Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Distressed by Normal Masculine Traits

There was a call yesterday during the first hour of Dr. Laura that was painful to hear. The callers were a married couple, Lisa and Greg, with four kids, from ages 8 down to 2, and married for something like 12 years (the audio wasn't too clear).

It sounded like they have a business together. Lisa started by saying that a year ago, she found Greg looking at porn at work. What that meant was not defined – centerfold pictures? Pictures of sex? Videos of naked women? Videos of sex? Professional? Amateur? We weren't told, but from the rest of the call I'm thinking it was something like simple female nudity, the kind you can find in Playboy or on cable. I'm not justifying any of that, just pointing out that not everything labeled "porn" is all the same.

Lisa said she kind of excused it because of the work-related stress they were under, and she wanted to make it work out for the kids, implying that she was ready to leave her husband over this. She said Greg has lots of excuses for for checking out other women in what is "not exactly porn", which sounds like swimsuit model pictures or something like that, or heck, maybe Dancing with the Stars.

Greg added some background, saying they'd been together for ten years before they got married, and that he was viewing whatever they're calling porn on and off during that time, but that Lisa didn't know it. He ended up telling her, and tried to stop, but viewed it on and off once they got married and then he got caught. She threatened to leave the marriage, but she gave him a second chance and he vowed never to do it again.

Greg hasn't viewed in the last year, and was proud to say that, but other things have popped up, such as stuff he'll see on TV or online – stuff that isn't porn but she still doesn't want him to see. He said he struggles with it, and that is has nothing to do with his wife's beauty because she's beautiful and attractive.

They made the call because they had been at a public place where women were wearing bikinis. He was worried ahead of time about this, and wanted to hide from her the fact that he would notice other women. However, Lisa confronted him and he admitted that he was noticing some of the other women. So Lisa was upset.

Dr. Laura said she was with Lisa up until the last part, as Dr. Laura expects men to look at women in bikinis - that is precisely why the women wear bikinis. Greg made the mistake of saying that he uses the images sometimes to reach orgasm. Lisa claimed she doesn't fantasize, to which Dr. Laura said she's very unusual. Lisa and Greg have never had anyone else – sounds to me like they probably got together as young teens, otherwise they would have married sooner. That's my guess, based on the nature of the call and their tone.

Lisa couldn't let it go. Dr. Laura asked what the alternatives are. Lisa said she doesn't feel like Greg is working on it (even after a year of success). Lisa wouldn't stop rehashing, so Dr. Laura told them to go into counseling and ended the call – mercifully.

Then Dr. Laura recapped the call (after a break) and gave her thoughts. She pointed out that Greg did tell Lisa about the issue before they married, he promised to stop, but didn't. He's been successful for the past year. A guy can't watch TV or go to the mall without seeing "soft porn", and even pre-teen girls dress immodestly. He made a big effort, he looked at women in bikinis like any other man, and then Lisa wouldn't stop whining. He's not perfect, but open... he's a decent guy who is struggling. As Dr. Laura saw it, the options where to divorce, to keep things the way they are with all of the moaning and whining and bitching, or to appreciate Greg's progress and stop whining.

She said that women find it upsetting if a guy finds some other woman pretty, and that the competitiveness is destructive.

I agree.

Ladies, you are by far the most important woman in the world to your husband, but you're not the only person that can possibly catch your husband's eye, or make him horny. This is the brutal reality of male nature and male sexual nature:

1. Our sexual engine is usually on, even if just idling. This is why we can be watching an intense, professional sports game (decidedly unsexy) and a sexy beer commercial "works", or why we can have a lousy day and still want to make love.

2. Men are visual creatures who admire the female form. Don't act like you don't know this. There are things you do or don't do precisely because you know this to be true.

3. Female skin gets our attention and turns us on even more than we would be otherwise. It doesn't matter if it is just ink on a page, or pixels on a screen, or a beachgoer walking by and we don't know a darn thing about her. Again, don't act like you don't know this.

4. Most men are attracted to variety in female skin. You can be the most beautiful woman in the world, and your man is still going to notice other women.

5. Even if a man never sees another woman anywhere under any circumstances and never masturbates, he's still going to get erections and will ejaculate. It will happen in his sleep if no other time.

6. It is possible for us to look at a woman (or image of a woman) and not want to do anything else with that woman. This can be true of a man and actual sex, so of course it is that much easier for this to happen with a mere look. Looking at other women or images of women does not mean we don't desire you, want you, find you attractive and sexy, plan to be with you forever, or love you. Yes, the loving thing is to show respect to you by not leering at other women, especially in your presence, but glances happen. It is active leering or fantasizing where the line is crossed.

All of this is natural and normal. You can argue that our sexual nature has been marred by The Fall, but it doesn't change that currently, this is natural and normal for men. Male sexual nature doesn't change just because he got married. His wife should be the one with whom his sexual energy is exchanged, and she should be the recipient of his gazes and loving affections, but he's not going to suddenly stop noticing beauty in others.

It is foolish for a man living in our culture to promise he'll never look, because it is a promise he can't keep. He'll make the promise if it is the only way to get you to stop complaining or to stop you from walking out the door, but it is best not to make the demand in the first place. If you are really bothered and upset, then ask him how you can help him in his effort to reduce the problem of lusting in his heart. You probably can by keeping his testicles empty and giving him something to look at, both in public (tastefully) and in the bedroom. But that is a reduction, not elimination. Expecting perfection is setting yourself up for disappointment. (This is not to say say you should ever accept your husband neglecting lovemaking with you to instead view porn. If a man neglects his accommodating wife for porn, then something is wrong.)

There is no need to be jealous or insecure. Crying because your husband notices that there's another woman with a fine pair is like crying because bees are attracted to flowers. If you married a leering jerk who deliberately cites the bodies of other women as some sort of standard for you, or as more worthy of his attention than you, then there's not much you can do; it is mostly a matter of his issues and you should plan and behave accordingly. If you married a decent man, even if he glimpses an image or a woman you think is way hotter than you, the fact is, it is you he loves, it is you he wants, and it is you he's with. My wife's body is perfect any time we are touching, especially if she is naked. That the way most good husbands feel.

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