What’s Her Body Count
I saw this exchange in a Facebook group this week and my first reaction was that neither individual here had ever encountered a healthy man.
It goes without saying that the commenter, markpolo77 is a misogynist, and he only reinforces A.J.‘s point, he isn’t capable of handling the fact women enjoy sex with men other than himself. And felt so attacked by her post that he resorted to slut-shaming her.
I’m more interested my the original post, and what it says about her experience with men. A.J. is absolutely right than many males – I hesitate to grant them the title “men” – have a serious problem accepting that a woman they desire probably has had satisfying and fulfilling sexual experiences outside of those she has shared with him. Many, many males are highly insecure about their status, and this expresses itself in the need to possess the women they sleep with.
Where Does This Come From?
All this is deeply rooted in our cultural myth of monogamy and the patriarchal belief that women are property. Regardless of how far women have come in their struggle for equality under the law, the fact remains than when it comes to relationships, both genders often feel they are entitled to ownership over their partners bodies. Males often express this unspoken entitlement by expecting the women they invest in emotionally to be virgins, or at least symbolically so.
At its very base, this is an issue of fragile male ego and insecurity. True masculinity is self-validating, a man defines his values through careful thought and examination, and lives those values regardless of the opinions or actions of others. A male who requires the consent and agreement of others to reinforce his own values isn’t masculine or mature.
What Do We Do About It?
As a man, the first thing we all must do is hold other men accountable for their words and actions. Men who lack personal integrity and require outside validation, such as MarkPolo77, are easily swayed by the opinions of stronger men around them. When we point out their toxic and misogynistic behaviors, we have an impact. Sure, they will probably get angry or defensive, but what else would you expect from an insecure person? However, over time, as secure and healthy men around them calmly maintain and enforce the values egalitarianism and feminism, the tide will shift.
What if you yourself are one of these males who feels deep discomfort thinking about the sexual past of the women in your life? If you’re still reading this, I suspect your emotions are in conflict. You know women should be allowed the same sexual freedoms men enjoy, yet the reality of it makes you uncomfortable. The good news is you’re half way there, brother, because you are self-aware.
Values and Emotions
You are struggling with the difference between values you have come to accept as right and true through your own growth and learning, and the misguided values you were indoctrinator with as a child before you could form your own. (Likely, this is not the only area in your life you face this sort of conflict.)
Lets imagine you’re talking with your partner and she tells you the number of lovers she’s had. Suddenly, you’re hit with some intense emotions. You may not even know what emotions you’re feeling. You might feel hot, or angry, you might not want to look at her, you might even feel the urge to leave the room. Its at this moment that most immature or ungrounded males will express disgust or anger and lash out at their partner.
What’s really happening is you don’t know how to handle the feelings you’re having because you haven’t been taught how to. You may not even be able to accurately identify the emotions you’re having. This is not your fault.
Growing up, boys are taught to suppress our emotions, to squash them down and be “stoic” (which is, ironically, not at all what it means to be a Stoic). But we are human beings, we have emotions, its part of our design, and a failure to face and understand them leads to an in ability to control them. You might think you’re controlling your emotions, but sooner or later you will fail. The result is outburst of rage, overblown responses to situations, depression, self-loathing and all sorts of self-destructive behaviors.
Your Best Resource
The good news is, if you’re upset by the number of people your girlfriend or wife has slept with, you have the perfect resource to help you understand and cope with your feelings – Her.
I know, your ever instinct is telling you not to admit you’re angry or upset to her, but she probably already knows. Women are much better at reading emotions than men. She knows you’re upset and is hoping you aren’t about to blow a gasket. Take a breath and admit that you’re feeling some way about this information. If you’ve never done this before, it may be very hard to do. It will take a lot for courage – you know, one of the things “real” men are supposed to have. (This is what it means to be vulnerable, by the way.)
Don’t yell at her, or blame her – the feelings you’re experiencing are yours. They aren’t her fault. You need to own them and admit to them, and even admit you don’t know why you’re feeling them. If not to her, then at least to yourself, or a friend or counselor – You’ll do better to get help and advice from someone you trust, even if its not your lover.
Now that you’ve admitted to your emotions, its time to figure out if the reasons behind them make sense. The reasons are the values you hold. This can be a conversation with her, if she’s open to it, with yourself, or whoever you trust. You can do this out loud, in writing or in whatever way works for you.
The conversation might go like this:
What does it mean that she’s slept with X people?
It means she’s a slut!
Because its a lot of people!
How you would feel if you’d slept with that mean people?
That’s different, I’m a guy.
Why does that make a difference?
It just does.
Guys are supposed to have lots of sex.
If guys are supposed to have lots of sex, but girls aren’t, then who are guys supposed to have sex with? Other guys?
I’m not gay.
So then who are you supposed to have sex with.
But women aren’t supposed to have sex, at least not as much as guys, right?
Does that make any sense?
Etc., etc., etc.
I think you can see where this goes. When you start to examine why you feel the way you do, you start to see pretty quickly that it makes no sense, that the values driving your feelings don’t make sense. This process takes a lot of the power out of the emotions you were previously feeling.
This isn’t a magic bullet, you will probably continue to have mixed emotions about the topic for awhile. By continuing to examine your feelings and values when they come up, you will begin to change how you feel and ultimately how you behave. Your true values, the ones you personally choose, will begin to be the ones you live by. You will escape the trap of being ruled by values you didn’t choose and emotions you can’t control.
The Pay Off
Why bother? Lots of reasons.
You’ll be happier. You’ll be a better member of your community. You’ll be supportive of your partner, which leads to a better relationship. Blah, blah, blah…
If you really want a good reason, try this one: You’ll make your girlfriend or wife more comfortable with you sexually. You’ll make her feel safe exploring with you. And that, my friend, leads to some really great sex!
And if your single and dating, I promise you, an open mind about a woman’s sexual past does wonders for what she’s willing to do with you.
Today’s world is changing rapidly for men, and navigating it successfully can be a challenge, especially if you didn’t have good, healthy male role models growing up. From sex and romance, relationships, business and career, to parenting, we all want to be good men, we just don’t all know how. The best athletes have coaches, the most successful businessmen have mentors, the best men had role models and teachers. I specialize in coaching me to become the best versions of themselves.
I have a limited number of spots available for one on one coaching. Contact me to schedule a free 30 minute call to evaluate if you’re a good fit for my program – The Man You Were Born To Be.
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