Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Macho Macho Man

Last week Indiana University released findings from a study that asked men what constituted their idea of the term ‘masculine’. Published in the highly erotic Journal of Sexual Medicine as well as their own website, the study interviewed more than 27,000 men from eight countries (Spain, U.S., Britain, Germany, Mexico, Italy, France and Brazil).

Before we get to the results (which seem to shock everyone that isn’t a man) I would like to toot my own horn (since nobody else does it) and point out that I covered a lot of this already. These guys think they’re all cool because they spent more than an hour putting it together and involved multiple continents.

Show offs.

After rummaging through the 27,000 emails or papers or however they got their responses, it seems the entire concept of ‘masculinity’ isn’t at all what experts thought it was. One more reason not to trust experts.

The assumed definition of being a manly man was basically summed up as ‘more pussy + big dick + lots of money = real man’. Hard to argue with that math, actually.

Not so fast. According to this study, men place more importance in honor, respect and self reliance then on being attractive, sexually active or a chick magnet. While this doesn’t explain 'hair replacment procedures' or 50 year old men buying expensive cars, it does resolve with what most men feel creates happiness and contentment. Myself included.

Now, let’s not kid ourselves. Having sex with lots of beautiful women and being attractive is nothing to sneeze at. I should know. But there is something much more fulfilling about succeeding at ‘being your own man’ (or as my high school guidance counselor called it ‘having a problem with authority’) and gaining the respect of others.

The problem I have with this study (as I do with most) is it ignores some basic premises about being a man. This conclusion, for example:

‘Regardless of age or nationality, the men more frequently ranked good health, harmonious family life and good relationships with their wife or partner as more important to their quality of life than material, self-fulfilling or purely sexual concerns.’

While this is true, there is a cause and effect here that is not mentioned. See, the reason men value good health is because good health means more sex. Yes, good health is more important than ‘purely sexual concerns’ but it doesn’t mean the two concerns stand alone. Yes, having a good relationship with your partner is very important, but it’s because if we have good relations we have more sex.

As stereotypical as it seems, men care about sex. Deeply. No, it isn’t our primary concern. We want to be successful. We want and crave a satisfying monogamous relationship (or two as long as they don’t find out about each other). We want good health. We want happy, well adjusted children who enrich our lives. We are multifaceted creatures who want it all. Like women without the shopping gene and good smell.

That said, the impression this study gives is that men would RATHER be honorable and respected then have lots and lots of sex is misleading. Respect comes from both genders and, sorry, guys, we have all done something dishonorable in order to get laid at least once in our lives. At least. For most of us, it’s more than that.

There is also several mentions of erectile dysfunction scattered throughout. An example:

‘Compared to men without erectile dysfunction, the experience of erectile dysfunction neither increased nor decreased the importance men placed on having an active sex life or having success with women, although men with erectile dysfunction reported less satisfaction with their sex lives’ (Duh!)


‘Men who seek treatment for erectile dysfunction do not differ in their views of masculinity from those who do not seek help’.

You like how that’s phrased? ‘Do not seek help’ implies that all men have ED but not all go to the doctor to report it. Nice. We’re all impotent, but we don’t all want to admit it and have to pop blue pills.

The mention of ED throughout makes me wonder if Viagra or Cialis has funded this study.

I could be wrong, of course. It could be a joint venture.

Speaking for most men (those without ED, we swear), I just wanted to say that while we do agree with the results of this study, we still enjoy having lots and lots of sex.

So there.

Today’s distraction: I had to pass this along. I stumbled across this study that claims over a third of American ex-football players have had sex with another man. The hilariously small sample, however…well...let’s let the article say it for me.

‘The 47 men, aged 18-23, were all American Football players who previously played at the high school (secondary school) level but had failed to be picked for their university’s team and were now cheerleaders instead.’

That’s right. This study only focused on ex football players who weren’t very good and became male cheerleaders. Considering the sample, I’m shocked it’s only a third.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Having sex with lots of beautiful women and being attractive is nothing to sneeze at. I should know."

I wish I knew if I was supposed to laugh at this or be inspired by your rugged manliness. As it stands, I laughed. No offense of course.