3 of 4: EcoSex @ U Conn – Ryan and Jetha’s Sex at Dawn – Student Responses: Alexandra’s Take
The EcoSex course at U Conn is complete. It was a great experience. We spent time reading amazing books. And here we resume posts to be shared with you. Thinking out of the box and across disciplines. Students had been sending their responses in, with discussion questions. In class, we did connected the dots: a holograph of what we’ve read together, the “required readings.” Multiple perspectives and good synergy. Here, we offer a glimpse. Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha’s Sex at Dawn was one of two cultural-theory theory books. We got four responses: from Adam, Michael, Alexandra, and Rhiann.
The following is a response to The Pervert’s Lament. The idea that testosterone increases libido is valid. That being said, estrogen, also increases libido. Thus, claiming
that men have a higher sex drive than women based on their hormones, which is implied by the man’s statement, “The most overwhelming feeling was the incredible increase in libido and change in the way I perceived women… Everything I looked at, everything I touched turned into sex… I felt like a monster… It made me understand men.” I do not deny that the man, recently undergone a sex change, felt this way. I argue that he either was experiencing the placebo effect, or had higher testosterone levels as a man relative to the testosterone levels he had as a woman. Men are not inherently “monsters” due to their biology, nor are men more sexually inclined than females. Thinking this increases a belief in a destructive social more that is often cited as the cause of rape culture. “Boys just can’t control themselves,” people say. This then excuses men from acts of rape and also demonizes them as the monsters who would partake in such acts. This is a self fulfilling prophecy. If we raise men to believe that they are inherently more sexual than women, they will act more sexual than women.
While I agree that sexual oppression sparks many suicides I would argue that men commit more suicides than women not because they are more sexual than women, but because social standards for masculine gender are much more rigid than social standards for feminine. In a recent poll men and women were asked what they most feared. The majority of men said humiliation, while the majority of women said rape or murder. This reflects the intense pressure placed on men to fulfil a specific role in society. Humiliation stems from failure in business or in bed, and thus reflect failure of showcasing oneself as a man. This makes men more susceptible to small irritants and lower self esteem and happiness levels. Furthermore, men are not “allowed” to fear rapes or murders because it would reflect a certain unmanliness. “If you are strong, as legitimate men are, then you will be able to easily fend off assaults,” states society. I believe that such rigorous social constructs for the male gender create engendered rage. Men, feel trapped in a stagnant identity. If they try and escape said identity they are ridiculed not by females, but by other men. Men hate “feminine” characteristics in other men because they fear the “feminine” characteristics that rest in their own souls. This explains the high rates of homophobia in men. Thus, men both control and are slaves to societal norms. The only way out? Suicide.
Questions: Which do you think are more intense- gender norms for men or females?
Do you believe in inherent personality differences between men and women based on “sex” (biological aspects)?
Let “nature” be your teacher in the arts of love. Education is the heart of democracy, education to love. Come back for more wonders: Students Responses have resumed, to appear now every Tuesday. More Book Reports to be scheduled soon, every other Thursday.
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia,Eros, and many other books about loveProfessor of Humanities