Menergy! A Manly Exploration into Self-Control
So much of modern male sexuality concerns the issue of self-control. A man who cannot maintain his composure is a minuteman, a premature ejaculator, the punch line to a joke most unkind.
Today’s sensitive man is focused on developing control. Mostly this trend is based on the fact that it’s getting damn near impossible to find a dutiful mate who’ll fake an orgasm and then get right on back to vacuuming the den. Those golden days that may or may not have ever existed are history.
Nowadays, it’s all about entitlement. Fulfillment. If you can’t make it happen, there’s another guy (or gal) who can — and when he or she shows up on the scene, you’ll be lucky to get so much as a goodbye text message. And don’t blame it on size, because buddy, these days everyone knows what matters most are the mad skillz.
Ok, maybe life’s not quite so brutal as I’m making it out to be. But it’s certainly true that any man, as well as anyone on the receiving end of his affections, becomes acutely aware of this sensitive issue. When it comes to sex, control is on the forefront of everyone’s mind.
He’s Out of Control
Self-control is inextricably intertwined with sexual life. A guy’s first thoughts about sex immediately arouse the practical matter of learning not to pop wood in public. He learns to rein in his eyes which are suddenly possessed with the urge to gawk at his classmates’ blossoming bosoms or up into the mysterious shadowlands of their fluttery skirts.
For his member to be successful in society, a guy learns to hold back. Limit masturbation to a reasonable number of times per day, to appropriate places. He rations the number of hours spent looking at porn. And then the grand realization-that getting some has a lot to do with acting cool, calm, collected.
Throughout life we’ve got to bend to the fickle wills of the objects of our affections. One might call this the coalition of the willing-those who lend support to our sexual actions, to varying degrees at unpredictable times. We learn to control ourselves in the name of monogamy, religion, health, safety, morals, law, money, and as mentioned above, not getting laughed out of bed.
Clearly, the wide-ranging benefits a man receives for cultivating self-control in all its various forms is a fair tradeoff. Or, another way of putting it might be, the consequences of not being socialized are assuredly grim.
And really, if being in a perpetual state of self-control makes us more attractive, stops us from coming too fast, and saves us from becoming antisocial sex maniacs, what’s not to love?
There is a tradeoff. To foster self-control, a man must relinquish something. There must be a certain degree of detachment. If we’re talking about ejaculatory control, the classic clichÃ©s come to mind — like thinking about baseball scores. This is an obvious (cheap shot) example of a situation where the senses are not fully in the moment. That’s detachment for sure.
There are countless different conceptions of what intimacy is. A closeness, a vulnerability, a connection. Intimacy is something each of us feels as a personal thing within ourselves. Sometimes it’s impossible even for our own lovers to understand our personal take on intimacy, let alone someone else making broad generalizations to try to pigeonhole the multitudes. I’ve tried to imagine a way to define it but only succeed in getting bogged down by vague, broad terms that then require further definition with even more vague, broad terms. Why even go there? One thing that’s safe to say is that however intimacy manifests itself in your life, it’s difficult to fit baseball scores into the additive side of the equation.
Here’s another example: waking up early in the morning in the same bed as a lover, and you are horny as hell. Instead of imposing yourself and possibly annoying them, you quell your desires by picking up a book or taking the proverbial cold shower — however it is you’ve taught yourself to detach from the urges of immediate sexual gratification.
Eventually, a man reaches a level of maturity where he has lived life enough to deepen his sexual experience beyond the early days of adolescent fumbling. No longer is sex a frantic rush from one orgasm to the next. After all the years of confusion, this is the place where a man can examine the nature of sexual desire. To consider the desire he’s been taming and rearing since puberty, look it squarely in the eye, and know it for what it truly is. He no longer need be ruled by his insecurities and ignorance. He has a sense of who he is, of being at home in his own body.
It is from this perspective that one might approach the endless variations on taking/relinquishing control — (Good Vibes deals in some of the best aids to this effect¦ nudge, nudge). One might also consider dabbling in the depths of all this aforementioned self-control — either submitting oneself to delayed gratification or perhaps even attempting variations on relinquishing self-control all together.
Unfortunately, there’s so much that confuses the issue of control. Rape, violence, S&M — the characterization tends towards the dark, dangerous, and destructive. But where some see a dark side, I perceive a creative and constructive energy. It just depends on who you are and what you want to do with it.
In my off time from writing sex articles, I play music — wind instruments. Sometimes in making music, there are moments where passion and spontaneity overtake me. I think wind instruments are inherently conducive to this happening by virtue of the way in which they are played. One pushes air through the thing and in this effort, the entirety of my mind, breath, body, contributes to the sound. In this sense, it can also be dangerous because you can get hurt it you take it too far. I know, because I’ve hurt myself. Seriously. The exhilaration of taking the sound to the edge made it impossible for me to see my own physical limitations.
Structural integrity aside, this isn’t a destructive approach. For the horn to become a conduit for pure aggressive energy; there’s a ton of control involved. And yet, no notes or any other musical conventions matter any longer. It’s all feeling, it’s all me just losing my shit. But if I do it right, it turns into something beautiful because I’ve developed the strength and focus to channel that energy in a way that’s musical. At least to some people’s ears, in any case. Is playing a musical instrument a good analogy for sex? It gets a lot more complicated when you add another person (rather than an inanimate object) into the mix…
Really, I don’t think attaining some theoretical out-of-control state is a means to an end. I don’t even think it’s possible musically or sexually. As previously stated, there are physical limitations that you butt up against, sometimes with unpleasant effects. And honestly, the pursuit of this sounds a lot to me like Fight Club or this sort of, “you need to know what it’s like to kill to know what it feels to be alive” crazy shit, or that we’re out looking for the sexual equivalent of bungee jumping. There are all sorts of misguided people who convince themselves of that. I don’t buy it. And yet, the dynamics of self-control are well worth considering, in the very least towards understanding the forces that shaped us into the sexual beings we are today.
With that, I’m going to leave off here and pick up again in two weeks with the third installment of Be Our Guest, and then, if I’ve still got your interest, I’ll tie the subject matter of these first three articles into one scintillating conclusion!