Sunday, October 2, 2011

Some thoughts on the "sexual marketplace"

After reading the post and comments here, I was thinking about the perception of men wanting sex and women not wanting it. I think I can offer an unusual and illuminating perspective, because I was dating for a while and I will not have sex outside of marriage.

I did not get to know meet one woman who truly did not want sex in the sense of the "sexual marketplace" concept. I had one polite "if you ever change your mind", three attempts to argue me out of abstinence, one who slipped into a moment of "you're right but I don't care", one case of grabbing, and one who would not accept a massage because she thought it would be too tempting for her. (Going back over this in my head and writing it out has made it harder to hold on to certain of my bad self-image issues.)

Why was my experience so different than so many other men describe? First, to be fair to opponents of my thinking, I suppose a "Pick-Up Artist" would call me a natural alpha. I'm tall, I have a decent job, I've been told that I'm charming and handsome, and I come off as quite confident and alpha-type; people in the fetish community tend to assume I'm a dom from things like the way I carry myself and look people in the eye. But I don't think that is the main thing at all.

The main thing in my opinion that shapes my experience is that I am not looking for sex, I'm looking for friends. Inasmuch as I'm charming and confident, those are side effects. I'm charming because I actually want to hear about the woman I'm talking with. I'm confident because just not hitting it off with someone doesn't carry a giant sting of rejection. I'm not offering something so personal as sex and having that rejected; I think most people have reasonable ability not to be too hurt by finding out they don't have much in common with someone. All this I think would apply to anyone who wants to be friends more than they want a new sex partner.

But more than that, I don't think that many of us really want sex with a non-friend. There is an extremely strong cultural perception that that's obviously what men want, it's what a man has to do to be a normal man, but I think it's bullshit. Very few men who have the option of sleeping around pretty much whenever they want actutally choose that option. Famous male actors tend to get married, and have affairs, rather than just sleep around, and it's not like they can't just sleep around. Even in the cases where they do, there seems something psychologically fishy about it, like they're just doing what they've been told they're supposed to. Wilt Chamberlain, probably the king of sleeping around, talked about late in his life about how much he'd missed.

The culture tells men they have to want women's bodies if those bodies meet certain standards, regardless of the person attached; it tells women they have to view sex as nothing but a tool for manipulating men. I think the women I met were showing what is more natural for humans of all sexes; people want sex with people they like, first and foremost. Please note that I'm not going so far as to claim people are normally, naturally monogamous; I find that even more implausible than the "men just want sex" perspective. I'm sure not naturally monogamous. I'm just claiming that most of us primarily want sex with people we like.

Another factor is that by bringing up the issue of abstinence before marriage very early (like clearly stated in my online profiles and brought up within about the first hour of conversation with people met face-to-face), I take the defensive pressure off the woman who is used to the idea of people trying to get her into bed whether they care about her or not. I suppose a PUA would see this as the ultimate "neg".

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