Women, Men Face Opposing Repressions

hodgins-and-angela-in-jail[1]Men and women are both repressed, but sometimes in opposing ways. Too many women feel emotionally open but sexually unresponsive, while too many men easily come even while their emotions lie submerged. Either way, when it comes to sex, they lose.

But should we be surprised when (among other things) buddies push each other to have sex with lots of women who they feel nothing for. Successful “players” are celebrated for “scoring” with the ladies – who may be shamed for “giving it up.”

But as players have sex with women they don’t know and don’t care about, and whose reputations they may destroy, they must check their emotions. But checking emotions goes beyond the bedroom. Boys don’t cry, and shouldn’t express much else, either. When Norah Vincent passed as a man for 18 months, she missed feeling and expressing emotion.

Here’s one man’s response to a post I wrote called “Twilight vs Porn” which contrasts women’s emotionally charged erotica with men’s proclivity for body parts.

It took years for me to untangle the damaging messages I received as a man and to get underneath them to a more genuine understanding of what sex was. I, too, think male sexual modes are primarily culturally reinforced – and exclude men from the best sex within intimacy, leaving them with a series of shallow orgasms and striving egos.

A young woman named Valerie saw it from the other side. She complained about guys gaping at her body and manipulating her into popular porn positions. It’s cold, she says:

I don’t just want to become Body A. I want men to feel like they are with me, Valerie, a particular woman with a particular body and my own unique personality.

Surprisingly, advice to non-orgasmic women may have something in common with helpful advice for non-emotional men.

Sex therapist, Lonnie Barbach encourages women to explore their bodies — without trying to come (because trying to climax just leads to worry that they won’t and keeps them out of the erotic experience). Notice the subtleties of the sensations, she says, feel into them, let them grow.

A guy once told me that he’d had to do the reverse to experience connection. Orgasm was easy. He needed to notice emotional subtleties and center on those as a way to move beyond cold porn sex. And then he couldn’t believe how amazing sex could be — even though he’d thought it was awesome before.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on March 11, 2013, in gender, men, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. This is a great post because most men and women ignore the factors that are causing bad sexual relationships. Men tend to follow the orgasm, that’s all they want but what they do not realize is how important the intimate, mental and emotional aspects of sex are so important. Because they do not need it in order to climax it is easy for them to get by, even if they are missing out on deeper levels of gratification. With this said, women do need more intimate levels of sex to climax and are often left out. This leads to impersonal sex and leaves the woman to gratify herself, alone. If men were sent different messages maybe they would be less afraid to talk about sex, and they would realize that when a woman tells him what makes her feel good, it is not in a negative response to his actions but a positive instruction to enhancing both of their experiences.

  2. Rohan 7 Things

    Great post highlighting the double standards and showing that ultimately everyone loses because of these kinds of outdated approaches to sex, gender and sexuality.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


  3. Both are left empty and isolated from each other and themselves. And so both are vulnerable. Thanks.

  1. Pingback: Are Men “Naturally” Bad Caregivers? « everyday gurus

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