Here’s the thing, ladies: I don’t want to have sex with you. I know I’m supposed to. I’m supposed to want sex the way a guy in a beer commercial wants a brew: consuming my every thought, driving my every impulse, fueling my workouts, rousing me from slumber, inspiring my creativity, and propelling me through Abercrombie & Fitch with my credit card out, saliva dribbling from the corners of my mouth, and semen leaking from the pant legs of my skinny jeans. But I don’t. And I bet a lot of other guys don’t, either.
Male libido is assumed to be a constant, quivering thrum. For some men, maybe it is. But for me, as much as I enjoy the old in-n-out, the rubba-dub-dubba, the squeak-n-bubble, I have never craved it the way our culture has led me to believe I should, not even during my fabled Horny Years from ’91 to ’95. Except for those moments when I was in the first throes of a new love, sex has never subsumed me. Yet every cultural message I receive has led me to believe it should. Consequently, my lack of nymphomaniacal tendencies has always left me feeling embarrassed and emasculated.
It’s a topic I never hear men discuss. Men assume each other to be as randy as baboons during red butt season. When we discuss sex at all, we talk about it in terms of desire, never a lack of desire. Never have I been at a backyard barbecue and heard, “Man, what I wouldn’t give to not fuck Angelina Jolie.” Or “Bro, given the choice between having sex with some random bitch or reading a good book, I’d probably choose the book.”
But that’s how I feel. I just don’t want sex that much.
It’s strange. Men feel like they have to conform to some idea of masculinity that bears the same relationship to normal sexuality as professional bodybuilding does to normal human musculature. Was it always like this? Did men always have this pressure on them to maintain (or pretend to maintain) a hypertrophic sex drive?
Why is sex such a dominant cultural theme now, and why does it seem to only be getting worse? Women have been rightly bitching about this for years, but men never seem to complain. Personally, I hate it. I hate the way men are stereotyped as sex-starved cock robots. It’s just such a basic pop culture premise that it doesn’t even get questioned; men want to fuck. All the time. Ideally while watching shit blow up.
But masculinity is far more complicated and subtle than that. Yes, it involves getting laid. But for me, fucking isn’t even in the top five attributes of what it means to be a man. My top five are:
Fucking comes sixth. To me, sex isn’t even about sex. Fundamentally, it’s about acceptance, having somebody desire you enough to allow you to envelop them and wanting that person to envelop you in return. When the culture tells me I’m not having enough of it, it seems like what it’s telling me is that the culture itself does not accept me. What can I do to become more acceptable? Buy those jeans, drive that car, smother myself in Axe body spray. It’s a losing battle. I can never accumulate enough stuff—money, lovers—to satisfy the itch our shitty culture is causing. If anything, it’s like a venereal disease; the more I scratch at it, the worse I end up feeling.
I want to be a good man. I feel like I am a good man. I’m just not a horny man. Unless we’re talking about BJs.