Head, Heart and Balls
The penis and male desireHome Page
I was prompted to write this page by a story a friend told me and some of my own sexual experience.
My friend shares a house with his partner and a female housemate (a "lodger", I guess you'd call her in Britain).
The two principals are forty-something, while the housemate is a youthful, attractive twenty-something woman who oozes sexuality and seems to convey a sexual message to all the men who look at her.
She clearly never learnt the concept of sexual boundaries as a child, for she has had many short-term affairs with men, and is currently involved with a married man of twice her age who is about to leave his wife and children to live with her.
Then again, my friend has found himself on the sofa, kissing her, with a raging erection, and an intense, all-consuming desire to sexually take her, to impregnate her, even, though fortunately he stopped when he "came to his senses" and realized what he was doing.
And when I visit their house, I too feel the urgent sexual interest of the housemate - indeed, any human with a penis, if he were interested in putting it in a vagina, could hardly fail to feel it. So what?
Well, there's probably a tragic story about why she is so sexual, for such overt female sexuality is often the product of a childhood in which some level of inappropriate sexuality was necessary to gain any kind of love and approval.
But that's not really my point here. My interest is more in the response of men - or, more accurately, their penises - to this woman's sexual presentation.
In the light of the fact that so many men have fallen so badly for this woman and are likely to have damaged themselves in some way by responding to her sexually, does this not give us an insight into those societies where women are required to cover their bodies so as not to inflame male passions?
Sure, only very different cultures where the oppression of women was acceptable would express it so, but even in the West we hear expressions like "she was asking for it", as though sexual acts were entirely the fault of the woman.
Is this not a parallel of a society where women are required to cover up so that men are not "tempted" or aroused to raging sexual need?
And the message behind such cultural conventions is that women are to blame for men's raging hard-ons, men's desires, and men's urges to fuck.
All of which of course may in some sense be true, but denies totally men's ability and responsibility to modulate the expression of their sexual desire in a socially acceptable way.
Yet, consider the circumstances.
Many men, given the possibility of sex with what appears to be a woman willing to - at the very least - very actively consider fucking, will abandon the principles which presumably they'd claim to stand for in less aroused states of desire, and engage in an act of sex which looks like it will do nothing but harm.
How can this be so?
I think, however you look at it, the fact is that men find it difficult to behave "responsibly" when sex is potentially on offer.
You may take the view that infidelity - for that is essentially what I am talking about - is only likely to occur when the partners in a relationship are not meeting each other's needs, and that may be so.
But could it also be that we men are so deeply genetically programmed to impregnate women that we lose our higher levels of self-control when we sniff the pheromones of a woman on heat?
And if so, what can we do about it? Are the social controls that keep our relationships in order really as weak as this? Evidence from war zones, where rape is all too common, might suggest they are.
And yet how futile, how weak, how uninspiring, to make the assumption that a man is really ruled by his penis. It is, I think, incumbent on all of us in the community of men to help each other to aspire to the highest levels of relationship satisfaction.
And there will be feminists, reading this essay, I have no doubt, who will condemn me for suggesting that women's sexuality should be used and explored for the benefit of men who cannot control themselves.
Yet in fact I am not saying that. My concern is always with the highest expression of human nature, sexually and in every other way.
The fact that one individual has a penis and one has a vagina does not excuse either from the responsibility of behaving in a way that is more appropriate for us as human beings than as the animals we so recently were in our evolutionary history.
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