The Problem of Male Sexuality

As stated by Camille Paglia:

“Mythology’s identification of women with nature is correct. The male contribution to procreation is momentary and transient. Conception is a pinpoint of time, another of our phallic peaks of action, from which the male slide back uselessly. The pregnant woman is daemonically, devilishly complete. As an ontological entity, she needs nothing and no one.”

This places men in a trilemma. The first option is to accept their helplessness once their female lover is pregnant – as Amanda Marcotte puts it, “And unlike women, men lose control over the situation as soon as they get up out of bed.” The downside is that accepting this loss of control entails accepting inequality with women. It means accepting that, to at least a small degree, women are in control, and all relations between the sexes – but especially the sexual ones – are tinged with the possibility of this inequality becoming explicit.

The second option is to attempt to control women. That seems to be the choice men have historically chosen, with disasterous results. Breaking free of the damage caused to not only women, but men, is or should be one of the major impetuses to reimagining male sexuality.

The third option is to avoid the possibility of becoming a father, either through abstinence or a vasectomy. Abstinence, while not necessarily entailing complete sexual abstinence (just avoiding PIV intercourse), reinforces the inequality between men and women. Women can engage in PIV intercourse without losing control over their lives; men cannot. So ultimately, this provides no more equality than acceptance of inferiority. Vasectomies, while not always effective, provide a way to move past the problem by denying women the chance to become pregnant. However, even if they were completely effective, they would still amount to killing the part of you that makes you vulnerable. I think Feminism has made clear that the male habit to do this isn’t really a good one.

So, that’s the trilemma which must be resolved in order to have a healthy, egalitarian male sexuality.

I have no idea what to do about it.

Addendum: Yes, this is all really to say, “It’s not fair!” and I don’t want to accept it.

Or, to put it another way, I hate being male.

Addendum to the Addendum: Via the eNotes Dictionary of Psychoanalysis: “In Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind (1933/1938), Alfred Adler wrote: “When a girl imagines that she can change into a boy, it is because the feminine role has not been presented to her as the equal of the masculine role. She revolts against what she believes to be a permanent perspective of inferiority for her. The Freudians have interpreted this fact as what they call the ‘castration complex.’ ” Perhaps I’m expressing/suffering from a sort of Feminine Protest?

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~ by arkhilokhus on April 20, 2008.

4 Responses to “The Problem of Male Sexuality”

  1. Wow. I’m not sure that I have any real response to this, but I think it’s brave of you to write about it. And also on the heels of your comment in your last post about how you are currently perceiving female sexuality as frightening and threatening… you know that line of thought that says something like, following the trail of your fears will take you directly to your trapped power? Well, I think you’re on to something here.

    Having been, as a woman, the target of much unconscious male projection of these kinds of fears and frustrations, I hope you will write more about your engagement with this process in yourself. Men and women need to have access to more of these kinds of intensely personal insights. As I just said on my own blog, it often seems that the most personal story ends up being the most universally instructive.

    Thanks for writing this.

  2. Elizavetta,

    Thanks so much for commenting. It meant more to me than I know how to say.

    Having been, as a woman, the target of much unconscious male projection of these kinds of fears and frustrations…

    I think I’m starting to get some sense of this. Especially when I re-read that phrase from your story, Morning Prayer, “All the gut-punch injustices of being female in this distorted world…” That pierced my heart when I first read it.

    There’s more to say, but I think it deserves a post of it’s own.

  3. have nothing to say cos it all been said

  4. men have no problems with their sexuality.as a physiologist, i see their sexual disire as a function of their hormones and the nature of their reproductive organs position.think about it

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