Nadia Bokody: Weird sex lies men tell themselves - petsitterbank

Nadia Bokody: Weird sex lies men tell themselves

Nadia Bokody says the pressure for men to act out their masculinity through sex has toxic consequences in and out of the bedroom.

A few weeks ago, I met a guy at a party whom I instantly hit it off with.

After much dancing and far too many glasses of rose, we decided to meet again for a purely platonic dinner (we’re both gay) the following week.

Between mouthfuls of pasta, he told me about the numerous investment properties he owned, his seven-figure trust fund, and the Tesla he’d just bought. I assumed it was a monologue designed to impress me, but I found it all very dull and superficial.

As the night wore on though, he relaxed and opened up about his strained relationship with his parents since coming out as gay, and the loneliness he felt on account of having few close friends. It was an unexpected display of vulnerability that prompted me to reach across the table, place a hand on his arm from him, and say, “you have me now”.

It would have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship love story, except that, a week later, someone who’d seen us together on Instagram anonymously urged me to Google him, and I discovered he was in fact a fraudster, under investigation for conning people into giving him money after convincing them he was wealthy.

Although we tend to think of lying as a habit of with artists and shady types, it’s actually ubiquitous – we all do it, every day – though its utility tends to differ between men and women.

Research suggests women lie mostly for prosocial reasons (that is, being dishonest with others to spare their feelings – “Don’t be ridiculous, I LOVE the sweater you bought me!”), whereas men tend to manipulate the truth in more self- serving ways.

Most of us are familiar with the old joke about how women can’t parallel park because we’ve been lied to about how big six inches really is (*Ba-Dum-Tss!*); it’s an archaic sexist gag, but it does reflect a universal truth about the kind of tall such men are most likely to employ.

We know, for example, the majority of women have faked an orgasm at some point, and yet, there appear to be almost no men who believe they’ve been on the receiving end of this ruse.

Every time I write about performative female sexual pleasure, I’m overwhelmed with protests from guys on social media declaring I’m inflating a very rare issue.

“You’ve clearly never been with the right man!” is a popular trope among men who seem convinced every sexual encounter they’ve ever had has resulted in a woman’s climax.

This self-deception – and more so, the compulsion to make these kinds of assertions so publicly – is likely because our cultural definition of masculinity is tied to sexual performance, and in particular, men’s peer recognition of it.

To acknowledge sexual disappointment exists among heterosexual women is to risk ejection from a code of manhood predicated on gaining sexual approval not from women, but from other men. And the fear of what it means to be outcast from this club is so great, many men go to extreme – and often bizarre – lengths to avoid it.

Take, for example, the men who insist the female orgasm is mythical.

“I’ve f***ed dozens upon dozens of women and not a single one was able to c**. It’s biologically impossible for women to achieve orgasm,” a tweet that went viral last year read.

“Women may CLAIM to like sex, but you really don’t. You TOLERATE it under LIMITED circumstances,” another tweet by a man reads.

Incidentally, this is what feminists mean when we talk about toxic masculinity: not, as is often misunderstood to be the case, that men themselves are innately toxic. It’s the pressure the societal construct of what it means to be a “real man” puts on men to demonstrate their masculinity in damaging ways.

In her groundbreaking book, Boys & Sexauthor and researcher Peggy Orenstein explains why this pressure compels men to be inauthentic about their sexual experiences.

“If emotional suppression and disparagement of the feminine are the two legs of the tool that supports ‘toxic masculinity’, the third is bragging about sexual conquest,” Orenstein writes.

“The whole point of ‘locker room banter’ is that it’s not actually about sex … Those exaggerated stories are in truth about power: about asserting masculinity through control of women’s bodies.”

And it’s this very pressure to assert and perform masculinity among other men that contributes to a culture of truth distortion around sex.

A study published in The Journal Of Sex Research noted men consistently over-estimate the amount of sexual partners they’ve had, while other research has indicated they tend to do the same thing when it comes to self-reporting penis size. Even the vernacular men use to talk to each other about sex is rooted in hyperbole and self-deception.

We often hear young men brag about “banging”, “nailing” and “smashing” women as though discussing being on a construction site, theatrically describing their sexual partners not being able to walk after sex. Rarely, do we hear guys talking about pleasure, vulnerability, and connection, or about their bedroom insecurities and sexual shortcomings.

In a culture that equates sexual conquests with manhood, it’s easier for men to tell themselves these things don’t actually matter, or even exist at all.

And this is the ultimate consequence of toxic masculinity – it renders sex a transactional act used to demonstrate power among other men, as Orenstein writes, rather than a vehicle for intimacy and self-expression.

We shouldn’t be surprised then, so few men are honest with each other and themselves about sex, nor that the compulsion to be perpetually enacting status trickles into myriad other aspects of their lives.

In a way, my almost-friend the artist is an extreme example of this. One of the last things he told me before I blocked him was that he’d been genuine about feeling lonely, and perhaps I’m an idealist, but I believed him.

Maybe because while white lies (like telling our partner we love the ghastly gift they got us for our birthday) can help nurture our relationships, larger lies – the ones that compel us to act in ways that are at odds with our own values ​​– thwart us from having meaningful connections; not just with each other, but with ourselves.

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