By now I suppose everyone has noticed that young men can barely wait to get married and settle down with one woman, and have sex exclusively with her for the rest of his life. And babies…having babies and raising a family is practically all a young man thinks about!
Oh, wait…’Sorry – I was thinking of a different planet.
Regarding planet earth, I would like to make a few observations about men, biology, and monogamous marriage while it’s still legal to speak openly about such things. First, some relevant info about me. I happen to be a flaming heterosexual. Even so, I’ve only had sex with one person in my life. We’ve had 5 children together, and we still love each other. I’ve never cheated on my wife, I never will, and I will never leave her. I know this because this is my choice to make. There’s nothing heroic or self-righteous in saying this – it’s simply what we promised each other when we got married. I wouldn’t impose my morality on anyone else even if I could. I wouldn’t even say that what I’m doing is “natural,” (whatever that means.) I’m just telling you the truth. And speaking of truth, here is a truth I want to write about today:
Men and women are different.
I assume we have all noticed this. We don’t need social scientists and studies to prove this. However, regarding this particular truth, we happen to have plenty of studies and science. We know what makes a person male or female, and we know the effects of testosterone on both men and women. This post will focus mostly on men, since I am one, and since men are the problem.
Each one of us, back when we were only a few cells old, started out looking very similar. But those of us who had a Y chromosome soon developed tiny gonads that began excreting androgens which made us into little manimals. With the onset of puberty, our boyish bodies took a big, ongoing, internal testosterone bath, affecting our bodies, brains, and behavior. The female body produces testosterone as well, but boys at puberty have something like 10 to 20 times as much, coursing around, wrecking havoc. Testosterone is linked to aggression, competitiveness, and increased sex drive.
The masculine nature can be expressed in a diversity of ways, but if we look very closely, we might detect some troubling universal tendencies in male behavior. Some of us fight against these tendencies. Some of us don’t. With regard to sexual behavior, men are markedly more inclined toward short-term, or one-time, or even anonymous, multiple sex-partners, with less regard for relational longevity than are women. It’s been said, (and I agree,) that for men, monogamous marriage is an acquired taste. We can see the evidence of this everywhere. Who are the consumers of pornography? Who are the customers of prostitutes? Who are the stalkers, voyeurs, rapists, sex abusers, pimps, and sex traffickers? They are overwhelmingly male. Where are the historic examples of female polygamists with several husbands? Where are the female-targeted equivalents of businesses like Hooters? Who regularly gets toppled from respectable public positions and ruins their reputations through voluntary, stupid, illicit sexual encounters? It’s male politicians, preachers, priests, coaches, and athletes. Who puts chrome silhouettes of large-breasted naked women on their truck mud flaps? Or decals on their pick-ups of a high-heeled naked woman holding a tuna with the words, “Tuna – the other pink meat”? And…who came up with the idea of meggings? Surely it was a man.
I point these things out because they illustrate what we all already know: male sexuality, especially when untempered by female influence, can be coldly impersonal. Women, via heterosexual marriage, have historically been a key part of social conditioning for men, around the world, today, and throughout all of history.
1) I’m not idolizing women in saying this – women are perfectly capable of objectifying men.
2) I’m not suggesting that women are more virtuous than men – we’re all mixed bags in that regard.
3) I’m not saying that men can’t control themselves and are not responsible for their behavior.
4) I’m not saying that women don’t like sex.
I’m simply saying that women approach sex differently than men do. With regard to sexual monogamy and family formation, universally, throughout the history of the world, it has been in the interest of women to not be as sexually promiscuous. Women generally don’t use men for sex and then discard them. There is a simple, universal reason for this even if one strips away all the religious rules, societal taboos, cultural conditioning, and psychological theorizing. Underlying all of those things there is the persistent biological fact that women have more to lose than men in a shallow or temporary sexual relationship – women can get pregnant. They can get pregnant, and they are the ones who must deal with the pregnancy. Furthermore, it is a fact that women are historically less likely to abandon their own children, which raises the stakes for women even higher. In addition to this, when you throw hormones into the mix, you get two different recipes for sexual behavior: one for women, and one for men.
Of course, with the availability of decent birth control and, failing that, abortion on demand, modern women are now theoretically “free” to be like men in their sexuality (impersonal and narcissistic.) But even if they want to be, is that what the world needs? Everyone acting like pubescent males? Yet, this seems to have been part of the goal of modern feminism. Many people are surprised to learn that early feminists such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton held a different perspective. Their feminism included the laudable idea that women had a distinctly feminine, nurturing, more humane perspective to bring to the table. They were opposed to abortion because they believed that for a woman to kill her offspring would be to succumb to the same old male mindset of the stronger forcing its will on the weaker. But no, modern feminism chose to reject this humanitarian nonsense in favor of “empowering” women to be like men, making the right to abortion the cornerstone of feminism. Yet, many women would say today that feminism shot itself in the foot by making male sexuality, (the right to be “unpregnant,”) the standard by which equality is measured. I actually agree with feminist Timothy Leary’s comment, “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” (Even though he probably only said this to get laid.)
We may now be on the brink of taking the next big, unwholesome step toward the male suppression of innate female interests. If abortion on demand and no fault divorce pushed the innate, biological interests of women up to the edge of a cliff, the “marriage equality” movement may push those interests the rest of the way over. The field of sexuality and marriage is about to become redefined according to the less humane, less personal male approach to sex. “Nonsense!” you say? “Women aren’t going anywhere.”
But it’s not a question of women going anywhere. Women have always been here, and men have routinely rolled right over them. Only relatively recently have women had a place at the table in Western culture. Our current Western ideal of the unity-in-diversity as equals in monogamous marriage is unique in world history, and it has been hard won. It favors the biologically innate proclivities of women. It is friendlier to the interests of both women and children than anything else in recorded history. In redefining marriage to include gay relationships, this ideal of marriage will be lost to secular culture. How so?
The Sexual Superiority of Women:
In the eighties I read a book by George Gilder entitled Men & Marriage. Reading this book was like having an electrical engineer come over and explain the circuitry in my house. Think for a moment on the opening line of his book:
“The crucial process of civilization is the subordination of male sexual impulses and biology to the long-term horizons of female sexuality.”
In a nutshell, Gilder’s thesis is that every culture in the world has to figure out how to deal with its hormonally-crazed single males, who, if left to themselves, tend to form groups and express their masculinity in non-productive or destructive ways. Since young women have something that men really, really want, young women are the key to inducing and creating voluntary social order. Every culture has marriage, or something like it, by which men agree to channel their energies in the service of wife, offspring, and productive labor. Obviously this is not a guaranteed formula, and is insufficient in and of itself, but heterosexual marriage is a primordial, universal part of social conditioning that keeps the world turning.Why might it be a really bad idea to redefine marriage to include gay relationships?
Regarding gay men: Because they’re guys, and they will behave like guys. We know a great deal about how men behave, and why. Please carefully note that my concerns about male gay marriage do not arise from the fact that the couples in question are gay. My concerns arise from the fact that they are men. I’m simply speaking plainly of male sexual behavior here, and it pretty much looks the same, gay or straight. That is to say it looks less human than female sexuality. In saying it looks less human, I mean it is more animal-like. Like, let’s say, a dog. For example, a dog is indiscriminate and will hump your leg. I’ve had several discussions where people have told me that “we don’t know what will happen if men are allowed to marry.” But I think we do know. I think we know in spades what will happen.
How “marriage equality” will alter the definition of marriage.
Gay sex columnist Dan Savage believes he has a better idea than traditional monogamous marriage, and he’s not alone. He has even invented a clever term: “monogamish.” Savage believes that gays will be doing the straight community a service by normalizing the idea of married couples being “mostly monogamous” but allowing for the occasional extramarital sexual encounter; a practice that has been accepted in gay culture for decades:
“I acknowledge the advantages of monogamy, when it comes to sexual safety, infections, emotional safety, paternity assurances. But people in monogamous relationships have to be willing to meet me a quarter of the way and acknowledge the drawbacks of monogamy around boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death and being taken for granted.” – Dan Savage
“But should we see “monogamish” relationships as a threat to marriage? I think not. If people are actually happier when they’re able to openly and frankly discuss their desires, their passions and what they need from each other, even if that means another partner a few nights a month, wouldn’t that help marriages remain strong?” – Gay-rights activist Zach Stafford – Huffington Post
“Anti-equality right-wingers have long insisted that allowing gays to marry will destroy the sanctity of “traditional marriage,” and, of course, the logical, liberal party-line response has long been “No, it won’t.” But what if—for once—the sanctimonious crazies are right? Could the gay male tradition of open relationships actually alter marriage as we know it? And would that be such a bad thing? With divorce rates at an all-time high…perhaps now is the perfect time for the gays to conduct a little marriage makeover.” – The Advocate
Isn’t this a little like advocating bulimia as a weight loss strategy?
Certainly not all, but many gay men, define monogamy and faithfulness differently than heterosexuals traditionally do. This shouldn’t surprise anyone – they’re guys. Pro-marriage-equality heterosexuals unfamiliar with gay culture seem to naively think that gay men simply long for the chance to “settle down and be married to the one they love.” (Because that is so what men want!) But male gay culture is male sexuality unbridled from the humanizing influence of women. For many in gay culture, so long as an emotionally attached couple is upfront and in agreement, it’s not considered “cheating” to have sex with other men. But my friends, that’s not what marriage is.
If “marriage equality” wins, what we will see is guy couples getting married in order to receive official recognition and benefits from the State, but living in “open marriages” – a parody of the real thing. This behavior will be completely acceptable to everyone because both partners are in agreement. It will reduce the role of marriage to that of a gumball machine. If the State decides to recognize such “marriages” for gays, then perhaps Savage is right. What is to keep “progressive” heterosexual men from insisting on the same arrangement in their marriages? (I’ll answer that: nothing.) Women who expected sexual fidelity from their husbands will be made to feel reactionary, unenlightened, and possessive. Thus, women will be pressured to conform to the inferior sexual proclivities of men. Game over. Women lose again.
Our gay brethren truly believe that nonmonogamy will help some couples, both gay and straight, preserve their committed relationships. Perhaps they’re right. But whether or not they are right is irrelevant to the gay marriage debate. If people want to experiment with nonmonogamy, or polyamory, they are FREE to do so. Gay or straight. No one cares! I sincerely hope it works for them! But let’s not call it marriage. And let’s not have the Federal Government redefine marriage accordingly and then bring the full weight of governmental power down on the rest of us in an attempt to force compliance. “Marriage equality” is not about equal rights. It will effectively destroy equal rights and community by prohibiting the free exercise of religion in a pluralistic culture.
In closing, nothing in this post should be construed as anti-gay or hateful. I favor pluralism and freedom, and gays in America are free to live and love with whomever they choose. It’s cool to be gay now. I’m simply opposed to wrecking the best, most risk-free context for raising well children that we know of. It would be reckless to tinker with the institution that celebrates the connecting of a man and woman spiritually, emotionally, and physically for life; an institution that powerfully motivates a man to become a contributing member of society and to be a dad to his children.
I’ve spoken about monogamous heterosexual marriage as being in the interests of women and children, but I believe that it serves the interests of men as well. Research supports this if longevity, health, and happiness are indicators of men’s’ interests. Men and women complete each other. Healthy heterosexual marriage does not result in the emasculation of men. It brings out the best of what men can be, making them willing and co-creative participants with women as equal partners in the work of civilization.