The Absurdity of the Male Sex Drive
September 23, 2012
The male sex drive is a maddening irritant that that has a widely disproportionate influence over the minds of men!
I was 13 years old when I first realized my sex drive was terrorizing me.
Like all teenage boys, a combination of hormones made me obsessed with sex. This was exacerbated by the easy availability of pornographic images, which left me as frenzied as a kitten in a tray of catnip.
Left to my own devices, I might relieve myself 3-6 times a day. An orgasm was followed by a prolonged drowsiness that I found uncomfortable. I soon became irritated and bored by my addiction.
My sex drive was more suited to a bonobo monkey than a schoolboy. It was impossible to concentrate during math class with a dull ache in my loins for the entire hour. And at 13, there was no relief in sight - I was still a long way off from being sexually active!
Over a decade later, my sex drive has only dulled a little. I must still wrestle with it on a daily basis.
Why does it need to be so fierce? I don't need to father 100s of children.
CS Lewis On Chastity
I have been reading Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. It is based on radio talks the author gave in the 1940s defending Christian belief from an argument of morality. There is a great passage on chastity that articulates my views perfectly:
"Chastity is the most unpopular of Christian virtues. There is no getting away from it; the Christian rule is 'Either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.' Now this is so difficult and so contrary to our instincts, that obviously either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct, as it now is, has gone wrong. Of course, being a Christian, I think it is the instinct that has gone wrong.
"But I have other reasons for thinking so. The biological purpose of sex is children, just as the biological purpose of eating is to repair the body. Now if we eat whenever we feel inclined and just as much as we want, it is quite true that most of us will eat too much: but not terrifically too much.
"One man may eat enough for two, but he does not eat enough for ten. The appetite goes a little beyond its biological purpose, but not enormously. But if a healthy young man indulged his sexual appetite whenever he felt inclined, and if each act produced a baby, then in ten years he might easily populate a small village. The appetite is in ludicrous and preposterous excess of its function.
"Or take it another way. You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act - that is, to watch a girl undress on stage. Now suppose you come to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let every one see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally queer about the state of the sex instinct among us?"
Lewis' assertion that male sexual appetite is in 'ludicrous and preposterous excess of its function' should be common sense, but it isn't.
Over the years I have mentioned my irritation with sexual desire to male friends. They rarely agree. I recently remarked that 'I'm tired of lusting at the bags of mammary glands that hang from a woman chest', to which my friend replied 'Don't ruin tits for me! I can't live without tits!'
We live in a media matrix that promotes sex as some kind of religious experience. Mocking sex is sacrilege. I sense that many men are worried that if they drop their obsession with girls, they will have nothing to fill their lives with.
Unfortunately, most young men are left to themselves to learn the negative consequences of surrendering to lust: loneliness, jealousies and disease, to name but a few.
I have been married for a year and I have a 6 month-old daughter. This has greatly changed my view on sex; I have a far greater understanding of the risks now! Only joking.
Being a husband and father means I have to focus my energy on productive activities. I don't have time to chase female shadows in nightclubs, or stay up late talking to bland girls on social networking websites.
Having a family has given me a sense of purpose that mitigates sexual lust. I have moved out of the maddening world of adolescence into manhood.
First Comment from Alexandra Fox
Just a quick comment on David Richards' piece. I largely agree with the sentiment of the other posters, and Jennifer's point especially is crucial. However, I think it's important to go further and underline just how unnatural our current environment is, and how all the cues to keep our drives and appetites in check are missing.
Until pretty recently - until the advent of the Pill in the '60s - it was normal to have a large family. Seven, eight, ten children or more, were perfectly common. Further, there were precious few 'mod-cons', which meant a huge amount of a family's time was spent simply keeping themselves alive. Long hours spent growing, hunting and preparing food, fetching firewood, washing clothes, and so on, were a fact of everyday life. The average man would either be hard at work on the land, or doing some other form of hard physical labour, for many hours every day. People had to continually fight to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, and their children alive. The time or energy for a rapacious male sex drive simply was not there.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, where people usually have a maximum of two children, have to expend virtually no energy keeping themselves alive, and most work is done sitting down in a warm office, and suddenly there is the time and energy spare to indulge things like endless sexual fantasies. Essentially, it comes down to boredom - human beings are no longer pushed to their full capacity, so inevitably their minds wander. They become obsessed with and addicted to damaging things, like excessive sex, endless shopping, drink, drugs, etc.
C.S. Lewis, referenced in the piece, was an upper-middle-class intellectual. The son of a solicitor with just one sibling, he enjoyed all the trappings of privilege. He did not face the harsh realities of life as experienced by 95% of the population, meaning he was afforded the luxury to indulge his other whims and appetites - such as sex drive.
Keeping natural drives in check is in large part why communities like the Amish eschew mod-cons (including contraceptives), and why many religions have seen technology as a manifestation of the devil's plan. Technology frees up human energies which were designed to be used elsewhere, and usually with destructive, even devastating, effects. Mr. Richards might be interested in the works of French philosopher Jacques Ellul, who argues that [from Amazon]: "technology, which we continue to conceptualize as the servant of man, will overthrow everything that prevents the internal logic of its development, including humanity itself". http://www.amazon.com/