I always find articles like this pretty interesting: the danger is demonizing male sexuality.
However, I open it up and I see that it is written by a woman, and my hopes are let down. Women can accurate see a problem sometimes. But it is often the case that they cannot find the particular solution, especially when it involves educating men.
I’m not sure if this is part of the system or a bug in the system given the context surrounding 1 Timothy 2 and subsequent verses prohibiting women from teaching men. Anyway, that’s a topic for the comments perhaps.
On to the article.
This starts young. I live in Seattle, which is, by any standard, a very progressive city. Many of us do a mommy / daughter sex-ed class at Seattle Children’s Hospital as our daughters get close to starting menstruation. In the session of the class that is less about biology and more about navigating sexuality, the presenter offered the idea that girls would have to start learning how to say “no” to boys who were going to want to touch them sexually.
I looked at my daughter, who sort of rolled her eyes at me. And the woman went on, listing the many ways that girls could rebuff boys. I looked at my daughter again, and she said, “go ahead mom.” And I did. I raised my hand and said, “Can we also talk about how to teach girls to say ‘yes’ to sexuality. Can we teach them that sex is about pleasure for all parties involved, and that learning how to identify and say ‘yes’ to things that give them pleasure is how they learn to draw their boundaries and say ‘no’ to things that don’t.”
She replied that surely I could understand that protecting girls from boys was more important. I told her that I surely did not see it that way.
But it starts that young. Yes, girls are told that boys are predatory and somehow out of control. The corollary there is that boys are told they are predators, and out of control. Therefore, not a desirable thing, but a thing to defend against. From the get-go, we are teaching our kids to fear male sexuality, and to repress female sexuality.
As they age, and their media exposure extends beyond the protective (and crappy) bubble of children’s programming, we see example after example of men having to pull huge gestures to lure women into sex, or catch them, or trick them. Just off the top of my head: In Superbad when one of the guys talks about getting girls drunk enough that they can be “that mistake;” in Spiderman when he shoots a web to catch the girl who said “no” half a dozen times, pulling her in for an epic kiss that leaves them both breathless; in Anchorman when the guy uses a cologne made with “bits of real panther” that “60% of the time works every time” to get the girl. I could go on and on, but that point is that popular culture sets up this idea that men are sexual predators who need to resort to trickery and cologne to fulfill their one and only mission, which is sticking their penis in a girl.
It’s sad. It’s insulting. And it’s damaging.
Although you could say the article does hint of the leftism “blank slate-ism,” it is true that prevailing attitudes and teaching affect both women and men as they grow up. Naturally, this education should be contextualized with how God created us to be, and the teaching on the truth of God and how we are to abide in Him and desire to live holy lives.
Nevertheless, we see that this is a secular article aimed at promoting promiscuity in women at an early age. Yet, she does make the distinction that the male sex drive is demonized. This is the truth as I have talked about before with my FYI on male sexuality.
What the author doesn’t recognized is that said programming ingrained in males is done so explicitly to cater to women:
- Women want an attractive man — or superhero or vampire — to take interest in them and pursue them.
- However, women don’t want to give in too easily to this man. That wouldn’t be fun.
- Instead, they want to revel in the idea that this man has eyes for only her, and that he loves her so much that he would continually jump through hoops in order to win her affection.
Unfortunately, what women don’t see is that this sabotages the attractiveness of the man that they want while they are caught up in playing these covert power games. Any man that agrees to play games to win a woman’s affection has already lost the game. Any woman that entices a man to place such games is only sabotaging herself as she is tempting her man to play them in the first place.
The ultimate sinful female fantasy is wanting to exert some measure of control over her man. However, the ultimate gift she can give him is to put her trust in him and follow his lead.
This article doesn’t show it, but many of the Christian blogs make the same mistake. I make it sometimes, and I even caught myself typing it in this specific article. There is a vast difference between these two statements:
- However, the ultimate gift she can give him is to put her trust in him and let him lead.
- However, the ultimate gift she can give him is to put her trust in him and follow his lead.
One statement attempts to continue to exert some measure of control by “letting him lead” rather than “following his lead.” This is why precise wording is needed when discussing what respect and submission are. Many of the associated blogs fall into this trap.
This way of looking at male sexuality conflates sexuality with predation. It means that he who possesses sexuality is assumed a predator.
That is obviously damaging to the vast majority of men who simply are not. They want and like sex just as much as the rest of us. However, it’s downright dangerous when you extrapolate that out to situations like the horror of Stubenville. It is this line of thinking that allows people to say, “boys will be boys.” As if this kind of predation is just natural for guys, when in fact it is not normal for guys to be predators. Most men are not predators.
Steubenville, and the way-too-many incidents like it, are not examples of natural male sexuality. There are examples of a violent rape culture than perpetuates the idea that predation is the natural manifestation of sex.
So with this in our mind’s eye, no, it is not possible for us to believe that heterosexual cis men can write about sex without being douchebags. And that breaks my heart. It breaks my heart as someone who loves men, in a whole lot of ways.
You do not need to trick us into sex, in fact, you shouldn’t. And you don’t need a cologne with bits of real panther to attract us. In fact, lay off the stuff, seriously. A little dab’ll do ya. – See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-danger-in-demonizing-male-sexuality/#sthash.GFdyj7qf.dpuf
She eventually does make some accurate conclusions. This is one of them.
However, the truth isn’t too far from this. We know that male desire is confident and assertive while female desire is receptive. Although predation is an extreme of the initiation of desire, there is no explanation for what a “right” male desire actually looks like.
In any “awareness and fix” article there needs to be precise definitions of what is “wrong” and what is the “correct” way to do things. Unfortunately, like most articles this one falls flat on it’s face because it only identifies the negatives. There is nothing to replace the void left by removing something toxic. Jesus had a story for this:
Matthew 12:43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”
This is precisely why Christians who focus on the “removal of sin” from their lives fail. Although removal of sin is a worthy goal, it needs to be coupled with a godly replacement. If there is nothing to replace the void left by the sin, the sin will almost invariably come back worse than in the first place.
On to the last part of the article:
So, how can we all work together to change our collective impression of male sexuality as something that is dangerous and disgusting? Besides the obvious—understanding male privilege, dismantling of patriarchal mythology and ending rape culture? Those issues are far too big for me to take on here, but without accomplishing those three, nothing changes. So while we work toward those goals, here are some steps to take along that path:
1. Be an ally. Help us stop the violence against women. I am assuming that none of you would do what happened in Stubenville, but would you have helped stop it? Have you been vocal about how wrong it was? About how that should not represent you or your sexuality? From a societal perspective, we need your help. From a personal perspective, when we feel safe, we let our guards down, and that’s the first step to an intimate connection.
2. Ask women what they want, and listen to what they tell you. We are all different; we all want different things from the men in our life. Rather than getting lost in a frustrated guessing game, ask us. Listen to our answers. Tell us what you want, with words, and listen to our responses. Whether it’s sex or any other relationship, the best way to not be seen as predatory is to not act like a predator. And that means communication, not acquisition. Which, by the way, is also called consent. “Yes” is the safest word of all.
3. Let us in, don’t lure us in. Lay off the cologne, the pick-up lines, and the games. Please. Trust that you do not need to trick people into wanting you. Trust that you are worthy, just as you are. And that you deserve someone who wants you for who you actually are, how you actually are.
4. Don’t take it personally. Your self worth is in no way connected to whether or not some girl (or guy) wants you. I am constantly telling people to “Consider Cilantro.” (Seriously, I need that on a t-shirt.) Some people love cilantro. Some people think that cilantro tastes like tinfoil soaked in dish soap. That in no way reflects on the worthiness of cilantro. And cilantro never takes it personally. If you can, don’t even think of it as rejection, you are just cilantro sometimes. After all, you’re not attracted to every person you meet, why would every person you meet be attracted to you?
5. And lastly,know that your body is beautiful. I, like most females, was warned that penises and balls and anuses were gross. I was told to hold my nose, close my eyes, get it over with. Imagine my disappointment when I saw my first penis and there were no festering boils hissing my name, no sulfurous clouds wafting up from a menacing member. I thought it was kind of cute. As I learned more about them, I grew to love them, in and out. Hell, there are times when I was sure I heard angels giving hummers on high when I’ve see one. Most of us straight chicks really like your bodies. You don’t need to trick us into liking them. That is what makes us straight, after all.
This is quite the painful list.
Ironically, the title of this article is about not demonizing male sexuality. Instead of looking for ways that women should not demonize male sexuality, it’s all about what men can do so they are not demonized by women.
To be honest, it’s quite the incredible reframe: “Wow, this is a huge problem affecting men that society and culture perpetuates. Instead of helping dispel this myth to other women, let’s tell men how they can attempt to dispel this myth themselves. Because, you know, we can’t be bothered to help them do that.”
Or rather: “I wrote this article to raise awareness of an issue afflicting men that we should change… but men should do all the work to fix it because I want no part of investing myself to do that.”
If anyone has been following the Dalrock/Insanity saga this is precisely the case that manifests itself time and time again. Christian women claim they want to help Christian men. Said Christian women criticize (or rather nag) the men by telling them what’s right and what they should do to fix it. Women claim they empathize or sympathize with men, but only offer hateful comments to them telling them how they’re wrong. Said women cherry pick Scriptures — which don’t even support their case when examined closer — to show men where they are wrong. Quite the ineffective strategy.
If said Christian women were serious about helping Christian men they would do what the Scriptures say: honor and respect men unconditionally and affirm them where they are bearing good fruit.
- Surprise: affirmation of good fruit makes men want to bear more good fruit. Affirmation of a man’s leadership will make him want to lead better.
- Surprise surprise: men don’t respond well to nagging criticism, and the Bible explicitly tells women to avoid this.
- How do Christian wives win their husbands who don’t know the word: 1 peter 3. Without words and a quite and gentle spirit.
A woman’s intentions may be good, but if she doesn’t follow the Scriptures or understand the nature of men she will just beat herself trying to show God’s love and get exasperated further.
Now, onto the critique of the advice given:
- Be an ally… despite the fact that violence and rape against women are at all time lows.
- Ask women what they want, and listen to what they tell you… despite the fact that the vast majority of women don’t know what they want. My girlfriend didn’t even understand how important masculinity was to our relationship until about 3-4 months in. Now she understands that every relationship needs it just as a fish needs water.
- Let us in don’t lure is so close yet so far. Men need to understand how they need to be attraction to be attractive to women, but they cannot do anything to prove it which is true. In other words, be attraction but don’t be unattractive. Got it.
- Don’t take it personally is the best advice. The only one I agree with. The example is poor though.
- Lastly, body acceptance. No. This is something you have tons of control over: sleep well, eat well, and lift weights. Although you should be comfortable with yourself, the human condition is that working to become more attractive physically and strong will also make you more confident.
It ix the incredible pride and hubris of women to think that they can continually recommend good advice to teach men to be men.
My general rule of thumb for most men learning to be a man is just not to listen to women because you can’t pick out the few lackluster gems from the vast swath of stinky turds. It’s best to not even bother at first, and when you are finally able to it just doesn’t matter anymore because you already know it.