Gender Issues

Gender Issues and Government and Politics and Psychology and Social Issues18 Jan 2008 12:16 pm

In August I began writing posts on the male sex drive. At first I focused on the pervasive and strong impact of the inherent sex drive on the emotional and social development of the male adolescent. The demands of the male sex drive were found to be pivotal in how men feel about themselves and what they are willing to share with others.

This led into a comparison between the emphasis men place on activities, accomplishment and pleasure and the female focus on relationships and beauty. This in turn spawned a discussion regarding ways to successfully bridge the gender divide while creating mutually satisfying long term relationships.

During our exploration into the male sex drive we came across many popular myths regarding both genders. This in turn led us to investigate to what extent it is true to refer to our culture as being male dominated. After some discussion I put forward the hypothesis that our culture is male dominated but increasingly female oriented.

Oftentimes people use the Freudian concept of the phallic symbol to demonstrate how men are aggressive, violent and controlling by nature. We used this as a starting point and discussed not only the male (phallic) symbols but also introduced the female sexual images as well.

Our discussion then compared the images related to the phallus with vagina/womb symbols. The male phallic images were seen in objects and activities which related to penetration, probing and emission. These included the standard phallic images of guns, knives and missiles, but were complemented with more positive images as pens, paintbrushes, drills, tools, microscopes, telescopes, trains and submarines. The goals of the phallic images were expanded from aggression and control to include discovery, creativity, progress and expansion.

The female vagina/womb symbols included the purse, bank vault, gold mines, a ship’s hull, homes, nests, and many containers such as pots, pans, urns, vases and barrels. These images reflected the related goals of protecting, housing, accumulating, storing, and gestating.

At this point I’d like to add a few more observations comparing the male and female sexual symbols. The goal is for use this additional information into determining in what ways is society feminine and masculine.

While the male phallus is exposed the female genitalia is hidden. The exposure of the male phallus makes it logical that men would be direct, blunt and aggressive. Likewise, the hidden nature of the female genitalia leads to images of secretiveness, tact, nuance, diplomacy and passive aggression.

Another interesting characteristic of the phallus is that it its mode of growth is sudden, quick and expansive. In contrast the apparent changes of the womb/vagina are cyclic in nature and generally favor consistent growth and long incubation periods.

In the world of social and political change the phallus is akin to revolution and periods of sudden growth. The womb/vagina is more akin to evolution and bringing things slowly to fruition.

In yesterday’s post I was drawing upon this imagery when I talked of how aging democracies become less mercurial and more status quo oriented. This is an example of why I feel that modern democracies are becoming more feminine in their goals and methods. This is neither inherently a positive or a negative but rather only meant to point out that the modern view of our society being male oriented and dominated is a little overstated.

The early years of almost any social system are dominated by issues of quick and sudden change. Progress in such societies is usually quite dramatic and the previous status quo is viewed in a negative light. In the early stages of democracy an improvement in the standard of living is heralded along with expansions of personal freedom. The new citizenry is hopeful and the society is bustling with new technologies and ideas. This emphasis on quick, dramatic change is obviously male in nature.

In the infancy of the US there were many periods of huge change which improved the standard of living and health of its citizenry. Each improvement in the means of communication and transportation had dramatic impacts on the daily life of citizens. Likewise improvements in medicine, chemistry, physics, farm production, animal husbandry and agriculture had an impact on the quality of human life.

During the early years of the US it was in a state of perpetual expansion, not only in terms of technological growth and invention, but also in terms of physical space as prospectors and pioneers traveled south and west. From the phallic symbol perspective it makes sense that the Wild West was such a enticing fantasy for so many men.

As our society aged and we ran out of frontier land our lives had to integrate change in a new way. Once our borders stopped expanding our communities began to become more complex and intricate. This allowed us or maybe forced us to make life more predictable and safe.

Yet, as a society matures it’s rate of growth slows and its continued success increasingly depends on the existence of the status quo. Large successful businesses began to replace individual entrepreneurs. These larger enterprises began to fund and monopolize the bulk of research and through time became increasingly in control of which new technologies were developed and how they were implemented. Through time many successful enterprises evolved into huge monopolistic corporations which then became huge multinational corporations.

We are now at the point where are society is capable of absorbing incredible amounts of technological growth without damaging the status quo. We will not here point out the relative merits and drawbacks to this fact, but only will point that this method of growth is more in line with the vaginal/womb form than that of the phallus.

Due to the length of this post I will leave it to you to read between the lines and expand upon the basic ideas I’m suggesting here. I urge you to take the time to see how our society has changed from one of masculine means of progress and growth to a more feminized approach.

I’ll stop with a couple of examples of how the political process has become more feminine in its methods and goals. Years ago politicians were very direct, blunt and honest. They stood up for what they believed in and seldom worried about offending their audience. Sure they attempted to show people that they were good, but they also wanted to convince people they were right. Politicians not only tried to exhort people through slogans promoting national pride and patriotism, but also encouraged them to vigorously go their own way and grab the American dream.

Today, politicians are afraid to stand out and spend hours on wording things in a manner which will appeal to the widest audience. The pressure of pleasing the electorate has weakened the desire to speak one’s mind. While the old politicians told people to roll up their sleeves and make sacrifices the modern politician relies on feel good issues or on posing their opponent as evil or dangerous. While the old politician talked of common sense and the need to raise taxes to get what one wants, todays politicians find sly and secretive ways to tax citizens while bragging that they will never vote to raise taxes.

The political world used to be very masculine in its methods of getting in people’s faces and challenging them, today almost no one understands the hidden working of politics and instead they have to rely on innuendo and half statements made by political handlers to guess at a candidates position.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Psychology and Relationships11 Jan 2008 12:36 pm

In the last few posts we’ve been trying to assess the ways in which our society is dominated and oriented along gender tendencies. We’ve previously stated the likelihood that society is male dominated while  being female oriented.

In the previous post I mentioned the possibility of looking at primate society as a means of seeing its similarities or vestiges in our modern society. In the higher primates we often find the social group is dominated by a male, the larger the group, the more males are present in the community. Yet, it is rare that the dominant male shares his power with any of the other males.  In fact, the dominant male usually spends the bulk of his time and energy intimidating, threatening and bullying the other males of the band.

Once the original fighting to establish the dominate male is complete, and he now sees himself as having mating rights with all of the females, the number of physical fights decreases or vanishes completely. Despite the lack of challenges or challengers the dominant male continues to routinely threaten and intimidate the other males, and is ever vigilant in his desire to show everyone who is boss.

The other males in the band generally avoid and ignore the dominant male and just go about their lives. Studies have shown that the recessive males are healthier and live longer than the dominant male, and autopsies have shown that the dominant males apes and chimps have stress related symptoms such as heart disease, high cholesterol, etc. at a much higher rate and degree than the other males of the troop.

This supports what I proposed last post that the bulk of power in human societies is horded to a small percentage of dominant males, and that it is misleading to say that men have all the power in our society. Like primate societies, most human societies are dominated by a few males. And like primate societies the dominant males spend the bulk of their time and energy intimidating, bullying and threatening the other males to such a degree that even when their are no rivals or challengers  present they continue to thump their chests and terrorize and humiliate the rest of male members of their tribe. To a lessor degree, but still applicable, many dominant males view the entire female population as a mate pool and spend much of their energy courting and trying to force sexual intercourse with a significant number of the band.

Yet, at this point we’re only viewing power in the narrowest sense of brute force and physical aggression. As we stated before while brute force may be the preferred method of the dominant male, it is not the standard method of power for the remainder of men. Many men find power in their ability to know and understand and in their ability to create and invent. They may have a prowess which gives them power. These prowesses can be artistic, mental, athletic or professional.

When comparing the physical strength of males and females we find that their are areas in which women are stronger. In general, men are stronger when it comes to upper body and leg strength, yet woman have stronger bones in the areas of the hips and waist. Women aren’t as vulnerable as men in the pubic area, and generally are more flexible than men. If we judged strength through longevity woman are definitely stronger than men.

So what does an expanded vision of power look like, and how do men and women compare in this manner. Our standard definition of power focuses on brute force and active aggression. Yet, modern psychology has identified the fact that most of human interactions involve less direct means of power called passive aggressive acts.

Passive aggressive acts use power in indirect and usually less physical ways. This is the realm of psychological warfare, of guilt, shame and humiliation. This is the realm where one defeats the other through getting one excluded from the group, defaming them, making them look stupid, or turning the group against them. Passive aggressive methods are hidden and indirect, its methods include not only humiliation, but stealth, rumor, manipulation and deception.

While brute force is seen as the male form of power, passive aggressiveness is generally viewed as a female form of power. I would be the first to admit that many men are as passive aggressive as many women, but it’s indirect and hidden nature better reflects the vaginal/womb imagery rather than the phallic. Male sex images and symbols like their gonads themselves are plainly visible and out there. Their means of power even when not violent or physical are more overt. There is nothing hidden in the means of exhibiting male power in the phallic world of probing, penetrating and emitting. The alternative forms of male power in the arts, sciences, athletics and philosophy is not hidden.

Yet the womb and vagina along with the bulk of their related symbols are hidden. This is why it is easy to see how the indirect use of power is more feminine in nature, even before we take into consideration the need to be indirect due to the comparative physical strength of males.

In the next post we will compare the uses and functions of male brute force and female passive aggression in modern society.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Psychology and Relationships and sexuality05 Jan 2008 03:14 pm

In the previous two posts I’ve discussed the ways in which society is female oriented while being male dominated. By contrasting the male phallus imagery with the female vagina/womb symbolism we attained the “unconscious” goals of the genders. Phallic symbols are all about penetration, probing, and emitting. Female vaginal symbols are dominated by images of containers, accumulation, housing and safety.

This led us to conclude that capitalistic society is very feminine in its desires and goals of consuming and accumulating wealth. Likewise, it is male dominated, where the phallic strategies of penetration and probing lead to aggression, control and a desire for power.

This bring us to the current topic of wealth and power and how it fits in with the gender tendencies we’ve been following. When considering this topic let’s not forget the pervasive male sex drive and the female emphasis placed on beauty.

The goal of the leaders of men was power and control. This power and control was not typically shared but formed a hierarchical structure where power was horded at the top. In most societies the percentage of men who had power or even autonomy were very small with the bulk of men functioning as pawns, serfs and slaves.

The drop off of power was severe and dramatic and in the majority of societies only a handful of people truly enjoyed the fruits and privileges of power. Even in democratic societies the number of men who were actually free or who had a say in the functioning of the government seldom reached more than 1% of the male populace.

The goal of the ambitious or Alpha male was power and control. Yet, even though few used this technique or enjoyed its benefits this became the view of the male personality. Though 99% of men were slaves and serfs modern thought has come to the conclusion that all men are power hungry and seek control. Modern psychology holds that the male gender is inherently violent, aggressive and its preferred means of settling conflicts is through brute force.

This view of the typical male does not seem to be born out by reality. Though I would agree that the typical male is more overtly aggressive than the average female, I would not go so far as to say that the majority of men resolve all conflicts or even a majority of conflicts with brute force.

Personally, other than frequent wrestling matches with my older brother while we were growing up, I can recall only one physical fight in my life time. And since I’ve turned twenty (over thirty years ago) I can only recall four occasions in which a single shove was involved between me and another person.

In order for this scant number of physical skirmishes to satisfy the modern definition of man, I must have had only 5-9 conflicts in my life. Though I must admit I’ve led a relatively smooth and happy existence I would say the number of conflicts I’ve had is well into the thousands and far more than could be counted on with my hands and feet.

I can tell you that though I grew up in a factory town with a hefty amount of poverty and gangs, I still witnessed or knew of very few physical fights. I have been fairly athletic and have played competitive sports such as basketball, tennis, football and baseball throughout my life, and once again while witnessing a lot of verbal battles have seen only a handful of actual physical confrontations.

Once again I want to emphasize that I’m not trying to deny that some men are frequently violent and aggressive and that their preferred method of dealing with conflict is brute force, what I’m trying to state is that the majority of men do not routinely use brute force as a strategy. Examples exist which support and give rise to any bias, prejudice or stereotype. Yet, a gender characterization should only continue when it is present in the vast majority of situations.

Also, I am not attempting to deny or minimize the fact that physical intimidation and violence aren’t significant issues to be dealt with, nor am I trying to defend or minimize the occurrences of domestic violence or violent crime.  One shouldn’t have to foster one misconception in order to prevent another one from forming.

In my discussions regarding the male sex drive I emphasized the need to neither deny nor glorify its pervasive role in male life. In fact, denying or repressing the biological imperative was seen as an important factor in the creation of sexual perversion and violence.  While investigating the current attitudes and methods of dealing with the male sex drive we outlined some of the long term negative impacts on the male self-esteem and ability to be emotionally available.

Likewise it is probably unhealthy and self-sabotaging for a society to tell all of its males that they are inherently violent creatures incapable of resolving conflicts in a civilized manner. This violent view of men has been transferred to society as a whole whereby the majority of people state that world peace or living in harmony is impossible and contrary to human nature. Though I will address more fully in a post later this month, I would just say here that once again this view is contradicted by reality. Just as I personally have witnessed general harmony with a few isolated physical fights, I have seen general peace with a few (yet significant) battles and wars.

Now let’s take this discussion back to the original issue of power and wealth. What we’ve posed so far is that the average man is not dominated by needs for power and control. In fact, the average man is himself dominated and controlled by a small percentage of Alpha males.

Historically, the goal of the ambitious man is power and control. They seek ownership as a means of establishing their power. Money, wealth and possessions have not been the goal, but rather a sign of their power and control. Money, wealth and fame have been their means of attracting and acquiring sexual favors from females. The courting process as well as the ability to maintain a sexual affair, or regularly use prostitutes depended on the ability to buy gifts and provide funds.

The male sex drive coupled with the phallic symbols of penetration lead one towards ambition, accomplishment and progress. So in a society where success is measured in the accumulation of capital and the possession of goods, men will strive to accomplish this. Yet, the goals are about sex and power (success)  not consuming and accumulation of objects.

If women were attracted to men who owned little and frugality was an aphrodisiac I doubt if men would be so enamored with buying and surrounding themselves with objects. It is the females who desire to build nests and surround themselves with beauty, comfort and luxury. It is not the typical man who yearns to pamper themselves or longs to spend the day at the spa, or who feels sad if his room is colorless and devoid of flowers and beautiful objects. It is not the typical man who gets a lift of high from a shopping spree or heart soars upon receiving an expensive gift or beautiful jewel.

In the first part of this post I talked of the differences between the Alpha male and the  rest of the male populace. In the next post I’ll expand on the significance of these differences.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Politics and Psychology and Social Issues28 Dec 2007 09:59 pm

In our series of posts regarding male sexuality we’ve encountered a number of myths. In this post we will attempt to address one more overstatement which could be considered a myth. This myth is the one that states that modern society is a male society and that its goals, methods and strategies are all male oriented.

In the last couple of posts we’ve explored both the male and female sexual symbols. We found the current view of the male phallic symbol  to be kind of limited. While it is true that the phallic symbol as depicted by the sword, missile and gun are prone to violence and aggression and that part of the phallic symbol is accurately portrayed as a vehicle for power and violence, we also found the symbol had a positive role. The phallus not only symbolizes violence but also creativity, invention, progress and discovery. The male phallus is an organ that penetrates, probes and emits and, therefore, its symbolic images should include these concept areas. The paintbrush, pen, airplane, train, and submarine as well as the microscope, telescope and hypodermic needle are all phallic images. Likewise most tools used for construction and technology are phallic images.

The female vaginal/womb images are likewise plentiful though ignored by both psychologists and lay people alike. The vaginal/womb images include the purse, bank vault, nest, home and mineral mines. They also include pots, pans, urns and vessels of all types. The female organs deal with protection, propagation, housing, safety, storage, containment and accumulation. The female symbolism centers on containing and accumulation.

We talked at length in earlier posts of how much a woman’s world is pervaded and focused on beauty. When you couple this the vaginal symbolism you get an  idea of what  a woman likes to collect, and that is things of beauty that appeal to the senses. Woman often like to surround themselves  and their home with things that look beautiful such as flowers, pieces of art, jewelry and furniture. Yet, they also like to surround themselves with pleasing fabrics and textures,  and objects that smell pretty, and sounds which are pleasing to the ears, etc.

In recent years our advertising industry has valiantly attempted to convince men to be shoppers and better consumers. In many respects they have succeeded but still the majority of men are not into gathering and collecting objects and surrounding themselves with beauty. In olden days when men spent their days hunting, conquering and exploring they did not spend much time at home. Even in industrial societies men have spent their time working and little time purchasing and accumulating goods.

This leads me to agree with Nietsche when he states that modern society is very feminine. It seems to me that capitalism with its emphasis on consumerism is a female oriented society. It is after all a society that measures a persons importance in terms of how much they own and possess, how much they accumulate and purchase. While older societies often viewed power and free time as the height and goal of wealth, modern capitalism looks at the accumulation of wealth and more often of goods as the sign of success.

The goal of Roman and Greek societies as well as Old European societies was to have enough wealth to avoid having to work. The very definition of “free man” in early democracies was the notion of never having to work. The crucial issue was not how much you owned or how ornate your abode, but rather if you were above having to do menial labor. Even in the 19th and early 20th century Europe you were considered uncultured if you had to work to make a living and industrial types were considered crude and not accepted into high society.

The goal has now shifted from being free of work and master of your own time, to a desire to work and accumulate as much as humanly possible. The goal is to purchase as big a house as possible, with multiple vehicles and to surround yourself with as many objects and gadgets as you can afford to accumulate. So, rather than the goal being to not work, the goal is to accumulate as much as possible.

This is why I feel confident in stating that while we still are a male dominated society, we are a female oriented society. The goals and activities of society are not so much about probing, penetrating and emitting as is the essence of the phallic symbol. The goals and means of society are all about accumulating, protecting, housing, storing and surrounding oneself with beauty which are vaginal/womb and, therefore, feminine images and priorities.

In the next post I’ll expand on this theme a little more and try to answer why a male dominated society is feminine in nature and structure.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Psychology and Relationships and sexuality15 Dec 2007 03:04 pm

In the last post I attempted to broaden the discussion on the male sexual symbol, the phallus. Rather than focusing on the phallic stereotype of violence and aggression using the standard images of guns, missiles, knives and swords I expanded on the role of penetration of the phallus and described the role it plays in invention, discovery and knowledge.

In this post I want to address the often ignored female sex symbol, the vagina and its symbolic impact on woman and society. The vagina coupled with the womb will be the inspiration of the female sex symbols. I have to admit I have not found any literature on this topic so most of this is my own.

When looking for vaginal/womb images in our society the most obvious is the purse. Many women have an intimate relationship with their purse, and they view it as an extension of themselves. A purse is often guarded and clutched on to, and no one but its owner is allowed access to the purse. While another woman’s uninvited access to a purse is considered an invasion of privacy a male’s going through a woman’s purse is often experienced and expressed as a violation of the person. Woman who have had a man take or rummage through the contents of their purse often state that they “felt violated” by the intrusion, and some relate prolonged feelings of anxiety or nausea when they think about the violation.

Though purses are a very strong and intimate vaginal image they are not the only vaginal/womb symbol. While phallic images are found in objects that are phallus shaped and are involved in the act of penetration , vaginal symbols are found in objects which replicate the function of the womb and are containers and receptacles as opposed to probes and penetrators.

The nest, the home and the bank vault are all vaginal symbols. Like the vagina and the womb they house and protect. They are places of safety where things can grow and be nourished.

Just as many objects can be phallic symbols by their function of penetration or their resemblance to a phallus, likewise many vaginal/womb symbols are by nature of their function as well as their shape. Therefore, objects which house or contain are fair game for becoming vaginal images. Pots, pans, bowls, urns, as well as gold/coal mines, caves, treasure chests and ships can be vaginal symbols. Though ships penetrating the sea can be phallic symbols, they often house people at sea and therefore can be vaginal symbols. Which could be why ships are always have female names and referred to as women.

Vaginal symbols are where things are contained, housed, stored and received. It is where things are protected, grow, develop, multiply and accumulate. Due to the menstrual cycle vaginal images also involve things that flow or are cyclical in nature. Rivers and lava are vaginal symbols as well as cash flow.

We’ve talked at length in previous posts at the privileged role the concept of beauty plays in the feminine world. Woman speak of beauty much more than men, and spend a lot of time and energy creating and surrounding themselves with beauty. When you couple this with the vaginal images regarding housing, containing and accumulating you find a strong emphasis in the female world in collecting objects and wealth.

The home is a place of safety but it is also the realm of propagation and growth. Home is where children are produced and objects are collected and stored. These objects provide safety and security as well as depict and surround oneself with beauty.

Many birds and animals who build nests and homesteads are concerned with aesthetics and not just safety. When nest building shiny objects are selected for beauty as well as function. Some male birds offer beautiful trinkets as a way of courtship, and what male bird or mammal doesn’t exert great energy in trying to appeal to the female sense of beauty through preening, colorful displays or puffing out some eye catching display.

This post is designed only as an introduction of the concept of the role the vaginal/womb symbol plays in the life of women and society in general. While the phallic symbol has us take notice of how men and society are impacted by its related images, so to the vaginal symbol should have us take notice of the values and points of emphasis that it imparts to women and society.

To sum up the phallic image is represented by objects that penetrate. One can penetrate to kill, wound or break apart, but one also can penetrate to discover, create and advance. The phallic image is seen in guns, swords, knives and missiles but is also present in most tools such as drills, screwdrivers, saws and hoes.

The vaginal symbol is seen in objects that house, contain, protect and receive. The womb and vagina are hidden worlds where things grow, flow and accumulate.

In the next post I’m going to use these male and female images to help us understand how they get played out in our culture. Some philosophers including Nietsche have stated that they felt modern civilization was becoming highly feminized and would go so far as to say that modern life is more feminine than masculine. In the next post I will explore this rather radical idea and see in what ways it applies and in what ways it doesn’t.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and sexuality09 Dec 2007 09:13 pm

In the next two posts I will discuss some sexual symbolism of both males and females.
In general most people are familiar with the more stereotypical and mainly negative male sexual symbols, while the female symbols have largely been ignored.

Today’s post will focus on the male symbols and the next one will focus on female symbols. Most people are familiar with the Freudian and post Freudian symbols of the phallus, where the penis has been seen as the weapon of mass destruction and the poster boy for male aggression.

The knife, gun, missile, sword and even the hatchet have been widely recognized as being symbolic duplications of the male phallus. Bullets, bombs and most destructive projectiles have commonly been associated with the semen as they are emitted from the symbolic male organs.

These phallic images are important to know, but they don’t depict the entire symbolic realm of the male gender. There are hundreds of objects which reflect the form and function of the phallus that aren’t captured in the above popular symbols. While many phallic symbols replicate the form of a penis many others duplicate its function. The function of the penis is to penetrate, and its shape is designed to accomplish this. It is important to realize that the penis is itself an instrument or tool which penetrates, probes and emits. Anything which serves these purposes should be up for consideration as a phallic symbol.

Many objects such as the pen, paint brush and telescope are obvious phallic images. When someone says that the pen is mightier than the sword they probably aren’t realizing that they are comparing phallic images, but they are. And yes, the pen is mightier than the sword and words are more influential than brute force, and the phallus is not just a device of violence and aggression.

Whenever the act of penetration is involved it is a likely candidate for phallic imagery. Now, penetration is a crucial part of violence, war and aggression, yet it also is a vital aspect of discovery, invention and science. Man has penetrated many things in his journey towards civilization and improving the quality of life.

Man has penetrated and probed the earth, sea, sky and outerspace. Early man used the hoe, plow and other phallic symbols to penetrate the earth to produce crops and help us survive. He has used the telescope and microscope (both phallic images) to probe the macro and micro universe. We have used philosophy and religion to penetrate the meaning of life, as well as psychology to penetrate the internal life of the self. We’ve used the scalpel to penetrate and learn about the human body, and later to develop reliable surgical techniques.

We have used trains, cars, planes and rockets to penetrate space and propel us forward. We have used telegraphs, telephones, radios and TV’s to penetrate the airwaves allowing us to communicate with each other over long distances.

Penetration can be used to wound or kill, but it also can be the instrument of progress and discovery. Just as we have found that the male sex drive has been negatively cast, we now see that the male gender has been negatively cast by the phallic symbols we have chosen to focus on.

My intention in this post is not to try to deny or minimize the reality of male aggression and violence. My goal, like in all my posts regarding the male sex drive, is to attempt to portray a balanced view of male energy and character. I have repeatedly stated the dangers of denial and repression in respect to the male sex drive. Denial and repression of natural drives more often than not lead to poor self-esteem, perversion, neurosis and depression.

Likewise the modern discussion regarding male sexual symbols has a tendency to portray men in a very negative light. In this caricature men are inherently violent and aggressive and generally incapable of resolving issues through any other means than violence and verbal battle. The reality of the matter is that men have many tools at their disposal. In fact most tools are literally and figuratively phallic symbols. Everything from drills, screwdrivers, hammers and pickaxes to lasers, hypodermic needles and flutes are phallic symbols. These tools can be used to resolve problems, heal, inspire and improve our lives.

Phallic symbols and the manhood they depict are not just about violence and aggression, but also progress, discovery and development. Ships that sailed around the world, submarines that explored the ocean depths are just as masculine as guns and missiles. The pen and paintbrush are fundamental to human expression and communication and are as valid to the male character as is the arrow or sledgehammer.

I think it is a shame that many male children growing up over the last few decades have been made to feel inherently bad about their masculinity. Many males have been told that they must overcome both their sex drive and their violent masculine nature. While I agree that men should limit if not completely outgrow their violent tendencies I do not think that male aggression is the sum total of their masculinity, or even its most salient quality.

My drive to learn, discover, penetrate, probe and understand is and always has been greater than my desire to hurt, harm or injure. My desire to communicate, share and grow has always been greater than my desire to control, win or defeat. One can penetrate the walls that separate in order to achieve intimate union as well as to rape and dominate. The real phallus as well as the symbolic one can be an instrument of intimacy and a creator of life and not just be an unwelcomed invader.

Phallic symbols should be used to inspire and not just to warn. Phallic symbols should be used to depict the positive elements of masculinity and not just as a means of exposing male vanity and his baser nature. Hopefully, a discussion such as this will help men embrace their nature and hone their strengths while remaining aware of their faults and potential negative qualities.

A healthy masculinity like a healthy male sex drive is found through acceptance and growth not through denial and repression. The masculine nature is neither evil nor perfect, it is an inherent energy to be understood and developed. Even though no two men or their sex drives are identical there is much to learn by gender analysis and the world of symbols.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Psychology and Relationships and sexuality and Social Issues17 Nov 2007 09:24 pm

In the next few days I hope to finish my series of posts having to do with male sexuality. The following are the intended topics:

1) Taking up a Life World. This will focus on the amazing way in which we take up and live in a world. It will try to articulate human experience from the sensory to the conscious.

2) Experience and Limitations: In this I will try to show once again how our negative stance towards human experience has us degrade and deny our natural existence. I will focus on the positive aspect of limitations and how limits provide the very structure necessary for human experience to exist.

3) Male and Female Sex Symbols: I will try to present a balanced view of the phallic symbol in modern society. While we are very familiar with the negative stereotypes of the phallus in violent and aggressive war symbols such as missiles and guns, we are often ignore the constructive phallic symbols such as the pen and paintbrush. I will also try to present a balanced view of the sex symbols based on the female genitalia which are almost completely ignored.

This will lead into a discussion where I pose the possibility that while modern society might be male dominated it is female oriented.

4) The last post involving male and female sexuality will discuss the differences between logic and reason, and how it affects our sense of reality and our ability to appreciate and accept human life and death.

In review my first ten posts dealt with economic issues, and the last sixteen have dealt with human sexuality.
Since these posts were developed in a building block fashion, I hope you will take the time to read them in the order they were written. The next series of posts will again build off the last two series especially in the sense of unmasking popular myths and prejudices regarding human life and happiness.

I am also mixing down the last few songs on a new CD which I will post over the next few weeks. I hope you are enjoying the songs and books currently posted. I soon will use the blog portion to discuss some of my songs and their lyrics which will then be stored in the reverie section on the lyric page.

I hope to write a new post tomorrow.

Thanks for listening and to and sharing in my thoughts and observations.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Relationships and sexuality03 Nov 2007 11:47 am

There are those who feel that my posts on male sexuality indicate that I am over-sexualized, or place too much importance on sexual intercourse. There are also those that think while I’m overemphasizing the male sex drive, I am underemphasizing the female sex drive.

In response to my underestimating the female sex drive I’d like to point out that I have discussed and praised the female orgasm and the female ability to experience sensuality in a very rich fashion. Yet, my point was that the female sex drive is  not as hormonally driven as the male. It is rare for a female to be controlled by the biological imperative whereby obtaining sexual intercourse becomes their highest priority if not obsession. I have heard of no studies which show that the typical female spends the majority of her adolescence thinking and fantasizing about sexual intercourse and male body parts.

We refer to female prostitution as the oldest profession. Even if that is an exaggeration it speaks to the male need and obsession with sexual intercourse. One does not spend so much time and money on something that isn’t essential to their make-up. The fact that woman have not felt a need to buy sex and men did not make selling sex to females an occupation is indicative of the fact that there is a qualitative and quantitative difference between male and female sex drives.  In the previous couple of posts I stated what I saw to be the differences in sexual motivations and priorities between the sexes.

Now, when it comes to a discussion of whether I am a relatively typical male or an oversexed  maniac I would beg to point out the following.  Though I talk frankly about the importance sexual intercourse and physical intimacy has played in my life, I also want it to be known that I feel I have made sex a positive in my life. I have embraced my sexual needs and pleasures in a healthy manner and have not had my sexual desires control me or make me behave in ways contrary to social values.

In my entire life I’ve had a relatively small number of highly satisfying long term relationships in which sexual pleasure and intimacy have been prominent. I have never had a one night stand, I’ve never cheated or had an affair, I have never gone to a prostitute or even been in a strip club for that matter.

I have spent the majority of my life working with troubled adolescence and their families.  This has allowed me to see people in crisis, and see people in the process of improving their lives and themselves. My near three decades of experience in this field has led me to the following conclusion regarding mental and emotional health.

The healthier a person is the more they get there needs met in a direct fashion. The more  unhealthy they are, the more they attempt to get their needs met in an indirect fashion. I bring this up because it is pertinent in our discussion of sexuality.

It seems logical to me that a society which strives to repress, deny or overcome any basic aspect of man will produce unhealthy and dissatisfied people. I feel our attitudes towards male sexuality are unhealthy and somewhat draconian, in which we view the male sex drive as an obstacle to be controlled and overcome rather than a innate trait to be cultivated and understood.

The more we try to control  and deny male sexuality the more perversions and sickness we create. The more we imply that our innate desires and tendencies are bad, the more confused and personally alienated we are destined to become.

Though in recent posts I have focused on male sexuality, this is not the only area in which I feel we are in denial of our human nature. When I look at human society I see many ways in which we are in denial of our basic humanity and we exert great effort in overcoming these basic qualities.

I’m not advocating that we should rebel against all civilization and attempt to return to our animal nature. What I am advocating is that we don’t assume that every animal or innate tendency we have is bad or needing to be overcome. It seems to be that our unwillingness to embrace our humanity and accept the fact that we live and die, has caused us to create ideals and goals which are both counterproductive and unrealistic.

I would like to live in a world which celebrates our humanity and looks to use our basic drives and inclinations as a starting point. Yet, currently we seem to going in  the opposite direction. Instead of celebrating our physical, emotional and conscious world of mortal visceral experience, we place everything of importance outside of ourselves. Instead of savoring sensory experience and how we live in the world, we glorify all that lies outside of ourselves, and make it our only “true” source of satisfaction and fulfillment.

We denigrate the body, sensual experience, life and death, and the limitations that make all experience possible, by revering supreme beings, spirituality, and the unconscious.

All of these issues will be central to the bulk of what I put up on this website, as well as the subject matter of future posts. I once again invite you to listen to my songs and read  my lyrics, for they all aim at celebrating life while pointing out the ways in which we try to deny our humanity.

In the words section of this site you will find chapters from my novels and non-fiction works which again focus on the celebration of human existence and how to try to get one’s needs met in a healthy direct fashion.

If I were to start at one spot to best understand my basic philosophy it would be to read my non-fiction book Exploring Intimacy.  Because of its central importance to what I wish to convey to people, the entire book is able to be read on this site.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Relationships and sexuality27 Oct 2007 05:58 pm

In the last few posts I’ve focused on the beneficial role pleasure can have in intimate relationships, and how it can often be the bridge between men and women with different sexual appetites. Let’s take a quick inventory of the sexual motives of both men and women to see how they compare and contrast.

With men the most dominant sexual motivation is usually the sex drive itself or as I often refer to it “the biological imperative”. Adolescent boys are often unprepared for the hormonal onslaught they are engulfed in where thinking of sex and being sexually aroused are events experienced many times each day. The urge to have an orgasm to experience a sexual release is more often then not the number one sexual motivation of men.

Now the idea of orgasm and the momentary rush of ecstasy upon ejaculation are common experiences in male sexuality. Pleasure, is therefore, a typical component of the male sex drive. Yet, many men find the orgasm to be too fleeting and expand and prolong their enjoyment by making the pleasures of foreplay, touch and stimulating their partner intricate components of their sex life. This makes pleasure the second motive for most men.

The third motive for sex is built on the other two. The biological imperative and pleasure together lead many men to feel and seek a sense of connection with their sexual mate. This bond, this sense of closeness and intimacy often becomes the most rewarding aspect of their sex life. In this realm comes a sense of gratitude to their lover for what they share together, and a sense of devotion to the person who is such an intimate part of their pleasure and joy.

A fourth motive for some men is a desire to sire a child. For some men sex is a means of gaining immortality by securing a lineage and a link to the future. Yet, in the men who I have known that have seen procreation as a sexual motive, it has been more a secondary motive. The desire to procreate seemed to lead them to marriage, while the biological imperative remained the primary reason they wanted frequent sex. I have not known any men who declined having sex because their partner was not ovulating, and therefore, the sex act would not be procreative.

There have been some studies that suggest that men “unconsciously” choose a woman who is ovulating over woman who are not. One such study had men interact with females in an intimate environment and then asked each man which woman they most desired. The study found that a majority of men picked a woman who was ovulating at the time of the experiment.

Some concluded from this study that this showed that men wanted to have children. Though this is a possible conclusion, there are others. If the men were truly “unconsciously” choosing women who are ovulating there could be another practical reason, and that is that a woman’s sex drive is usually higher during ovulation. A man could be responding to the woman’s willingness or eagerness for sex rather than a desire to procreate.

I personally am not surprised that men are “unconsciously” aware of when a woman is ovulating. I have known men who have claimed to be able to know when a woman is ovulating by the scent an ovulating woman secretes. Though I’ve never been able to do this with women I don’t know well, I have been able to do this with women I have been intimate with for a period of time.

When it comes to the sexual motives of women few would state that many woman experience a true biological imperative for sexual intercourse. Women’s sexual inventory seems to start at the back end of the male sexual world. Many young women’s urge for sexual intercourse seems to be in feeling loved and feeling in love. One could make a strong case that the dominant female sexual motivation is in the realm of intimacy and the desire to be in a relationship.

The desire to procreate, to have a child, is another strong sexual motivation in females. Even before their sexual awakening many females play with dolls, fantasize being a mommy and dream of getting married. It is not unusual for young adolescent females to openly admit a desire to be a mom. The familiar cry of women that “their biological clock is ticking” is another example of how important the drive to procreate is in women.

While sexual enjoyment, even if fleeting, seems to be indigenous to male sexuality, sexual pleasure in females does not seem to be so automatic. Yet, as we mentioned before, the female orgasm and potential for sexual pleasure more than match their male counterpart.

While a woman’s desire to procreate can lead to sexual activity, it is limited. First, as we mentioned in the male desire to procreate, this desire could be limited to when a woman is ovulating and therefore, not to be relied upon to match the average male’s sex drive. When intimacy is the motive, once again many woman are offended when men equate frequent sexual intercourse with intimacy. Therefore, intimacy is limited as a way to bridge the difference between male and female sex drives because most men want sexual frequency to be an integral component of intimacy.

In the previous post I mentioned how important verbal communication and dialogue is to many women. Not many women would feel intimate with a man who talked to them only a few minutes a week, even though it is theoretically possible for two people to be intimate with almost no verbal communication. A couple that quietly did all their activities together and spent their days watching each other could become quite close. Yet, it is hard to believe that they could be as intimate with each other as a couple that openly communicated all their thoughts and feelings. Likewise, though a man and woman could be intimate with just conversation, it cannot compare to the kind of intimacy available to a couple through the realms of sexual pleasure.

In my life I have found a distinct connection between the experience of sexual pleasure and the potential of intimacy I have with a person. I find it hard to imagine me forming the depth of devotion and intimacy I have with my wife through a platonic relationship, or if I would have made my sex life with another as or more important than my sex life with her.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I do consider myself to be a sexual being. And though my wife would not claim to be as sexually driven as I, she would also be the first to admit that the intimacy we cultivated together would have been impossible through an asexual relationship.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Relationships and sexuality21 Oct 2007 09:30 pm

In the previous posts I’ve talked at length about the powerful and somewhat pervasive role the male sex drive plays in the lives of many men. In the most recent posts I’ve pointed out how a couples commitment to giving and receiving pleasure can successfully bridge differences in sexual desire and appetites.

Yet, what happens when a partner won’t commit to pleasure or into attempting to match their partners sexual appetite and instead just demands their mate to curtail their sex drive? What happens when a person demands monogamy while refusing to meet their mates sexual appetite?

The question I have is how fair is it to demand sexual fidelity when one is not committed to  meeting the sexual desires and needs of their mate? Does it bode well to expect a person to  repress or deny their sexual urges? Is it healthy? Is the person who will not attempt to meet their spouse half-way showing the same commitment to the relationship as they are demanding their spouse to be by being faithful and monogamous?

Fortunately for me I never had to answer these questions as we successfully bridged the sexual appetite gap by being committed to giving each other pleasure. Yet, I’m not sure I would have been able to get through my hormonally driven 20’s and 30’s in a healthy manner if I would have been demanded to cut my frequency of sexual encounters in half.

I know it would have been difficult and somewhat harmful to my sense of contentment and happiness. I know I would have felt less loved, and appreciated. I know I would have felt less connected and intimate with her. If I stayed righteous I would have been angry with her, but more often I would have felt that there was something wrong with me and begin to resent both my sex drive and myself.

My feeling of disconnectedness and being misunderstood would make me very vulnerable to straying and finding solace in the arms of someone who did not make me feel bad for wanting to touch, hold and make love to them. I would have been thrown back to my adolescence and felt rejected every time I desired my wife and she did not desire me. Each time I would have been drawn to her and wanted to devour her with desire would have been emotionally painful and accumulatively alienating.

Many recent gender studies indicate that female infants are far more interpersonally oriented than male infants. At a very early age female infants spend a great deal of their time looking at faces and listening to conversation. Male infants on the other hand tend to be more interested in objects. This gender tendency often results in female toddlers and tots developing strong language skills and seeking conversation. The focus of young females is often on forming best friends and their ability to make and maintain friendships is paramount to their positive feelings of themselves.

Male toddlers and tots are more object oriented. Their relationships are often less verbal and more geared towards activities. While the typical female child is talking and engaging in highly sophisticated social interactions the typical male child is usually indulging in highly physical activities that are more action oriented with less verbal demands. As always it is important to note that no one is saying that every female infant is verbal/relationship oriented, and every male infant is physical/activity oriented, but the tendencies are rather predominant. There are tomboys as well as verbally/relationship oriented male children, yet the majority of cases support the gender tendencies.

While the male sex drive is often a major component directing men into an increased desire for relationships, the female desire for verbal interchange and emphasis on relationships is ever present.  I point this out to make an observation.

In our society a man is expected to stay monogamous no matter how interested or open to sex his wife may be.  Yet, how successful is it when a woman is demanded to curtail her desire for verbal friendships to show fidelity. What happens when a society or partner views social interactions without the spouse present as a form of infidelity? What happens when an insecure and jealous spouse views all forms of individualized socializing as being unfaithful or a sign of not being committed to the relationship?

In many societies woman aren’t only expected to avoid forming friendships with males when they are married but are expected to avoid public interactions with other females without their husband present. My father was a very traditional Italian man who “forbade” my mother from socializing without his presence. Did she honor this?

While she never openly rebelled against this expectation, she had many friends she would see without my father present. Likewise, I’ve read a few books written by Arabian women who state that they are forbidden by their patriarchal societies from socializing with female or male friends without their spouse being present. Not one of the woman I’ve read has honored their husbands or societies wishes in this manner.

I would think that the biological imperative and hormonally driven sex drive of men is at least as strong as most womans desire and need for verbal interchange. If a man does not meet his wife’s needs for verbal discussion and disclosure most wives feel little if any  guilt about being unfaithful in this manner. In fact most would not deny they were being unfaithful and bluntly state that the expectation is sick and cruel.

I’m not going to disagree with this but it does seem a little odd that the desire for verbal interchange is viewed as something that cannot be curtailed and denied while  the biological imperative is.

I know most people are appalled by the fact that I’m comparing the male sex drive with the desire for social interaction.  I’m sure that many would state that talking to others is not being unfaithful and anyone who thought so was just a controlling, jealous person with unrealistic expectations. Yes, and I would agree with that. Yet, the fact remains that we have no trouble in demanding the restricting and curtailing one of the strongest drives in nature in one gender while thinking it is unreasonable to restrict a likewise strong proclivity in the other gender.

I do think this is worthy of thought. I’ll write more on this soon.

Jim Guido

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