Here's a subject that pertains to everyone!
All over the net, I am coming across discussions on this topic, largely inspired by the recent success of 50 Shades, but covering larger aspects of
sex in general.
I've never felt inhibited about talking about sex, and like when men and women can exchange on the topic and try to understand better the differences
in male and female desires. I often feel there is much misunderstanding there.
Being an american living in France, I am faced with a very different cultural attitude on the subject, which made me intensely aware of my own
culture-specific conditioning. The french have a taboo against money, which makes people reluctant to admit they want it, and yet eat up reports of
how the wealthy live, as if it were porn of a different sort. But sex? No problem, they'll talk about it, do it, and with no shame involved- men and
women alike. In fact pornography doesn't sell well here- instead of watching it, they just do it.
I was reading an article about women losing interest in sex in long term relationships, and saw the commentaries as interesting. Made me reflect upon
One of the things I am aware of is that in our culture, emotional fulfillment and sexual fulfillment are all mashed together.
When I was young, I didn't get physical affection- my father was absent and my mother had a "blockage" about showing physical affection- she
didn't hug, kiss or touch us. So sex was a way for me to get that- I honestly didn't care about things such as orgasm, I just wanted to feel
physical contact and affection. I suspect that is where my mothers blockage was too- she had those mixed up in her head, so even hugging had a
slightly incestuous association to it.
So the commentaries I saw from americans on womens libido had much to do with that- the importance of foreplay, of making a woman feel loved, in order
for her to feel excited. Not determined focus on making her climax. That women actually aren't that concerned with the climax (this coming from
women). I had to agree with that.
But even in doing so, I had to reflect upon the difference I have perceived in relationships here. My husband is typically french, in that he brings
me flowers spontaneously, surprises me with weekend get-aways, writes me love notes, all the time. My experience with american men before him was that
they would only do that in hopes of getting sex in exchange.
There seems to be a taboo in our country against acknowledgement of men needing affection. The need for sex is easily admitted, but affection? Just
love and care? Not so easily said. That seems to be considered too effeminate.
My husband comes up to me daily and says, "I need a hug", or "I just need to be held". Call him a wimp, if you like- I consider it self aware and
The reason I bring this up is that
The french perceive a separation between emotional needs and sexual needs. Perhaps we have felt that as long as the two were intertwined, it would
make our mates more dependent upon us, less prone to infidelity. From what I observe and experience, it doesn't work.
Here is the thing- when the emotional needs are met, a couple can more easily communicate about the sexual needs without threatening each other's
self esteem or making them feel insecure.
They can hear things like, "I'd like you to do this differently", or "I'd like to try something new", or even "I'd like to try someone new"
without that being interpretted as "You are not good enough", or "I don't love you anymore".
I just thought about that yesterday, listening to the radio in the car and always being struck by how easily they talk about sexual desire, as easily
as we would talk about food or something. I know I have had trouble even acknowledging my purely sexual drives, as distinct from emotional ones. And I
repeatedly see americans interpret the sex acts in 50 Shades as representative of how women want their mates to be, in and out of bed. That they
obviously want a man who dominates them- what about this idea... that a woman might want this sort of sexual "play" but not want to be dominated in
everyday life and non-sexual interactions?
What if we look at sex as simply play, and not the summum of a relationship?
I would be interested in hearing how both men and women feel about sex, and how it pertains to emotional fulfillment.
Do many men feel they don't look for or need non-sexual physical affection?
Do women actually feel that they have sexual desire separate from their desire for shows of affection, care and love?
What say you?