Let’s talk about sex. Or more to the point, let’s talk about women’s role in gender disparity in issues of sex and fair play. Maybe it’s time we picked up a shard of glass from the so-called glass ceilings purportedly breaking around the world and use it as a lens to examine myths we’ve operated under for too long. I believe awareness is always the first step to meaningful change. My hope is to raise perspectives that you may or may not have considered before, to allow you to peer through the looking glass, without falling down the rabbit hole, to make informed choices about how you want to negotiate your sex life.
Let’s start with the myth that men have stronger sex drives than women. This fable, with its fatally flawed moral, has adversely impacted women for eons as it passed down from generation to generation. I never met a man who had a stronger sex drive than me in the day. And many women had the same experience. By the same token, I met both men and women with low sex drives. The point isn’t whether high vs low sex drives are good, bad or indifferent. The point is that we’ve used this fiction about the uncontrollable male urges to excuse a myriad of offences to our detriment. From womanizing, cheating, and ogling to much more serious conduct including criminal sexual offences in some cases. One need only look at the throngs of women who excused Trump’s I can grab any woman by the pussy boast as mere ‘guy talk’. Or the concerning number of women who forgive Bill Clinton his Monica Lewinsky transgressions, but in a perverse twist cast Hilary as the bad guy in that affair.
The refrain that invariably haunts these inappropriate male forays is “that’s just the way it is”. I do not accept that. Or at least, I do not accept that just because something ‘is the way it is’ means that it’s the way it has to be. I invite you to reconsider your own views on the subject. History is replete with examples that refute that self-perpetuating point of view. Women never had the right to vote. That’s just the way it was. Not long ago, women weren’t allowed to hold property. That’s just the way it was. Heck, women weren’t even recognized as ‘persons’ in the eyes of the law. That’s just the way it was. Consider the more extreme example of slavery. Inconceivable human behaviour and unthinkable treatment of other humans was accepted on the same lame basis that it’s ‘just the way it is’. Until it wasn’t. Until a few brave souls spoke up and said ‘this isn’t the way it should be’. And in so doing change was born.
So, I invite you consider the possibility of changing your mindset on the male libido myth. Of considering what role you may be playing, as a woman, in perpetuating the broader debilitating myths that have plagued us. What if we don’t excuse inappropriate male behaviour as ‘just the way it is’? What if, instead, we hold men accountable for their conduct on its own merit – without excuses, justifications or rationalizations? What if we recognize that we deserve to ask for what we want and need without regard to how it might impact on the men in our life (or beyond)?
And when women hit menopause, and our hormones change, and we aren’t lubricating naturally in the same way, many silently suffer rather than speak up about their new and changing needs. Is it fear of not satisfying our men in case they look elsewhere? Is it fear of being too ‘high maintenance’? Or ‘frigid’? Or not sexually responsive enough? Is it that we don’t feel or aren’t made to feel sexy anymore and we’re not comfortable asking for what we need? Maybe it’s time we settle into the idea that our sexual needs are just as important as our partners. And here’s a novel thought – maybe it’s okay to know what we want and insist we get what we need. Communication is key in this area, but that’s a post for another day. Today, I’m addressing our mindset barriers to negotiating satisfying sex lives and relationship balance around preconceived notions of sex and sexuality.
Ironically, on the issue of sex drive, as men get older, many experience a sharp decrease in sexual drive. And how do we tend to handle that as women? We tiptoe around the issue, worrying about the fragile male ego, exploring what we can do to help rekindle their spark, get them Viagra – everything focused on their needs. Some women quietly, secretly masturbate. Some don’t even dare self-pleasure because for goodness sake above all we need to make sure we don’t make them feel ‘less than’. And if they have erectile dysfunction issues, whether short or long-term, here’s a newsflash. They can still service you! Just like women have been doing for men for millennia.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t tend to the needs and feelings of our partners. Any relationship involves give and take. But there’s the key. Reciprocity. Instead of suppressing your own needs for fear of exacerbating any feelings of inadequacy your partner may have, by all means take whatever steps necessary to help your partner feel wanted, appreciated, whole and virile. But make sure that your needs are met too. Ensure that your partner makes you feel alive, sexy, desirable, appreciated and whole. And if he’s unable to get an erection for any period of time, there’s no reason he can’t still meet your sexual needs in any number of other ways. There’s no reason you can’t or shouldn’t still have romance and intimacy. There’s no reason that just because he may not be able to come, that you shouldn’t still have world-rocking orgasms.
Contrary to popular belief, men’s egos are not so fragile that we’ll break them by asking to have our needs met. Having said that, continuing to perpetuate the myths that have stopped us from doing that, makes it exponentially harder for those women who do. And frankly, it does men a disservice to treat them as so fragile. It deprives them of the opportunity to step up, to grow, to be better. Is it ever an advisable parenting strategy to make your kids think that their needs are all that matter, that the world owes them, to give your kids everything, without making them take responsibility for their own actions, without making them care about or tend to the needs of others? Of course not. Doing that raises spoiled, entitled children who are being deprived of the opportunity to become the best version of themselves. And so it is with the men in our life. We owe it to them, ourselves and our relationships to demand recognition and equality on this front.
They say knowledge is power, but knowledge without action is just good reading. So this article was intended to start you thinking about preconceived notions that you may have been carrying, that no longer serve you. No longer serve men or women. No longer serve humanity. Now it’s up to you whether you choose to act on it. Are you open to considering a mindset shift on this issue? Because as with most things in life, if you don’t change your mindset, nothing will ever change. And because you deserve it.