Why Does Dating Men Make Me Feel Like Shit?
Emma Lindsay

First, I just want to say, I have not read any of your other articles. I just happened to stumble upon this one. I also want to say that its great you wrote this out and it was an interesting read.

But wow. You are all over the place here with broad generalizations about men, women and sexuality.

Where to start…

Ok, let’s just start with this notion of shame derived from sexuality. Shame and sexuality has been a common thread within the human condition ever since, well, forever. LOL. But historically, society has made women feel to a much higher degree time and time again for simply being sexual beings, i.e. humans. That is fact. There is considerable shame that is felt by men as well for having certain desires and feelings that may be out of the norm. I guess the point is, this part of the human condition that we have created within our society. So when you say…

“And, I think because men are too ashamed to claim ownership of their sexual feelings, they push responsibility for their desire onto the bodies of the (usually) women that they’re with.” and

But, instead what we see, is that people who sleep with men tend to feel worse about how they look than people who sleep with women.

Those of us who sleep with men are absorbing the shame they hold about their own sexuality. That’s where all these bad feelings are coming from.”

…you are REALLY going out on a limb. Not only are you generalizing men and their sexuality but you are generalizing the way both men and women handle the shame they feel about being sexual beings and how it impacts people in general. I mean, where do you come up with this? To say that when you sleep with men you are absorbing feeling of shame they have about their own sexuality which is why you feel ashamed yourself based on a handful of your own personal experiences is a massive reach.

When you say: “Well. Usually instead of saying “I am turned on by that woman,” a man will say “that woman is hot.”” Are you suggesting women don’t say that? LOL. Seriously? When is the last time ANYONE said “I am turned on by that woman/man” when they see a person they are attracted to? People, both men and women, just don’t talk that way. I think you are reading into that a bit too much to help backup your analysis and justify your point. But also making a huge jump to suggest that its an externalization of shame by men.

Then you go on to say: “If a man doesn’t get horny, this is also the fault of his partner for not being hot enough.”

Again, you’re following the same thread here. And your example is surprisingly perfect b/c its so relatable to both sexes. Has a woman never come home from work tired and not wanting to have sex with her partner? Has she ever said she has a headache and does not want to have sex? Of course! And that’s fine. But its not nec. an externalization of shame onto her partner, is it? If it were, then which one is it? Is the man externalizing feeling of shame onto his partner by making it her fault? Is the woman doing the same thing when she is not in the mood? Is it both? If it is, wouldn’t that completely disprove your theory and suggest that this is not so much a MAN thing as it is a HUMAN, SOCIETAL, CULTURAL, HISTORICAL, etc. part of the human psychological condition?

You go on to bring in ‘fat chick’ into this argument. And you say this:

“Know why men fear having sex with fat chicks? Because when fat chicks turn men on (and they do) a man feels like a pervert for letting himself be attracted to a fat chick. He feels like he has succumbed to his creepiness, or the “weakness” of his sexuality. Society doesn’t allow for the blame-absolving narrative of “that girl turned me on so much it wasn’t my fault” when it comes to a fat chick because society pretends fat chicks aren’t hot. That’s where all this male anger at big women comes from; it’s not because men don’t desire them, it’s because they hate themselves for desiring them.”

I mean WHOA. Major generalizations about what men find attractive. I mean your first sentence suggests that men fear having sex with “fat chicks”. Huh? Because women love fat guys, right? Or because all people like a certain type? Huh? You are better than this. I can tell you are a better writer than this. Now, I will agree, society does not accept certain types of women as being “hot”. Clearly that is true. And “fat chicks” are certainly on that list. But this notion that there is a certain ‘male anger’ at ‘big women’ and its because they ‘hate themselves for desiring them’. C’mon man. As a societal construct I can understand that argument. And maybe that’s what you meant. But its clearly a reach if you are to be relating it to men alone, especially all men. But it does help your narrative.

You go on to talk about sexual identity. I don’t know who this guy is or what the context of your conversation was but, to me, talking about liking petite women when you are romantically with a woman who is clearly not petite is simply rude. It’s just not a nice thing to do and would annoy the heck out of me. It’s like if you were a white girl dating a guy and he kept talking about about how he had an ‘Asian fetish’ or whatever. It’s just blatantly disregarding the feelings of the person you are with.

You say: “One of the ways men absolve themselves for responsibility for their own sexual feelings is to make an identity out of it, and act as if their desires are out of their control because it’s just “who they are.””

Time out. We ALL have a sexual identity and often struggle figuring out exactly what it is and how it affects our lives and our relationships. Clearly, the constructs of society have made this a much bigger struggle for women, and the LGBT community, as well as cultural minorities. But your statement is, again, a major reach and suggests that it’s something men deal with and somehow deal with inappropriately. Am I reading it incorrectly?

Now look, I’m not trying to batter your write-up. I get that this is based off your personal experiences, this is an opinion piece, this does not list sources and is not your thesis. It’s just a write up of how you feel.

But I just think you should take a step back and look at how you are framing this discussion and the assumptions you are making, the conclusions you are jumping to in order to justify some of your points.

Relationships, love, sexuality, sexual identity, acceptance, shame and the many facets that shape them within the constructs of our society are very much complex and very much based off a persons individual experiences, surroundings and the way they were brought up. And these things affect both men and women- even if withing societal norms they are incredibly skewed.

For what its worth, I really liked the way you ended you piece:

“Anyway. Not really sure what to do about this one. Writing it all out did help me feel less fat, but I’m also not too sure how deeply I want to engage with male sexual shame. That shit is one of the the most toxic parts of toxic masculinity. But, I also know basically zero men who haven’t been touched by it to some degree, and if I’m being generous, it likely brings more pain to the men who are feeling it than the reflected shame does to me. However, I think any long term relationship with a man *absolutely* requires them to have a willingness to talk about their feelings, especially the difficult feelings, like feelings of shame which is about as easy as pulling tiger teeth. If they’re not willing to do that, they’re effectively demanding I mitigate their shame by feeling their shame for them and that’s just not a fair request. I don’t want to feel ugly forever to save some man the embarrassment of admitting to himself he’s turned on by average girls.”

But please be ready to look deep within yourself when said man is ready to talk to you about his feelings. It’s a give and take, and if you think you can express the feelings you expressed in this piece to him without getting a whole lot of blow-back, you are mistaken. Be ready, be willing to listen, and be ready to be self-critical. I think you will both be better for it.


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