Guys Just Wanna Have Relationships?

Hand holding“All men cheat.” “He can’t keep it in his pants.” “Men only talk about beer, sex and sports.”

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.

A rerun for the holiday.

Related Posts
Guys Are Getting More Romantic
Women Want Good Sex, Men Want Cuddling
Hookup Culture

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 January 2, 2017, in men, relationships, sex and sexuality and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. That’s the half truth.
    It doesn’t explain why there are so many female escorts and prostitutes and strippers all over the world. There’s a high demand from men for casual sex and they are willing to pay for it.

    Let’s try this experiment: an attractive woman approaching single men for casual sex. The only reason she might get rejected is because that’s so unusual that the men would get suspicious that there’s something fishy going on.

    The bottom line is that most men would like to have casual sex on regular basis but they can’t.
    It’s like most men would like to be a million dollars NBA player but they can’t do it

    • What I have learned is that most people think everyone is the same way they are.

      Some man do you prefer casual sex. Andrew Smiler has been researching this question for a while and found that about 20% of men are “Casanovas.” Compare this with Dr. Wade’s finding that about 25% of campus man preferred hook ups over relationships. So those are similar numbers. Now if you are one of that type you probably think all men are that way. And 20 – 25% of men who prefer casual sex could certainly keep the prostitution industry going.

      But Smiler also found that even Casanovas often also want relationships. So many of them still fit what I’m talking about.

      But thanks for your comment. You often give me food for thought. 🙂

    • “But the vast majority of single men wouldn’t turn down the opportunity of casual sex no string attached.”

      Nope! I can’t tell you how many guys in college and even now couldn’t have casual no strings attached sex if that is what it also meant for the women they were having sex with. I’ve compared notes with so may women, who at the time wanted casual no strings attached sex, but also learned the men they were having sex with couldn’t keep it going unless they felt the women wanted more from them. It was easy for the men to have casual sex, only if they felt the women wanted more, otherwise they would either end up developing stronger feelings or completely ignore and shut the woman out of their life(which meant breaking contact with a gal who is willing and wants nothing but sex from them), basically turning down the opportunity of casual sex no strings attached. I assume the guys felt crappy by being treated as an object for sex, when someone wanted nothing more than sex from them. It’s much easier to not be hung up on a person and/or feel crappy when they treat you with respect of a full person. This applies to both men and women.

      “It doesn’t explain why there are so many female escorts and prostitutes and strippers all over the world.”

      This doesn’t explain a demand for casual sex, as much as gender power dynamics and gendered insecurities. I don’t see the premise of your conclusion being applicable in a world where men own and control nearly all wealth and property, and in a world in which most cultures maintain a gender hierarchy based on the relative power of one gender in comparison to the other.
      1. I remember seeing a documentary in which escorts talk about their experience and they said the men who seek them want to talk and share personal emotions more often than they seek just sex. 2. Rich and famous men who can get casual sex on a regular basis still go to prostitutes and pay for it. 3. Surveys reveal men often do or feel pressure to have sex, not for the pleasure of sex, but to increase their social standing and status.
      These three points demonstrate how engaging in or wanting to engage in sex for men is often not simply about the pleasure/horniness but about insecurity, social pressures, power, status and social standing as related to their gender.

  2. It sounds easy enough if we men desire a relationship we sometimes go into things without thinking or even if we plan things and think long and hard about what we want in a relationship we hae to sometimes confront what others may think of our choices. I often think I want to be in a relationship but have been asked about whether I do want casual sex or not my mother’s response to me is always don’t think of having a girlfriend yet you can have friends who are girls. Fact of the matter is, some often say I should be encouraged to try and find love while others may say girls are nothing but trouble am I meant to believe the ones who consider being more encouraging or do I believe those who say girls are nothing but trouble or do I listen to my mother who says have friends who are girls? I think I’d probably regret the thought of casual sex because if you make somebody pregnant you have to stick around and not just run away from responsibilities and that if you do run away from responsibilities you live to regret those decisions.

    • I don’t know how old you are. If you are young you should follow your mother’s advice. You have to think about whether you are old enough and responsible enough to deal with possible consequences.

      Otherwise, don’t kick it until you’ve tried it. Relationships, Most people feel relationships are one of the most fulfilling things you can have in life.

  3. “Surprisingly 70% of women and 73% of men wanted a committed relationship.”

    As a man, this goes to show people that this stereotype that, “all men want is sex” is false. Many times I feel as if women look down on men because of those men who do only want casual sex. Yet there are just as many women – if not more, that also just want casual sex.

    The truth of the matter is, men DO want committed relationships, but we just don’t rush into them as much as I feel many women do. We men want to be cared for too by a women, just as women want to be cared for by a man.

  4. I thought this article was very interesting. From past relationships I have felt that a man tends to be more emotional and wanting a girl that wants a committed relationship like they want. Sex is just a bonus to this equation. I have realized that I tend to get more independent in a relationship and it scares that guy into thinking I don’t care about them. This is really difficult, but it is also difficult to find a man that is willing to admit that he wants a committed relationship over something that is casual. I believe that both genders tend to lean on the casual side more than a commitment because it is easier to get out of a casual thing over a relationship. This article really proved to me that men want the same as women, a person that wants to be in a committed relationship with them. I also think it is hard to understand that not all men are the way that tv shows portray them as. Lastly, I thought that the quote, “Men only talk about beer, sex, and sports,” is such a stereotype. This ties in with the tv shows and movies. It is also saying that men can’t have emotions, which is part of the reason for me of maybe why I wouldn’t have thought that men want a committed relationship over a casual thing.

    • And interestingly, on college campuses everyone thinks that everyone else wants casual relationships but surveys have found that about three quarters quarters of both men and women prefer relationship sex over casual sex. But because they think it’s uncool hardly anyone wants to admit it.

  5. I think it is unfair to think all men really want is sex. I mean it makes sense, like you said, because the media portrays them that way. None the less, we as humans seek companionship regardless of gender. The issue isn’t so much men not wanting relationships, but men not expressing their interest in pursuing a relationship. Since there is a stigma that expressing emotions is “unmanly” it becomes difficult to do so, especially when two people are already having casual sex. I experienced this in my last relationship, since it had the same pattern as above. We were friends with benefits for almost 3 years even though we were clearly crazy about each other and obviously wanted to be together. I always laugh when I think about the night we finally expressed our feelings for each other and officially got together because we both already knew what we had confirmed. We then went back and forth on why we hadn’t spoken up, and it’s because we were terrified of losing the friendship we had built up. In reality, there are no such thing as casual relationships because the interaction between two human beings is incredibly complex. Going back to the post, yes men tend to be more promiscuous because it has been normalized, but it does not mean they do not seek relationships. We must be careful in saying “all men like this…” because stereotyping is never fair.

  6. In today’s society, I feel that it is not my generation’s fault that the mentality still exists around “he can’t keep it in his pants” or “men only want sex”. Why do we have to view men as promiscuous and women as monogamous?? While women are fighting for things to change from their side, I don’t feel there is a strong enough effort from women as well to change the stereotypes against the male gender. Not all guys just want to get into our pants. For us to say that is unfair. Yes, some women go through instances in their lives where they were played and now believe this to be the case, but if we are to generalize men into being the supposed sex crazed males they are, it’s like them calling all women sluts. Each individual person should be given a change instead of being stereotyped because of their gender.

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