A long distance relationship made me think about what was important; connection, or sex and bragging…
In this deeply personal story I share how my lessons speak to a wider pattern amongst men today.
*A version of this first appeared here on The Good Men Project.
It was a weird relationship from the get-go; her in Sydney (Australia), me in Wellington (New Zealand).
We met on New Year’s Eve, surrounded by a heaving throng of people. We soon separated ourselves from the crowd. What followed was two nights of excitement, passion and lust.
I returned to New Zealand and we stayed in touch. The passion we’d shared on those nights remained at arm’s length, an actual ocean separating us.
Before we knew it, this absence made the heart grow fonder—it kept the light of that whirlwind tryst alive to a point where we were communicating daily via text, even talking over the phone.
What we felt was real, no doubt, but enhanced by the separation. This intensity leaked into our everyday lives. Soon I was talking about her to my mates, as was she to hers.
In sharing this we soon had our first, umm… moment.
Here’s how it played out…
Her: “Seeing as I don’t seem to stop talking about you, my friends are all asking what you’re like”
Me: “Yeah me too. I’m talking about you all the time. What are you saying about me?”
Her: “How great you are and how much I like you. What about you?”
Me: “…Yeah same.”
Her: “Ummm… that was short. Are you really saying how much you like me, or how much you like having sex with me?”
BOOM. Caught. Out.
Me: [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Internal monologue] “SHIT”
Me: [Verbally] “What? Yeah of course I’m saying how much I like you.”
Aaaand so it goes for us guys; saying one thing to our mates and another to her. To the boys she was the hot Australian cheerleader who I’d previously enjoyed amazing sex which had become daily sexting. That was it. That was all I would volunteer. I mean, why would I go anywhere else with it? That’s all the boys were interested in anyway.
Plus if I divulged that I really, genuinely, like really really LIKED her, well, I’d be at risk of ridicule.
Or, if I’m honest, probably thought of as less of a man for sharing my feelings, regardless of whether my mates would have actually expressed so much, it’s the subconscious thought we so easily believe.
I felt strongly for her. Sure the sex was great, but it was the connection, the passion, the desire that made this what it was.
I was aware I felt those things—or some general sense of it—but I wouldn’t dare put them into words and share with the boys. As a result, like many men before me in similar situations, I felt guilty on the phone, caught out, but pushed on through with my lie.
However, this moment stuck with me as a significant difference between men and women.
We love sex. We want sex. It feels good. We think about it a lot. The more the better.
That’s not to say women don’t, not at all. However, there seems to be some evolutionary elements of us men that see us with more desire for it. We won’t go into the science; One—because it can be conflicting, and Two—because we don’t have time.
Let’s just cut to it.
Sex feels good. We love it, we want it. It’s just that simple, right?
Maybe not …
Firstly, our ability to get sex has become one of our major a measures of success and validation as a man—the hotter the partner the better. We allow our own measure of success and worth to be dictated by others with this as a significant parameter, feeding our ego.
Be honest with yourself, have you ever (or often):
- Predominantly remarked on her looks and/or the sex?
- Predominantly asked your mates questions about her looks and/or the sex?
- Been subject to those questions above other aspects of the connection from your mates/other men?
- Regularly taken part in conversations that centre on women’s appearance and sex?
- Favouring the above in place or favour of talking about your feelings and what she means to you?
It can seem innocent; we’re men, we have a high sex drive.
We most certainly do, and it is something to enjoy and engage in when it comes from a healthy balanced place. However, constantly and nonchalantly objectifying women isn’t cool, nor is it a path to true equality. Moreover, it shows our fixation on, and need for, external validation with our sexual prowess as the measure of and vehicle for that.
It’s a vicious cycle that not only prevents quality connections but also hands all of our personal power away, into the hands of others depending on what they say or how they react.
Where does this come from?
As boys we are conditioned into presenting a false picture of manhood through constant messages such as “man up/harden up/toughen up”, “don’t cry”, “don’t be a pussy/girl/fag”. At the slightest sign of emotion, we learn to shut it away and sort it out ourselves because “boys/men don’t do that”.
As a result we develop this inner narrative “I’ll be right. I have to be, anything less is to show weakness – to not be a man”. We fall into the inevitable trap of needing to be liked, to fit into the crowd, and prove our manhood; to be tough and handle things ourselves and do the things men do.
Then we become teenagers, and the need to fit in strengthens.
This masculine measure of success via sex hits like an avalanche.
It’s not only this, there are a few others:
- Athletic ability and/or physicality; how good you are at sports/athletic endeavours and what shape your body is in
- Financial success; more money means more security, means more power and/or ‘freedom’.
Basically, we jusge our success as men baesed on our ability to Provide, Protect, and Procreate. All evolutionary based roles and needs, yet we’ve taken them to be the sole base of our worth in the world – all in the hands of others.
These often strengthen as we become men. We might pinpoint one or two and focus on them.
Either way it can easily consume our lives.
Soon what we seek is a great (strong) body, sex, money/things and a loose concept of freedom in a culture of more is better; the more success, the more subsequent respect. At the mercy of those people we allow to judge us.
However, what these commonly translate to goes much deeper. While these can all be in the chase for sexual success, we’re going to keep it to the physical for this post. Sure, getting in physical condition is good for us and we’d all benefit from seeking it out (so would those around us).
What we have to do is ask ourselves WHY we seek to get the ‘lean and ripped’ body, to get th attractive partner, the great sex.
On the surface it’s because looking better means more appeal, means more sex appeal, means more… sex.
Ask yourself why.
Using “be attractive”, “meet women”, or “to get sex” to power any physical change may work initially, but it won’t last and isn’t going to lead anywhere meaningful because it’s missing the point of what that sex provides. It’s all based in lack – translated to “I’m not attractive enough now”, “I can’t meet women now”, etc.
The issue with blindly seeking more sex
It’s all wrapped up in external validation for our ego; either as kudos from other men or from the women validating us by wanting us; we’re allowing the judgements of others to determine our sense of worth.
This is where you have to be truly honest with yourself and ask:
Do I want sex purely because it feels good?
Is it also because the kudos I’ll get?
What else do I want beyond this physical gratification and kudos?
Is it something deeper..?
When we honestly dig in, it usually is. It can just take some digging past the conditioning and fear of what we think that might mean about us.
As humans we seek connection, love, and belonging, as men, this extends to significance, to being appreciated.
Beyond the physical feeling, sex provides both connection and acceptance; a feeling of being desired, significant and worthy – it means we feel wanted.
This is what we need to own; to be desired, to be accepted and wanted. The sex that comes with this connection is what makes us feel best. It’s a double whammy; the physical satisfaction of sex and the emotional intimacy that comes with that level of connection and acceptance.
Think about it – ever had sex (one night stand or wrong relationship) and immediately afterwards felt something like regret or emptiness?
No connection, no significance. (Not to demonise two consenting adults having one-off, or surface level sex, but to encourage the awareness to the intent behind it.)
Clinical psychologist and author of Women Who Stray David J Ley Ph.D. comments on this in a piece for Psychology today:
For men, physical affection and sex is one of the main ways we feel loved, accepted, and regarded. For many men, it is only through physical love that we can voice tenderness and express our desire for togetherness and physical bonding. Only in sex can we let down boundaries and drop our armour enough to be emotionally vulnerable.
Internal validation then external
If you’re ahead of the game here you’ll realize that these things—significance, acceptance, being wanted—they’re still external validation; they all speak to being respected, trusted and worthy from others.
We’ll benefit if we first internalize this by being happy in your own skin. By accepting yourself as you are and not needing someone to do it for you to be ok.
Knowing what truly drives you and living in alignment with that (integrity) will provide self-worth, self-trust and self-respect. Then you can own that sex with someone (beyond the physical) brings you feelings of significance, connection and being desired by that person; physical and emotional intimacy with another human.
That’s some deep shit we don’t get taught in sex-ed. In fact, education around sex can be terrible and often focuses on a lot of negative aspects in the name of preventing its occurrence, instead of teaching boys the emotional benefits as well as the more obvious physical conversation.
It all starts with the relationship you have with yourself.
Don’t fall into the trap of blindly using sex (or porn-masturbation) for the physical pleasure/release and the external validation we get from others as a measure of your success as a man, without first acknowledging the connection it brings.
If you don’t think that describes you, I invite you to feel deeper than the physical and into the emotion that comes with that level of intimacy. If you think it’s total BS, then you can probably stop reading here until you think you’re ready to truly build a great relationship and sex life.
Be careful to use sex as one-sided external validation from women without understanding the deeper connection we actually seek. Metting in the middle and having both people’s physical and emotional needs met is a win-win.
Don’t compare yourself to others or use their benchmark; instead, ask what you truly desire.
If sex comes into that equation, then dig deeper and have a think about what that sex provides for you. Seek meaningful validation based on your deepest desires and human connection, not to temporarily soothe the ego.
Then, develop the courage to state what you need and want – ask for it (and be okay with actually receiving it).
Get involved in a conversation like this with me:
We’ll be diving into conversations and challenges like this, as well as how to perform better across the board in your life at the upcoming Beyond The Beers Live Event on the ADELAIDE – Saturday, October 6th.
For more info about what you’ll gain from a day like this, check out the page to get tickets here.
If you’re outside of the Gold Coast or can’t make the event but you wish to talk about any challenges you have around this content, book a rapid-fire strategy call with me for just $10 here.
– See original piece at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/is-it-really-about-the-sex-or-is-that-just-what-men-think-theyre-supposed-to-say-dg/ [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]