Sunday, March 18, 2007

All Men Want Is Sex, and the Other Adventures of Myth Man.

November 22, 2006 - Wednesday

All Men Want Is Sex, and the Other Adventures of Myth Man.

I was recently at a party, and one girl was doing a survey for a class she was taking. The survey was about men's desire for sex, and her theory was that all men want, all they care about in relationships, is sex. The guys in the room answered her questions gracefully, but it got me thinking. It's not the first time I have come across this male sex myth.

THE MYTHS - Men are sex fiends, they only want sex. Men are not emotional beings, are not deep enough to feel emotions. Men are sexually assertive. Men avoid commitment. Men will have sex with a woman just because she is willing. Men are not worried about their appearance. Men are pigs. They are dogs. They are sexually predatorial. They WANT/NEED sex.

Everybody knows men want sex. If a man says he doesn't want sex, we all snicker under our breath. Of course he wants sex. If he says he doesn't want sex, He is A. lying B. pretending to be pure and sensitive to get sex or C. in denial. Why wouldn't a man want sex?
But this myth is ridiculous. Just as ridiculous as men don't cry or all women are completed by being mommies. It is obvious that men, like women, have a variety of reasons to wanting and having sex at any given moment. Men have commitments that shape their desire for sex. Men have day to day situations that leave them uninterested in sex; fatigue, mood, self-confidence, hunger, whatever. Men, like women, are concerned with the ramifications and complications of having sex. The affect that sex may have on social situations and existing relationships is a key factor in men's sexual decisions. It feels obvious to say these things. Of course, men have situations in which they don't want sex.

But, now take a second to reread the previous paragraph "Men are pigs.." These statements clash with the obvious reality of man. And still it seems hard to let go of the myths. This man that can't get enough sex is Myth Man, the manifestation of our unrealistic ideal of men. But Myth Man is not Reality Man. The man who comes home with a headache after work and has no interest in your new nightie is Reality Man. The man who can't feel sexy in the bedroom because he feels powerless at work is Reality Man. Myth Man is that guy in the movies that get shot three times and sews his own arm back on but when he sees his woman he still has the strength to whisk her passionately into his arms. Reality Man would lie on the gurney and say ouch if you even bumped him the wrong way.
We all know reality man. We live with him, we grew up with him, may work with him, or visit him on the holidays. But we have also internalized Myth Man. And myth man tells us that our man, as a man, always wants sex, so if the man of our life is not interested in sex is about not him, but us, the woman. The woman is unattractive. We can't blame the guy for not acting like the horny man that he is if the woman is fat, ugly or just unattractive. If our man doesn't want us then we are not attractive.
But the carnage of Myth Man is not yet complete. For then men see the disappointment in their partners, they have their own feelings of inadequacy in being unable to meet their partners needs. Myth Man tells men that if they were real men they would want sex, they would want to have sex with their partner when she wants it rather than just wanting to watch reruns of Friends. What kind of man are you, says Myth Man, and Reality Man feels small, emotionally and phallically.
We sit in the aftermath of Myth Mans rampage, our confidences damaged, our self worth destroyed. Sex seems rife with complications and difficulties, and we get a little gun shy towards sex, and towards intimacy with each other. Not only do we feel bad about ourselves, but we communicate less with each other.
I often meet and speak with men whom I believe feel a great deal of pressure to be sexually manly, and they often are apologizing for themselves not being comfortable with being sexual. "I know this is weird, but I don't feel into sex lately. It not her it's me." (Sure, sure says Myth Man). In fact, I think more often than not, men seem to have a sense of male ideal sexuality that is not what they are currently getting sexually, but cover that by saying "I haven't met anyone", "girls don't put out." "my wife isn't into it". When was the last time you heard a man complement himself or brag about his monthy sex bout with his partner. Men brag when they are getting a lot of women, or a lot of sex from their partner. Men are supposed feel sexy and attractive and desirable when they have lots of sex. Myth man would never let Reality man say "I am such a stud because I have sex with my wife once a month."

I could go on, but the point is made. What we all have to recognize about sex and desire is that everyone is different, and nobody has the live up to the myths about sex. They are just that, myths. Sex is about experiencing pleasure and without having pleasure in the rest of our life, we can't expect sex to be pleasurable either. If you want great sex (and most of us do) then be great to yourself. Accept yourself and your desire for what it is. Accept your man for what he is, a human being. Don't let Myth Man beat you up. Don't be Myth Man. Fuckin kill Myth Man, because that bastard is ruining your sex life. And only when myth man is dead can Reality Man be free. To just be, just live happily in reality. The sex is better over here, trust me.


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