I'm getting more and more wound up about this.

I've just trawled through a discussion about monogamy and yet again picked up a thread of assumptions about men and women, which seem to be wearily accepted by women and worn with chest busting pride by men.

You know it well. We could almost put it to music. 

Men have aaaall this sperm and women have just the one egg per month. Therefore men are sooo much more sexed up and biologically designed to (chests out guys!) SPREAD THEIR SEED and women are biologically designed to hopelessly, desperately, try and pair bond, in that desperate, girly, pleading way they have, whilst denying those robust, obviously superior, goddamn it, life-affirming urges of men,  just so these marginal female creatures, (without women-no men-full stop,-and I'm exaggerating for effect by the way) don't have to spend the entirety of their lives knee deep in nappies and caring for others. (Hasn't worked has it?) Which of course we are so conveniently programmed to do according to the now seriously discredited gender studies. What a surprise!!

And the prevailing social programming is that we women would be best served (not), by understanding the male sex urge (so big, so urgent!!) and doing our wifely jobs. (Oh you're all so manly!!)

I say it's time men understood our urges. As well as doing the right thing.

Work out the maths. (I'm in the UK, I don't say math - which my Microsoft browser has just highlighted as a misspelling, curiously). As I was saying. I know, all that spermatozoa. It must be meant for someone mustn't it? Except...if men only had one or two sperm per 'issue', hardly anyone would get pregnant would they? It's not hard to understand that you aren't meant to use every sperm to impregnate an egg. It's a bit hit and miss. Kind of like leafleting an area. Only in this case it's one person. Chuck some leaflets through as many doors as possible and maybe you'll get a one or two percent response. Makes sense.

But, on the other hand, those people who get leafletted, well, it takes a lot of leaflets to respond to just one doesn't it? How many get thrown in the bin?

On the first model, with no follow up, all children will grow up poor and women will have lives of hardship. Human children have the longest childhood of all the mammals. It seems we may be designed to pair bond for at least part of our lives. Sex, as we know, releases a hormone which causes us to bond. Biologically, and for the purposes of survival, we must, unless we rapidly create some new communal ways of living which isn't going to happen any time soon, due to our patriarchal, hierarchical, possessive familial structures.

But here's the thing, who are these seed-spreading men meant to be having sex with? Has nature really designed a species in which one gender is programmed to have lots and lots of sex and lots and lots of partners, and the other gender is fighting to create monogamy, from (according to the propaganda) a desire to pair bond and have some help with the child rearing? Wouldn't nature put survivalist child rearing first?  (Dump the offspring on men and see how fast they 'pair bond' We'd last a generation). 

Or, or, is it true that nature has designed the Madonna/Whore dichotomy for real? There are the women you spread your seed around with - the whores - and the women you settle down with, the Madonnas? Do you want this to be true? So - you're having sex with all of us? Or if not, you're having sex with the hard working 'whores'. (Not my word.) And settling down with prudish Madonnas. Which in practice means you may be rearing children who are not biologically yours. And having an unexciting sex life.

My theory.

A story: Two years ago I was at a picnic for the London Atheist Meetup group. I got into a debate with a scientist, a geneticist. He spouted all the stuff about men being programmed for spreading their seed, women designed for nest-building etc. (so convenient for ALL of men's needs!!). I could not get him to answer the question of who the men were meant to 'spread their seed' with. Were men just wank machines? (Has 'wank' crossed the Atlantic yet?!-means masturbate). Which is not in nature's interest anyway.

I was surprised at my cheek in fighting my corner with a geneticist. And his later dismissal of our discussion. I thought I had a point.

I suggested to him that female sexual response is slower to heat up and slower to cool down. And, as many women know, after a man's orgasm, you may as well be lying next to a dead person. Women's sexual desire doesn't have a neat full stop. It tails off. Sometimes agonisingly slowly. Women often have multiple orgasms which don't have a full stop. There just comes a point where it's too tiring to try for the next one. Leaving you with a nagging sense of incompletion.

A few years ago I read a couple of scientific studies about sperm competition in humans and then a documentary on TV. This seemed to tie some things up. Several animal and bird species have sperm competition. I.E. If the female has sex with several different partners, at the time she was most fertile, there is more chance of pregnancy because the different sperm will compete to reach the egg. The studies I read about clearly stated humans also had sperm competition.

My theory, which seems to be somewhat confirmed by a recent book Sex at Dawn, is that women have just as much reason, biologically speaking, to have multiple partners, as men. I think it makes as much sense for women to have a polyandrous existence as for men the opposite.

It's interesting that among swingers nowadays it's become the thing to describe oneself as bisexual. ( When the correct term might be 'sexually liberal'.) Or a couple who want other couples or a single woman, for whom the wife is so conveniently bisexual. This may or may not reflect the well known polysexuality of women (showing films of men, women and animals having sex, women are very specifically turned on by all types. Men not so.) Or, maybe it's a woman wanting to please her man again with a display of lesbo sex. There are many reports of women saying they're 'bi' but being reluctant to indulge in certain activities. Or maybe, heresy!! women have a broader, more experimental sex drive. Babies will interrupt things, and the menopause might, but it amazing how different each person is.

I have come across several men who aren't as sexual as me and I have many female friends who have the same experience. Or want to get married in no time at all. (Men have the freedom to say that. We women live in fear of being called 'bunny-boilers'.) Let me guess. First thought, you guys think it's our fault? You haven't met us. I'll say no more. Men labour under this idea that most men are muuuch more sexual than women. You're wrong.

I'm sick of the pretence.

We are all BOTH of the above. As in wanting a bond. A sense of home. But also wanting excitement. Novelty. 

We are chemically/biologically designed to pair bond. (Are all these men dragged down the aisle - who traditionally ask to get married?? Something is motivating them. Maybe it's just having a housekeeper? And maybe, in my experience, and to assume men have some depth, it's more profound than that.)

But we are also designed to 'put ourselves about'. maybe all our lives, maybe parts of it. Maybe none of it. Passionate love becomes explosive with exclusivity, and having children kicks into our desire to create loyal family units, not to mention the necessity of such a set up, at least for a period.

Beyond that there is some evidence that couples who successfully negotiate 'open' relationships or swinger lifestyles are more 'emotionally' committed and have happier sex lives with each other, not to mention lower divorce rates than the rest of the population.

I've heard men on this forum trash loyalty. I would suggest emotional loyalty is the thing that matters. Try living without it. I can also come up with heart attack statistics for men with no deep emotional or communal bonds.

The truth is, with our history of religious sexual shame (which we are nowhere near shaking off), and the association of that with women particularly, no-one, NO-ONE, has a clue what women's sexuality looks like. But it's not like THAT.

Gender is so sensitive to priming and suggestion that we don't know what men are truly like either. What fun there could be finding out! What if we resisted all our gender affectations? Who are you really?

Tell you what, why don't WE call the shots for a change? C'mon women, what do WE want? Or ok, men. No gender stereotypes need apply. We know what those are!! Underneath. What's underneath???

Views: 357

Replies to This Discussion

I understand. I believe you probably do what you say.

But maybe there's room in our lives for a discipline that slows down our urgency and actually studies the many and varied ways one can have sex, relate intimately to another and focus on all it's aspects.

In our repressed culture we have very few well established ways to do that. Sex therapists? They usually just address one problem. What about treating it as we treat so many other areas of our life that we enjoy? As something within which we can always learn something new? And WANT to. Why wouldn't we? That never has to stop, yet with many couples my guess is it often does. Fossilises.

An issue I have is that many men don't find a whole person erotic, so long as they're 'up for it', that will do. I'm sure there are women like that too. I have no problem with casual or recreational sex but most people want something deeper as well. Living only that way a whole area of excitement is lost. I think the excitement of real intimacy gets replaced by novelty and more extreme desires, and eventually jadedness. An addiction to pornography has some well known side effects that ruin the ability of many people to have a successful relationship with another.

The history of men and women plus religion predisposes us to relationships where nobody really connects and we all become a stereotype, where people often have their best sex on their own, with fantasies or images.

An issue I have is that many men don't find a whole person erotic, so long as they're 'up for it', that will do.

 

Uh, yeah ... strangely, I've never had a problem with that.

I once, back in my teens, thought I had a fetish for a few areas of the female body.  As I grew a little bit older, I realized that I just have an appreciation for every single part of the female anatomy, by itself and as a component of the entire female form ... which I also find fascinating as a whole.

The area I focus on the most is the face, I think, since that's where the outward manifestations of the personality within reside.

 

For that matter, I sometimes think I enjoy the intimacy more than the sex itself.  My current girlfriend and I will often spend twice as long talking and cuddling as we did having sex.  We have the freaking weirdest pillow talk, too, since we're both geeks.

I'm not that much into pornography, so no worries there.  I'll watch some from time to time, but I don't get into anything weirder than my appreciation of lesbians.  At that, the big reason I don't get my fix much from porn is that they don't usually cuddle and bond, after the sexual act.  It's ... hallow.

I don't need Tantric sex, from that perspective.  I'm also apparently incredible in bed, which is a bitch, when I'm trying to maintain a healthy, self-abusive, low opinion of myself.  It sucks sometimes.  I have to channel other areas, while writing my standup material.

I don't see what I have to gain.

Why can't I reply to The Nerd and TNC666? There is no reply tab, or to Joseph's last reply.

Anyhow, Nerd and 666 (I sooo want the car numberplate DD666-or 666DD-last owned by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, where is it?). I was saying, I don't get what you don't get.

Have you never had a conversation with a rippling undercurrent of sexual tension? Or dinner? Half our bodies are under the table. Or just the build up from knowing you both want each other. Which is an awareness that can be hovering between you whilst you go grocery shopping. It can be in innuendo or references that only the two of you share.

I once made a boyfriend crack up and stagger out of a shop helpless with laughter when loudly referring to "getting the jump leads out tonight" whilst debating whether to buy a set of dice to make up a game. Only he knew what I meant but still... it operates on the same principal as sending messages to a partner you will be seeing later. That's all I meant. Sex is in everything if it's in your head. From the clothes you choose to the conversations you have. But heck, I don't interact like that with everybody! That's why it's exciting. That you don't want to do it with everyone.

Joseph,
Well, I can't help liking you, in spite of your attempts at modesty! You do sound like a rarity so just keep on doing what you're doing!

I'm not necessarily against pornography, or erotica - as it would be in an ideal world - pornography meaning 'the graphic depiction of whores'. Kind of excludes most of us. I'm against some newer varieties. I will say that. I don't want to advertise a major offender.

It seems natural to me to find erotic material arousing. Like being hungry and smelling food cooking.

But I am worried about the young boys growing up with an unrealistic knowledge of sex. Believing it isn't sex if it doesn't conform to a porn narrative or the women aren't up for anal or don't respond like porn stars do, or don't look like the cover of their favourite sci-fi magazine. This is worrying.

I want there to be a broader education about the infinite ways there are to have sex and relate to people and how rewarding that can be. How exciting intimacy is. I have a theory very few people have ever felt intimate with anyone, or felt a sense of communion which is satisfying beyond sex, with another.

By the way, women have long been called a 'piece'. And how many times have I heard men refer to women as 'pussy'. Like a kind of 'stuff' you buy and consume. A member of Motley Crue "Once I've had pussy I don't want it anymore till the next time". Chaaaarming.

I just suggest that Tantric sex, or a western version of it, could help with that. Anyone happy as they are (both people...), carry on doing what you're doing, as I said.
P.S. Jump leads doesn't mean what you think.

There's a maximum nesting depth on these forums.  If there's no reply tab on the message you're replying to, just trace back to the previous message which has one, further up the thread.  Your message will go on the end of the ones at the max nesting depth.  If there's another message between yours and the one you're responding to, just copy-and-paste a bit of the material that you're responding to.

Personally, I like to use the Blockquote button for that sort of material.  Just be aware that the tool is a little wonky.  Once you make your message Blockquoted, it doesn't like to undo the formatting for the entry of your own message.  The best rule is to paste in the quoted material, hit enter a few times and begin composing your message, then go back and highlight the pasted material and hit the Blockquote button.

I normally just hit the HTML button and fix the formatting by directly manipulating the HTML tags, but that requires a bit more fiddling and some general knowledge of HTML tags.

 

I don't generally go in for false modesty.  I have plenty of issues that a girl will have to put up with, outside of bed.  In bed, I'm freakishly good, apparently, according to the girls I've known ... in part because of that mutation which causes multiple orgasms and under-supplies the hormone that causes the refractory period ... and in part, probably, because I read so heavily into sex therapy books, before I'd even had sex for the first time, causing me to go into it with a healthier mindset about sex than most guys.

Outside of bed, I'm ... well ... still freakish.  Heh.  I've got issues.  Let's just leave it at that.

 

I see what you mean now, about pornography.  I've noticed that trend, myself.  I'll be trying to read a simple erotica story, and the next thing I know, the author is inserting all sorts of horrifying elements into it which make me want to puke.  They don't even label the damned stuff, because the idiot has become so immersed in perversion that he thinks it's normal and natural.

I'm not even referring to stuff like anal sex, which I'm really, really not into either.  I'm referring to far worse.

If you begin reading a story that seems to overemphasize the loving, family pet, stop reading.

If you read a story, and someone passes the bathroom and hears the 'ringing on the porcelain', caused by the person in the bathroom, stop reading.  Anyone who gets that poetic about their excretory functions is going to head into areas that you don't want to read about.

It's the same situation as with violent video games.  Pulling out a copy of Grand Theft Auto and going on a berserk rampage with your assault rifle and RPG can be cathartic, from time to time.  There's nothing wrong with it, as long as you're a grounded, stable adult, with a solid grasp on reality and the difference between movies/games and real life.  Handing a 10 year-old the same sort of games can be a problem.  I know some 10 year-olds who can handle it, but I know far more who can't.

Pornography often has a similar level of over-the-top reality-warping.  If you get some preteen (or teen, or 20-something, for that matter) immersing himself in the most twisted pornography that the media has to offer, he's going to come out one sick puppy.  I feel sorry for any girl who ends up with a guy like that, unless she's similarly twisted.

My impression is that it's far more often the guys who end up latching onto all of the various perversions, so you end up with a lot of girls having to deal with crap that they'd rather not, particularly given the entitlement that lots of men seem to feel about sex.

I guess Tantric sex might be one method to fix the problem.  I dunno.  I'd prefer a more clinical, secular form of sex therapy, but whatever does the trick.  I'm just concerned that people who really need it won't be interested in it.  They don't think they have a problem.

This sounds a lot like some Indian opinions I've read that the West is too concerned about "numbers" in sex--number of orgasms, frequency in which you have sex, having sex at every age, like it's important to have the right numbers.

 

As someone who never gets orgasm from intercourse...orgasms feel the best, but they are also finite. I can only get a certain amount in a period of time, and the intensity and difficulty getting to it depends on how recently I've had one before. If it's too recent, sometimes getting to orgasm can feel frustrating. An orgasm also ends. Sexual arousal, although it isn't the high of orgasm, kind of feels infinite.

Hello Cheryl,

I'm still fairly new to Atheist Nexus, but I did find your post and it does deal with a subject which is of interest to me.  I also don't put much stock in the ways that differences between men and women are presented.  That is, I believe that at least a large portion of it is culturally created, and created for a purpose.  In her book, "Backlash, the war against American Women", Susan Faludi lays out a similar view.  She sees all sorts of anti-feminist, nature first, types of arguments being advanced simply for commercial purposes, during the 1980's.  Feminism was rooted in Marxism and as such it had to be tamed before they could market to it.

Like you, I recognized that they only ways the differences could exist is by virtue of dividing women into two groups.  And then that second group must really be busy.  But in fact, by presenting representations of both men and women, this does seem to be what has happened.  Our capitalist system does seem to need these two groups of women.

I also don't go along with the idea of saying that God wants it to be like this and like that.

But I differ with you on this, I also don't think it accomplishes anything to say that Nature made it like this or like that.  I don't think you can invoke Nature arguments to counter God arguments.  Really, the two types of arguments are not that much different, and so I think it best to stay away from either of them.

The Nature arguments fall into what is called Rousseauism, a reification of nature, a projection.  Well, this is exactly how God was created.

As you point out in the beginning of your text, its a Nature argument which is initially invoked to explain the gender difference and to rationalize the current mythology.

So where do we go from here?  Well, we all want to live in this world.  In most places women and men dress and act differently.  Its only in extreme situations like concentration camps, psychiatric hospitals, and prisons where you see this vanish.  So I am not one who wants to eliminate gender difference.

As I see it gender conflict accomplishes little, and gender tensions are what keep the consumer consumption rate and the birth rate high.  I see no good in this either.  The conflict seems to keep the misery rate pretty high too.

So what ever is to unfold will have to involve equal contributions from women and men.  But what are these to be?

Seems like in terms of just social and civil standing, gender has to be downplayed, as protecting basic dignity is what is a issue.  If there is too much dependence on gender, then it becomes morally judgemental.  But on the otherhand there do tend to be different concerns and some very important dynamics which do separate women and men, so this have to be allowed for.

But what about going beyond basic social and civil standing?  Seems like gender difference have to become playful and an area for experimentation.  My own observation is that symmetry does not yield heterosexual expressiveness.  Rather complementarity does.

So what I would like to see is more interms of a social saftey net, and more interms of venues for heterosexual expressiveness.


BO
http://sites.google.com/site/aboutbecomingother/

Hi B.O. (unfortunate acronym!),

Meant to respond here.

I think you make a very good point. It's true that 'nature' shouldn't be used as an alternative rulebook provider from religion. I have a friend who likes to harp on about the fact that I don't have children and he does, because "nature has designed us to reproduce. So if we don't we're negating the biggest biological imperative we have and that once we've had children 'nature' is done with us. We become redundant".

I think that's bollocks. 'Nature' doesn't give a shit what anyone/thing does. It doesn't really exist outside of ourselves. If we only exist to reproduce then the same goes for our children and so on. Until you would be forced to conclude there is no other purpose to anyone's existence but reproduction, creating a sense of utter meaninglessness. Whereas in fact although I don't think there is any grand plan, a hidden meaning, or even a major point to our lives, we ourselves create meaning. Simply because we decide certain things matter to us, over and above others. Take your pick. There is no rule book, no thing/person/creature keeping a score book on each of us. For want of a word to stand in for blind volition, 'nature' has left that wide open. Unless you're religious of course. For myself I can see no point to life if it was endlessly and always wretched. So pleasure and happiness create meaning. These can be had from an infinity of sources.

A friend once made the point that we all talk about nature as though we are outside of it, I suppose because the history of our survival has always been a conscious effort to control as many aspects of it as possible. But we are it. Indivisible. And again, without an alternative language to describe our physical context, anything is possible, any choices are condoned or not, only by ourselves. There are constant efforts to 'explain' homosexuality in terms of what it's purpose may have been in terms of our survival. And the endless quest for genes to explain everything. 'Nature' will lead us willy-nilly all over the place, only to arrive back where we started.

But I was railing against the nature argument being used to validate a larger sexual freedom for men than women, which doesn't add up. There are equivalent biological clues to suggest women also want sex with many different people. We could just stick with mathematics I suppose. But whatever the case, non of this is a 'command' from nature. Just stuff that happens with some reasons for it. 

I also don't wish to eliminate gender differences. But I like to see them expressed in as individual a way as suits that particular person. If we had one gender and could breed with anyone I reckon we would create differences. Complementarity as you called it.

We do need some words to talk about the way our universe propels itself, which includes our minature lives. But there are no value judgements except the ones we make up.

Stuff just happens.

Cheryl,

 

Yes you do understand what I was getting at about Nature being used as the alternate argument.  And yes I see that you also have seen the problems with this.

 

Yes, if we all hear the arguments that men want more partners.  But if we look a little bit we will also see that if limits are pushed, its women who will always be capable of more partners.

 

I don't know what the answers are.  I do feel that the social maps we've been given are no good.  So we have to build new ways, and these do have to allow for individual differences as you say.

 

I feel that the maps we have been given are meant to play on and amplify a  narrow aspect of gender difference.  I also feel that doing this creates a polarity, and axis around which everything else revolves, and that this pushes up the birth rate and the consumer consumption rate, and creates a good deal of misery as well.

 

Instead of this, I thing we should try to find contextual realms of accepted symmetry and complimentarity.  If we can create these realms, then we are allowing for plurality in how gender is expressed.  At least this is a first step.

 

BO

It's clear that human beings have enough evolved to vary behaviors that have genetically rooted. We are the only species that has managed to bypass the trap of nature hidden in orgasm to force us to procreate, now we are able to share orgasms without having children.

Procreation is precisely what makes why there is separation of genres and different behaviors. For example, the male gender is biologically compelled to breed with as many females as possible, while females are impelled to seek the best companion with whom to have offspring. Even love is a biochemical trap that leads them to seek share your genes with someone and lasts about four years, coincidentally the average time it takes to wean a human breeding, time when the male feels attached and, therefore, forced to defend the mother and breeding - it's no coincidence that some couples believe can overcome their problems having a child.

Human beings are not monogamous, have never been, or at least no more than four years. A sedentary lifestyle and the emergence of a private property sense and religion, which imposed a series of behaviors that, as we all know, going against nature, we have been led to believe that being as we hominids are also monogamous, a religious fallacy as many other.

I don't mean that a human being can not share life with another, even more, I advise that all human beings look for someone to share the life, but if I have very clear that sexual monogamy is one of the biggest nonsense that a human being can commit, only leads to bitterness, resentment, monotony and disappointment.

We are human beings, intelligent enough to overcome natural traps hidden in our genetic and our biochemistry. Anything prevents us also overcome self-imposed roles and behaviors that, moreover, we know today are only stupid, are also harmful to humanity, eg gender roles that are no longer needed.

P.D.

I hope my english isn't as terrible as I know, but if it's, please, sorry so much.

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