Sunday, June 10

Sex advice tripe o' the day: A follow-up

My comment got to be a bit too long for this post, so I decided to pull it out and continue the discussion here.

One problem with this column is that it presupposes so much based on stereotypical assumptions that it's basically meaningless. What about men with low sex drives? What about women with high sex drives? What about men who like talking about emotional stuff with their partners? What about lesbians and gay men? What about women who are not emotional talkers? What about couples that actually understand how to love each other and get along regardless of the amount of fucking that's happening?

I've got lots of problems with this column, but the bit I pulled out and quoted Friday was just some of the more egregious crapola — the idea that a man can't be inconsiderate and selfish in his pursuit of sex because it's how he's built is silly. Even if a man is having a genuine sexual jones — one that's based on intense love and affection for his partner — if he's being a hound about it even as his partner is telling him no, for whatever reasons, that's being selfish and he needs to be called on it. The same goes if the sexes were switched.

Sex is not so all-important that we get to go around acting entitled about our right to have it. You can have as much sex as you want with yourself. But drag another person into it, and you better stop to consider his or her feelings about it every step of the way. There is little that is more toxic to a relationship than the feeling of being nagged to do something. A chorus men will sing "amen!" at that notion (about whatever stereotypical man-job you can dream up: Mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, etc.). Being nagged for sex is just as exhausting.

Cox said in the comments of the previous post:

Sexual urges are natural and healthy — not something to be ashamed of.

I think that's true. But I think an extension of this is a lack of sexual urges is natural and healthy — not something to be ashamed of. People who want to fuck, people who don't want to fuck, people who can't fuck — they are all capable of healthy, loving relationships.

This may be a revolutionary concept, but I don't believe that sex is absolutely essential for a healthy romantic relationship. There are people for whom sexual activity just isn't that important, and people for whom sexual activity is physically impossible. I can't imagine that these people are incapable of making long-term relationships work.

Sexuality, for everyone, exists on some sort of continuum that science has just barely begun to understand. Every person has his or her own preferences about sex. Some people have high libidos, others have low libidos. Everyone's libido likely fluctuates depending on life circumstances.

To embark on a long-term, monogamous relationship without understanding that your own sexual appetite is probably never going to completely synch with your partner's is short-sighted. We have to understand that things will happen in our lives that will shift sex's position on our priorities list. Or, if not our own, then probably our partners'. It may not be a permanent shift, but it will be a shift nonetheless. And if we're willing to run off and get our jollies with another partner because ours (whom we love, we swear!) isn't capitulating to the awesome will of our horniness, then maybe we aren't entirely ready for a long-term relationship anyway.

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Anonymous Cox said...

It's an interesting situation our society finds itself in. The culture is "just do it" - TV shows constantly display young lads and lasses as slaves to their libidos, and a virgin on a college campus is treated like a freak of nature.

Yet with this hypersexualization, infidelity is often considered THE unforgivable trespass in a relationship. If a relationship or marriage will survive at all, it may require years of repenting and perhaps couples therapy.

The more typically European view tends to be more skewed toward the notion that some truths need not be told.

(Full disclosure: I have no scientific data whatsoever to back up that previous statement.)

I wouldn't say that one is better or worse than the other. I tend to lean toward the American attitude, but why is that? In America a president was impeached for essentially lying about an affair, but many politicians around the world are unabashed cheaters.

Not trying to make a particular point here - just a little food for thought.

Mon Jun 11, 01:40:00 PM  

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