While the propensity for men to roam the virtual hills of life in search of a sexual utopia has been well-documented, it is important that we dissect this practice, if we hope to get close to understanding this mysterious thing called male sexuality. That sex is of primary importance to a man goes without refute. While we may accurately blame socialization and culture for much of what most males practice today in terms of sexual behaviour, I honestly believe that the sexual DNA of the male pits sex right up there with breathing oxygen. In other words, it is an indelible part of who he is. Through sex, a man is defined and affirmed. Through his sexuality, his identity is made concrete. Is this merely a western socio-cultural phenomenon or is this part and parcel of the spiritual or essential make-up of a man? And what does this have to do with his ability to stay faithful to one woman?
While space and time does not allow me to delve into all of the pathologies that may contribute to male promiscuity or failure to be satisfied by one sexual partner, it is perhaps necessary that we re-examine a few ideas being bandied around out there. There is a popular school of thought, I’m sure invented and promoted by men, that when it comes to their sex-drive and sexual needs, basically they can’t help themselves. And many men hold this driven-by-my-primal-sexual-instinct dogma as gospel; particularly handy when attempting to justify their cheating ways. Whether or not we swallow the idea, it is pretty clear to many of us women that the male sex-drive is a distinct animal with a life of its own.
No matter how great the sexual encounter, it’s amazing that a few hours later a man still wants more! Yes; men love sex and we women generally speaking don’t have a problem with this notion. We just want that our man only loves it with us! In putting their super-charged sexuality into operation, I believe that quite a few men have simply learned dysfunctional ways of handling their overpowering need to connect. Men don’t have an innate inability to commit to one woman; it just sometimes serves their social purposes not to.
When we examine the human sex-drive in both men and women, we can’t help but notice how it reflects our God-designed need for intimacy. This is literally spelt out in the physical, emotional and spiritual connection which is experienced during intercourse. I believe, however, that since sex is a disrobing, naked moment (literally and otherwise) inherent in the act is the ability to expose both strengths and weaknesses.
Because the inherent nature of sex strips us, exposing our limitations and vulnerabilities, many men recoil from this by erecting what I call psychological guards; a major one being “the other woman”. One of man’s best-kept secrets is therefore the guard or mask of the “player-personality” who refuses to commit or settle down. This has become a useful social construct designed to give men the appearance of being in super control of their sexuality and their emotions. Regretfully, many of us women have erroneously schooled them from boyhood days to behave in this way, by discouraging them from displaying emotion for fear that this would feminize them or make them appear “soft”.
Many men will therefore seek to retain one-upmanship or what they perceive to be sexual power or superiority by not surrendering their vulnerability to any one woman. A man’s natural drive for human connection (which he may or may not be aware of) propels him to connect through his sexuality or to search for intimacy; his super-sexual drive does have a purpose. His dysfunctional way of acting this out, however, encourages him to hold out on the woman with whom he is involved and to hold on to flawed concepts of power and self-preservation. This results in a string of unsatisfactory sexual encounters which leads to a cycle of shallow, connectionless sex. Ironically, this “multi-partner-mode” while at the surface can bring a high, fails to bring any lasting sexual fulfillment and so the cycle continues.
Men, through personal coaching and counseling, can be taught to relinquish these limiting notions of their sexuality. They can unlearn the concept of sex as a display only of dominance and power. Even the language of sex as we focus on “penile-penetration” provides a sense of imbalance to the act of sex which as one friend of mine puts it, should also be thought of in terms of “vaginal-envelopment”. Only when men become comfortable with the concept of surrendering their sexual power, will the idea of commitment to one woman take on new meaning and significance.
Can a man learn to surrender emotionally without first deciding to commit in a loving, exclusive relationship? I believe that a relationship can be that place where a man is forced to finally “grow up” sexually and emotionally. While I will not excuse men for their philandering ways, many times we women enable this behavior by settling for it in our relationships. We literally think that it comes with the territory and even when unhappy, our silence communicates our acceptance of such. As women we must remain resolute in communicating our emotional expectations in our relationships. This includes our expectations for sexual fidelity. We must not settle for less by allowing our men to think that we will just be their dispensable “sex objects”. Even though some males may go as far as to make a marital commitment, they are unable to come to grips with what this really should mean at the highest level; keeping all their sexual eggs in one basket. At the same time, how we as mothers socialize our male children, also has a significant part to play in their comfort with concepts of emotional exposure and surrender to another person in the context of love.
Many men who hop from bed to bed do not recognize the disconnect which exists between what their bodies want and what they really do need to be emotionally satisfied. It is, therefore, not inherently unnatural for a man to be satisfied with one woman. He was made for this. He does have the emotional capacity for this but it is his mind and body which must now be trained to play “catch-up”.
Excerpt adapted from “How to Have Mind Blowing Sex Without Losing Your Brain!” by Denise J Charles © 2011, available here.