Sex scarcity

I read, recently, a discussion of rape in the comments on a blog post (I can’t track down the blog to send you there, but the truth is, neither the post nor the comments were really compelling).

But among the commenters was a man who gave extremely inarticulate voice to a familiar sensation. This commenter – not a particularly intelligent or sympathetic man – translated a fairly common heterosexual male frustration (“I can’t easily have sex!”) into a totally incoherent, and frightful, argument in favor of rape: rape, he argued, is an inevitable consequence of male sexual frustration borne of women’s failure to put out on (we men’s) demand.

This is such a ludicrous argument that (at least among readers of this blog) it requires no rebuttal.

But, in his deluded anguish, I saw a refraction of myself, at times: it is frustrating as a male mammal not to be able to have sex whenever I want. Not in a way that justifies rape (or harassment, or any sort of misbehavior). But in a way that most straight men will, at a minimum, recognize as an at-times frustrating (and yes, even maddening) aspect of straight male life.

In my late teens and early twenties, I romanticized gay male life in its almost complete lack of this particular frustration: a gay man can find another gay man with whom to hook up very easily. In the days before the internet, there were places where this could happen, where men could cruise one another and, inevitably (or at least close to that) find a mate. Now, with Grindr, it’s even easier.

In my late adolescence, there was certainly a seductiveness to this fantasy. If, every time I wanted to get my dick sucked, I could, if every time I wanted to find a pussy to lick, or to fuck, I could, my life would look, um, very different. (As an adult, and an adult with a history of compulsive sexual behavior, it’s no longer clear to me that this would, necessarily, be better. But it would be different. And certainly cheaper.)

I would wager that there’s not a straight man alive who hasn’t felt this visceral frustration. (Shit – I’ve heard women articulate it, and “obtaining sex” is far less of a challenge for you than for us.)

I do fantasize about a world in which sex (and not just sex – sex with new and unfamiliar partners) is easier to come by. So do other men. This may not be why strip clubs exist, but it certainly has a lot to do with how they exist. Ditto the sex work industry, in general. Think about it: at every strip club (I’ve ever been to?), at some point every evening is a periodic assembling of the “dancers” on the stage, so that the customers can see before them just how much pussy, how many asses, how many breasts, are available to them, all simply for the asking. If you go to any “escort service”’s web site, you’ll see a bevy of beauties (or not-so-beauties) presented for the clients to select among.

(A sidenote: the Emperor’s Club – an online escort service made famous by Eliot Spitzer – practiced a fascinating form of price discrimination while catering to the male hunger for variety and availability by listing its escorts in multiple pricing categories, under multiple names. So a client who wanted a thousand-dollar-escort might well get “Sarah,” a woman available to those who wanted a $500 escort as “Michelle,” and to those who wanted a $5,000 escort as “Xaviera.” Same woman. Different name. Different photos. Different price.)

There’s no real conclusion to this post. Just thought I’d share my thoughts. Winking smile


  1. Thanks for sharing something about the sexual aspect of yourself. Don’t have such sexual frustration, but frustration over myself for not being able to find someone who loves me. Situation is the same, but no longer frustration, but despair or resignation!

  2. Please excuse the fact that my comment is only tangentially related.

    Part of the problem, I think, in the seeming imbalance of sex availability for men and women is the continued mixed messages we send about women’s sexual appetites, experience, and morality. It drives me absolutely nuts to hear conversations where a group of men put a woman down for not ‘putting out’ or being too lazy or too tame in bed, but in that same conversation, they’ll put another woman down for being too promiscuous, too kinky or ‘weird’ in bed, or for wanting to have sex too much or too soon.

    Even if we forget about women’s desires for a minute, even as sex partners (or even as sex objects), we’re often in a no win situation. If we don’t sleep with a man, we’re prudish, cold, or uptight. If/when we do sleep with a man, we’re sluts or we’re dirty (not in the good way).

    I suspect that no measure of the ‘anti slut shaming’ conversations will help in any meaningful way. Honestly, I hope that men start calling each other out for these behaviors and this type of talk in their own conversations with each other. Perhaps being called on their contradictory attitudes might make them realizing that they’re contributing to their own lack of available sex partners.

    To your credit, N, I think voices like yours really help. If my memory serves me, you have mentioned women who didn’t choose to sleep with you (or have kinky/flirty distance relationships) and from what I recall, rather than putting them down, you discussed it in terms of your own unfulfilled desire. When you do recount your experiences with women you are intimate with (electronically or physically), they’ve been treated with respect, with your gratitude(?) for their behaviors, and with a positive attitude towards their expression of their sexuality.

    1. It’s a testament to the rarefied world in which I (evidently) live that I don’t believe I’ve ever heard men talk as you say we do. I know we must. I see it in movies, on TV, and I read of it all the time. But I’ve simply never heard a man refer to a woman as EITHER a slut OR a prude in my adult life. Not even in hundreds of 12-step meetings.

      So I’m not sure what to make of that.

      You’re certainly right, though, that even when my initial response to a woman turning me down may well be to think, “Bitch” (though not “slut,” or “whore,” or “prude”), I am scrupulous in remembering that that feeling is a defense against the wound I feel, and not even remotely reflective of the truth about the woman in question.

      The closest I’ve come to this in recent years was with a distant buddy (about whom I wrote in “Rejection“), who, I genuinely believe, was a bit of a sociopath – not because she rejected me, but because of how she dealt with me in the days and hours prior to her rejection of me.

      And you’re also right that, when a woman DOES put out for me, I have nothing but gratitude for that. Not out of desperation, but out of respect and appreciation. I love sex, I love good sex with a fun, new partner, and I’m grateful for that.

      Thanks, as ever, for a thoughtful post, and I promise – if I ever hear a man call a woman a slut or a prude, I’ll call him out on it.

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