I dearly appreciated this feminine insight, but this wasn’t the end because animal Brandon wasn’t satisfied physically and human Brandon wasn’t satisfied logically. Because to be fair, we also have to consider the guy, don’t we? What about his “deep, healthy, all-persuasive instinct”? What if it’s to have multiple partners? What if man and woman are innately at odds over this area of sex?—you know, kind of a yin/yang deal. If so, where do my needs end and hers begin? Do one person’s needs take priority?
I imagined this instinctual mismatch playing out in the real world, men and women bending to get what they want. I saw all the guys in clubs—the lines they say, the promises they make (not just deceiving women—knowingly or unknowingly—about their actual interest, but also themselves). Integrity is forfeited and people get hurt. What a game!
There’s got to be a better way. A more up-front, honorable approach to this conundrum.
My logic brought me to a conclusion that was shocking, humbling, and a bit scary.
Because compared to the common male behavior as described above, it seemed a lot simpler and honest to just have the guts to admit one is in it for the sex and visit a hooker.
But, man! In my desire to act responsibly I was coming full-circle back to talking about Westerners and prostitutes. What the hell?!
Then it dawned on me.
I saw a culprit common to myself, the guy in multi-girl relationships, fellas who seek prostitutes, or the guys who just plain ol’ use their girlfriend. We are all at the mercy of our animal side.
At the beginning of this trial, I assumed a need to appease the animal. But I remembered and realized that I don’t have to fight or control this urge in the classic sense of resistance. I can do something more; I can redefine my urges.
I had realized this once before and so recalled the inspiration. A character from literature introduced me to such a plateau of understanding. It refined my sexual attraction, and thus, which women I was going to be sexually affected by. It cleared the way for the human side of me to take charge.
One of Ayn Rand’s great characters, Francisco d’Anconia, spoke these words:
Some people think that sex is a physical capacity which functions independently of one’s mind, choice, or code of values. They think that your body creates a desire and makes a choice for you.
But, in fact, a man’s sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions. Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life. Show me the woman he sleeps with and I will tell you his valuation of himself.
He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself. The man who is proudly certain of his own value will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires the strongest.
Observe the ugly mess which most men make of their sex lives — and observe the mess of contradictions which they hold as their moral philosophy. One proceeds from the other.
Love is our response to our highest values, and can be nothing else. There is no conflict between the standards of his mind and the desires of his body… His body will always follow the logic of his deepest convictions.
It’s as if these words revealed truths within I didn’t know were there, pulling me up and out of the animal state. They inspired me to live by the high standards I set for myself. Almost immediately, my animal side was tamed as he should be–as a complement to my humanity, a feature of humankind rather than a definition. And I took to heart the idea that attraction was not based on a nice body, but rather a compatible mind and spirit.
I remembered that I get to have a conscious say in defining sexual attraction. No doubt, my animal likes who he likes, but how much am I going to be led by the animal? This is, in part, an attitude to recognize, a logic to understand, and a matter of mind over body. We often recognize that sexual attraction is more than a physical phenomenon, but so often, as was the case when I came to China, we forget how deep this truth can be and how strong it can take us over.
Relearning this truth in China has given me a solution that solves my conflict. I do have a third option. I can exist in a realm that stays “above the fray” and in line with my “fundamental convictions,” focused on what my human side yearns for. With this, I don’t have to compromise my integrity and get into a disingenuous relationship. I have a greater capacity to be considerate to others, to avoid objectifying women. I am freer to get to know people and not try to be something that human Brandon isn’t. Less discouragement, less obsession, less force, and no, Darnell, I’m not going to be a heart-breaker.
I realized that all people live by their animal and human sides (women, too, which explains why, in Zhuhai, they want the Western man even before they meet him). It’s probably two parts of the brain acting in complicated tandem, each person having a different barometer determining what level makes them content. Many Western men seemed to be okay with their conquests of the local population.
But that’s not in my best interest.
Celibacy? Sure, until my sexual attraction is sparked by a kindred spirit.
—Photo Philippe Put/Flickr