Not so long ago, my wife and I were talking to a recently-divorced friend of ours. She’s younger than we are, in her early thirties, and as far as she’s concerned, she’s never tying the knot again. Not because of an objection to the institution, but because she’s convinced that most men marry for one reason: they want to be taken care of emotionally.
“I got tired of thinking about someone else’s needs all the time,” our friend said. “I’m prepared to take care of a baby. But I don’t want my first-born to be my second child.” When she heard that, my wife turned to me and gave me a grin. She knows my history.
In three previous marriages and a handful of other long-term relationships (I haven’t been single for long since I was 16), I found myself—like so many men—taking on the parts of the “naughty boy” and the “helpless child.” Time and again, I turned wives and girlfriends into mother-figures, and the result was inevitably disastrous. Keep reading »
Last week’s discussion about guys, porn, and honesty raised a number of interesting questions. How much truth do we owe our partners about what we do when they’re not around – and how much should we share about what runs through our heads? Almost everyone agrees that outright lies are bad. But are there some questions that invite lies? Are there some questions we shouldn’t even ask? Keep reading »
There are few more famous snippets of film dialogue than this exchange from the 1989 Blly Crystal and Meg Ryan classic, “When Harry Met Sally”:
Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally: Why not?
Harry: What I’m saying is — and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form — is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Keep reading »
“I was always daddy’s little girl. We did everything together. He was my hero. My father was always there with a hug for me; when I was little, he let me climb all over him like he was a jungle gym.
And then my body changed. I developed early; I had boobs by 11. And all of a sudden, my Dad stopped hugging me or touching me. He went overnight from being my best friend to being remote and critical.”
I read that in a student’s journal earlier this semester (quoted with permission). I’ve read and heard similar things countless times over the course of nearly 20 years teaching gender studies and doing youth ministry. Ask any family therapist who works with teen girls, and they’ll report the same thing I’ve heard: story after story of fathers withdrawing physical affection as soon as their daughters hit puberty. Keep reading »
Male masturbators can’t seem to catch a break. Despite the assumption that every guy has masturbated, is masturbating, or will masturbate, self-pleasure has been getting a bad rap for 3000 years. From Orthodox Judaism to traditional Buddhism, the religious strictures against men masturbating are ancient and enduring. (Because the spiritual authorities were so often ignorant about female masturbation, women caught a rare break. What was the point in condemning a practice many men didn’t believe existed?) Keep reading »
“You’re either gay, straight, or lying.”
I first heard that oft-repeated phrase when I was an 18-year-old freshman at UC Berkeley. I was at my first meeting of the GLBA (Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Alliance). I’d recently broken up with a girlfriend, and had been dating (and sleeping with) both men and women; I was ready to “come out” as bi and to get involved in campus activism. But as I quickly found out, though there were equal numbers of gay men and lesbians in the group, the only bisexuals were women. And while many of those women faced a certain amount of “bi-phobia,” at least the GLBA acknowledged their existence.
Bisexual men, I was told, didn’t exist: we were either cowards or liars, too scared or too dishonest to admit we were really gay. Keep reading »