I was reading this article in the latest issue of The Atlantic Magazine.
It makes an argument that porn is getting dangerously close to crossing the line and actually becoming adultery. Hmm. I’m not going to weigh-in on that. However, the quote that got my mind going was as follows: “All men look at porn … The handful of men who claim they don’t look at porn are liars or castrates.”
Now, I don’t buy the 100% claim, but I will concede that it is a very wide-spread thing. The article also quotes some guy whose buddies all view monogamy as essentially a prison sentence. Yikes. Although I think he is again exaggerating for emphasis, I do confess that I know more than a few guys who, if you get them alone over a beer, it soon starts to sound as though they would agree.
So, apparently, for whatever reason (evolution, societal pressure, ego issues, or the ever popular “they know better but are just being pigs”) we guys are a bunch of horny bastards with roving eyes. Stop the presses! I know this news is shocking and out of left field. And by the way, I mean “bastards” in the best sense of the word.
Slowly getting to my question: According to my own admittedly unscientific observation, the above conclusion is largely true. (You say that as if it’s a bad thing!) So, I’m just wondering, how do you other middle-aged guys (I’m in my late 40s myself) control and suppress the whole bubbling pot of your sexuality? I’m not asking the younger guys because, well, they don’t yet have extended experience with monogamy.
Generally, I think of myself as a pretty good husband. I have never had an affair in almost 20 years of marriage. I don’t view a lot of porn (perhaps because I don’t really have the time/opportunity.) I’m holding down a descent job that requires long hours, iron my own shirts, read to the kids and help them with their homework, yada yada. I also love my wife and am committed to her (obviously) and am generally satisfied with our sex life (not often enough, but, duh!!). …and yet …and yet… I find my eyes seeking out beautiful women of all varieties and appropriate ages wherever I am. I flirt at every opportunity I get. I’m thrilled when an attractive woman gives me 0.25 seconds of appreciative eye contact. Boy is this sounding pathetic! I know, I know. and, yes, there are a few women at work who I have special relationships with of the “oh, you are such a nice guy” variety (Barf. O.K., they are “friendships” dammit. But I can dream can’t I?) Speaking of daydreams: check, check. My daydreams make me think I could write some pretty damned good bogus “Dear Penthouse” letters.
The thing is: despite all that, I think I’m probably absolutely normal. Maybe even tame as such things go. (Correct me if I’m wrong, dopers. If I’m a wierdo and need to be put on a watch list, I want to know.) Mild frustration seems to be the norm. Sorta like a persistant case of jock itch.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know adultery is bad for many reasons… truly I see, feel and accept that. The world as we know it would collapse if everyone was swinging from trees out there. (cite?) But I’m struck by the disconnect of it all. On the one hand it’s widely acknowledged that we men are…what is it exactly?..over-sexed? Badly-sexed? wishful-thinkingly-sexed? Boys-will-be-boys-sexed? And on the other hand, we are expected to completely bury it in gray flannel never to be hinted at (except Saturday nights at 10:00 after 2 glasses of merlot.) In public we are --quite rightly-- asked to stoically ignore low cut tops, short skirts, lowcut jeans & high rise thongs, stilletto heals, tube tops, skintight pants (shall I go on? I’m kinda getting a charge writing this!) and everything in the scientific arsenal that’s thrown at us without so much as a flinch. After all, “They are celebrating their sexuality.” SOMETIMES, but not often, I wish it would all go away. My sex drive (or rather my desire for variety) is like a mosquito constantly buzzing around my ear or a squeeky noise thats coming from somewhere inside the car: its very annoying. But unlike those 2 examples, I can’t make it go away.
So my fellow monogamous gentlemen: How do you manage it? How do you tame the beast? Sports? Religion? Still more hard work? Cold showers? Some yoga mantra that I haven’t heard of yet? Forcing yourselves to listen to presidential debates? Perhaps some over the counter drug? …please don’t tell me the answer is “just grit your teeth, it will all be over before you know it.”
And, yes (before the mortar shells arrive), I acknowledge that women don’t have it all rosey either. No question. Wait. Hell, yes, I have a question: Are the women out there in doperland equally frustrated? Now THAT would fire up my fantasies. If so, how do you still convey that illusion of supreme disinterest so perfectly? I need to learn that one.