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

I’m a man in my mid 30s and I feel like I have a very healthy sexuality. It’s something I interact with frequently, both socially, through the local kink scene, and personally with multiple partners in multiple open relationships. My sexuality is something I explore personally and feel I have a pretty good understanding of and relationship with. I also think I have a far more healthy relationship with my sexuality than the vast majority of men in America.

That said, this article describes something I didn’t realize was there, but now recognize clearly. It’s something I’ve struggled with, but only now see it. This shame is yet another terrible facet of toxic masculinity. And I think I see the cause.

Expressing sexual arousal (and nearly all other emotions…) makes one vulnerable. It’s another avenue by which to be judged (along with a man expressing nearly any other emotion…), one which society actively polices. A dude saying “… but I’m not gay” is really just claiming “you can’t judge me for being aroused by other men”.

I also think the shame of male sexual expression is greatly compounded by the fact that the most common socially recognized (and, dare I say accepted) examples of men expressing their arousal are abusive and entitled: cat-calls, dick pics, men in power (including the current and many former presidents). Because of this, many, many young men don’t know how to healthfully express their desires. And for those compassionate enough to try to avoid being creepy, the lack of positive examples perpetuates the shame spiral. Which then causes this shame to infect most of the rest of society.

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