sexuality


Gender Issues and Relationships and sexuality and Social Issues21 Nov 2016 02:34 pm

Ever since early adolescence I’ve been hormonally constituted to be fascinated, mesmerized, entranced, intoxicated, infatuated and enthralled with the female body. Yet, even before the onset of puberty I found myself drawn to girls in the arena of personal relationships and intimate connection.

When it came to the realm of physical activity comprised of running, jumping, tackling and working together as a team I totally preferred the company of boys. In adolescence, in terms of intellectual, scientific and philosophical discourse I once again preferred the company of men.

Yet, what mattered to me most was how to maximize the quality of personal experience through consistently deriving joy form both body and mind. The time and energy, care and devotion, women spent processing their thoughts and feelings regarding their relationship with others as well as themselves I found highly captivating and fulfilling. In many ways this processing of relationship became the core of my definition of intimacy, and intimacy became the center of both the way I lived in the world and how I found meaning and fulfillment in life.

My love affair with the female body and feminine personality were not relegated to a specific type or ideal. The female body and the many varied ways woman had of processing their thoughts and feelings I found endlessly stimulating and refreshing. They were the fruit that I longed to savor and desire whether they be peach, plum, watermelon, pomegranate, grape or berry.

Despite enjoying the cornucopia of the pleasures offered through their intimate company, I never had a problem being loyal and devoted to any woman willing to match my intensity and devotion to intimate sharing. Every visceral, sensual, emotional and intellectual experience of my life became richer and more fulfilling when shared with a partner. I always felt it a touching privilege to be included in the processing ritual that forms the basis of most feminine relationships.

In activities I preferred the company of men, and in conversation and relationships I preferred the company of women. Viewing and experiencing the female life style as having more options and freedoms I greatly envied the female role in society. In the early 60’s the women’s movement with its emphasis on improving the quality of life, consciousness raising, respect for all human life and maximizing one’s experience of love and intimate relationships filled me with hope. I felt that men were imprisoned by work and oppressed by bosses and gender expectations.

Life in the Sixties

I grew up in a town where the great majority of men worked in factories and/or held down two or more jobs in order to make ends meet allowing their wives to stay home and provide the children with a safe and loving environment. Though this wasn’t always the reality, it did fit most of the lower middle class and middle class homes with which I was familiar.

A man’s life, I was often told, and as it appeared to me, centered around three things, duty, sacrifice and alienation. Duty and sacrifice were often spoken of with a sense of pride and purpose. Alienation was talked about in pop psychology, talk shows, the theater and in political messages espoused by unions, marxist and socialist groups, the intelligentsia, and dramatic plays. Death of A Salesman was probably the most powerful play I saw on TV during my childhood, and my father’s frustration, anger and depression seemed to bore testament to his sense of alienation.

My dad was so often very absent and emotionally damaged by his war experience. He would occasionally wake up from nightmares wailing and speaking in Italian in very anxious tones. I have no memory of him speaking to me let alone doing an activity with me, and even when punishing us with belts and switches he never made physical contact with us.

My dad often worked two jobs during my developmental years. My mom, while a busy homemaker, was able to work according to her own schedule and found time to engage in joys during the day such as watching her favorite TV programs and visit neighborhood friends. When I was three and four years old and my brother and sister were at school I had my best times with my mother (who had her own volatility and mental health issues). I would listen to my mom talk to herself and to the TV programs, and I often accompanied her as she walked or traveled by bus to visit friends. My mom loved to cook and the aromas of childhood were dominated by the nurturing smells of food that lingered in the house for hours.

When I was eight my mom decided that she was no longer needed in the home full time and she began to work. My sister, then fourteen, was asked to help out with the cooking and cleaning. and my brother and I were expected to maintain our rooms and make our own breakfast and lunch. My dad’s only objection was that it would make him look incompetent and a failure at providing for his family. Yet, he quickly adjusted to having more free time and not having the entire financial burden placed upon himself.

Since the late 70’s and early 80’s it has been fashionable to focus on how reluctant men are to help out around the house when their spouse goes to work. While this was true in my dad’s case it was also true that when my dad worked two jobs my mom did not help out or take on any of the traditional male tasks. In addition to working anywhere from sixty to eighty hours a week, my dad took care of the lawn, cleaned the gutters, put up screens and storm windows, and did most of the strenuous outdoor activity. Though not good with his hands he fixed all broken items in the home, for we had no money to hire out for professional or trade services. In essence none of this division of labor changed no matter how many hours of work my dad did each week, or when my mom took on an outside job.

I was mot enamored with the male role which I not only experienced in my family but witnessed in pretty much every home in our factory town. While I often saw and talked to my friends mothers, their fathers were generally not present or when present they were busy doing some chore or task. It is true that the men went to clubs and belonged to social organizations, but they usually were dominated by drinking and for group protection and alliances in the labor, religious and political arenas. The handful of times I accompanied my dad to these functions I found them generally bereft of amy intimate conversation though at times there was bonding via humor, story telling and rallying against common enemies or concerns.

Intellectually stimulating conversation was difficult to come by in my youth, and I sought and established friendships with peers who were interested in and willing to engage in thoughtful and intimate conversation. Rarely was I present in a home in which the parents demonstrate a vested interest in their child’s and their child’s friends thought and feelings. The exception to this was my Jewish friends whose families engaged in interesting and thought provoking conversation.

Years of Social Change

I couldn’t relate to my mom’s sense of being bored and having too much free time which greatly influenced her decision to go to work. Shortly after my mom went to work the women’s movement became a part of the mainstream social discussion. I found the entire movement quite encouraging and it gave me hope that men, and not only women, would be able to seek a better quality of life. The early dialogue in the women’s movement focused on quality of life issues such as consciousness raising, intimate relationship, self-discovery and finding and engaging in activities which improved and fulfilled oneself infusing their life with a sense of joy and meaning.

In my junior high years a feminist mom of one of my classmates initiated monthly assemblies where we would listen and discuss important social issues such as the war, poverty, the good society, and how to find meaning in one’s life. I was convinced that the women’s movement was going to free both men and women by providing everyone with options and replacing labor and sacrifice with intimacy and personal growth.

Shortly before I graduated high school the focus of the women’s movement turned towards the economic freedom of having jobs and careers and turned away from quality of life issues. I felt betrayed as the movement abandoned self-actualization and intimacy and replaced by an obsession with joining the workforce and receive equal pay. I could not fathom why women would aspire to live in the world that so many men experienced as a repressive prison. Why would anyone who was seeking intimacy and a better quality of life make alienating labor its core goal?

In my eyes the humanist and feminist goal of creating a society fostering human fulfillment and self-actualization was being replaced by everyone being imprisoned by a life dominated by alienating and stifling labor.

Honoring Everyone’s Sexual Nature

In the fist couple of paragraphs I discussed how I was drawn to and desired to be intimate with the female body and value system. Data and conversations I had with my male friends amply demonstrated that I was not alone with this visceral, emotional and psychological attraction to women. The male sex drive is a powerful hormonal tempest that often dominates many men from puberty well on into adulthood. Sexual desire and the desire to have an intimate relationship with a woman is hard wired into the average heterosexual male.

We have come a long way in terms of understanding, accommodating and sometimes even celebrating the complex biological and hormonal feminine world. The bulk of men and women understand that the hormonal premenstrual changes in the average female influence mood, emotional tenor as well as sensual sensitivities and thought process. We also have begun to understand and accommodate the hormonal and emotional changes engendered during peri-menopause. Only a small portion of people would consider the emotional, physical and psychological changes to be a matter of choice, or a personal problem and handicap. While the hormonal changes are not experienced by everyone in the same manner and intensity, we would not say that they are fictitious or something a woman just needs to overcome.

We also have come a long way in realizing that sexual orientation, identity and sexual appetites are less about choice and more about biochemistry and genetics. One does not choose to be gay anymore than one chooses to be heterosexual.

We have much data regarding the harms caused when one suppresses, denies, or resents their sexual identity and preferences. Depression and even suicide are common reactions to sexual repression, yet often it can also lead to perversion, aggression, and physically harming self and others. There are numerous biochemical and emotional benefits for those who live a healthy and rewarding sex life. The sense of joy and connection not only benefits one’s self-esteem, but also improves one’s personal health, psychological perspective and ability to feel and express compassion.

The heterosexual sex drive is just as biological and inherent as that of gays, lesbians and transgenders. It is just as vital for heterosexual men to have their biological imperatives honored. Similar emotional, psychological and social problems emerge when the male sex drive is repressed, prohibited, suppressed and demonized and when men are told to overcome and transcend their sex drive through will power.

There is a tendency in the feminist narrative to decry the male sex drive in a host of negative frames. The male sex drive objectifies females. The male sex drive is often equated with a male need for power and control. The unrefined (non repressed) male sex drive leads towards violence and aggression. The negative bias towards the male sex drive includes feelings that for a man to be sexually healthy he need to curb his sex drive and become in touch with his feminine side.

While we have acknowledged the ill effects of long term suppression, denial and repression of one’s sexual identify, desires and appetites with the LGBT populations we have generally ignored or at least minimized the effects of repression and rejection on the emotional and psychological health of the heterosexual male. It has been rather common knowledge that from the onset of puberty through a sizable portion of adulthood the average heterosexual male’s life is frequently dominated by sexual thoughts, desires, urges and fantasies. Decades of scientific research have identified many of the hormonal and biochemical processes which render sexual intercourse a biological imperative for a great portion of adolescents and men.

The average adolescent and young adult male’s life being dominated by sexual impulses is also dominated by feelings of rejection and repression in that the goal of their daily and hourly impulses are denied and rebuffed. Is it any wonder that many men who have spent the greater portion of their adolescent and adult life being rejected and often vilified for their “preoccupation” with sex have a hard time staying emotionally invested and engaged?

One’s sexuality and sexual nature is core to both one’s self-concept and satisfaction in life. One’s sense of joy, pleasure, intimacy and meaning is highly impacted by and structured in one’s sexual sensibilities. The appreciation, understanding, compassion for an individual’s sexuality and sexual identity is just as important for heterosexual males as it is for any other sexual preference and identity.

All people and genders are negatively impacted by repression and suppression in any arena including that of sex drive and identity. The list of ways in which these repressions and suppressions manifest themselves is quite lengthy and would include various forms of active and passive aggression, inhibitions, perversions, obsessions and compulsions. Accommodating and helping people’s sexual natures find healthy expression and satiatIon benefits all and leads to better mental and physical health.

I am particularly distressed by the growing feminist perspective that many men are being labeled misogynists. The hormonal biochemistry of the heterosexual male sex drive is not based on hatred, but on attraction, intimacy, desire, passion, connection and devotion. Anger, hatred, abuse and violence are more often the products of repression, suppression, rejection, denial and desperation.

The male sex drive has been the core of all that I cherish and gives meaning to my life. It it what propels me towards finding intimate relationships with others. The biochemistry of sexual fulfillment and orgasm, is central to my experience of pleasure, beauty, passion, empathy, joy and intimacy. Yet, these marvels of being human have often come from my ability to withstand the censure and negative bias of a repressive society that tries to have me deny or transcend my sexual desires. I look about me and do not find many other males who have been able to embrace their sexual natures in a personally fulfilling manner. The road to personal happiness and social harmony is best navigated by understanding and compassion and not with anger, prohibition, and intolerance. The male sex drive is in dire need of a bit of compassion and understanding, and the potential benefits in terms of social harmony are hard to overestimate.

 

Poetry and Relationships and sexuality25 Oct 2012 01:25 pm

She repulsed him with her kindness
if not genuine at least sincere

He needed passion more than understanding
No matter how he showed or said it
it remained doggedly unclear

She was in his head
What he wanted was to be in her body
To infuse her with his playful desire

To her love was romantic, a perfect ideal
For him passion was just a thin membrane away from complete fusion

She dreamt of a child
He yearned for intimacy
She envisioned them as parents and partners
He viewed the viscerally shared as the root of all meaning

She sought harmony, an unblemished life
A personal eden bereft of conflict
Her eternal goal was to be a still pond
No ripples to disturb its presentation

She sought beauty everywhere
In thought, word, sight, smell and touch
She found beauty everywhere
Yet, in her man, not so much

He thrived on life’s imperfections
Problems were challenges and opportunities
He loved the grit and the sweat
The joy of a challenge met

He saw intimacy as the measure of one’s life
Each new experience as a gift
Immersed in the rough and tumble of existence
Sharing with her was his bliss

In her relations:
Harmony over honesty
Ease over disease
Calm as endless balance

Beauty was the handmaiden of love
It was what made life attractive
Beauty is what drew her to others
To nature, art and the sacred

He wore each new wrinkle as a badge of honor
Sensed ardor often was born from the arduous
That one often had to provoke to be provocative
and wisdom was more about the real than the ideal

She sees life through the lens of love and beauty
He through the lens of history and experience
Beauty she fashioned into life’s ideal
Intimacy he saw as the measure of one’s life
Beauty became her life’s purpose and zeal
Intimacy was all he asked of life

Is there sufficient beauty in intimacy?
The fate of this love may be dependent on it

Philosophy and Poetry and sexuality16 Oct 2012 08:46 am

The following is a poem I wrote sometime earlier this year which I hope you enjoy and pass on to those who might appreciate its sentiments. I never tire of celebrating the wonder of life and living.

The Distance of Intimacy

the shroud that separates
becomes a gossamer like membrane
where touch is the medium of union
retaining the faintest of distance
an evanescent vestige
permitting intimacy this side of fusion

intimacy is the template
to be used liberally
with all of life
all our senses touch
probe….
as we offer our bodies
to be touched
by the world in which we breath
and exhale ourselves back into its manifold
in endless permutations
of it and me

From where does my voice come
if not from this thin membrane
which makes individual experience possible
and union an orgasmic urge
There are no set boundaries
just expansion and contraction
of intermingled air
and reciprocal movement
I accomodate life
as it accomodates me

What heresy
is the absolute
infinity and the eternal
What beauty
is contained in fragility
in birth and in death
experience forever articulated
but never exhausted nor complete
a process we are gifted to participate in
and to appreciate
yet like gosamer
life’s beauty
lies in its fleeting fragility

Life creates gossamer
Shrouds are of our making
either by over emphasizing our individuality
or by creating infinite distance inherent
in ideas such as immortality and the absolute
Destiny too is a shroud
a thick covering
which while it insulates and protects
destroys individuality and choice
that gives joy to the dance
of me, you and the world 
I breathe I exhale
I see, I am seen
I touch and am touched
and the world undulates
and I am so moved

Jim Guido

Philosophy and sexuality10 Nov 2010 10:20 pm

It is interesting to note that when we talk about qualities of being human we often choose to frame these skills in a not so flattering manner. When we hail human beings for being at the top of the food chain we often point out that man’s ability to lie and deceive as one of the most distinguishing factors. A skill that allows him to rise to the top of the animal kingdom.

Man is not the only animal that can deceive or give false information as many animals protect themselves and survive through some manner of artifice. Some may play dead, others use camouflage while others will puff themselves up or pretend to be an harmless object in their environment. Yet, man uses deception in a wide array of circumstances and situations which often have nothing to do with survival. Man often lies for convenience, laziness, or even humor.

Yet the ability to lie and deceive is really a small subset of a more important and astounding ability and that is the ability to live in the possible and not be imprisoned in the actual. Living in the possible allows man to anticipate, plan, and project a future as well as a past.

This ability of playing with the possible allows him to invent, create, dream, empathize, sympathize, problem solve and love. This same ability is at the core of his appreciation of art, music, and his quest for truth.

Despite all these wonderful ramifications of man’s ability to seek and create the possible we still have a tendency to focus on the lying and deceptive aspects of the possible and are remiss to discuss the more positive aspects.

Another example of how we under value and in some ways demean a remarkable human trait is in our handling of the male sex drive. Being male, I’m focusing on the male sex drive though much of what I’m about to say could probably apply to the female sex drive.

The male sex drive is often thought of as being something of an evolutionary hurdle to overcome or a limitation. The sex drive which was necessary from an evolutionary stand point is now thought of being out of touch with our current life world. Men are often accused of being too obsessed with sex and that the male sex drive reduces females to dehumanized sex objects. Males with a strong sex drive are often referred to as Neanderthals which again implies that modern males need to overcome their innate sex drive to evolve and become a part of the modern world.

In modern psychology the best they could do to acknowledge the positive aspects of the male sex drive is in the concept of sublimation. Yet, this positive use of the male sex drive is pretty limited. The following definition of sublimation will suffice to make this point.
[ trans. ] (esp. in psychoanalytic theory) divert or modify (an instinctual impulse) into a culturally higher or socially more acceptable activity : people who will sublimate sexuality into activities which help to build up and preserve civilization | he sublimates his hurt and anger into humor.

This definition implies that the male sex drive is a generally inferior instinctual impulse in need of being modified in order to become socially acceptable or beneficial. Yet, I would contend that just as lying and deceiving is a subset of the possible that the male sex drive is a subset of desire.

My sense of desire is fueled by and highly influenced by my sex drive. Desire is not a sublimation of my desire but rather my desire is an expression of my sex drive. The male sex drive has been a pervasive force in my life since early adolescence. Now, in my mid-fifties this force is lessening, but my sense of desire owes its existence and form to my sex drive.

It was my sex drive which propelled me towards intimacy. The intensity of desire that became the goal and joy of so much of my experience was born and maintained by the sex drive. I wanted to know, to savor and enjoy every pore of my lover. I wanted to know her every thought and wanted to please her in every sense that she pleased me. This desire, intensity and intimacy of the loved one became my template for all forms of desire and activity. My love of ideas, language, music and people in general is formed from that pervasive desire inherent in the male sex drive.

My love of life is an expression not a sublimation of the sex drive. The sex drive was not something to alter, redirect or channel. My sex drive was an atmosphere which imbued all of life with a sense of excitement. My sex drive was the catalyst propelling me towards being engaged and enraptured with life.

The longer I live the more awed I am by the very process of life itself and of human experience in particular. In this post I focused on two aspects of being human, the faculty of fiction or the possible and the male sex drive. Our experience of life, meaning and satisfaction are deeply steeped in both of these faculties.

In my next post I plan on talking about another amazing feature of human existence and that is the realm of words and language. Any discussion on words and language could go on forever, so I’ll try to center the discussion on my love of painting my world with words.

I”ll end with the lyrics of a song I wrote well over two decades ago which deals with some of the ideas expressed in this post. It is called Fictional Space and is to be found on my I Rock Therefore I am CD in the music section of this site.

Fictional Space

There’s something of the mind which plays off circumstance
Like a servant pampered king it can be wise of frivolous
Unencumbered one used for strategy of evasion
Place me straddled on this life

Vision gives me power and might
Bash their monstrous heads, the survivors scheme
Lovers engulfed orgasmic anticipation
The hunter laughs at the snap of the trap

Fictional space

There’s something that’s the style which I won’t represent
It’s a feeling of denial wan discouragement
Harlots of the soul lost in merriment
Visceral drives buried by excitement

Moments take pride in invention
Problems provoke awkward hesitation
Solution, look to friendly vistas
The future beckons the agile dancer

Fictional space

Make me alive set me on fire
Make me alive celluloid fire

Jim Guido

Relationships and sexuality and Social Issues22 Jun 2010 09:23 pm

The modern dating services are all trying to convince potential customers that they can help people find their ideal mate. A professional service is supposed to match people according to interests, personality type, pleasures and sexual appetite. The thought is that there is a science to the biochemistry of attraction and finding the right mate is a matter of selecting and matching the right variables.

Imagine if you could truly create your ideal mate. If the entire database of your wants, likes and desires were to be matched with another person. Imagine if this ideal mate was malleable enough to instantly respond to your changing moods and almost read your needs and feelings at any given moment. Imagine a mate who was there truly for you, who talked when you wanted to, left you alone when you desired it, and met your every sexual desire almost as soon as you recognized it.

This ideal mate is still a fantasy but the day is coming when it will be a reality. Soon cyborgs and robots will have skin which both pleases and is pleased by our touch. Soon we will have programmable partners who can be as orgasmic as we wish and who are devoted to pleasing us at our beckon call.

The programming possibilities are endless. You could make slight alterations to everything from their physique, eye and skin tone and personality to their accent, hair style and conversation topics on a daily basis. You could even create a little conflict and tension if you find harmonious bliss too boring.

It is hard to imagine a sexual relationship with a normal human being even coming close to the amount of ecstasy and pleasure of a personal cyborg. The potential of physical pleasure and heightened orgasm from a cyborg will definitely out strip anything that a normal human could provide you. Aging processes such as wrinkles, sagging, etc. would be totally optional and reversed or increased with little effort.

Those of you who think that getting cyborgs to have sensual skin is far in the future may be in for a surprise. Forget the competition from artificial reality and cyber space fantasy, the real deal may happen in many of our life times.

Satisfying human sexual relationships housed in matrimony are already an endangered species due to affairs, fantasy, porn, cyber-sex and the like. What chance will it have with artificial reality and erotic cyborgs?

What a cyborg won’t be able to provide until they become autonomous experiencing beings is another sentient beings perspective? They will never truly validate our perceptions or offer different perspectives based on their experiences. They will also not challenge us to grow and develop.

Yet, what percentage of the population has that or even desires that in their sexual mates. Already many people get more pleasure and are more bonded to pets, friends and therapists than their avowed mate.

Without significant changes and improvements occurring in human relationships the truly monogamous relationship will soon become extinct, and only practiced by those who are staying monogamous for the cause rather than for personal happiness and sexual satiation.

I’ve written many blogs on gender issues and the male sex drive in particular and they provide many ideas which could help save human to human relationships as are my posts on intimacy and my book Exploring Intimacy which can be read in the words section of this site. Only a more realistic appreciation of human sexuality and our drive towards intimacy could salvage the primacy of human to human relationships.

Yet, maybe I’m just resisting the inevitable and potentially blocking myself from experiencing life in a fuller and more meaningful fashion. Only time will tell. Yet, in the mean time I will continue to explore and discuss ways in which we can make our lives and relationships more rewarding and meaningful.

Life and human experience is truly amazing, and we have barely scratched the surface of understanding and unfolding our potential and joy.

Jim Guido

Relationships and sexuality and Social Issues16 Jun 2010 11:08 am

Young love has always proven to be a potential tragedy, just ask Romeo and Juliet. Yet, while their tragedy had to do with a lack of communication I fear the current tragedies are often due to over communication.

Frankly, I’m so glad I’m not a young hormone ridden adolescent trying to start up a relationship. I had my first substantial relationship when I was in 7th grade. The relationship lasted about 6 or 7 months, thereby making it a rather successful venture. Yet, the main reason it lasted so long had a lot to do with the sparseness of contact.

Other than eating lunch together we had little opportunity to talk at school. Living in a home with only one land line we spoke on the phone less than an hour a week. Not having any access to a car made it hard to see her at her home or out in public. I would guess that maybe we saw each other a dozen times outside of school over the 6 months.

I seldom go to the malls, but my wife and I try to visit a few times a year just to keep in touch with local pop culture. The last few visits have been dominated by watching little pods of girls huddled together texting each other and guys. After a few minutes they walk and migrate a bit before settling in for another text fest.

In another part of the mall you see little pods of adolescent boys texting girls. In both pods you see kids sharing their texts with their friends. The girls squeal or say “ew” in response to many a shared text a girl receives from a boy, while the boy pods often try to goad each other into sending outrageous texts to a girl or try to dare the girl to send them some bawdy text or pic.

When I look back to my early adolescents I remember a time of intense emotions. It was a time full of awkward moments, when I often felt embarrassed by something I said or did. I remember great anxiety and nervousness when making a first phone call, or trying to push a relationship to the next stage. I also remember moments of intense exhilaration when a girl gave me the impression she wanted to be my girlfriend.

Feeling awkward or undesirable was more common than feeling confident and attractive. When I liked a girl I wanted to spend all my time with her, and I ached when we were apart. In times away from her I would mull over endlessly the next thing I would say to her, or imagine how I would act the next time I saw her.

I tremble when I think of my early adolescents if I would have had today’s immediate forms of communication such as email, cell phone, texts, etc. I can remember so many disasters I avoided by having time to think and prepare my words.

It is very rare that two people enter a relationship with the same amount of investment. I think this disparity is even more pronounced in adolescents. In young love it is common for one person to be infatuated and convinced they are in love and the other be just flattered or curious. In today’s world it is hard for the smitten person not to perpetually stay in close communication with their beloved.

This makes me consider the following question, What is the difference today between dating (courting) and stalking?

Modern technology just increases the likelihood that one person will consistently feel suffocated while the other is feeling rejected or frustrated. The lover will have so many opportunities to electronically court (badger?) their beloved. Their moments of angst and worry will most likely spur them to perpetually text, call and email their beloved. Without enforced time away from their beloved the lover will even more often say and do the wrong thing due to feelings of panic and hormonal desire.

Even for those able to show a little restraint, they may fall prey to the unusual pressure provided by the modern text world I’ve witnessed at the malls. Many of the relationships I had in adolescents were terminated by her “best” friends or her peer group in general. Our relationship could have been going along relatively smoothly but could terminate quite suddenly if one or a few of her friends made fun of me, or considered me uncool.

Most girls would move you into the category of “just friends” when faced with the prospect of having your relationship cause her to be excluded by her friends or lose her status in the group. In the modern text groups it is hard to imagine a boy going very long before one of the girls in her girlfriends entourage going “ew” or “gross” or making some official pronouncement of disgust over what he has texted her.

Heck, my first relationship in 7th grade probably would have lasted less than two days rather than 6 months with that type of scrutiny and pressure to perform.

The post has listed a few of the concerns I have regarding modern technologies impact on the length of young relationships as well as the added pressure it places on people to perpetually perform. Along with this I’ve mentioned the increased likelihood that the ease and pervasiveness of immediate communication will cause the lover to behave like a stalker when wooing the beloved.

Another subject for a later post might be the lack of depth relationships might foster when communication is instant and constant. So much depth and understanding of a relationship is born during times of reflection due to time spent away from your beloved. The majority of my love songs were created during extended periods away from my beloved, when I was allowed an opportunity to savor and appreciate what we had, and time to consider ways on how to improve and hone the beauty of our relationship.

Jim Guido

Philosophy and Relationships and sexuality03 Dec 2009 06:19 pm

The following are some excerpts from the chapter entitled Sex and Intimacy from my book Exploring Intimacy. You can read the entire chapter and book by clicking on the words tab above.

Marriage continues to exist because it represents the ideal of two people living together who mutually support, share and love each other. A marriage is not just a contract, but a vehicle for intimacy.

The most private possession a person owns is their body.

Our bodies are the closest thing to us, because in them is the origination of all our experience. All we feel, think and perceive takes place in our minds and through our skin and senses. Sharing our bodies with another is sharing our experience at the exact moment it happens.

Sex is not just a symbolic way of demonstrating how open we are to each other, it is letting someone into our most private world and letting them have an impact on our every sensation.

Our bodies harbor our individuality and there is no more intimate thing to share with another than what makes us unique.

Making love is not just stimulating our bodies, it is activating and fulfilling our drive towards intimacy.

Maintaining a rewarding and fulfilling sexual relationship is dependent on a couple’s ability to stay intimate with each other.

Anger in relationships is often caused when our desire for union is denied, and the feeling of love is attained when our desire for intimacy and union is successful met.

A desire for and commitment to day-to-day intimacy is the most sure way insuring a life partnership stays fresh and fulfilling. People grow and change and unless both members of a relationship express their needs and take an interest in their partners evolving needs any union can weaken or stagnate.

Instead of just following our heart or marrying the first person we fall in love with we are asked to  ot only recognize but form and maintain intimate relationships.

Intimacy is a skill developed and refined like any other, through practice and constant evaluation.

Only through open communication and intimate knowledge of another can we be reasonably assured that the relationship will endure.

Finding a life partner is a matter of selection and not preordained from the heavens. The success of a relationship depends on the amount and the way we invest ourselves into the relationship, and not on whether we violated some universal law by marrying the wrong partner.

A life partnership which is aware and sensitive to the power of affection and sexual fulfillment is more likely to flourish throughout the years than one that ignores or takes sex for granted.

The trick of sustaining a lifelong relationship is not based on goals such as marrying the most attractive or compatible person you will ever meet, but rather finding a partner with whom you can be intimate for the rest of your life.

Beauty is only skin deep in a relationship not devoted to intimacy. In a relationship built on intimacy attractiveness involves every aspect of the person’s personality and character. Their body not just  a visual object but a vehicle for joy and intimacy.

Whatever the reason for our partner’s decrease in appeal, it is through intimacy that it must be restored.

Sexual confidence is probably the most important quality for an enduring lover to possess. A person who thrives on sexual intimacy is bound to be attractive to their partner, for such a person yearns to please and be pleased by their partner.

All couples need to find their own individual mix of sex and affection which fulfills their needs.

Only through physical exploration and intimate conversation can one ascertain the sexual differences of a couple and how these differences impact their view of love and intimacy.

Knowing your mate’s sexuality before marriage is very important, for even though many sexual preferences can be negotiated or a mutually satisfying compromise can be found, major differences in sexual appetites are almost impossible to overcome. If you like to make love every day and your partner desires to make love once a week, it will be difficult for this gap to be successfully bridged while leaving both people sexually content and emotionally united.

Sometimes the differences in sexual appetites are bridged when the couple reveals and expresses what sex means to them. Often the greater understanding and appreciation gained thorugh such a discussion is enough to get the couple’s appetites more in line with each other.

Each time we make love we have an opportunity to explore and unfold all of our senses, to push the boundaries of physical pleasure and sensual unity a step further. The amount of care and attention we can give to every single sensation and feeling is amplified during love making. Our imagination can be used to assist us in feeling an expressing the intensity of the moment. We can create moods, accent body stimulations, and transform the most simple sensation into a spiritual moment through imagination.

Our imagination is a key participant in intimate love making. Through our imagination we arouse our emotions and desires by acknowledging the importance our partner plays in our life, and in its enjoyment. Our imagination allows us to empathize and even anticipate what our partner is feeling, allowing us an opportunity to maximize the intensity of their pleasure.

One can use their imagination during love making to enhance or create a mood whose goal is increased pleasure and intimacy, or one can use their imagination to deceive, alter or even replace the event taking place.

Sharing of any type is vacant in the romantic hero. The pristine world of the heroine is left intact, she need not grow, of change, or even truly live and share a world with a man. She is spared the tragic life of the real and allowed to live in the unrealistic world of romance.

Intimacy should not have to conform to romance, but romance should conform to intimacy. Romance not tethered to intimacy can become harmful and delusionary.

Both romance and imagination can be effective tools to avoid the reality of a relationship, and therefore, instead of fostering intimacy can actually be used to prevent or weaken intimacy.

I hope these excerpts inspire to read the entire chapter and book. Enjoy.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Relationships and sexuality07 Nov 2009 01:27 pm

When attending recent wedding ceremonies I’ve been struck with how daunting, if not realistic, it is to commit to being with someone for the rest of your life. Being married for 26 years I’m far better equipped now to vow “till death do you part” than I was back then. Any marriage that flourishes even during the hormonal throes of menopause appears quite hale and hearty and able to go the distance.

Given the fact that committing to someone for life is so difficult, it would appear that it would be wise to maximize any factors which propel people towards bonding with each other. When you look at nature nothing propels individuals towards each other than the sex drive. The male sex drive in particular seems to be the impetus towards union.

Though it be true that in any particular pairing a woman’s sex drive may be stronger than their mate, by and large the male sex drive is one of the strongest forces in nature. When watching a nature show it is common to see two male beasts hurdling towards each other at full speed only to butt heads in the most violent of fashions with the sole purpose of winning the right to mate with a female.

While watching from the comfort of a couch women are often shocked and horrified by the spectacle while most men either think “been there, done that”, or at least feel a genuine sense of sympathy for the plight of the participants. Anyone doubting the fact that the male sex drive is stronger than the average female can just ponder how often woman pay for sex as opposed to men.

It is through sexual passion, pleasure and ecstasy that the average person desires to consume or fuse with their mate. It is through sexual passion that one yearns to know every inch of their beloved’s body and being.

Yet, in our society we have a tendency to demonize the male sex drive and demand that men overcome, master or sublimate their sex drive. Men who are open to trying to satiate their sex drive are accused of reducing their mates “to sex objects” or being shallow regarding love and intimacy.

Now I’m not saying that sex is the only important ingredient to a life long union, or that sex cannot be pathological or even a way to avoid intimacy. What I am saying is that sex is a powerful and natural force towards union, and that repressing or demonizing it is counter productive when your goal is life long partnership and union.

Every relationship is going to have difficult lean times when our lives are full of stress and hardship. During such times it if often the pleasure and closeness forged through sexual intimacy which allows the matrimonial bond to survive.

Woman who complain about the pervasiveness of their mates sexual energy are often cutting off the very blood supply that is allowing the marriage to succeed. Differences in sexual appetites is almost a certainty in every relationship, but bridging those differences through understanding and adaptation is very important.

Ridiculing a partner over their elevated desire for passion or demanding that they deny their sex drive is not a strategy leading towards forming a mutually rewarding relationship. Sexual repression, rejection and deprivation are often factors leading towards sexual addiction, promiscuity, infidelity and perversion.

Desiring frequent sex is no more a sign of pathology than enjoying food and yearning to eat is a sign of an eating disorder.

Many complain that the importance of sex in a relationship is exaggerated and over rated, and that true intimacy functions on a higher plain. Yet, most of these same people would leave or divorce their spouse if they found out they “had been unfaithful” or “ had an affair” with someone else. If they really believed that sex is unimportant than they wouldn’t feel betrayed or the relationship destroyed by meaningless sex. If sex wasn’t important than why would almost every culture on earth make fidelity the central component of the marriage vow.

Pleasurable and rewarding sex is probably the single most powerful tool we can use in creating and maintaining a life long intimate relationship. The desire to love every inch of body and being is the best foundation I can think of for building a life long relationship, and sexual intimacy is the most natural and universal drive propelling that desire.

To paraphrase the bard, “I come not to bury Eros (the erotic), but to praise him”.

Sex is not the answer to every problem in a relationship, not even close. But denying, or even ignoring its importance seems fool hearty. I guess one could fell a tree without a saw, but to purposely avoid a saw when your goal is to cut down a tree seems like an awfully silly thing to do.

Jim Guido

PS I have written many posts on the male sex drive and gender issues particularly from August 2007 to March 2008. Also many of my posts have dealt with what I feel is the modern tendency to deny, avoid and demean our humanity.

Art and Gender Issues and Psychology and Relationships and sexuality and Social Issues09 Aug 2009 10:20 am

I’m always amazed at how many of us behave in ways which seem to indicate that we do not view the human body as a thing of beauty? In fact there is much evidence to lead one to conclude that we are not only not happy with our bodies but view them as something to overcome and transcend.

Since the onset of puberty when I started to become attracted to the female form I found the majority of female bodies beautiful in one way or another. It was rare that I found a female form without some alluring or at least redeeming quality. Being heterosexual I was neither drawn to nor desired the male body. Yet, this did not prevent me from admiring my own or other males muscle tone or physique.

As I’ve mentioned many times how the female form has been central to art and the definition of beauty for almost every culture on the planet. Yet, despite this fact there does seem to be a tendency for people to be critical of the human form and in many ways find the human body disgusting or something to overcome or transform.

The use of make up has become more pronounced through the ages. While it can be used to enhance or draw attention to particularly attractive aspects of a person such as their eyes or lips, it also can be used to hide perceived flaws. If you pay attention to the message given in advertising the major role of current make up artistry to cover up flaws and create false impressions rather than accent strengths.

The entire realm of cosmetic surgeries even goes further in its desire to remove flaws and overcome weaknesses. Referring to a woman as a natural beauty is becoming a rarer event, especially amongst females.

The percentage of woman who state that they are happy or even comfortable with their bodies is shockingly low if you believe the statistics in magazine polls and psychological self-esteem studies.

If you look at Woman’s magazine’s beauty ads and photos you see a very narrow and unrealistic form of beauty. The models build and body type look very similar and they are air brushed into a rather cartoon like existence. Though male nudity magazines often tend towards featuring woman with larger breasts and flat stomachs you can still find woman of many varied body types being presented in an erotic fashion. Though the air brushed female is on the rise in male mags there is still plenty of space given to celebrating the varied forms of the female body.

The male form is far less celebrated in our society, and is at least as narrow in its definition of masculine beauty.

Other than a few rare exceptions the general male body is not considered attractive by our culture. In fact many woman state they find a partially or well dressed man far more attractive than a nude one. Not many men would say they prefer a clothed female body over a naked one.

In fact, many woman and men are uncomfortable and even disgusted by the male form. In modern cinema the naked female body is posed as a thing of beauty while the male body is seldom naked as when it is it usually is used a vehicle for comedy. While woman may complain that the female bodies in cinema are unrealistic and idealized, everyone realizes a male cavorting around in his underwear is a recipe for hilarity. A nude woman dancing and bending over is often erotic while a nude man dancing and bending over is used as a comic device in cinema resulting in people laughing and shouting words of disgust such as “gross”.

If people’s discomfort with the sight of the human body is becoming more pronounced it is nothing in comparison to the campaign against the human scent. When was the last time you heard someone praise the natural scent of a person other than their lover or spouse. Our bodies exist in a world of deodorants, perfumes, colognes, and scented shampoos where any trace of a natural human scent is impossible to discern. Any hint of the body’s natural scent would almost usually be viewed as poor hygiene. There use to be a difference between body odor and its scent.

Sure bad breath and stench are to be avoided, but isn’t there a positive role for one’s natural scent. Is the smell of the human body inherently offensive and disgusting? And if we feel the human scent repulsive what does it say about our view of ourselves and humanity in general.

In future posts I’ll take a look at other ways in which we show a dislike for our very humanity, sense of self, and experience of life. Yet, before concluding today I want to offer a couple more observations regarding our view of the male form and beauty.

If you’re male try to spend some time listening to female’s inn conversation, if you’re female pay attention to how central the concept of beauty is to feminine dialogue. When entering a house, or a shop or when first meeting another female it is rare that no observation or compliment regarding the beauty or physical appeal of something is not made within seconds. Something worn or in the room or changed is noted or praised. A new hair style, clothing, ear rings, etc, will be noted, or the feel or look of some object will be brought to everyone’s attention.

Over then last few years I’ve been astounded by the percentage of conversation time females spend assessing, appreciating and describing the sight, feel, smell and taste of beautiful things. Yet, despite this preoccupation with beauty and beautiful things how rare it is for woman to appreciate or articulate the beauty of the male form.

Males who seldom talk of the beauty of objects, on the other hand, generally view the female form as the height of beauty. This irony is depicted in the following lyrics from Preening Like a Peacock.

Preening Like A Peacock

Preening like a peacock hormones out of control
Preening like a peacock putting on the show

Women find beauty in natural things
Sunrise/sunset, seashores and gems
Women see beauty in many things
Flowers, colors, in fashion and rings

She sees beauty everywhere, preening like a peacock
Why is she looking way over there, preening like a peacock

A woman feels beauty in every touch
In satin, silks and in a baby’s flesh
A woman smells beauty in every sniff
In perfumes, herbs and floral scents

Spending hours smelling roses or buying a new top

A man sees beauty in the girl of his dreams
His temptress, his partner, his goddess his queen
A man finds beauty in a woman’s form
A breast, a thigh, a hip bone exposed

She is the goal of art
She is his anchor and spark
She gives the milk of life
Without her he shrivels and dies

A man feels beauty in the passion of curves
Flowing from buttock to the small of the back
A man feels completion with a woman in tow
She’s his altar, his Eden, his castle and throne

While I preen my feathers I feel oh so hot
Every time I feel I’m pretty I hear the bubble pop

Nothing pleases like a maiden in heat
Itching for pleasure from her head to her feet

Yet lust fades as quick as it comes
From an 8 course banquet to a stick of gum
In a woman’s world of beauty men don’t make the cut
A few handsome faces maybe and the occasional butt

But we’ll never really get it, we’ll continue to strut
We’ll shake our tail feathers thinking we’re too much
We’ll shake our tail feathers we’ll strut our stuff

To listen to this song go to the Priorities CD in the music section.

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

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