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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » When men aren't ready for sex

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Author Topic: When men aren't ready for sex
Heather
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There have been a couple posts of late which have brought this issue up, and it's something pretty important to make visible and discuss, so.

Despite the fact that sexual violence occurs far more than women to men, there is also a good deal of cultural support for being sure to wait for sex until women are ready. Mind, plenty of that is based in not-so-great stuff, namely, the sexual double standard that women who become sexually active before marriage are more tainted or sullied than men.

But all the same, there is a presumption that when male opportunity for sex strikes with women (I say with women because the standards are very different for male-male sex), young men will ALWAYS be ready, almost no matter their age. Often, young women are shocked, take it very personally, when their male partners express that they are NOT ready, that THEY need breaks from sex because of it being too much stress for them, what have you.

Suffice it to say, even without the risk of pregnancy or greater complications from STIs, enetering into sex before a person is ready is going to likely be just as damaging emotionally for men as it is for women in most ways. In relationships which are already sexually active and engaged, men agreeing to have sex out of obligation is going to be no more psychically beneficial for them than it is for women.

So, who's dealt with this? I did once, with a male partner who was much older than the norm before starting to become sexually active, for whom I was his first partner. I think I handled it well, but I do know that having been sexually active for many years before that, and given the gender pairing, I did have to make a point of rewiring my brain sometimes, of reminding myself that the situation was in most ways no different than if I were with a woman in the same situation. I also know my partner did seem to feel obliged to apologize a lot for not being ready for given degrees of sex at the start, far more than I'd say I've experienced women for whom I was their first partner ever had. And he was very, very secretive with others about that being his first sexual relationship. VERY. I'm fairly certain he told absolutely none of his friends, most of whom were female.

What do you think about this issue? Is it a double-standard or not? If it is, do you think it in any way enables sexual aggression in men, or enables the even stronger sexual standards placed on women? (And if it is, where do you think it comes from? Is it possible it is somewhat based in the idea that sex is always more intrusive to women's psyches and bodies, or that intercourse, especially, can only BE violent/abusive/invasive for women?)

What might we do to address this culturally, and how do women who ARE of the mind that all men MUST always be ready learn to think differently?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Heather
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One more additional note on this, as food for thought.

With young men and women especially, given that young men often sexually and emotionally develop later than their female peers as a whole, how do you balance that out, especially with pressures TO date same-age?

[ 05-10-2006, 01:49 PM: Message edited by: Miz Scarlet ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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logic_grrl
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given that young men sexuall and emotionally develop later than their female peers as a whole

But here's a question: is the emotional part of that really a given, or could it be linked to the social pressures on girls to be more self-controlled and socially-conscious (and hence more "mature"-seeming), whereas boys are often pushed to be more aggressive and impulsive?

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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Heather
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Awesome question, and I'd absolutely agree that it's safe to say that is at least part of the issue at play, as would be things like girls often being given more household responspibilities in families as opposed to boys, and girls not getting the kids of "boys will be boys" messages many young men do.

I think this is one of those things, though, where trying to divide the cultural from the physiological is going to be tricky, if not impossible.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nanswer4me
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Sorry for this being so long, I had trouble sorting out my thoughts. =/

------------------------------------------------

This reminds me of a talk I had with my boyfriend a few days ago. We've got prom coming up this weekend and I'll be out all night with him. We've been dating for around 2 months and I figured that since we're so open with eachother, talking about our 'history' and what we feel comfortable doing and not doing might be a good step. We see eachother maybe once a week (we live a half hour away from eachother and while he is, I'm not old enough to drive).

My intentions of bringing up a "physical" relationship were to test out the waters. By no means am I ready to engage in a particularly sexual relationship (I'm a virgin, and quite fine with that), but I assumed that because he was older, he must've done "more", and expected that I would go along with whatever he said.

I was so pleasantly surprised to know that he thought of it the same way I do. He isn't "obsessed" with sex, nor does he have a wish to lose his virginity anytime soon. He, like me, thinks of it as something that you need to be mature enough to handle. His felt that he'd have to be in a mature relationship with someone who he really loved before engaging in it.

But, the fact that I assumed something so judgemental about a guy that I'm learning to really and truely care about made me feel terrible. As you said, Miz Scarlet, my first reaction was, Does that mean that he doesn't find me attractive? Or that he'll never love me?!

But, in thinking it out, that in no way was directed toward me. A person's decision whether or not to be sexually active is entirely their own choice. It really has nothing to do with their gender, relationship status, age, whatever. If a person can say to themself and their partner "It's not right for ME," then they're a step closer to knowing themselves.

One of the most important things I've learned from this site is the importance of communication. In my scenario, the last thing I'd want is to feel uncomfortable talking to someone I need to trust. I've learned, especially in this relationship, how easy it is to simply be honest and not afraid to ask a question. The way I look at it, you can be in a relationship with anyone, any age, any gender. But you must remember that you each have wants and needs that must be heard and respected.

When you assume based on gender, as I did, you are undervaluing your partner, and missing out on real communication with them.

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kitka
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I think it is a double standard, in the sense that it anchors men with a self-perpetuating stereotype. A man who shies away from sexual activity, especially intercourse, puts his masculinity in immediate doubt. In order to overcome that anxiety, as well as performance anxiety, men overcompensate. In many ways, they are trained to overcompensate (ie in physical aggression).

Still, I think that men can be "educated" to act outside of the stereotypes that society provides for them.

or that intercourse, especially, can only BE violent/abusive/invasive for women?)

For the most part, that's true, I think. Of course, as you pointed out, Miz S, the parameters for male-male sex are different.
I'd venture that men who engage in receptive anal sex are largely subject to the same violence/invasiveness as women, though not to the same degree/quantity.

The first guy I ever dated flat out refused to have sex several times, even before I brought it up, and although he was curious and enthusiastic about everything up to heavy petting, the idea of intercourse scared him. He later told me that he had experimented with male-male sex for a year.

He never admitted to it, but his behavior led me to the conclusion that he had probably been forced at some point in a male-male relationship. Weirdly enough, I think this and his overall experience with invasive sex made him more sympathetic (than at least some men his age) to my fears about pain and emotional upset for first time sex.

The emotional/physical maturity issue takes it toll as well. I've always been the recipient of break ups, never the instigator, because I've dated men who were less mature than me. Many young men need to learn how to respond maturely to relationship problems; that's a facet of their upbringing and their socialization experiences, especially at school.

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bluefreak44
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I think it is a double-standard, and pretty ridiculous.

A lot of people assume that if a man is not having sex, there must be something wrong with him. When my mother-in-law found out that my husband (then boyfriend) and I weren't having sex, she actually asked him if there was something physiologically wrong with him!

I think it's awesome that some men are willing to go against the status quo and admit that they aren't ready for sex. It goes against the stereotype of the always-horny man. I really respect guys like that. I actually know a guy who's girlfriend broke up with him because he wasn't ready to have sex. Bit of a role reversal I suppose.

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zeta
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I think one of the reasons why males are "ready" for sex easier than females is the double standard. If a male gets laid, he is congratulated by his peers, while if a female does, her friends will ask her if she's really ready for such a big step, and her non-friends may call her a slut. And peers are important.

I think a lot of males get sexually active when they're not ready to handle it, just because they don't know how to say no and keep their male pride. Most of the males I've been close friends with told me they were quite terrified of getting sexually active at their first times -they just didn't know how to admit it at the time.

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I don't get even, I get odder

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Bobolink
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First time sex for a man can be a very scary time. I know that I did not know what I was doing and proceded to do it badly. That we were each other's first sexual partner didn't help much. And the reason for the sex wasn't the healthiest. My partner had heard me described as being gay because I was 21 and still a virgin and she was determined to prove my sexual orientation. So that first session was not based on love or physical attraction, although we had a great deal of mutual attraction, but to prove a point. I can say that the relationship grew as we learned about each other that the sex became very mutually satisfying. But at first we were wondering just what we were doing and why others seemed to value sex so much. That is why I particularly enjoyed Miz Scarlett's article Is that all there is? A memoir of first time sex 17 years in the making because that is how I felt for the first few times, feelings I'm sure were shared by my partner.

[ 06-09-2006, 12:01 PM: Message edited by: Bobolink ]

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I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

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Cappa
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I am so glad that I found this thread.

I was happy with the timing of my first time with my partner, but it would have been a scary experience if there wasn't so much trust between her and I. We actually had bad luck with our private moment: my parents came home, and we were stuck in the basement for 45 minutes until they went to the third floor and put the tv on, when we bolted for the front door. (We weren't caught [Smile] ) When we were outside and had gathered ourselves, I was the one to say that I wasn't ready to make sex a part of our lives.

There are a lot of gender roles and social expectations that are reversed in our relationship. She seems to play the role of the male in just about every way one can think of, sexual or non sexual. I made the personal decision to shave my body and pluck my eyebrows, but it's something that I try to keep between her and I because it is viewed as completely non masculine. There's a long running joke with our friends that I am a lesbian with a penis; I play along with it, but it also hurts a bit. I have addressed my personal feelings about it, though.

Masculinity is often portrayed as rugged, non hygenic, and not-so-gentle. I never agreed with any of those aspects, and I am glad that I found a girlfriend who accepts me for me.

I have always had a fear of her and I not working out and me having to go back to the drawing board with dating. Then what would I do? I've gotten so comfortable with my relationship that I take for granted all the discoveries that she helped me find about myself. How easy would it be to find girls who would accept me for who I am, and not a girly boy?

This might be a bit off topic, but I work out plenty, and I don't look like any of the men in the mass media. I swear that they have body models, and then the attractive people's heads are just pasted in on a computer. People constantly take stabs at my small frame. My boss did, until he saw that I could lift 200 pound speakers by myself. I've been called everything from scrawny, to lanky, to emaciated, to girly.

It's hard to stand up for myself against all of the standards set for guys. I feel like I'm alone.

I hope this helps fuel the conversation, and provokes thought and insight into what it's like to be in a guy's shoes. I look forward to reading any responses.

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Beppie
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Cappa, perhaps you would be interested in contributing to this thread:
http://www.scarleteen.com/cgi-bin/forum/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=25;t=000190;p=1

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zeta
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Cappa: You are so not alone =).

I had this interesting talk with a male friend of mine last weekend -he insisted he was not a "guy". Why not? He explained that he figured that since chicks get hit on so much against our will, being any kind of male is just an insult, and he cannot be sensitive and "good" while remaining a guy. He really wanted to be a guy, just not the nasty kind.

I told him that the guys being hairy, macho, and aggressive is just a prejudice, just like expecting all chicks have huge boobs, interest in shopping, and no competence with cars or computers. You can be a perfect guy while sporting all the "feminine" traits -saying you can't is just like saying chicks can't wear pants, have short hair, or be great at physics.

You can be a perfect success as a guy being sweet, yourself, eyebrow-plucked, or whatever you like. Just like a chick can be a perfect chick and proud of her womanhood without huge head of bleached hair, breast enlargement, huge amount of makeup, short skirts or whatever. Not a lot of people in real word expect those things, or want them.

I hope you all the best with your current GF, but trust me, you're no more expected to be a "macho male" amongst any reasonable females, than a reasonable male would expect females to look and act like porn stars.

Girls/woman's tastes vary, and there's no need for you to conform to a stereotype -in fact, as long as you're your own person, and willing to give your woman the space to be her own person, you're likely to do better relationship-wise than a stereotypical guy ever could.

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I don't get even, I get odder

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virginia36861
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Zeta, that was so well put.. I am sure alot of people that have read this will see it the same. When you stated that "as long as you are your own person" is the bottom line to every relationship.. It would be a more so wonderful world if all women could be just that and not worry about what all men think of them. I feel the world puts to much empahsis on what women wear, what they weigh or what color their hair is, and that is sad that they have to alter their life to "please" others. Someone should just start a Trend by being "themselves".. For a month, no one wear make-up, dye their hair or diet..Just imagine how great that would feel to wake-up every morning and just take a shower and Be "ME" for awhile..But its just a thought, I am sure all of us women would panic, right..(haha)but you really did word all of that so true..really enjoyed reading that!!!

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Virginia

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September
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quote:
Originally posted by virginia36861:
Someone should just start a Trend by being "themselves".. For a month, no one wear make-up, dye their hair or diet..Just imagine how great that would feel to wake-up every morning and just take a shower and Be "ME" for awhile..But its just a thought, I am sure all of us women would panic, right..(haha)but you really did word all of that so true..really enjoyed reading that!!!

I know this is kinda old, but I only just saw it and wanted to comment, because: I do that every morning.

A few years ago, I decided that I was tired of wearing make-up and uncomfortable clothes and spending hours on my hair. It was just after graduation, so I didn't need to be in school every day anymore and I figured it was the perfect time to start that experiment. I woke up one morning, took a quick shower, got dressed, and headed out the door. Strangely enough, I didn't panic. Instead, I felt great.

I haven't worn make-up since (except on special occasions), I only own shoes I can actually walk in and I only wear clothes I find comfortable. And you know, people (male and female) respond to that positively. Because I come off as self-confident and that's pretty attractive.

I suggest you try it some time, too. [Smile]

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Johanna
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entrnmhr87
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I'm still kind of embarrassed to think about my first time, I mean, I know it's probably very rare to be any good at all in your first time, but it was still embarrassing because my partner already knew the ropes. She, however, thinks of it fondly, because it was "intimate," and I appreciate that she thinks of it that way. It makes me feel a lot less embarrassed. I also think of it as an intimate time. That can just serve as a reminder that when two people are very attracted to each other, it's not completely about physical pleasure, but also emotional pleasure and connection.

I guess as a guy though, intimate wasn't exactly what I thought the first time SHOULD be like. I felt I was supposed to be all manly and know exactly what I was doing, and be totally cool and confident. That would be really hard to do for ANYONE having intercourse for the first time.

I always knew that my first time would come suddenly, and with a partner who was at least somewhat experienced. I never thought about my own virginity that much, because I guess no one ever put it in the spotlight like they do for a girl's virginity. So I wasn't exactly rarin' to go when my first time came around. I felt...I wouldn't say "forced"... but it would have been very hard to say no. It wouldn't have made me feel very manly, I'll say that much.

I acted really casual, so much that my partner was surprised at how much I didn't seem to care about having intercourse for the first time. I don't know if she expected me to be ready, but man, she sure was. I felt like I couldn't say no to that.

And hey, I don't regret it. Don't get the idea that I feel raped or anything....I know it was my choice. I guess you could say I was strongly persuaded. But yes, I do feel that men's feelings on this matter should be taken a little more into consideration.

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summergoddess
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Well, I have experienced where a guy isn't ready for sex.

I once had a fling with one of my best guy friends who's also one of my ex's best friends. This guy and I were experiencing sexual stuff together that was mainly oral, and having showers together naked. We were both virgins, and had thought about having sex. I did want to lose my virginity to him but he was very hard on the fact that he wasn't ready for sex at the time. I didn't understand why at first, but over time I did. So over time, the fling ended because things weren't going further sexually but we remained close friends. A few months later, I had sex with someone else. My best guy friend still to this day hasn't had sex but he is in a long term relationship with his girl that he will be getting married to in October. He realized that he really wanted to save his virginity to the girl that he would spend the rest of his life with and his girl shares that same view herself. The guy didn't see me as the one back then but we knew early on after the fling that we were better friends than lovers anyway.

My husband was also a virgin himself when we got together. I was already sexually experienced in both oral and intercourse. It was almost a month into our relationship that he decided that he was ready for sex, and I respected that. I know he would have liked that I to be a virgin, but he was happy that we are together as a couple and after five years of dating, we got married.

So two different scenarios that were very interesting for me to explore and experience in my life.

The guys that I've been with sexually (not all through intercourse) have their own thoughts about being sexually involved. Some people base on: timing, being comfortable with themselves, people that they're with, and etc.

I believe that guys don't have it easier than girls. I think it's completely equal. A lot of people see sex as just sex. Like it's a physical thing, but there are people who view sex more than just sex. Sex becomes more meaningful on an emotional level. Sex is more respected and appreciative when partners are completely ready for it individually and together. Everyone has their reasons and view on sex and being sexually active. What a lot of people have to keep in mind is that sex shouldn't change who you are. I had to understand that before I lost my virginity. I chose to have sex because I wanted to and it was for me, not for the guy that I had sex with although the sex was very mutual on both ends. I was and still am the same person that I am prior and after sex.

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~Jules

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teengirl
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i had intercourse like 7 or 8 times with guys but i really didnt care for them it was just "sex" so when i find a guy that i really like i can tell him that i am a virgin cause the other times didnt mean anything am i right to tell him that i am still a virgin? or even tho i had intercourse with a guy i am no longer a virgin even to i didnt care for them?
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dailicious
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teengirl - while it IS true that virginity is a social concept, and may means something different to you personally, in general virginity is a term tied to not having sexual intercourse or activity, regardless of who your partner was and what you felt for them.

You have been sexually active, whether or not these people meant anything to you, you have still had sexual partners. This is something you NEED to tell your future partners that you have been sexually active (whether you tell them how many partners you've had is up to you, though we don't recomend lying about that either), especially if you are to meet one you care about - another person deserves to know that you have had a sexual past, by not doing so, you are putting their trust and health/wellbeing at risk.

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Jean
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