That’s Lisa Hickey over at The Good Men Project reciting stereotypes about the supposed sex-craved male. But stereotypes aren’t reality, she says. And she’s got backup from Wake Forest psychology professor, Andrew P. Smiler who recently wrote a book called, “Challenging Casanova: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male.”
Smiler says it’s no wonder we think men are all about casual sex. Stereotypes abound and play out in pop culture. Walking through TV history we’ve got:
Fonzie on “Happy Days” and “Hawkeye” Pierce on “M*A*S*H.” And it continues with guys like Sam Malone on “Cheers” and Charlie Sheen’s character on “Two and a Half Men” and Barney on “How I Met Your Mother.”
Men’s interest in porn, featuring a new girl each ejaculatory round, amplifies the view.
Plus, some of us have real world experience with guys who actually are players and then forget about all the guys who are not.
Even evolutionary psychology says men are promiscuous and women monogamous.
But if promiscuity is men’s naturally evolved state, why do most of them want just one partner? asks Smiler. Because that’s what they say, and public health records say the same thing:
If you look at the public health research tracking things like unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, that research typically shows about 15 percent of guys have three or more partners in any given 12-month span. If you follow those guys over time the number of guys who have three or more partners a year for as long as three years, that drops to about 5 percent.
Plus, most men eventually marry even though they could just keep on having casual sex.
Sociologist Lisa Wade found something similar when she asked young college students about hookup culture. Surprisingly, 70% of women and 73% of men wanted a committed relationship. But everyone thought that everyone else wanted casual sex so relationships weren’t pursued.
At the same time, what comes across as casual sex may be something else. In the past men and women usually weren’t friends and so they dated to get to know each other before having sex. These days young men and women become friends first and then start having sex and then start wondering if they are a couple, says Smiler.
But what’s the problem with believing the myth of male promiscuity?
Casual sex may be fine for some people or for some people at some times. The problem comes when men and women who want relationships feel pressured into having casual sex instead.
Plus, men who are pushed to have lots of partners may start using women to “score” to look good for the guys as women become the adversary.
Against all that negativity, what guys really want is companionship, connection, emotional support, intimacy, peer approval… and sex.