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

I remember one guy telling me, after I told him about the assault, that he thought society would be better if men were chemically castrated. I was like omg, dude… what is going on there?

I think one of the problems is that feminists can often feel comfortable projecting negative feelings about sex onto men in general, and I’ve noticed a number of times that they don’t even see themselves doing it. When a man they see as sensitive and non-threatening opens up about the violently negative feelings he has about his own sexuality, they are surprised because obviously they’re not talking about him, just the bad ones (I mean, why would a sensitive guy be the one to take all this negativity personally? weird.). Female sexuality might be seen as repulsive for not being attractive, but it’s practically never seen as creepy or threatening — even rape by women is not really seen as threatening.

I was influenced by religion and parents here, but also by clear messages from feminists that male feelings or expressions of sexuality were perverted and dangerous, to the extent that they were different from their own. Fortunately sex-positive feminism is changing this to some extent, but it’s sometimes difficult to find useful information about how to act properly when so much seems to be a kind of “OMG men, you’re doing it wrong again” attitude. Porn acceptable to feminists is generally porn directed by women, but in real life the man is often expected to lead and is responsible for everything going well. It makes it difficult to open up about feelings or relax, because sexual feelings that are not within a subjective and vague window (that is often inconsistent and depends on the unexpressed feelings of those around you) are creepy.

So yeah. Fortunately I’m with someone I feel secure sharing my feelings with, but that hasn’t always been the case and it can be terrifying to try to guess what is going on in the other person’s head and what you’re doing wrong now. I’m not sure how much of this describes being a guy and how much describes being an Aspie (or just being me), but there it is. I first came to feminism to find out what my wife would tell me if she could be clear about her own feelings, and while overall it has been very helpful for this and many other reasons, it hasn’t helped my anxiety or feelings of shame at all.