Man-shaming your sex life is alive and well in our culture. But you don’t have to listen to it.
Although it is never talked about much in the current culture, the fact is that everyone assumes that young men are always primed and ready for sex, and that to be a real man you must always want sex with any female who offers it who does not completely repulse you.
I have over the years talked to many men who admitted to being pressured into sex they thought they were supposed to want but did not. Sometimes it was with a regular partner who would not take “no” for an answer, but often it was from parties and other things you find in hookup culture that they never wanted to really be part of.
More than once I’ve had a man say to me “I didn’t really know I could say no.”
I’ve had some become emotional with me, privately, about it: they thought they had to prove their manhood by having sex, and a woman who wasn’t too awful-seeming forced herself on him. And while there was certainly a mix of triumph/adulation at being wanted, at accomplishing the big goal everyone said was a big achievement, turned out to leave them feeling empty. Or wanting an emotional attachment to the girl who just “did it with him” and then she moved on.
Despite the lecturing guys get, and the lies we get about our sexuality, the truth is, I think if you ask most men, they’ll say they really do not want an endless string of sex partners. Yes, some do, but most don’t. In fact, here’s a subversive thought to our current culture:
You don’t have to have sex with anybody until you feel like it. In fact, you can decide you never want sex with anybody your whole life, and that’s just fine too.
While some foolish men have attacked classic movies like “The 40 Year Old Virgin” as “male shaming” it’s not. Go find a copy and watch it. It’s a sweet story of a guy who was never comfortable with girls and wound up never having sex, and not particularly wanting to until he found a special girl.
Man-shaming would involve telling a man who doesn’t want to be a sex machine that he should be ashamed to be a virgin, or to have not had a lot of sex partners because that makes him a “beta.” Well, I don’t even believe in the “Alpha Male/Beta Male” crap, I think it’s pseudoscientific garbage. But if you must use terms like that, I would think the most “Alpha” of all alpha males is the one who turns down women without flinching; he controls his sexuality, just like she controls hers.
And consent, for all the politics of it, absolutely goes both ways, for men and women alike.
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Photo by Christopher Michel