Battle Of The Sexes

I guess you could say I was precocious without being promiscuous. I got my first copy of the “Joy Of Sex” at 18. In fact, a 15 year old admirer gave it to me, hoping to inspire me to let him into my pants. Never happened. But he was a good friend anyway.

I read the Nancy Friday books, the sexual fantasy stuff, both the womens’ and the mens’. Interesting reading. To say that I was fascinated by sex is to put it mildly. Yet I maintained my virginity until almost 21. Partly opportunity but also, pickiness.

Because of my reading interest, I had worked through any hang-ups I had before I ever got to first base. I had a decent attitude about sex and love, the role they played and how important one was to the other…and vise versa.

Because I also had leanings towards religion, I got that all sorted out too. “Leanings”….. I was not raised in the church, though I found my way there occasionally. There was some religion from other family members, but not immediate. In our house, I think religion was seen as a jumping off point in a journey towards discovering God in a more profound way. It’s like we all believed in God but felt religion was a joke in poor taste. So, I got all that sorted out too.

I had a healthy understanding that men and women were here for each other, one was pretty much useless without the other. Or so it seemed to my young mind. I just could not buy into the ideology that women were second class citizens, to be treated as stupid children, yet who had the responsibility for the house hold, managing the money in many cases, raising children to be responsible adults, and have a job too. I thought women were super beings. Heroes.

And some how, I got into psychology and came to the understanding that I was fully responsible for my own happiness and emotional well being. That I only felt what I did because at some level I chose to feel it. When I finally got “busy” I went into relationships with the understanding that sex is not necessarily about love, and that love is not necessarily about sex. The two can be a lovely counterpart to each other, but one is not required for the other.

I saw quite clearly that as a society we were still being programmed to believe one had to have the other to be good, and “proper”. Seriously, even after the women’s’ movement of the sixties and seventies, the double standard was still alive and well. Women were still being told how to have sex. But instead of sex for procreation within marriage, now it was for recreation! We put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to be lovely women, who were also good in bed, so that we could attract a man and get married and have kids. I guess attractive and kind and intelligent wasn’t enough.

Yes, women have every right to have fantastic sex. That is the good part of the sexual revolution. The bad part is women are so busy being “good” lovers, that they are not enjoying sex deeply and fully. I didn’t, not much any way. I was too busy being sexually adapt…

The thing is, feminist will tell you that MEN did this to us. I disagree. We did this to us. We just found one more thing to judge ourselves about. As if there wasn’t enough. The world was changing and so standards were changing too. And the standards never encouraged us to learn to love, just to be with some one and that would count as love.

I said this would be about my take on the battle of the sexes. Here it is. It’s a myth. The only battle is the one we believe exist. And there are a lot of places that will gladly tell you it exist. I believe religion has done more to harm the relationships between men and women. But I don’t believe women are the only victim here.

I believe that men have suffered too. Maybe not in obvious ways, but they are conditioned just as strenuously on how to behave and what is expected and appropriate, as women are. If a man is not “manly,” then he is obviously gay. What kind of bullshit is this? Yet what is the first thing a guy (and some women) will say about an odd or creative guy? “Must be gay.” And the only way a man can avoid the titles, if he is creative or musical, is to nail everything that moves. That is the only way men, in general, allow them selves to be creative, is if they fit the horn-dog fuck master stereotype.

It’s getting better. Our young people are benefiting from the work we did. They are judging them selves less and enjoying them selves more. This is good. However, there are still so many that are stuck in the old stereotypes, that love and sex are meant to be together. And maybe they are.

Another take on the battle of the sexes….maybe it should be called “The Battle to Dis-empower Men and Women in Their Relationships with Themselves and Thus With Others”. I think that is really what is happening. I am seeing people who feel like nothing unless they are loved by others. They feel less unless it is there. But how can this be? Is it love or the shadow of the illusion of love? Everything in my heart, mind and souls says that to experience love we must already have love within. We can go through the motions, but is that really love? Or play acting? Being in love with the idea of love.

Yeah, I’m cynical. It’s not that I don’t believe in love. I do. It is many things and one of those things involves sex and relationships. What I am cynical about is our ability to love ourselves. So many people confuse sexual attraction for love. The falling in love phase as real love, when it is just validation and chemistry.

But back to the battle. Earlier I said it is a myth. You can thank Nancy Friday for this, that I feel it’s a myth. And even if it is not true, the attitude it portrays is so much healthier than any thing else I have come across. Here it is:

Women like men. They think they are cool and interesting and perplexing and fun. And Men make us feel warm and safe and important in the larger scheme of things. Not such a bad thing.

Men LOVE women. They think women are exotic and interesting and confusing and mysterious. That they are moving art that should be touched and enjoyed and taken care of and preserved. Women make them feel powerful and strong, invincible. Not such a bad thing.

In their deep hearts, this is how men and women feel. And when these feelings are happening, the relationship is wonderful.

But when that outside judgment begins again, then the relationship can begin to falter. Unless the partners are mature enough to roll with the punches and allow that maybe everything is better than the rest of the world says it is.

The only advice I am going to offer: Learn to know what you really need to be happy, and then ask for it. And it is OK to love the one you’re with. Even when you’re alone…..


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