The Most Important Thing That Men Who Have Sex With Women Need to Know
The amazing Logan Levkoff has stirred up a hornet’s nest of angry guys. First, she wrote a post called 5 Ways to Get Your Wife to Have More Sex With You, which is full of useful tips for heterosexual men who want to improve their sex lives. Now, I have to say that there are a lot of generalizations in there, but having talked with Logan quite a few times, I can confidently say that she wrote that way because it’s a limit of the medium.
Blogs and websites (especially mainstream ones or Fox) don’t usually want you to write with qualifiers like “some people like this…” or “a lot of people experience that…” Sweeping statements make for easier soundbites, as well as more controversy and comments, and therefore, more traffic. But in real life, Logan uses the same language that every other top notch sex educator uses: some/many/most. So don’t blame her for using generalizations.
In any case, Logan got a flood of emails, many of which were hateful, angry, and insulting. She wrote about it on Huffington Post, in an article called Why Some Men Aren’t Getting Laid and it’s got me thinking.
First off, I’m not surprised to hear that she was called “called every name in the book, plus a few [she] had never heard before.” Insulting someone is one of the most common ways that people try to shame women who step out of line. It’s especially common for women who write, blog, or teach around sex. Many of the women sex bloggers I’ve spoken with have been on the receiving end of it, although I can write many of the same things and never hear a peep.
But more importantly, it’s amazing to me how many of these guys took the time to write long emails to her. I mean, if they took the same amount of time to do something sweet for their partners, I’m willing to bet that the payoff would be much more fun.
What all of this really highlights is that there’s a lot of anger and resentment among these guys. Resentment is one of the most common reasons that relationships fail. Therapists often say that couples come to them saying that they’re having sexual difficulties and when they start to actually talk about it, it turns out that there are all sorts of old resentments, hidden anger, and miscommunications. If you want sex to work, especially in a long-term relationship, you need to deal with whatever’s going on between you.
If you think that the fact that your partner has never said anything to you about what’s going on for her means that everything is ok, you’re due for a rude awakening. All relationships have stuff that needs to get worked out. All relationships need to be tended to or they fall apart. And rather than blaming your partner for not saying anything, maybe you could look at what you might do to invite that conversation to happen. “No news is good news” is a great way to end up miserable and/or divorced.
Logan also touched on a raw nerve when she wrote:
Snuggle, Don’t Grope. You’re in the mood, so you reach out and grab us—our breasts, butt, or genitals, that is. Guys, believe me when I tell you that this is the biggest sin you can commit when trying to seduce a woman. It will not send us into an orgasmic swoon. (And, hey, if it does, you don’t need my advice, right?). Neither will groping us in the kitchen while we’re unloading the dishwasher.
Of course, for some folks, the occasional grope or grab can lead to a hot and fun quickie. But what most men don’t realize is that all women in our society are on the receiving end of unwanted sexual attention at some point in their lives, and most of them get it a lot. Women are catcalled on the street. They’re harassed in bars, groped in clubs, and whistled at in the grocery store. They’re told that they need to be sexy to be valued and then they’re attacked as sluts. Simply put, women put up with sexual intrusion for most of their lives, in big ways and small. It happens everywhere and most men have no idea how much of an impact it has.
I’ve heard quite a few men say that women should just take it as a compliment. Ironically, these are often the same guys who lose it if a man cruises them, winks at them, or simply appears to be sexually interested in them. Seems like a double standard to me. Until and unless men wrap their brains around what that’s like for the women in their lives, they’re not going to understand why their girlfriends, wives, and partners often get annoyed by being groped.
Now, I’m willing to give many guys the benefit of the doubt. I’m willing to bet that many of them have no intention of being intrusive when they come on too strong. I get that sometimes, you just “want to have sex like a guy.” But one of the consequences of the sexist world that we live in is that most women are on guard when it comes to male sexual energy. If you want to change that, then work to make things safer for women.
When you listen to your partner, when you pay attention to her feelings, you’re telling her that she’s in a safe space and that makes it much easier for her to open up. Most men move through the world without having concerns about their sexual safety. Most women aren’t that lucky.
Before you start freaking out at me like those other guys did at Logan, you need to know that it doesn’t matter if you’ve never done anything to make your partner unsafe. Simply by being a woman in this world, she has to put up with being less safe than you. And yes, I get that it’s not fair that you need to deal with the consequences of that. It’s not fair that she needs to deal with it and she doesn’t have a choice. So if you want to create passion, get over it and step up.
Besides, you may very well be surprised at the payoff. If the guys who took the time to write to Logan took as much time to figure out what they can do to create more safety for the women in their lives, I bet their relationships and their sex lives would be a whole lot better.
Well said! I’ve seen the exact same situation among het couples of all ages. And you’re right, usually these guys are sweethearts who really care, but are not aware of her lifelong experiences and her need to always have her guard raised. How do we work together as a couple to get that protective wall around us, not between us? Good stuff, good stuff. Thanks!
Snuggle, don’t grope! I love that. I have to share this on my Facebook Fan Page. My readers will love this. I did not get to read the original blog. I am going to check it out. It sounds like it really hit a nerve. I can speak from PERSONAL EXPERIENCE that resentment never leads to hot sex. It’s a total relationship killer.
Personally I love a little love tap or a grope while unloading the dishwasher or just passing each other in the hallway, but it does need to be counter balanced with a caress, a hug, a nice compliment.
We all have lots to learn and keep learning… that is what keeps a relationship hot.
That and learning to speak each other’s language. If you give a little, you’ll get a little. And I think things work a lot better when guys take the first step to meet in the middle.
[…] http://www.charlieglickman.com/2010/08/the-most-important-thing-that-men-who-have-sex-with-women-nee… […]
[…] tips like: Snuggle, Don’t Grope, and: Do Unto Others. Anyway, as usual, sex educator Charlie Glickman conjured up a very lucid response on his blog about how women are often in the role of responding to sexual advances. His way of explaining the […]
Top ten reasons why I don’t read relationship advice (for men OR women): It does not apply. At all. Ever.
I’m kind of like the girl who is easy to get along with. Nothing bothers me except for guys who try too hard to be nice to me. Be you. I’ll like it.
If all girls (and guys) were easy-going, we wouldn’t need this relationship advice bullshit.
Edit: Top ten reasons why I don’t read relationship advice (for men OR women) #1: It does not apply. At all. Ever.
WERD. That’s all I gotta say. Be nice, be sweet, be considerate and you will get laid. Male, female, whatever. People like to be treated like humans, not like sex dolls.
reading this makes me feel glad i’m a single het man with low libido and a fulfilling hobby.. what a minefield we’ve turned coitus into.
Given the history of sexual assault and sexual intrusion, I’m not sure what you mean by “what a minefield we’ve turned coitus into.” If anything, the fact that we’re beginning to deal with this is a positive sign, IMO. While I’d love to be able to change everything more quickly, I know that the inertia of history is going to take a while to shift. But it’ll happen.
My comment had little to do with the history of sexual assault or sexual intrusion, and i agree, opening dialogue on the matter hopefully helps in shifting mindsets for the better.
I’m still pretty young but i’ve had enough experience that i’m aware that there is a huge difference between sex and intimacy and they each have their place in a healthy relationship, but with the natural progression of love there is a premise of unobligated selflessness. And even the hardest of men soften to this from what i’ve seen. So if a guy is always going for the boobgrab to initiate sex, one can only conclude either he is a neanderthal or simply doesnt really care. But this is pretty basic stuff isnt it??
Maybe it is just my experience but all these mental hurdles that we place in ourselves fade away when addressed with the right partner anyway so why overcomplicate things.
A sound piece of advice, certainly, and especially in the second-last paragraph. As a het male I’m often bothered by the fact that my demographic seems to be blamed for the vast majority of injustices and issues in society, but the fact is it’s a deserved reputation, and it’s not a problem that will simply disappear overnight by a few of us becoming a little more considerate and sensitive.
Still, it’s frustrating that because there are so many lunkheads out there who can’t figure out that their partner is in fact a real human being with feelings, needs and desires, there isn’t much sex and relationship advice for the rest of us.
I think that one thing that needs to happen is that more men need to be visibly modeling behaviors that challenge sexism. It’s not enough to only be supportive of the women in our lives- we need to let other men know that we’re doing it. Visibility is key to making things change.
[…] Do Men Manage Sexual Energy? Ever since I wrote The Most Important Thing That Men Who Have Sex With Women Need to Know, I’ve been finding myself in more conversations with other men about how we manage our sexual […]
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I’m a 26 yro woman with a toddler child. My sex drive has always been higher than my partner’s pre and post pregnancy (after a healing process of course). I’d rather he expresses desire by groping me or handling me, but he prefers hugs. I don’t think you can generalise and say women prefer sweet, gentle, considerate. Sure that’s nice, but I would rather have hot impulsive, can’t get my hands off type of attention, and i’m sure i’m not the only one. For the record, I am not nor was I ever promiscuous. I’ve ever had one lover and he is still it. This is just my preference inside a safe, caring relationship.
@Stella: I don’t think it’s actually about being “sweet” or “gentle” per se, but about not making the woman worry that her partner doesn’t respect her boundaries. If your relationship works differently, and you’ve got it all figured out, good for you two. However, there are many, many women who have been forced or coerced by their partners into doing sexual things (which is part of the definition of rape) and that’s a problem, and the “snuggle, don’t grope” advice is meant to help address that problem.
Also, why the hell should we care how many sexual partners you’ve had? Frankly, it comes off as really slut-shaming for you to brag that you’ve only ever been with this one man.
My mention of having had only one partner was there to help clarify that I am not a bed hopper who is sexually aggressive, that I am quite the opposite, yet I have these certain preferences. It was meant to dispel the stereotype that slutty women like aggression in sex, should anyone hold them against me. And what does my sexual history have to do with other people’s ‘slutty’ behaviors? How do you arrive at that conclusion, via a leap of logic? The fact that you are so defensive, means that you are defensive of your own person.
Sure other women have preferences, and I just wanted to put my two cents in there and to draw a wider spectrum for the variety of preferences out there. Don’t take it so personal.
Great article. 🙂
While I appreciate Levkoff’s intentions, as a woman with a healthy sex life with an extremely competent & attentive partner, I cringe every time I read a Cosmopolitan Magazine style open letter addressed to ALL men on behalf of ALL women. Sometimes, I want to be cuddled gently & tenderly. Sometimes I want to be aggressively thrown onto the bed in a fit of passion. Some porn disgusts me. Some porn is a huge turn on, like Viv Thomas productions or almost anything with Sinn Sage, is sexy, seductive & focuses on the woman’s pleasure. Sometimes I love “communicating” with my partner, as it helps me feel closer to them. Other times, I’d love to just knock off the chatter & sit in comfortable silence & not be hounded about what I’m thinking about or what’s bothering me. Sweeping statements widen the schism between sexes & genders, & perpetuate delusions about ALL men & women. One thing that NO man or woman – cis or trans*, gay, straight, bi, queer or pan – needs is some loudmouth EXPERT speaking on behalf of them when it is none of their business & it is between them & their partner. Everyone on this planet has different needs, wants, thoughts, desires, emotions, turn ons & turn offs. Watering everyone down to either a sexually incompetent, selfish, caveman, porn addicted brute or a submissive, sexually frustrated, overworked, underappreciated martyr is not only inaccurate & irresponsible, it’s insulting & moronic.