How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘Sexual objectification’

The New Courtship

The pleasure of love is in loving. We are happier with the passion we feel than in that we arouse.
—François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims

For decades, for centuries, for a millennium, men have had the right and privilege of choosing as sex partners women who turned them on. If they wanted a partner who was young or mature, short or tall, blonde or dark, quiet or bold, curved or slender, they could pursue the women most pleasing to them.

Of course, not all men were successful in winning the kind of women they most preferred. And of course, some men didn’t allow themselves such indulgences but made pragmatic choices of wives who were heiresses or the daughters of bosses or women who were otherwise useful for disparate ends. Such marriages did not necessarily preclude their simultaneous quest for other women who would be mistresses. In most instances, the women selected as sex objects or as love objects were selected because they were judged to be sexy or lovable.

In contrast to this pattern, women for a millennium have selected men for practical considerations. A woman needed a provider for herself and a provider and father for her children. In most instances, the most valuable commodity a woman had, to negotiate with in the world, was her body. She used this marketable asset to her best advantage, offering virginity and then fidelity in exchange for protection and security.

It wasn’t so much that men had to be attractive as that they had to have attractive compensating features, such as money or power. For the good wife, sex was business, and sexual intercourse was work. Many good wives were happy in their work, but it was work all the same. If she refused her husband, she could be out of a job. In fact, she couldn’t refuse him. He provided for her, so he had a right to her body. She had been, in effect, sold to him and couldn’t be used by anyone else without his permission.

Supposedly, North America has experienced a social and sexual revolution over the past thirty years. Supposedly, there are now different options for women – compared to our grandmothers and mothers –  who are liberated in many new ways and who have given up old stereotypes. If this is indeed the case, then, shouldn’t we now think about sexual encounters from a new perspective.

sexual revolution

Photo credit: cdrummbks

Let’s assume for a start that the new woman is enough in tune with her body and its erotic potential to really like sex. Touching feels good, arousal feels good, and orgasms are nonproblematic. Sex for her is or can be joyous. Fun. Wonderful. At a minimum, nice.

Let’s further assume that the “new woman” is enough in charge of her life and destiny that she can make her own way. If she has enough resources to support herself and her children at a level she considers to be adequate, she can then afford the indulgence of evaluating men as sex objects in the same way that women have been evaluated over the centuries. Whether she works as an executive secretary or is herself an executive, she has a living wage which comes to her in some other way than trading her body for favors or protection.

Such a woman can afford to pick a lover because he’s sexy or lovable, not because he owns three apartment buildings in prime locations. She can try to find the kind of man most to her liking, using intrinsic rather than extrinsic criteria. She’ll have to pay her own bills, but in return, she has control of her own body and a wide range of opportunity for personal and erotic development.

The woman who is not physically or psychologically forced to have sex when she doesn’t want to has a new kind of freedom. She can opt for celibacy if she wants, but she can also opt to have sex for purely sexual reasons. For many that is a revolutionary idea. It’s an idea that is long overdue. It’s an idea whose time has come. It’s an idea that needs to be openly acknowledged.

I will explore this paradigm shift in female sexuality in future posts in greater detail.

Eeney, Meaney, Miney, Moe: Don or Jose or Jack or Joe

Between two evils, choose neither;
Between two goods, choose both.
—Tryon Edwards

If you’re a woman who is thinking about taking a lover, then you’re on the verge of an important decision. Having a love affair can be a source of great joy—or great sorrow. Falling in love can make a big difference in your life and in your happiness. The biggest difference of all is not the fact of the experience per se, but in the kind of man you choose and how suitable he is for you.

July 31, 2009

July 31, 2009 (Photo credit: staticjana)

When you pick a lover, pick a lover who will be loving. Pick a sex object who turns you on and whose personality pleases you. Pick a man for his intrinsic intangible appeal who evokes a response in you physically or emotionally or both. Pick him as someone to love and to love you back for the sustaining joy of that relationship. Not for money, not for presents, not for saving face, not even for someone to go to the movies with. Don’t pick him as an act of kindness to him or as an act of defiance to your friends or family or to please your mother or to punish her (or your father either, for that matter). Don’t pick a lover for anyone’s sake except your own and for any other reason than that something about him calls out to something in you and makes you want to explore that calling further. Pick a lover this way, and you have a chance for a new kind of relationship with a wide range of potentially enjoyable experiences.

Choosing a lover implies a selection process. It conveys the image that there are a number of men who potentially might be chosen, whether they know it or not, and that some kind of implicit or explicit criteria are being used to make the critical judgments. Picking a lover is a lot like picking flowers, and sometimes, one wants a bouquet.

Looking at Men as Sex Objects

More and more women are coming to use men as “mere sex objects,”
which is a welcome switch for both sexes.
—Brendan Francis

When you look at a man as a sex object or as a love object, you look at him in terms of the kind of person he is. You don’t think about what he is or what he has accomplished or how much money he has, but rather about his unique essential self.

Is he lovable? Do you want to reach out and brush his hair back off his forehead? Is he sexy? Do you fantasize about how his arms would feel around your waist? Does he make you feel sexy? Do you start to wonder if somehow it would be possible for all the other people in the room to miraculously vanish so that the two of you could snuggle down by the fire and see what happens next? Does he make you feel loving? Can you suddenly see yourself walking hand in hand on a beach at dawn, looking into each other’s eyes? Do you imagine the two of you speaking the sentimental clichés found in
Hallmark valentines or posing in the romantic scenes depicted in perfume advertisements?

English: Anthony Hannon's Shoot about shoe add...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Does he have sex appeal, that much-desired special something that makes heads turn and hearts throb? Does he give off that certain aura that’s so strong that you get weak-kneed and forget all your prior commitments? Would you have fun together sharing a mutual interest such as rock climbing, scuba diving, or exploring a new exhibit at the museum? If women are, or can be, sexual creatures with sexual appetites, what more logical choice for a sex object than a delectable man?

If a woman has enough resources that she does not need a man to support her financially and if she is not immediately concerned with finding a suitable man to marry, she can begin to look around for someone to love and to make love with. She can judge men in much the same way as men have usually judged women.

The idea of men as sex objects rather than as providers and protectors is still a somewhat new idea. It places men in an unfamiliar role, and many of them still don’t play it well.

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