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Sexy women: Powerful? Victims? Or is something else going on here? August 11, 2006

Posted by fajita in family, Gender, General, Sex.
9 comments

I am not an expert on female sexuality, so don’t treat me like one or even quote me like I think I am one. I would also really like some women to voice their views here.

What I want to do here is explore some of the power dynamics of female sexuality.

There was a time when I believed that all women who were willing to be viewed or used sexually were victims of male objectification. The male was the complete perpetrator and the female was the complete victim. I no longer believe that this is always the case.

So, what am I doing here? Blaming women for the sins of men? Nope, not at all. What I am doing is trying to figure out what is going on inside this topic. Let’s start linear and simplistic.

Many men like to be enticed. Sexy women can get a lot out of a man with the promise that such enticement seems to give. When women discover this secret what they have done is discovered a source of power that they can assert over a man.

When a women learns of this power, she is then responsible to use it with wisdom and not abuse it. Now, this is a very hard message to even talk about to day because of dozens of reasons I won’t get into. So, I will compare it a man with great physical strength. He could us it to benefit a woman or anyone really or he could go around hurting people with it.

I wish I could end there and this topic be real simple, but I can’t. I am going to have to get circular and systemic.

What might motivate a women to use sexuality (through dress, nonverbals, promiscuity etc) to gain power? We could say that she is an evil person bent on destruction of others for her benefit. But then again that is too easy and, of course, rarely the case.

What if sex is the only onramp to power for many women? What if our culture affords women who make the “sexy” cut this one piece of power and few if any others? If that is the case, then there is an increased likelihood that more women will choose to accept the side-effects that come with selling out a little in order to reap the benefits of it.  

If this is true, then the meaning of sex and sexuality has frequently been reduced to a power game in which men and women alike make agreements to recieve the benefits of this mutual exploitation and the side-effects as well.

And what we have not addressed yet are women who do not make the “sexy” cut. They are either doomed to feeling worthless or fight really hard to find a way in which they can have some power, affirmation, or recognition.

So what we have are personal decisions within a societal context that provides limited options. We have a context that allows sex to be the easy out for women (and men if you read yesterday’s post) rather then keeping sex sacred.

OK, I’ve rambled too much already. What do you all think about this topic?

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The very fragile, excessively powerful, and complex male ego August 10, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science, Gender, General, Marriage.
5 comments

I am going to make gender generalizations in this post. I know I am doing that. Please don’t comment and tell me what I already know I am doing. Also, this is a post geared toward couples, but can be generalized beyond that  audience.

A single word or tone or facial expression can send a man into a hole so deep you’d have better luck finding Osama. A man’s ego is vulnerable, especially (but not exclusively) to a woman he finds value in, such that he could be crushed, even by accident. Crushed meaning he gets into a rut wherein he never accesses his emotions.

The very same ego that could be crushed by the tone of a woman’s voice, can also drive the man perform some of the most heroic, selfless, and bordering on miraculous acts ever imagined. It is this same ego that when faced with peril, impossibility, or certain doom, says, “Like Hell…” and runs into the flames.

The complexity comes when trying to understand how to deal with this incredibly powerful and sensitive force called the male ego. This has mystified women for centuries, and I suggest will continue to for centuries to come. It’s not as mystifying to the men themselves. It’s not that they have themselves figured out, but it is harder to know that there is mystery when you are the mystery.

For the women out there, I wish I could give you the key to the male ego. I can’t. But here are some guidelines.

1. Your efforts to control it, manipulate it, or co-opt it will fail in one of two ways. A) You will subdue the man and thus make him a worthless patsy (don’t badger him). B) You will piss him off and invite his power to be asserted upon you. Let me make a little point here. When a man does violence against a women, it is always his fault. What I am talking about is an unnecessary pattern that can lead to unnecessarilly inciting rage.

2. Affirmimg without partonizing is a tightrope act that is worth the effort to perfect. The male ego is fuled on affirmation. However, it must the right kind of affirmation. Like in the horrific and terryfying movie, How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days, naming his penis a cutesy name like Pooky is not the kind of affirmation I am talking about. You are grateful for his efforts, amazed by his strength (whatever kind of strength he has), and perhaps even very subltly (a little hint of being) turned on by it.  

3. If you think the male ego is all about sex, you’re wrong. Sometimes sex is all a man has to fall back on because he has no other outlet for his expression of power – besides anger. When you find a man finding meaning in his work (though not workaholic), a passion for his art, a vision for his children (but not crazy sports dad), or something that engages his ability to matter, then is he going to want to have lots of sex? Of course he will still want that. However, since he has many outlets, there is a different meaning to the desire. He does not have to rely upon sex and sex alone for satisfaction in his life. Sex then can carry a healthy level of life satisfaction and love expression.

So, here’s the guideline: support your man’s outlet, even if you don’t like it (unless it’s immoral, illegal or unethical).   

Well, that’s enough for today. Tomorrow we’re going to talk about sexy women. Seriously.