The qualities we look for in sexual partners need to change. We really need to take a look at things we find attractive and start re-assessing them. One of things that feminism has prompted us to do is to question our own desires, our own preconceptions about women, about beauty and about what constitutes sexual satisfaction. The boundaries are now eroded, and we can no longer expect or feel entitled to what we used to.
This is nothing new. We have all known this for a long time. But what we haven’t done, is finish the job. Most of us are still in the dark ages, still in conflict about what it is that we want from a woman. The realities of modern living, mean that we necessarily require something else from a relationship other than simply companionship and sexual satisfaction. What constitutes a bond of love and respect and caring is now far more complex because our lives are far more complex. More and more, the romantic connection has come to shoulder a greater emotional responsibility for our needs. However, the basic outline of what we are looking for in woman has not changed for hundreds of years, millennia probably.
Now beauty always varies. It varies according to decade, never mind generation. It is to a large extent, culturally conditioned. However, the foundational truth that our search for beauty is expressing, is the same as it always was. My theory is that what we are really attracted to in a woman is health. That is why a bright smile, a harmoniously symmetric face and enlivening energy are what we really go for, if we are being honest. The cookie-cutter shapes of beauty change all the time, but they are metaphors for the same thing: a healthy, child-bearing and nurturing female. There is nothing wrong with this at all. How can there be? If feminists have a problem with it, they should consult God, or the laws of physics, or Shiva or something. Because your biology is not your fault.
What we are responsible for, however, is how this biology and instinct is manifested. The fact is that it can be easily manipulated. Because of its power, it has been harnessed. It has been reduced to a few buttons that are pushed, with the intention of prompting you to buy something or obey something.
This “health” that we find so attractive can be easily faked. Our perceptions can be easily fooled. By make-up, by glossy, air-brushed representations of women, by wonder-bras, by good lighting and camera work. Lots of things can project the illusion of health, and very often we are fooled by this bullshit. We are sucked into thinking something is one way, only to find that it is the complete opposite. That what we thought was beauty – natural health – was in fact all smoke and mirrors.
Who do I blame for this? You. The modern man. There is no longer any room for excuses. We have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps now and really find some way of expressing this natural desire for a healthy mate, in new and more sophisticated ways. Only you can stop yourself from being sucked in by false, objectifying stimuli.
Don’t worry, guys. It works both ways. Ever had that frustrating feeling that what women are attracted to is dickishness? That what they call confidence and masculine grace, you know is actually an emotional dysfunction? I bet you have. This is just the equivalent of what I am talking about. Women, too, seek a healthy male, but the basic outline of a healthy male is now completely different than what it was in the past. It is very easy for a man with few scruples to fake a certain amount of mental health and confidence. It is very easy to fake a sense of invulnerability. You just repress your emotions. You just don’t say anything. You just shut off from the emotional environment. You just withdraw, that way you never have to actually prove your emotional worth to anyone.
And we can’t blame women for this. Again, what they find attractive is a certain level of health, which includes emotional, mental and spiritual as well as physical health. However, it is easy to act this kind of health. Up to a point. These men will always be found out, but quite a lot of the time it is too late by that point.
So women have a responsibility too. They have to become more acute at spotting genuine emotional agility. They have to be more sophisticated, just like we do, in assessing what a healthy partner is. They have to take this basic, natural quest for a healthy, balanced partner, and express it in new ways. What constitutes confidence and capability, power and sensitivity, is far more complicated than it ever was. A man’s work is never done, because his work means more than hunting, fighting and building shit. His work means being skilled, and flexible, in a range of daily tasks. He must retain his physical prowess, but he must not let this interfere with his responsibilities as a nurturer. He must not let any one aspect of his masculinity overshadow another. And this is a near impossible challenge. It is however, the challenge of the modern man.
So, just as we really need to get our acts together in adapting our ideas of beauty and womanhood, allowing them to become more sophisticated and varied, women too must reassess the qualities they validate in potential partners. When it comes down to it, it is a matter of evolution, of survival. What we are faced with, if we are to survive, is the evolution of our sexualities.