I have recently discovered Stephen Synder’s very thought provoking blog on sexuality at Psychology Today. Warmly recommended to interested readers.
In this article, he describes a common situation (at least in his therapy room): women who feel their men are interested only superficially in their erotic potential, and that this never gets discovered.
As a rule, I tend to be very sceptical of the glorification of women by men – often by men who have a low image of themselves or of their sex. Whenever I have encountered it, it has had a strong flavor of mother-projection, under which lay plenty of mother-related grievances. Anecdotal evidence also suggests to me that women are as responsible for childhood neuroses as men. Why would they be better lovers than they are parents? So quantitatively I do not see a lot of difference.
I can hardly sit by and accept, either, the portrayal of men as one-dimensional erotic retards. Descriptively, Snyder doubtless identifies a real pattern. But not to dig somewhat under the surface seems a major abdication. Looked at over time, what is going on? I believe it is not so, and I suppose Synder would agree, that male disinterest in the whole woman already typically characterizes the early stages of a relationship. On the contrary, the experience of falling in love is typically one in which there is a high degree of consciousness of the woman in many of her aspects, not merely her propensity to have sex. So we are talking here about a feeling and a pattern of behavior which establishes itself over time; women feel the initial erotic promise remains unfulfilled while men feel that it loses importance.
If this is so, one is entitled to ask why. Part of the reason lies, perhaps, in our social biology. Male/female encounters are not supposed to be characterized by enduring and deepening enchantment. That’s just a myth. Men are resigned to it (even if the less sedentary may prefer affairs to baseball), while women are not. Because women feel they have no chance of full sexual expression except with the one man they married ages ago, they go on building up a greater and greater degree of resentment towards that man, whose fault it is not really.
And therein lies the rub – for while women hope for men to blossom as erotic creatures, they at the same time deny the basic precepts of male sexuality – and indeed of their own. The legitimate aspiration to delve deeper into their erotic being then turns into guerilla warfare against the forces of nature. This leads to deepening estrangement rather than rapprochement, and an eternal, dull and doleful stand-off ensues. Both allow their erotic natures to wither in the wasteland they have created.
Having said which, I am not quite as fatalistic. I think we have been repressing our true nature as a species for far too long to be anything other than ignorant about what would be possible between men and women if we stopped. It is a vast, unexplored frontier. Let us therefore be modest.
The image of all those cold and unexplored rooms is a compelling one. I’m more than willing to believe there are vast spaces inside every woman which neither I nor any other man has yet penetrated (pun intended). I would just like my female readers to understand that there are similarly vast spaces inside me.