Friday, May 21, 2010

Sex – It’s just not for everyone!

Recently I was asked to speak on a panel concerning the lack of a sexual relationship in as many as 40 million couples in the United States. While many people believe that sex is natural and normal and vital for a relationship to survive, there are those do not. I guess if you are one of the ones experiencing a healthy sexual connection with your partner then you might find this notion to be untenable. Even though I am one of those in healthy sexual relationship, I could easily imagine those that are not. As I reflected on what might steer one away from a sexual union with another, it was not difficult to start listing what makes such a relationship unattractive.

I previously mentioned Zibergeld’s – The New Male Sexuality in another Blog and liked what he had to say about how our culture is dominated by a “Fantasy Model of Sexuality”. It was one that was based on performance, orgasm, passion and flawless forms as portrayed by the media, movies and the like. However, I find it interesting to note that “sex” as a human interaction is typically portrayed and experienced by many as purely physical, even though if you really think about it – sex starts and ends in the mind. After all, to begin one has to get in the “mood” by “feeling” erotically motivated and to finish one usually experiences a wave or waves of pleasure that equates to “feeling”. So for something we exponentially promote as physical – sex is really about feelings – a word that typically and unfortunately holds little value in our culture and society. If Zilbergeld was correct in his assumption about the “Fantasy Model”, then it seems apparent why many would choose not to play along.

Of course there are many other reasons as to why many would not find a sexual relationship appealing. For many their decision was based on unwanted sexual experiences in their life. For others, sex was just not that exciting, rewarding or gratifying. Many people have told me that sex is too much like work and not worth the effort. Others have stated that doing without eliminates any and all the anxieties they had previously experienced and were happy to be free of the constraints. Does it have to be that way? Of course not, but until we do something about changing what sex “looks like” and means in our society then many will choose not to engage.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Breast envy is here to stay!

Way back when I was working on my Master’s degree in psychology, I had decided to make a run at my understanding of Freud and his concept of penis envy. Basically, as I understood it at the time, Freud was making claims that women were envious of men because of a fundamental anatomical member differential – that of the penis. Even though at the time, I had no idea as to why I found that way of thinking difficult to comprehend, I decided to wrestle with it as academically as I was capable of doing.
I started with the premise of what if Freud had gotten it all wrong? What could it be that one was or could be so envious of? As a male, it seemed obvious that many of us guys have this uncontrollable obsession with breasts and I was damn curious as to why? How could the ‘object’ that we obsessed about also be the very thing that we were most envious of?
My inquiry lead me to the path of a male’s early childhood. As the early child psychologists wrote, we all seem to be part of a symbiotic soup with our primary care-giver – namely Mom. Therefore, it seems logical that our relationship with Mom represents our first intimate connection with a female. During those first few years we are supposedly fused to Mom and see ourselves as part of her. Inevitably a time comes when we [meaning males] must be separated from the ties that bind. Think about it…we are allowed to go pretty much anywhere Mom goes without any fuss. However, there comes a time when we will have to break free from her [or pushed/forced away from as the case may have been] – for good. What I mean is that at some point the ladies room and changing rooms will be forever cut off from our presence. Now this is a non-issue for girls since they continue to go where Mom goes but we [boys] do not.
As males we no longer have access to the female beginning at this very early age. As a result, one could argue that many males have the potential to get upset over this parting of the waves. We could become very envious of what we are denied…so much so that it may just be possible for us to envy them or something they have that we do not…and that something could easily be their breasts. After all, many of us had access to the breast as a way to sustain our existence that eventually was taken away from us without our consent. So it is possible to make sense that we envy the breast so much that we are willing to be obsessed about them. In the psychological tradition of projective identification, many males have unconsciously learned how to project their need for the breast onto the woman who has subsequently identified with her need to attain [in some cases to mythical proportions] them at all costs.
Given this scenario, male breast envy seems to make much more sense and would certainly support the ways in which men’s obsessions continue to lead them. If you still have doubts, check out HBO’s Breast Men and see who envies what? Remember, it wasn’t a woman who woke up one morning and said – “Hey, I think I need bigger ones!” – it was men who created [I would argue projected their need] the breast enhancement revolution. Sorry Sigmund your penis [theory] just doesn’t measure up – the breasts have it!