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The Burden of Male Sexuality

I was born with certain desires.

These desires might be thought of as a pleasure. Superficially they are.
But in a deeper sense they are the greatest burden of my life.

It is hard to be male in North American society and not exist in a
near-perpetual state of hard sexual arousal. Everywhere I go I am
surrounded by flitting mini-skirts, alluring midriffs, saucy magazine
covers, racy songs, whispered teases. In the movies, in the televisions,
on the radio, there is no escape, no escape from the female form whose
image has such power over my senses.

My head tries to tell me that women are not sexual playthings for men, that
they are human beings with needs of their own and an agenda of their own.
The voice of authority lashes out at me, saying that a woman's mind, heart,
and soul counts for more than her body, that a meeting of minds must
precede a meeting of loins.

But my loins have a life of their own, and they are irresistibly drawn more
to some body types than others. I know the devastating effect body image
problems have on women's self-esteem. I know the average girl begins her
first diet at age 9. I see the debilitated ranks of the anorexics and the
bulimics, victims of society's obsession with the thin. Not society's
obsession. My obsession. And the guilt lies like a malevolent Damoclean
sword over my head.

Voices lash out at me, voices I have picked up over the years. "Men don't
care about anything but my boobs." "I wish I could find a man who liked my
mind more than my legs." "All men think about is sex." "Why are men so
damned horny?" "I hate being treated as a sex object." "Why do men insist
that women look like supermodels?"

Intellectually, I cannot disagree with any of this. But when I am sitting
in the subway and a woman in revealing clothing strolls in, I lose control
of my eyes. I am mesmerized, fascinated, enthralled by the unearthly
spectacle of heavenly beauty before me. Sometimes tears come to my eyes.

And then the guilt strikes like an icy sword, "Keep your eyeballs to
yourself, you pervert!" What woman would love me knowing the strength and
maniacal obsessions of my sexuality? What woman could accept being
objectified, being lusted after, being hungered for? Surely none. Any
woman who knew this side of me would want nothing further to do with me,
and with good reason.

So I spare women the torments I have to offer them, and make do with
furtive viewings of magazines and videos and lonely and futile masturbatory
fantasies late at night.

Thus the lusts of the flesh and the longings of the heart do war with each
other. And war is hell.


Soc-phob, Jan. 4, 1998.