I'm just back from two weeks in Europe, and in my in-box I find permission from a reader to reproduce his e-mail response to me regarding the "let's talk about sex" post. A bit belated, but because I found his thoughts to be thoughtful and surprising and--hell--even *revolutionary* coming from a "brother," I thought they were worth advertising (boldface is mine):
My big frustration is the same as yours but from a different view. I have a girlfriend that I am absolutely smitten by. To me, she is as
erotic as any model I've seen in pictures, even more so because I am in love with her. But she is plagued by the same fears that I find in most of my female friends. I am sick to death of women who do not diet in order to be healthy (although that is what they claim), but in order to be thin. Thin does nothing for me. I am not aroused by thin bodies. I am not aroused by fat bodies. In fact, I am not sure if I am aroused at all by simply the female body. I am aroused by women who feel strong and exude beauty of spirit. True, feeling sexy is part of the strength that is attractive to me. It just so happens that in our culture, it is nearly impossible for women to feel sexy if they are not thin.
Our culture continually focuses on how women get the short end of the stick. This is such a lie. Men are cheated just as much as women when our culture cultivates the objectification of women. Though men might not talk as freely about it, we are just as eager to have good relationships as women are. We will talk about how we want to have good sex. To us, good sex is a manifestation of a good relationship and I believe this is true. Good sex is a sign of a good relationship. It's just too bad that a lot of men don't understand how a relationship can still be good if the sex is not good. It's taken me years to learn the satisfaction of non-competitive social interactions. How sad is that? It just so happens that my mate truly does not care how much money I earn. I am blessed that she is so enlightened on the matter but I am nonetheless plagued with feelings of inadequacy. The same goes for her body. So here is the rub. It sucks to be a man just as much as it sucks to be a woman. If only men understood how much better sex would be if our culture found a healthier way to portray women. I would say it is poetic justice that our superficiality keeps us from being sexually satisfied. But there is no justice in it.
Until women and men learn how to communicate better, relationships will suffer and we both lose. Normally it is me who is walking down the street when a friend gawks at the hot babe on a bus advertisement and my stomach churns. "You fuckin moron," I think to myself. If only you knew how you perpetuate your fate of continually unsatisfying relationships and how you add to the stumbling blocks placed in my way.