I plan on being incredibly frank with you about love and sex. In my work, sex and sexuality is a central theme, and helping men get past sexual blocks in their life is often critical to helping them become successful in other areas. Our sexuality is one of the engines that drives our creativity, gives us energy, and keeps us ambitious as Men. Accordingly, I want to make sure I help you grow up to be a sexually healthy man, and to have good relationships.
And so I want to start with one of the most critical pieces of advice I can: be choosy about your lovers. Most men are not, and choosing poorly is one of the most destructive things a man can do to himself.
When young men first become sexual beings, they haven’t got much to offer lovers: we are awkward, rarely confident, we have no status, no wealth, no work, and only a little wisdom. I also promise you that if you take care of yourself physically ages twelve through fifteen are when you will look your absolute worst in life. And to top it all off, people our own age at that time are shallow and often cruel.
What this means is that we face a lot of rejection, often cruel rejection early on. Most teen boys learn to think of themselves as unattractive. They feel lucky when anyone shows the slightest bit of interest in us. That means many young men throw themselves whole-heartedly and without reserve at the first person of the right gender that flirts with them. And it doesn’t matter to them whether that person is good or bad, cruel or kind, smart or dumber than a bag of hammers: all that matters is that there is some sexual chemistry.
There are all kinds of destructive and false lessons a young man can take from his early sexual experiences:
- Girls are crazy, and so if I want to be happy, I have to accept a little craziness of bitchiness.
- Boys who will give the time of day to another gay boy are so rare that I have to put up with anything.
- Love is about proving yourself to the other person over and over again.
- If I want to be in a sexual relationship, I have to put up with a little abuse.
- If I am kind and sweet, and try to help the others in trouble, then I will earn sex by being a hero.
- I have to be the biggest, toughest, meanest guy around to get laid.
- I am not worthy of love and sex; I am very lucky when I get it, and should work hard to please the person who decided to love me anyway.
These are all not just false, but incredibly foolish. They will lead a man to have sex, get involved with, or even marry someone who treats them poorly, acts selfishly, or even abuses them. I know scores of men who have married the first pretty woman who took an interest in him, ignoring her history, her bad attitude, and her debts. I have seen handsome, smart, well-earning men, get themselves sucked into relationships with crazy, violent women just because sex was available. I have seen gay men get involved with other men who beat and abuse them because they don’t think they will find love anywhere else.
The fact of the matter is that whenever you take someone to bed, you are putting incredible trust in them, and giving them the power to shape your life forever after. Sex is emotionally powerful: it can short-circuit our critical thinking and cause us to thing, do, or believe all manner of crazy stuff. That person needs to be trustworthy.
So ignore the false lessons! Here’s the truth: your life is made up of precious few minutes, and you can’t afford to waste them on dangerous, selfish toxic people. Sex is great, and it is powerful, but it always comes with emotional and social strings attached, and with some people – however beautiful and sexy – the price can be too damned high. So don’t waste your time and sexual energy on anyone but the most worthwhile people.
Because you are a man, youth and beauty are going to be the first things you look for. That is a good thing! Don’t let anyone tell you that you are shallow for settling for anyone you aren’t attracted to. Don’t waste your time on romance with someone when there is no chemistry, you will only wind up breaking that person’s heart.
But remember that beauty is skin deep, and you need to look at what is beneath that.
Character is so much more important! Once a person meets your standards of attractiveness, then they have to meet your standards of morals, respectfulness, and attitude. Make sure that the person you are with is kind to others, trustworthy, and comes from a healthy, and preferably intact family. Dating ought to be like a job interview.
Remember that the person you are climbing into bed with could:
- Be the person you spend the rest of your life with.
- Be the mother of your child.
- Be the person you trust with some deep secrets.
- Be the person who shapes your reputation in the community.
You must also remember the level of trust going to bed entails:
- That person will be with you when you are asleep and helpless.
- That person may choose to get pregnant without your consent.
- That person has the power to ruin your life by accusing you of rape.
Choosing someone of character makes sure that you have the best chance of making sure those worst case scenarios are very unlikely.
This is why hook-up culture is for suckers, son. Even if you never want to get married or have kids, you can’t get to know a person in the seven or eight hours it takes to bed them. You could go to bed with a hot girl or handsome boy, only to find that you have invited a crazy, toxic person into your life.
Remember as well that the greatest measure of your character is your ability to say “no.” to temptation. If someone offers you sex, but you are not sure of their character, then saying no is the best way not just to be safe, but to be wise as well. If they are worth bedding, you will have a second chance. And nothing is sexier in a man than assertiveness and confidence to be the one to set the pace.
And remember as well that you have a right to be sexually healthy and happy; no one should be able to demand a life-long commitment to marriage until you have found that you are sexually compatible. Getting trapped in a marriage where the sex is not exactly what you want is a good way to grow unhappy, bitter, and frustrated as you age.
[A note about style: I am trying hard here to make sure not to make assumptions about your sexuality, son, because I only care that you are happy. Whether you are straight, gay, or something in between doesn’t matter to me, but that whatever your sexuality, that you treat it with respect, does.]