There was a time in my life when I became a feminist.
Along with becoming a feminist, I became (understandably) angry. Along with recognizing the signs of rape culture and learning that my voice was less valuable than a man’s, I began to understand how my sexual pleasure as a woman had been taken away from me.
Men didn’t want to give me orgasms, they didn’t want to wear condoms, and body seemed too complicated for them to understand.
I thought the solution was that they should work harder and learn that my body was just as valuable as theirs; that they just needed to adapt, for the first time, to women becoming important in society.
They needed to learn to understand women better, and those who didn’t want to were assholes.
And then… I became a sex coach.
I started learning about men’s sexuality, and listening to them talk about their sex lives.
And I discovered something really important.
The truth isn’t that men need to learn how to understand women better, how to figure women out, or how to please them in bed.
The truth is that men need to learn how to understand themselves better.
Our society teaches men that they are not allowed to be emotional. That expressing themselves is not “manly.” Most men grow up watching porn, and teaching their brain to orgasm from porn. They’re taught that they should be masculine, highly sexual, and never seen as weak.
They are taught that they are the stronger, more powerful sex — and they are simultaneously emasculated and made fun of by the women in their lives and our media culture.
So many people claim that men and women are so different. That men are less emotional than women, that men are more easily sexually satisfied than women.
And that the solution to all of this, much like my early-feminist self believed, is that men should learn more about women and adjust to women.
I don’t think this is true. When I hear men talk about sex, they are so invested in becoming a better lover to their partner — it’s literally the reason they sign up for coaching. They already want to understand women.
Understanding women is rarely the problem. Instead what’s often underneath that is a lot of insecurity and shame. Shame around underperforming, around being confused about what society wants from them, about how to be in the world.
Men don’t know the complexity of their own sexuality. Society, as a whole, doesn’t know the complexity of men’s sexuality.
Men aren’t taught that they can have multiple orgasms, that they can separate orgasm from ejaculation, that they can have full-body orgasms. They aren’t taught that they wired their brain to experience pleasure in a certain way, and that they can re-wire it whenever they want.
They aren’t taught that their range of emotion and range of sexual expression is just as deep and complex as a woman’s. Instead, they’re taught that their emotions are simple, their power is dangerous, and their sexual desires are dirty.
The acceptance of the fluidity of gender in today’s society should show us that these “differences” aren’t biologically different.
It’s more “nurture” than it is “nature” — men are taught one way, and women are taught another.
Our brains and bodies only learn what they’re taught. Based on our experience of life, our brain perceives the rest of the world.
The solution to #metoo, to rape culture, to the orgasm gap, to all of it — is to begin teaching men how to connect to their own bodies and how to understand themselves.
I’m still a feminist. Just one that recognizes that men need to be empowered, as well.