Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Opposite Sex

Karen just posted a great blog post entitled "Kissing Boys," analyzing her relations with the opposite sex. It's really interesting to hear the perspective of anyone in this regard, but it's also interesting to hear the perspective of an SSA woman. There's already an interesting comment conversation going on for the post, and I've already contributed. This blog post is basically a modification of the comments I've already made there, detailing my thoughts and feelings about the opposite sex as an SSA guy. I know, I've done this before, but I'm a bit more mature now, in both my thinking and my writing, so having another go at it would be good.

I think my reaction to the opposite sex has been very different from many. There is no fear or even disgust towards women or the female body in general. I think women are very beautiful and I can recognize that beauty, but it’s completely non-sexual. It’s almost artistic, I think. I know when a woman has pretty features but they don’t do anything for me in romantic terms.

Even on an emotional or intellectual side, I am engaged and interested by men. I just find men to be exciting and stimulating, in pretty much all facets of their character, while women — though respected — just don’t get much of my attention. I suppose this sounds very sexist, but it really just has to do with my initial reactions. I have plenty of female friends who I adore. But if I’m in a crowd and looking at people, I notice the men. Women just aren’t on my radar, even in a non-romantic way.

I suppose I just find men to be more fun and energetic. There seems to be a bit more carefree attitude among men, which, of course, is largely dependent upon the fact that I’m a college guy and the guys I know are too. Women, in general, often come across to me as preoccupied. But of course this isn’t the rule. I know plenty of fun girls and plenty of grim guys. The problem with making these sort of observations is that they can play to stereotypes. Let me be clear that I'm not saying men are all great and women are all catty, but it is a bit of a gut reaction.

I think a lot of it comes down to small observations that are almost impossible to write down. The simple way men communicate is very different from the way women communicate, even in subtle ways, and I think I can pick up on those subtleties and it really does make a difference to me in terms of attraction. I will say, however, that I think men tend to come across as more forthright and honest than women do, and that is something that certainly endears me to them more. I'm not saying men actually are more honest. I just mean that their way of communication sounds more honest to me. Some say women tend to be more political and diplomatic in their communication style, and I will admit I can pick up on that from many women, and it's something that just shuts me down. It shuts me down when I hear it from a man, too. So, largely, this is just my own personal opinion of what I like as an individual.

Of course, I am just talking about initial gut reactions. I don’t think women are less fun or less energetic or less honest than men. That’s just how I react at first on a very instinctive level (in the same way that men instinctively attract me physically). In fact, when Karen's article first pressed me to think about this issue, I just kind of fumbled around for an answer to the question. I've never really thought of it before, but it is interesting to note it now that I've been introspective about it.

I certainly don’t have any gender stereotypes on a logical level. In fact, I’m probably one of the most open-minded and fair people I know when it comes to stereotypes of any kind. The fact of the matter is that at this point, I’m just sexually oriented towards the same sex, and I think that can account for my initial gut reactions about women.

I have wonderful relationships with women. Some women are as close to me as sisters and I trust them with my life. They’re great and loyal friends and I wouldn’t have them any other way. It’s just when it comes to the emotional connectivity required for a romantic relationship, not just a friendly one, I desire a male energy, I guess. There really isn’t any way to verbalize that properly, but I hope I got it across here.

I do think that, as SSA strugglers, we focus on the lack of physical connectivity too much, as if that's the main part of a relationship. It's certainly important, but I think it’s the inability to connect in an intense emotional way that really defines the problem between SSA folks and the opposite sex. Straight couples are able to work around things like impotence and inability to have sex all the time. It’s certainly difficult, but the emotional bond makes up for it, I assume.

For me, and I think for many SSA folks, however friendly we are with the opposite sex, and no matter what great friendships we have with members of the opposite sex, the fact of the matter is that we feel more emotionally bonded to the same sex. I do, at least. I know the argument is often made that SSA men don’t get along with heterosexual men, but that’s not the case with me. I like all men, and I like women too, just not to the same degree of emotional intensity as men.

I highly encourage people to continue this discussion, either here or at Karen's blog. Hope everyone's weekend is going well!

No comments: