Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Memo for Women

To: The Sex Memo for Women (and men)
From: Reality
Date: Today
Re: Men & Sex (Different is not wrong.)

Recently, I distributed a memo to men called the “sex memo”. 

The reason I wrote that memo is that for years, I’ve talked with women about their relationships with men and I was hearing the same thing, over and over. Often, it was about sex; I thought, “Did men not get the memo about sex?” – so, I wrote the memo. 
Since then, I recognized that though it is true that men can be (and often are bone-heads); women can often be… how shall I say this… unrealistic in their expectations of the men they are with. I’m therefore issuing the following memo as a list of common blunders women make in relationships.

1. A "primary relationship" (other than raising children) is perhaps the most difficult endeavor on which you’ll ever embark, and while challenging, it is well worth it. A relationship is not supposed to be “easy”. Two individuals from two very different backgrounds and (presumably) opposite genders will naturally have differing perspectives, thoughts and feelings regarding the same topic. This does not mean the two of you are incompatible or that there is something wrong with one of you or the relationship.
If things were perfectly smooth it would be because you are both dead. Rejoice if there’s a difference of opinion – it means you’re both alive!

2. Men are not mind-readers. Though we try; we do not know what you’re thinking or feeling. The fact that we don’t know is not an indication that we don’t love you. You must learn to
use your words in as much as possible, an unambiguous way to ask for what you need and want (without suggesting the man's intelligence is in question).

3. Men cannot and should not ever be expected to be one of your girl-friends. Men think and communicate very differently than women. Sometimes, you need to have a conversation with your girl-friend. This does not mean men are deficient.

4. My old teacher was fond of saying, “The fact that we both speak English only augments the delusion that we are speaking the same language.” Men and women use language very differently – largely it’s due to how we’ve evolved over thousands of years. Men are more inclined to give short answers – women give longer (often too long) answers. If you and your mate get into an argument it is usually safe to surmise that your communication was inadvertently derailed. Don’t
assume anything about communication. Communication between humans is far more prone to error than most people would ever imagine.

5. Sex for men is very different than it is for women. This doesn’t mean that men are perverts (though admittedly, some are). For men, sex is closeness, intimacy, emotionally healing and conveys much of what we don’t say.

6. Men do not have as large an overt emotional vocabulary as women.  (That doesn't mean the men are emotionally deficient.) Here's a corollary: Women not having the same muscle-mass as men doesn't make them muscularly deficient.) Don’t expect men to explain in a nuanced way how they “feel”.

7. Men experience closeness through a shared activity. For many men, words unnecessarily clutter an otherwise enjoyable moment. (To see an example of this, watch men doing an activity together. Probably they will say little or nothing about the way they’re feeling; nevertheless they will report that they felt camaraderie.)

8. Again, largely for evolutionary reasons, women will (generally) have more anxiety than men. This means that women will usually notice that something is out of place or needs done before men. This doesn’t mean that men don’t care. It means only that a man’s triggering threshold is higher than his partner's. It also means that
you have to ask for help – not because men are clueless (though in some cases they can be), but because men haven’t noticed it yet – ask nicely – not like we’re morons for not having noticed. A very important and destructive side-effect of this is that women often end up shouldering too much of the burden of household responsibilities. Learn to ask for what you want and need. This is YOUR responsibility, not the man’s job to intuit.

9. Regarding disciplining of children, men and women are worlds apart. Women (this is a common pitfall for women) try far too much to reason and explain to kids why something is wrong. Men tend to be terse and “clipped” when disciplining kids. This doesn’t mean that men are too harsh. When dealing with disciplining children, terse is good.

10. Maybe this will be redundant but it bears repetition. GENERALLY, because of the evolutionary process, women tend to be more emotionally sophisticated than men. This doesn’t mean there is something “wrong” with men; it’s not a disorder. Men are obviously quite adept (perhaps more so) with some things than women. Men also do not have breasts like women or a uterus – that doesn’t mean something is wrong with them. Accept men as men (a different gender); you would want the same understanding and respect.

11. Too often, women have an expectation that in longer-term relationships, (more than six months) that the passion and romance that was present at the beginning of the relationship should continue. I don’t know where women get this idea but it’s wrong. A patient I saw put it well, she said if one compares love and sex to a meal, not every night is a steak and lobster dinner, sometimes, it’s mac & cheese. It would be nice if the romance feelings and impulses would last forever but left on its own – romance dwindles. To keep romance alive it takes two to tango. Expecting men to be sweet and romantic if you’re being critical is just plain crazy. If you want romance – be romantic yourself. DON’T CRITICIZE. It never helps; I know you think it should but trust me – IT NEVER HELPS.

12. Chronic substance use in a relationship is always a problem.

  • It’s a central nervous system depressant
  • People say things when under the influence that they’d never say sober.
I’m not talking about a glass of wine or the equivalent (unless you are an addict). If one or both of you are alcoholic/addicts, get into a good 12-Step program

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