WARNING!: This is going to read like a rant. It’s also going to be long. I’m going to discuss topics involving sex, religion, and gender equality issues. If you have a problem with any of these things, I apologize in advance for offending you.
A friend of mine and I are having a disagreement. My friend doesn’t believe men are capable of monogamy; that it’s not natural for them. I could have left a several paragraph comment on the post she wrote on the subject. I was sorely tempted to do that. Sorely. Tempted. However, I’ve taken some time to sort my thoughts out and, since then, I think it’s more worth my time and hers to post a rebuttal, couched in terms of my own opinion and understanding.
First of all, let me say that I don’t agree that men aren’t capable of monogamy. I’ve known many who have managed it quite well. It’s my opinion that said friend probably A) has had poor experiences with men and that this has colored her opinion and B) doesn’t understand them.
That said, it’s important to note that our society hasn’t done much to encourage men and women to understand the opposite gender, which, in my opinion, is sad, to say the least. I mean, I cringe to think of the number of women I’ve heard complain about how men don’t put the toilet seat down. Although I’ll agree it’s inconsiderate of them to go and then not wipe the rim afterward (I don’t want to sit in your urine, thank you), my considered response to such a moan is as follows: “If you won’t think to check the toilet first to be sure the seat is down before you sit on it, then you probably deserve to fall in.”
But Cimmy, what does that have to do with anything?
Ever since women first began to rise up and demand to be treated equally, or perhaps even before that, we’ve been running men down. How many jokes are out there about how certain things (ginger bread, carrots, etc.) are better than men? We’re not trying to understand each other! We’re trying to get back at each other! Honestly, I’ve begun to think of the word “feminist” as more of an insult. Also, I don’t think comedians such as Jeff Foxworthy are helping things any. His insistence that all men are thinking is “I’d like a beer and to see something naked” is so far off it’s not even in the same ballpark. I’ve known my fair share of uncomplicated, sex obsessed women and I happen to be married to one of the more complicated men in the world.
Dang it! Now I’m off topic!
Men ARE capable of monogamy. Society, and we women, simply refuse to believe certain things about men. What do I mean? I did some research just to be sure I could provide a legitimate source. I talked with men about it!
To be more specific, in the Woman’s Day website, a male writer, one Brendan Tapley, wrote an article titled “10 Things Men Wish Women Knew About Sex“. (Give it a read. It’s very interesting.) I’ll paraphrase some of it and then add my own opinion. First, men like to be praised. What are boys usually praised for when they reach school age? “Manning Up” meaning, suppressing their emotions. That leads me to the second point from the article. Men fear intimacy, but not for the reason you might think. Studies show that male children below school age are more affectionate and expressive than girls.
I know that’s the case. My son is probably the huggingest kid alive. Most boys that reach school age start repelling their own mothers when they reach that age. (Aw, Mom! That’s sissy stuff!) The strange thing about it is that men still retain, on a more basic, subconscious level, that desire for human connection. It tends to resurface following orgasm because that’s when their emotions are generally the most easily released from the restraints society has forced them to put in place and it can be something of a shock for them. So maybe their desire for lots of sex has less to do with a need for variety so much as a desire to continue to experience that emotional connection. I’ll let you read the rest of the article yourself.
So, then why do men get married if they get their human connection from having sex, then?
Now we enter the realm of just my opinion. So, think about it. Since childhood, parents have been telling kids the same bedtime stories. You know the ones I mean. The ones Disney turned into cartoon movies. Those! Most girls who watch those can’t help but see themselves as the princess in these stories. Can you guess who the boys most often identify with? That’s right! Prince Charming! Furthermore, at some point in every man’s life, he will come to a point where he realizes that having sex with every vagina that walks past him isn’t satisfying enough. Subconsciously, he will hark back to those stories he watched when he was a kid and want to be Sir Lancelot to some woman’s Lady Guinevere (not the best of examples for various reasons, but, oh well). In other words, he wants to find a woman who will be exclusively his and that he can be exclusively hers. He wants to be the one who lifts those heavy objects she can’t manage, who opens those oppressive pickle jars and kills that terrifying spider with his shoe of justice. In short, he wants to be her hero. Why? It’s that human connection again. He craves that. Men who look for marriage have, on some level, come to realize that monogamy will get him a deeper form of that connection that he can’t get from playing the field.
Then again, a woman who loves you so deeply that she snarls when other women jokingly ask to borrow her man can be a real ego booster. (You can’t have him! He’s mine! Get your own!) At least, that’s been my experience.
Okay, so he occasionally looks at other women, well, in my opinion, that’s okay provided his eyes come back to you. It’s like window shopping. You have clothing you like and no budget for buying new things, but you just can’t help admiring some of the fashions they have at the store. However, every sales associate I’ve ever met knows that just because a person is admiring the clothing doesn’t mean she’s buying it. I know it’s common for us women to compare ourselves unfavorably with other women. However, I also know I’d start to doubt my own beauty, if he never looked to appreciate anyone else’s.
As for pornography, we women tend to think the man is wishing he was married to someone who looked like that, or could or would do some of the things women do in porn. More often than not, this isn’t the case. I wish I could tell you what the case is, but I can’t. I think it’s something in the nature of research, but that’s just a guess. However, in my own marriage, I’ve learned to live with it, mainly because my man continues to come to me for sex exclusively and isn’t out there looking for people who resemble the actresses in those publications. Paraphrasing something my husband once said, you don’t get the same high from looking at pictures and videos of sex as you do from actually having it with someone who loves you.
So, why do men cheat, then? I’m going to answer that with a question of my own. Why do some women “punish” their men by withholding sex? If a man experiences that sought after human connection through sex, and she won’t give it to him for reasons of her own, what’s he most likely to do? I’ll tell you. He’s most likely to look for that connection in the arms of another woman. Also, maybe she’s given him to believe that he’s not her hero any more. Maybe she’s helped him believe that she doesn’t need him. Maybe she’s even told him, without meaning to, that HE is her enemy. Remember when I said men marry because they want to be their wife’s hero? How is he going to be her hero if he’s also her enemy. The only way for that to happen is for him to leave her, then, at least, he can guarantee he won’t hurt her any more.
Please, don’t get me wrong, ladies. I’m not saying you’re bad. What I’m saying is that men aren’t the animals we’ve made them out to be. If anything, most men are teddy bears. It’s just that they’ve been hurt and they want to protect themselves. Just like us, I might add.
Where did all of this start?
It’s my belief that it had its start with the formation of the Catholic church. Again, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Catholics. Just like members of any religion, they are often very nice people when you meet them. However, speaking religiously, the Catholic church was the religion that first came out with the notion that women are responsible for bringing sin into the world. I’ve heard so many arguments to that end. For example, “we would all still be living in the Garden of Eden, if it hadn’t been for Eve.” I don’t agree with that. If you look in Genesis, you’ll find that, first, Adam and Eve were innocents, like children. If you’ve looked at naked children, they’re fascinated by their private parts. They play with them incessantly because they’re out there and it feels good to play with them. However, you’d feel safe leaving them alone because neither of them has any clue how they fit together or what sex even is. This doesn’t mean that Eve was stupid. Far from it. Satan’s argument, as presented in Genesis, wasn’t one of “Hey, Eve, eat this apple.” It was an argument generated by his respect for her intelligence. It was a deception, true enough, but even the most intelligent person can be deceived if the lie is told in just the right way.
However, the Catholic church didn’t see this. Their contention was that woman was inherently evil, and therefore, fundamentally and morally incapable of being in charge of herself. For some reason, sex outside of procreation, was viewed as some kind of sin (I don’t know why), so women were taught that sex was painful and they should only submit to sex in order to get pregnant and because their men requested it. Women were often married off as soon as they were sexually mature (12-15), whereas men generally didn’t marry until they were financially secure (25-30). Until the “Sexual Revolution,” many women didn’t even select their own husbands. Their parents usually arranged her marriage for her. The reason for this was because it was believed that women couldn’t control their sexual impulses and would have sex at the first possible opportunity. If she should become, for lack of a better word, “bitchy” she was afflicted with a feminine disease called “histrionics” for which the only cure was orgasm. Women were seen as driven by their emotions, whereas men were driven by their intellects. Therefore it was almost impossible for a woman to be published in her own name.
Now, the tables have most decidedly turned. Men are viewed as being driven exclusively by sex and women as being exclusively able to think past it. I don’t think either belief is correct. Saying men can run society without women or, likewise, women without men is like saying you can make bread without yeast or without sugar. You need both if your bread is going to be properly leavened. I think the oriental societies have things correct in some ways. Their conception of
Yin and Yang gives the idea that men and women are two different sides of the same coin; co-captains of the same team, if you will. We’re fundamentally designed to walk side-by-side. Saying men or women are better is like saying apples are better for you than carrots. They’re both equally good for you. You need some of both to make a balanced diet. The same way, in my opinion, you need some of both to have a balanced relationship.
So, with all due respect, my friend (you know who you are, I’m sure), I disagree with your opinion that monogamy is unnatural for men. I think that’s like saying critical thinking is unnatural for women (false).
What’s your take on the subject? Share your opinion with me in the comments section below. I promise I your opinion is safe with me and I won’t allow anyone to be critical of it. Also, I want to know what you think of my arguments. Were they well organized and easy to follow or did I lose you after, like, the first paragraph? Talk to me, please!