How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘androgyny’

The Lady’s Man Doesn’t Make a Good Husband but He May Make a Good Lover

What lasting joys the man attend
Who has a polished female friend.
—Cornelius Whurr, The Female Friend

Often, a man who is androgynous is a man who has a number of women friends. The best lovers are usually those who are the most bonded to women. A man with women friends, obviously, can relate to women on a number of levels in addition to the erotic one. If he seeks out women friends and if he is successful in maintaining friendships with them, you know that he must enjoy their conversation and be sympathetic to their concerns. He is what is often called a lady’s man. It is important to note that the lady’s man, unlike the macho “man’s man,” actually likes women.

Cover of "Lady's Man"

Cover of Lady’s Man

The special term for the love of or liking of women is “philogyny.” Why is it that the kinds of men who are philogynous have such a negative image? Referring to someone as a “lady’s man” usually has a negative connotation, but in the literal sense, it only means a man who strives especially to please women and to attract their attention and admiration. Doesn’t that sound like someone who might make a good lover?

A “womanizer” is defined as a man who chases women. What else should he chase? gold? goats? other men? The man who is called a womanizer is almost as bad as one who is called a philanderer. The dictionary defines a “philanderer” as a man who makes love without serious intent. How serious did you want him to be? As serious as mortgages? As serious as vacuum cleaners? As serious as crabgrass or the crabs? The dictionary also notes that a philanderer is one who carries on flirtations or one who loves. His intentions may not be honorable, but his bed may still be an honorable place. The philanderer is likely, at least, to be a man who likes women, who likes sex, and who appreciates sensual delights. You might not want to marry one, but you might well enjoy having one as a lover.

The man who likes women, call him what you will, is one who enjoys flirtation and who understands dalliance.

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Love and the Androgynous Man

What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.
Susan Sontag

Coleridge maintained that “the great mind must be androgynous.” To that, we must add that great lovers must be androgynous as well. The man who is most desirable as a lover must have some of the traits which are usually thought of as belonging to women; the woman who is most desirable as a mistress must have some of the traits which are usually thought of as belonging to men.

Androgyny is a complicated concept. From its roots, you can tell it refers to a combination of the sexes: “andro” meaning male (as in “androgen,” the male sex hormone) and “gyn” meaning female (as in “gynecology,” the branch
of medicine devoted to women). Androgyny refers to a kind of personality which combines both male and female traits. The combination can result in a person with a wide range of these kinds of behaviors with which they feel comfortable. The androgynous person is flexible and versatile and, more than most people, is able to escape the limitations of rigid sex roles.

Androgynous (song)

Androgynous (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The man who is androgynous is not someone who is effeminate or womanlike. However, he may have some of women’s better features, such as a capacity to feel and to express tenderness. The woman who is androgynous is not someone who is masculinized or manlike. However, she may have some of men’s better features, such as a healthy acceptance of heightened sexuality. In either case, androgyny does not necessarily have anything to do with being homophylic (being of the same race or having common ancestry), or with having homosexual tendencies. Some homosexuals may also be androgynous, but most are not.

Why seek an androgynous lover? In the first place, such a man is quite secure in his own masculinity: secure enough to ignore the exaggerated demands of macho culture and to create his own style. He can admit to a wide range of emotions—wider than the typically macho emotions of lust and rage—and he can express them in a variety of ways. In the second place, the androgynous man, who is in some ways like a woman, can understand women better than his macho brother ever will. He is therefore more sympathetic to women in general and to you in particular. He can be assertive without being aggressive; he can be dominant, in some circumstances, without being a bully; and he can follow, in other circumstances, without being a wimp.

The androgynous man is as handy with a mix master as he is with a chain saw, as concerned with table settings as with the Dow Jones; he is as interested in poetry as he is in the World Series. He is, truly, a man for all seasons.

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