Guys: Romantic? Or Just Want One Thing?

130815_DX_HookingUp.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeSome reports say guys are getting more romantic. Others say they just want one thing, preferably from celluloid porn stars.

Which is it?

On the one hand guys are getting sexually addicted to their computer screens. Davy Rothbart explains that the “fireworks and whiz-bangs” of extreme porn is to real women what an Imax 3-D movie is to a flipbook. (Though he thinks it’s a problem.)

And after a tour of college campuses, Naomi Wolf concluded that far from turbocharging women’s objectification and turning men into wild, raping beasts, Internet porn is turning men off real women.

But others have found young men becoming more romantic than their older brothers and fathers. Ninety-five percent of whom would prefer to have sex with someone they love over sex with a “hot” woman. Over half only want sex with someone they love.

What’s with the conflicting data?

Actually, the stats are picking up patterns that are working at cross currents. All men aren’t the same, so while some guys get most turned on by their computer screens, others are getting more romantic, and most want relationships with real women over sex as sport – or spectator sport.

Even among the porn addicts who can’t “get it up” for real girls, plenty choose to sacrifice porn for relationships.

Yet, we are more inclined to believe that men are sex-craved because it fits our stereotypes — which are supported by evolutionary psychology.

But stereotypes are often wrong.

So is evolutionary psychology.

Men can’t have more sexual partners than women. And they cannot best reproduce by both being promiscuous (spreading their seed widely) and monogamous (providing resources for their children).

Meanwhile, so-called hookup culture and the fraternity code — bros before ho’s — can make it seem like men “just want one thing” when they actually want more.

An actual study of hookup culture found it to be mythical. After four years of college the average student had just over one hookup per year. Only 11% enjoyed hooking up and nearly 3/4 of campus men wanted girlfriends, not hookups — but believed that everyone else felt differently.

In the cross-current of guys wanting just one thing and guys caring for and loving girls, romance seems to be winning.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
Are Men Really More Polygamous?
Guys Just Wanna Have Relationships?
Porn Can Cause E.D.?

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 September 16, 2013, in men, objectification, pornography, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. I find it interesting how there are callous guys who don’t care and objectify women and cat call them. But there is so much grey area. I undertand some women’s frustrations and being jaded even. And seeing guys as jerks or how guys just want sex or stuff like that. But there are other guys who are good good or decent, where there’s so much more and not quite as one might think. There’s more layers and a man can care about women even if he’s done dickishh things. A guy can have moments of wanting women in a purely sexual way or just caring or thinking that, and the same guy seeing women are cool, and interesting and the whole person and romantic interest and care as well as feelings, There can be complexity and not just binary aspect, but almost contradicting dualities for some or many men. I don’t cat call or deceive or defiinitely not into myself where callous guys just used women left and right and so self absorbed that they don’t care. But I while I wouldn’t deceive, I’d by lying if there weren’t women I just wanted to bang, and didn’t care to know them and while I wouldn’t lie about my intentions. There’s no guarentee that hurt feelings still can’t happen even if both know it most likely would have just been casual or ended up that way, but despite that a woman wanting more could still feel hurt and while I wouldn’t want that. It might not bother me depending on my mood if governed more by my ego at time. Like a balance between heart and ego and the contradiction of the two So I could be like that,Like I can be lustful about a woman’s body and just want sex and think just about her body.

    And then I find myself being quite romantic and thinking of probably surprising stuff or maybe not, but just surpriing because guys don’t often openly show their “softer” sides. But while I can feel that way. I sometimes think of romantic stuff when I am with a woman when that time comes that I want a relationship and someone I love. And then like a video or setting makes me like have this bucket list or like I’d like to take my future girlfriend, fiancee, wife, significant other to a scenery or place like this ha. Like look at this video. The song had 200 million views, I don’t know if you know dubstep, but it had a popular period. But I think it’s cool how it blend violin and dubstep together, but it’s cool. But I love the ice sculptures, especically the night and with the lights. It sparks this romance and I’m like I would love to take my future SO to a place like that or surprise her, it’s so cool looking and beautiful. Her in a cute winter coat and hat like lindsey stirling and the snow fall and this winter wonderland scenery. Look at this video and song, you might like the song anyway, but I love the visuals. And like it shows how men can be conflicted and be like two sides in one person and not being fake (casanova and romantic). Like culture sets up this seemingly contradiction and hypocrite aspect, but just shows the complexity of people. Here’s the video

    • Yeah I really like her music and that’s a great video! (One of my friends five-year-old sons likes her music too — very good taste for a kindergartner — and we have a dance party!) But yeah, the video is romantic and otherworldly even. Some people describe sex As an otherworldly experience. Maybe that gives to this here. And the draw is interesting since she isn’t provocatively dressed.

      • Yea that’s the thing though. A few days ago I was thinking of how I wished I had a boat buddy, I made that up. I like to go out on the boat with friend and tie up with other friends on the weekend during the summer and some boat parties and such. And thinking of it in the sense of a casual sex girl company aspect and like seems the trend for some girls. The cheeky bikinis and the girl I’m with wearing one. So this desire in the ego/physical lust sense mainly.A little sex objecty, though not completely because I’m not that way, I still care even if I get thirsty like most guys. So here goes my thought process like that. And then here the other night, I’m watching this video and thinking of how romantic such a site is and how could it would be to find that place when with a special someone and that made me light up emotionally. And you know this part thiking about all the various qualites of women, not just the physical, but vibes, feminiity, tenderness, smile, expressions, humor, with and so on.

        Not that I never cared about that, but like a man I can compartmentalize based on what I want at the time. But it’s the complete opposite of the mindset I had before that. It’s like a damn clash between ego and heart, lust and emotion. I understand why there are jaded women who have been hurt from hook ups and such and don’t have the best feelings toward many guys. And while some are guys who might just see women as nothing be sex objects or conceited. It can also mean that it’s more complicated that “guys just want sex” or that they don’t have feelings or think women are just sexy beings and that’s it. But layers there. Feelings or guys have more feelings, romantic and values of women as whole, but many reasons or things that cause it to be convoluted.

      • Thanks for sharing your experience with this. I wonder how often the shift comes about as men mature and start to see more multiple sides of life – and women. I don’t think that lust is a bad thing. It depends on how it is used. Is someone left feeling used and abused or not? Maybe two people lust and want some hot sex and they both know that that’s what the other one wants and that’s OK. Although I was reading something by a well-known author who said that he tried that for a while and found that while the women said they were fine with random lustful sex, in the end he kept hurting them. So he finally stopped doing it because he realized that he was hurting them even if they said at first that they were fine with “just sex.” Another way I can see it being OK is just fantasy so long as women are treated respectfully in real life. Or you might have a partner where you know and appreciate all the multi dimensions of her but you have lustful sex too. That’s fine. It’s all a question of whether someone is hurt by the behavior.

  2. I really agree with your observation, and from my own prospective and from what I see in my personal life, I can tell that some guys tend to look for hook ups or one night stand and say that even if they find some nice girl they would like to keep it sexual. On the other hand most of the guys I know will always chose to have a long relationship and find love, instead of going to that hook up mindset. Now I also notice that when guys fall in love and they are dedicated, Porn will feel like almost cheating. So from my point of view I think guys can easily “sacrifice” watching porn for the person they love.

  3. I think it;s one of those things where guys are split, even the player guys I think have a romantic, soft spot but they suppress it. It’s stupid how men can be insecure and always have to feel they have to be macho and scared of showing a sensitive side or softer music, movies, etc. It’s funny because most guys have that side, but some “secretly” will enjoy a chick flick say or softer, beautiful music, whether bag pipes, which is not less masculine, but guys can be too proud to admit or show their other non macho side or softer side. It’s so ingrained though that it can feel that way for me, where I’m thinking, ha, I can;t believe I like this, but whatever its a beautiful song. But what I mean is that, some party stuff or pictures from social media or hot girls, etc can spark thoughs or the part of me that wants to just have fun. But something that I see that makes me think of an ex gf that I cared for can spark the longing for a relationship and a girl to love.

    Other can too, sometimes breath taking stuff or beautiful things can spark thoughts of a significant other and romantic thoughts or the strong desire to share such experiences with one. What I mean is this. I love most types of music, I find certain songs or music can fit depending on my frame of mind during the day. I like rock,pop rock, some club music, somg hip hop, song country rock, love 90s songs, alternative, 80s songs, etc. There are even times where I like some softer songs too and even movie songs, I was surprised to like this dubstep violin version by lindsey stirling, it was cool and beautiful. There was a movie theme song that I always loved when I watched the movie as it was so climatic and powerful. It was a main song to the movie, The last of the Mohicans. It had bag pipes and celtic music. I found one by Royals Scots Dragoons Guards Bagpipes. It’s just beautiful and powerful and the scenery pictures, ha, it made me want to go there and think of how much I’d love to take a wife or significant other there and just romantic thoughts when listening to the music and the breath taking scenery of I think Scotland or Ireland, not sure. Here;s the clip

    I feel like such a girl getting into this music and stuff sometimes ha.

    • What you say makes a lot of sense. I’m not surprised that guys, Even Casanovas, can have a softer side and sometimes yearn for relationship. I actually have surveyed some classes on that second issue, But haven’t analyze the data yet. Because I was wondering if some guys are a mix. And thanks for the link.

      • You’re welcome. I think guy’s can think of future romantic stuff too. Like this makes me think of how, I’d love to be lost in some of those places and romantic thoughts in some of the places and scenic spots there in the video. It’s either Ireland or Scotland. I’ve heard Ireland is beautiful from people who have been there, though I haven’t, I’ve seen pictures. I’m sure Scotland is too, I think this might be Scotland though. Italy is still the place that comes to mind for honey moon, beccause I’m half Italian and I know Italy can be beautiful and romantic. But yeah, while maybe some love stuff from movies can spark it for women, for me its beautiful, powerful stuff like this, where it can make me long for sharing an experience in a place like that with a significant other. I don’t know if this specifically does for guys, but I’m sure there are such stuff too, though guys might not be open or talk about it.

      • The romance of Scotland or Italy would probably work for women, too, I’m sure. Those are beautiful, romantic places.

  4. I think men are becoming less romantic because sex is so much more easily accessible. I think when a man is really in love and wants to make his woman smile then romance is a high priority. But when it’s woman he’s first met or someone who doesn’t require much romance in order to get the the finish line, then I don’t think it’s at the top of the average man’s list of things to do. I mean let’s face it, most romance these days comes with a hefty price tag and I consider myself conservative. (Others might call me cheap.) Bottom line, romance is the eye of the beholder. For some it’s being cuddled under a blanket with their significant other, drinking a bear watching Thursday night Football. For others, it’s a candle lit lobster dinner, with an aged bottle of wine. I think romance is relative…

  5. Romance is an important part of a healthy and long lasting relationship and i believe that most men have it in them. However I also believe that some men have a romantic side but since it is not what society expects from a man that is “strong and masculine”, they might suppress it. They could feel uncomfortable showing it, especially in front of other men because they do not want to be viewed as weak. It could also depend on how mature the man is and how dedicated he is or maybe even how he was raised.

    I used to believe that guys wanted sex more than romance but when I met my fiancé I realized that this might not be the case. I actually feel ashamed to say it but he is way more romantic than me.

  6. Interesting topic, I personally agree that nowadays men are so caught up with the idea of “bros over hoes.” I believe some men might try and hide that “romantic” side of theirs when hanging around with their friends just to fit in the circle. Men rarely talk to each other about their relationship, emotions or so it seems and if so they probably make it a short conversation. Unlike women who can go on for days. In my opinion I believe most men do have that romantic side only when they are deeply feeling for someone. Perhaps some men show the “romantic” side less than others but some way some how they must conquer a woman’s heart. With today’s generation most of us are caught up with the idea that “all men are the same” and “all women are the same” Meaning, that the good ones are going extinct. Surrounded by such thoughts from everyone we start to believe in this “men just want hook ups and not a relationship.” Life experiences also have a huge impact for us women believing men just want hook ups instead of relationships and it shouldn’t be that way. It’s who you surround yourself with whom you attract. The idea is to accept a man who is being romantic while getting to know you rather than just assuming he wants the hook up. In addition, to keep an open + positive mind. Within time you’ll realize what the relation is all about. Many men, like women, are also looking for the one, a partner to call their own. In other words, men being romantic doesn’t mean they just want that hook up.

  7. In my opinion I think many man do have soft and loving sides but not all men show it to every women. Just like how women been hurt men have been hurt to but one problem is women all thing man are stronger so they can’t love. As young kids were told that’s a man’s job and men this and men that but honestly we do have similar feelings men and women. Men can be in romantic relationships they just don’t want someone who slept with half of their friends or been around the block a few times. They rather a women with goals and plans than a women partying at the club every chance she gets. So yes men can be romantic is just has to be for the right women. In my opinion I think many men want relationships and not just hooks up but not all women want the same thing or men just haven’t found the right woman they are looking for yet. Some relationships take time not all relationships happen over night. Both men and women have to be patient you cant force chemistry in a relationship or desire for each other it all has to happen naturally.

  8. In my point of view, I think guys who chooses a relationship is a good thing because some people today seems to think that all guys will only go for hook ups instead of a relationship. The media culture today shows an impression that guys will only hook up with a girl who they find sexy then later on leaving them off in the dust which comes across to people thinking guys are like that. When reality guys do want to be with a girl who they can love, they like to give their respect by giving them a dozen roses every February.

  9. Myself being a man, yet separate from the men I hanging around I have seen that most men between the ages of 18-25 just want one thing. Men are looking to hook up with the women they first meet almost 90% of the time, from what I have experienced. A lot of the time women are categorized by the way she looks or the clothes they wear, they are also put on a number system 1-10. The higher the number the better that women looks.
    This article touched base on porn and made a comment that stated Internet porn is turning men off of real women. I would have to hugely disagree with this remark. All of my friends watch porn and if anything I think it makes them want a real women more than ever. They speak of new sexual techniques they want to try that they saw and ect.
    I personally believe that the new generation of men are becoming more romantic, but the simple fact is that the way the media portrays and objectifies women, they will soon jump upon the train of stereotypes, peer pressure and social norms of society.

    • Thanks for your perspective.

      The reason we do social research is because if we just judged everyone from our friends we would have a skewed idea of what the larger society is like. So in some groups, guys are more like you discuss. Other groups of guys want relationships. Apparently, research suggests that the latter is more common.

      On porn turning men off of real women, it doesn’t work that way with all guys. But it is working that way with some men – mostly men who over consume. What is overconsumption? If you’re getting turned off of real women and unable to get it up, you are over consuming.

  10. I think or hope it’s more than sex. Guys actually want the homing and lodging the woman unity of the relationship.The woman creates the ‘space’ that facilitates a reciprocal interaction. The intermediate ‘space’ is what allows the romance to flourish and a place where the two can create the togetherness.

  11. Hey how’s things? 🙂 Hope you had a great weekend! 🙂
    As a newly single woman, I’m astounded how many young men are looking for older women. At first I thought it was just sex, but Noooooo they actually want to take you out to dinner etc.
    As flattering as it is, personally it’s not what I’m looking for. But your right, there is a huge change. As for porn? Pffft it’s purely fantasy that’s all. Lol Hugs to you and I hope your having a great day. Paula xxx

  12. Cool, yeah appearances can be deceptive. Another example is that on the one hand many women strive for physical “perfection” and yet most guys actually prefer girls who are fairly “ordinary” and who do not conform to the stereotypes of slim and “beautiful”

    Really good post!


  13. I hope romance is winning! As you say, stereotypes are often wrong. We have to avoid lumping people into a category based primarily on gender, whether we’re talking about women or men. It’s the individual that matters.

  14. I think most guys have a romantic side, but it’s generally down-played because male society doesn’t reward men for being sensitive types. Instead, we give kudos to ‘studs’ who bed multiple women as if each one was was conquest won, earning him machismo points. We need to value a man for his respect, loyalty and ethics in how he treats women. Luckily most women are smart enough to see that, and I think most guys realize that fact even if they won’t admit it in front of other guys.

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