In my last blog, I pointed to testosterone as being half of the reason for male horndoggedness, the other half being emotional in nature. Some women had trouble accepting the vast testosterone differential, and the part this hormone plays in desire for both genders, but a massive difference between the sexes is established scientific fact that has been studied and proven extensively (though men’s testosterone levels have been going down over the last 40 years). This next part of my thesis is more experimental and almost completely overlooked.
I submit that a big part of the reason males are so interested in physical intimacy is their need for emotional intimacy. A little background: in patriarchal societies around the world, boys are pushed off their mother’s lap around age 4 or 5 and quickly trained to become “little men.” If dad isn’t around — which has generally been the case in post-industrial societies — the boys quickly fixate on fantasy or sport heroes as a way to develop some sense of identity (however shaky that might be). Now Mom’s not even around in an increasing numbers of cases.
What this scenario essentially means is that, even though they are almost completely emotionally dependent upon maternal nurture, these boys must learn to deny that fact and suck it up, lopping off huge bits of their natural emotional range for the sake of developing a more stoic “masculine” (i.e. military) self-image. For the rest of their lives, the only emotions most of these males will feel comfortable displaying are anger, competitive aggression and lust.
But their inner child is not done with them — not by a long shot. That deprived little guy still needs emotional nourishment and physical affection, and will act out in all kinds of ways, be it sexual or becoming wimpy. In contrast with females, however, he often cannot get nurturing energy from his own kind. In short, I submit that the need for emotional nourishment is a huge unrecognized component of why hetero men so strongly desire sexual contact. It’s a two-fer — not only is the testosterone-fueled urge temporarily satisfied, but sex is one way that masculine-oriented men can allow themselves to receive a bit of deep affection without feeling embarrassed about it.
I have checked this theory out with several of my more thoughtful male friends and they all agree that men are dependent upon women far more than women are dependent on them (even in cases where they are financially supporting their partner). Of course, there are millions of exceptions — and plenty of lonely people of both sexes — but it’s obvious to me that women have recourse to other women for emotional support (whether they use that or not) — and have so much more oxytocin than men (the bonding hormone) — whereas men’s ability to hold and emotionally support each other, etc. is almost totally inhibited in our culture. Once again, the experience of females and males is VERY different!
In my Anatomy of a Horndog theory, half the reason men are horndogs — more and more so as they get past their 20’s — is a secret desire for emotional nourishment, for which they (and everybody else) are dependent on women (or more sadly, just fantasies of women). To whatever extent this is true, it is denied by everybody, especially including men themselves (which is why I’m bringing it up). Few people seem to care, but as long as this unseen driver goes unnamed, the most important ingredient — emotional bonding — for intimacy remains missing in action.
Admittedly, there may be some of my own personal discoveries popping up here, but it’s more than that for me — for I can’t help but believe the romantic notion that deep intimacy between men and women would be one of the most powerful catalysts for the collective healing of our damaged planet. If so, the most relevant follow-up question is how can we help men heal their lovesickness without asking them to lop off other vital parts? I think using the I Ching for greater self-awareness is a good way to start! 🙂