As a participating member in a number of men’s spaces it’s clear to me that while women seem to be storming ahead with the reclamation of their sexual power and agency, a lot of men are grappling with theirs. There is now a generation of men that have been taught to look after women and ensure their needs are met (which dovetails neatly with the cultural expectations of men as protectors and providers), in a time in our culture where there is a loud narrative of men being sexual aggressors and violators. Men are increasingly feeling that their sexuality is unwelcome, and that their sexual needs are not a priority.
Rudran Brannock recently wrote a reply to a post about this in a Facebook men’s group, with his permission I’m sharing it here.
Rudran: I have looked at this in my own relationships over the years and it is very different for me these days. For me there are two major elements that need addressing in the society and in individuals around this. The first is the depth of monogamy. If sex is a static thing, if it is only ever to do with this moment and has no antecedents or future then the, “Not tonight dear I’m tired”, has a validity in each moment. But if sex is something dynamic and is a continuing movement of growth into Spirit, then each moment of sexual encounter must have that dynamism within it.
If we are folk who are interested in growing into Elders and conscious partners and wise parents and so on, then this element of growth must be a part of sex as our sexual development is a major part of our growth as human beings. It is the greatest single enegetic force within us; it is the fullness of our creativity and the biggest single reinforcer of human activity. So when we are single, we can study our sexuality and where it leads us into the adventures of body and of the heart.
Yet when we make a monogamous commitment, then the other person’s sexual development becomes also our responsibility, as does ours, theirs. So not only am I and my society responsible for my sexual development but now so is my partner. This is something that folk in monogamous relationships rarely consider.
Her sexual DEVELOPMENT becomes my responsibility and mine, hers. It is this word, “development” that changes everything. This is why it becomes stagnant for many folk.
Sex is fit in to the routine rather than the routine being designed around the dynamic movement of love. So as the pressures of life and children increase then the loving decreases and couples justify this because “The children must come first” or “I’ll make it up to her after I finish this work project” and so on.
If my partner’s sexual development is more important than simply pleasure, if it is a part of the development of her character and expansion as a woman, then I must go into it very deeply, just as she must go into it very deeply to be an aide to my development. So she needs to know just as much about men’s orgasms as I do about hers, (and how many women do you know who know much about men’s sexuality beyond what they read in the feminist narrative?) So the “Not tonight dear…” story never emerges. It becomes, “What can happen with this beautiful man when I am this tired? How does tiredness inform my loving?”
It is to do with the whole monogamous contract. If you have one where the woman holds the power over sexual activity, then you have chosen your contract. You can either renegotiate it or you can break it. The third choice is of course a life of quiet desperation.
The second element is what seems to me to be your acceptance of the feminist narrative. The push to have women’s needs met and women’s rights have been addressed by many sections of society as well as feminism, which holds the notion that men’s needs are not important because of the claim that men’s needs have always been first throughout history. Feminists interpret history to find out what men’s needs are, THEY DON’T ASK THE MEN! This is very important. If they asked the men then they would ask you. They don’t, they tell you how you should be.
These are my thoughts on the matter and are also an expression of my experience of the world. If they are of help then I am glad, if not I am still glad and you hold my love and respect, Rudran