One man argues that women need to bring emotion back into sex.
In theory, modern men enthusiastically welcome the freer sexuality of their female counterparts. It all seems quite good on paper: women get the opportunity to openly express sexuality on their own terms and men, well, get to have lots of sex with women. Free of commitment. Everybody wins. Right?
Maybe not. Sure, given the right gal in the right situation, any guy can appreciate a taste of modern free love. But the issue at hand here is vastly complex. In the long run, modern men have responded to women's freer sexuality with more than a bit of anxiety and confusion. Secretly, under the surface, there is a nagging sense that while gains have been made in the sexual arena, something deeper and more important has been lost, or at the very least endangered.
Certainly the gains cannot be taken lightly. The opportunity for women to explore their sexuality freely without becoming prematurely attached (i.e. married) to lackluster partners at young ages opens all kinds of new doors, for women and men alike. We no longer have to get married in our clueless early twenties in order to have boatloads of sex in a socially accepted manner. Also, new possibilities have opened up regarding male-female age differences. The "Samantha" factor has introduced many young men to the joys and benefits of sex with older, more experienced women. This, I assure you, has not gone unappreciated by these young men. On levels such as these, men welcome the opportunity to share the bed (or the floor, or the kitchen table, or the nightclub bathroom) with women who are increasingly experienced, open-minded, and comfortable with sex. Not only has sex increased in quantity and variety but, in all likelihood, from a quality standpoint as well.
So what's the problem? Well, there are a few. First of all, sex is becoming more about technique and less about the expression of genuine emotion. You know, affection for another human being. This is the key ingredient–along with experience, open-mindedness, and comfort-level–that makes for the best sex. The problem here is that women have become convinced that, in order to become the equals of men, they must act like them. And I mean sexually. To "act like a man," conceptually speaking, is to have sex purely for physical pleasure without expecting a commitment and without involving emotions. This idea is at the core of the freer sexuality of the modern woman. And it is a sham. That's the dirty little secret.
In order to understand why this state of affairs makes men more than a little nervous, you have to understand what men really want. What they want is a woman who makes them feel like a man. And women, I would argue, want men who make them feel like a woman. Here's the part where–brace yourselves–I am going to suggest that men and women are different. Or at least that, underneath all the bluster, they have different expectations of themselves and one another. Men want to be decisive, assertive, to take the lead. And women want that from them. This is a Darwinian instinct that three or four decades of social reprogramming cannot touch.
Take a look at the personal ads on "Match.com" and note how many women list a preference for men who are six feet tall or better. If pressed on why they list this requirement, women will tell you that they like feeling small in proximity to the man they are with. I report this from the perspective of a six-foot-four male, not an embittered, vertically challenged one, and, believe me, I have encountered this phenomenon with surprising regularity. While we have progressed far past the point where women should have any practical need to depend on males for protection or the food they eat, these types of instincts run deep and they add considerable complication to the state of modern sexual relations between women and men.
For all of its benefits, then, the sexuality of the modern woman has confused the issue. By acting like men, having sex like men, women have tossed aside the emotional element. Thrown it out like the proverbial baby with the bathwater. Emotionally stunted as they tend to be, men find themselves backed into a corner. No longer can they depend on women to draw out their emotions and create the necessary balance between raw sexuality and some kind of deeper feeling. With women committed to having sex like men, that is, without emotion, the man's options are limited. He can become the generator of emotion himself, which is problematic because it threatens the masculine code–which he expects of himself and believes that women expect from him. Or he can go on having meaningless sex and pretending that his deeper need for a real connection is being met. Neither option is particularly appealing.
In this sense, the argument that modern female sexuality is creating a higher degree of real happiness for men and women alike is questionable. This is not to say that we should return to the ways of the past–only that we need to get our eyes back on the prize. Sexual freedom for women is positive and healthy. That said, women must accept the reality that they are naturally wired to attach sex with emotion, that this is a good thing, and that all the gains of their newfound sexual freedom will come to naught if the end result is not a dynamic, sexually-charged, emotional bond with a man. That's what men want. That's what women want. And, until it becomes clear that modern female sexuality is facilitating this outcome rather than obscuring it, men will continue to react with some degree of anxiety and confusion about how to proceed.