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Phenomenon of males battling for dominance

(Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/File)

Dear Dr Nekia,

Not to keep the topic going, but I find some of what you say very interesting and very different from what I have always been taught. You said last week that sex between males is sometimes not sexual but about dominance. Please explain that because I have never heard that before.

Sincerely, Dominant Without It

Dear Dominant Without It,

A play or battle for dominance is a phenomenon that can be seen throughout the animal as well as the plant kingdoms. Both males and females display a drive or need for establishing their place in existence, but this is especially true for males. Interestingly enough, the male alpha-drive is not because males are naturally born rulers and dominators, but rather it is because the male’s need or desire to be the most dominant is owing to an internal mechanism that tells him that it is in his best interest to be the strongest among his own kind. Being the strongest among other males will ensure the perks of living a longer and healthier life as well it will ensure his rights to mate with the choicest females.

Some may say that this is quite natural and is part of the evolutionary process because the strongest males and choicest females who mate will produce generations of offspring who become more adaptable as time goes on. This is called gene survival. In higher thinking species such as humans, being the alpha male also comes with the added benefit of protection.

It seems that with species who coexist as a pack, family, or other form of social group, lower class weaker males will often follow and band together to protect their leading male. So how does this all relate to male sexuality? Well, as is the case when a female is coerced or forced into sex, males who force other males into sex feel a sense of power, control, and dominance over their victims. It is well known that often rape and sexual assault is not primarily about sex but rather is about aggression, and it is no different whether it involves male on female or male on male individuals.

To understand this more think of sex as being a ritual or an act of dominance and submission. One partner is the giver while the other is the receiver, and although roles may switch or reverse during sex, the person who is at any given time acting as the sexual receiver is the more submissive of the two. The female psyche and body are built for the roles of receiving and submission because she has to receive the male in order to be impregnated. She also has to submit to nature by becoming a vessel for carrying and giving birth to the life that results from sexual union with a male. However, this is not the case with a male, so a male in the position of sexual submission to another male creates a psychological dynamic whereby he is open to being dominated and led by another male. Such males become less of a threat to the alpha male’s throne and position in his social group. This is not to say that sexually submissive males, whether forced or not, can not display attitudes or actions of assertiveness; but rather that they will generally feel a sense of natural loyalty that comes with being submissive, which will prevent them from taking the alpha position.

Males who are coerced or forced into these sexually submissive positions by other males will have, to keep them in line, the added burdens of fear, shame, and guilt. All of which come along with being violated in the most intimate of ways. While most human males that we know in society are content with following the rules of other males and turning their need for dominance instead towards females and not the ruling class males, many cultures and societies have used male on male sexual dominance tactics to ensure rule while subduing their conquered counterparts. Most notably this occurs during war, slavery, or any other aggression-fuelled climate where males feel the need to secure dominance at all costs such as in gang environments. Even more interesting is that this is also seen among other mammalian males such as lions.

Dear Dr Nekia,

I was in a long-distance relationship that I ended before becoming involved with my current relationship. However I have been in contact with my ex recently and he wants me to come to visit him to see if we can rekindle things. We broke up because he was not in a position to make the commitment of marriage owing to financial reasons. Really he ended things because he felt that as a husband he should be able to provide for his wife and family. Now that he is more financially secure, he is expressing interest again and I do not know what to do. Part of me wants to see if there is anything still there, but the other part of me thinks it is wrong to be so disloyal to my current relationship. My friends say that I should go and not tell my man the truth about it in case things do not work out. What should I do?

Sincerely, Long Distance Romance

Dear Long Distance Romance,

First I would like to point out one obvious fact regarding your question. Because I do not have the benefit of face-to-face or voice-to-voice communication with my readers, when having to answer submissions I have to be sure that I pay careful attention to the way that each person chooses to express themselves through words. What jumps out to me is that you refer to your ex as if he is a person but you refer to your current beau as if he is a situation. In other words, you speak of a current relationship rather than a current boyfriend, man, lover, etc. This lets me know right off the bat that you have some sort of issue with identifying with him on a personal level when speaking of him.

Chances are that, in your mind at least, you have disconnected from him, to some degree, as you give thought to the possibility of reconnecting with your former mate. A degree of disconnection is a natural occurrence if you are indeed entertaining thoughts and feelings for someone else, but I think it important to make you aware of this because sometimes we are not aware of our own underlying actions.

Nevertheless, what is also natural and quite admirable is that you recognise your sense of loyalty in your current relationship. And even though the suggestions of your friends may seem to be the answer because it is the easy and selfish way of handling this situation, I would advise that you follow your own instincts. “OK, but I do not know what to do” you say. Well here are a few guidelines that should help you reach a place where you can make the best decision for yourself. Firstly, to avoid feeling guilty and things blowing up in your face, honesty is always the best policy. Besides, honesty is very empowering as it gives you a sense of control over situations. Secondly, in reality, until you have made a lifelong commitment to someone and them to you, you are not obligated to remain in a relationship without options. This does not mean that you can explore other avenues while with your man, but it does mean that communication should remain open between the two of you whereby you both feel comfortable to express your intimate feelings and intentions. This is a concept that is foreign to a lot of relationships.

However, in the end, everyone wants to be with the person who truly loves them and the only way to ensure this is to honestly be sure that you both are choosing to be with one another rather than being unsure or secretly wanting to be with someone else. And thirdly, realise that chances are that you never really fully exited the previous relationship go begin with. It sounds as though your ex has dome admirable qualities which left you in a position where you had to no longer be a part of his life. Unlike if you had been the one to make the decision to leave, you may not have gotten full closure from your past situation which is now reappearing and causing confusion in your present. Had you left your ex completely behind you, there would be no door or window for him to re-enter. Think things through carefully as you are the only one who can make this decision for yourself. Others can tell you what to do but in the end they are not the ones who will have to live with the results. In other words, it is your life that will be altered and your future that will be determined by the choices you make, not theirs.

Dear Dr Nekia,

I feel that as a man I get an unfair shake in life. I mean I automatically get categorised as being a cheater and a dog like other men out there. I think it’s unfair that women label us as all the same and I’m getting tired of it. I mean it makes me feel like just being what they think I am because I get treated that way anyway. I know that there are some bad guys out there but come on there are some good ones too. Men have feelings too and women can’t possibly really believe the lie that all men cheat. Why are you all like this?

Sincerely, I’m A Good Man

Dear I’m A Good Man,

Unfortunately, I hear a lot of men with this same complaint, and equally unfortunate is the reality of there being an air of mistrust towards men. As a woman I can assure you that although unfair, the dominating attitude of mistrust and judgment towards men is not entirely unfounded. From a very young age females are taught their suppressive roles of submission in relation to males, and far too many are exposed to the objectifying sexual predatory nature of males and men who they should be able to most trust.

By the time a female is of age to carry out what should be a healthy adult relationship, chances are that she has been sexually molested, used, exploited, and lied to by those males closest to her. These males include those of her peer group as will as those older than her who have been entrusted with her care and wellbeing. So, by the time that a good man comes along, she has already learnt to defend herself by injecting into her mind the beliefs that no male can be trusted. Add to this the overall negative social climate towards women that she is exposed to via music, movies, religion, etc and you have a recipe for fear, resentment, and discontent towards men.

Please understand that I am in no way excusing the way you have been treated, but rather that I am answering your question by providing you with information and a point of view that should be taken into consideration. Should you choose to reject or disregard this information, it may very well point to a heart that is hardened and is disconnected from having compassion towards the female experience. In this, you stand as an example as to the hardened hearts of women as you yourself would be acting in the same manner as them. Both yourself as well as these women whom you speak of, owing to personal experience with the opposite sex, have developed a hardened defence which prevents them from truly loving one another. We must understand one another if we are ever to really embrace and trust one another.

To all of my female readers, there are good men out there who do not mean you any harm, and who will not betray your trust. I hope that we all can find a place of healing which will allow us to be less sceptical of all men; and it is my sincere hope that good men, such as the one who took the time to write in, will continue to act according to their nature of goodness rather than to become like so many of our women who have allowed negative experiences and ill treatment to harden themselves.

Want relationship advice? E-mail nakedtruth@royalgazette.com