Monday, October 25, 2010

Helping with sex neuroses: men's neuroses

I talked here about how neither gender is responsible for helping the other with their various neuroses. But I think a lot of us would like to, just from good-heartedness or because it's better for us too. I was going to do some guessing and asking as to how men can help women, but actually I know an awful lot more about how women can help men, so I decided to tackle that first. After writing my suggestions, though, I think all of them are actions that if women do them will help women with what I imagine are their most common neuroses as well. Note that lots of individuals do not suffer from these neuroses, please don't consider my listing them to be an accusation.

And to repeat, NONE of this is a woman's job. It's something she may want to think about out of kindness, or because it may improve the relationship, not a responsibility. It's all if and when you feel like it.

Here's the big one. Think about how he would react to you doing something sex-related. If you react differently, he's likely to feel the difference is because he is a man and men are gross. For example, if a naked man walks by his partner and opens his towel for her, he probably doesn't expect much response. That's why he pitches it to be comic. If a woman walks by her partner and opens her towel for him, she'd probably be pretty hurt if he sighed and rolled his eyes. He probably secretly wishes that he'd get the same kind of response he'd give her. They way I imagine this would help a woman is that the sigh and rolled eyes will buy her the chance to get back to what she was doing instead of a probably brief sexy contact. Is that what she wants most, or just what she's been trained to do?

Talk and do. About the best thing I ever heard of someone doing to help a man over his insecurities was what Rogue Bambi does; come up with dirty ideas on her own, all of which she's already decided are OK with her, and tell him about them. But, from my experience, I've gotta emphasize DO the stuff you propose which he also likes; talking about it and not doing it is the absolute pits, and will lead to him discounting your talk in the future. It's obvious how a woman's sex life will be improved by talking about what she wants.

Try to enjoy him more than your dignity. This is something I learned from the other side, in making my wife comfortable with cunnilingus, but I suspect women are trained in ways that make it much harder for them. Appreciation of your partner's actions, and perhaps especially his parts, has to be shown in ways that could be embarrassing, or else you're doing it wrong. (Or you have progressed beyond embarrassment.) The very culture that makes men neurotic also prepares them to be undignified. If anyone has any dignity during sex, they're doing it wrong, or they're dominating; and even if they're domming the dignity is extremely relative.


  1. I have a set of rules for myself for what I will and will not say when commenting on sex blogs that probably seem pretty arbitrary to anyone who isn't me, but basically boil down to my sense that my marriage means (and this is happily given) a large part of my sexuality is for my husband and my husband alone; what turns me on, what I've done specifically and what I really liked doing, my fantasies, and any concerns I might have are, for as long as the marriage lasts, for him and therefore private between us. This is the rule that works for me and it's also why I don't comment at all on some stuff even though I have insight.

    I don't think it violates this rule, though, that on our first real romantic sexual encounter, everything went as wrong as it possibly could without a visit to a free clinic or emergency room. We both ended the whole thing in shared hysterical laughter at the epic awkwardness of it all.

    Neither of us had any dignity, and it was a laughing with rather than at. We've had our sexual ups and downs since, but making progress forward from them was definitely rooted in that.

  2. I think you mentioned your rules before, in less detail, on Holly's blog. I think that's a great idea, especially since you have many friends that are familiar with the LabRat pseudonym. In my case, I felt like I had to talk to SOMEBODY, so I made up the Mousie pseudonym that my IRL friends don't know about. It would be unacceptable to tell my separated wife's and my IRL friends the things I've revealed about her here. I try to keep it to my own experience, but she is most of my experience.

    Thanks for that story though! It sounds like a great foundation, taking out most of the fear of embarrassment and things going wrong.

  3. if a naked man walks by his partner and opens his towel for her, he probably doesn't expect much response. That's why he pitches it to be comic.

    I've never understood why naked men are supposed to be funny (movies will often use the very sight of a flabby naked man to get laughs). To me, the naked male body falls into one of two categories: 1) hot or 2) not. I guess the "not" is supposed to amuse me but really it just makes me go "meh".

    Genitals, on the other hand, are hilarious. But in a hot way. Minx and I don't really bother with clothes much when we're at home, and my eyes are perpetually riveted to his bouncing junk (and the rest of him, too; but I'm a big predatory cougar and my eyes are most drawn to movement :D). When he catches me looking, he'll gyrate at me. This has been known to make me trail off in mid-sentence.

    Try to enjoy him more than your dignity.

    This is excellent advice, and I'm happy to say that my self-consciousness has mostly evaporated with age. I do have this one stupid thing I can't shake, though: the shithead boyfriend I dated at age 17 once told me "Ewww, when you sit like that you get a gross double chin." Everyone gets a double chin when they slouch like I was doing, and also this boy was a shithead, but every single time I'm above Minx and looking down, I wonder "Does he think I have a gross double chin right now?"

    I hate it but I can't stop. :P

    Do you have any weird vanity things like that?

  4. p.s. I, too, reveal far more about my sex life online (where I'm anonymous) than I ever would in person. Once upon a time I would have had dishy, completely explicit conversations with my friends about my sex life, but now I only share the broad details (although still enough to scandalize LabRat, probably. :D).

    In my defense, Minx is an attention whore and would be totally, totally fine with the things I tell my friends - and even most of the things I say on my blog. This is a boy who tries to freak out eavesdropping strangers by loudly telling me, "Wow, I can't believe you got all your fingers inside me last night. Tonight should we try for the whole fist?"

  5. Do you have any weird vanity things like that?

    Sorry to hear about your asshole boyfriend.

    I'm embarrassed by my entire male body. In the last several years of my marriage, I started covering up all the time so I wouldn't have to deal with a lack of response; I'd bring my underwear into the bathroom when I showered, for example, so I could put it on before I opened the door to the bedroom in case she was in there. Not that she was insulting in any way, just frequently indifferent. The times when she wasn't indifferent didn't make up for when she was.

    As far as specific things, while my cock is average when hard, it's small when not. No one ever said anything, but it still bugs me. 50% of men are below average, it's hard for me to imagine how they must feel.

    I'm certain LabRat isn't scandalized, she just doesn't share, especially not under a name lots of her friends know.

  6. I'm certain LabRat isn't scandalized, she just doesn't share

    I meant "scandalized" solely in an "If that were me I would never..." kind of way. Just to be clear. Nobody who hangs out at Pervocracy could possibly have delicate sensibilites re: sex talk in general. :D

    In the last several years of my marriage, I started covering up all the time so I wouldn't have to deal with a lack of response

    It's a horrible thing when your partner rejects you sexually, isn't it? My ex basically stopped doing anything sexual with me for the last few years that we were married. I didn't stop being naked in front of him but I did find it almost impossible to masturbate. It's hard to describe why. I think, basically, that because my ex acted like giving me an orgasm was a disgusting chore, having to do it myself became somehow demeaning.

    ...But I think I'd choose my neuroses over yours. I stopped feeling embarrassed about my body when I was maybe in my mid-twenties, and I'm profoundly glad for this.

  7. Maybe you correctly felt like he should really be the one giving you orgasms, cheerfully and lovingly if he couldn't manage lasciviously, and when you were fantasizing while masturbating it would creep into your head and be a downer. I had an effect kind of like that that did interfere with and reduce my masturbation.

  8. I have a very rigid and thick wall between "if that were me" and "if that were someone else", I promise. ;)

    The acquired sexual modesty makes me feel rather sad, though not in a way I didn't already. As for nudity... I always look, and not mockingly. I always thought it was one of those basic primate things you didn't pass up even if nobody intends to do anything about it.