By the Sexy G.
Let me start by saying that June is Celibacy month. On the flip side, prostitution flourishes. Is it because men, more than ever, need the emotional disconnect that sex with a prostitutes allows?
A friend of mine likes to hold high tea, and so not long ago I found myself sitting at a table with a lovely group of women, sipping out of china and nibbling on cucumber finger sandwiches. The women ranged in age from approximately 19 to 70, and it was such a diverse group. We didn’t start out by talking about men and infidelity, but by the time we were served our petite butter cookies, we had gotten around to it.
The youngest of the group had only ever had a single date throughout her entire high school career. She said the boys were interested in one thing – sex. Conversation and getting to know each other seemed not to be a part of what those young men wanted. Another women who had multiple marriages said that each husband had been emotionally distant. The future divorcé across the table from her agreed. These intelligent, good-looking women, from the outside looking in, seemed to have it all – including wonderful relationships with great guys. Obviously, not.
When prompted by the trouble maker, yours truly, each gal seated at the table spoke about her personal life and, amazingly, six of these seven women further admitted to having a father who was also emotionally detached (my own dad marched in that parade of emotional robots, too). The ladies were very honest and open, and easily jumped right into the fray. I have to ask, if you sat with seven men around the table would it be the same?
Our tea chatter echoed conversations I’ve heard throughout my whole life; from student to wife to parenthood, and now into grandparenthood. Now, those hundreds of conversations run through my head – women’s voices bemoaning male detachment, although they’ll put it differently: He doesn’t talk to me… He works so much I never see him… He comes home and goes straight to sports… He doesn’t listen… But what it comes down to is how many men behave with emotional detachment and, predictably, that brings me to the topic of gender-role socialization with a sprinkling of infidelity.
I believe that with emotional fortifications people have an easier time cheating. A person who lacks the ability to empathize with another not only distances themselves from the feelings of their partner, but also from whomever they are sleeping with at the moment. Perhaps they lack a respect for close, connected relationships, or worse- fear them. One man who has been married four times once told me he literally chokes when a woman gets too close to him.
If you like cheating without any strings of respect for others attached, a prostitute can be a good solution. At least six percent of men admit to using a prostitute and, categorically, most men who visit prostitutes often have girlfriends or wives, according to an article from Love & Relationships. Pay-for-sex is definitely on the rise worldwide.
I’ve heard men say that a one-night stand with a prostitute is good for them because it is devoid of emotion- it’s just about the sex – and that is the appeal. Let me get this straight- you perform one of the most humanly intimate acts with another person, and maintain that the appeal was the lack of any necessary connection?
Why is this idea that men enjoy sex, robot style, with another person such a widely accepted phenomenon? Generally, we are taught to believe that men have difficulty connecting emotionally and cheat permissibly as if it were like breathing air or eating their morning bowl of cereal. We are taught that it is in their biological wiring. But, there has been new research with surprising results.
In a News Release from APS (Association for Psychological Science, January 26, 2010, Catherine Allen-West states:
“Pennsylvania State University psychological scientists Kenneth Levy and Kristen Kelly doubted the prevailing evolutionary explanation because there is a conspicuous subset of men who like most women find emotional betrayal more distressing than sexual infidelity.”
So, by and large, it is only a “conspicuous subset of men” who, like most women, view emotional infidelity as on a par with sexual infidelity. Yet these men exist. To me, this means that emotional detachment is not hard-wired.
The study suggests that “…the prevailing evolutionary explanation” might not be the answer. In other words, male macho behavior is not necessarily coded into the genes. This harkens back to images of early childhood, when boys and girls are socialized differently. For instance, they are not allowed to cry and told they are sissies if they interact equally with a girl rather than immerse themselves in sports.
On the other hand, women have it ingrained into their brains from an early age that they must be the nurturer and made to feel guilty if not playing that role. These concepts are alive and well even though it might be deeply buried in the psyche. I know you’ve heard all this before and may argue how it’s different today, but sorry folks. In my contacts with people of all ages, it strongly appears not to have changed all that much, especially if you talk to enough women. It is a learned process.
So men, on the whole, are taught to value sexual loyalty in their partners over emotional loyalty. “But why would this be?”, our scientists ask. So, back to the study.
“The researchers suspected that it might have to do with trust and emotional attachment. Some people – men and women alike – are more secure in their attachments to others, while others tend to be more dismissive of the need for close attachment relationships. Psychologists see this compulsive self-reliance as a defensive strategy – protection against deep-seated feelings of vulnerability. Levy and Kelly hypothesized that these individuals would tend to be concerned with the sexual aspects of relationships rather than emotional intimacy.”
So overall, men are dismissive of the need for “close attachment relationships.” Those men who fall into the realm of emotional detachment (and they are in the majority) use that lack of connection to explain away the guilt of cheating. I’ve heard them say to wives or partners when they are caught that having indifferent sex with another woman is less than a kiss on a cheek. The supposed funny line that I’ve been told is- Going to a prostitute means you don’t even have to say goodbye. And I might add … you don’t ever have to say you’re sorry.
For the sake of better relationships we need to bring more men into the fold of confronting their emotional side (heaven forbid we call it their feminine side). They need to be encouraged to be fearless in the face of societal and peer pressure that tells them they must bury emotions. With healthier relationships, I believe, there will be far less reason to worry about infidelity – either emotional or sexual.
By the way, how many of you have been celibate this month? I think I see one hand in the back of the room. Ooops. He’s wearing a collar.
The sexy Gma
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