I think the hard sciences fail us and the soft sciences often actively work to harm us.
While that’s generally true, in this case, it’s a specific statement on the modern discourse surrounding male sexuality.
We know more about the machinations of the quantum universe than we do about the human capacity for sexual feelings. And psychology remains clinically stuck in a binary male/female paradigm that leaves little room for those of us who don’t fit the traditional nuclear mold.
That’s something I’d like to see remedied in my lifetime because male sexuality affects everyone.
Note: This discourse is meant for everyone. It’s not inherently against non-binary persons or those who identify as a woman, female, or other non-male identities. It’s just about male sexuality because – gestures around – it exists, and I think we all need to get better at talking about it.
Anyone who experiences male sexuality, whether internally or through interaction, deserves to be included in the conversation. And for any scientific analysis of male sexuality to be considered valid, it should intrinsically reference and include diverse perspectives.
So here’s the problem in a nifty little nutshell: scientists don’t do large-scale, long-term male sexuality studies that include a demographically diverse array of test and control subjects working with a demographically diverse array of scientists.
That means most of what you hear, read, and know about male sexuality is anecdotal. Should men cry? Does the male brain experience true emotion? Is sexual performance tied to penis size?
Those are all really stupid questions because they automatically assume bias. But they’re the type of things still being debated in research circles and on social media.
Of course, men should cry. Humans have the physical capacity to do so. If the abstract sight of a man crying gives you feelings other than basic human empathy: those feelings are based on your cultural or social bias.
And there’s a litany of research out there demonstrating that the gendered brain is a myth. Our brain’s physiological makeup doesn’t define our “sexuality” any more than our genitals do.
And, finally, not everyone who experiences male sexuality or identifies as male has a penis. If the basis for your views on male sexuality is built on a phallic foundation… maybe you’re just really into genitals?
The point is: male sexuality isn’t a binary concept for us to define and then enforce. It’s a fluid construct that all of us have to live with.
It’s time we started talking about male sexuality like we should be talking about mental health: honestly, with empathy, and with a keen fucking eye out for toxic misinformation.
No matter how you experience male sexuality, your experience is valid.
With that in mind, here’s your homework:
As you scroll social media, try to make a mental note every time you see a post that makes a general assumption about male sexuality.
For example, when you see posts that position male sexuality as purely heterosexual “real men know how to please a woman” or those that try to claim all men experience sexuality the same “gay men are promiscuous,” you should pause and think about what these people are saying.
You should be asking yourself who these statements exclude. Because it can be hard for people who experience male sexuality to understand where they fit in when the world is constantly telling us that we’re not doing it right.
How much do you contribute to the non-inclusive view on male sexuality that permeates society? Can you identify instances where a more inclusive approach would make sense (ie: instead of saying “Real men should know how to please a woman,” we could say “we should all learn what our partners like”).
Tristan is a science and technology journalist who values life, humanity, and taco soup. He/him