The subject of male desire has always been one that many, including sex researchers, have deemed as solely driven by lust. The idea that men are only interested in a sexual relationship is a stereotype that we still seem to enforce.
As it turns out, this isn’t exactly the case.
When Canadian researchers began to dive deeper into the things that drive male desire, they discovered that this common perception is, in fact, not true at all. Their focus was to see how heterosexual men deal with their desires, frustrations and greatest rejections from women.
“We’ve got this stereotype about men’s desire being constant and unwavering. More recently, we’ve got #MeToo highlighting stories of men’s sexual desire being dangerous, toxic and about power. But what else is going on?” said Winnipeg relationship therapist Sarah Hunter Murray to The Globe and Mail.
Murray has interviewed and spoken with hundreds of men in her practice, and has concluded that the intense, fiery male desire that we seem to know is actually more complex then we think. Men admit that, just like women, their desires are commonly emotionally driven.
The sexual problems men face in long term relationships are also a topic of interest amongst Canadian researchers. The blind spots that surround the idea of male desire have seemingly caused harm in these relationships, not allowing either partner to be fulfilled in their sex lives.
“If we ignore the nuances of sexual desire in men, we risk continuing to perpetuate stereotypes – that men’s sexual interest is uniformly high and independent of context – to the detriment of the many men whose experiences are multifaceted” clinical psychologist Natalie Rosen told The Globe and Mail.
Like women, the desire for intimacy amongst men is driven by more complex factors, not just from lust and can be challenged by life’s many interruptions.
Murray has revealed that through conversation with men, that stress, lack of sleep and sickness can heavily affect their desire for intimacy. It is not always something that is ready and occurring.
“We’ve gotten used to talking about the complexities of women’s desire being affected by how much sleep they’re getting, how much stress they’re under or by being a parent, but we simply don’t talk about this with men,” she said.
As Murray dived deeper into the desires and challenges men face in their intimate lives, she noticed that more often than not, men felt the need to conform to sex just because they felt like they had to. What actually increased their desire was in fact, feeling wanted by their partner.
The common perception that women were the sole emotional drivers in a relationship is false. Men enjoy being romanced and complimented as well.
Popular culture may be to blame for the perception of libido driven, male desire. Men feel the need to enforce these stereotypes for the sake of “maintaining their masculinity”, when really they also desire closeness and emotional intimacy.
“These misconceptions hold us in antiquated boxes about what men and women should be, and don’t leave room to have a new discourse around what we actually want to experience” explained Murray.
The desire for sexual intimacy is something that both men and women experience, and should be celebrated. The acceptance of emotional and sexual desire amongst both partners will in turn allow us to be our true, authentic selves.