Tag Archives: polygamy

Double Standards And How They Screw Both Genders Over

A couple years ago, I took a trip to New Orleans. While I was there, I frequented many bars on Bourbon Street, as many people do when they visit the Big Easy. In doing so, I noticed a common theme of sorts, one that highlighted some rather annoying differences between men and women.

It played out in two distinct scenarios. If you’re a man sitting by yourself at the bar, slamming back cheap beer and tequila shots while occasionally glancing towards the pretty girls, then congratulations. You’re a creeper. You couldn’t be more creepy if you wore clown makeup and had a machete growing out of your ass.

The second scenario is the exact same situation, but with a woman. If you’re a woman sitting by yourself at the bar, slamming back the same cheap beer and doing just as many shots of tequila while glancing towards any man, then congratulations. You’re probably going to get laid that night and chances are you won’t have to worry much about your reputation. It’s New Orleans. Like Las Vegas, the whole city may as well be a giant mulligan.

This highlights an annoyingly common, but not wholly illogical double standard between men and women. Call it the slut-versus-stud dilemma. Call it unbalanced sexual dynamics. Call it anything you want. It’s still a frustrating inconsistency for anyone who claims to value freedom, gender equality, and everything Rick Santorum stands against.

We all know how this inconsistency plays out. A man goes out, has sex with two Japanese twins, a Sweedish bikini model, and a Russian gymnast in one night. The next day, he gets high-fives and praises form all his friends. Hell, some them will want to smell his cock just to get a whiff of the sweet scent of pussy. The man is a stud.

On that same night, a woman of the same age and level of attractiveness goes out and has sex with a bouncer, two joggers, and one of Brad Pitt’s stunt doubles. The next day, she’ll probably endure an intervention from her family and friends. What kind of woman goes out and has that much sex for no other reason than because she enjoys it? She’s a slut. There must be something wrong with her. End sarcasm.

It’s one of those unspoken rules that some will talk about, but in the wrong way for the wrong reason. When it comes up, it usually focuses on the slut-shaming that women endure for wanting to have more sex than society deems appropriate. This sucks too. Slut-shaming in general is a major dick move, if that’s not too fitting a term. However, there are two sides to this coin and I’d like to talk about the other side.

I don’t deny it. When a woman goes out and has more sex than celibate priests say is acceptable, she gets a lot of shit for that. It can affect her family and friendships. It can affect her job prospects. Hell, female teachers have been fired for being too sexy. That sucks. That’s an injustice. We, as a society, should call bullshit on that.

However, let’s at least try to be fair because there is a part of the male perspective that’s equally unjust. Sure, a man probably won’t lose his job if he has sex with ten bikini models over the weekend, but there’s another injustice within that dynamic that should also be called out.

It manifests in the form of expectations and assumptions that men and women share about sexual intimacy. I’ve mentioned it before when I’ve talked about sexual promiscuity. Our current culture, with respect to gender dynamics, sets it up so that men have to jump through all these hoops to even have a chance at getting sex.

Those hoops include going out on dates, paying for meals, giving rides, offering expensive gifts, remaining in constant contact, and accommodating the woman in every way in hopes that she’ll decide he’s worth seeing naked. Every woman has a different set of standards, but at the end of the day, she’s still the primary decision-maker. A man can jump through all of these hoops, and even a few he doesn’t have to, and she can still decides he doesn’t get sex.

Needless to say, this can be annoying and frustrating to men. It’s a reason why some men hold deeply misogynistic views. That’s also part of the reason why men respect and admire those who can get so much sex without jumping through all these hoops. They’re like gurus or infomercial salesmen. They have skills and insights that we want to mimic, copy, or buy.

We’re men too. We want sex too. We want to know the tricks of the trade. That’s why we’ll eagerly befriend others who have better success at getting sex from women. That’s why we won’t shame them and will make every possible excuse to defend them. We want to be like them, learn from them, and draw from their experience.

Using caveman logic again, this makes perfect sense. Like all living creatures, we’re hard-wired for two major imperatives: survival and reproduction. If there are any ways to improve our efforts with the latter, we’ll be inclined to do it and make every possible excuse to justify it.

This means that men’s pursuit of sex isn’t always rational or ethical, for that matter. We’ll make whatever excuses we have to because it’s a biological imperative. Those imperatives tend to trump laws, culture, and social norms. Biology doesn’t give a damn what sort of arbitrary rules we make or what deities we conjure. We need to survive and reproduce, damn it!

So let’s revisit that frustrating double standard. Let’s re-evaluate it with the perspective of both the man and woman in mind. There’s a lot we can say about it. There’s a lot to interpret. Thankfully, a brilliant comedian named Jim Jefferies has already nicely summed it up with the following anecdote.

Once again, comedy tends to echo with a harsh truth. Now I would take issue with his concept of how fair this double standard is. It’s debatable what constitutes fair in matters of sex and gender dynamics.

It does, however, highlight the deeper inequalities that only make some amount of sense when we look at it through the harsh lens of caveman logic. Despite what radical feminist types may claim, men and women are very different.

The human race, like many species, is sexually dimorphic. That’s just a fancy sciencey way of saying that the different genders of a species exhibit unique characteristics beyond having different body parts to rub together. Human beings have plenty of those characteristics. We’re different in terms of muscles, body hair, facial structures, bone structure, hormone balance, and all sorts of other characteristics that I’m not qualified to describe.

The most defining trait, however, is that women are the ones who bear the babies. Men only provide the seeds. That means there’s an inherent imbalance in the sexual dynamics at play. If a man has sex with 25 women in one night, he has a chance to get them all pregnant with his genes and, thereby, propagating the species as his biological imperative says. A woman, on the other hand, can have sex with 25 men, but still only have one or two children in that same time-frame.

This is where the caveman logic bleeds right into basic economics. Nature is crude, blunt, and doesn’t give two whiffs of a skunk’s ass about our assumptions and expectations about sex. Nature just wants our species to survive and reproduce. That means it’ll follow crude incentives.

Now that’s not to say we should just accept these injustices and imbalances. We shouldn’t. Slut-shaming women and deifying promiscuous men to the extent we do asinine, even by the standards of basic biology and caveman logic.

Our attitudes and expectations towards sex and gender dynamics are skewed. It gets teachers fired. It makes social outcasts of people who don’t deserve it. It also creates every annoying antagonist in every teen movie ever made. We don’t need more of that in our society. We don’t need to distance ourselves from one another more than our genders already do.

We can’t circumvent our biological imperatives or our caveman brains beyond a certain extent. We just tend to push that extent way farther than it needs to be. There are injustices and inequalities in our current attitudes towards men, women, and sex. These injustices and inequalities are making it harder for us to relate to one another, to understand one another, and (most importantly) to love one another.

We can acknowledge our inherent differences on a biological basis. We can modify our attitudes towards how we go about sex, how we pursue relationships, and how we relate to one another. It takes work, more so than an aspiring erotica/romance writer can provide alone. I hope my books can inspire others to re-shape those attitudes.

Unjust assumptions can only lead to unjust actions. Unequal attitudes can only lead to unequal understandings. At the end of the day, we’re still wired to seek out love and intimacy with one another. Let’s not make it harder on ourselves.

16 Comments

Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights

Monogamy May Be Going Extinct (Too Soon)

A big part of being a romance/erotica writer is finding new ways to explore romantic and sexual love in novel ways. Let’s face it. There are only stories you can tell about love at first sight. Those themes are as old as Shakespeare and it’s hard to make those stories interesting these days.

There’s still a place for these kinds of bland, basic love stories and there always will be. I’ve certainly used those elements in my own books. We’re an affectionate species. We love to love every bit as much as we love to hump. However, the ways in which loving and humping manifest will change with time, culture, biology, economics, and whatever happens to be a popular internet meme at the time.

There are already some ongoing trends that are making religious zealots, registered republicans, and anyone overly fond of the 1950s very nervous. According to the Centers for Disease Control, marriage rates are declining. Divorce is declining as well, but that’s to be expected when people aren’t getting married in the first place.

If that weren’t horrifying enough to the “Father Knows Best” crowd, the average number of sexual partners isn’t one. According to the CDC, men average approximately 6.7 sexual partners over the course of their lifetime while women average around 4.3. Seeing as how men tend to exaggerate the amount of panties they’ve moistened and women underestimate how often their panties get moist, let’s just call it an even 5.0 for both genders.

For some people, these numbers are truly terrifying. It means people are daring to love more than one person over the course of their lifetime. It means they’re daring to have sex for reasons that don’t involve consummating a marriage, making a baby, or showing homosexuals on how it should be done. The horror.

I hope everyone can appreciate the sarcasm in that last paragraph because this really shouldn’t be terrifying. People have sex. People love more than one person. It happens because people are complicated creatures. We can’t even agree over pizza toppings and ice cream flavors. How can we possibly agree on the right way to love and make love to one another?

I say this as someone who comes from a family that has a fair number of divorces and a fair number of marriages that’ll probably last until the sun explodes. I know how erratic and fickle our passions can be. It makes sense that our eyes, as well as other parts of our bodies, would wander.

I’ve talked about it before on this blog. Our bodies and our biology don’t know that we live in an era of Tinder, internet porn, and no fault divorce. As far as our brains are concerned, we’re still hunting and gathering in close-knit tribes on the plains of the African savanna.

Within those tribes, monogamy can happen, but it’s not the only way our passions manifest. In some cases, like when women die in childbirth or men die hunting sabretooth tigers, we need to be able to share our passions with others.

Loving more than one person doesn’t just make sense from a biological perspective. It makes sense in that it ties us together closer as a tribe. If we love each other and want to have sex with each other, we’ll be that much more dedicated to protecting and supporting each other. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s also a sexy thing. Even the most ardent clergyman or nun can’t deny that.

So when I hear stories about how monogamy is in decline or that family institutions are decaying, I want to roll my eyes and bash my head into a brick wall. This sentiment gives the false impression that monogamy has always been the end all/be all of sex, love, and relationships. That’s just not how the world works. It’s not how we’re wired as humans. It’s not even the theme of most sitcoms anymore, as “Modern Family” can attest.

So who is claiming that monogamy is in decline? It isn’t just the usual cast of clowns from the overly religious types who think their particular deity wants them to micromanage every aspect of our personal lives. Even more liberal types, like the Young Turks, are proclaiming loudly that monogamy and family life is going the way of disco, bell-bottom pants, and the Macarana.

Now I can understand the doom-saying from both sides. They’re looking at the same data and noticing the same trends. People just aren’t getting married, having children, and living around a white picket fence for the rest of their lives anymore. For some strange reason, this life doesn’t appeal to every member of the human species. Go figure.

That’s more sarcasm by the way. Sarcasm is necessary when addressing any form of doom-saying, be it from wide-eyed hippie liberals or fire and brimstone loving religious nuts. However, this sentiment that monogamy is in serious decline is worth taking seriously, if only because it means I may have to tweak the themes of my books.

As I’ve noted before, the current economics for marriage and monogamy are shit. The legal framework in which love and marriage operate are woefully unequal. In some ways, men get screwed over. In some ways, women get screwed over. It is a horribly unequal, inefficient institution that may as well have been crafted by divorce lawyers getting paid by the hour.

Since I’ve beat that dead horse more than it needs to be beaten, I won’t go off on another rant about why divorce sucks and why expectations of monogamy are unrealistic. I don’t think I need to belabor those points than I already have. However, there is one element to this sentiment that I think is worth pointing out and it’s something the Young Turks even discussed to a certain extent.

While it may be true that marriage and monogamy are in decline, it’s not necessarily declining in an equitable manner. What do I mean by that? Well, in the same way that divorce and marriage laws are woefully unbalanced, our cultural concepts of sex, romance, and gender relations are just as out of whack.

It isn’t because of the rise of feminism or radical feminism. It isn’t because of men losing their edge or fearfully protecting their male privilege either. In many respects, the problem has to do with the lingering impact that our uptight, puritanical, monogamy-loving culture still has.

Keep in mind, we still live in a culture where women can’t agree on whether Kim Kardashian showing her naked body on the internet counts as empowering or shameful. We live in a culture where a man can’t just walk up to a woman, say she has nice breasts, and not dread being sued for sexual harassment. We live in an environment where false accusations of sexual assault can ruin lives.

In other words, our current culture isn’t ready to let go of monogamy. We’re still kind of stuck on it. We still have these strange, skewed expectations about how men and women relate to one another, both romantically and sexually.

We expect women to be reserved and prudish, never freely engaging in sex with as many men as she wants. If she does, we as a society just assume there’s something wrong with her and go out of our way to shame her. It can’t possibly be that she just enjoys having sex and all the toe-curling pleasure it gives her.

We also expect men to be aggressive, pig-headed brutes who would gladly hump a dead cow if it looked enough like Jennifer Lawrence’s ass. If a man goes out and humps every woman within his area code, then he’s just being a man. If he actually goes out of his way to love and be faithful to one woman, then he must be a total pussy.

You see the problem with these expectations? Now try to imagine a society functioning without monogamy. It just can’t work. Our collective heads will explode from all the double standards, hypocrisy, and conflicting biological imperatives.

The fact remains that gender relations in our current society are just too fucked up right now. They’re too unequal. They’re too imbalanced for monogamy to decline to the extent that doomsayers fear. I’ll let the immortal Eric Duckman sum it up in the most crude, offensive way possible.

It’s unavoidable. Men and women today aren’t ready for a post-monogamous society. Too many of us still cling to the “Father Knows Best” principles of how love, relationships, and sex should manifest. Almost as many cling to the politically correct sentiment that one gender must be guilted and shamed to no end for past injustices. It seems like there’s no way for society to achieve a healthy balance.

I try to be more optimistic than that. Our society always has room for improvement. Trends change. Cultural attitudes change. We, as a species, are great at adapting to new conditions. It’s part of what makes us the dominant species on this planet.

We tend to be slow, clumsy, and inept as hell when adapting our culture to new conditions, but we do get around to it. I believe that at some point, the incentives for a truly balanced understanding of love, relationships, and sex will be greater than the forces driving us apart.

It may take a long time, but it’s one of those goals that is worth the wait and the effort. It’s a goal I hope to explore in my books in various ways. I might not be able to speed up the process, but I can at least make the wait entertaining and sexy as hell.

4 Comments

Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights