Posted in Gender, Mental Health, Sex & Intimacy

Men and Sexuality: The Myth That Men Don’t Get “Slut Shamed”

I find slut-shaming in any form to be bizarre. Certainly, I understand why people link morality with promiscuity, I understand the context and history and why it still perpetuates today. That’s not to say that I agree with it in any form, because I don’t. What I am saying is that I simply do not get it. I have never linked sexual promiscuity with morality, I do not (and have never) seen the act as dirty and I – as far as I can recall – ever used that word except in this context. It is a wonderful and enjoyable act. I prefer it in the confines of a relationship but I do not judge people who choose to be freer and easier with their own bodies.

What I do want to talk about is this myth that men do not and have never been “slut-shamed”. Certainly some men are applauded as studs but this fact doesn’t negate we are also slut-shamed. It seems that the younger generation are increasingly critical of sexual promiscuity (though quite why Jezebel says that it is “good news” is quite beyond me) in both men and women. This is probably not what we hoped for (we’d rather people were not judged for their sexual choices) but it goes to show at least, that the apparent double-standard is being dispelled… if it was ever true.

Anyway, there’s plenty of womansplainers on the internet pretending that they have never said or thought any of the following:

“Sex is all men think about”
“Man whore”
“Player”
“Heart breaker”
“Love rat”
“He uses women”

… or pretending that it is not as bad… or pretending that we all deserve it as some sort of perverse payback – which to me is some pretty twisted reasoning but never mind. If men weere never slut-shamed by men or women, the above terms would never exist Perhaps they do not have the same power to men, but the reaction to such accusations are irrelevant – we attempt to shame men for their sexual choices regardless of how the men accused of it may react.

I had an argument on an internet forum last year. I was defending internet dating and pointed out that I had had a great experience, meeting almost 20 people. One woman leapt to it and called me all of those names above in the space of about two posts. I hadn’t slept with any of my dates, I had had second dates with 4 or 5 and no third dates. I had not kissed nor had sex with any of them yet apparently, I was a player and a heartbreaker for simply having been on dates with that number of women in a little over 12 months.

Even family and friends were calling me a “tart” (in jest) at the sheer number of people I met online dating. You may recall I was surprised myself at just how willing people were to respond, meet up and then meet up again. It had never been my intention to seduce any of them, I wanted a relationship.

I agree that women are slut-shamed more, but it does happen to men and has real-life consequences. However, there is something that men suffer far more for – virgin shaming. We’ll never say of a woman who’s never had sex:

“She’s never had sex – pah, what a loser!”
“Is she gay?”
“How pathetic you can’t get anyone to sleep with you. Seriously, prove you’re a real woman!”
“What, not even pity sex? Even that man whore who lives next door to you? Wow!”
“You’re a virgin? What’s wrong with you?”

Sex Positive For Me, But Not for Thee

The modern media post Sex and the City has become sex positive for women, which I agree is a good thing, yet male sexuality has never (despite claims to the contrary) enjoyed anything remotely positive. In the 21st century, a woman who is open about her sexual exploits may receive a lot of slut shaming, but increasingly she is likely to be applauded for her openness. The same cannot be said of men for whom male sexuality is now seen in one of two ways: perverse (if he is conventionally unattractive – sorry but short, balding, overweight men do have sexual desires) or predatory (usually if he is attractive).

If you approach a woman that is not attracted to you (something you should automatically know apparently) then you are a sleaze, a creep or a weirdo. Don’t believe me? See this commentary on The Everyday Sexism Project that appears to (aside from its genuine cause) attract women wanting to “out” men for having the audacity to express an attraction for them in the first place. Then read this article at TDM

ShieldWife puts it succinctly here at the end of this video:

“The same group of people who claimed all the glory for the sexual revolution of the 1960s are trying as hard as they can to repress men’s sexuality – to shame men into only having feelings that women give them permission to have.”

(Of course not forgetting the dichotomy of continually expecting the man to be the pursuer at all times)

Male sexuality is consigned to teen films such as American Pie and is only portrayed positively in female-targeted media such as rom-coms and chic lit – but it does not portray men and male sexuality as anything other than for its utility to women. The man is usually a tool for the sexual and financial gratification of the woman / women who are central to the story, having little depth beyond being tall (always tall), incredibly good looking and wealthy. Let’s face it, Christian Grey is not a character – he’s a trope.

This dichotomy of condemning men for their sexuality while condemning those who are not sexually open or active makes sexual performance one of the major factors in male mental health… which I am going to talk about in a follow-up post.

Here is a great article on general sexual shame.

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Author:

I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

2 thoughts on “Men and Sexuality: The Myth That Men Don’t Get “Slut Shamed”

  1. Men cannot be sluts like many women are. There is no double standard, there are 2 different standards for very good social and biological reasons. Female promiscuity of far more harmful on society as a whole and it affects a woman’s biology in such a way as to render her unable to pair bond with her husband. Men simply do not have this problem. Male promiscuity is damaging in the sense that it may cause unrealistic expectations and lead to men becoming bored with the same vagina after a short time. Through work men can fix this in themselves while women cannot replenish what is lost during their promiscuity.

    Dont get me wrong, I love sluts. If it was not for sluts I would have to remarry to have sex. As it is so many women give it up on the first date. Its not even that hard anymore.

    1. Sorry, if you’re looking for someone to cheer on your misogyny then you have come to the wrong place. I may have anti-feminist sympathies, but don’t make the mistake of assuming that I am an MRA.

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