On a Harvey Weinstein Scale, Do I Suck as a Man?
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because ignoring sex problems rarely makes them go away.
By Eugene S. Robinson
EUGENE, SIR: We’re in that place where we’re sort of giddy and in love with being in love. So, yes: confessions. He tells me he’s bisexual and has slept with both men and women, but he’s attracted to the individual person and I am that person now. He says he’s never been “confused” about his preferences, he just doesn’t have an “American macho” thing about sex with men and so has never been weird about it. Which is great. But now I am weird about it. Not like you might expect from the HIV angle, because anybody could have it, but do I want to have to worry about having him be doubly faithful? And I hate to say it, but images of him having sex with men have intruded in my head while we’re making love. Not a turn-on to think that he might be thinking of penis. We’re very compatible and I think I love him, but how do I get my head right around this? — Amber
Dear Ambi: I’m guessing you haven’t spoken to him yet about this and so I’m flattered that your first stop on the FML (Fuck My Life) express line is me, but you know, this is complex as crap, and in the end, even allowing for me being the smartest man in the world, I’m unlikely to give you any advice worth a damn since what works in macro might not work in micro. But the difference between me and other columnists? I’m willing to try, damn it.
So here we go: Because we like people in a representational way, sitting at the complex nexus of nature, nurture and bio drives, we like them as we’ve understood them to be. Sudden revelations, such as the one you just got, tend to impinge on the previously held assumption about, in this instance, your man and his relationship to penis not belonging to him. He’s saying not to worry, but you’re worried and he hasn’t crawled into the musky recesses of your possible understanding on some level that “real men don’t play with real men’s penises.”
And while this is a terribly reductionist way to think about it, it’s probably exactly what’s happening in your head right now. And honestly, your idea of what a “real” man is, and does, is what you’re finding attractive.
How to find him attractive again? Start by separating the issue from deep-seated feelings of insecurity connected to an idea you might have that you’re not enough for him. Realize that him having acted on his homosexual urges is probably more evolved and healthier than the dreaded tendency to repress, and that there are plenty of honest to g-d real and manly gay men. If you don’t like subs (as in submissive men), that’s understandable, but I would think you’d have known this from the outset. Meaning? I’m going to have to vote for this being tempest-in-a-tea-potty. Give yourself a month and if things don’t change, they probably won’t. But if they do? Let your spirit let it ride. Good luck.
Real Queries, Real Confusing
EUGENE, SIR: Male misapprehension? Not oral-vaginal, dude. — Karen C.
Dear C Is for Car Chase: Here at “Sex With Eugene,” we get a wide variety of questions. From cute to coarse and sometimes confusing. But we endeavor to answer any and all questions in the spirit with which they were delivered. To that end, here’s our response to your brief but succinct missive: Eggs are GOOD FOOD!
Thanks for writing!
The Whole Harvey Weinstein Wrangle
EUGENE, SIR: I have a female friend. While we were working together on freelance projects, I told her that I was into her. Specifically I would say: “I have a good idea!!” Then she would say: “What?” My enthusiasm was contagious. Then I’d say, “We should have sex!” Sort of like I had discovered something new and novel. She would laugh it off. We had a good working relationship and were nice, casual friends, despite my periodic requests for sexual contact. One time, though, she asked if I had drugs, which I did, and she asked if we could do them. So we disappeared into a bathroom stall to do them. After coming out of the stall, I grabbed her and attempted to kiss her. I also grabbed her crotch. She broke away from me and fled, and what’s haunted me ever since was the look of fear on her face. Later, I thought it best to act like nothing had happened. Which means we returned to our former kind of relationship except I never asked her for sex again. I did, however, ask her, and she hasn’t responded, am I someone’s #metoo? — RSE
Dear Robots in Service of the Environment: It’s kind of tough to realize that when a cat and a mouse are playing, it’s probably only fun for the cat, eh? But let’s discuss the differences. Harvey Weinstein, in addition to allegedly abusing women, was also abusing them in a specific way. He was employing deceit and trickery when luring them to hotel rooms under the pretense of discussing business. He was threatening punishment if sexual rewards were not forthcoming. And maybe most important for the purposes of our discussion, he seemed to have a very hard time taking no for an answer.
You, on the other hand, were frankly frank about your desires. But expressing them repeatedly, no matter how comically, doesn’t make it OK. It seems like you could be harassing even if the harassed is laughing. But at least you were not using deceit and trickery. Nor did it seem like you threatened punishment. And, finally, when you got what was indubitably a nonverbal no, you stopped.
So should you feel bad about a clumsy but contextual pass? I don’t think so. However, I’m not the one who fled in fear. I do feel weird that I can’t come to an objective conclusion about what happened. Am I also part of the problem? I have no idea, but this kind of analysis is good for the soul and I’m fairly certain real perps spend zero time worrying about the ramifications of their crotch grabs. Doesn’t make you guiltless. But it also doesn’t make you incorrigible.