Sometimes a thread weaves through one’s life for a while. So I have found it lately with the theme of male/female eroticism. I thought this was complete with October’s Hot Topic, which told of my unsuccessful search for heat at The Lusty Lady. But I was not yet finished. The same message kept coming at me in different forms until I was compelled to pen this month’s column, too, largely informed by my reading of Max Valerio’s excellent book, The Testosterone Files. The theme is similar: the disparate erotic dialects of males and females.
I use the term dialect and not language intentionally, for I believe we are more alike than different in our quest for sexual fulfillment. I believe, too that homosexual couples, whether male or female, have an advantage over their heterosexual counterparts in that they are not only making love with similar bodies but also with minds that view sex similarly and bodies that dance to similar rhythms.
How often I hear women complain that they would welcome their husband’s sexual advances if only he’d romance them first, while that same man complains that if he simply got a little now and again he’d be more inclined to woo his wife! These are not stubborn thoughtless people unwilling to give their mates what they want. It is beyond each of them to understand what the other means.
Transsexual Max Valerio becomes ‘bilingual’ in the language of gendered sexuality as he crosses over from living in the body of a lesbian who enjoys sex just fine to inhabiting the body of a testosterone-driven male. He explains how sex shifted from important to primary, from a craving to a drive. He clarifies how sex and relationship no longer necessarily co-mingle, but are now distinct and at times separable.
Women would be wise to listen to these lessons from a former sister. There is great relief in the message, for if men can be sexually attracted to others without any emotional connection (just as they’ve been saying all along), there’s really no harm done, is there? We needn’t be threatened by Internet images or ogling. Maybe we can even encourage our men to rev up visually outside and bring the good sex energy home. If we want them to begin the romance in the morning, maybe we can start the titillation then, too (“Go ahead and stoke your fires all day, Honey, cause tonight I’ll be taking care of all the heat you can build!”)
For most males, the romantic or emotional connection part of sex is distinct but not absent. Orgasm releases a cascade of brain chemistry, particularly oxytocin, that floods us with the desire to bond. Presto! Intimacy. (You can see where this is going, can’t you?) The more we encourage the men in our lives to express their sexuality freely and openly, either by themselves or with us, they stay sexually satisfied, oxytocin-saturated, and well bonded with us. In post-coital reverie we get our relationship needs met while they get their sexual needs met. Symbiosis.
The trick here is in believing that there is no threat to us when the man we love is aroused by another woman. That could be true only if he felt differently about love and sex than we do. Max Valerio, who knew love and sex first as a woman and then as a man, tells us this is true. It is in our own best interest to believe him. How this frees us all!
But, you say, even if Max’s experiences do prove something, can his experiences apply to all men? Who cares? The goal is to improve our relationships, isn’t it? If we are given the gift of understanding these different dialects of gendered sexual communication, would we refuse it because it might not be a perfect model? How silly! Let’s take this gem of experiential knowledge and use it to close the gap between the genders. The result? Everybody’s happier!