not knowing you
How 'Bout You Be My Sex Thing
A while back I became aware of this phenomenon, this particular kind of social interaction... where, as a man, I don't want to have too deep a connection with my sexual partner. Well, no, deep physical sex is good. And I longed for a deep connection. It's just that connection wasn't happening with the frequency it could or in the ways that are most meaningful.
So when I began paying attention to the conversations I would have with my boys or other male acquaintances, I began to notice a bit of a pattern. To my knowledge, it's not a pattern for all of them but enough to warrant a real conversation. In this video, I present some audio that I actually had the presence of mind to record with my smart phone after asking for an impromptu interview with an old coworker. He gave me permission to share bits of the audio in the video above. In it, he shared much of the same sentiment I was getting from other men, much the same sentiment that even I had experienced: to be able to have sex with our partners as if we didn't know them. To objectify, to be purely physical and superficial rather than too emotionally deep.
Truth That Is "Too Deep"
The fact is that as much as I had longed for a deep and meaningful, intimate relationship with the right woman, even when I found her, there were ways in which I did not want to connect too deeply, too emotionally, too intimately with her. What control do I have there? What security? Who's on guard? What's hilarious about this is that I consider myself emotionally attuned, sensitive, intuitive. Many men have perceived the same thing about me upon meeting me. I'm not always preoccupied with all the masculine posturing and puffing up. Having grown up with a progressive mother, a couple of sisters and a handful of female cousins, I considered myself a lover, advocate, and supporter of women and their concerns. One of my best male friends jokes that I express enough emotion for the two of us. I've also had prominent male figures in my life. So growing up mostly around female family or not, I am as guilty as the next man of resisting the kind of intimacy that renders men (masculinities) feeling initially helpless: the shared strength of intimacy women (may I say femininities?) really want.
Hold that sentence. What women really want. That wasn't such a scientifically founded statement I just made, was it. How cliché. At this moment it is a generalization. But in this case it is also empirical. I've found myself very often the only man hanging out with a group of women, friends of all ages, backgrounds, and all sexualities, who've been comfortable enough to share truthfully around me. Their love triumphs and losses. Their love lessons. Their sexual experiences, deep hurts, heartaches, wounds. Their likes and acts of sexual liberation. Their ways, their wisdom.
Sex And Intimacy
From what I've observed, heard, communicated back and forth, what I understand, and yes, even from what I've experienced, women (femininities) can handle and even enjoy, the physical pounding session kind of sex that many men find themselves involved in, or the porn star antics that we've been mimicking since we saw our first video during our pre/teen years, too often with total disregard for their feminine experience. They much prefer, however, all that strength be put into an in-the-moment dance synchronized to a boundlessly attuned mutual feeling. That sounds great, right?
I know, I know. This ain't necessarily news. Whether it's commonly known or not isn't the complete issue. It's that we guys, we men, we masculinities, more often just don't care. And we don't just care less when we're young and clueless, many of us do it our entire lives. I have witnessed it and I have conversations with mature, seasoned men who still carry on that way, knowingly and unknowingly.
So, the fact that I was in tune with what women wanted and still wouldn't connect? To know and not do... what is that?? Maybe just disregard, momentary inconsideration. I wish it were that simple. The fact that if I'm not careful I can be that way even still today? What is that? That it takes work? "They please you just to court you!" I can recall my mom telling my wife that right now. :)
Well, it's being human. I'm flawed, surprise, surprise. Yet, it seems between women and men, sexual experience for sexual experience, odds fall in "favor" of men. It seems. (More on that later.)
To want to "know" our partner without knowing them is perhaps more about our limited reality, the muscles men haven't had to flex than the muscles we're intent on flexing. There can be plenty of cases made here for all manner of debate, from the injustices of patriarchy to the accountability of individual agency to insidious nature of "rape culture," all of which is senselessly, but functionally intertwined, I'm willing to admit.
Although ignorance is no excuse, most of us masculinities can't readily admit what we don't know about ourselves. And we are not connected with the harm these ways have caused, en masse. We are not confronted to think of it every day as a social phenomenon. We're not all aware of the invisible ways it has been enmeshed in our daily lives, as we, too, go day-to-day guarding our sense of identity and value. So, I can't tell you what kinds of confrontation would even help. I do know, however, that learning there are benefits to other ways of conducting ourselves and inconceivable strengths that come with the kind of growth only emotional closeness can prove, could be a great start to us all knowing a bit more about our relationships and ourselves.