The Evolutionary Drive
Men are more likely to cheat on their partners, have an
extramarital affair. If it’s really an affair and not
just one-time sex with a stranger, then that guy is
still choosing sex in a relationship over a series
of one-night stands.
Instead of just saying ‘men are dogs’ maybe we need
to ask why that original relationship and sexual
partner are no longer fulfilling.
We’ve all experienced the excitement of a new relationship
and sexual partner. We hear a lot about couples falling
into a rut and slowly disconnecting with each other over the years.
It means it’s time to start talking more regularly
and more openly about how to refresh the relational
and sexual aspects of a marriage and how to make it last.
Men Want to Spread Their Seed
We’ve all heard that according to evolutionary theory,
men should spread their seed widely in order to
maximize the number of children they’ll have,
whereas women should choose one partner carefully.
Evolution has also built in an attachment system
that creates very strong bonds between a child
and each of its caregivers; that system even
has its own neural circuitry.
Testosterone makes boys and men horny but being horny is different from being promiscuous. From a practical standpoint, it’s easier to have lots of sex with the same partner day after day than to keep finding a new partner every day.
Guys have always been like this and aren’t going to change. In fact there have always been some guys who do sleep around. But they are and always have been the minority.
Guys can’t change
Guys won’t change, so if you’re going
to date them, you just need to deal with it.
However, the truth is that men have changed.
They have become less sexist than they were forty years ago.
Two generations ago, most guys believed their wifes
shouldn’t have to work, except maybe to keep busy or
if the family was trying to get some extra money.
Today, most guys expect their partner to have a career
and hope to achieve and maintain something close
to equality within their marital relationships.
Guys have also become increasingly comfortable with
the idea that women will pay some of the dating expenses.
Then again, since most guys are not Casanovas,
maybe it’s our personal and cultural expectations
about what’s typical that need to change.
Is there anything
good to be said about
After all, it brings a lot of pleasure and
excitement to the lives of both men and women.
It’s inspired some of the greatest art, music
and literature through the ages and has played
a fairly substantial role in sustaining our
species and populating the planet.
Nonetheless you’ll need to search very,
very hard these days to find any positive
appraisal of male heterosexuality.
Since the era of the permissive society
and the mainstreaming of modern feminism,
western society has gone a long way
towards liberating women’s sexuality.
Younger women have, to an unprecedented extent,
been encouraged to believe they can be as sexual
as they like and to experience and express
their desires as they wish.
Even the age-old proscriptions on female
promiscuity have been largely broken down.
Not coincidentally, male sexuality has been
increasingly seen as a problem.
You can hear it in the gentle, dismissive
mockery that says men are simple creatures
who “only want one thing” or, at the
extreme, outright vilification.
The male gaze threatens, male desire is aggressive.
Our primal instincts are pathologised with
the jargon of gender studies.
Righteous and necessary efforts to reduce sexual
crimes have had the unwelcome effect of teaching
generations of men that our sexuality can be d
angerous and frightening.
There is massive coverage of young female development.
Their self-esteem and body image; their developing
sexuality; their safety and security.
Barely a word was spoken about boys, beyond
fears that they are being turned into beasts.
Again and again the message came out: girls have problems.
Boys are problems. And yet does anyone doubt that there
should be concerns about how easy access to porn impacts
upon boys’ sexual development, their self-esteem,
their body image or performance anxieties?
It’s not as if young men bask in perfect
mental health and happiness.
Young men commit suicide at nearly four times
the rate of young women, and sex and relationships
rank high on their list of concerns.
At the other end of the age range, sexually
active older women are now widely eroticised
(albeit often with a rather misogynistic undertone)
as “cougars” or (forgive me) “Milfs” while their
male equivalents are disparaged as dirty old men.
Any older man who has sex outside marriage,
saying “Unfortunately it’s not against the
law to be an old lecher. Maybe it should be.
Or at the very least you shouldn’t be
rewarded with the highest office in the land.”
Perhaps the greatest concern for men and women
alike should be the way male sexuality and
sexual expressiveness balances on a narrow
tightrope of acceptability. One step off the
wire and you tumble into the realm of perversion.
Any man who hits on a woman and gets it
wrong risks being branded a creep.
Sometimes deservedly so, of course, but often for
no greater sin than being insufficiently attractive
or socially skilled, or having misread a
perceived signal of invitation.
I’ve never heard of a woman being stigmatised or
disparaged for expressing an attraction to big men,
rough men, geeky men or whatever.
A man who expresses similar desires for women
who don’t conform to standard norms of beauty
is a perv, a fetishist, a weirdo.
All of these prejudices are rehearsed and reiterated
by men and women alike, they reside in the intangible
web of social norms, conventions and culture, but
they can and must be challenged and changed.
If we can begin to openly and joyously celebrate
the positives to male sexuality, it might become
easier for men to be happy and confident sexual
partners, and in turn become better lovers,
and sometimes better people.
Male sexuality is no less diverse, complex
and wonderful than women’s or, for that matter,
no more base, coarse and animalistic.
Sure, most men might be slightly more likely
to let our gaze linger on eye-catching curves,
and slightly less likely to giggle about our
lovers’ proclivities with our friends.
But in the grand picture women and men
are surprisingly similar, in this respect
as in so many others.
Women have been entirely justified in
asking that we men respect their rights,
autonomy and wishes, that we respect
them as sexual beings.
It shouldn’t be too much to ask
for a little of the same in return.