I’d like to, but Society says No.

March 21, 2006 at 3:08 pm | Posted in Personal, Rants | 39 Comments

I’ve been having a back-and-forth with dekucat in the the comment section of one of her posts about whether men are really affected by societal conditioning when it comes to women being sexually assertive or aggressive. I would rather have an in-and-out with dekucat, but this is interesting too.

So, to bring all of you lov-er-ly people into the conversation, a popular theory seems to be that many/most men will be tempted to reject women who proposition them for sex or otherwise come onto them because society has taught these men that that’s not how things are done and that it’s “wrong”.

Colour me sceptical.

Now of course what’s going to happen is that the first six comments in response to this post will be stories of individual times that one particular man has been put off by a woman asking him for a date.

Even though I’m sure that these stories will be well-written and amusing, do they really respresent more than a small majority of cases involving man-woman-BowChickaWowWow interactions?

From my admittedly limited perspective, it seems that if a man buys into the idea that men are/should be the sexual agressors, that man will continue to believe it right up to the point that a woman propositions them for casual sex. Even if they have been conditioned to believe that it is wrong for a woman to ask for sex, I doubt that that conditioning is going to stand in the way of them gettin’ it on.

I’m not going to get far into societal conditioning for women. I’ll just say that I believe that conditioning for women in terms of sex is a whole other planet than conditioning for men, not just in content, but also in which areas of life that it is meant to apply to.

For example:

Q: When does societal conditioning (sex) for men apply?

A: Sometimes.

Q: When does societal conditioning (sex) for women apply?

A: Always.

So in summary, even though dekucat is a clever little marmot, I think that she is giving too much credit to societal conditioning in this particular area. I don’t think that men are affected by their conditioning in this area in the same way or to the same extent.

Not that dekucat has said otherwise, but if a man is put off by a woman asking for sex, I would suggest that there are many many factors contributing to that situation.

This has been Point-Counterpoint. I’m your host Hugh Jass. Thank you and goodnight.

EDIT: It turns out that I was misunderstanding dekucat‘s original point, but what the hell, I got to waste 15 minutes instead of working.

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  1. I don’t think we’re defining social conditioning the same way. FYI I come from a cognitive-behaviour psych background, so I can get a tad obtuse about it.

    Anyway, wanna shag?

  2. You know, I can’t speak for Men. I would, however, be willing to bet that the males on your friendslist are for the most part the sort of guys who are willing to discard/ignore/tweak social conditioning “rules” (especially those rules which are not especially “sex positive”).

    I have had a couple of cases where a woman hit on me and I didn’t go for it, but once was because I really didn’t like her that much and the other was because I was dressed as Baby Cthulhu and the suit really isn’t designed for that sort of thing. But I can’t imagine a situation where I would turn a woman down because “women don’t do that”.

  3. I’m not comfortable with your forwardness.

    I wonder if that will prevent me from getting an erectio…

    Oh! never mind.

  4. That transcend that whole man-woman thing anyways.

  5. I’m perfectly happy, even encouraged, if a woman is hitting on me. It’s a good thing.

  6. Woops!

    You. I meant to say You transcend that whole man-woman thing anyways.

    Another good joke ruined by sloppy proof-reading.

    OK, another mediocre joke.

  7. If I ever get a sex change, I’ll keep that in mind.

  8. Your journal intrigues me. Mind if I add you? (I already did, so I guess that’s rather backwards, but eh, life is that thing.)

  9. That’s okay. We’ll let it go.

    And yeah, I do, although I generally still identify as “male” rather than “trans” or “genderfuck” or whatever.

  10. This post and a comment made on something you posted yesterday led me to think about the difference in the ways men and women are conditioned to respond to someone expressing attraction for them.

    My first thought was that in general men are conditioned to respond to people expressing atraction for them by evaluating their own level of attraction to the other person, whereas women are conditioned to respond to people expressing attraction by escalating their own level of attraction to the people expressing said attraction. By which I mean:

    Random Person expresses attraction for Man. Man says, “Am I attracted to Random Person?” and then reacts accordingly.

    Random Person expresses attraction for Woman. Woman says, “If I’m not attracted to Random Person, I apparently should be.”, then tries to be.

    Then I decided this was probably a bit simplistic. As well, it’s a total generalization. I have seen this dynamic in action though, more often than I’ve seen the opposite or some neutrality in between.

  11. I’m not a shy woman. So, it’s still anecdotal, but a rather large sample… and a LOT of men are put off by forward women. A lot of these men are the same ones who bitch about women not making it clear what they want, too. And WOMEN are supposed to be the illogical sex! πŸ™‚

    One issue that I have with my boyfriend is that I go … er … straight to the point. And he wants more foreplay. (I’m working on it.) Although we’re not exactly a standard couple… πŸ™‚

    You’ll be happy to know, however, that a lot of men like forward women just fine. I don’t have much use for the guys who are turned off by it. What, I’m going to change my attitude just because some neanderthals can’t break out of their societal conditioning to ignore gender roles? Meh. πŸ™‚

  12. er, apparently I wasn’t logged in. πŸ™‚

  13. Just speaking for myself here, but I’ve never tried to be attracted to someone I’m not.

    I usually know right away if I’m interested in the guy. If I’m not and he propositions me I am flattered but still disinterested.

  14. I certainly prefer forward women, if only because I’m still hanging on to insecurity issues, and it’s nice to have all that doubt settled. Even I am unable to sustain the nagging suspicion that I am horribly unattractive when someone puts their tongue in my mouth. πŸ™‚

  15. I have rarely had a completely bad reaction from propositioning a guy. Mostly, any guy that had an immediate bad reaction got over it quickly. Although I do think some men are still convinced that men need to do the initiating, and some women are too passive, I can usually figure this out beforehand and will not bother. Yes it is social conditioning, but I find people change as they are exposed to things outside their daily realm.

    Actually, I find mostly there is another problem, where I am actively, obviously flirting with people, and they don’t take it seriously. Men especially are prone to think that it is just flirting, and that I don’t really want to sleep with them, and so therefore I *do* have to initiate. Since I usually only flirt with people that I am at least a little interested in, you would not expect it to be such a mystery. It can be annoying.

  16. Yes! Who needs those “socially normal” men anyway, be yourself!!

  17. I have no idea what you are talking about.

  18. Oh please! D-E-N-I-A-L! “I…is she winking at me? What does *that* mean?”;)

  19. That’s an interesting observation, in general.

  20. a LOT of men are put off by forward women.

    Maybe if you weren’t wearing a strap-on at the time?

  21. I think that in this case, it’s not so much conditioning as inexperience with women who are serious when they flirt.

    Men don’t get nearly as much practice at judging whether a woman is serious or not – and we’ve DEFINATELY been conditioned not to ask.

  22. My best, most functional relationships have been the ones where I did the propositioning and at least a fair amount of the pursuing (though of course there is always back-and-forth). That would be most of them, but not all. The ones that didn’t work out so hot involved me being propositioned by someone else.

  23. *puh-leese ask* πŸ™‚

  24. I historically have the problem that everyone I know is a flirt and it is near impossible to tell the difference between the friendly flirts and the f**k me flirts without directly asking. And I, unlike the other women who have posted, am a shy submissive who seems physically incapapble of being direct.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that some women need the men(or other women) to be direct, and some men need the women(or other men)to be direct. That way…EVERYONE gets laid! labels be dammed

  25. bah! Insecure fuckers. πŸ˜‰

  26. Random Person expresses attraction for Woman. Woman says, “If I’m not attracted to Random Person, I apparently should be.”, then tries to be.

    Random Person expresses attraction for Man. Man says, “Am I attracted to Random Person?” and then reacts accordingly.
    That would be me. I’ve already noticed that I tend to make guy-type comments when I see a hot woman, f’rinstance.

  27. me too!

    it is near impossible to tell the difference between the friendly flirts and the f**k me flirts.
    Although I have to admit I’ve been pleasantly surprised when it turns out to be the latter and from a person I was interested in/intrigued by.

  28. Hey, baby, Denial is a river in Egypt πŸ™‚

  29. I never flirt with you.


  30. I think that men who are put off my female sexual aggression are also the ones who still buy into the whole ‘female sexually aggessive=slut” paradigm. Or, they’re either dominant or gay or not interested.

  31. I LIKE forward women πŸ™‚
    (that said – unsubtle is the only thing that works with me. REALLY unsubtle. There are reasons but they don’t matter to anyone else anymore)

  32. *thinking*
    *looking at posts*
    *thinking some more*

    hmm. Yeah I’ve seen that too. One of the things that make both and fun to have around is that they’ll both happily admit when they’re attracted to someone – and be cool and respectable about it. (and funny a lot of the time)

    I’m sort of used to not being allowed to express attraction so am a little disconnected myself. actually… I perhaps follow the “If i’m not attracted to Random Person, I apparently should be.” thoughtline. It’s gotten me into some situations where I didn’t want to be as well… *hmmm*

  33. A little off-topic, but I love your lion!!

  34. Thank ye πŸ™‚

    Thank ye most kindly!

    Got this from about 6 months before the recent “Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe” came out. Aslan is King πŸ™‚

    I look a little less like a lion than I did when I was first gifted with this name, but lions and I go way back…

  35. I would say that your first category or men are being influenced by societal conditioning, but I would say that the dom or gay men are not. In their cases, a forward woman just isn’t what they’re looking for.

  36. Well, I hope the times (and there have been a few) that I have been sexually forward and then badly rejected (by guys who had said they were interested in me) was due to this and not my looks! Now, I will never show interest in a guy again, and therefore reamain celibate for the rest of my life.

  37. liar

  38. oops…forgot to log in…

    I restate:


  39. Well uh. Looks like you caught me out there πŸ™‚

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