zondag 8 februari 2015

A Pernicious Theory Of Human Sexuality

It's not a secret that I often find ideas for new posts by simply browsing the net. So some time ago I read a news site where folks were discussing ISIS (they come often in the news as of late) and related issues. One man was wondering how it was possible that there were women who would choose this type of guy and want to have a relationship with him. His curiosity sounded genuine enough but there was more than curiosity in his attitude. He saw women giving attention to that type of man as "reward" and wondered how can any woman reward a "bad" guy with her love.

I don't know how old this guy was but honestly what I find surprising is that there are so many men who are totally clueless about the way human sexuality works. If they are honest, they'll admit that men are attracted to certain physical attributes in women and that women who are perceived as "hot" are getting much more male attention, even if they have nasty attitudes, than girls who are more pleasant but plain. They understand the laws of attraction when they relate to men, but somehow think that it works different with women.

This ignorance is probably partly explained by the fact that at least since Victorian times (male) authors were writing books where women who had a choice between several men, invariably chose a good if boring guy to his dashing arrogant rival. This was portrayed as a reward for the said boring guy's great moral qualities. I vividly remember reading similar books as a teenage girl and always wondering why my sympathies were all for handsome scoundrels and not for boring "good guys".

Just to give you a couple of examples, one book was a story set in medieval England where the heroine was a daughter of  a Jewish convert to Christianity and his English wife, engaged to her English cousin. She got kidnapped by a handsome dashing Spaniard, an illegitimate son of a duke and an Arabian princess with ambitions for the throne of Spain. Predictably, she chooses her boring English cousin, because the other guy "is a scoundrel.'' She also bosses this said cousin around which made him even more beta in my eyes. Well, at least, he was good with the sword even though he normally worked as an accountant.

Another story is probably more famous as it was made into a movie called Quo Vadis. I watched it long ago and also read the book long ago, so I may be mistaken in some details, but the plot goes as follows: a dashing arrogant aristocrat Vinicius who is an army officer falls in love with a girl who is a hostage in Rome and a Christian convert. The girl rejects him because of his wickedness. Later he converts to Christianity and suddenly starts worshipping the ground on which the girl walks and later they marry. Well, personally I always found the arrogant wicked Vinicius in the beginning of the book much more attractive than the grovelling one.

What I'm trying to say is that the idea that women only get sexually attracted to "good guys" is just as ridiculous as an idea that any man would choose a virtuous but plain girl over a wicked "hot" one. Just like men, women are sexual beings and there are certain qualities in men which they find attractive, such as dominance, ambition, confidence and the like; in the same way that men find certain physical attributes attractive in women (we all know which). When you look at it this way as a man, you also won't get bitter because (some) women choose "bad boys". Sexual attraction is neutral, the same way men react to a beautiful woman, without even knowing what her character and morals are.

Now human attraction is, of course, a complex thing, and there is a difference between finding someone sexually attractive and a suitable marriage partner, for instance. You can also socialise both boys and girls to look beyond superficial sexual attractiveness to things which really matter in life; however, the danger lies in the fact that too many people, both men and women see female choices as moral in themselves, i.e. they are taught to believe that a woman will always choose a man based purely on his good morals, and not on other qualities, which appeal to her lower nature.

They effectively deny that a woman can possess this "lower nature" in the way the man does. As a result, we have the situation when grown-up men are surprised that some woman, any woman can "reward" unworthy man with her love. It's never good to deny reality. Let "the pretty lies" perish!

15 opmerkingen:

  1. Housewife from Finland9 februari 2015 om 04:54

    I must be exception then. I like reading romantic novels ( those silly paperbacks you can buy in grocery store) but it annoys me that heros are so often somewhat bad and that doesn't attract me at all.

    Now I am not saying that men should'nt be masculine. I like smart, strong, silent types who can hunt and fish and do sports like my husband. ;) But I have never really thought that being a scoundrel would make any man hot. But then again, I think being "bad" or "scoundrel" is weakness. And childish. Most women seem to think that bad equals strong.

    Of course Rhett Butler is more attractive than Ashley Wilkes. But that is not because he is bad; it is because every other man in Gone With the Wind is weak -and childish. I recall Scarlett thinking one time that Rhett was the only man she knew she couldn't think as "boy".

    Of course pheromones can make us feel that some random guy is hot -as long as he keeps his mouth shut.

    But I am an anomaly -a very picky one- in many ways. When I was younger, I never understood why other girls admired Kurt Cobain or other popstars. I mean he was a singer and a drug addict. Total no-no for me. Singing just isn't masculine for me. Or admiring some actor; I may have been in love with character, but never with the actor himself - I mean acting, what kind of a job that is for a MAN? ;)

    I think girls should be thaught to be more picky when it comes to men. That would help them to avoid biggest mistakes and men would be forced to try harder to be better men. And of course girls should be thaught how to became worthy for these better men. :)

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  2. The men in those books weren't attractive because they were scoundrels, but because they were more masculine than supposed "good guys", the way Rhett Butler was more attractive than Ashley Wilkes. However, the authors tried to convey the meaning that masculine traits aren't at all attractive to women, if the guy who possesses them is "bad", which is, of course, not true.

    Especially Quo Vadis, the problem wasn't that Vinicius converted to Christianity and stopped being a scoundrel, but that he totally lost all his assertiveness and dominance and started pedestalising the object of his love in the most nauseating manner comparing her to Virgin Mary (at least, in the book, in the movie, I think, they toned down this part) and what not. I mean how attractive it is when a guy grovels to you?

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  3. Both male and female sexuality has a dark side to it, and both men and women can and should learn self-control and how to suppress their less wholesome urges, but it's silly to deny that they exist, or to pretend that women are pure asexual beings or that they are more moral than men and never motivated by their lower instincts.

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  4. Housewife from Finland9 februari 2015 om 09:37

    Ok, I misunderstood you first. I don't remember Quo Vadis so well. I might have skipped the end of the book because all that torturing was so horrible. Or then I mix it up with some other book.

    It is also very common in those romantic novels that when the hero falls in love, he then start that groveling. Well maybe not groveling but worshipping their loved ones. And that is quite a "turn-off".

    I think my lover instincts are always dominated by reason (some people would propably think THAT is as low as it gets). I may have found some guy attractive in physical level but I would never, ever, ever forget his background infromation. I could totally ignore physical attraction -or it would even vanish- if then man was uneducated, unemployed, drinking too much etc. I now that many people think that is too calculating but I cannot understand how women can fall in love with men who are maybe hot, but nothing else. As Marilyn Monroe said in Gentlemen Pprefer Blondes: "It is just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is with a poor man." (now my husband isn't rich but you got my point.)

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  5. Well, I don't remember it so well myself as it was a long time ago that I read it:) That's, however, an impression that I have of it, and I do remember the movie was different because it was made in the 1950s when they generally portrayed men as more masculine.

    I do believe in marriage based (at least partly) on reason and I have written about it on this blog. That's what my French teacher used to call "a middle class marriage" :) I'm very much opposed to the modern idea that "love" (which more often than not means lust) should be the only basis for marriage.

    I guess the point I was trying to make is that women can be led by their passions into getting involved with a wrong type of man, and it happens more often that people think, especially in our society that teaches us to follow our feelings above all else.

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  6. To give you another example from literature, Milady Winter from The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas is a *itch, a whore and a murderess and yet men keep falling for her because she is kinda hot, and nobody is surprised. Nobody says, o horrors, how is that possible? We pretty much expect men to follow their lower nature, don't they say that men think with you know what? well, the same can happen to women, too! They can also get attracted to men of less than sterling character, and choose to disregard the warning signs.

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  7. Interesting conversation between you two. Enjoying reading it. I'm curious - What language does the Housewife from Finland write in? Is everything written in English? I believe very strongly that love is a verb. We don't fall in or out of love - we choose to love. There is no guarantee that the person we marry remains that same person. There are accidents, brain injuries, etc. Loving someone for only physical traits is a roadmap for disaster.

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    Reacties
    1. Housewife from Finland10 februari 2015 om 04:30

      Commenting this blog I write in English. But it is not my native language (finnish is) so if I sometimes fail to make sense it is because of that. :) I also have to check spelling quite often which makes me loose my idea...

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  8. I agree, up to a point. Since marriage includes sexual part to it, it can be pretty disastrous to marry someone you find physically unattractive, too. Husband and wife are supposed to desire each other.

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  9. Housewife from Finland10 februari 2015 om 04:39

    I think people should marry people who are both attractive enough AND good people and smart and whatever you want from your spouse. Far too often people seem to settle with less -because it is so easy to change partner- and that causes lots of misery.

    Abouyt Milady: most of the times she did act to men, they didn't now how awful she was. Remember her seducing John Felton by pretending she is decent and devoted Puritan? Did anybody lust after her AFTER they knew what a monster she was?

    But I do agree with you that sometimes both men and women seem to be willing to ignore a great deal of idiotism, bad manners or whatever if the counterpart just is hot enough. I think it is pure idiocy. Maybe because as you said people confuse lust with love and our culture is too lust and (romantic)love oriented.

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  10. D'Artagnan:) The last chapter when they were going to behead her and she called to him for help, he nearly succumbed. And even Atos later regretted what they had done. I think that's the point the author was trying to make, that a beautiful woman is dangerous as she has an enormous power over men.

    I think we as a society realise full well what makes men tick, but we have nearly forgotten what makes women tick. Hint: being a pushover is not one of them:)

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  11. Housewife from Finland11 februari 2015 om 05:58

    I always thought they were just feeling guilty for beheading a WOMAN, and really are not in love with her anymore.

    But I agree with the latter paragraph. Here in Finland some men spend their time in internet, complaining how fascist (!!!) and evil and stupid women are, because all they want is violent alpha-male and these good, decent God's gifts to womankind stay ignored and most importantly, do not get laid. (pardon my language.)

    They just ignore the fact that being decent and good is not ENOUGH. Usually these men are what we finns call "Mittens"; pushovers and pitying themselves and whining. And then they wonder why nobody is interested in them. Usually they are also in bad shape and seem to despise sporty men. And women, who like sporty men better are of course shallow. (Need I mention that they themselves would not have a fat and ugly girl, oh no. Girls must be pretty but demanding the same from men is shallow.)

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  12. That was my point a bit, that just like men have certain preferences for women, so do women for men. Those preferences are neutral in themselves, neither good nor bad. A man can be assertive and confident and moral, or immoral, the way a beautiful woman can be moral or immoral. Even if she is an evil witch, she still IS hot and there will always be men who find her attractive. The same works for "alpha" men. That's why young people should be taught to look beyond superficial attractiveness, at the person's character.

    BTW, if women are fascist, then those men who complain are socialist, since they seem to think they are entitled to a good wife/woman without giving anything back:) (what we call over here "free for nothing") I noticed this attitude, too. Some guys seem to shame women for not falling for losers the way feminists shame men for not liking fat women:)

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  13. I mean why the heck should someone apologise for the things he/she finds attractive in the opposite sex? It's biology!!!!

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