What Men Want

 

shutterstock_265843157“[Sex is] a contest to see who cares less, and guys win a lot at caring less,” Amanda says.

A brutal Vanity Fair column about the instant hookup world of Tinder shows one side of what men want and what they don’t. And it’s neither pretty nor surprising.

“When it’s so easy, when it’s so available to you,” Brian says intensely, “… it’s very hard to contain yourself.”

“I don’t want [a relationship],” says Nick. “I don’t want to have to deal with all that—stuff.”

“You can’t be selfish in a relationship,” Brian says. “It feels good just to do what I want.”

In the piece, the author asked young women what percent of young men they thought were in it just for the sex “without any intention of having a relationship with them or perhaps even walking them to the door.”

“One hundred percent,” said Meredith, 20, a sophomore at Bellarmine University in Louisville.

“No, like 90 percent,” said Ashley. “I’m hoping to find the 10 percent somewhere. But every boy I’ve ever met is [just out for sex].”

I don’t presume I know what women want, but it doesn’t seem to be this:

“… it really is kind of destroying females’ self-images,” says Fallon.

“It’s body first, personality second,” says Stephanie.

“Honestly, I feel like the body doesn’t even matter to them as long as you’re willing,” says Reese. “It’s that bad.”

“But if you say any of this out loud, it’s like you’re weak, you’re not independent, you somehow missed the whole memo about third-wave feminism,” says Amanda.

The post had me on the verge of tears for the pain of the women and for the emptiness of the men. We all know –or always knew, until recently — what men want on a primal level. That’s how we were built. But we can grow into what we’re meant to become.

Fortunately, Mona Charen’s Manliness: An Unsung Trait of the Train Heroes saved me from despair over the matter. It gives a far more inspiring view of what men could and should be, and what many men are.

Charen started from the premise that, by nature, men are rambunctious and have violent tendencies, but that Judeo-Christian culture has taught them how to channel their urges into virtuous expression. In contrast, the Vanity Fair article started from the premise that, by nature, men were like women, but the “cultural milieu” had made men pathetic jerks. That all would be good if we weren’t “censured by church or state.” “In a perfect world, we’d all have sex with whomever we want” and we wouldn’t have to worry about jealousy, sexism, or “the still-flickering chance that somebody might fall in love.”

This being Ricochet, the comments section on Charen’s piece was equal to the article. The outpouring of appreciation from men showed what they really crave but can rarely find:

  1. A woman praising masculinity. You can see this reaction whenever women praise men and masculinity.
  2. An inspiring model of who men should be. A model that celebrates masculinity in particular and gender differences in general, instead of denying and demonizing them.

Finding sexual excitement is quite easy today; far too easy. What’s hard, and infinitely more valued, is finding affirmation that women want us to complement them. That they see us not as broken women, but as their other half, appreciated both for our similarities and our differences. Men and women can give each other what they want, and what they need.

Or they can use Tinder.

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  1. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Merina Smith:

    EThompson:Of course it is but not unlike all human relationships, there is an element of manipulation that can be fun for both parties. IMHO, people are far too serious and straightforward these days; a little mystery and subterfuge adds to the thrill of the hunt!

    We obviously grew up in different environments so I can only respond that this “strategy” worked well for me. I’ve been happily married for almost 20 years.

    Twenty years ago the understanding of what courtship was and the expectation that people would marry was much stronger. The idea that sex came first was weaker. In other words, men and women were more likely to regard the dance of courtship, which is a game for everybody to some degree and it ought to be fun, as something that was meant to lead to something they were both looking for–marriage.

    Afraid I must disagree! Twenty years ago, courtship and marriage were hardly on the “upswing.” I ran across as many uncouth rapscallions as many women do today but I was equipped to deal with it because of my upbringing.

    Again, I have to bring up the lack of parenting skills in many families today and I hope my mother never reads this because I couldn’t bear to hear “I told you so” at this stage in my life. :)

    • #31
  2. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    My ex’s grandmother got married when she was 19. She told us they got married so they could have sex haha.

    • #32
  3. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    I’m old(er).  I recognize the guys in this piece as some of my buddies from over a generation ago.  I don’t recognize the women at all.  And it’s not just because they’re “free to talk” now.  They seem far weaker than the women with whom I aged.

    • #33
  4. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Some Nitpicks for Fred.

    Fred Cole: 5. There’s this conservative trope that everything involving marriage and family is always getting worse.  It’s not.  Divorce rates peaked in the 1980s and have been on the decline since then.

    This coincides with an overall decline in marriage rates, which is not a net positive.

    Fred Cole: 6. This kind of stuff went on pre-1960s, of course.  It just was better hidden.

    It was also more difficult to do, surely meaning it occurred less frequently.

    • #34
  5. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    RightAngles:My ex’s grandmother got married when she was 19. She told us they got married so they could have sex …

    This happened quite frequently with the “Greatest Generation” who often married for sex and discovered afterwards they had nothing much else in common. Divorce was rare among this group but some of the marriages I witnessed among my parent’s group of friends were so miserable, we were hard-pressed not to recommend it.

    • #35
  6. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Frank Soto:Some Nitpicks for Fred.

    Fred Cole: 5. There’s this conservative trope that everything involving marriage and family is always getting worse. It’s not. Divorce rates peaked in the 1980s and have been on the decline since then.

    This coincides with an overall decline in marriage rates, which is not a net positive.

    It’s not necessarily a negative thing.  It’s just a sign of changing social patterns. Like I said, lots of people have children together without getting married.

    Fred Cole: 6. This kind of stuff went on pre-1960s, of course. It just was better hidden.

    It was also more difficult to do, surely meaning it occurred less frequently.

    Well, yeah.  But my point was that the attitudes behind it aren’t anything new. The men in the story are dogs, to be sure. Technology hasn’t changed men, it’s just reduced transaction costs.

    • #36
  7. Gil Reich Inactive
    Gil Reich
    @GilReich

    When I wrote this post I was more interested in the reactions to Mona Charen’s piece, and I brought in the VF piece for contrast. The VF piece was compelling, especially since it made it so easy to lash out at feminism, and feel some schadenfreude (which I’m not proud of) about the people most suffering from it. Which is quite the opposite of what I wanted to do, to praise Charen for her celebration of manliness and point out how much men want and need that. I’m sorry that I somehow used that to start a discussion that said women broke everything and they deserve what they’re getting.

    I don’t think we should be saying civilization requires women to say no to sex, and if they don’t they’re letting us all down. Cause men can’t control themselves.

    That’s not the direction we should be taking this, IMO. Men need to step and grow up, and not say we have no agency, if women let us be jerks then that’s on them.

    • #37
  8. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Fred Cole: It’s not necessarily a negative thing.  It’s just a sign of changing social patterns. Like I said, lots of people have children together without getting married.

    …an objectively bad thing.   Child outcomes are massively worse in the scenario you lay out.  It isn’t even close.

    • #38
  9. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Frank Soto:

    Fred Cole: It’s not necessarily a negative thing. It’s just a sign of changing social patterns. Like I said, lots of people have children together without getting married.

    …an objectively bad thing. Child outcomes are massively worse in the scenario you lay out. It isn’t even close.

    Agreed, depending on whether you view marriage as Blarriage or Schmarriage.

    • #39
  10. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    What it appears we are seeing is that the nature of man has not changed, but the internet has eased the facilitation of acting upon it.  The added anonymization of that facilitation has led to the efficiency of expressing the baser instincts that are subverted when normally participating in society due to mores of public interaction holding the baser instincts as unpalatable.

    • #40
  11. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    Double post

    • #41
  12. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Gil Reich:I’m sorry that I somehow used that to start a discussion that said women broke everything and they deserve what they’re getting.

    Statements like “The post had me on the verge of tears, for the pain of the women and for the emptiness of the men” suggest you believe that innocent women are suffering at the hands of evil male predators.  The idea that when a man and a woman have a random hookup that only the man is to blame for any subsequent pain is sheer nonsense and deserves pushback.

    I don’t think we should be saying civilization requires women to say no to sex, and if they don’t they’re letting us all down. Cause men can’t control themselves.

    Can women?  So men not being able to control themselves leads to civilizational downfall, but women with no self-control is of no consequence?

    Men need to step and grow up, and not say we have no agency, if women let us be jerks then that’s on them.

    There are “grown up” men in their twenties, most of whom are bypassed for the loudmouthed fratboys that women find more attractive in their youth.

    Women don’t “let us be jerks,” they encourage us to be jerks by offering sex.

    Why so many of us believe that feminine sexuality is somehow pure compared to that of men in the age of Fifty Shades of Grey is beyond me.

    • #42
  13. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Gil Reich:…..

    I don’t think we should be saying civilization requires women to say no to sex, and if they don’t they’re letting us all down. Cause men can’t control themselves.

    That’s not the direction we should be taking this, IMO. Men need to step and grow up, and not say we have no agency, if women let us be jerks then that’s on them.

    It’s not either/or, it’s both.

    However, it’s not hard to see how feminism has been busily sawing away at the very branch that many women were standing on. Oh, sure, other forces have taken their turns with the saw, but feminism was certainly more than just a cheerleader for the effort. And it shouldn’t have been difficult to predict the consequences. In fact, many people did predict the consequences.

    That, and why do you say that these men are jerks? They’re playing by the new rules where sex is a wholly separate thing from what we might think of as emotional or practical relationships. If we can have sex without these and vice-versa then it only makes sense that people will take from both columns a la carte. Why should men pursue women in that way when they can have their itches scratched, unless the women are making themselves attractive for those other purposes?

    • #43
  14. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Everybody knows sex is a destructive force…

    Ick … not the right answer!

    • #44
  15. Underwood Inactive
    Underwood
    @Underwood

    Gil Reich:I don’t think we should be saying civilization requires women to say no to sex, and if they don’t they’re letting us all down. Cause men can’t control themselves.

    That’s not the direction we should be taking this, IMO. Men need to step and grow up, and not say we have no agency, if women let us be jerks then that’s on them.

    I too find this puzzling. What exactly do you find culpable in the behavior of these men? It’s not as though they are feigning affection in order to entice these women into bed.

    • #45
  16. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Underwood:

    Gil Reich:I don’t think we should be saying civilization requires women to say no to sex, and if they don’t they’re letting us all down. Cause men can’t control themselves.

    That’s not the direction we should be taking this, IMO. Men need to step and grow up, and not say we have no agency, if women let us be jerks then that’s on them.

    I too find this puzzling. What exactly do you find culpable in the behavior of these men? It’s not as though they are feigning affection in order to entice these women into bed.

    Perhaps he buys into the myth that modern women will only sleep with a man if he’s pledged eternal loyalty to her soul.

    As a Christian, I don’t approve of what any of these people are doing.  However, biological reality dictates that under most circumstances, sex happens after the woman consents, not the man.  Male desire is constant, female desire variable.

    Yes, men need to behave themselves.  However, if men stayed like they are now but 95% of women forswore premarital sex, there would be almost no premarital sex.  If 95% of men did the same but women remained promiscuous, that remaining 5% of men would have the time of their lives.

    • #46
  17. Gil Reich Inactive
    Gil Reich
    @GilReich

    Martel:

    ..

    Statements like “The post had me on the verge of tears, for the pain of the women and for the emptiness of the men” suggest you believe that innocent women are suffering at the hands of evil male predators. The idea that when a man and a woman have a random hookup that only the man is to blame for any subsequent pain is sheer nonsense and deserves pushback.

    I don’t think we should be saying civilization requires women to say no to sex, and if they don’t they’re letting us all down. Cause men can’t control themselves.

    Can women? So men not being able to control themselves leads to civilizational downfall, but women with no self-control is of no consequence?

    I wasn’t trying to blame the men and sanctify the women, I think men and women both need to step up and not just blame their complementary gender. I thought other comments were pinning this all on the women, and I think the blame & responsibility is shared.

    Why am I calling the men jerks? Because I think casual sex is bad for everybody, especially women. Yes, the women signed up for this too. All participants are responsible. Sorry, I’m old fashioned. It’s wrong to cause other people pain, and especially wrong for men to cause women pain. Yes, I’m a sexist.

    • #47
  18. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Ed G.:

    Gil Reich:…..

    I don’t think we should be saying civilization requires women to say no to sex, and if they don’t they’re letting us all down. Cause men can’t control themselves.

    That’s not the direction we should be taking this, IMO. Men need to step and grow up, and not say we have no agency, if women let us be jerks then that’s on them.

    It’s not either/or, it’s both.

    Not good enough.  It’s the man’s fault.  Period.  If a husband cheats on his wife, it’s his fault because he’s a selfish pig.  If a wife cheats on her husband, it’s his fault because he failed to meet her emotional needs.  If he falls out of love with her, he needs to grow up.  If she falls out of love with him, he needs to grow up, too.

    “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  Nonsense.  Men fall short and women suffer because of it.  For every mistake a woman makes you can be sure to find a bad father or abusive boyfriend who drove her to it.  When men screw up they just need to “man up” and accept responsibility.  It’s his fault and his alone.

    • #48
  19. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Gil Reich:I wasn’t trying to blame the men and sanctify the women, I think men and women both need to step up and not just blame their complementary gender. I thought other comments were pinning this all on the women, and I think the blame & responsibility is shared.

    All on the women is going too far, pinning it mostly on the women is not.

    Christian morality mandates that we all behave sexually, but when male sin is described as wicked but female sin is inferred to be understandable, it creates imbalance.  I’m glad you see responsibility as shared, but your initial statement strongly implied you placed the lion’s share of blame on the men.

    Why am I calling the men jerks? Because I think casual sex is bad for everybody, especially women. Yes, the women signed up for this too. All participants are responsible. Sorry, I’m old fashioned. It’s wrong to cause other people pain, and especially wrong for men to cause women pain. Yes, I’m a sexist.

    It’s also wrong to put yourself into a position that makes it extra tempting for somebody else to cause you pain, and that’s what these women are doing.  Indeed, casual sex is more harmful for women than men.  Women therefore have a responsibility to put an end to it, which they abdicate in greater and greater numbers.

    But the only people we blame for this are men.  (Unless we’re called on it.)

    • #49
  20. Gil Reich Inactive
    Gil Reich
    @GilReich

    Ed G.:

    ..

    It’s not either/or, it’s both.

    However, it’s not hard to see how feminism has been busily sawing away at the very branch that many women were standing on. Oh, sure, other forces have taken their turns with the saw, but feminism was certainly more than just a cheerleader for the effort. And it shouldn’t have been difficult to predict the consequences. In fact, many people did predict the consequences.

    Agreed. But let’s not hold all women responsible for the excesses of third-wave feminism. Nobody elected the feminists as women’s representatives, and most women do not identify as feminists.

    • #50
  21. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Gil Reich:

    Ed G.:

    ..

    It’s not either/or, it’s both.

    However, it’s not hard to see how feminism has been busily sawing away at the very branch that many women were standing on. Oh, sure, other forces have taken their turns with the saw, but feminism was certainly more than just a cheerleader for the effort. And it shouldn’t have been difficult to predict the consequences. In fact, many people did predict the consequences.

    Agreed. But let’s not hold all women responsible for the excesses of third-wave feminism. Nobody elected the feminists as women’s representatives, and most women do not identify as feminists.

    Yet many have bought into the underpinnings of the new understanding anyway.

    • #51
  22. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Martel:

    Gil Reich:…..

    Why am I calling the men jerks? Because I think casual sex is bad for everybody, especially women. Yes, the women signed up for this too. All participants are responsible. Sorry, I’m old fashioned. It’s wrong to cause other people pain, and especially wrong for men to cause women pain. Yes, I’m a sexist.

    It’s also wrong to put yourself into a position that makes it extra tempting for somebody else to cause you pain, and that’s what these women are doing. Indeed, casual sex is more harmful for women than men. Women therefore have a responsibility to put an end to it, which they abdicate in greater and greater numbers.

    But the only people we blame for this are men. (Unless we’re called on it.)

    Temptation is the wrong word. It’s invitation. Not invitation to cause pain, but invitation to scratch each other’s itches. How long until these adults learn that scratching too much causes pain and injury?

    • #52
  23. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    The problem wasn’t just the 60s.  There was a significant downward ratchet in sexual mores in the 20s.  It seems pretty tame to us now, but that’s only a sign of how much closer we are to Gommorah.

    And yes, I’m sorry to say, I’m slouching as I write this.

    • #53
  24. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I also think that the whole “falling in love” idea is a source of the problem.  “Falling in love” is infatuation and sexual attraction.  It is eros.

    Marriage is a commitment to love.  It should be at least phileo, and agape when we can manage it.

    • #54
  25. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Gil Reich:….Why am I calling the men jerks? Because I think casual sex is bad for everybody, especially women. Yes, the women signed up for this too. All participants are responsible. Sorry, I’m old fashioned. It’s wrong to cause other people pain, and especially wrong for men to cause women pain. Yes, I’m a sexist.

    Agreed. However, it’s particularly frustrating dealing with complaints about the pain from people (not you, Gil) who refuse to recognize or who even reject the basic realities underlying their pain. The answer is simple and known, yet apparently unpalatable.

    • #55
  26. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    My last may have sounded overly prudish.  There is nothing necessarily wrong with eros, but it is supposed to be constrained to marriage.  Within a marriage, eros can strengthen the bond.

    • #56
  27. Indaba Member
    Indaba
    @

    Well written. Bringing up my sons, I enjoyed their rambunctious spirits and energy. One of the things I liked abou Ricochet is that the men here show their masculinity and constantly surprised me.

    This article shows me the dynamism of the male spirit and how feminism just doesn’t understand at all.

    • #57
  28. Underwood Inactive
    Underwood
    @Underwood

    Gil Reich:

    Sorry, I’m old fashioned. It’s wrong to cause other people pain…

    Do I detect a touch of snark in that line? Well, I for one will not respond in kind because…

    Oh, who am I kidding, of course I will.

    You may be old fashioned, but apparently not so old fashioned that you think we “should be saying civilization requires women to say no to sex.” ;)

    Now, I appreciate that you are against casual sex. But how do we define that without social norms evolving to, well, exactly where we are right now?

    • #58
  29. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    SexualityExplained_sized

    If I’m not horny, make me a sandwich.

    • #59
  30. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Ed G.:

     

    Agreed. But let’s not hold all women responsible for the excesses of third-wave feminism. Nobody elected the feminists as women’s representatives, and most women do not identify as feminists.

    Yet many have bought into the underpinnings of the new understanding anyway.

    Correct, and we’ve set up societal norms in such a way as to make fidelity to traditional morality as difficult as possible.

    Virtually all seculars and a lot of Christians recommend that their children not get married too soon, that they spend most of their twenties “finding themselves” before they “settle down.”  However, it’s not exactly easy to reach your twenty-eighth birthday as a virgin, especially if you’re an attractive women men are throwing themselves at.

    So they have sex without getting married.  Moreover, the kind of men women know they should marry aren’t exactly the ideal guys for one-night stands, so the stable reliable guys get pushed to the side in favor of the arrogant “hawt” guys they just want to get with.

    Most twenty-one year olds of both genders see marriage and family as a long way off (unemployment and student debt don’t help, either), so they put off valuing those traits that make good husbands and wives, too.  Thus Mr. Right Now beats Mr. Right, and he’s going to so long as we encourage postponing marriage like we do now.

    • #60
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