Men, Sex, and Society

Generally, men and women relate to sex differently. Men tend to think of sex in external ways, women in internal ways. This difference leads men and women to approach sex in a manner that can lead to misunderstanding and conflict.

Because men tend to think of sex in physical terms, initial attraction is based on physical appearance. Men’s lust is aroused visually; emotional intimacy and connection are not the primary motivations. In fact, because visual arousal is so immediate and two-dimensional for men, most pornography is made for and by men. An addition consequence is that men are far more likely to become addicted to porn and sex than are women.

As discussed in my last post “Gay Men, Sexual Addiction, & Society”, the lack of socialization for gay children and adolescents contributes greatly to how gay men learn to relate to each other. In addition to society’s role in the development of gay male sexuality, gay men, like heterosexual men, are first motivated by sexual arousal in their search for romantic partners. Because both partners are men, sex plays a different role in homosexual mating than it does for heterosexuals.

There are many theories about what contributes to the male’s sexual habits. As we’ve seen before, socialization is one factor that plays a significant role in sexual development. It is more difficult to assess how much gender informs male sexuality. Clearly, when coupling involves two men, sexual expression is going to be different than between men and women.

Society has judged harshly the sexual habits of gay men and has relied on prejudice and stereotyping to make unfair comparisons to the mating habits of heterosexuals. Comparing heterosexual and homosexual sex disregards the impact of gender and ignores the fact that two gay men are both males. Many heterosexual men claim that their sexual behavior would be similar to that of gay men if women themselves responded sexually like they did. But women’s sexuality is different such that this isn’t an option. Here we can see the impact that gender plays on how men experience and act on arousal. While gay sex is greatly influenced by societal factors, the simple fact that both partners are male also contributes to the way gay men function sexually.

Because the mating of gay men involves partners that are both male, they’re going to approach sex differently than mating between men and women. Understanding the role gender plays in sexuality will enable society to empathize rather than criticize gay male sexual habits.

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