January 24, 2014

The Most Harmful Stereotype about Men & Sex.

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:

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Nathan Jan 21, 2016 8:32pm

So, must admit I didn’t peruse the body of preexisting commentary on this one, so forgive me if I duplicate someone’s efforts. That said, I have some issue with the assumption here, that sex must be part of an attachment beyond people enjoying each others’ bodies — that unattached sex is by definition A Bad Thing.

A little conflicted here, since as a rule, I DO prefer my sexual relations to be part and parcel of a more complete communion, in which I and my partners enjoy sex as part of a larger or deeper connection. But I don’t think sex, of necessity, must have this mystical, holy aura of deep connection beyond the thing itself in order to be good, to be wholesome, to be uplifting.

Yes, I think that sex is better as an adjunct to meaningful connection. But no, it doesn’t have to be to be good, and good for you. As long as we’re honest about our level of investment, it doesn’t have to be this soul-shaking thing blazing deep/meaningful attachment. As long as we’re sincere, I don’t think that “shallow,” sex-for-fun has anything wrong to it.

ubiquitousmayhem Aug 17, 2014 8:09am

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.

Naomi Nelson Jun 15, 2014 7:00pm

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

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Keith Artisan

Keith Artisan believes each human is innately good and imbued with talent. Believing that life is a mystery, he feels it is his life purpose to inspire people to believe in themselves and live their truth. Living what he believes, Keith actively serves his community as an entrepreneur, artist, yoga instructor, musician, writer, and mentor. He is online at Facebook and his website, Living Artisan .