their mouths that is not meant to be there. Male sexuality sucks. And when a man threatens to cheat because he is not getting what he thinks his royal hghness deserves, this explains that you all really are selfish.

    MODERATOR’S NOTE: This comment is in violation of our moderation policy because it makes generalisations on the basis of gender. This is a warning. Further comments that are in violation will be removed. See complete commenting guidelines here.

    • Well, as a woman, I pretty much disagree with everything you say. I actually enjoy the “thrusting,” and giving a blow job can be quite erotic.

  13. Esperanza says:

    I really do not think any of these aspects of male sexuality are overlooked in this society. Everywhere we look, there seems to be some woman displayed whose only purpose is to titillate male sexuality. There is no shortage of prostitutes, strippers and porn available. None of it is hidden anymore, so I do not know where does society shame men for their behavior… I do not know what this article is supposed to demonstrate beside trying to make women accept all aspects of male sexuality, no matter who gets hurt in the process, whether it be their significant other or people in the sex industry (I know, there are sex workers who freely chose to do so, but it is not all of them and I do not think that men are asking themselves if the girl they are watching, or touching, or whatever, is freely chosing to do so or even if she is underage or not).

    I did break up with the father of my child because of his insatiable taste for watching teenage girls being sexually violated (there is not other word). Sorry, but my emotional and psychological well-being took precedence over my acceptance of his male sexuality. Meanwhile, my own sexual needs were not being met, and even though sex without commitment (or sex for money) should be accepted as an integral part of male sexuality, my husband somehow would not accept that I engage in extra-marital ’emotionless’ sex. Seems to me that men want to have their cake and eat it too.

    Probably me and my husband were not just compatible after all. But then, many women seem to not be compatible with men because I know many women who would not accept such behavior. Maybe we should stop inculcating the idea of romantic love in women from the time they are little girls. Maybe we should all be Chamberlains. If you think that romantic monogamous love can cohabit with sexual unfaithfulness, maybe, but remember then that it should go both ways.

    And where are all these men who care so much about their partner’s orgasm, even to the ‘price of their own satisfaction’? I met some men since my breakup and they were for the most part rather selfish in bed (or maybe I was just unlucky lately…). No woman should need to resort to faking orgasm; if she is doing so, it is because the man does not do it right. Most women do not orgasm from penetration (I know, you would not get that from porn!). Men view oral sex on a woman as foreplay while oral sex on them is real sex (yeah, I am generalizing, if it does not concern you, great!). I too would like to have at my disposal a young sexy man, eager to please me sexually. It seems to me that all this fuss about prostitutes and strippers has more to do with male entitlement to have access to young and sexy women’s bodies than anything else.

    I think female sexuality is way more overlooked than men’s!

    • My own over-generalization is I think we need a lot of sex positive education and not nearly so much shaming. There’s a lot going on in all this…

      I went to a little workshop tonight in fact on female G spot stimulation and female ejaculation. It was nice to see a number of men there. I love the matter of fact attitude, style of the presenter, a woman who’s the owner of a sex toy shop. It’s all very affirming of women and everyone.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      I’m sorry to hear that, but it’s not right to generalise all men by your husbands standard and assume that women aren’t capable of doing the same things.

    • “I too would like to have at my disposal a young sexy man, eager to please me sexually. It seems to me that all this fuss about prostitutes and strippers has more to do with male entitlement to have access to young and sexy women’s bodies than anything else.”
      So….seek the services of a sex worker? Are there no legal brothels where you live? Sign up to the various sex-orientated online “dating” services?

      I’m sorry you didn’t find men who fit the muster but is it really fair to generalize them all based on that? Would it be fair for a man to generalize women as being abusive and only out to use and cheat on men because he had experiences like that?

      As for who is shaming them, well you just did it in your comment.

      “Meanwhile, my own sexual needs were not being met, and even though sex without commitment (or sex for money) should be accepted as an integral part of male sexuality, my husband somehow would not accept that I engage in extra-marital ‘emotionless’ sex. Seems to me that men want to have their cake and eat it too. ”

      Which men? By your comment it sounds like you assume all men are cut from the same cloth, can you clarify this comment to which men you mean? Do you mean just your husband?

      • Esperanza says:

        I would not seek the services of a sex worker. I know sex is being seen by many as just another commodity, but I am personally not comfortable with the idea of paying someone to be such intimate with me. I see sex as being the most intimate act that exists; you touch, taste, exchange fluids, are being penetrated by another person, you can not have more intimate than that. When I said I would like someone eager to please me, I meant genuinely eager, money obviously ruins that. Yes, I have desires, but they are not needs (and even less rights). And I guess male sex workers who service women exist, but I would not even know where to find them because all I see are sex workers aimed at men.

        I experienced online ‘dating’ services. It is easy to find someone wanting to engage in casual sex. I think it is easier for men to get sexual satisfaction from such encounters (we usually tend to view ejaculation as the necessary outcome of a sexual relationship) than a woman whose satisfaction is more dependent on the man being attentive to her (maybe it’s the reason why women are more picky when choosing a sexual partner, even for casual sex?). Even though an orgasm is not mandatory in order to appreciate intimacy, and even though many men wish for more than an ejaculation from a sexual relationship, some men seem to be just looking for free prostitutes (prostitution being all about selfish sex).

        And I do not want to generalize all men from my experience (it may have looked that way, sorry) but I just want to illustrate that such patterns exist and I heard and read to many similar stories to know that mine is not an isolated case.

        As for shaming, well there are things that are shameful; lies, lack of respect and objectification can rightly be considered shameful.

  14. If men are less ashamed of their sexuality and the drives they have which could result in harm and/or disrespect toward women (such as rape, and less severely, flagrant staring) would the direct result be moral decay? I think this article could be more effective if it discussed the moral conditioning of individuals involved as opposed to just the evolutionary theory regarding male sexuality.

    • So sexism toward women is ‘patriarchy’. But sexism toward men is ‘moral conditioning necessary to prevent moral decay’. And men are evil by the nature of our evolution.

      Troll, or just lacking in self-awareness?

      • I say this because it’s just a total mirror-image of what your average 1890’s – 1950’s conservative would say about their sexism, that women possess unnatural urges and emotions that, if left unchecked, would lead this country down the dark path of moral decay.

        If there’d been some hint of snark, I’d have thought she was clever.

    • What makes you assume rape is part of most men’s sex drive?! Did you ever think to consider that most men are probably more likely to want consentual sex and regularly?

      • Lil Bit says:

        I would think that desire for consentual sex is partly societal.
        I have no stats to back up this but If you were to look at the numbers of women raped when rape was legal compared to the numbers now. I would bet they have gone down.

        But it seems that many people do things out of societal morality because there are plenty of things that men and women (if they were honest) do BECAUSE they know they can/will get away with it.

        If you were to live in a time (the not so distant past) where husbands were legally allowed to rape their wives because it was their right to get sex fromthem, do you think you would still have such strong moral standing against it?

        I’m curious as to how much has to do with society’s morals and one’s own morals.

  15. You said
    ” Not only are almost all supposed sex addicts male, but all of the allegedly addictive sexual behaviors are behaviors that are predominantly engaged in by men. These behaviors include masturbation, use of pornography, prostitutes or sexual entertainment like strip clubs. Promiscuity, sex without commitment, and use of sex to manage stress or tension are also things that are frequently a part of male sexuality, whether we like it or not. But, male sexuality is not a disease, it is not evil, and it does not overpower men’s lives and choices.”

    But what about when it DOES? Should I end my relationship with my partner? Has his struggle with compulsive sexual behaviour all been a ruse? Are we wasting time and money on groups and therapists to grow from the horrible pain and struggles caused us by his inability to put down the porn, sexual acting out and other related behaviours?
    Tell me, whilst researching for this article, how many men and women who struggle with these issues or are in a relationship with someone who does, did you speak with?
    I assume few to none, as you seem to have no concept of how much it can destroy a life, a marriage.
    Live in my life for ONE week and then tell me there is no such thing as sex addiction…..

    • Sarah, a possible reason those behaviours are mostly male could be simple economics. A sex addict female probably has a much much much much much easier time finding willing partners if we are to believe stereotypes (however based on what I hear from people I think this one is probably true). IF this is true it may simply mean sex addicted women can get laid easily, the guys find it harder and thus need to seek out other methods to get their fill.

  16. I was never left with the impression that anyone was saying that porn, strippers and prostitutes were “new” to our society. While the world is no stranger to such matters, we live very short lives relative to the history of the world. And some of us probably live at least our first 10 years, (perhaps even our first 15-20 if you lived more of a sheltered life), not knowing a lot of what goes on in the world of adults and sexuality. I didn’t really know men looked at porn until I was 20+ and began dating men more seriously. Today, that might not be so much the case but young people are not going to be familiar with all complicated intrinsic web our sexuality is. And my point with this is that, our understanding and own familiarity with human sexuality is even shorter then our average life span because of what we don’t understand when we are younger. As one matures, so does their views on such matters. So someone of 20, might have a completely different view then someone of 30 or 40. Since we are always evolving, the conversation is always changing. And we socially only know how to deal with these issues germane to the time we live in. It doesn’t matter that the Roman’s looked at porn in the context of solving some of the issues we encounter today. Relationships and life are extremely different. Views of men’s roles and view’s of women’s roles are extremely different. Hence why the conversation will always have new adaptations.

    Plus, there are many things throughout history that use to be normalized that weren’t exactly positives. Now I am not saying porn is negative or positive in this context. Only that we can’t really go back and say, “this is what happened back in the day so it’s only “normal” for it to happen now.” Yes, there use to be porn since the dawn of time. But there was also racism, slavery, sexism….the list goes on.

    I also disagree with your attempt to separate porn from technology and claim that porn isn’t the problem. Both are, because both play off one another. Porn use to be more of a “treat”. You had to leave your home to attain it. I’ve even heard people discuss how porin from the 70s was much more light and fun and about mutual pleasure but the porn today is much more abusive. I’ve heard men complain about such things themselves! These aren’t things that should be ignored. Technology spreads information. Some of it good, some of it bad. But there is a tipping point when technology stops being useful and when we start becoming drones to it. And the rate that technology has evolved, we are going to so history making shifts in our culture within the next 5-10 years. Unlike anything from Old Rome. Because we are dealing with a new kind of life.

    Porn is no longer a “treat” anymore. And I don’t think more abbrasive in your face sexuality is what is going to solve our issues with sex. I noticed lately that we hardly ever anymore talk about sex between men and women independent of porn. There is always an element were porn gets brought into the equation. From men and women. It’s almost like people don’t even just have sex anymore. They have sex with porn. Or watch porn then have sex. Or use things they saw from porn…it’s like we don’t even own our own sexuality anymore if all we do is see porn and act like what’s in porn.

    Now I am all for positive expressions of sexuality and being more open about discussing sexuality and equality for the needs of both genders. But the elements of sexuality that usually get paid attention to are the more salacious ones. And not the ones that would benefit society’s understanding of each other better. More hardcore websites does not = more evolved sexuality.

    Oh and yes, I DO think we have way too much news exposure, impersonal communication and visual media. And I think it’s destroyed alot of art and personal growth along the way. Recently I have watched Good Morning America. Something I hadn’t watched for 10 years. 10 years ago they use to report on actual news. Now it’s all fluff and celebrities and junk like that. Other then my vast and shocked disappointment, they are catering to what people want. People don’t want real news stories. They want junk. People don’t want real connected sex, they want filler. You could probably go down to your local street corner and ask them if they know anything substantial about what’s going on in Syria and they probably don’t. Other then it’s violent there right now. But if you asked them the most popular youtube clip or the names of Brad Pitt’s children, or who ate a PB&J sandwich on Facebook, they could probably tell you. Yes, count me in for thinking we are an over exposed society.

    • So first, I wasn’t saying that porn, etc can be put into the same context in ancient societies as it can be today. The narratives surrounding sex, relationships, gender etc are different in all societies…so naturally the narratives surrounding porn, etc are different in all societies. My point, is that the simple existence of porn is not some great evil of our age, which is how I’ve seen the conversation framed sometimes.

      As for the type of porn you’re talking about…I think you’re ignoring the great variety in porn. Frankly it’s kind of interesting that we have developed a stereotype about what porn is, but that’s another conversation. There is porn specifically made by real couples to express intimacy. There is porn that consists mostly of people kissing, albeit naked and eventually having sex…but the focus is on the kissing. There is porn of every flavour, and a lot of it isn’t at all abusive.

      So as for this bit here: “I also disagree with your attempt to separate porn from technology and claim that porn isn’t the problem. Both are, because both play off one another.” – Well then you’d have to say the same thing about pretty much everything that negatively interacts with technology. The news is the problem, for example, because of the way it plays off of the internet…except that doesn’t make any sense. News is a good thing…news lets us know what’s happening in the world. It’s when we’re inundated with it that it becomes problematic…then we get over sensationalized stories, and huge amounts of fluff to fill in the time, etc.

      Porn isn’t the issue…it’s the abuse of porn that’s the problem. Just like it’s the abuse of food, gambling, etc that are the problem…not those things in themselves.

      • I guess whenever I hear someone mention the old, “Porn was around since ancient times”, I ususally think they are saying this to illsturate a normalized state about porn. And I think it’s the wrong way to go in the context of the human condition and the society we live in today. I have never seen any commentary that pointed to the existence of porn being a great evil of our age. I just think that a significant number of people both like porn and encounter many issues with porn.

        I am not ignoring the great vareity of porn actually. I am highlightling the great variety of porn that is openned the way for some truly strange stuff. And no amount of “real” couples making love and expressing their love for each other, overrides the reality of the ugliness I think is the majority of the industry. I also am curious if what is being watched most. I think that would give us an even bigger insight into things. Hardcore porn isn’t rampet because people are watching lovely-dovey kissy face porn. But that is just my opinion.

        Again, I stated my opinion on technology vs the subject matter. You can not seperate the content of either because that is not how either operates. They are linked. Porn plays off technology and technology plays off porn. There is also alot of content in porn itself that has major issues. Just as I think the same of news. We vastly see this issue different. You see it as seperate, I see it as continually linked. And I also find issues with the content of the product we are discussing.

        • “And no amount of “real” couples making love and expressing their love for each other, overrides the reality of the ugliness I think is the majority of the industry. I also am curious if what is being watched most. I think that would give us an even bigger insight into things. ”

          I am a pretty huge consumer of porn and I can tell you that all I watch today is amateur. Mostly I am watching this:

          So I find it strange when people keep talking about the porn industry and how horrible it is. As for real couples…I don’t know if this is a real couple but I think its what your after. I know I love it:

          Moderator’s Note-edited for links.

        • “And no amount of “real” couples making love and expressing their love for each other, overrides the reality of the ugliness I think is the majority of the industry.”

          Porn is much bigger than just the professional industry. The uglyness of the industry can be avoided all together, just depends where you visit. Even in the industry itself not all of it is bad, how much of it have you watched to safely believe most of it is bad? Did you actually watch it or did you hear it from others? If I want I can go to sites that degrade the hell out of women, men, (I don’t want to though as I hate it) or I can go to sites which don’t degrade anyone and even they are part of the pro industry. There are so many sites these days that every kink seems to be catered for, but which is truly the most popular? I’d say the free video sites are high on the list and the most popular videos I’ve seen there are pretty much just sex without the degradation. To me it seems like some people are going to max hardcore and assuming he represents all of the porn industry.

          Did porn influence sex, or did sex influence porn? I hear people say that someone has wanted to try something they saw in porn and how porn brought in all of these new activities but hang on, we had a sexual revolution, casual sex became more acceptable, sex was allowed more into the open and people I assume can talk far easier about sex than they could especially in some of the puritan areas. Someone can see a reverse cowgirl position in porn and want to try it, or they can hear about it from a friend, I have trouble believing porn influenced sex so much. I honestly think porn just showed what OTHER people were doing and in a time where sexual experimentation seemed to increase. I’ve seen positions and acts in porn which I’ve wanted to try, not because it was in porn but because it looked FUN and I’ve heard of them from friends, hell there are guides everywhere online on how to pleasure someone.

  17. @(R)Evoluzione’

    Im still stuck on the fact that humans have been around for “millions” of years.. realllyy?? And using fire for at least a million years… were you homeschooled??

    sorry i had to…

    • Come on now…my genius cousin was homeschooled, precisely because he’s so flipping smart even schools for gifted children were moving at too slow a pace for him. Mind, his mother was a teacher before she had kids, so that helped. Plus, he was homeschooled as part of like, a group program thing.

      Sorry…just had to defend homeschooling…well some homeschooling.

    • (R)Evoluzione says:

      Yes, Jake, fire for humans for one million years. I’ll leave out the superfluous commentary on your educational background. It would be too easy, and also violate the comment policy.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120402162548.htm

  18. I think (hope) the author’s arguing for getting rid of the complex dynamics of shame around male sexuality, which are rife in some of the comments. Very often with sex in our culture, there the hidden specter of shame driving it. It drives addiction, blaming of men and women, the weapons of moral superiority.

    From helping a lot of men with sexual abuse issues, I find that those issues often the root of compulsive, harmful sexual choices. Deal with it all openly, the shame lessens in time, and men can make better, more conscious choices.

    “I’m curious how much the male drive to promiscuity is biological and how much is a reaction–like the promiscuous females in other times–to our culture’s constant message to men that their sexuality is undesirable, filthy and no one in their right mind would want to share it with them.” (typhon_uncensored)

    People act out their unconscious shame in shameful ways. Shaming them only makes it worse. What if nobody’s choices and desires were worthy of shame?

  19. Julie, I guess I am hung up on the idea of what we “actively” do? When my mate is unhappy with something I’ve done, and I do make mistakes in relationships, I am not getting smiles and hugs at that moment and time. So is he “actively” withholding from me or is he giving me a natural response to my actions? Who is say which way it is? We work on the issue, we resolve it, and the smiles and hugs come back. I’m afraid we are getting overly PC in our culture where any critization from our partner about behavior they don’t agree with is strangly demonized. You shouldn’t act abusive toward your partner but not hugging your partner, not smiling at them or not having sex with them because of something they did that displeased you isn’t abuse.

    I also know that I have had ex boyfriends when we had fights and I didn’t want to have sex because of something that was going on in our relationship. They wanted me to forget about it for the moment, have sex, then get back to the problem. I can’t work like that. I am guessing that when I have made a mistake in a relationship that my man didn’t much feel like smiling and hugging me either. Is this a case of being “withholding”? Yes. Is it “actively” withholding? I think it is. I just don’t think it’s a bad thing. Because whether we like it or not, we all give rewards for certain behavior. When we aprove of the way someone treats us, we react accordingly. When we don’t approve, we react accordingly. Maybe I just don’t understand. Perhaps by saying “actively”, it’s more attached to “intention”?

    Thanks Julie! I really disliked the “cycling” comment. I know we don’t always agree but I have alot of respect for your comments myself.

    • I think there is a difference between saying to a partner, “I don’t feel like smiling right now because I am angry at the situation x,y,z. I’ll get over it soon after we talk, but I need some space.” and “You made me so mad and there is no way in hell I’ll hang out with you, or…if you’d only do the thing I asked you do to then I’d be happy for you.”

      There are boundaries while staying connected and then there are manipulations while holding the threat of disconnection over your partner’s head.

      A place where I do think men and women can communicate differently is how sex and affection can be used as a bridge back to communication. In your case, there is a fight, you are feeling shut off or shut down and that is connected to your sexuality. Let’s say your partner is feeling shut down and shut off but thinks if there could be physical affection he could open up to the communication. Neither is right, neither is wrong, but over time it can lead to a dynamic where it can appear that a person is withholding physical affection until the partner opens up emotionally (which might be just as hard for that partners as opening up physically is for you). How does this get resolved…well, I’d argue on the one hand, offering the body to get affection and communication doesn’t seem ideal. But neither does withholding the body either.

      My husband and I are often opposite your situation. I’d prefer to fight and use that energy to bond back together. He’s much more internal and needs to square things away. I can’t ask him to be physical if he truly feels shut down.

      But, I think that in the worst case scenario these things wind up being used as tools against each other rather than basic human dynamics.

  20. wellokaythen says:

    Demonizing of men and male sexuality often appears when other groups are demonized. We may not notice that men are the target because they aren’t the main target.

    For example, there are forms of racism that embody fears of male sexuality at the same time. It was not very long ago that a black man in Mississippi could be lynched by a mob based on the rumor that he whistled at a white woman or that he had sex with a white woman. Of course that lynching was a product of a horrible form of racism, but/and it also involves seeing a form of male sexuality as threatening. In that case, a person was not only killed for being black, but also killed for being a male. When there are racist-based stereotypes of nonwhite men as rapists, those are also gender stereotypes about men as rapists. A racist stereotype about a black man is also a stereotype about what men are like.

    Granted, I am oversimplifying things here. My point is that there is demonization of male sexuality that goes on indirectly or in related areas. It’s not just in issues that seem to be “all about gender.”

  21. Annatasha says:

    I really liked the article. Maybe part of the problem a female commenter has with men viewing porn or visiting hookers is that she thinks it takes away from her value. The intense sexual feelings he feels for her aren’t the same feelings he has for the porn or the hookers. it’s comparing apples and oranges. We want to be valued and feel like we mean something to someone as the pinnacle in their lives. I think eventually we realize it’s ok for our partner to have other feelings for other people. it’s like how differently we love different people in our lives. i love my friend Karen for different reasons than I do my friend Sue. One doesn’t take away from the other.

    Many women believe that the relationship they are in has to be everything to a man because that is how women see their relationship. They want a man to view the world as how they view it. I truly believe men and women do not see the world with the same lens; mostly because we’re all individuals, but also because the differences in hormones and how men compartmentalize emotions and women don’t. It changes how we relate to the world around us.

    When one commenter responded to a female commenter, he told her she was coming from an emotional point of view and she took exception to that because she didn’t see herself as being emotional. I really understand that sentiment because often a man will dismiss a woman’s opinion by saying, “don’t get so emotional!”, and we honestly don’t see that we are being emotional. But really, so much of what we accept as true comes from the emotions. Almost every decision or choice made by a woman comes from with how it will affect others. And that is a choice based on emotion, but that’s not necessarily wrong. Emotion and emotional seem to have loaded connotations to women. I have emotions. But when I am emotional, it can be seen as lack of control. But a decision based on emotion rather than logic can be seen as emotional and can be the wrong choice, correct?

    The world seen through a man’s eyes isn’t wrong; it’s different than how I see it. In many ways I like how a man sees the world. I don’t understand or can’t even conceptualize some of it because it’s so very foreign. But, if I wanted a man to see the view the world exactly like a woman does I should probably be with a woman. But I’m trying, with my partner’s help, to get a handle on how he sees the world. Just because it’s different than my view, doesn’t make it wrong. We wouldn’t demean or demonize someone from another race or culture because we didn’t understand it. I think men and women are, on some issues, truly so far removed from each other that we are like visitors from the China going to Kenya.

    Because my partner tells me about the rolodex in his head he uses for fantasies about real women or made up women doesn’t mean he loves me less or truly wants to screw other women in real life he fantasizes about. He just uses the rolodex when he wants to get off. Is that unhealthy? I don’t think so. And it blows my mind that some women think that their man view porn is cheating or going to a bachelor party with strippers is equal to having an affair. Really, what does love have to do with porn? As often as my partner looks at porn, I don’t think I physically could have sex that much, so he’s welcome to look all he wants. And I truly am curious about the things he finds stimulating, it helps me understand and know him better.

    • Annatasha, I am guessing that I’m the female poster you’re referring to. And that’s okay. I will not get into all the ins and outs of why I do not think things like porn, prostitutes and strippers are healthy. Only to say that I think these things both devalue women AND men.

      I also do not look at my partner’s friendships with other people such as his parents, his siblings, his best friends as offensive or something I need to compete with to be the “pinnacle” of. I love and encourage men that I have relationships with to have friends and interests outside of me. He will clearly get something different from his relationship with his brother/sister or his childhood best friend then he will me. And that is a good thing. I guess I just don’t understand what the different kind of relationships we have with actual real life people in our lives has to do with the pursuit of men for women through porn, prostitutes and strippers. And how my concepts of these things must mean that I am seeking out the kind of relationship where I am the be all, and end all of his life. While I should be number one to him, this does equate to being his everything. There is a difference.

      I took exception with the male commentator that told me that I was being “emotional” because I really wasn’t simply being “emotional’. My thoughts were well thought out, well presented, with a lot of logic in them. Just as yours are. Just as his were. Not one person here is a sum of emotion or even the sum of logic. That would deny our humaness. And since men are human, they are prone to emotion just like anyone else yes?
      The reality is that when it comes to sex, relationships and things between men and women, you are going to get a combination of logic, personal experience, AND emotional aspects that all sway our personal opinions either way. This is not unique to me. This isn’t even unique to women. But often it is only women that are criticized for it. When you read through the male response to this article, do you only see responses that are locked in logic? Do you really think desires for porn and strippers are a simple matter of men being logical? Or does that come form a place of emotion and feelings of their own? Even when those feelings are sexual. The other commentator that responded to me was not being any less “emotional” or any more “logical” in his response then I was. He used that excuse to diminish my view point. And that was what I took issue with. Too often women are pinpointed for “emotion”. But the responses to this article are chalked full of many men that are BOTH logical AND emotional in response to the topic. Just as women are. Why? Because that is the nature of things when it comes to sex, love, and relationships between men and women.

      Now perhaps it’s true for you that so much of what you accept comes purely from your emotions, but that is not the case for me. Not every choice I make is about my emotions. And insinuating that this is all women are capable of is *just* as bad as insinuating that all men are capable is an aggressive careless kind of sexuality. Men are not insatiable sexual beasts and women are not emotional vampires. Men are not simply logical while women are simply emotional. That misconception is really harmful to all of us.

      You said, “I have emotions. But when I am emotional, it can be seen as lack of control. But a decision based on emotion rather than logic can be seen as emotional and can be the wrong choice, correct?” There are two points here I want to address because earlier you suggested that the male commentator that told me I was being emotional might be correct. Show me in my comments where I seem to lack control. Where it seems that my emotions are overriding my logic. I’m here to learn about myself just as much as I am about the issues we talk on GMP. Since you used me as an example in your post, I’m really open to your answer here.

      The second point I want to make that I DO agree that when someone is emotional, that sometimes we can make the wrong choice. So here is my second question. Do you really believe that men are simply “logical” when it comes to their sexual desires? When it comes to their sexual or emotional relationships with women? Especially when it involves things like porn, strippers and prostitutes? Do they only come from a place of logic that enables them to make the best choices in these regards? The mistake would be to assume that men only operate from a place of logic regarding these matters while women only operate from a place of emotion. This is what stops us from understanding each other.

      You are right that the world seen through a man’s eyes isn’t wrong. But not all men see the world the same way either. Some men do not agree with porn. Some men do not agree with strippers or prostitutes. This doesn’t make these men “emotional” or not “logical” either.

      There is one thing I am in total agreement with, with you. My desire to understand men better and make life better for BOTH of us. The desire to celebrate men’s differences from me. Except, I refuse to celebrate those that are negative or be told I am demonizing men for when I think certain aspects of male sexuality are infact negative. But I would be really happy to see the mores positive qualities of male sexuality more talked about, more represented, more celebrated and more shown. And I hope men want to do the same. To try and understand women better and not just chalk them up to being emotional.

      Finally, I think things like porn, bachelor parties with strippers and the likes of that certainly have the potential to be “cheating” if they fit outside the bounds of what someone in the relationship is comfortable with. That goes for the man or woman. However, if both people are on the same page and know what’s going on, then clearly it’s not cheating. This is something personal and individual to each person and each relationship. And I am not above saying that I do think things like porn and strippers can easily be seen as cheating in certain ways. Because the base concept is the fact that that person IS seeking other people to self gratify too. And in my own relationships, I respect and admire some form of self control. I Admire a man that isn’t a slave to his biology or his fleeting and passing desires. And I think a lot of men respect the same in women. Women who do not react over emotionally toward them because of a passing or fleeting feeling but deal with respect and with thinking of him.

  22. Recently I read a report by a woman who interviewed male patrons of strip shows.

    Many of them said that they went to a strip show to ‘feel desired’ even if they had to pay.

    I’ve heard one reason why men cheat is because they feel their partner does not desire them anymore. I’ve also read men describe wanting a ‘no-strings attached’ sexual encounter in order to affirm their sexual desirability.

    In other times and places women were considered the unchaste sex. What we see in those times is that women’s sexuality was seen as both less spiritual and capable of ‘tainting’ men through too close an association.

    I’m curious how much the male drive to promiscuity is biological and how much is a reaction–like the promiscuous females in other times–to our culture’s constant message to men that their sexuality is undesirable, filthy and no one in their right mind would want to share it with them.

    Further, humans must be absolutely unique in the animal kingdom, being the only pair-bonding species in which the male pair bonds less then the female. Even further, if humans were polygynous male humans would be eight feet tall, four hundred pounds and have penises the size of a pinkie finger.

    This is social. And if we truly stopped demonizing male sexuality, we’d also likely see an end to male promiscuity as well.

  23. I think Dr. Ley has made some really good points about the way that healthy male sexuality is demonized in our culture. So often, our popular ideas about men emphasize the dark side of male sexuality. We overlook the positive, loving, and creative side of male sexuality. Male sexuality IS a creative force, after all, just as female sexuality is a creative force. We have virtually no stories in our culture that celebrate positive male sexuality, compared to many, many stories (often written by men!) that portray male sexuality as scary, threatening, and harmful. Meanwhile, the “good men” are often portrayed as essentially sexless. Superheroes have superpowers, but they rarely have girlfriends. Think about it!

    I take the comments to Dr. Ley’s article as evidence that men and women have a lot of trouble understanding each other. On a personal level, I feel sympathy for Erin’s point of view because I don’t really like porn, strip clubs and hookers either. It’s hard to reconcile myself to the idea that the wonderful, intense, sexual feelings that my boyfriend expressed towards me today are probably exactly the same feelings that he felt yesterday while watching porn, or the day before while ogling a sexy co-worker. It makes me feel personally diminished. I’m very conflicted on this topic because I would like to help the men in my life celebrate their male energy and be happier and more fulfilled human beings, yet I sometimes feel frustrated and even horrified by the things men do in pursuit of sexual thrills. The male obsession with women’s body parts just seems so dumb to me. This is where I think the emotional reaction really gets in the way of understanding.

    I’ll just end by relating the Egyptian legend of Isis and Osiris, which is a beautiful ancient story about the creative power of male and female sexuality. Osiris is killed by his enemies and chopped into pieces. Isis, his grieving wife, gathers the pieces together and resurrects him, but she can’t find his penis, which as been eaten by a catfish in the Nile. So Isis fashions a gold penis for him as a replacement, and they conceive their son Horus. Isis was often depicted in Egyptian art as a nursing mother. Osiris becomes the god of the Underworld, responsible for the resurrection of souls. Now, losing his penis sounds pretty bad, obviously, but one way to understand this story is that the Nile was the life blood of Egypt. Osiris’ penis was a symbol of the Nile’s power to reawaken the land of Egypt year after year. Every time the Nile flooded, Osiris’ penis fertilized the land and brought forth the new life that fed and nourished the people.

    • That is a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing that with us.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Good story. In many ancient cultures, fertility was symbolized by a male god and not a female goddess. A long, complicated story about how that changed, more complicated than the Da Vinci Code hash of it, but important to note how masculinity has in the past been seen as a creative force and not just a destructive force.

      In another ancient Egyptian myth, the stars in the sky are pieces of a male god’s ejaculate. Not all old stories are rated PG.

  24. wellokaythen says:

    I had to read this article a few times and ruminate on a few things. I’ve never read an article on GMP that I so totally agreed with in parts and so strongly disagreed with in other parts.

    Where I think the article is right on the money:

    The point about men being heavily invested in pleasing their female partners is a really crucial one that is often overlooked. Even when men want to give their partners pleasure and fantasize a lot about pleasing their partners, that’s often defined as selfish somehow. Of course it’s selfish a little bit, but it’s completely unfair and unrealistic to expect a man to care about a woman’s pleasure but get no pleasure from that at the same time, as if we expect her orgasm to be strictly an altruistic gift of some kind. Or her pleasure is just meant to magically, organically flow from his sincere emotional intimacy. It’s certainly less selfish than not giving a damn if she has one at all. We could go back to those bad old days, but I suspect few women would want that either.

    I’m surprised that it’s only one in six men who significantly worry about pleasing their partner. Sounds very low to me….

    The point about male desire as being dangerous, right on the edge of rape, murder, and destruction, is also very important. I would connect that up with the stupid horny male idea as two sides of the same coin. Pop culture tends to portray male sexuality as either extremely dangerous or so bungled as to be completely harmless without a woman in charge of it. You’d get the impression that girls are ruled by brains and boys by hormones.

    Where it goes off the mark, in my opinion:

    The popular (i.e., not really scientific) evolutionary biology theory about sexual differences is probably more of a myth than sex addiction. There’s very little reliable, falsifiable proof about sexual behavior as some kind of species-wide, ahistorical thing that “humans are just like this.” Usually pop evo bio theories about sex are simply the equivalent of putting Adam and Eve in a cave a million years ago instead putting them in a garden 6000 years ago, for all the scientific evidence behind it. There are animal species (some seals, for example) in which the females tend to be even more promiscuous than the males and the males try to prevent it, so there’s not only one way to ensure security, genetic diversity, etc.

    I do agree that “sex addiction” is over-diagnosed and is more fashionable than true. No argument there. To suggest that sex addiction behavior is just being male, though, is a little extreme. This sounds a lot like the “boys will be boys and that’s all there is to it.” There are certainly people labeled as sex addicts who may not technically be addicts but who do have some real problems with impulse control. Or they feel completely out of control. I imagine the vast majority of men do not think that their desire for sex is so out of control that they can’t stop their impulses and give up on everything else in their lives. (Not even when I was a teenager did I ever go that far.)

    Part of the fashion of labeling a male celebrity as a sex addict is our acceptance/assumptions about psychological issues. Society has more sympathy for a person if that person identifies as an addict, because it’s like he’s less responsible, more sympathetic, wants to be like what he’s supposed to be, etc. There’s actually much less stigma about going to rehab or some other recovery center than there is being labeled as promiscuous or a drunk. Tiger Woods reduced the level of his scandal by seeking sex addiction help. It actually helped his image compared with NOT doing it.

    I think the sex addiction craze is more about how our society is being pathologized in general. It’s just one of dozens of new, largely invented syndromes used to compel people to be even more uniform in their behavior. Men with high libidos are just one of many many people being picked on today.

    • Yuuuuuuuuuuup!

      Interestingly I was just thinking about this aspect of it: “Part of the fashion of labeling a male celebrity as a sex addict is our acceptance/assumptions about psychological issues.”

      A few years ago my uncle cheated on my aunt, and before the got a divorce they decided to go to marriage counselling first. The counsellor told my aunt that my uncle was simply addicted to sex, and therefore my aunt couldn’t blame him. Apparently it was up to my aunt to help my uncle overcome this addiction, and to remember to be sympathetic to the struggle my uncle was going through.

      So yeah, on the one hand I think it is about demonozing what has traditionally been viewed as masculine expressions of sexuality…but on the other hand “sex addiction” is used to excuse really selfish behaviour.

    • David J. Ley says:

      Scott – thanks for your read. This is obviously a tiny snapshot of the bigger issues I explore in The Myth of Sex Addiction. I agree with you strongly in fact – the concept of sex addiction is intrinsically bound into the social and cultural views of sex. This is one reason that sex addiction is not a concept in many other cultures, either typically macho, male-dominated cultures such as the Middle East or Africa (how can you call a polygamist sex addicted?) or Latin America, where the number of mistresses is a sign of virility, not moral deficiency. Secondly, I agree with you, and other commenters, that at least some (but by no means all) of the folks that present with the label of sex addiction are people that are genuinely struggling. But, research shows that 70-100% of these folks actually have some other major mental health issue, or personality disorder/issues. It has not been determined that sex addiction is a unique, individuated disorder, or, more likely, it is a symptom of other issues. I don’t deny some folks really do need help making good decisions around sex. But in every case i’ve seen, those folks are making bad decisions in other areas of their life, not just sex. Tiger Woods is an interesting example – a recent bio of him by a former coach basically suggests that regardless of sex, Tiger behaved in insensitive, selfish, self-absorbed ways to people around him, and that sex was merely one aspect of this. So – is it appropriate to offer people a pseudo-diagnosis to excuse poor choices, rather than making them “man up” and take responsibility for the real issues?

      Finally – on the ev psych stuff – I see it very differently – there is tremendous building evidence of sex differences that tie to ev psych theories. Are they proof of evolution? No. But, from the concepts of sperm competition, and testosterone, to the presence of neurochemicals that cause happiness in men’s semen, there are incredible adaptations in male and female physiology that affect our behavior, and that appear to relate to mating strategies and selection. Evolutionary theory may not be the only explanation, but its a very good one.

      • Dr. Ley, do you think that it’s possible to have a society that celebrates male sexuality without marginalizing female sexuality, or visa versa? “Macho” or male-dominated cultures are often very negative places for women. In those cultures, such as the Middle East, female sexuality is the force that is seen as dangerously threatening, and is tightly controlled and repressed.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

        On the evolution issue, I was not suggesting that natural selection or evolutionary theory has no good basis. Far from it. I was arguing that what a lot of people call “evolution” is not the actual scientific theory but is instead a simplified mythological view. Within much of the American public, “evolution” is really just another variant of creationism. There’s the creationist mythology of evolution, and it’s different from the scientific principle of natural selection or the actual science of biology. I’ve noticed that “evolutionary biology” gets tossed around a lot in debates about sex and gender whether the participants actually know what it means or not.

      • (R)Evoluzione says:

        Dr. Ley, what more proof of evolution do you need? What other models fit the data?

  25. Oh my God, the incredible self-pity on display here is just sad. Was there some point to this that I missed in between all the whining about how we poor men have it so very tough?

    • (R)Evoluzione says:

      Ha! I’ve never felt more rooted in my power nor more empowered than I do at this time in history and in my life. And it’s only going to get better.

  26. HeatherN, I DO think women need to stop supporting the beauty industries and what that industry tells them they need to buy to be beautiful. I DO think women have a responsibility of their own to stop buying into mentalities about their worth. But I also acknowledge that men play their part too. That there is responsibility on both sides. That both genders need to be mindful of what they do to themselves and each other that cause negative things in the other’s lives.

  27. Alice I appreicate the support of my comments but mine doesn’t come from a place of not respecting men. I know men are trying more then ever to be good husbands, boyfriends and fathers. I know they have ther innner demons, imperfects and battles just as I do.

    I just don’t get how Dr. Ley pointed out that men don’t want to be compromised of some negative qualities about sexuality, but that we should support men using the exact things that promote the ideals behind those qualities. Such as anonymous sex found in porn or with strippers and the selfish kind of sex found in these things as well. Among the other things he listed. I’m just really confused right now. I don’t know what to think. I also don’t understand how I am suppose to think it’s “healthy” or positive for me as a woman to know that men think of me as one of many different “flavors’ here for them to enjoy. How is that suppose to be healthy or positive? I don’t know. I am just really confused by this article.

    • Its about accepting the variety of men’s sexuality from the corporate farmer, sew my seeds far and wide, to the bonsai tender, dedicated tender caring.

      I agree that addiction to anything is real. i.e. a chemical imbalance created in the brain that it eventually comes to rely on.

      While not explicitly outlining it he seems to be saying that we should support the “anonymous sex found in porn or with strippers and the selfish kind of sex found in these things as well,” much like people have fought for acceptance of women’s sexuality in the anonymous sex found in toys or with adult romance novels and the selfish kind of sex found in these things as well.

      As for, “I don’t know what to think. I also don’t understand how I am suppose to think it’s “healthy” or positive for me as a woman to know that men think of me as one of many different “flavors’ here for them to enjoy.” Many different people will have many different opinions, its very hard to generalize this as specifically men or women. Am i as a man not the same. As a man I have been viewed as sexual meat, a conquest, an emotional repairman, and as a lover; am i not viewed in many different flavors of sexuality as well. You are not here for men to enjoy and men are not here for women to enjoy in these many flavors unless we consent to open those doors.

      • But if portions of male sexuality have the potential to be dystructive to a woman or threaten her own needs, she is logically *not* going to accept them. Are we not getting a little PC by now telling women they can not like certain aspects of male sexuality and be open about what parts of male sexuality they do not like? Are we not policing what women should think about male sexuality when we demonize women for not liking certain aspects of male sexuality? There is very little positive for women in men that want to treat women like interchangable products for his “seed”. What motivation to men present to have women accept them for this? There has to be a pay off otherwise you aren’t going to get women to accept every element of male sexuality. Is every element of male seuxality even positive to begin with? Is it wrong to say there are negative parts of male sexuality? Or female seuxality for that matter?

        I really think it’s unfair that men want to play both fields. They want their fun with strippers and porn but they want their fun with one woman. And for that one woman, she is put in a really difficult and sometimes hurting place for it.

        • The generalizations in this are rampant. Not everyone will accept every version of an entire genders sexuality and are not expected to. Everyone has their own flavor of sexuality. ex. not all men are promiscuous and not all women are monogamous or celibate until married.

          A promiscuous man may find a promiscuous woman, who seems to have been left out as a possibility in your post, get married and become very happy swingers. how does this not benefit her?

          As for this scenario: “They want their fun with strippers and porn but they want their fun with one woman. And for that one woman, she is put in a really difficult and sometimes hurting place for it.” The people in this example are not sexually compatible and shouldn’t be together unless they can work things out.

          “I really think it’s unfair that men want to play both fields.” This should then apply to both genders; ex. no porn for men, no toys for women.

          “Are we not policing what women should think about male sexuality when we demonize women for not liking certain aspects of male sexuality?” The generalizations in this are rampant. Not everyone will accept every version of an entire genders sexuality and are not expected to. Everyone has their own flavor of sexuality. ex. not all men are promiscuous and not all women are monogamous or celibate until married.

          A promiscuous man may find a promiscuous woman, who seems to have been left out as a possibility in your post, get married and become very happy swingers. how does this not benefit her?

          As for this scenario: “They want their fun with strippers and porn but they want their fun with one woman. And for that one woman, she is put in a really difficult and sometimes hurting place for it.” The people in this example are not sexually compatible and shouldn’t be together unless they can work things out. In this example you also generalize all men a compare that to a generalization about woman. (not all women/men are the same) It would be the same answer if the genders were reversed.

          “I really think it’s unfair that men want to play both fields.” This should then apply to both genders; ex. no porn for men, no toys for women, heck no masturbation for anyone.

          “Are we not policing what women should think about male sexuality when we demonize women for not liking certain aspects of male sexuality?” This has the same undertone as someone ripping a person for believing women should be virgins until marriage.

          To basically state this; accept people, men and women, for having different (within criminal and ethical bounds) sexuality. If someones sexuality is abrasive to you, you don’t have to go along with it.

    • Erin:
      I definitely wasn’t trying to insinuate that you didn’t respect men. I hope you did not take offense. 🙂

  28. I’d have to disagree. Sex addiction is VERY real, esp nowadays. There are men who treat sex like alcoholics treat booze. However, i think it’s overdiagnosed and a lot of men are just assholes. Patrick Carnes and others make a living off treating sex addiction.

    ut, male sexuality is not a disease, it is not evil, and it does not overpower men’s lives and choices.”
    Your view of men is very distorted. Whether or not you like it, men can and do ruin themselves because of sex.

    The fact that men masturbate more than women and pursue activities like pornography, prostitutes and strippers are all ways that men express that sexual drive for variety without having to invest the enormous time and resources needed to meet the approval qualifications of most women

    I agree, it definitely does boil down to laze. Men dont want to deal with real woman, so it’s easier for men to deal with women who seem like objects. i wouldn’t be surprised if in 15 years sex dolls become very popular with men. Funny thing is if men actually stopped some of their behaviors, they might get more action from wifey.

    That being said I agreed with some of the things you said.

    • “I agree, it definitely does boil down to laze. Men dont want to deal with real woman.” Yes, for casual release why would i want to build a relationship however short or shallow it may be. Why go on a hunting trip when all you want is a chicken nugget.

      ” i wouldn’t be surprised if in 15 years sex dolls become very popular with men.” Yes, Hopefully as popular and accepted as those types of things are for women.

      “Funny thing is if men actually stopped some of their behaviors, they might get more action from wifey.” Debatable, is she already getting enough? Does she also enjoy these activities?

      • JTC:

        I’ve never known a woman to want a sex doll, that’s more of a man thing. I do admit there are some women who really do need to put down the novels. I knew one lady who was into them, but just wasn’t interested in the hubby.

        Why go on a hunting trip when all you want is a chicken nugget.”
        So men do view women as a piece of meat there to serve their sex needs?

        Debatable, is she already getting enough? Does she also enjoy these activities?”
        Why should wifey bother having sex with him if hes getting serviced elsewhere? Also, if men would be a bit nicer to their wives they might get more sex.

        • “Why should wifey bother having sex with him if hes getting serviced elsewhere? Also, if men would be a bit nicer to their wives they might get more sex.”

          Alright this, right here, is very close to suggesting that women have sex with their husbands as a reward for good behaviour, or something. I’m sure that’s not what you actually meant though, right?

          • mudwizard says:

            I’ll (rudely) step in here to point out how completely ridiculous that is. if he’s getting serviced elsewhere, why should she waste her time with him when she could be getting serviced elsewhere too?

            and I know when my partner does something that annoys me, it tends to be a turnoff. it has nothing to do with punishment since sex isn’t a reward, it’s something we both equally enjoy.

            and, on a side note, how little respect can you have for yourself as a woman when you’re going out of your way to sound like a men’s rights activist?

            • “You’re going out of your way to sound like a men’s rights activist?”

              Right well that’s funny, cuz I’m actually a feminist. I’m an egalitarian feminist, mind, but still a feminist.

              The problem with the whole “getting serviced” comment is that it’s suggesting that casual sex fulfils the same desires, needs, etc as sex between people in an intimate relationship. Why does someone masturbate if they’re in a sexual relationship? Why do people watch porn if they’re in a sexual relationship? Etc…etc…and the answer is that sex plays a variety of roles in our lives, and some people have variety in their sex lives to fill all those roles. Not all people, but some. Mind you, this all needs to be negotiated and discussed. Cheating’s not okay, but it’s the deceit that’s the problem, not the multiple sex partners. It’s fine to want to be in a completely monogamous relationship, but don’t judge others who aren’t.

              As for being turned off by your partner pissing you off, well yeah that’s obviously just a human reaction. But you’ll note when reading a lot of Alice’s comments that she seems to be holding to a second wave feminist perspective. This, plus the way she phrased her statement is suggesting a bit more of a sex as reward paradigm.

              • Honestly, I think porn has become such a popular thing in our lives because of over exposure to it. And I do think we have been over exposed to it. Instead of it being a “treat”, it’s become a way of life for plenty of men AND women.

                People masturbate and look at porn while in relationships for a tons of reasons. Not just because they need “variety”. Alot of our interest in porn and what we look at in porn has been conditioned through what the world of porn has given us. Some of it having to do with human sexuality and a lot of it not. Alot of it making sex seem like a freak show.

                I am just curious. If someone DOES want to give sex as “reward”, how is that different from any other positive reaction and giving of emotion or feeling or thing to a partner for doing something the other partner approves of? Isn’t that how relatoinships work? Compromise and trying to please one another within the bounds of the other’s personal goals and morals?

                • The reward aspect is problematic because it places sex as a leverage point for good behavior (or the lack of it for “bad” behavior). Would you like smiles or hugs to be withheld if you disappoint your mate only to return when you do something that pleases them? I believe in healthy relationships we can be angry with someone and still show them basic affection and connection. Which is not to say that sex or affection should be required as proof either.

                  While of course people compromise and try to please each other, actively withholding affection or connection as punishment or only offering it as reward can create a toxic dynamic in relationships (unless of course they have set that up in a power dynamic on purpose).

                  I enjoyed your longer comment and while I don’t have the same stance on porn as you, I do think you have made some interesting points that I hope can be discussed fairly here. I think that the issue of “cycling” is compelling, and assume that there is a female equivalent of treating people casually, though perhaps not set as a essentialist norm in terms of sexuality.

                • Well for your last question, I’ll point to Julie’s reply. As for the rest…here’s my problem with it: The discussion about porn, strippers and prostitutes treats it all as if it’s something new, as if it’s this new evil in our society. It’s as if the narrative is that we used to be purer, or better…but now we’re surrounded by prostitutes and porn. (I’m not saying you said this, explicitly, but that is what is often in implied in discussions about sex in our society). Which, it’s a weird way to look at history…because frankly we’ve had porn and prostitution since the beginning of time.

                  Now, if the concern is the ‘over exposure,’ well then that’s actually a discussion about our mass media and the internet. The problem isn’t porn (or strippers, or prostitution). If you view our current exposure levels of porn as over-exposure, then the same could be said of news, impersonal communication, and other visual media.

          • HeatherN:
            is very close to suggesting that women have sex with their husbands as a reward for good behaviour,”

            Yes, and I dont think it’s a bad idea either. In fact, I would go so far as to recommend that a woman not say yes every time a man asks for sex esp if she is upset with him. In my experience, this leads men to treat women very badly-they are getting what they want and have less of a reason to pause and work on the relationship.

            When it comes down to it, quite a few women just dont want to have sex if they are displeased with their partner. And the opposite is true. Many relationships work that way in various respects sex is no different

            • That’s like…a bad style of parenting…rewarding someone for good behaviour. It’s how you train a dog, not how you conduct a relationship.

              As for the idea that sometimes people don’t want to have sex when they’re upset with their partners. Well yeah, I think I already mentioned in a couple comments, that makes sense and that’s not problematic. It’s a problem if you’re using sex as a way to modify the behaviour of your partner, though. Like I said…that’s treating your partner like a pet, not like a human being.

        • Alice
          How many women do you know own vibrators, dildos, etc. Now how many men do you know own these dolls.In this realm of solo use sexual accouterments, i believe there is still a stigma against men owning these things.

          The meat relation was not intended. My comment was meant to represent hunger/ casual release. So if i am merely hungry or looking for casual release i don’t want to have to develop the intimate relationship, in hunting with the land weather and animal, to satisfy this need. I will though when i want to develop a relationship or cultivate one i’m in. I agree probably not the best choice of representation.

          “Also, if men would be a bit nicer to their wives they might get more sex.” I understand this, but i have to ask is your definition of nicer not doing any of these things. On a side note i personally don’t like “getting” sex, leaves the engagement feeling empty. It should be a shared experience not a reward.

          • JTC:

            Now how many men do you know own these dolls”
            None, probably because they can cost $1,000. If they were a lot cheaper and easier to acquire, I’m sure they would be an explosion in usage.

            I agree probably not the best choice of representation.”
            No it’s not. I would say that comparing women to food especially is not the way to go lol. It sounds like much of the time a man a woman to fulfill his sexual appetite, which i’ve heard men come close to saying.

            “I understand this, but i have to ask is your definition of nicer not doing any of these things. On a side note i personally don’t like “getting” sex, leaves the engagement feeling empty. It should be a shared experience not a reward.”

            Yes, it is part of the definition. Also, men just tend to get really lazy in relationships past courtship (not saying women are perfect). They dont treat the woman like they used to, but they think honeymoon period sex should be indefinite.

            • GMP Moderator says:

              “Yes, it is part of the definition. Also, men just tend to get really lazy in relationships past courtship (not saying women are perfect). They dont treat the woman like they used to, but they think honeymoon period sex should be indefinite.”

              Please refrain from making generalizations. See our comments policy here: http://goodmenproject.com/commenting-policy/

              Thank you.

    • wellokaythen says:

      “Men dont want to deal with real woman….”

      Hmm. Most female strippers, female prostitutes, and porn actresses would disagree with the statement that they are not “real women”….

      The “real man” and “real woman” rhetoric has a pretty bad history behind it. Think about how many abusive men think of themselves as “real men” and then look down on women who don’t like them because obviously those women “can’t handle a real man.” There is all sorts of abuse that can hide behind the “can’t handle reality” language.

      • Wellokaythen:

        What I’m saying is, men don’t want to deal with a woman who isn’t being used for his pleasure. It’s just easier to pay a woman than to deal with a wife/gf who is placing demands on him.

        • wellokaythen says:

          I get it. I see the distinction.

          I think what JTC is asking, or at least this is where _I_ would go with his question, is:

          “Why do we assume that what the man’s wife/gf wants is actually “real” and what he wants is unreal?”

          Or, another way to put it,

          “If a man finds it hard to get what he wants in a relationship with a particular woman, could that possibly be HER fault in any way and not the fault of porn or prostitution?”

          • Hmm…I’m generally hesitant at blaming a partner when someone is sexually unfulfilled. I don’t blame the person who’s unfulfilled either. I think we place so much emphasis on fitting into normative sexual categories, that when those normative roles aren’t satisfying, we have trouble expressing and communicating it. i.e. If a man’s unsatisfied with the sex in his relationship, I think often there is pressure to suck it up because the traditional narrative says he won’t be satisfied. Similarly, if a man were to tell a woman that he’s unsatisfied, I think there’s often an assumption made by the woman that it’s because “she’s not good enough,” and thus she’ll feel threatened. So instead of communicating openly about sex in a relationship, people lie through their teeth because that’s what they think is normal.

            Which isn’t to say everyone is blameless…people should communicate. If a man is telling a woman that he is unsatisfied sexually, she should be able to have a mature, adult conversation…and figure out whether they can come to some sort of agreement or compromise, or whether it’ll mean the end of the relationship. (Mind, the same could be said about a woman telling a man, or a man telling a man, or a woman telling a woman, etc).

          • wellokaythen:

            I see what you are saying. I think a lot of women don’t understand how important sex is to a man. It seems to me like sex is a big part of a man’s identity. I have known women with really good husbands (see i dont think all men are bad) not have sex out of simple spitefulness. So yes, sometimes it is the woman.

  29. I am rather confused about what the message of this article really is. Do men need to control themselves or do men need to visit prostitutes? Are men focused on one woman and her needs as his partner or do men need variety in partners supported through things like porn and strip clubs? Am I as a woman suppose to think it’s great when men visit prostitutes or strippers and look at porn? Is that how I am suppose to define male sexuality because men need this elusive “variety”? How do I as a woman feel comfortable with being told that I am just one of many a man needs to bang while accepting men and their sexuality? How am I not suppose to think the variety men crave that make me one of a number of woman isn’t degrading or very positive? These are sincere questions your article has brought up for me Dr. Ley.

    How come there can’t be a real thing such as sex addiction? We easily have all kinds of addiction out there. Even addiction to Facebook. While I do agree that chalking up every negative male choice about sex to simply sex addiction is silly, clearly our society is very over sexualized. More sexualized then ever before since the boom of internet porn. I think there is much more sex addiction out there then we may realize. And I don’t say that to put men down or demonize male sexuality.I think women are included in that. I think male sexuality has and is greater and more significant then the things men let it be about. Such as porn and strippers and prostitutes and variety.

    If men want male sexuality to be perceived differently from, ” intrinsically selfish, as overly focused on “scoring” and sexual conquests, as anonymous, “soulless” sex, and on the outward manifestations of virility,” as Dr. Ley pointed out, then men need to stop supporting the industries and mentalities that project this imagery and then getting angry at women for feeling at lost ends about what male sexuality is exactly about. Because everything Dr. Ley described above is found in three huge proponents that Dr.Ley also seems to be advocating for. Porn, strippers and prostitutes. So which is it? Are men not selfish about sex or are they? Do men want anonymous sex or don’t they? Are women interchangeable to men or not? How do you expect men to fight these negative portrayals Dr. Ley when you advocate that they also be used to describe a healthy man’s sexual appetite? How do you expect women to accept the ideas that these industries support about women and still have positive feelings toward men? You can’t have it both ways. you can’t tell women that men really love them and care for them but also want strippers, porn and prostitutes too. Maybe I am misunderstanding something but that seems to be what you are saying and how you want society in general to accept men.

    You had also said: “But most people don’t know the rest of the story. The fact that men masturbate more than women and pursue activities like pornography, prostitutes and strippers are all ways that men express that sexual drive for variety without having to invest the enormous time and resources needed to meet the approval qualifications of most women.”

    And you think this is healthy? That men turn to easier activities like porn, prostitutes and strippers and pay for interaction with women rather then get to know what real women are about, flaws and all? Naturally real women are much more difficult to deal with. But one would hope that men would want a real woman for all she is, her imperfection included, then a man that pays to be with a woman for a short term sexually and never has to really relate to her. Even those strippers and porn actresses and prostitutes have husbands and boyfriends.

    Lastly, you mentioned about how men tend to die sooner then women because of self sacrifice for women. Men tend to die sooner then women because men don’t take care of themselves. Such as visit the doctor or acknowledge when they are having health issues. And that’s not women’s fault. I have seen a lot of men in my life ignore their health issues and live in “i’m fine” world because of whatever ideals they held in their head about what men do or don’t do. Not because women made men die sooner with our presence and demands.

    There are some good parts in your article but mostly I am really confused to what you are trying to say about men, sexuality and what needs to be accepted. Women already put up with men looking at porn and visiting strippers and in some cases, going to prostitutes. How do you suggest women accept these things without feeling degraded in the process? All these things as a woman make me feel degraded. And all these things make me feel like because men need “variety” in women, that I as a woman is worthless in the face of all the different needs men seem to need. How do you suggest women view that as positive when it isn’t at all.When a good chunk of what men themselves support is about making women interchangeable and worthless past a certain age.

    • Erin:
      I think men think those things are ok because they love their wife/gf. If he comes home and says “I love you” that just makes everything ok.

      i’m also confused. If I say men treat women with accumulated female parts, people will take offense. But the poster is saying porn/strippers/hos are ok-but all those things entail using women as body parts. If I come out and say men just want to bounce from one ass to another, I get poster on my ass. But this guy is saying men want to bounce from ass to ass and now it’s cool.

      “Dr. Ley pointed out, then men need to stop supporting the industries and mentalities that project this imagery and then getting angry at women for feeling at lost ends about what male sexuality is exactly about”

      Amen.

      And this is why I have very little respect for men. They just dont seem to be able to control themselves, and they just seem so adolescent. On top of that, a woman should always accept his behavior or SHE will be blamed.

      • Erin, i’m glad you said what I’ve been saying here (albeit I’m a bit more crude)- if men want to change how they are perceived they need to change their behavior.

      • “And this is why I have very little respect for men. They just dont seem to be able to control themselves, and they just seem so adolescent.”

        That is a ridiculous generalization, Alice. That’s like saying ‘I have little respect for women; they just don’t seem able to control themselves and they’re so emotional.’

        And with regards to your statement about “supporting industries”…how’d you like it if I said the same thing about women and the beauty industry? Something along the lines of: Women need to stop supporting the industries and mentalities that promote the idea that women need to be beautiful to be valued, and then getting angry at men for also placing value on women’s beauty. i.e. if you want to stop being treated like the sum of your parts, women need to stop buying make-up, anti-ageing cosmetics and hundred dollar designer purses, etc, etc.

        • HeatherN:

          Generalization or not, the fact is a lot of men just can’t control themselves. Generalizations oftentimes have truth in them and spring up for a reason.

          “f you want to stop being treated like the sum of your parts, women need to stop buying make-up, anti-ageing cosmetics and hundred dollar designer purses, etc, etc”

          Actually, I have addressed something to that effect in another thread ( I was talking more about attire though). This is not a sentiment I direct only at men. I’ll be the first to admit that women have problems esp with materialism and overeating, however, men just don’t see their faults. Every time a woman tries to point out that maybe men are a bit oversexed, she’s accused of over reacting, being emotional, controlling, etc.

          “That’s like saying ‘I have little respect for women; they just don’t seem able to control themselves and they’re so emotional.’ ”
          …But men do, and in this very thread albeit not so blunt.

          • “Generalization or not, the fact is a lot of men just can’t control themselves.”

            Right well I’m not going to bother replying to rest of your comment, because chances are I’ll just get pissed off. This bit right here, is enough to piss me off. Because, really now? Men can’t control themselves? They’re not another species, for crying out loud…they’re human. They aren’t children…they’re adults. What you’re saying is so totally stuck in traditional and outdated gender distinctions. This is not Herland.

            • GirlGlad4TheGMP says:

              I agree with you Heather. Her generalization is hurtful and misplaced on this site. If she has so little respect for me (in general, of course), then why is she here?
              This is, in part, why some men feel the need to defend themselves so vehemently, why some men feel the need to me invulnerable to women, why there has been a raging gender war going on on this site for the past several months.
              Flip the script: if a man came onto a women’s site and made a hurtful generalizatio like she did, he would experience an unparalelled wrath from the commenters…this should not be acceptable here.

              Whatever happened to showing a little understanding as humans?

              • GirlGlad4TheGMP says:

                *men, not *me

                • GirlGlad, the gender war is coming from both sides. Despite some of the harsh comments from both sides, I am rather glad that GMP doesn’t over moderate. Which allows for a more real, true discussion.

                  • Lisa Hickey says:

                    Thanks Erin! It’s actually an extraordinarily difficult job, comment moderation. Our moderators constantly have to take deep breaths, step back, divorce themselves from the angriest comments. It’s exactly our goal — to allow as much discussion from as diverse a community as possible, while also making it feel like a safe place free from personal attacks.

                    And, oh, by the way, we are looking for more comment moderators, so if anyone wants to volunteer to help us, you will be lauded as a hero by me personally.

                    • (R)Evoluzione says:

                      Yes indeed, thanks, Lisa, for allowing us that rare gift these days, free speech. This thread reminds me of that scene in Jerry McGuire, where Jerry and Rod are in a heated conversation, and one says “You think we’re arguing, I think we’re just getting started in a conversation!” Passionate discourse is needed. Thanks for some latitude here.

                      Above all, I think people can have great conversations IF people don’t take it too seriously, and approach it with an attitude of playful, artful communication, and try to where other people are coming from without losing your own perspective.

                  • GirlGlad4TheGMP says:

                    Erin,
                    While I don’t disagree, both sides are responsible for their own words, and what she’s saying is not at all helpful on a site like this…and frankly creates more issues than it solves.

            • Heather:
              What you’re saying is so totally stuck in traditional and outdated gender distinctions. ”

              No, actually it has everything to do with what i’ve experienced or observed with men.

              • Okay, but consider that some people just have bad experiences. Consider the fact that your bad experiences also reflect the stereotype…which can also make it more difficult to see that what you’ve experiences isn’t generally true. Your bad experiences don’t necessarily translate into actual norms.

                I am curious as to why someone who doesn’t respect men, and who views men in such a negative way would read and comment on articles at a site about men? I’m not being snarky here, I’m actually curious.

                • kay, but consider that some people just have bad experiences”
                  Yes, like just about every woman I’ve known.

                  I am curious as to why someone who doesn’t respect men, and who views men in such a negative way would read and comment on articles at a site about men?

                  I still think the site is interesting, and I actually like some of the articles.

                  • Don’t you find it a little bit…problematic to join a site about men that was created with an audience of men in mind, and then say you don’t respect men? It’d be like if a man joined a site geared toward women and said “I don’t respect women.” It’s the same problem.

                    • t’d be like if a man joined a site geared toward women and said “I don’t respect women.”

                      And that wouldn’t be offensive to me. I’ve been on sites geared to women in men posted. There was a guy who’d post pictures of pornography and dead women. That I did find offensive.

                      was created with an audience of men in mind, and then say you don’t respect men?”
                      I still find the site interesting

          • wellokaythen says:

            As a man, I can’t control myself? Thank you for letting me off the hook. I kept trying to hold myself responsible for my actions year after year, decade after decade, and I thought I really was, but now I see that all that was a waste of effort.

            I’m now enlightened about my true nature. Instead of dwelling on all that time I wasted trying to control myself, I need to focus on the time I have left. Woo-hoo! No responsibility!

    • (R)Evoluzione says:

      “Do men need to control themselves or do men need to visit prostitutes?” False dilemma argument. Those are not the only two choices presented.

      “Are men focused on one woman and her needs as his partner or do men need variety in partners supported through things like porn and strip clubs?” False dilemma argument #2. Men can focus on a woman’s needs and still enjoy a trip to a strip club, and the occasional porn viewing.

      “Am I as a woman suppose to think it’s great when men visit prostitutes or strippers and look at porn?” Loaded question, and/or straw man argument. Those three things are not anywhere near equivalent.

      Erin, you’re arguing from an emotional place, and it’s clear you haven’t really understood the article. It seems your responses are reflective of your own insecurities in facing male sexuality. Read HeatherN’s responses for a more measured view. She’s at least thinking rationally rather than responding emotionally.

      • GMP Moderator says:

        This thread has the potential to become heated. Let’s please avoid generalizing about emotionality as that is coming close to patronizing.

      • (R)Evoluzione, I would appreciate if you could speak with me as an equal and not disrespect me or my opinion by simply over simplifying it and chalking it to me being “emotional”. I really am not. I gave a very sincere and well thought out response to the article. I am looking for answers and looking to understand men better while hoping men want to same. But if all you are going to do is demean the way I can see it and chalk it up to being less then how you see it because of something you attached to me that isn’t even true, such as being over “emotional”, then we are not going to be able to have the kind of discussion we need to address the tough conversations that come up with such sensitive information. And the reality is that when it comes to sexuality, it is a sensitive topic for all of us. Men and women.

        You said, “False dilemma argument.” I don’t know what you mean by that. How about instead of talking down to me and my opinion you offer a little more then a three word sentence to put my questions down. If I asked a question that you don’t agree with, tell me why. Don’t give me three sentences responses and condescend to me that my opinion on this topic is less then yours.

        The reality is that Dr. Ley talked about how men do need to control themselves. He also suggested that visiting prostitutes was a healthy way to express male sexuality. He talked about the negative way men’s sexuality is often discussed and represented. Such as men only wanting emotionless, anonymous sex. Such as the sex that a prostitute is likely to provide. Yet he advocated that men go after this type of sex. So I am rather confused. Because if men do not want their sexuality to be projected as emotionless, selfish or anonymous, then perhaps men shouldn’t practice or hunt out things that showcase exactly those qualities then get mad at women for not thinking those are “positives”.

        Perhaps men CAN focus on a woman’s needs AND enjoy a trip to a strip club. That does not mean that a woman should accept this, condone it or agree with it. There is no positive for a woman to be in a relationship with a man that can easily maneuver between satisfying her then running off to play with strippers. Relationships are so much more then giving good sex. And just because a man maybe able to duelly play both sides of the line and focus on a woman’s needs and enjoy a strip club, doesn’t mean that’s what is necessarily healthy for a relationship when you count everything needed for a healthy one. Mind, body and spirit.

        Enjoying strip clubs and porn doesn’t really seem like a positive if you ask me. Infact, it re-enforces the belief that no matter what kind of partner I am to my man, that he will still l want to self gratify himself with other woman at some point. How am I suppose to project that as a positive? Why shouldn’t I consider that a negative trait in male sexuality? I am sure there are female traits men consider negative yes? Why must it mean I am automatically demonizing a man or being “emtional” to naturally point that out. I don’t think my opinion is illogical at all. Do you? If so, be prepared to back it up with something substantial and explain so.

        It seems like men want it all and don’t want to deny themselves anything in the face of everything they want their sexuality to be. You want a woman to love and respect you. But you also want to look at porn of young hot girls and play with strippers on your down time. You want women to think you are great and a wonderful lover, but you also want to be free to step out and enjoy the variety that actually does make a lot of women feel pretty unimportant. Do you know what it’s like living in a world where men tell you how much they need variety? It’s not a positive one. How do you expect women to see it as thus?

        Look, I get that male sexuality is a powerful thing. That’s why it has the potential to be such a wonderful and exciting thing. But it also has the power to be destructive and negative. Not everything that comes with male sexuality is a positive. Just like not everything that comes with women is a positive. And trying to shame women or brow beat them to accept every element of male sexuality as a “positive” because men can’t handle being criticized for the elements of their sexuality that women don’t find favorable, is unfair to women AND to men. Because when we begin doing this we stop asking men to pay attention to what women may need outside of a sexual relationship and we stop requiring men to act beyond their sexuality.

        Maybe you as a man and many other men think it’s great that you can toggle between focusing on your woman and giving her great sex and then going to check out young hot women in porn or strip clubs. But a lot of women are going to fail to see the positive in that because it’s simply not a positive for some women. It fails to meet her own needs that fit outside whatever sexual satisfaction you may be giving her. If you were dating other men, I guess you would be good to go. But you aren’t. You’re dating women.

        I stand by my question. Are women suppose to think it’s great that men easily toggle between being sexually focused on one woman and being happy to visit strippers or prostitutes? Many more of my questions have so far gone ignored and unanswered.

        I am not responding emotionally at all. I am responding the the mixed messages I found to be in the article and I think my questions are reasonable and intelligent. I think I have been completely reasonable and intelligent within this discussion and I think then rather seriously consider the arguments I intelligently presented, you resorted to putting me down to avoid a deeper discussion on the topic. I’m sincerely sorry you decided to address me the way you did and I actually think your comments are full of their own emotional response then you’d like to admit to yourself. People call other people “emotional” or use the “straw man argument” when they don’t have anything better to say. You had the opportunity to disagree with me with some real discussion or TEACH me something about men instead of just automatically writing me off and putting me down. This is a sensitive topic for all. And it would do you well to keep that in mind. That men are not the only ones that are allowed to feel something here.

        • (R)Evoluzione says:

          My intention in brevity was not condescention, but simply that–a succinct reply. It seems simpler to reply to the body and tonality of your post, rather that replying to every question and statement, line-by-line, because you wrote as much or more than the OP. I write simply, and that direct writing is not meant to put you down, nor anyone else. But since you took my cursory reply to be insulting, I’ll do my best to flesh this out for you, while still keeping it succinct.

          Bottom line is, Erin, everything in your replies above comes from a female-centric point of view. A single example: “There is no positive for a woman to be in a relationship with a man that can easily maneuver between satisfying her then running off to play with strippers.” Where’s the negative, besides that it makes you uncomfortable? If he’s still coming home to you, still passionate towards you, still in love with you, where’s the harm? There is none, except for your ego. Your ego gets hurt because you think his sexual gaze towards another woman. e.g. a stripper, means you’re not enough. But in biological fact, men just have that urge to look at beautiful female forms, to feel energized by our libido. It makes us feel alive, energized, and in touch with our masculinity. It’s not a slight against you. It’s a celebration of our masculine selves.

          Seen another way, moral outrage towards male sexual empowerment is essentially a form of bigotry, because, when women are in touch with their sexuality and empowered by it, it’s good, powerful, it’s “you go girrrl,” but when a man is in touch with his sexual being, it’s evil and hurtful, unless he can somehow circumscribe it to his “one and only,” which is not the way most men are wired. But because you’re not recognizing that, it’s clear you choose to focus on male sexuality not in and of itself, but it’s effects on you. You won’t see male sexuality from it’s own perspective, but only from yours. That’s the definition of being self-centered.

          But really, you can’t be blamed for such solipsism. Our whole society was based on the notion that women need protecting from male sexuality, that bachelors are a menace to society, that single men are somehow less valuable than those in heterosexual married dyads. But the equal rights movement has righted that equation. There is no more important gender, there is no more important relationship status, there is no favored party in the relationship–both parties are equal, both parties deserve to have their needs met. Our culture hasn’t caught up with this yet, of course, but the momentum is swinging this way, like it or not. More and more men are waking up to this reality, and becoming empowered.

          At the end of the day, there will be no resolution, because sexual tension is a requisite, and significant piece of attraction. Tension means, by nature, there is the potential for conflict. If all were hunky-dory, conflict-free, the sexual chemistry in the world would dry up. Men in command of their sexuality will always be seen as sexual, desirable beings, as will attractive women. That is the nature of our mammalian beingness. We can fight it, we can argue, but that reality is not going away. George Clooney will be seen as attractive no matter how many girls he cycles through. But he’s clear in his communication and intent, he’s not the marrying type. Women know–enter at your own risk, but there’s certainly no shortage of women of any age willing to date Mr. Clooney. And clearly we’re seeing more and more men go that route.

          What you’re seeing is the male corollary, the androcentric blowback, if you will, to the feminist movement. This is the birth of the andronist movement. Men are standing up, owning who we are and refusing to be less than who we are, just so that other people can be comfortable. I understand that can be scary and disconcerting as a woman, because it runs completely counter to your interests. But that’s not the male imperative. Ours is something different. Men can be true to ourselves and still be in relationships with women via by remaining committed honest and open communication. Men shouldn’t promise monogamy if that’s not what’s being practiced. They shouldn’t commit to not looking at porn or never going to strip clubs. If they’re not the marrying type, they should be clear about it. I am. If men choose to “play the field,” that’s their choice, and it should be out in the open. Men viewing porn or visiting strip clubs should be seen in the same light as women reading romance novels or swooning over the teenage vampire celebrity du jour, since those are the female equivalents and they’re not different on a substantive level.

          As Vox Popoli says, “I don’t expect you to agree. I don’t even expect you to understand.” I think this is less of a dialogue, and more of a statement. Men are tired of being put in boxes and pushed into conformity in a female-centric social norm. That world went out with the Equal Rights amendment and gender parity. Men are free, in other words, in the same way women are free. You may not like it, but that’s the way it is.

          • GMP Moderator says:

            Please keep the commenting policy in mind and refrain from personal attacks.

            You can find it here: http://goodmenproject.com/commenting-policy/

          • (R)Evoluzione, I’m not interested in gender-war. Or a personal vendetta some believe to be on the head of Feminism. Life isn’t easy for anyone. We are all struggling to make it work and find love and life along the way. We either work together or we get off on hurting and devaluing the other gender with a “they finally got theirs” mentality and puff out our collective chests for the retribution we think has been served to each other. I know what side I want to be on.

            Earlier you mentioned that I had a female-centric point of view. Of course I do. Am I suppose to be ashamed about caring about my gender? I care about men treating women right. I care about fostering better and happier relationships between men and women. I can about men and women both getting their needs met reasonably without taking advantage of the other gender. All good things! But I also care about men. Hearing them out. Not using them. Being open to them and having them be open back. Respecting them. Not fostering some bitter vendetta of “pay back” for the ways a movement might have done some harm. Do you care about women like I care about men? (And if we are going to be fair then we better note that Feminism did good for women AND men as well.) I am not interested in devaluing men and making them suffer for all my shallow desires and whims. I would wish the same from men. Despite the fact that women lived for generations in a world of male domination and that Feminism and liberated womanhood has only really been alive and kicking for the past 40 years. And despite that, it’s really only been the past few years that we’ve heard made women make even greater economic strives.

            I am also not a movement. I am one woman that tries every day to understand the men in her life better. And if I have a female-centric point of view, then you naturally have a male-centric point of view. You tell me which one has more worth.

            I am just confused as to the message of the article. Perhaps I am missing it. I would love to see more positive representations of male sexuality and highlighting the good points of male sexuality. However, the article also suggests that society accept and enjoy the down sides of male sexuality. The reality is, just because men have sexual desires and whims and fleeting fancies, doesn’t make it right for men to act like these should be seen as positive things or that men should even see them as positive things. Male sexuality can be great. But not when it turns into using women for selfish pleasures. Strippers, porn..the likes of that, are selfish pleasures. You will be hard pressed to find women that respect men that indulge their little hearts content sexually with cornucopias amounts of women. Now clearly there are women that are okay with strippers and porn. But in general, women ARE sensitive to be used as “one of the pack” in his harem. Visual or otherwise.

            So you can claim it’s unfair when certain aspects of male sexuality gets labeled negatively, but the reality is that male sexuality CAN be negative in some cases. And this does not demonize men. Lets not perversely get overly PC here and claim that male sexuality can do no wrong. This acknowledges the reality that men are not perfect and that their sexuality isn’t perfect either. And neither should it be perfectly accepted by women, anyway a man may “feel” like dishing it out. Now I am totally for focusing more on the positives of male sexuality and encouraging that in men instead of the negatives. But if men want the positives to be more highlighted, then they also need to practice the positives with more regularity and more vocalness then the negatives. I am not for pretending that every aspect of male sexuality is wonderful and celebrating it under the idea that male sexuality is perfect. And my impression is that Dr. Ley was doing a bit of that. Again, perhaps I am wrong. But this has been my deduction based on his article. Now if you want to continue to talk about Feminism. Go ahead, but my conversation goes deeper then a movement. It goes right to how men and women communicate with each other verbally and sexually.

            Do you know what really stuck out to me about your comments? When you said this: “. George Clooney will be seen as attractive no matter how many girls he cycles through.”
            This is the exact mentality about women that is destructive. That women, or girls as you said, should be “cycled through”. That the man is the one that “cycles through” the “girls” and that this is “healthy” sexuality. It’s not. Yes, we all know men like “variety”, but “cycling through” women is not anything any man should be proud of. That’s not really a statement of George Clooney. I don’t know about his life life or how he treats women. I do know that most guys here, aren’t the next George Clooney. Most regular guys lead regular love lives. To talk about “girls” in a way that talks about their worth being tied to how many of them a man can cycle through is never going to be seen as a good thing for any woman. I think you have the common sense to understand why. Further, “cycling through” “girls” has very little to do with real masculinity or strength or respect. What further is disturbing is that you think it’s a positive. Because you also say, “And clearly we’re seeing more and more men go that route.” You suggest that it’s a good thing to treat women like replaceable items on a shelf. Even as you denounce what Feminism has done to men, which you believe has minimized men. Now you suggest that women being minimized is “healthy” male sexuality and positive.

            You expressed dissatisfaction over the Feminism movement and what you think it’s done to society. From my understanding there are men that think the Feminism movement has devalued men. But you actually are happy to see women devalued and “cycled” through. I don’t get it. That’s not the way you solve anything in our society between men and women.

            Yes, I consider it harmful when a man easily toggles, and wants to toggle, between wanting one woman to come home to while he also spends his time freely engaging with other women in sexual ways and seeking out his personal self pleasure at any cost. Especially if it’s at the detriment of the needs of his partner. Needs that are just as valid as his even if you don’t personally think so. Needs you might call “emotional” or “female-centric”. I also see an issue with someone writing off the needs, emotional or sexual, of the other under an over simplification and degrading comment on it only being about their ego. Perhaps visits to strippers are actually about male ego. You said yourself that visiting strippers makes a man good and alive. That sounds like a lot of ego to me.

            The reality is, visiting strippers is a form of engaging with other women in sexual ways. Yes, I do think this is harmful to a relationship. Because relationships aren’t simply about a man’s biological “needs” or even sex for that matter. Usually in relationships, each partner not only needs to be mindful of their partner’s sexual needs, but their emotional ones as well. So what if a man can sexually please his partner? If he is not meeting her other needs, needs I think you’ve already written off as silly “female-centric” desires, the relationship will burn out very quick. Sexual and emotional needs of BOTH people included in the relationship are equally important. Just because men have biological desires, doesn’t mean they should be acted on every chance a man gets in the name of them. Just as women who have very strong emotional desires, doesn’t mean it’s fair when women react to them every chance she gets. Both genders enjoy and respect each other more when the other practices self control.

            By the way, men are not the only ones that feel “alive”, “energized” or “in touch” with our femininity/masculinity when sex is in the picture. However, I don’t see how that logically justifies certain behaviors. Should a woman in a relationship seek out some form of male attention from other men outside of her relationship to celebrate her feminine self? How many men would in a relationship would feel comfortable with that? How many men are okay going to view strippers but would be upset at their own woman being the one on stage.

            • (R)Evoluzione says:

              Erin, I had to laugh out loud, repeatedly, when I read your post. Not out of disrespect, but out of incredulousness. First and foremost, I never denounced feminism! I mentioned it once, as passing reference to the current androsphere movement as a counterpoint to it. Certainly, you expected at least some response from men to feminism, beyond a shrug and a yawn? I believe it’s been positive overall. (I also believe that some of the most damaging effects of feminism have been to women & children, but that’s another can o’ worms.)

              I never said feminism was evil, that it has harmed men, or any of that. These are all your projections. Again I feel compelled to respond to the body of your post rather than the particulars. I’ll do that first and try to fold in some of the detail. First, You see you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Patriarchy is dead. We’re dancing on its grave, for better or worse. Women now outearn men in the lower age groups, are college educated at higher rates than men, et cetera. The old model of man as a provider is decomposing as we speak. When we say a man is a provider, it’s not just monetary security, but sexual as well, because they are intrinsically linked.

              The sexual landscape has fundamentally shifted. Problem is, you want your cake and to eat it, too. You want that old gender world, a.k.a, patriarchy, where men are uber responsible for every aspect of his wife’s safety and happiness. With rights come responsibilities. That world is gone.

              You can’t have no-fault divorce (70% initated by women) without also having men opt out–like Clooney. Who’s smarter, Clooney or Kobe Bryant? Both played the field, Bryant did so whilst married. It’s gonna cost him half his fortune. Clooney avoids marriage & excessive responsibility or commitment to a single woman. Smart dude. Speaking of, look into his treatment of women. He treats the women he dates with much respect and kindness. None of his former girlfriends have anything bad about him, nor does he have anything but good things to say about the women he’s dated. He just chooses to date serially. Of course, every woman he dates things she’s going to be “the One” who convinces him to “man up” and marry & impregnate her, and be with her for ever and ever. But so far, that’s not what he’s said he wants.

              Erin, you take anything less than lifetime commitment and total mental, emotional, and energetic focus on a man’s sole partner to be ‘disrespectful’ to women. Yet I assure you that it’s possible to be a perfect gentleman, be honorable and respectful, and still play the field. But because a man doesn’t choose your preferred relationship model, the Very Long Term Relationship, then you see that as disrepectful. That’s selfish, because it only serves your long term interests, not his. You have a very old relationship model, one that’s out of sync with the current realities. Today, people can have short term relationships that are very fulfilling. So if anyone’s devaluing women who participate in short relationships, that would be you.

              Do you seriously think that any woman would regret a six month or three year fling with George? Hell, no! They’ll take that to the grave as one of the high points of their lives. But he won’t marry one, at least not yet. Personally, I hope he does whatever makes him happy. If he wants to date young, hot actresses for another 20 years, cool, good on ya George. Or if he changes his mind at some point & wants to wife up someone who makes his heart flutter, that’s awesome, more power to him. But don’t feel sorry for the women he dates. That’s their choice, and you must honor their agency, their free will.

              You can’t have female sexual empowerment without corresponding male sexual freedom. Women wanted the freedom to do what they want sexually, to become strippers & porn stars without judgment. Well, we all know there’s judgment from some spheres, but that’s not the point. The point is, that industry wouldn’t exist without customers-men. Go ahead & demonize an entire segment of the economy, but it’s not going away anytime soon. If anything it’s getting bigger. And yes, there men who date strippers, dancers, etc. I’ve dated several. Sometimes several at one time. I don’t have a problem with that, I’m not the jealous type. I’ve also dated younger women (I’m in my mid 30’s), older women, yes even married women. You see, women threw off the yoke of patriarchy. Fine. Great! Beautiful! Women now have agency to make choices. Because women now have agency to do make all these choices, men are similarly free as well. Now not all men will choose this route, thank god, or we’d not have a civilization for long, but enough men to make a difference are opting for another path, and that door was opened by feminism. How can we hate it? It’s empowered us.

              Feminism stuck a dagger in the heart of patriarchy. The old way is dead & gone, you can’t stuff that genie back in the bottle. You can’t ask men to hold up the old standards of responsibility to hearth & family without their corresponding rights. Or you can, but don’t be surprised when at least some men laugh at you & go on our merry way. The more empowered, the more aware a man is of his own sexual value, the more likely he’s going to be to want to opt out. These are the men at the top of society, the ones who have the most options, those will be the ones least willing to conform to a dead-&-gone model of relationships. How many wives has Newt Gingrich had. Not that I like the guy, but he’s pursued his own sexual interests, and I’m sure he has a bombproof prenup with wifey #5. Yeah, it’s discomfitting to women, to say the least, but you know what, it’s not a world we created. As it’s been said, your righteous indignation is not my moral crisis.
              There are plenty, plenty of women willing to go along for the ride, even if it’s a brief one.

              • “Of course, every woman he dates things she’s going to be “the One” who convinces him to “man up” and marry & impregnate her, and be with her for ever and ever.”

                Well isn’t that totally stereotypical. I bet plenty of women Clooney dates knows he’s a confirmed bachelor (without the homosexual innuendo), and are fine with it. Not every woman is out there looking for ‘the one’ and to settle down.

                “Do you seriously think that any woman would regret a six month or three year fling with George? Hell, no! They’ll take that to the grave as one of the high points of their lives.”

                And this is also, quite presumptive. Because he’s George Clooney the women who date him are probably grateful for the time he spent with them? Either they had a good relationship or not…but just because he’s famous doesn’t mean they’ll be totally satisfied with their relationship. Mind you, just because he doesn’t marry one of them doesn’t mean they’ll be unsatisfied either.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Gosh darn it, I wish we could change the phrase “straw man.”

        It’s inherently sexist in a misandrist way. The metaphor is about a fake, simplistic thing that is easily burnt and destroyed. Why does it have to be male? Is that what males are good for? Why can’t it be a “straw person” or “straw figure”, or half the time make it a “straw woman” argument?

        Not much egalitarian pressure out there to make negative or less elevated masculine terms gender-neutral. Anyone play the word game “hangperson” recently, or was it “hangman”?

        • (R)Evoluzione says:

          Straw politician? Well most of those are male too. Eh. Nevermind.

          How about we call it “straw position,” because that’s what it is–a straw position argument is when someone takes what you said, and twists it into something else and then attacks that other non-argument that you didn’t make, as if it was the argument you did make. So it’s as if they took your original position, and made a new one out of straw, then attacked that one.

          It’s happened a lot on this thread, but I see my own mistake in not applying Hanlon’s Razor.

  30. QuantumInc says:

    The basic premise rings so true. I’ve been turned on by women’s intelligence, like REALLY turned on. I’ll find myself wanting to: be their friend, be their boyfriend, get to know them, cuddle, kiss, and yes stick my penis inside them. I cycle through all imaginable forms of physical and emotional intimacy if I think about them too much.

    I know that women want to be wanted for their minds, but for some reason it feels unnaturally perverted. As if I am supposed to sexualize only the woman’s T&A and admire her mind in a strictly non-sexual manner.

    On another note, I find it unfortunate that this article automatically associates specific personal qualities such as courage, dominance and success with malehood. Men are not required to have these qualities any more than any other good quality. A sensitive and caring man is also a good man. It’s besides the point, but it seemed ironic in a otherwise radical progressive text.

  31. Libro_Ballente says:

    Yes. Thank you. Your naming the trope of men’s sexuality as a demonic inner force that must be tamed by decent men really spoke to me, as I felt very suffocated and frustrated because of it as a teen, and am not free from it yet today. I think that it is the pleasant, but also highly important, duty of the Good Man to reinforce a different, truer story: that the expression of anyone’s sexuality in a state of enthusiastic consent with another is pleasurable, tender, beneficial and mind-blowingly sexy.

  32. (r)Evoluzione says:

    Absolutely fantastic article, and a much needed voice here at GMP. We need more voices of male sexual empowerment and the masculine imperative.

    Great stuff, I hope to see more of your work here.

    • David J. Ley says:

      Thanks – I’m very happy to have such a positive response. I didn’t set out to write a book about male sexuality, when I first started investigating sex addiction. But, as I delved into the concept, I found that it was largely a means to pathologize male sexuality, and create more shame and fear in men. I’m glad sites like this one are out there, helping to spread a more positive message.

  33. Great article. This perspective needs to be voiced more often.

    In regards to ‘scoring,’ though, I think it needs to be stated that ‘scoring’ should not be considered healthy if lies and coercion are used to ‘score.’ In my own experience, lies and coercion are central to at least some men’s and some male community’s conceptualizations of scoring.

    In regards to dominance, I do think that sex often times involves power, though I would disagree with any assumption that assigns dominance to realm of the biological male and submission to the realm of the biological female. Evolutionary theory provides us with a temptation to make that assumption, but that assumption likely will prove just as erroneous as other assumptions concerning sexuality that seem to make sense evolutionary at first glance (eg. assumptions that homosexuality does not benefit the species and/or ensure genes are passed on). Could that very temptation in theory and the reality that men often take a dominant role in sex actually be evidence of cultural norms associated with masculinity? At least I think so. 🙂 Perhaps, one could argue, men that preform a wide spectrum of power roles in sex (from dom to sub) a hard-wired sexuality less corrupted by cultural norms that discourage men from submissive roles.

    Thanks for the post.

    • (R)Evoluzione says:

      Nick, I agree with your point on lies & coercion being unhealthy, but I think that the prevalence of men lying and/or using coercion is a stereotype. Maybe you can provide some evidence otherwise.

      Secondly, and more insidiously, your point on dominance is not based at all in fact. All you have to do is read Sperm Wars, the Red Queen, or Sex at Dawn to get a picture of how much male dominance is coded into our DNA. It’s not only in our species, but in all the higher primates and indeed in most if not all higher mammals. You could say that testosterone is a corollary to our genetic predilection towards male dominance, and you’d be right.

      All this talk about cultural norms and masculinity being a social construct is simply signal noise. There is only one sociological theory that can accurately predict and explain the persistent and ubiquitous effects of patriarchy, and that is Goldberg’s theory of the Inevitability of Patriarchy based on the genetic and hormonal axes.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Inevitability_of_Patriarchy

      Nobody’s offered anything that fits the data better, and every day that goes by, Evolutionary studies departments at universities around the world pump out study after study demonstrating the veracity of these claims.

      Here’s just a couple pieces of scholarly work to that end:

      Dominant men have more kids, lower infant mortality, and more extrapair matings.

      http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/278/1715/2223.abstract?etoc

      Females prefer more dominant (putatively) men, who actually smell different:
      http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/1/3/256.full

      TL:DR: It’s in our GENES! Biology. Wake up & smell the androgen. It’s like napalm in the morning.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Logically, one cannot rest an argument on natural selection (“evolution’) and at the same time say that something is inevitable or permanent. One certainly cannot bring up evolution and then say that these characteristics are here to stay.

        I say this because by their very nature evolutionary developments are constantly changing. In terms of DNA, it is literally a “constant” change: DNA mutations happen at a constant rate, which is how we can trace the age of certain traits like blue eyes. There is randomness, and there are genetic dead ends. There is no inevitability in the way that natural selection works. There is no fate, only some general tendencies. The only possible inevitability is extinction, which so far has been the fate of 99% of all species of life on earth. If evolution really does have some kind of design, you could just as easily say that evolution is out to kill us all. Evolution does not actually “care” or “want” humans to continue to reproduce.

        One could look at DNA as a kind of code or blueprint, and that humans are programmed somehow. But, bear in mind that the program is always changing. You could say we are programmed to change our programming over time. DNA is not some kind of fundamentalist literal text that is eternal and unchangeable and irrefutable.

        Also, natural selection pressures do NOT necessarily move a species in only one direction. Evolution does not necessarily streamline sex or reproduction over the course of millennia. Nature does not have an intention or a plan or a motivation or even a guiding principle.

        There are clearly biological, genetic, evolutionary, hormonal factors involved with human sexuality. No question. The problem is with reducing all of them down to one sort of binary – men do X, women do Y, and that’s just how we’re programmed. For one thing, I don’t think anyone who studies testosterone in a scientific capacity looks at it as something in isolation. It’s not a magic juice that acts on its own. It expresses its effects in concert with other hormones and biochemicals. Both men and women have testosterone. The level of it in absolute terms is not a full explanation for differences between men and women. And tesosterone levels are as much an effect of one’s behavior as a cause of one’s behavior.

        I hypothesize the opposite: humans have “naturally” developed the capacity for mutliple forms of sexuality and multiple motives for sexuality. Both male and female humans are clearly capable of forming lifetime monogamous pair bonds and also capable of wide promiscuity, and I suspect this range is “encoded” in our DNA more than any kind of simple binary programming.

  34. Your sophism solves nothing. Only men have a role and that is for use and utility to whatever role women demand on having. Women have choices and men responsibility. It is your gender that dominates the discussion and furthermore will not allow men into traditional female roles. Women will never be for men what men have been for women. I don’t think men should be this for women anymore.

    • (R)Evoluzione says:

      Ryan, your point holds about men in general having responsibility rather than choice, being a utility, et cetera. It’s true as a generalization.

      However, as individuals, we make our choices, and we get to choose what we do in life, and we will accept in terms of respect, love, admiration, from others.

      Audacious men have always claimed their lives for their own. Wilt, as mentioned in the article. Shakespeare and Lord Byron come to mind. These men live life for themselves, on their terms. There are plenty more in our time.

      Further, I don’t want to be hemmed into any traditionally female gender roles. (ahem, pun intended.) Unlike Nick, above, I believe that much of gender roles and identity are biologically determined, and I’m fine with that. And I think that most men agree, and women, even feminists, in their heart of hearts, know that humans are happier when we subscribe to some sort of basic gender role, some sort of division of labor. Incidentally, we know that’s biological, and further, it’s an evolutionary adaptation. The evidence is all around us–men are, on the whole, larger than women.

      • I’m sorry, but I disagree. I am not happy prescribing to any gender role. I’ve never accepted the “traditional female role” and as a result I am seen differently for it. I have more traditionally masculine interests and have better relationships with men than I do women. But I also love to cook. Does it really do anyone any favors to label these things as masculine and feminine? Are my experiences any less valid because I’m not following my “role” as a woman?

        • I’m not happy prescribing to any gender role either. Stereotypical gender roles would dictate I should be a stay-at-home wife, keep the house clean, and cook for my future husband–or even a stay-at-home mom, which I don’t want to be because both would be a miserable existence for me. I desire to do something more with my life, something that benefits more than just my husband, and that means I want to have a career where I am ultimately benefiting others and actually contributing something to society.

          • GirlGlad4TheGMP says:

            Wow Amber, gender issues aside, way to talk down the value of women (or anyone) working in the home.
            “I desire to do something more with my life, something that benefits more than just my husband (and potentially children….wouldn’t you take any benefit from raising your children, or are you saying children can learn nothing from you?), and that means I want to have a career where I am ultimately benefiting others and actually contributing something to society.”
            That’s just downright condescending…you’re saying women (or men) who stay home and care for kids and/or support husbands/wives contribute nothing to society? My mom stayed at home till I was 11 and I’m an upstanding, contributing member of society…if she hadn’t, I might not have been).

            I’m not the stay-at-home-wife(mother) type either, but I do recognize that those who do provide benefit to their homes, and IMO, to society in general.

            And before I get it from the other side, dads can do the same (or better).

            • (R)Evoluzione says:

              Thanks for standing up for stay-at-home moms. Their service and, yes, hard work, is an invaluable contribution to society and individual families. Stay at home dads, too.

            • ITA @girlglad

              Also, working isn’t the only way to help other people. There’s also volunteering and community service.

              Staying at home is a lot of work! I don’t envy the schedules of some stay at home parents.

          • Amber says: “Stereotypical gender roles would dictate I should be a stay-at-home wife, keep the house clean, and cook for my future husband–or even a stay-at-home mom, which I don’t want to be because both would be a miserable existence for me.”

            For the past 30+ years, the majority of men expect their wives to work, so I believe that the odds of your future husband wanting you to stay home is quite small. It is, however, far more probable that he will expect you to fulfill the stereotypical gender role of cleaning, cooking and taking care of the kids.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Interesting from the evolutionary point of view that the manly man Lord Byron died so young. According to some theories about testosterone, his male hormones no doubt made him more of a risk taker, which meant he died before he could have produced even more chilren. Testosterone HURT the reproduction of the species in his case.

      • wellokaythen says:

        “….humans are happier when we subscribe to some sort of basic gender role, some sort of division of labor. Incidentally, we know that’s biological, and further, it’s an evolutionary adaptation. The evidence is all around us–men are, on the whole, larger than women.”

        A powerful argument, compelling in its passion and simplicity, but it may be too simple as a reliable “scientific” argument.

        First of all, there is no reason to assume that biological processes result in any form of simplicity in terms of gender differences. Even if there were some sort of clear adaptation involved, the “basic gender role” that evolution has developed may explain a tiny fraction of the differences that people ascribe to the two genders.

        Secondly, “division of labor” is enormously dependent upon the economics of the groups of humans under study. I don’t necessarily mean economics in modern sense. I mean like whether they’re hunting big animals or small animals makes a huge difference in any gendered division of labor among hunter/gatherer groups.

        Thirdly, perhaps I am too bitter and cynical a person, but I am not convinced that evolution actually has anything at all to do with humans being “happier” doing one thing as opposed to another. Many of the people choosing “unnatural” gender roles seem pretty happy to me.

        Finally, on the different average sizes of men and women. Evidence is that this dimorphism has changed over the course of human evolution, sometimes making men and women closer in size, sometimes more different in size. Men always bigger, yes, but even this is variable, not a constant. Also, I’m not sure what men’s larger size actually proves in terms of roles. (There are actually some long-term survival DIS-advantages to being big and muscular, in terms of energy consumption.) Seems to me the optimal division of labor is that once a baby is weaned the males should take care of the children. Males are big and strong, so they’re most able to defend the wee babies. The bigger and stronger the parent, the more the parent is able to carry the child around and protect the child from harm. So, seems to me evolution wants men to take care of the kids. How’s that for a basic evolutionary gender role?

        I think the heart of my disagreement with (R)Evoluzione’s messages is that I don’t assume that a particular characteristic has a “purpose.” I don’t see natural selection as having any particular design or intention or goal. Nature, evolution, biology, whatever, does not actually have a desire to make humans a certain way.

        I think of a biological development the same way I think of gravity. It’s there, it exists, we can study it and even come up with formulas to describe it, but that doesn’t mean there’s an intention there. The earth’s gravity pulls me towards the ground. That doesn’t mean the Earth WANTS me to fall down because that’s the “goal” of gravity. It just does. If I said the earth hates it when I jump up in the air and that’s why it won’t let me jump very high, or if I said the planet would be much happier if I wasn’t so tall, you’d say I was delusional. For me, it’s the same thing with saying that evolution wants us to be happy doing X and not Y.

  35. Male need to sexually perform is simply an extension of the only value men are allowed to have i.e. that of a use and utility object. Men don’t have inherent value as women do. Men know very well that in order to have any worth as a human being they must “be” a man. Men are not accepted or loved otherwise.

    • Men do that to other men, and men do that to themselves. Men are as guilty of belittling each other and upholding the status quo as women are. And vice versa. Women uphold the female stereotypes as well. Gender roles hurt both genders.

  36. Wilt is smart. Marriage and even fatherhood can destroy a man’s life. It is something men MUST be wise enough to avoid. Thankfully marriage has been on the decline since the feminist / cultural revolution. Feminist marriage and matriarchal marriage law IS NOT in men’s best interests.

    • Marriage was NEVER a martriarchal institution. Do your history research. Also, it’s unfair to create such a blanket statement, especially since there are men in many relationships/marriages that are very happy with their partners.

  37. I also agree with a lot of what you’re writing, and I’m also interested in seeing how you think the LGBT community fits into what you’re saying. I also agree that the term “sex addiction” is commonly used to condemn what is viewed as more masculine expressions of sexuality.

    The only thing I have a problem with is the idea that sex addiction doesn’t exist at all. I think it does, but in the same way that addiction to anything pleasurable exists. i.e. the problem isn’t sex, the problem is that someone has an addictive personality. So some people become addicted to work, exercise, tattoos, gambling, food, computer games, etc….but it’s not because there’s something wrong with any of those activities, but because the person is abusing those activities.

    • David J. Ley says:

      It’s a good question, with regards to the LGBT issue, in two ways. First, in The Myth of Sex Addiction, I argue strongly that sex addiction is discriminatory towards gay/bi men in particular, and creates stigma. This is evident for instance in regards to porn – the majority of gay/bi men use porn, and it is often their introduction to homosexuality. But, the blanket stigmatizing of porn by the sex addiction community turns such male use of porn into an automatic negative. Likewise, the majority of gay/bi men are not monogamous, and non-intimate sex plays a large role in homosexual life and community. Both of these are issues that are condemned by sex addiction. Secondly, it has been argued, by Donald Symons for instance, that gay male sexuality is the expression of base male sexuality, or what men would be like, without the influence of women, with different attitudes towards sex. This isn’t to condemn or vilify women – ultimately, i think the yin-yang of different sexualities and attitudes is balancing. But, when one of the sides is condemned as unhealthy, then we don’t have a balance.

      • Interesting…okay…I’m also interested in if you view the balancing and yin/yang aspects to sex as inherently tied to biological sex? Or maybe a better question would be…what aspects of sexuality do you see as being biological, rather than cultural?

        Mind you, I’m coming at this as an anthropologist (well…archaeologist), but so I tend to view the relationship between different sexual practices and gender as being more culturally created rather than biological.

        • Great question. I, too, am always weary of accounts that attempt to completely explain sexuality with evolutionary theory. We must not forget that sexuality is 100% cultural and 100% biological. Personally, I wonder what aspects of Western sexuality result from capitalism — hegemonic masculinity and capitalism are deeply intertwined, after all. I wonder if a less dog-eat-dog economic model would produce a more cooperative sexuality, perhaps one focused less on ‘scoring.’

          Thoughts?

          • (R)Evoluzione says:

            Ask yourself (or do the requisite research) to see if things were any better under communist rule. They were certainly different, or are, considering that the culture of the USSR still reverberates even though that era ended when the wall came down.

            A review of the relevant literature reveals that communism was especially hard on men, due to the fact that they were NOT free to choose their true vocation, but often forced into any old profession by the state. The result was and is a lot of alcoholism, with its attendant distant, abusive men who die young and skew the sex ratios in favor of women, who must now compete for fewer, and poorer, mate choices. In that milieu, adultery and even polygamy are tolerated.

            Hunter-Gatherer societies fared better, but men still compete for mates. Being a good hunter is a prerequisite for men to get married in many forager cultures, and the relative freedom from sexual mores means there’s a lot of extrapair matings. Read into that whatever you want, but it’s clear that males throughout many cultures and in a wide array of political structures all seek, and attain, a degree of sexual variety.

            Again, once more for the back row: It’s. In. Our. DNA. In fact, the evolutionary purpose of males IS to spread our seed, to spread genetic diversity. That’s the evolutionary adaptation of having two sexes, of having sexual reproduction. Otherwise, we’d have asexual reproduction, like ferns.

            • The problem with what you’re saying is that you’re discussing sex as if it’s only purpose (or at least main purpose) was about reproduction. I think that’s a hold-over from our puritan days. People want to ignore the other purposes of sex, and focus solely on the reproductive aspects…because then it’s not ‘dirty.’

              • Okay also, let’s pretend that I agree that the only evolutionary reason for sex is reproduction (I don’t…but let’s pretend I do). What you’re saying still places biology above culture, as if the biological uses of sex outweigh the cultural uses of sex. It’s in line with this general trend that sees biology as being immutable and culture as being less important in human behaviour. Cultural norms can be just as important in explaining human behaviour as biological traits.

              • (R)Evoluzione says:

                Heather, the main purpose of sex, since sexual reproduction first evolved, has ALWAYS been about reproduction. All of the pageantry, ritual, and cultural overlay on sexuality is in service of the original goal.

                It’s true that there are other purposes interwoven into sexuality, but they all serve the main goal.

                Regarding cultural norms, evidence is mounting that demonstrates cultural norms and practices are coordinated group responses to environmental pressures. When food is abundant and easily procured, sexual norms tend to be more open, driving higher fertility rates. In reverse, food scarcity and/or high energy investment to procure a calorie of food tends to suppress fertility, both physiologically and culturally.

                Remember that humans have been around on this planet for millions of years. We’ve been using fire for at least a million. The modern mileiu of industrial agriculture, billions of people, mass media, etc, is clearly not representative of human history over a very long timeline. Underneath this veneer of civilization, we have hunter-gather genes, and hunter-gatherer behaviors. Humans spend 70% of their time on earth on autopilot, with the hindbrain running the show. Don’t believe it? How much time do you spend eating, sleeping, preparing food, thinking about food, or procuring food? Our choices are driven to a significant extent by our endocrine systems. This is especially true in reproductive matters.

                You may rationalize your own individual choices in sexuality as being apart from biology, but in the light of epidemiology, looking at the behaviors of large numbers of people, it becomes clear that there are significant drivers of behavior beyond individual free will and your unique snowflake characteristics.

                • But don’t a lot of animals engage in (non-reproductive) sexual acts such as homoerotic play? I think some animals masturbate as well. Why would they do that if sex was only about reproduction?

                  • Actually, scientific studies indicate today that sex, especially among humans, is primarily used for bonding and reproduction happens to be a side effect of that bonding. Out of all the sex that happens in this world every day, less than 1% actually results in pregnancy. Whether or not birth control is a factor I don’t think really matters because even before reliable birth control pregnancy was still a tiny percentage of all the sex that occurred daily.

                    Evolutionary science often neglects, too, that humans have conscience choice. When we have sex, we consciously think of what reasons we’re having sex for. Most of these conscious reasons stem from the fact that it just feels good and it can create a stronger bond. Look at bonobo chimps. They engage in all sorts of sex that’s primary purpose is to keep peace and form bonds. Plus, to actually fertilize an egg to produce a successful being is much too complicated for reproduction to be the primary purpose of sex.

                    • wellokaythen says:

                      Yes, indeed. Very good point.

                      If sex is somehow “designed” primarily for reproduction, it is an incredibly inefficient, amazingly wasteful design. So clumsy a way to ensure reproduction that there must be other things going on as well. Given how little of sexuality results in pregnancy, even if you only define sex in terms penis-in-vagina, it sometimes looks like a convenient accident that there’s any reproduction at all.

                      I don’t think it’s possible to say that all other reasons to have sex are still in service of reproduction. People in their 80’s still have sex. I’m not sure what nature is trying to accomplish there in terms of reproduction.

                      And there’s the wild card, the human brain, which is ALSO a product of evolution. If nature has a design, it has designed humans to be able to understand where babies come from and plan accordingly. Humans have evolved brains that often think “I don’t want children, but I still want sex.” Human brains can even decide to get the body sterilized. Hardly nature’s way of ensuring reproduction through sex.

                    • (R)Evoluzione says:

                      You sex-as-evolution/tool of reproduction deniers are just as bad as the climate change deniers, and just as vehement.

                      As in climate change denialism, the problem is that you’re not seeing the forest for the trees.

                      Just because only a small percentage of copulations end in pregnancy does not mean that non-pregnency sex doesn’t serve reproductive needs. It does. Bonding does.

                      Humans are a high-investment child rearing species. We need 2 parents to raise us well. In early years, especially in pre-industrial times, 2 parents, and/or a tribe were needed to raise a child at all. Pre-pregnancy bonding sex does create bonding, which helps cement the chances of paternal investment in the child. Biologists call this the “K” strategy–investing heavily in each child.

                      Contrasted with other species who “pump and dump,” where the male doesn’t invest in the child, but just provides genetic material, that is “R” selection. Humans put our evolutionary lot in with quality of children over quantity, unlike, say, rabbits. Long story short–bonding is a product of sex, and it serves long-term reproductive goals. Remember, if your goal is to continue your bloodline into perpetuity, your reproductive strategy means not only ensuring your own reproductive success, but that of your children, and that’s what we as humans do.

                      Russian biologist Theo Dobzhansk wrote a very influential paper entitled “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense, Except in the Light of Evolution.” Certainly that holds true in human sexual matters, but you have to let go of your cultural biases and your own self interest in order to see it clearly. We call that “Taking the Red Pill.” Try it sometime.

                    • (R)Evoluzione says:

                      I would add to the sexual reproduction/bonding aspects of sex: just because we can’t immediately see the evolutionary benefit of certain sexual behaviors or traits, doesn’t mean they’re not there. We just haven’t found them yet.

                      Homosexuality is a good example; at first blush it would seem that since homosexual couples produce few or no offspring, there’s no value to the tribe or culture. But I don’t believe that for a minute. In traditional cultures, homosexual individuals are often revered and honored, and have important roles in the tribe, for example, as shamans, et cetera. This certainly conveys evolutionary adaptation and improves the lives, and thus the chances of survival, of the whole tribe.

                      Often, we need to look deeper at behavior, get past the cultural shaming, and look carefully at behavior and biology with an open mind and heart.

                    • “In traditional cultures, homosexual individuals are often revered and honored, and have important roles in the tribe, for example, as shamans, et cetera.”

                      Actually, it’s intersex individuals, and people who are part of a third gender, who are often put into roles as shaman, spiritualists, etc. Anyway, here’s the thing, I think you are attributing everything from cultural norms to individual behaviour, to evolutionary biology. That is problematic. A lot of culture has nothing to do with biology or with a reaction to the environment. Now, it’s equally problematic to say that biology has no part, and instead argue that it’s all about culture.

                      I’ll point to what Wellokaythen said: It’s both. It’s 100% cultural and 100% biological. i.e. yeah evolution plays a part in sexuality, of course. But not all of human sexuality can be explained by evolution.

                • (R)Evoluzione says:

                  “But not all of human sexuality can be explained by evolution.” Yet.

                  There’s still a lot of daylight left in the scientific paradigm. A lack of evidence does not constitute evidence against it.

                  “I think you are attributing everything from cultural norms to individual behaviour, to evolutionary biology.”
                  Yes, we have free will. But at the end of the day, we’re mammals. Very successful, highly evolved mammals. Our hindbrains & limbic systems do us a massive favor by managing a huge amount of data for us, and that drives a huge portion of behavior. Individual choices over time form culture.

                  “A lot of culture has nothing to do with biology or with a reaction to the environment.”
                  This is just a claim. In the scientific method, one must provide some data sets to back up one claims, or provide a counter-interpretation to existing data. You’re working against a great tide of scientific evidence that mounts daily. Ironically, by moving away from the scientific method, by attempting to introduce some deus ex machina that controls culture, you’re joining the camp of people who deny evolution, who deny climate change, who deny that the world is a sphere and orbits around the sun. Do you feel like you’re in good company?

                  • Well first, let’s take this discussion away from personal insults. “Do you feel like good company?” is a very clear attempt to make me feel like an idiot. Let’s not resort to those sorts of tactics.

                    “by attempting to introduce some deus ex machina that controls culture”

                    Yeah, I’m not actually. I agree that individual choices over time form culture…and sometimes those choices are about adapting to an environment, just not all the time. It’s actually a very old idea that culture is a result of biology and environment interacting, which was largely discredited in anthropology. I’ve no idea what field your in.

                    • (R)Evoluzione says:

                      So what are the other variables, if not biology and epigenetic response, that influence culture? Is it randomness? Is it positions of celestial bodies? Solar cycles? Actually… I’ve seen an interesting paper on solar cycles and civil unrest, but nonethess, it’s still correlation, not causation, not without stronger data and some sort of plausible pathway.
                      Throw a brother a bone here. You can’t just say “It’s not just biology” and then walk away. Not if you want a real conversation.
                      You can say “it just is,” but we’re then back to the flat, geocentric, non-warming thing again, not to paint with too broad a brush, but that’s right out of their debate wheelhouse.

                  • wellokaythen says:

                    In response to an earlier post by (R)Evoluzione:

                    If I call a “denier” then I am assuming that what I am saying is just obviously true and that there is no room for any questioning of my point of view. If I think there are serious flaws in a theory, then I will say so. Galileo was a geocentrism denier. He had the audacity to argue that the earth went around the sun and not the obvious truth that the sun went around the earth. The nerve of that guy, to deny the “truth”….

                    Let’s ignore the cultural side for a moment. I actually think biology has a big role to play. But, one of my points is that even the biological aspect of sexuality is not just about reproduction. *Biology* is not all about reproduction. Not even *evolutionary* biology simply boils down to reproduction. It’s really a philosophical argument, not a scientific fact, that reproduction is the fundamental issue and all other aspects are secondary to it. One could just as easily say that reproduction is itself a secondary effect of a much more fundamental goal.

                    Even if it’s true that evolution is all about making the fittest species survive (for the sake of argument let’s say that’s true), the survival of a species has to do with more than just reproduction. Pair bonding may have the primary effect of helping the existing collective survive, not ensuring that they have more babies. Mammals have the really weird characteristic of “playing,” and clearly sex has some playful aspects to it. Play may be a trait that helps with survival, but humans certainly play for reasons other than sexuality.

                    Clearly the pleasure of sex helps encourage humans to do things that lead to reproduction. In that case, though, evolution has put the clitoris in a bad place. What a horrible design, what a waste of nerve endings, if pleasure and reproduction are supposed to be equivalent. The positions that maximize conception are generally not the ones that maximize clitoral stimulation. The “pleasure is all about reproduction” argument makes much more sense with other species. (According to Mary Roach’s book on the science of sex, with pigs the clitoris is inside the vagina. Now that’s a brilliant “design.”)

                    I don’t have to provide a counter theory in order to show the flaws in a theory. I am perfectly comfortable saying, “I don’t know the answer, but that theory right there has some serious problems, and there must be a better theory out there.” There are more than just two choices – either accept one narrowly defined view of science or you’re saying that it’s magic. Maybe the best explanation is a different scientific theory. This reminds me of many creationists in America who act like poking holes in Darwinism means that Genesis therefore must be right, as if those were the only two possible explanations.

                    • “Pair bonding may have the primary effect of helping the existing collective survive, not ensuring that they have more babies. Mammals have the really weird characteristic of “playing,” and clearly sex has some playful aspects to it. Play may be a trait that helps with survival, but humans certainly play for reasons other than sexuality.

                      Clearly the pleasure of sex helps encourage humans to do things that lead to reproduction. In that case, though, evolution has put the clitoris in a bad place.”

                      Such great things in your post here.

  38. I really enjoyed this article. Human sexuality is something that seems always to be controlled by some outside force-relgious, cultural, state. I wonder what actual human sexuality would look like outside such restrictions or culture, but there probably isn’t a way to know. Two humans start building a culture, yes?
    Anyway, I agree with much of what is written here, specifically about the need for pleasure and connection, and how our culture is prone to demonizing men (in many ways it’s a 180 pole of demonizing to the way women’s sexuality is often suppressed). One wonders if we’ll ever get to a place where we can enjoy each other.
    Do you have thoughts on sexuality in the LGBT community? Differences? Similarities?

  39. I was one of those “guys” that sought other types of sex, never hired a pro or looked for happy endings, I would never cheat on my ex-wife but the pressure she put on me to give her the big “O” was to much to endure so I turned to online porn for the last 2 years of our marriage. She turned to an 18 yo busboy at her work to take care of her, then to craigslist for random sexual encounters. The whole experience made me doubt myself as a man, then I met a girl, she was much much younger than me, we had some fun and then I finally figured out that it was never me… it was my ex all the time.. she was the one with issues.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Secondly, I think the term is often used as a way to pathologise male sexuality.  And, what’s more, a heterosexual psychologist agrees with me.  Dr David Ley (surname pun unintended) blogging on The Good Men Project: […]

  2. […] a heterosexual psychologist agrees with me.  Dr David Ley (surname pun unintended) blogging on The Good Men Project: Not only are almost all supposed sex addicts male, but all of the allegedly addictive sexual […]

  3. […] Wilt Chamberlain was famously promiscuous, bedding thousands of women across his career and life. A shy, excluded kid, Wilt grew into a star. But he never chose to marry, making the conscious choice that promiscuity was important to him, and that he could not ethically commit to a single woman. Though he slept with many more women than any of the alleged sex addicts we hear about, Wilt was never called a sex addict, because his sexual choices were part of him, part of who he was, as a man. This is, I think, the goal for all men – to make their sexual choices an integrated part of who they are, and the kind of man they desire to be. The Good Men Project is a cerebral, new media alternative to glossy men’s magazines. Founded by Tom Matlack in 2009, it’s become a social movement: an ongoing in-depth discussion asking “what does it mean to be a good man in these modern times?” Proceeds from The Good Men Foundation are used to support organizations that help at-risk boys. This article originally appeared at GMP: Masculine Sexuality: What Gets Overlooked […]

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