Our heads; your tale

Note: this was sent from Sex Is for Men Too, where we also post this column synchronously. In this one, Dominic, who owns the other site, chimes in at the bottom.  How exciting!
July 6, 2011

But Women are Superior to Men

Hi SexIsForMenToo,

Wow, I love that title. It suggests much that resonates with me. Throughout my life, I have lived with a grand mismatch between my admiration of and desire for women and my self-esteem, which started out in the toilet in high school and has gradually, painfully risen–with a lot of therapy and determined effort to find my place. Now at 58 and standing on two legs like a human being (most days), I have a family, a complicated, non-intimate marriage, and a dominant lover who my wife knows about and tolerates being in my life (I am not cheating behind her back). It’s too complicated to go into, but here’s my question:

I have some great women friends in our local kink and alt communities (social friendships, not sexual). I’m very comfortable with them. It blows my mind and thrills me to have women smile when I enter a room and give me a hug. It turns out I’m better looking than I thought (or they say so anyway), and I just feel at ease, socially. Sexually, however, is another matter. I grew up with some unhealthy attitudes around my sexuality, hence my low self-esteem. I eroticized many of those beliefs about myself into some pretty kinky, emotionally masochistic fantasies.

My mistress is encouraging me to learn some new ways of seeing myself, but for the life of me, I can’t understand what women see in men, me in particular, but us in general, too. I get that we’re “the other side of the coin,” biologically and spiritually. But I don’t have any intuitive sense that I’m sexy; I can’t strut my stuff or exude masculine self-confidence. In fact, I consider myself to be gender fluid–an average professional by day and a bent boy at night when I get the chance. My mistress says I’m sexy, to her. Some other ladies seem to agree. In order to fully comprehend this new-found appreciation, it would be nice to have some clue as what they see in me, or more generally, what women see in men. When I compare myself to my idea of a Real Man, I see “fail” all over me. So, I don’t get it. What’s a Real Man? What happens to guys who aren’t one, and why do some women appreciate them anyway?

If any of your consultants can give me an insight into what women see in Real Men or non-standard ones, it would be much appreciated. It may be a foolish question, but I’m daring to ask it anyway.

Thank you very much for considering it.

Sincerely, Curious About Perception


Cydian says:

A woman’s voice may serve you better on this, so I’ll let Ava get into the finer points of your answer. I just felt it was important to point out the obvious: anatomical difference aside, men and women are essentially identical.

Since you show interest in what women might find appealing about a man, and what makes a “real man,” an alpha male has the following traits:

  1. Confidence
  2. An upbeat, positive vibe
  3. A spirit of playfulness
  4. Healthy, fit, and well-groomed
  5. Ability to forge deep connections quickly and easily
  6. Not self-conscious, comfortable in his skin
  7. Good social control
  8. Has friends who look up to him
  9. Unflappable
  10. Personal Integrity

But the thing is that, the list of traits that make an Alpha female is nearly identical. Attractive is attractive. Period.

So, the point I want to make–which I feel should be pretty obvious–is that gender is not what makes someone valuable.

Your message conveys that you don’t know why men are worth anything compared to women because you, a man, don’t see yourself as valuable. But as far as I can tell, the reason you worship women and think men are shit is because you are buying into what you are sexualizing. It turns you on to think of women as powerful and attractive and men as awkward and useless, and so you have actually come to see the world in this way. Lucky for you, that particular fetishized worldview is not as problematic in this day and age than, say, viewing all women as submissive sex dolls waiting to be broken down and degraded by you, the all-powerful male. But it is just as skewed.

The thing about your situation that concerns me most is what you aren’t saying. You write that your wife “tolerates” your relationship with a Mistress. But how do you feel about that? It certainly doesn’t sound ideal, and neither of you seem very happy about the situation, but it sounds like you feel powerless to change it. It seems to me that you are making all your decisions reactively, choosing the course of action that seems least likely to garner a negative reaction from one or both of the women in your life. That may make for a very sexy power differential between you and your Mistress, but it makes for a dangerous lack of personal responsibility when it comes to your marriage. If you continue to view men–and yourself in particular–as inferior, helpless creatures, then you have zero chance of affecting any positive change, in your life or anyone else’s. And that, my friend, is a recipe for disaster.



Ava Says:

Dear SCAP,

You’ve covered a dizzying amount of psycho-sexual and philosophical territory here, but it all comes down to two distinct questions:

  1. Why are women attracted to men?
    – and –
  2. Why are women attracted to men like you (i.e. gender-fluid beta boys)?

Well then. Let’s get started.

The question of why anyone is attracted to anyone else is the subject of entire libraries, academic disciplines, and even scientific institutes (see The Kinsey Institute, et al). And while I can recommend some excellent books on the subject (Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? by Jena Pincott is a great place to start), I can’t guarantee you’ll find a satisfactory answer to your question. And that’s because you aren’t looking for a logical, scientific answer, but the emotional reassurance of an unbiased female opinion.

Happily, that is much easier to provide.

In fact, I feel uniquely qualified to provide said reassurance. Aside from my credentials as an attraction expert and my track record of helping men with low self-esteem to find their inner sex appeal, I am a bisexual woman who has chosen a man as my primary life partner. I am also an avid fan of gender fluidity and androgyny. One of my famous tag-lines is “if I can’t tell what it is, I want it.”

So, while I can’t answer for all women everywhere, I will give you my perspective on these two questions.

1. Why am I (a woman) attracted to men?

I find men attractive largely because of the intensely focused energy and attention they are capable of providing. Nothing makes me feel desirable like the testosterone-fueled fire of a man’s lustful gaze, and yes, his hard cock pointing right at me, ultimately choosing me. (Even the really hard-core avowed lesbians like a cock-shaped toy every now and again. Why? Because the phallus is such a powerful symbol of desire, in addition to providing uniquely pleasurable sensations to our uniquely designed anatomy.)

But lest you think that all it takes to get a woman hot is to waggle your wanger at her and tell her how much you want her (which we all know to be patently false), let me immediately qualify this by saying that it is imperative that I connect a man’s desire directly and specifically back to myself, as a uniquely desirable human being, rather than just a collection of attractive—or worse, simply available—female body parts. Also, I need to believe that his desire for me will bring me much more, in the long term, than a good screw (or two. Or ten). That laser-focused energy and attention must translate (at least in my mind) to even more valuable commodities such as emotional fulfillment (a.k.a. romantic love), safety and security, intellectual stimulation, and enjoyable companionship.

Look: I get it. Women are gorgeous, sensual smorgasbords. I completely understand why their sexual value is more readily apparent to you. But for most women, the physical experience of sex is only a small portion of the enjoyment. The male’s primary value lies in his ability to make the woman feel things, internally as well as externally, and to be the hormone-fueled engine of the relationship, pushing deeper, thrusting ever forward toward mutual ecstasy.

2. What’s so attractive about gender-fluid beta boys?

What makes a “Real Man” and what “happened” to men who fall short of this culturally constructed measure is, again, the subject of much scholarly debate, and probably only answerable on a case-by-case basis. But happily, all of that is irrelevant to your question. All you need to know is that Real Man, and his opposite, beta boy, are imaginary characters like the Good Girl and the slut, originally designed to shame and thus control behavior, but mostly used these days to titillate. Why? Because taboo, and it’s primary emotional byproduct of shame, are H-O-T.

That’s right, the very label that makes you question your sexual worth has come to define, and ignite, your sexuality. It’s what makes your relationship with your Mistress possible, and what makes your dick stand at attention when she brings to your attention just how much of a “failure” you are at being a Real Man.

The places where you are broken are precisely the places where the light and heat of kink can seep in.

Everyone’s sexuality is uniquely twisted, carved from our experiences, fantasies, and fears. You’ve found a Mistress (plus admirers) whose baggage goes with yours. I recommend reveling in the beautiful synergy of the equation rather than continually asking the useless question of “why?”

—Ava Maven


Dominic Says:

I am obviously not qualified to answer your question directly. But I’ll wrap up with some relation to your situation. The truth is that it’s only been recently that I’ve begun to see myself in the image of any kind of “ideal Real Man” at all. Growing up, I’ve always identified as straight but not at very masculine. I embraced a few feminine traits but never identified as feminine per se, but I never saw myself as overtly masculine, either. In point of fact, I desired specifically not to be. I hated machismo, everything it stands for, and everything I perceived to build its foundation. Nearly all of my closest friends were females because I felt I had more in intellectually in common with them. I avoided men as friend figures because I felt like I was alsways seeing right through their false and fickle behaviors straight to their bullshit. As I got older, I wouldn’t say that really changed. I just began seeing the bullshit that women exude as well. :-) We all do it.

But I can still remember Christmas one year in high-school as the worst Christmas ever. I was at an age where I was quickly shedding boyhood and becoming a man, and I had just gotten my first car. I had some, not exactly childish things on my wishlist, but let’s call them funner and more artistic. Instead, everything I got were related to being a manly man.  I got a lot of tools and items that reminded me that I was expected to aspire to be an alpha male. Of course, I doubt that was the message my parents were going for, but that’s what it certainly felt like.

Today, I view myself as a Gentleman with a capital G, slightly out of phase with time, borrowing many old-fashioned sensibilities with (what I think are) the relationship practices and lifestyles of tomorrow. I’m not “alpha male” by a long shot, I still hold onto my more feminine traits of mind, but I use it to sculpt my vision of what a Gentleman should be in this day and age (and perhaps city). I recognize that I am not at all close to the ideal of a Real Man, a gentleman, an alpha male, or what a majority of ladies statistically desire in a straight man. And I’m ok with that. I’m finally starting to like me a lot. And I know for a fact that ladies are noticing that and liking me, too. And sometimes I find that perplexing. And when I analyze why that could be so confounding to me, I realize I’m having a moment that is either insecure, narcissistic, or some combination.

So I posit that it possible that, by your description, you’re actually in a much better place than you thought:  You seem to like where you’re at in life, even if you’re not used to that. Ladies seem to think you’re the bee’s knees and that makes you feel good. Maybe you’re just a little insecure about this nice place you’re in, or maybe you just need a little bit of ego inflation in the form of hearing why that is. In any event, I hope the responses above helped fulfill some of that need for you.

And if you’re still curious, I’m a big fan of being able to speak openly and honestly. If you’re really close to some of these lovely women you talk about, then sit them down and ask them. Ask them what about you makes them so happy to see you when you walk in the door.

Thank you for reading my site.  We’re humbly touched that a young man of 58 such as yourself would ask a bunch of us late-20′s/early-30′s for advice on these matters.  Thank you for asking for our feedback.

—Dominic Bourbon