The Most Harmful Stereotype about Men & Sex.

Via on Jan 24, 2014

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Time and again, I encounter a common stereotype about men and it’s flat out wrong.

Not only is it misguided, it is also exceptionally damaging to relationships. It could be the most damaging perception held by society—women and men—about sex. Until society and its individuals address this concept and get our hearts and minds straight, the course of healing will be arduous.

The stereotype is often expressed as “Men—straight or gay—seem quite capable of unattached sex.”

Or, that the only thing men want from women is sex.

I see this idea presented by women that have been through the relationship wringer—and I am sorry that hearts have been hurt and that men have become a disappointment. Men can be real jerks. People can be thoughtless.

Yet, I have news: it is a judgement and a very short-sighted one at that. It devalues men and masculinity; it’s demeaning and hurtful.

It does not honor and recognize the depth of heart, courage and spirit that men have. It does not honor the love, integrity, sensitivity and artistry that men bring to life.

And, it has nothing to do with men as a gender.

It’s an individual choice that has more to do with being human and the experiences of life that shape each person, rather than gender.

People—either male or female, hetero or gay—are capable of unattached sex.

This attitude can happen and does happen by people of all genders and sexual orientations.

Men have been through the same emotional-wringer; we have been cheated on, our hearts have been broken.

That does not make women ‘mostly capable of unattached sex.’ Or all women ‘cheaters.’ Or that women are in it ‘just for the sex.’

Or for money either.

Behavior is about individual choices rather than gender.

While riding the relationship roller-coaster, perhaps we’ve all encountered one or two people who have been sexually detached and didn’t value us authentically.

Relationship counselors and psychologists will tell you that the top reason that men cheat is because they are looking for emotional intimacy—they don’t say ‘men are dogs and that’s what dogs do.’

And women often times are frustrated in their relationships and will end them or cheat because of a lack of emotional intimacy.

The reasons men and women cheat, break relationships and become ‘unattached’ are the same.

Men and women are looking for the same things in relationship; intimacy that transcends the body, penetrates the spirit and opens the heart.

Continuing to believe that most men are capable of unattached sex only hurts the self. This denies the opportunity for a most amazing relationship. It’s a stereotype that is just as harmful and false as saying ‘all women are emotional,’ or ‘women aren’t good at math or driving.’ (And I am picking some safe stereotypes so that I don’t get lambasted.)

It has been my experience that women are just as capable of being detached in sex—and the percentages for women cheating on men is very similar as for men cheating on women.

Through my years as a yoga instructor and good listener, I have witnessed many women who just want a good screw and couldn’t care less about the man that ‘services them.’ I’ve heard stories from mistresses who were involved with married men, women who were married that cheated on their partners. I’ve witnessed women have one-night stands. And I’ve met women who just sleep around because they just enjoy doing that. I’ve heard stories from married mothers who wish their husband would sleep around, and who want some hanky-panky of their own on the side.

Exactly how different are women from men, if some women are capable of doing, and engage in, the exact same kind of behavior as some men ?

Does this mean that women deserve a stereo-type as being especially capable of ‘unattached sex’ or just want a man for sex ?

Not at all.

If you are a person who believes that men in general—or the man you are with—is going to be emotionally detached and sexually unattached, you have set yourself up for failure and can never place blame on the other because the relationship was never given a chance to go past beliefs into what is real.

So please consider the impact of judgments, perceptions, and beliefs and the influences they have in life and the lives you encounter.

You could be self-sabotaging the best relationship in the world because of a misguided opinion.

Relephant Reads:

Why Men Are So Obsessed with Sex.

Can We Be Lovers & Not Have Sex?

Love elephant and want to go steady?

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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: elephant archives

About Keith Artisan

Keith Artisan is merely a human being, not too different yet certainly not the same as anyone else. He found himself on this planet many years ago and enjoys exploring the mystery of life because it makes him laugh a lot. Keith loves earning a living with his talents as a musician, artist, writer, and yoga instructor. He is most frequently found at music jams and the rest of the time exploring nature, climbing boulders, playing video games, reading, and hanging out with family and friends. He is online at Facebook and his website, Living Artisan .

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48 Responses to “The Most Harmful Stereotype about Men & Sex.”

  1. fruitaliniyogi says:

    Well written. I totally agree.

  2. Julie says:

    I spent years holding on to this belief. In retrospect it showed a lot more about my insecurities than any perceived belief I had about the man.

    Nicely written, thank you.

  3. sandrak says:

    Really?? I didn’t know that. Do women really have one night stands? Do women really enjoy a good screw? Oh my.

  4. Jack says:

    While the movement of misandry telling men how they are, and can and can't be is way out of hand and out of line, this article was a surprisngly fresh, balanced take.

  5. Mr M says:

    This stereotype is so insulting. I really cannot stand it.

    Some of us guys are extremely emotional and intellectual on a sexual level. I certainly am.
    Around 14 months ago I had my heart broken by my fiancé, for the second time.
    Sex for me is an experience I cant separate from emotion. Even going animalistic about it requires an emotional connection first. And for that reason right now I can't bring myself to be with anyone right now, it's too intense.

    I've had people say "well you should go out there and just fk some chick". Well, I can't. I respect my body, and for me to feel the physical connection, the emotional one needs to be there too.

    • Keith Artisan LivingArtisan says:

      I deeply honor you for respecting yourself and having the strength to stand strong in your convictions.

    • James says:

      I feel the same way. My wife just left me and then cheated to boot. I've had people tell me the same thing. For me, sex is the ultimate symbol of trust, almost like a dog rolling over to let you pet its belly.

    • jeff says:

      I ended a relationship over a year ago and I long to connect with a women on a deep level, be vulnerable with and fall in love. I have had several opportunities to get involved with women…but I want more then sex and I want to experience this prior to our first sexual experience.

    • chica says:

      Took me a long time to meet a man like you (and I ended up marrying him). But, I will say that every other man I have ever been with…were sexually selfish assholes…so I believe from personal experience that there is SOME truth to the stereo type. Unfortunately, I gather that from my own personal experiences….but what else do I have to go on?

  6. amy says:

    So interesting! It took me forever to understand that men have feelings too. Thank you for writing this.

  7. Bay says:

    An ex-girlfriend quipped to me one time – seemingly out of nowhere, that ‘men are only nice when they want sex’. As I was her last partner, I couldn’t help but take it a bit personally and had to wonder if we were even in the same relationship. She was my friend and I loved her. It felt like a slap in the face.

  8. Rajni Tripathi says:

    Beautifully written

  9. atenea says:

    Thanks, Keith, for contributing to what I consider most important: we ought to see each other as HUMAN BEINGS beyond color, shape, sexual orientation, gender… Once we learn to look into another human being's eyes and SEE a human being we'll be able to shed our own attachment to silly attributes of what's culturally and socially considered "femenine" or "masculine". Our genitals don't define us, our thoughts and actions do. I strongly believe that even one-night stands can be rewarding for both humans involved so long as they're both aware of and agree with what's happening, and are able to see each other as another human being. The same goes for the sex that nurtures a long, stable relationship. People can be unattached and disrepectful in married sex or attached and respectful, and the same goes for occasional sex. It all depends on how human you see yourself and how you embrace the human nature of your partner, and how much you honor your body and your heart, which allows you to honor that person's body and heart. Many, many thanks!

  10. Mark says:

    Over the years I have known some "men" who were very promiscuous and basically looking to get laid, only laid. That was more common in my military days. Personally, I have never been that way and never will be. I never really understood that behavior. But, young women do need to be wise, use wisdom when dealing with men, especially young military/college age fellas. I would say that statistically, from what I observed, and very unscientific, of the guys I served with about 2 in 10 were total dogs. I suspect that most of them eventually grew out of it but, if I had a daughter I'd have to kill the first one and leave him in the yard as a warning to the rest. About 1/3rd were men of good character looking for a wife, a long term, life time commitment. Most of them found something like that. There just isn't a one size fits all for how people are. Married my wife 30 years ago and intend to be with her till death. You are right though, I have met some women over the years that liked what they referred to as "sport fuckin". Fall in love with one of them and you're in for a grenade in the bung hole. It's gonna smart real good.

  11. sudeshna Sengupta says:

    Very very valid points but for some men just the acknowledgement to themselves that they might be looking for "intimacy that transcends the body, penetrates the spirit and opens the heart." in a relationship — can scare everything out of them. It's just that sad. But it is true.

  12. Barbara says:

    Other factors absolutely influence an ability to have unattached sex but gender is certainly a huge huge factor….I'm willing to bet in a blind study, once you lined up the participants and revealed their sex you'd have more men then women. I'm also willing to bet the numbers would even out with age, maybe even tip a little….

  13. jenny says:

    it is equally problematic to defend an entire gender on the pretense of debunking a stereotype, as it is to accuse an entire gender of falling under a stereotype.

    • Keith Artisan LivingArtisan says:

      Isn't that exactly what pointing out a STEREOTYPE is about ? This has more to do with a common thread of thought than 'defending an entire gender'. … did you actually read this ?

  14. arfer dog says:

    It is men, particularly the PUA/MRA type, who keep saying that men attach no emotional importance to sex and that women had just better accept it.

  15. Jim says:

    Being capable of unattached sex and wanting nothing other than sex from women are not the same thing

  16. Thank you. I’ve recently come out of a connection in which I, basically, got my heart broken because I fell for a woman who was only in it for the kicks.

    I learnt some good lessons from that experience. Nonetheless, I really appreciate the acknowledgement that … well, essentially, that men are human beings too, capable of deep emotional connection and equally of deep pain. I think it’s much-needed.

  17. V.R.M. says:

    Well written and timely — thank you!

  18. Orlando says:

    I’ve been saying this for years! Men whom are interested in more than the physical get a bad wrap for not fitting the unhealthy stereotype. Cheers to your strong voice!

  19. sophia says:

    Sure, we're ALL capable of unattached sex, just like we're all capable changing our own tires or taking less than 30 minutes to get ready in the morning. Whether it's gender roles or biological I have found that masculine identified people seem to be more capable of unattached sex. I'm a woman who has one night stands with both genders (not often, but quite a few times now) and it seems where the guys are perfectly happy leaving it at one night (which is fine by me), I've never completely had a one night stand with a girl where she never texts or even tries to connect after. So, yes, we're all capable of unattached sex, but I don't think the thought has really occurred to most women. This might be because one night stands are not actually as physically pleasurable for women. It takes getting to know someone and feeling safe with them to actually have intimacy enough to have orgasms for most women, where males can pretty much shoot their load without fear of being judged or even assaulted for it later ( http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/11/women-fi… ). I wonder what the impetuous for this blog post is, because the truth is that unattached sex "Brave New World" style will never happen not because guys love intimacy as much as women, but because rape culture will persist as long as we have patriarchal societies and this is not conducive to women feeling comfortable enough with their own anatomy to work it on a strange men and basically "get theirs." SO I'm not sure to what end the point that everyone is capable of unattached sex and "this stereotype needs to end" is going for. If you want to change the stereotype, start with changing culture.

    • Keith Artisan LivingArtisan says:

      Thank you for agreeing with me. We both identified the core issue.

      Culture changes by addressing stereotypes, and individuals who live by and assume stereotypes to be reality when in truth, stereotypes have nothing to do with reality or individuality.

    • ubiquitousmayhem says:

      Sophia, I just read that nytimes.com blog–wow. I am a woman and have never had a one night stand with a woman, but I will say that I have had one night stands with men of different cultures and I have found there is a prevalent American male culture of not going very far to please a woman. (yes, yes, I completely agree that we must not judge any specific person by stereotype, but a word to the wise…) I think if the blog looked at other cultures (including American subcultures, Europeans, etc, etc) they may find that women do get off from casual sex where the culture is to please the woman.

    • chica says:

      My husband is the most "masculine" male I have ever been with, and he is the LEAST capable of having unattached sex. Maybe I am just lucky, but most men I have been with were great at unattached, selfish sex…and they were all the least bit masculine. I think they were TRYING to invoke masculinity by their selfish sex. Masculine does not always, I would say they were more "machismo" than actually "masculine"….I believe there is a difference…

    • universalmind says:

      Maybe in your community.
      I prefer one night stands and i'm a woman.
      why?
      Novelty, thrill, i'm usually drunk/high and uninhibited and wild.
      And? No emotional ties. No needy guy wanting to stare into my eyes.
      I have emotional desires and wants too… I want to be treated like an equal and have a selfless lover… But ultimately I quickly get bored with the same guy after a while.

      I'm dating someone now who is lovely, a lot in common…. treats me better than any guy before.
      But already he is annoying me.
      I don't find him physically attractive so is it that?

      It upsets me because I want love I really do, I want to give myself up to someone feel vulnerable and all that…. But I have avoided dating of late because the disappointment of my own failure to like men hurts. Sometimes initially i'm keen and a selfless lover very sensual, cook good meals, do romantic things… but eventually reality sets in.

      So I end up thinking i'm really fucked up blah blah blah. I don't think a guy would think that??
      I think i'm just a bit selfish and I like my own space (controlling) and a bit detached and instead really close to my family. Yes I havent had the normal upbringing… So maybe i'm really unusual.
      I'm still young so maybe need more time or maybe this whole society thing of love is a load of shit. Maybe we aren;t meant to be monogamous, get married etc.

      I agree with your point on rape culture but I need to point out that a guy has never made me orgasm. But I don't rate orgasms even that highly. I was having sex for ages before I even made myself orgasm. So its not the reason I have sex. I'm not an uptight prude. In fact, sex just usually isnt intense enough to make me orgasm, The closest ive got was really kinky sex and I was touching myself.
      All this makes me feel like i'm not normal and get fucking depressed I wish people would stop defining whats normal or saying they are the voice of women.

  20. Richard says:

    yes, there is an element of individual accountability at hand, and of course men do have feelings and long for intimacy, as well, BUT… DNA is stacked against your argument, I’m afraid, and there’s solid scientific research that contradicts this article. from what I’ve read, considering humans have existed as hunter-gatherers for about 99% of their history so far, men have genetically developed more ability to “shut off” their emotions, which scientists theorize is traced to having to block out the unpleasantness of hunting/warfare. another well-known study found that men perceived platonic friendships with women radically differently than women did. “Men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa. Men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them…” – Scientific American. Yet another famous study done on a college campus involved researchers (male and female) approaching random strangers and offering NSA sex. about 60% of males approached accepted the offer (the researchers didn’t actually consummate the deal, just recorded the responses), vs. like 10% of females. so, uh, sorry but maybe back to the drawing board on this one, guys! ; )

    • Universalmind says:

      I'd say the 10% reflects the fact women are suspicious of strange men…. Because sexual assault is an everyday occurrence for women. I'm not exaggerating here- i've been followed home, intimated, groped, raped etc. Many women have similar experiences.
      I do LOVE one night stands though, the thrill, the novelty, the wildness. I'm usually very intoxicated though which makes me horny and uninhibited. I have been hurt by men i've had one night stands with or casual sex- not because i wanted them to love me but because I expected to be treated like a human- an equal!! and not derided for liking casual sex.
      Ultimately this leads to a nature vs nurture debate. I think women are capable of the same approach but to a degree live in fear…. thus needy :) I think men are encouraged to de-humanise women and be irresponsible. I know that men and women's brains are different. Men for example being aroused by a naked photo… and then thinking women want a picture of their cock as if thats what turns a woman on lol.

  21. Aaron says:

    I think it's perfectly fine, and perhaps necessary in many cases, to make generalizations. Generalizations allow us to form a consistent mental framework with which to observe and interact with our environment. As long as our conceptual framework is consistent with reality, there is nothing wrong with having certain "prejudices". One of these would be that men attach less emotionally to sex than women do. That is not to say that "all men experience no emotion in regards to sex". We can use these generalizations, but they must be consistent with reality to be truly useful.

  22. julian says:

    In matters such as these I refer only to David Deida

  23. Faun says:

    Men… -are- capable of unattached sex… so are some women… Women -do- get more easily attached, because of oxytocin, which men don't produce as much of as women do.
    Men are -also- capable of 'attached' sex, intimacy and love, but that doesn't negate the other.

  24. Naomi Nelson says:

    Can some ‘real’ research evidence please be referred to here?

  25. ubiquitousmayhem says:

    I respect what you are saying but perhaps you are living in a sector of the world where mindfulness is key and men are more sensitive than in the greater world. Your post seems to be saying that so many women blame all men for being detached and cheating. Plus, it does not differentiate between casual sex and relationships.

    Anyone who stereotypes anything to the extent where they judge a person who before exploring reality is just plain stupid. You simply cannot look at a man and assume he is going to be emotionally detached from sex–that is ridiculous. But in my experience I can look at a straight man and say that if I or many (a majority) of my female friends have casual sex with him, he is more likely to NOT be attached and we are more likely to become attached. On the emotional continuum of detached sex, in my own anecdotal experience, personal and peer-wise, there are many more men on the detached end and many more women on the attachment end.

    I am a feminist and I believe in gender differences. All you have to do to see that there are gender differences is to have children. You see some seriously crazy nature/nurture stuff and realize that in some ways we are trained but in many ways we are wired. Or at least, this is my perspective.

    You know, detaching is not wrong. Attaching is not wrong. These things just are. They are what they are. Many women I know (including myself in the past) berate themselves for being "too sensitive" or not being able to have sex, casual or otherwise, without attachment. Recently I took a look at this and made a conscious decision to accept the fact that I attach sometimes, and I vowed to never again criticize myself for it. I made up a name for the attachment ("amor pequeno") and blogged it.

    One last thing–this needs to be said–I personally am far more likely to attach to someone who is a good lover. I know this to also be true for some of my friends. I don't know how this fits into the story, but I felt it should be said.

    • universalmind says:

      The best sex i've ever had…. was with an arsehole. He seduced me when it was supposedly over. I knew it was wrong…. but I gave in and it was so liberating and it was amazing 4 hours of amazing. The he came, got dressed, and decided to walk for half an hour in the rain on crutches at 7am just to avoid staying with me any longer. Wouldnt even let me order a taxi. I was so so lonely after he left. so angry. How could somehow give me the best sex of my life then treat me worse than almost any guy had???
      He just got under my skin this guy, he was bi and effeminate. Probably his weird mixture of arrogance combined with insecurity got me.
      Not sure how relevant what I said is. I don;t understand what attracts and turns me on….

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