Men lose respect for women they sleep with
Dear Dr Nekia,
I was having a conversation with one of my male friends about dating. I have left a long-term relationship behind and am ready to begin dating again. He was trying to give me some advice on how to choose decent men and how I should approach things — like the way I dress, what to talk about on the first date, and sex. He said that I should wait as long as possible to have sex with a man because the sooner I do it the less he will respect me and I will end up being used.
I have heard this before, but I’m trying to figure out why would a man lose respect for a woman just because she sleeps with him. Men are always trying to have sex or, at the very least, will not turn it down. If I give in I’m the worthless one and not him for trying or agreeing to have sex with me? I see it as we are both adults who are choosing to be intimate with one another whether it be sooner or later. Am I wrong?
Sex Should Come
Sooner Or Later
Dear Sex Should
Come Sooner Or Later,
No you are not wrong. What is in question here are the predominant views surrounding the sexual morality of women as well as the sexual maturity of men who think this way. There are numerous double standards regarding men and women when it comes to sexuality and it is the woman who, not always but most often, gets confined by rules that imprison her sexual expression. Getting into all of the who, what, when, where and why cannot be explained here but to sum it all up, women are perceived as being a threat simply because of their desirability. One facet to explore would be that the male ego is built upon a need or a drive to conquer, to expand, to be strong, to be dominant, etc and in the end it is the female whom the male inevitably feels weak to.
Men do not restrict our sexuality because they do not value us; they restrict it because of the opposite. Men are quite aware of how much we mean to them and this need for us can easily be misconstrued as being a weakness. So what do men do about their weakness? What do they do about things that they feel are beyond their wilful control? They try to deny their vulnerability while forcing their will. Thus we have many rules, stigmas, religious guidelines and laws to insure that women are kept in a psychological position of subservience. It is no secret that most men do not like to even think of the woman of their affection being with another man. Fear causes men to manipulate women into denying their feminine desires which in turn causes us to feel guilty and sinful for certain behaviours.
One such behaviour would be having sex “too soon”. Let’s define this concept of too soon. One must first ask, who gets to decide what is “too soon”? And should someone be judged because their view of “too soon” differs from yours? Also, if it is too soon for your partner to be having sex, then why is it not too soon for you to be having sex as well? Why are you not judging and holding yourself up to the same moral standard? These are all questions that should be answered, and the answers will reflect the sexual maturity of the man in question. You see our men, and many of our women, have been socialised into thinking that the woman gives up something during sex. This speaks to the male’s vision of conquest. He believes that he has said or done something to make the woman give in to him. He knows his true intentions are less than honourable, and so he projects his own internal sense of unworthiness onto the female by saying it is she, not him, who is worthless, easy, fast, desperate, stupid, etc for falling prey to his advances. This kind of thinking completely strips the woman from having any natural right to her sexual desires and her choice to act upon such desires.
The truth is that when it comes to sex the man conquers nothing. The female does not give up, or as in the case of virginity, lose anything. All that remains is two consenting adults. The man’s loss of respect for the woman who has sex with him in a time period that he deems to be too soon is not only sexually immature but shows he is using his ego and false sense of dominance to project his dissatisfaction with self onto the woman in question. If a woman is not worthy of respect because she has sex too soon, then it’s the same for the man.
Dear Dr Nekia,
Why does there seem to be a double standard with men? What I mean is, it seems that when you give a man what they want they are unhappy with it. More specifically, men say that they want sex with no strings, but if a woman initiates it or actually sticks to the agreement, men say that she is cold and they catch feelings. If a man says he doesn’t want any stress and a woman actually stops complaining or questioning him, then he says she doesn’t care. If a man says he wants a woman who likes sex and who initiates it but then he gets it, he says that she is never satisfied. I’m just more than a bit confused about all of this. Why is it that men say one thing but then make it out to be something entirely different?
Make Up Your Mind
Dear Make Up Your Mind,
There are different reasons for why this is so. And since you gave specific examples of times when men seem to say that they want one thing but when they get it they seem to want the opposite, I will address them individually to see if we can come to some sort of conclusion about this pattern of male behaviour. First is sex with no strings.
Men like the idea of not having to be obligated to sexual partners they know they will not be interested in anything serious or permanent with, but when a woman initiates such an agreement or is better at following the rules, the male ego can become bruised as he subconsciously begins to feel like the woman is in a position of dominance and control.
The more the woman desires him, the better he feels because his ego is stroked. Desire here is specifically defined as being irresistible. A man feels that he is less irresistible to a woman if she can keep her distance and stick to having no attachment to him at all.
Often, this confuses the man and he ends up being the one with the emotional attachment as he subconsciously begins to question the situation and do things to try to get the woman under his spell. Simply put, his increased focus and attention on her is what leads him into an emotional spiral. Secondly, everyone wants a relationship that is stress-free, but we all know that as with anything in life, this is unrealistic. Men know that when a woman is not wanting more or not questioning his thoughts and actions or focusing much on what is going on in the relationship, she is pretty much disconnected from him. So while he doesn’t want the negative stress and attitude, he does want the attention and desire.
Lastly, many men would like to think that they could handle and satisfy a woman with a hearty sex drive but the truth is that when a woman’s sexual desires outweighs a man’s ability to meet such demands, the male resorts to negative internal dialogue.
Some take it on and get down on themselves, but most often they project their inadequacy onto the woman: she is unsatisfiable, she is a whore, I wonder who else she could be sleeping with? Once again, the male ego does a wonderful job of displacing feelings of hurt, embarrassment, fear, and inadequacy by turning such negative attention towards someone else. Once such a man begins to move beyond being ego-driven, he will refrain from placing blame on women as well as become more comfortable and realistic about his wants and expectations.
Dear Dr Nekia,
I am dating a younger man much like the lady who submitted her question last week. My issue is that while we are both happy, others do not seem to be. We get awkward stares in public, and my friends keep telling me that I should not get too serious with him. I am 39 and he is 22. Our relationship is going great. And yes, it is a relationship and not a situation-ship. We are committed and are enjoying one another to the fullest.
I just don’t think that it is fair that I am being judged. I feel like I am being made out to be a dirty old lady who can’t get a man her own age, while he is being made out to be this superstar for being able to get and satisfy an older woman. I am annoyed by this and want to know how to tell people to leave us alone and keep their opinions to themselves.
Woman Younger Man,
You tell them by saying just that — thank you for your input but we are happy, healthy together and comfortable in our relationship. Of course you do not have to use those exact words but you do need to find your voice.
Don’t worry too much about coming across as rude because the truth is that no matter how you say it there will be those who will be offended simply because you disagree with their advice. In situations like this we get to see how people view others who do not live a life according to their own rules and beliefs; we usually get to see this when it comes to sensitive topics such as religion, politics and sex. You have chosen to enter into a relationship that is somewhat taboo so unfortunately you will experience a level of public scrutiny. I can see where the age difference would raise eyebrows but as long as you are consenting, mature adults who are not harming, taking advantage of or abusing one another emotionally, mentally, or physically, then it is no one else’s business.
However, do take heed that your emotions are not completely vetoing your logic. You and this young man are at completely different stages in life and that he may mature into a completely different man than he is today; you may also do the same as a woman. What is key to making things work for the long term is that you are both realistic, honest and open to the journey. Be sure to discuss pertinent topics such as sex, ageing, physical attraction, children, finances, gender roles and expectations, etc, because these topics will make or break your relationship.
I like the fact that you have made the designation of it being a relationship versus a situation-ship, because it is so easy for people to make light of the union of two people when they think it to be impossible or ridiculous. Many may view your relationship as being temporary or lacking a level of sincerity simply because it seems nonsensical to them. I do understand your frustration with the fact that there seems to be a prominent double standard. This is because women are subjected to a plethora of rules regarding relationships and sexuality.
You do not have to ascribe to this, nor do you have to take it to be your personal truth. Find your peace with your relationship by asking yourselves key questions: Are you both happy? Are you both fulfilled? Is your relationship one of a natural nature? Are either of you harming anyone with your relationship? Let one another know what the other is experiencing so that you can find comfort and solidarity in one another.
Take the opportunity to share and express the outside negativity with one another. You can use the negative energy of others for good by having it create an intimacy between the two of you. Sever the relationship because it is not working out or because it is unhealthy or unrealistic, but do not part ways simply because of the opinions of others.
•Want relationship advice? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org