The Radical Notion That Men Are People | Monthly Forecast | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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The Radical Notion That Men Are People 

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Learn to negotiate sexual consent. That means having an authentic conversation in a sober state about what both partners want and whether sex is appropriate for you both at that particular time. This includes being real about your sexual history. Sex is negotiated on a per-event basis, not as a standing contract—even with your fiancée or wife. We are rapidly heading back into the time when there is no such thing as clear yes or clear no, but you don't need to go there. There's a lot more sex available without the integrity of a clear yes or clear no, but I don't suggest it's the kind of sex you want, and you can get in serious trouble without clarity. That puts a filter up —one made of respect and self-respect.

Keep it covered. Presume that all sex will include a condom, unless you specifically plan to create a child. You are responsible for the destiny of every single sperm cell your body produces. You are responsible for any pregnancy that you co-create. It does not matter if a woman says she is using birth control. Everyone needs to bring their own birth control to the table, and not put it off on anyone else. That means you.

If you're gay, accept that fact. If you're questioning, that's okay, too. Despite all the positive PR about being gay in recent years, many gay men still pretend to be ungay. If you're biologically and emotionally attracted to men and are not so attracted to women (or not attracted at all), then you're probably gay. There's no point being in denial, even if you don't understand why you are gay.

Bisexuality is normal. Having attractions to and fantasies about both men and women is normal, in the statistical sense—it's part of the norm. Many people of both sexes experience this (far more than you might imagine), and it does not make you gay. Along the way you will meet women who have attractions to both men and women—I suggest you treat this with the utmost respect. It's not your sex toy, and if you're ever invited into the sanctum of female-female sex, consider yourself fortunate indeed.



Deal with your homophobia. Your homophobia is not about that other guy —it's about you. Usually homophobia has a power source, an engine of some kind running it. It's up to you to figure out what that is.

Deal with your jealousy. The partners in your life are going to have attractions to others and others are going to have attractions to them. You are going to have attractions to people other than your partner. Make room in your relationships for the simple truth of this fact.

Your sexual desire is your property and your responsibility. It's not up to anyone else to provide you with sexual gratification. It's not the responsibility of women, no matter what anyone may say, think, or put into a music video. Your most available consensual sexual outlet is masturbation. It's more than about getting off; masturbation is an expression of your relationship to yourself. If you treat it that way, all forms of sex will become more relational and more about communication.

Your partners are not your property. You are not theirs. There is much confusion about this. Our society's whole relationship model is based on the presumed ownership of other people, which is so prevalent as to be taken for granted. The concept is inherent in everything from marriage to rape. This is the source of so much misery it's impossible to measure. Both sexes are trained to do this to other people. The only solution is to be your own person and to treat others as their own person. This takes bravery, enlightenment, and risking people thinking you're weird.

Love those who respect you. In the course of your life, you may fall in love with others who do not seem to love you back. You may put considerable energy into these seeming relationships. Unrequited love is a popular item on the menu of human diversions. This is worth looking at as early in life as possible. Who you love is your choice, and who loves you is their choice. I have found that we tend to love who and what we take care of. This is a profound gift of human psychology, and I suggest you be open to it working in all directions.

You will not live forever. Get used to that fact. Make your days, your seasons, and your years count. Notice the passage of time. There are some who say you're not really alive until you have a conscious relationship with death. This relationship will help you value your time more consciously, and calculate the risks you want to take.

I have three book suggestions. These are the three books that helped me understand being and becoming a man, and understand women, more than any others. They are: Iron John: A Book About Men by Robert Bly, The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir, and Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man by Susan Faludi. They are all worth their weight in pure gold.


The full-length edition of this article appears at PlanetWaves.net/men.

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