Real Men Get Laid Constantly

8 Mar

On February 25, 2011 an article titled “Sex is cheap: why young men have the upper hand in bed, even when they’re failing in life,” was published in Slate.com’s “Double X” section, which supposedly is dedicated to discussing, “What women really think about news, politics, and culture.” The article’s thesis is that despite the recent trend of young men (25-34) achieving less financial and academic success (among other types), they are able to acquire commitment-free sex now easier than ever.

The author, Mark Regnerus, notes several causes for this trend.  He reminds us that that men are less discriminatory than women regarding who they will “bed,” and although “women [still hold] the sexual purse strings,” the “market ‘price’ of sex” continues to be low for a number of reason. He suggests that because more  young men are “failing at life” these days, women have slimmer pickings when it comes to finding a suitable mate. Thus, men are finding easier “access to sex without too many complications or commitments,” which Regnerus says is basically what all young men want.

It’s this innate desire and the skewed demography, he says, which has caused the 1 percent drop per year in marriage rates among 25- to 34-year-olds, the 50 percent rate of romantic relationships which reach the sexual intimacy stage within one month, and the 30 percent of young men’s relationships that involve no courtship at all – simply sex. Regnerus goes on to describe a bevy of 20- and 21-year old female college students who simply can’t get their boyfriends to commit, seemingly holding on to the thread of hope that they’ll come around. His bottom line: it’s good to be a man, no matter how bad everything else is.

While the article is insulting on multiple levels, the most offensive aspect of it is its perpetuation of this notion that men are sex machines – carnal subhumans that crave nothing but instant gratification. The author’s research suggests that, now that men have the “upper hand,” they’re taking advantage of it and the women they’re with, citing their finding that women are now participating in more “unwanted sex—either particular acts they dislike or more frequent intercourse than they’d prefer or mimicking porn.” Indeed, young men today are so focused on “easy sex” that they are sacrificing their very “drive to achieve in life” in exchange for carefree romps between the sheets.

This denigration of men confirms a “fact” that we are taught about males from kindergarten: men are pigs. Far from the childhood rhyme about being made “snips and snails and puppy dog tails,” we are now being told that men are fiendishly immoral, sexually perverse, single-minded, and violent. In sum, men are dirty. While women are passionate and to be desired, men only crave. Men are emotionless and cold, women are warm and nurturing. It is men who shit, piss, far, and belch; women are as immaculate as Mary. Men may create art, but it is women who are the models. Men go to war, women fight for peace.

By claiming that men enter into romantic relationships only for the conquest, we perpetuate the myths of both male as destroyer and woman as property. While this certainly disempowers women (in spite of their recent relative “success”), it also sets men up for (more) failure. As one reader stated in the comments section: “I love articles that tell me I’m a loser.” Lining up statistic after statistic about how much action young men are getting these days sends a dismal message to anyone on the periphery: if you’re spending your Friday nights masturbating, you’ve got bigger problems on your hands. (There’s also a message in here about sexual shaming, but that’s the topic of another blog).

To close, I’d like to quote a recent article that appeared on GoodManProject.org by Hugo Schwyzer. Published only six days after Regnerus’s, it recounts Schwyzer’s socialization, realization, and ultimate liberation from his depravity. It lovingly captures how he banished his degradation and embraced his beauty, capacity to be loved, and sexual power.

The answer lies in creating a new vocabulary for desire, in empowering women as well as men to gaze, and in expanding our own sense of what is good and beautiful, aesthetically and erotically pleasing. That’s hard stuff, but it’s worth the effort. I know what it is to believe myself repulsive, and what it was to hear that not only was I wanted, but that I was desirable for how I appeared as well as how I acted.

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One Response to “Real Men Get Laid Constantly”

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  1. The Last and Worst: Rules for Men « The Conscious Man - April 27, 2011

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