How do men learn about women, sex and relating?

As part of my role in learning about the on-line world, I have become a consumer of social media. I get to read the many aspects of humanity in all our very vocal, messy, enlightened, aggressive and inarticulate expressions. This cornucopia of human polarity, reactivity, judgement, insight and rationality, often expressed with emotional violence, constantly amazes me.

Over a long period of time, I’ve come across many publicly aired complaints by women, about the less than satisfactory sexual and relational performance, of their choice in men.

There is no holding back in these posts – it’s a gushing torrent of ripped off disappointment, anger, rage, blame and hurt.

So, it got me pondering and reflecting again about something that has been rolling around inside my head for a few years now.

Just how do most men learn about sex, women, making love and satisfying our female partners?

One of the first responses will be, Porn!

Well, on a positive note, porn can teach some basics. Yet the down side of porn is much greater and we know from recent research, that too much porn is having a negative impact on the sexual expression and performance of younger males.

Which is having an impact on the women they are interacting with.

The objectifying nature of porn does contain the very human elements of connection, feelings and emotions, sensitivity, passion, nor the exquisite aspects of eroticism.

The finer aspects of: seduction, quality of touch, timing and the utter importance of presence and being confident in leading, are missing. And most porn neglects the pleasure of the woman, as she is generally portrayed as a submissive receptacle for the male’s pleasure, salivating at the chance to please and be objectified him.

Which does not have much relevance to real life circumstances, real live women, or the reality of emotional connection and human authenticity.

DO WOMEN TALK MORE OPENLY ABOUT SEX THAN MEN?

Working studying in female dominated environments for much of the past 30 years, I have been part of, and overheard, quite a few female conversations about sex and men.

It was quite challenging in the beginning to hear the detail some these conversations went into, as the women ‘swapped notes’ on the men they had seduced, shared, or casually fucked.

The open sharing of his ‘performance’. The detailed descriptions of his cock; thickness, length, knob, veins, hair and general visual appeal was shocking at first. As a young man I had never heard anyone talking like this in such unashamed detail before.

A few years of being exposed to this and I became envious of the easy openness of the women around me. I had not experienced anything remotely like this with men in my life. When I went to try to talk as openly with the men in my life about sex and pleasure, there was definite discomfort, shame, embarrassment and strong opposition at times.

In my experience over three decades of facilitating Men’s groups and in my private life, I’ve observed a quite definite rule for men NOT to discuss any aspects of sex about the woman he is in relationship with, in any way. It is frowned upon.

As men we have been conditioned to not talk to each other in any meaningful way about; women, sex, technique, or how to connect with a woman we are attracted to.

Those that ‘have it’, do not want to share ‘it’. Those that don’t ‘have it’, do not want to reveal this to other men, or women, as it would be opening ourselves up to humiliation, or ridiculed.

We learn to cover up this lack of ‘having it’ with; bravado, embarrassed laughter, derisive put downs of women and their sexual expression, or a tough ‘I don’t care arrogance’ that protects us from the feelings of inadequacy and shame, of not ‘having it’.

Even as teenage boys/men, trying to work out what a real man is and how do we become one – we are supposed to ‘know what to do’ with a woman and ‘have it’ – even though we are learning, growing and exploring our sexuality too. The teenage girls around us, let us know in quite definite terms, how disappointing we are, if we do not have the experience & confidence, to give her the experience she is seeking.

This message from women, ‘men are supposed to have it’, continues into adult life. I was exploring various dance schools, over a number of years, to find out what style of dance I was interested in.

During this process I made some very interesting observations. In most schools there is a formal period of dance instruction, followed by an informal free dance opportunity, where students can practice with each other.

Feeling out of place and more than a little embarrassed, because as a man I’m ‘supposed to know what to do’ and I didn’t, I sat down and watched to absorb what I could from observation, and noticed a peculiar set of behaviours on the dance floor.

The men who knew how to dance, were content to dance with a woman, whether she could dance or not. If she could not dance the men were happy to take the time to teach, and if she could dance, they were equally happy to enjoy dancing with her.

However, the behaviour of many of the women was very different.

From my observations at several dance studios, the women nearly always wanted a man who could dance. When faced with an inexperienced man, he would last one dance, or if very lucky, two. Then she would be off to find a man who could dance to her satisfaction, or teach her.

In my short observational survey as such, there were few women who demonstrated real pleasure in teaching a man how to dance. As a man, I could see & feel her disappointment, impatience and at times disapproval, at ‘he not having it’ (the experience), to give her a good dance.

So it got me pondering: Does this observation parallel how challenging it can be for many men to gain the experience, confidence and presence, women demand from men, in matters sexual & relational?

Not all women are like this of course, some are motivated to teach, even if they do experience exasperation at first because ‘he does not know what to do’. I’ve been very lucky as a young man, to find several of these women in my life, which has made all the difference for me. Yet, they were the exception.

I recall, as a shy and tentative teenage male, learning about women/girls, relationship & sex for the first time, my experience with the teenage girls around me, was they expected me to ‘have it’ and know what to do. And when I did not, they were quite open, and often insensitive, contemptuous and shaming, in expressing their disappointment, in me not ‘having it’.

Therefore, if many/most women have little tolerance & patience for men who do not ‘have it’, and are not inclined to teach a man. Yet, they are seeking men who ‘have it’ – the experience, skills, presence & confidence (which comes from experience) and skill to look after their relational, sexual and emotional needs.

And if we men do not learn from each other and porn is very limited in its application as an educational tool to guide and support men in their encounters, with a real live, feeling, thinking, woman.

Just how do we men learn about relating, sex, making love and women?

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