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The Truth Is The Differences Between Men And Women Are Overplayed

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The Truth Is The Differences Between Men And Women Are Overplayed

Why the differences between men and women in love are mythical

A then B then C linear thinking about sex – how women and men get together and what they do once they have – leads to another two-pronged part of The One Right Way myth. One is that women and men are entirely different species and what each wants is at odds with the needs and desires of the other sex.  The other is that men are all alike and women are all the same in the dark. There has been a whole empire built on these false premises telling us quite plainly they “they” are so unlike us that they’re from a different planet and that women all need to look like the cover of Cosmo and men like models for GQ to be in the game.

Sure, everyone knows about the War Between the Sexes. Since there have been both man and women on earth for many millennia, who’s winning? Is there an end in sight? Detentes must be occurring fast and furiously for so many couples to be forming and babies to keep on being born!

While most younger men say they do want more sex than their same age female partners, and most mature women of all ages decry their insufficient rations of undivided attention and romance, do you know anyone of either faction who does not want good loving, good companionship and good sex? That’s a major commonality.

Many men want sex first or see it as an avenue toward love, while many women want love before they give over to their sex drive. Priorities and amounts may differ individually, but the lists of ingredients for a satisfying romantic relationship usually include the same factors for both. That’s not a war, just a discussion of priorities – salad before or after the main dish? No one here is suggesting that salad be abolished as a portion of the meal.

Of course there are those, women and men alike, who enjoy the game, who want the conquest, and who count notches on the bed post with glee. But those are individuals, not the gender as a whole who are playing at war games. They are not even the majority. If a woman sees a man as the enemy all the differences between you will loom large. But then, if she sees other women as the enemy they will appear just as magnified. Be aware of the similarities in the sexes – both looking for fun, looking for some laughs in life, looking for love – and the order of things on the way to this shared goal is a minor bump in the road not a duel to the death.

Fortunately the stereotypes of what constitutes an attractive woman or a sexy man change all the time within the culture and from country to country. For example, in the 20th century in the U.S. the ideal woman’s bosom has been one rounded lump like a turkey, boyishly flat, large globes, nose cone shaped pyramids, and a few other shapes and sizes. Men, however, have always had to be tall. Ideally, both men and women must be young, slim and able-bodied. Only certain male movie stars are considered sexy over 50. As the population ages perhaps the commercial notion of “sexy” will too.

So can we say anything that’s true across the board? Each of us, man or woman, is very like one another in what makes us happy in the broadest sense, and very different each from each in what constitutes the details of an ideal courtship, sexual encounter, relationship or mate. Those individual differences are not only what makes horse races, they make the human race too.

There is no one right way any of us or our relationships have to be except the right way for us at the moment. As the French say, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

[Isadora Alman]

Isadora Alman, M.F.T., is a California licensed marriage and relationship therapist, a Board-certified sexologist, author and lecturer. Her syndicated sex and relationship column “Ask Isadora” ran in alternative weekly papers worldwide for 25+ years. Web surfers can find her columns on her online free interactive Sexuality Forum www.askisadora.com (link is external).

She is the author of two collections of Q & A’s from columns: Let’s Talk Sex and Ask Isadora, as well as Sex Information, May I Help You?, a peek behind the scenes of a sex help phone line which still flourishes in San Francisco today. Doing It: Real People Having Really Good Sex is a collection of helpful hints and titillating tidbits culled from column readers and Forum web site users. Her novel Bluebirds of Impossible Paradises: A Sexual Odyssey of the 70’s is out in paperback on Amazon.com. She has also contributed chapters to several books including Herotica (Down There Press), Dick For A Day (Villard NY), The Moment Of Truth (Seal Press) and Single Woman Of A Certain Age (Inner Ocean Publishing, Inc.) Isadora has been a talk show host and frequent TV and radio talk show guest, and a lecturer and workshop leader on a variety of communications topics. She conducts her private psychotherapy practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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