LIVING WITH WOMEN
 

CONFESSIONS


All told now, counting both, I've been married for 57 years–71% of my life so far. Experience is not always the best teacher, but who cannot learn some things with 499,320 hours of practice? Probably repeated mistakes have taught me most–at least when I've been willing to admit them later.


—Mistakes I've made include:

–Unrealistic expectations

–Explaining myself

–Defending myself

–Arguing with a woman

–Playing Tit For Tat

–Trying too hard to please

–Rebelling against being told what to do

–Falling into predictable scripts

–Mistaken identities (wife for mother)

–Seeking understanding from a woman



GENDER EQUALITY AND ME


BACKGROUND


Gender equality, as amplified before, is, I think, a popular illusion fostered by both genders with predictably dangerous consequences for either. Men advocating equality may piously ignore illusions of male superiority conceived long ago to protect us from difficult facts of life. Women with the same opinions may properly seek to redress historical imbalances in economic and political powers, but risk self-righteousness inherent in assuming victim-hood while ignoring dangers of their own powers running rampant.

In broadest perspectives the greatest dangers of repressing awareness of natural gender inequalities are: male vulnerability exaggerated when weaknesses are cloaked by illusions of superiority, and female overkill when their own natural advantages are ignored. Macho/cocky males neither carefully protect themselves from rampant female powers nor do they typically use their slim advantages wisely. 

On the other hand, meek/mild females who deny their own natural superiority risk outward abuse by threatened males while at the same time blindly damaging those they want to love through excessive use of blindly held inherent powers.

Facts of gender life as I see them: XX chromosome advantages reflect in an overall power imbalance between males and females in almost all regards except brute physical strength and the ironic temporary advantages of male focus-ability, which is itself rooted in limited capacities for feeling and thinking in the broad senses of these words.

Males do hold the edge over females in capacities for immediate outward dominance, especially in physical ways; but overall female powers remain operative even then in emotional/spiritual ways. Even when men lord it over women outwardly, having the first and loudest word, in relevant inward arenas females generally "have the last word."

When men do not consciously acknowledge these facts, our options are largely limited to playing macho or becoming wimps--usually an unhealthy combination of both. Only when we recognize the basic power imbalance and move past traditional escapes into cockiness or wimpiness, can we possibly learn to use our limited advantages wisely while otherwise protecting our spiritual selves as best we can.

When women avoid seeing these same facts of life, their common options are to get caught up in survival by playing weak and dumb, all-too-often falling for their own acts, and then unwittingly and unintentionally hurting the ones they otherwise love. Meaning well, they risk blindly damaging, even killing, the spirits of males who are most significant to them, namely, lovers, husbands, and sons.

From genetic perspectives, femininity is the primary gender; maleness only evolved as sex entered the scene of reproductive innovations. It was and is the secondary gender, existing mainly for "service" reasons--fertilization and support of femininity which continues to hold major responsibilities and hence powers for continuing the species.


CONFESSION


Recognizing these observations as facts which are quite in contrast to those I "learned" from my culture has been long and difficult. Still I resist seeing them, commonly ignore "knowing what I know," and often live as though they are not true--always, I note in hindsight, to my long term loss, if not immediate disadvantage.

When or if I am wiser, I acknowledge, even if reluctantly, historical male errors of trading in reason for the slim advantages of outward dominance; machoism, even when I succeed in carrying out the act, is never worth its cost in the long run. Better, I have/am learning, to face and accept what I see when I am not blinding myself--namely, natural female superiority in many of the arenas which count most for good living in the here and now, and then to appropriate these facts as best I can in daily life.

In practice, these applications include: remaining continually alert to the female edge, lest I blindly react in learned ways which I know to be unproductive; choosing times and means of confrontations sensibly rather than by instinct only; accepting female blindness to these facts rather than "trying to make them see" or looking for female affirmation for what I see.

Females, I now see, are often even more in denial of gender inequalities than are males. Perhaps this is because they have for so long been outwardly dominated and have so artfully ingrained playing submissive roles for long range success, that they do presently live better when operating on automatic pilot rather than by conscious sight.

Also I am learning to waste less and less time and energy in judging these facts--that is, in either bemoaning my fate, resenting female advantages, putting down on myself for failures in encounters, or falling into my ancient mode of female idolatry (goddess worship). 

This latter trap (sin?) only became visible to me after I finally worked myself out of the more familiar male mode of substituting gods (or one God) for goddesses. Male gods were created, I came to see, as a logical way of coping with the female facts of life; but the temporary advantages of sky gods over earth goddesses are, I now think, not worth their price.


In summary, the traditional notion of male superiority, reflected in male religions as well as male dominated politics and economics, is, I think, an understandable but costly mode of coping with contrary facts about gender differences. I find that I live better when I let go of these traditional views which are yet held by most males I know and are also generally supported by females who have long-learned to cope through playing weak.

When I recognize and accept, even if reluctantly, that in most all immediate circumstances (outside of business, sports, war, and the jungle) natural female powers, backed by operative memes in nearly all social situations, exceed the limited utility of brute strength even when backed by the advantages of one-track thinking, then I am better off.

Seeing thusly, I can sometimes remain alert to my temptations to self-righteousness, as in, rushing to machoism, or to self-negation, as in, falling back into female idolatry ("adoration"). I can also more quickly catch escapes into sins of judgment, either of females or myself or the facts of the power imbalance itself.  These attentions then free up my conscious mind for thinking more clearly about how to use my limited advantages, my hard-acquired insights, and to discern more sharply among various "wiles of women" which I have long ignored or been ignorant of.

Some rare times, when I stay accordingly alert and can muster enough nerve to remain a separate attentive person, I even manage to act wisely. Thank God (or Goddess)!


MIGHT AND RIGHT


Might, I think, represents gene power--innate capacities for "move-ability," for "making things happen" by forces existent in one's own body/mind. Right, I am coming to see, emerges from meme power--social forces operative "out there" in the ethos of culture. Right is never existent in nature, but only comes to be through various formulations made by social groups out of their own evolutionary successes. After a group finds something to work, they come to see it as right. Meme powers are effected through rules/laws/principles. Gene powers are accompanied by pleasure.

Camelot represented my first awareness of a shift in history from "Might is right" to "Might for right." I am now exploring what I understand this shift to involve. I see it as a move from honoring personal power as genetically endowed to honoring social power, as locally recognized. The power of genes has been, I observe, subverted to become a servant of the power of memes. In nature the situation seems to be reversed.

I have previously seen this move as totally positive, as a great advance in historical progression; now I am not so sure. I can now see how I have made this shift in my own life, how I have come to project powers which are truly genetic into social dimensions where memes determine my actions. This shift has certainly served me well in many regards and probably been beneficial to social groups in which I have lived; but was it personally healthy? Was it best for me and/or society in the long run?

Another historical speculation: I think that women live much more by the principle, albeit unwittingly, that "Might is right," that is, that while they use rules/principles to effect personal goals, they mainly function by the might they embody. They use rules, but they do not worship them, as men often come to unconsciously do. They regularly live-by might rather than right. Men, however, tend to establish rules as right and then bow before them (under cover of such vague principles as "my word," "my honor," and other abstractions which are far removed from personal might).

I now suspect that male elevation of abstract principles--written laws which can be empowered outside any particular male's might, may have signaled the end of ancient eras when I believe that women guided society by their own might, without resorting to infallible rules. Perhaps males cleverly, with their left-brain evolution, evolved rules and eventually the notion of "Might for right" as a way of confronting and finally defeating ancient feminine powers.

Rules may have evolved/allowed men to eventually dominate women. The invention of laws may have signaled the downfall of women from goddesses to servants, from prime movers to "helpmates."


Back to me: maybe I simply personify what has happened historically for men and women, only now with me and my mother first, then continuing with other females who represent her for me. I have long recognized the goddess nature of any mother to a child. She truly is might personified, insofar as a child is concerned.

Maybe I simply kept this primal awareness intact and learned to live it out by the above noted habits which are now "amazing" to me. Maybe I, as though I were primal man, "invented" rules for right (as a way of being "good" to my mother), as a way of coping with her excessive might--as was true in my early relationship with her.

But unlike historical man, I never went on to "get on top" and overtly dominate females, as men have traditionally done; I simply remained "in awe" of woman's power, keeping the habit operative by failing to recognize the extent of my own projections.

I, in effect, "sacrificed my balls" as an appeasement to the powers of might, and came to honor right (her rules) as a way of coping with what I believe to be superior female powers. "Might for right" for me meant subverting my actual genetic might into service of right which represented the shape of female powers (as in, the "right thing to do").

Now I am in the process of trying to return to conscious awareness of my inherent powers, to, in effect, reclaim by sacrificed balls. Seeing my projections, indeed, being continually amazed at them, is but one step in the longer process of absorbing forces I have long given away in the pragmatic events of trying to live well in the presence of women.

Wonder if I'll live long enough...or find sufficient faith to re-become myself?



GENDER OPTIONS


These, I think, are ideal choices in regard to gender. They, at least, are the ones I am now trying to make:


1. See and acknowledge the natural power imbalance between genders, rather than blindly reacting as dictated either by genes or memes. The genes-alone reaction is, I surmise, to react by the fight/flight reflex--that is, to either challenge and try to defeat or to run away from the threat.

The fight option is, I think, that which has been taken in the long course of history and seems to be the most common one still taken today by individual men. We still react, most commonly, to the female threat by trying to fight/dominate/get-the-best-of. Or, as has been my common path, by running away from it--that is, by avoiding recognition in awareness and by submitting in practice (blindly).

This later mode, the one I have taken, involves trading in our balls at the altar of mothers first, and then all females later, approval. Instead of fighting female power outright, as in trying to dominate, as has been primarily done in history, I took the opposite route of trying to appease/please females, rather than standing up to them.

This is best accomplished, or so I have tried, by offering the best we have, namely, our masculinity ("balls"). We may try to appease female wrath by removing what I think must be the ultimate threat to femininity, namely, masculinity. The one thing females can't acquire for themselves, given their favor on the power balance, is what males are born with, namely, the results of a Y chromosome in each cell--symbolized by our balls.

The good news is that it works, temporarily. When we first begin the sacrifice by becoming "good boys," balls don't matter that much anyway. If we were thinking just then, they must seem like a small price to pay for Mother's Good Graces, which are so supremely important at the time.

But the bad news is that what we gain from Her Smile is taken away from what is required for success: a) with other males, namely, fight/win abilities (without balls we cannot compete well), and b) for final success with females. No matter how diligently and successfully females may be with feminizing males, the immediate delight in a "good boy" or "soft man" is in time undercut by genetic needs for a strong male--and this takes balls.

Result, what we win at first by sacrificing out balls we pay for in the long run by losing out both in successful competition with males and eventually with good female relations too.

We have no choice but to cope with the power imbalance; but we do have options about seeing. Now that I am beginning to see what I have done, first by studying the long course of male history, and finally by decoding my projections onto Gaia, I realize some of my choices.

The first temptation I face, whenever I dare seeing rather than continuing to react blindly as my habits' dictate, is to fall into the trap (sin) of judging--that is of playing God and judging the situation as bad/good, or playing games like "Ain't It Awful," "Poor Little Me," "Bad Mother," etc. The same trap is present for, plus rather than, negative judgments. Even if one becomes egotistical and succumbs to pride rather than shame, still reality is evaded by judgment.

A significant part of my regular homework is to avoid this trap. I want instead to simply see the power imbalance as clearly as I can, whenever I confront it, without wasting energy in judging it to be good or bad, or me as good or bad because of how I have learned to react to it. Then my energies become available for more effective coping.

The next challenge, past judgment, is to evade the above noted reaction of fight/flight, that is, the genetic reflex to any threat. Attempting to defeat females, or to run away from them, is almost always counter-productive. This powerful gene-directive is in the social context of an equally powerful meme dictation to submit to female authority. I am just beginning to see this meme with some clarity. Its basic thrust, beginning with mothers' moves, ostensibly to civilize sons, and continuing with all social norms related to basic masculine traits (compete/fight/win vs. cooperate/make peace/give in), is: sacrifice balls and feminize yourself.

Thus the temptation is to either be dictated by genes which say fight or flee, or by memes which say sacrifice your balls and submit. But whether a man fights women, runs away from them, or gives in to them, either way, both lose in the long run. I, of course, know much more about the latter than the first two.

I have never physically fought with women, and have rarely run away from them (except temporarily in the heat of a conflict), but I have a long history--for as long as I can remember, of deference (submitting, trying to please, seeking their approval, and in effect bartering my balls for their smiles).

I can see from watching others that fighting doesn't work doe long; as all men know "you can never win an argument with a woman"--or, I think, anything else except a brute strength battle. Nor does running away, since we need them for sex and much much more. And I have well learned myself that submission if finally defeating also.

In summary, whether we cope with the power imbalance (woman's natural superiority) by either dominance (gene direction) or submission (meme dictation), whether we try to win, get the best of, stay on top, or whether we choose to give in, try to please, get approval, and seek permission-to-be/do (as I have)--either way we lose in the long run.


********





Male fears

commonly cloaked by diligent efforts

to put down on women or

to put them up; to dominate,

that is, or to idolize, and thereby

escape from their threats and

at the same time con them into

wielding their powers in our favor include:


Fear of the gaping vagina into which

we may fall, losing ourselves, or fail

in its breadth to find sufficient stimulation

for ejaculation and self-replication


Fear of our own natural sexuality

projected onto females for reasons

of irresponsibility and lack of nerve;

responsibility, that is, for wielding

its forces wisely, and nerve for daring

to become who we are

outside the good graces

of Mother's Smile now reflected

in a Lover's Affirmation


Fear of openly confronting

the natural superiority of woman,

the limitations inherent in having

a Y chromosome in every cell,

and thus having to leave the security

of a fragile male ego in favor of

learning artistry for survival in

the ever-present Enchanted Forest

where woman's magic remains the

Supreme Power


And fear, most of all, of threats inherent

in becoming persons in our own rights,

thereby facing the awesome possibility

of the wonders of love


*****


Yesterday I wrote this poem; today I want to try to see more clearly what I was glimpsing then. I am trying to confront three major fears which I recognize as my own, and suspect are fairly common to other males also. Certainly they have been a significant part of my life so far.


First, the "gaping vagina." This metaphor represents the deepest fear I have been able to glimpse. The physical picture portrays a primal fear of losing myself--who-I-am, my very being as an individual. Somehow my known sense-of-myself, quite apart or below ego, stands in threat of this ancient symbol. It is as though my very existence as a separate individual, one who is apart from my mother, stands in danger of the huge vagina from which I came.

Another historical male image--a "teethed vagina," may also represents this same fear. It is as though vagina represents a huge teethed mouth which is capable of biting and consuming. Together these metaphors may be merged into the obscene image of "cunt."

I think that the primary human agenda, of both males and females, insofar as "growing up" is concerned, is achieving individuality (called "individuation"), that is, becoming one who is truly separate and apart from "mother" and the womb from which we all emerge physically if not spiritually.

But I think the male version of this common fear must be greater, given the facts of sexual functioning. Or perhaps the "gaping vagina" simply becomes a better male metaphor for our shared challenges in achieving individuality. In either case, I can see that for me, both on thinking and feeling levels, "cunt" or "gaping vagina" is a truly apt symbol for a very primal fear.

The sense I make of this irrational representation is this: first, I suspect that primal memories of the womb, of the vast cavern in which infantile life is first generated, easily become a literal representation of the true human quest for individuation. We do find ourselves, if at all, as pulled or exited from the womb via a "gaping vagina." Is this memory of struggle primally etched in the cells of brain-being-formed? Its strength to me could well make it so.

Then as womb becomes vagina on the way to becoming mother on the way to becoming cunt or pussy after puberty when sex becomes real, perhaps the awesome cavern remains a reasonable symbol for many emotional/spiritual challenges inherent in our individuation quest.

The threats and dangers of "growing up," maturing as separate individuals, from but no longer of our mothers, may well be projected back on to this physical passageway from which we first struggled to become separate. Emotional challenges which in reality have no connection with physical facts of birth or later threats related to sexual intercourse, may understandably become mirrored in what was in fact once real.

Our (my) predictable fear of becoming a separated, "cut-off," individual, on my own in the world, is perhaps most clearly and deeply recognized in dark images associated with a "gaping vagina." Forever, perhaps, it may graphically reflect remnants of unresolved fears of becoming myself. Until I completely, if this should ever become so, become my separate self, probably this ancient memory/danger will aptly hold my projected fears.


A second or higher level of fear of becoming myself, seen in the mirror of cunt, is perhaps rooted in what I suspect to be a common male fear of impotence, again projected onto woman and most easily recognized in images associated with her.

Positive male images may focus on a "tight pussy," rather than a "gaping vagina." I suspect that the fears are inter-related, perhaps even the same; but at an upper level I think that fears of, or during, intercourse which may also be labeled "of getting and keeping it up (maintaining an erection)," probably emerge from deeper self-becoming threats. But what we may more clearly differentiate are common male desires for a "tight pussy," perhaps cloaking threats of a "gaping vagina."

Physical facts about male need for tactile stimulation of the penis, whether in masturbation or intercourse, are no doubt involved in conscious preference for a "tight" vagina. In masturbation we may choose an appropriate degree of hand pressure to provide "just right" stimulation; but in intercourse we must rely on pressure from vagina walls for an appropriate amount of tactile contact. If the vagina is "gaping" rather than close-fitting, thereby limiting the amount of physical contact and hence stimulation, then reaching an orgasm becomes increasingly difficult. Easier then to project and blame impotence threats or "erectile difficulties" on a female than to face and own our own fears.

As long projected, "The woman..., she..." (Genesis 3:12)

There may also be a real factor involved which is totally apart from fears of either self and/or impotence. A "tight pussy" is no doubt a better sign of virginity or youth than perhaps any other clue. It may be that male "gene eyes" in their age-evolved vision for best baby-makers have come to recognize that replication odds are increased with signs of virgin, young females, euphemistically recognized by "tight pussies." But even if this is so, still I suspect that most powers encountered in desires for highly stimulating vaginas, and comparable fears of their counterparts, are psychologically rather than biologically based--that is, we fear the "gaping vagina" more out of projected denials than out of wise genes.


My first fear, in summary, projected onto cunt, emerges, I speculate, from challenges of becoming my separate self, cut-off from mother as surely as my umbilical cord was cut in my beginning citizenship in the world. For these challenges, vagina is simply an appropriately apt symbol for the spiritual counterpart of a real physical process.

The second element of this same fear involves sexual components of my masculine self, namely, becoming my male-self along with my human-being-self. Here the "gaping vagina" becomes even more graphic; well past any realistic dangers of not-enough tactile stimulation to elicit ejaculation, fears of un-embraced (or possible non-existent, not present, or severely limited) libido forces are easily projected onto a vagina which I may then blame for inadequate "help" in getting and maintaining an erection or "bringing me" to reach orgasm.

I also suspect that many male fantasies about, or desire for, anal intercourse are more deeply rooted in un-faced needs/wishes for "more stimulation." Rectums, being anatomically smaller, may easily be imagined as "tight pussies" during dark, private moments of intercourse.


A second major male fear, easily projected onto females, is of the socially dangerous power inherent in masculine sexuality--in particular, instinctual forces rooted in reproductive urges which are so elemental (related to Y chromosomes in every cell) as to be completely below levels of consciousness.

Other than instincts for survival--ingrained urges to stay-alive above all else, drives for self-replication are, I think, the deepest and most powerful. And because genes for life ("staying alive") are older, they are hence more primally ingrained--that is, evolved longer before consciousness appeared on the human scene. Sex genes (X and Y chromosomes), being younger, are consequently nearer to consciousness which is even younger than sex.

The point: even though sexual urges are younger and weaker than life instincts, they tend to be closer to awareness. We think, that is, more about sex than about breathing, not because it is "more important," but because it is "easier to think about." Plus, logistical challenges require more conscious attention.

The powers--BTU's of energy, normally generated by genes evolved for reproductive purposes long before consciousness ever entered the human scene are enormous, second only, I think, to those for survival. Energies associated with massive production of male sperm cells (there is nothing remotely comparable in the minimal female ovum production system), plus in strategies evolved for dispensing this vast reservoir of potential re-creations, are mind-boggling (literally) to contemplate.

Studies show that an average male "thinks about sex" every 5-7 minutes. But if these forces rise into consciousness that frequently, imagine how pervasive and powerful they must be below the level of possible awareness. All statistics and speculations aside, I note, when I am honest with myself, that I know of no other constellation of forces/motivations/drives/instincts which so consistently move me as those which I may summarize as "about sex." Even motivations which seem far more benevolent and noble at the time often boil down, on analysis (when I dare), to emerge from primal drives more clearly seen as sexual in nature.

Point: males are, I think, natural generators of immense amounts of latent power which can best be conceived in sexual categories. We, like all creatures, are "driven" to stay alive; but past survival alone, we are, I conclude, "possessed" of vast amounts of energy which, left in its natural state (not "sublimated"), would seek expression in various activities associated with "baby-making"--most focused in "doing it," especially with young virgins. Given air and food, filled lungs and stomach, more than all else, I think, we are moved to fuck.

But the problem is: what are we to do with such extensive "drives" outside the jungle where Mother Nature provides functional boundaries. Animals, I surmise, "don't have to worry" about "being too sexy"; natural constraints and opportunities provide workable limits. Male animals are free (bounded by circumstances) to "be as sexy" as they actually are (or so it seems to me).

But civilization changes all that. Surviving social structures have evolved with severe constraints on animal-like sexual behavior. We guys are in a far different sexual arena than "them lions (and bulls and studs, etc.)." Probably we are born with similar sexual instincts, yet we find ourselves in distinctly different circumstances. Moves which result in success in the animal kingdom are more likely to lead to incarceration in human society.

Human males, though genetically like our animal ancestors, have necessarily evolved different strategies for managing similar sexual "drives." The fears which I am now trying to face are a part, I believe, of the ways we have evolved to cope with these natural forces which are problematic in current social structures. These "strategies (coping devices) are what I wish to explore now.


First and foremost, I think that conscious denial, suppression, and eventual repression, are the most common of our male coping devices. We may "try not to think about it." We may "take" proverbial, if not actual, "cold showers." We may come to disassociate our selves from natural forces which, in reality, are part and parcel of who we literally are.

Unable to completely "rule out" or consciously deny powerful ingrained urges, we may come to imagine ourselves as separate from them, as "having" them--or, more particularly, "having to cope with" forces which are eventually conceived as apart from "me."

Once "out there (in our imaginations)," we may then place (project) internally generated  powers onto various objects (persons, places, or things) which we thereafter take to be "moving us" in sexual ways. Commonly these objects-for-projection include females (She "turns me on."), or, if one is religious, then a Devil may be imagined to "make me do it (or want to)."

Then, rather than being sexual, as in reality we are, we come to exist as though our sexual powers are "out there" somewhere, as external forces to be indulged, denied, suppressed, or otherwise reckoned with. In either case, we then live cut-off-in-awareness from one of the two most powerful genetic forces which in fact, though not in our fancy, continue to "move us."

It is this immensely vulnerable condition in which we are consciously separated from powers that unconsciously impel us that, I think, the fears I am beginning to face must arise. Like children waking up fearful in the night, we must look for various "ghosts" to bear the weight of denied natural powers. Women may "turn us on" in the daylight, I now believe, just like ghosts once "scared us to death" in the night. But when it is happening, if I am correct, we never know about our projections at the time. We truly believe they "do it to (or for) us."

The condition is, of course, not complete; all men know a bit--some more than others, about our own sexual drives. We seldom if ever succeed in complete repression (as testified by monastic monks and celibate priests). Some of us even claim to be "totally aware" of our sexual natures; but such men, I speculate, are often fooling themselves--or else are extremely rare. I don't think I have ever known such a man. Such "bragging" seems to me to be more ego than self, and more likely verbal compensation for un-faced, non-verbal fears. "Me thinks" such macho males "doth protest too much."

In summary I believe that most males, certainly this one, are in large measure cut-off in awareness from the true extent of our natural sexual instincts. Even when we protest to the contrary, or secretly suspect ourselves to be latent Don Juans, I think that men-in-general are grandly (consciously) disconnected from large proportions of our nature-given sexual powers.

Even when we "talk big," or unconsciously fear sexual omnipotence (or its cloaked side, impotence), I suspect that most males today live at an existential distance from the true generative powers initiated by Y chromosomes. We often exist in illusionary egos ("fragile" as recognized by most females) which are an escape from self, created to protect us from real dangers "out there."

We then live out our lives trying to protect, promote, or enhance fragile mental constructs which are other than our existential selves (who we truly are). In these familiar male quests, we may never even get around to challenges inherent in being our sexual selves.


UNCONSCIOUS FEAR


We males are not nearly as "sexy"

as we sometimes think we are

or fear we are not

but we are, I observe,

far more sexual than we deeply

believe ourselves to be


Fear of our own sexuality may be first of all rooted in fear of the unknown; just as we commonly fear any dark space, so we (especially males) may naturally be afraid of the unknown nature of our sexual powers. Certainly we know sex is present and operative--blind urges tell us that, at night in wet dreams, if not in day time fantasies and irrepressible impulses arising when females are around (or when they aren't!).

But consciously knowing the reality of sexuality is not the same as knowing its full and true nature, for example, whether or not we can contain, express, and mediate its powers wisely in the social world. Because male repression and hence projection typically begins so early in life, who among us has time to learn personal responsibility before society allows, indeed, encourages, us to thrust that requirement onto females?

We are like children who have the benefit of recognizing a ghost in the dark, bringing the temporary relief of naming terror of unnamed fears; but because our projections, especially onto females, remain so complete, we are left with the continual anxiety of living with still scary ghosts--eerie shadows and reflections of our own unrecognized and hence un-embraced sexuality. (Wow, what a sentence! Not to mention the state-of-being.)

The current social situation which allows boys' limited degrees of openness about sexual urges, while supporting girls' suppression and requiring female responsibility, easily gives males an unrealistic sense of our own sexuality.

On the one hand, males can be somewhat conscious of our impulses without incurring social wrath; but because girls are traditionally charged with responsibility for "how far we can go," we gain relatively little experience in personal, sexual responsibility. We learn a bit about how to lust, but not much about how to "handle" desires wisely in society, which is largely repressive of any overt sexuality.

We are rather like "nice boys (sometimes)" who are aware of a "tiger in the tank," but are ignorant of its actual powers and especially of our unknown capacity for its wise management--somewhat like sitting on a time bomb which we know is there, but have no idea of when it may "go off."

But we do have much direct knowledge about dangers to be encountered if and when it does. This information is acquired early in life with mother, and is continually reinforced in social situations beyond her presence. By the time boys are old enough to get away from her searching eyes, this powerful memory may already be ingrained. "What if she should see or find out?," may remain present in conscience, if not in every place.

Information about this arena--a boy's emerging sexuality with his mother, is relatively skimpy. First, it begins so early in life, indeed, at life's very beginning before speech is even possible; it proceeds in almost total silence, yet with evident powers operative; and hardly anyone ever talks about it later. Boys may try, but mothers, so far as I know, never do. The end result is a huge dark space where immensely powerful and long-lasting forces are loosed but seldom acknowledged and never examined.

Result: since "scientific data" is lacking, I can only rely on personal experience, very limited data from other males, almost none from mothers, and hence, considerable speculation. So, what do I think? First, I am convinced that male sexuality (probably female also) begins in the womb (erections are evident in sonograms) and continues to develop actively from birth onward. Sons are "sexy" first with our mothers. We don't wait till puberty to have urges and attractions as well as erections. And mother, naturally, is the first "object of our affections."

Secondly, I believe that all mothers participate, mostly unconsciously and more likely unintentionally, in the process of a child's emerging sexuality. Holding, touching, kissing, cooing, and regularly "cleaning" genitals and anus cannot but invite sensations which will later be recognized as "sexual."

Without language and conscious thinking about sexuality, still its powers must be present and operative. Even when mothers consciously think and sincerely believe that "nothing sexual is going on," and infants have no language for naming erotic perceptions, still, I surmise, sexuality is inevitably being experienced in the silence of body.

But while I think that mothers cannot but provide what boys cannot but take as sexual stimulation (e.g., by touching, nursing, cleaning, and their own bodily exposure), I am equally convinced that mothers must universally deny that they are "being sexual," and with almost the same degree of consistency, respond negatively to overt signs of a boy's sexuality. The whole operation is, as it were, carried out in strict secrecy--which probably exaggerates rather than diminishes its consequences.

It is like living in a room with an elephant which certainly influences movement, but which no one acknowledges being present. "What sexuality?" I have read that in some primitive cultures mothers use sexual stimulation to soothe infants. Perhaps modern mothers may unwittingly do the same; but even if so, I surmise that it must be done unconsciously and never "admitted" with a child.

And by the time a boy has language and may overtly pursue his sexual interests--as in, saying sex-related words, trying to "touch girls," "look at nudity," "show off" an erection, or openly "play with himself," surely negation from the goddess, by silent judgment if not verbal condemnation or physical punishment, is predictable. While the second most powerful of male instincts is emerging openly in the world, accompanied by mother's active stimulation (admitted or not), this critical developmental stage takes place in virtual silence (like a non-subject) and general denial, if not negative judgment and/or punishment.

Small wonder that boys have so much trouble in warmly embracing this essential aspect of our male selves. We must do so almost totally alone, yet in the presence of powerful, unacknowledged stimuli and almost certain rejection if the process ever becomes overt. We may no longer "get our mouths washed out with soap" for "talking dirty," but judgments and/or punishments for "acting dirty" must still be as widespread as ever.


Point: social conditions are still far from conducive for positive affirmation and parental reinforcement of emerging male sexuality. If we boys ever grow up sexually, rather than remaining trapped in small-boy modes, we must do so largely on our own (even peer talk is often more threatening than helpful), in the presence of the goddess's judgmental eyes (risking the powerful meme of Mother's Frown), often accompanied by punishments and/or rejection at the time. I, for one, am yet to out grow powerful repressive habits I learned so early in life at Saline.  I am beginning to see my way through patterns I acquired for survival, but absorbing what I know is yet a significant part of my daily agenda.


********


COMPROMISE


For relational success

win-driven men blindly focused on being #1

and appropriately fearful of ties

which hinder independent pursuits

need to see and accept connection-driven women

equally concerned with peaceful togetherness

and cooperative harmony


Just as women who thrive on closeness

must learn to grant space for freedom loving men

without taking their need or distance personally


All this before functional compromises can be made by both

on the longer path toward loving acceptance of each as we are

devoid of regret or hidden hopes for change


********