And yes, I realize my title is pretty damn sexist. Because by highlighting the word men like that, I’m making it clear that that is the important word.
And it’s important because it’s not what we expect.
Because men always want sex, right?
Last year, I read this article about a woman who had a sexless marriage—not because she didn’t want it—but because her husband didn’t.
If I’d read that ten years ago, I would have felt vindicated.
Back then, I felt utterly alone.
Because I had the higher sex drive.
IN EVERY RELATIONSHIP I’D EVER HAD.
Every single one.
I was shamed for it. I was told what I wanted was unnatural. Unrealistic. That sex was not supposed to last forever. That wanting it only a few times a month was right, and I was obviously broken for wanting more.
This quote really spoke to me:
“I was embarrassed when my attempts at rekindling the magic — things like sleeping naked or trying to schedule date night sex — fell flat.”
In fact, I wrote about a particularly hurtful scene, The Night I Tried To Be Sexy… almost three years ago, to exorcise my demons.
And, to be fair, I did my own shaming in return.
Yes, it was out of defense.
No, that’s no excuse.
“What kind of man doesn’t want sex? Maybe you should get checked out. Maybe it’s all the drinking. Perhaps you should workout again, you never had this problem when you were keeping fit.”
I imagine this sums it up:
I think it’s very much a case of “Be careful what you wish for…”
Research suggests, though, that this is natural.
Men are often the first to go off sex in long-term relationships, thanks to unhappiness, insecurity and fears about losing their freedom, depression, erectile dysfunction, a dull sex routine and stressors of finances and children.
It blows apart a popular belief that women’s sex drive fails first or that women NATURALLY don’t want sex, which I’ve argued more than once:
And you know what else it does?
It puts men on the receiving end of sexual harassment and shaming.
I saw a meme a few days ago. I didn’t save it. I tried to find it this morning, and searched for a long time with no luck.
It was the story of a young man who was aggressively approached with sex by his date, and went along with it to ‘maintain his image,” and then found himself stuck in a cycle.
Now, he wonders if he will ever feel sexual interest, even when he meets “the one,” because all he knows is coerced sexuality.
And that’s common enough there are memes for that, too.
When women don’t want sex, “No means no.”
In fact, that works for pretty much very gender EXCEPT men, as many men are shamed for saying no to something as “manly” as wanting sex.
“Don’t worry. Boys are supposed to like this.”
“Hell yeah! I wish I’d been molested by my second grade teacher! She was a hottie!”
“You’re hard. You obviously want it.”
And yes, some of it is man-against-man assault. But not all of it.
Men are allowed to not want sex.
- Men are allowed to say no, and not have it affect their “manliness.”
- Men have different levels of sexual drive, just like everyone else.
- Men are not defined by their junk or how that all works.
- Men don’t deserve for this to be swept under the rug.
- 1 in 6 men having been sexually assaulted or abused is TOO DAMN HIGH, and it’s not “OK” because they are men.
I know too many men who have suffered these things. And while I have never assaulted a man, I have certainly shamed a few in my time, and for that, I’m sorry.