.:Guest Post:.Stoic Male, Relationship-seeking Female: Stereotypes sustaining division amongst the sexes

As We build more bridges and connect with more thoughts on this plane, I realized I wanted and needed a better understanding of relationships. There are numerous questions bandied about in the Black community, many taken for granted, others simply not screamed through the loud speakers of media enough for an answer to say,”Hello!”

I have asked @ShePonderings to further this discussion as I find her candor enriching, and I knew she wouldn’t hold any punches regarding the topic of sex for the politically correct crowd. You know? I knew she would keep it Asylum. Now, as always with guest, I don’t agree with every angle of thought provided here, but I respect open conversations about topics that don’t get discussed often in a mature and intelligent fashion. So without further ado…

Today’s male perplexes me. I consider myself a very upfront, independent woman. I love traveling, languages, music & sex. Being in a relationship isn’t something I’m in need of right now until I am more established or have accomplished a few things. There are many women who feel like me, women who are willing to wait on relationships for a while. When it comes to casual sexual relationships, I tend to tell men upfront “I’m trying to study abroad in the next year-and-a-half, so I need consistent sex without the emotional attachment.” In the beginning, the men are overjoyed, but down the road, something happens: they get emotionally involved and begin playing the part of The Stoic Male. The Stoic Male is a man who rarely shows or feels emotion and tends to be a horrible communicator. I believe the Stoic Male stereotype is something pushed by society & the media at large to cripple men in the areas of the emotions & communication, which also leads to strained communication between the sexes; but bear with me for a moment as I give, you—the reader—a few examples.

I’d been involved with a man for about 3 months before things changed for the worst. Before this three-month mark, we were having sex regularly, enjoying each other with no strings attached. Although our chemistry in the beginning was extraordinary, the sex started getting longer and more intense around the 3-month mark. As a woman, I was overjoyed. With the way women are wired, we end up having our best sex with someone with whom we feel safe, a partner who takes the time to familiarize himself with our bodies. I’d argue that this is why casual sex is to our detriment, since casual sex often means racking up several partners who don’t stick around long enough to know our bodies, but that’s another blog. The point is, this man was definitely familiar with my body. He knew where to touch, how, and when. Our sex quickly got to the place of transcendence, where I’d black out and feel as though I were floating with the stars: pure ecstasy. Then, he took us to a place I wish he’d never taken us to.

After one such transcendent experience, my partner decided he wanted me to observe his son sleeping in the next room. I was shocked and a little concerned, but obliged him. Maybe this is what sex partners do, I thought. I complimented him on his son’s adorableness, and made for the door when I hear him request my presence in his living room. I obliged him yet again. This time he did the unimaginable: he pulled out his family photo album. I was convinced at this point of two things: I was good in bed, and the casual relationship would soon change if not end. And change it did! I saw him one last time for horribly distant sex and he disappeared shortly after, but I wasn’t surprised. Sex is one of nature’s glues; in other words, sex has the potential to bond people together. Sex can make a person who’s considered average and annoying graduate to beautiful and tolerable: it’s that powerful. When we add sex to a casual acquaintanceship or friendship, one cannot be surprised if a partner catches feelings over time. Consistent sex makes both partners familiar and comfortable with each other, and in time, emotional walls do come tumbling down. A study done by Dr Louann Brizendine suggests that when it comes to men’s emotions, they do feel things just as strongly as women; however, 2.5 seconds after feeling an emotion, the face changes to hide it. Whether this is due to nature (the way the brain is naturally wired) or nurture (the socialization process & gender roles) is up for debate (although science now says the female brain has evolved in order to handle everyday stressors better), but the “why” made sense to me, although the lack of sex made for one cranky woman. All I wanted was a consistent, honest sex partner, and all he had to do was communicate his feelings to me, like an adult.

Another source of confusion is the need of the opposite sex to say unnecessary things they don’t mean. The other gentleman I’d been involved with was a professional and presented himself as a sweet, simple man in search of one consistent, no strings attached, sex partner. After my most recent fiasco with the last partner, I figured I’d give him a try. After having a glorious sexual experience with him, he decided of his own free will to say, “I must have you at least once a week. I’ve never been so tired after sex in my life.” I agreed, only as the weeks went by, I’d heard nothing from this man. I deleted him from my phone, and decided to move on when I’d received a random phone call from him asking to see me again. Being the libidinous woman I am, I decided to accept his invitation. Upon seeing me naked, he said, “You might as well go ahead and just marry me.” Fortunately for me, I’m not one of the female sex to take male banter to heart right away. I merely smiled and seduced. He made the mistake of adding me to one of his social networking sites shortly after waking up from his sex coma, telling me I should have his babies; I say “mistake” because I tend to observe people’s profiles. Again he disappeared, this time, for a month. Curious as to what had happened to our “once a week” agreement,
I checked his page and found a gaggle of women leaving comments all over his page, one in particular being fiercely territorial, leaving messages of ownership on his home page and pictures. It was rather clear to me where my once a week was going.

Was it necessary to bring up marriage and babies, or lie about desiring to be sexual with one partner? Was it necessary to form a “sexual agreement” by stating “I must have sex with you once a month” if that was never the intention? Absolutely not! But some men do it. Was it necessary for the first man to get distant and disappear for fear of getting emotionally involved? No. In both cases, communication and consistency were the issues, but I blame society, the media and our culture for this shortcoming in men. It is my opinion that women are leaps ahead in the area of communication, as far as articulating & handling emotions, because of the stereotype still upheld by society: women are emotional beings ever-seeking relationship; therefore it is absolutely necessary that women know how they feel and how to communicate these feelings, a stereotype I’d argue isn’t true for all of the female sex. Women have benefited greatly from what I will call “the Oprah culture” where the topics of self-help, getting in tune with psyche, the connection between emotions & physical health are the norm to the point of being cliché; sadly, we have not paid this same attention to men. As a society, what we’ve neglected to give more attention to is, men are just as emotional and in need of developing their communication skills as women. As long as we give in to these stereotypes—the ever relationship-hungry female & the Stoic, emotionally evasive male—relations between the sexes will continue to be mysterious and strained. As a result, it makes even the most casual sexual relationships, such as a woman finding a decent lover, as difficult as finding a very fine needle in a stack of hay.

Sources

Face of male changes after 2.5 seconds:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/men-are-obsessed-with-sex-hide-their-emotio/598647/

Evolution of the female brain:

http://www.livescience.com/health/060419_brain_wiring.html

Men & Women equally emotional beings:

http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/19980520132438data_trunc_sys.shtml

Other interesting reads:

http://www.cyberparent.com/women/mensex3.htm

Let’s Talk About Sex…Well, Couples Anyway…

Conversations have to be the life blood of a blogger’s inspiration. I want to revisit the discussion I had on Twitter yesterday regarding relationships. Romantic relationships to be exact. As a disclaimer, and I truly feel that writings like this should have a caveat: I’m not a relationship guru, I don’t claim to be one, and I don’t particularly feel the need to have my words taken in that context. Furthermore, as most you have gathered, I’m pretty much a relativist in my thinking, and romantic relationships tend to span the spectrum from swingers to polyamorous couples. I have my own beliefs about relationships, and I don’t want to impose on another person’s choice–within a certain context of social responsibility, of course.

 

That out the way…

 

Alright, I’d like to freestyle a bit and hopefully I don’t diverge into too many varying directions. From what I’m reading, observing, and hearing from others,it seems to me that there is a lot of fear with regard to intimate relationships and committed romantic involvements. From the discussion of ready made families, fears about games, fears about committing, fears about being with someone with a sordid past, and sexual insecurities in general. I’ve pretty much heard the same sorts of discussions on both sides of the gender aisle: guys saying women have unrealistic expectations, or they don’t want to date a woman who used to only date “thugs” and now that they are older they want to settle down with someone who is a little less aggressive. Women saying men don’t know what they want from a woman, and the guys they are meeting have children with multiple women, or just don’t seem like they are ready to settle down. There does seem to be a certain generational divide, where younger people are a little less prone to want to commit.

 

With hip hop promoting not only a promiscuous life style, but one in which men are “pimps” or “super players” and women are “gold diggers” or only wanting to be involved with men that are only there to provide finances for their material exploits, there is going to be a difficulty to trust those in the dating pool. With the human propensity for novelty and security figured into that emotional miasma, you can expect a high level of relationships that aren’t, in my opinion, really aren’t worthy of the definition of exclusive.

 

You’ve got two different social paradigms at play here. On the one hand, you’ve got people who can’t find a mate, or aren’t pleased with their prospects. On the other hand, you’ve got people supposedly committed to someone, and yet they are either not really happy, cheating, sharing themselves openly with others(I might actually tackle that at some point in time), or just in what I call a “professional relationship”. By “professional relationship” I mean, two people basically just together to provide financial support, a good showing at social gatherings, and every now and then, a warm body. The type of scenario in which the parties involved have lost a considerable amount of respect for the bond, a lot of times aren’t even friends and have grown so far apart that their lifestyles could possible be in conflict, ie, he hates her friends, she hates his hobbies, they don’t interact well, well, because they have no common interests and actually despise the type of person the other has become. Those types of situations can get ugly, meaning violent, depending on the persons involved. Plus, there is going to be a difficulty in compromising on a vision for the relationship(an idea of what the couple should be striving for in the future) if their lifestyles are so divergent that their concepts of what a relationship should be like are incompatible. Works for some, it tends to sound like a waste of my time to me.

 

Which sort of brings us full circle. If we aren’t seeing many healthy relationships, and the ones we have been in weren’t experiences we’d like to repeat, we are bringing negative emotions into the dating pool. The direction that I’m hearing a lot of people going is the “cuddy buddy with emotional investments route”. Let me describe this…its a commitment that isn’t a commitment. It’s sex, dinner, movies, and social gatherings with hand holding…but no formal agreement between the two people involved that they are actually a couple. It’s the “we are exclusive but not exclusive enough for you to obligate me to anything relationship-y…” route. Its the “you can’t claim me” game. From my experience, observations, and discussions, these tend to be pretty messy. There is no definition! It’s Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” for intimates! I’ve personally learned that, for me, I’d rather take my chances on a break up than an emotional investment that doesn’t really exist. I tend be better suited for situations the have some sort of rules of engagement. And another thing, I’ve had a lot of experiences with people testing boundaries, it is my practice in most social involvements to lay down some sort of understanding of “this far, and no further”. Of course, I tend to be quite old school in my views regarding intimate bonds.

 

Per the earlier disclaimer…these are simply my expressed ruminations about romantic coupling. However, in a society where wealth and power are controlled by families that don’t seem to want to ease up on their stranglehold, you’re probably going to want other people to at least be accepting of the idea of a committed relationship. I personally would hope that they are loving couples, because loving couples tend to rear emotionally nourished children. Friends tend to make time more enjoyable, so it seems logical that two people who are sharing the sort of intimate space that couples routinely do, they should probably have some common interests and enjoy a healthy loyalty to one another.