Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Looking at neuroses

Snips and snails and puppy-dog tails,

That's what little boys are made of.

Sugar and spice and everything nice,

That's what little girls are made of.

As I've talked about a lot, men are neurotic because they are taught that they are gross and ridiculous on the surface. In media aimed at men, even really hot guys are comedy (think the Isaiah Mustapha Old Spice ads, which are great, BTW). The mass media heroes offered to men to identify with frequently start out with no dignity, offered no respect, but may earn respect by slaying a dragon or a building full of terrorists.

Judging by the way women seem to have significantly greater mentally-addressable problems with orgasm than men, it seems like the cultural neurosis is worse for women. Looking at the message to women from outside, it seems they are accorded a dignity from the beginning, but the message says that dignity is a fragile false veneer. The media aimed at little girls offers princesses to identify with, who are all looks and inborn desserts and no accomplishment. Accomplishment is not held out to women as a way to earn respect nearly as much as to men.

The culture teaches women that their respectability is a fragile veneer, I think, because it's easily lost. Without accomplishment, the respectability of the princess character is really a matter of other people's perception. What's the difference between Cinderella as princess and any ragpicker except how she's dressed and how people regard her? Then, of course, there is virginity; presented as of enormous inborn unearned value, superficial and easily lost.

The culture teaches women that their respectability is a false veneer, I think, because of what it teaches about women's genitalia. I've noticed that women are much more neurotic about their genitals than men. I imagine that is learned at menarche. There's generally nothing more embarrassing in polite society than involuntarily emitting fluids, but this is something that normal healthy women do periodically over most of their life. Women retain respectability not because society accepts this, but inasmuch as they successfully hide it. And then there's problem of perception in how arousal works for women. Men aren't embarrassed about getting hard except in inappropriate places or situations. We're pretty happy about a hard cock, in and of itself. Women are frequently embarrassed about a wet pussy in and of itself. Many women see it as messy, something they have to clean up after. Many men see it as the BEST THING IN THE WORLD, but so what? Boys are gross like that.

These different types of neurosis play out very differently during sex. The neurosis for men, that they are inherently gross and unattractive, isn't as harmful during sex because men didn't expect anything different anyway. Men are trained to the idea that they'd best be grateful for what they can get. To get an idea of the extent of this, look at perceptions when male children are sexually abused by women. Bodily fluids, weird faces, and embarrassing noises can be much more easily taken in stride.

In women it must produce inhibition; inhibition about their own enjoyment more than any particular activity. Women are trained that they have this fragile, false veneer of dignity, and they can't let their guard down or it will be shattered. They've been going around their whole life presented by the culture (not necessarily themselves) as being made of sugar, spice, and everything nice, and then when they have sex they've got to admit that enjoying it makes their nethers ooze a mucusy fluid. Then there's the faces and noises to deal with. I'm imagining this is very difficult for someone who had much Disney Princess training early on; and that it explains a lot about why so many women find it difficult to orgasm.


  1. I guess it helps when you're a borderline sociopath, and truly don't give a damn what others think of you, other than the few you care about. At least, that's how it works for me. I only care about my husband's, son's, and my unborn daughter's opinions. No one else really shakes my self-image.

    I suppose it also helps that I always hated the Disney princesses. Helpless and stupid, the lot of them.

  2. I think the second point might be more important than the first; sometimes when women are inhibited they are most inhibited with the people whose opinions matter to them most. So it's exactly their best beloved that they can't be all undignified and orgasmic with.

    My wife had a bit of that, it was extra hard for her to talk about sex with me, because I knew much more about it than she, and she hated feeling childish or ignorant with me especially.

  3. BTW, Heroditus, glad to see you back! I hope the workload has eased up a bit.

  4. I've quit trying to beat myself into grading papers when I'm too grouchy to be fair, so I should have a little more time.

  5. I fucking love this post and when I grow up I am going to MARRY it. You've said so many things that I'd kind of noticed before but never actually put into words.

  6. Thank you so much! I thought I might be saying things that all women knew already; but I'd never seen it summed up like that so I thought it was worth putting it together. I think few men know about it.

  7. If I were to condense the awesome (and it is), I'd put it as: Men are given a mountain to climb. Women are given a peak to fall off of.

  8. Thank you! I like your condensed version.

  9. Great post. You raise some interesting points that I've never considered before (particularly describing the automatic dignity rations). Oddly enough, I really relate to the male neurosis of feeling ridiculous and overeager and guilty for making my sexuality bothersome because I'm gross and unattractive. But it results in behavior that's more typically like the female neurosis you describe. Maybe I have collected them all.

    Thanks for the heads up on this! Glad I read it.

  10. Thank you, quizzical pussy! I'm really sorry if you have both, though I'm glad you have overcome them as much as you have!