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Friday, March 2, 2007

The Great Satisfaction

posted by on March 2 at 14:12 PM

I heard it again last night, and I have heard it before from my boss, Dan Savage, and also read it in a post by Andrew Sullivan: gay men have it better than straight men because getting it is easier for them than it is for us. Meaning, women need it much less than we do and so there is an imbalance. This imbalance frustrates straight men and we look at the equilibrium of gay men with envy. They get it whenever the desire arises. I will not argue my point on this ground. I want to take it to another level.

Granted, access to sex is easier for you guys, but with this ease comes a loss of sexual narrative, sexual heroism, sexual agony (in the Greek sense of that word). I believe that in the sexual society of gay men there is little or no sexual aristocracy (heroes, nobles, knights) because it is so damn democratic. For straight men, we have the mission of satisfaction. We must satisfy a woman. To not satisfy her is to fall for her pity, for her pat on the back. If you cant satisfy a woman, you are less than a man.

Let me quote Isaac Babel: “Imagine for one second that you are…a tiger, a lion, a cat. You can spend a night with a Russian woman and leave her satisfied.” A rabbi is saying this to a boy, the period is early 20th century, the city is Odessa, and Benya Kirk is the crime boss who can “leave her satisfied.” You must understand, Sullivan, that we prefer this challenge, this effort, this work toward a woman’s bliss. It is not easy, and those who fail, they go down in their own embarrassing orgasm. But because sex is so accessible for you, what does it matter if you fail or not? Who needs to be a hero when there is always more to be had elsewhere at any time? For us there is just once. If you fail, then there are months of nothing coming your way.

Making love to a woman is like standing on the beach of a warm sea, and her happiness is an island in the misty distance; we dive into the sea and swim to that island, swim against the warm sea, swim against that sinking feeling. This is the great adventure of the straight man. It is our narrative and we are proud of it.

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I think Charles needs to get laid.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 2, 2007 2:13 PM

i think charles has *no* idea what he's talking about.

Posted by konstantConsumer | March 2, 2007 2:19 PM

Finding sex is easy. Finding love is hard.

Posted by elswinger | March 2, 2007 2:19 PM

Gay men have an easier time finding sex partners, that doesn't translate to better sex or better sex lives.

And then only the most handsome or attractive gay men have that smorgasboard laid out for them. Unattractive gay men aren't going to get laid anytime they like. they have to work hard for what they get.

Myths, myths, myths.

Posted by John | March 2, 2007 2:22 PM

Gay men have an easier time finding sex partners, that doesn't translate to better sex or better sex lives.

And then only the most handsome or attractive gay men have that smorgasboard laid out for them. Unattractive gay men aren't going to get laid anytime they like. they have to work hard for what they get.

Myths, myths, myths.

Posted by John | March 2, 2007 2:23 PM

this is why straight men make such good artists. this is also why straight men make such bad artists.

Posted by josh | March 2, 2007 2:25 PM

Look at the gay men who have great sex lives: They are usually fit, attractive, dress well, are well-spoken and successful. Just the kind of men straight women want. It always seems to me that the men who complain that they aren't "getting any" are the kind of guys who put no thought into their appearance or how they treat people in general - not just women.
Someone once said that if straight men had the opportunity to have sex at the gym they would be working out all the time.

Posted by Steffany | March 2, 2007 2:28 PM

Consider what Charles says carefully. He also says he loves concrete in large big blocks.

Posted by Consider the source | March 2, 2007 2:30 PM

“You must understand, Sullivan, that we prefer this challenge, this effort, this work toward a woman’s bliss.”


Yeah, sure, you just keep telling yourself that and let me know when you (really) believe it.

“It is our narrative and we are proud of it.”


At best resigned to it I think.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | March 2, 2007 2:31 PM

If we prefer that challenge, how would you explain porn Charles? I've always thought that was how men would like women to greet the cable installer, pizza guy, whatever. I have to agree with Steffany that most men are lazy and just want women to pop out of the wood panelling when they crack open a couple Bud Lights.

Posted by dwb | March 2, 2007 2:40 PM

Imagine you are a "loin"? I guess that's a starting point.

Posted by bill | March 2, 2007 2:41 PM

It is completely untrue that women need sex less than men.

Posted by M | March 2, 2007 2:43 PM

One of the great tragedies of humanity, that manhood is earmed and proven whereas womanhood is a given. This is probably one of the major reasons men are always killing one another (and women). Here's my confusion, and I'd like to hear you address it, Charles: why is the male habit of masturbation (and porn) so cloaked in shame, while it is for biological purposes essentially the same process as menstruation? Why do the tampons go in the medicine cabinet while the porn goes under the mattress? Where does this shame come from? Is it the active principle involved and the society's fear of willful sexuality? Is this why a woman who enjoys and seeks out sex like a man gets called (not by me) a 'slut'? Is it the unifying of feeling and intention that makes a person 'guilty'?

Posted by Grant Cogswell | March 2, 2007 2:48 PM

And man on man action doesn't exactly guarantee satisfaction, either.

Like john #4 (and #5) said...

It is a lot easier to negotiate the transaction though.

Posted by monkey | March 2, 2007 2:51 PM

Porn is generally about power and not sex. If prostitution were legal and this gov't carried about stopping the trafficking of women, then I think Grant might have an argument about how this country's hypocritical attitudes toward sex.

Posted by dwb | March 2, 2007 2:59 PM


I bust out laughing at the phrase "sexual heroism," thank you for that.

See, the diff is that women are taught by society to slam on the brakes and request commitment before sex. Put two dudes together and they'll both step on the gas.

Also, most women appear to conflate sex and emotions like love, while many men enjoy sex for its own sake, recreation if you will.

And John @ 4 and 5 is absolutely correct. There is a very strict sexual hierarchy in the gay male world and we are often judged by our age, manner of dress (or undress), thickness of our wallets (plus other areas) and tightness of our abs. Generally speaking, we cannot mate outside our caste.

So, sure it is easier for some gay men to find sex, but we have our own set of adventurous challenges.

Posted by Original Andrew | March 2, 2007 3:04 PM

Did you ever know
that you're my heeeeerrrooooe?

Posted by Misty Brown | March 2, 2007 3:16 PM

WTF? Do straight people really think that gay men aren't prone to drama and conflict in their relationships? I'm incredulous that someone at the Stranger would write something that reduces gays to a stereotype and discounts all the pain and difficulty in so many of our relationships.

I mean, just look at this: "If you cant satisfy a woman, you are less than a man." As if homos don't experience performance anxiety.

And this: "Who needs to be a hero when there is always more to be had elsewhere at any time?" We're not all sluts, you know. Some of us work very very hard at our monogamous relationships.

Who is this Charles Mudede person? I think he's made up.

Posted by mattymatt | March 2, 2007 3:27 PM
If you fail, then there are months of nothing coming your way.

No - if you're an asswipe, you don't get any. Not just 'cause you can't make a woman orgasm.

Posted by paradox | March 2, 2007 3:42 PM

If that were true paradox, we'd have a serious population decline problem in this country. With all due respect to you, the country seems to be overrun by asswipes.

However, if you didn't get any if you couldn't make a woman cum, then conservative wouldn't have kids so that can't be true either.

Posted by dwb | March 2, 2007 3:50 PM

I love you Charles...

Posted by Suz | March 2, 2007 4:16 PM

I get the impression that Charles likes to hitch rides on grand social and historical narratives picked up from his readings in history and continental (often French) philosophy and play them out to their extremes, just to see how people respond. I have no idea whether he'd admit that intention.

To me, this is clearly one of those cases where Charles' observation is simply a caricature of one of those borrowed narratives.

(It's funny to see someone who'd have a seriously engaged audience in, say, Paris rub so many the wrong way in Seattle.)

Posted by JME | March 2, 2007 4:28 PM

Hear hear to M.

Posted by Victoria | March 2, 2007 4:43 PM

Funniest post ever?

Posted by johnnie | March 2, 2007 5:27 PM

charle's grand narrative makes me feel like throwing one into the missus tonight. maybe 2.

Posted by Max Solomon | March 2, 2007 5:35 PM

Charles is a philosopher and a romantic. But it appears he is not a mathematician.

There are roughly 300 million people in the US. Lets say, for simple math, that half are men and half women, or 150 million of each gender. Lets say also, for simple math, that an even 10% are gay. So if a straight male botches an attempt to get laid, he has roughly 135 million other hetero women to turn to in his next attempt. If a gay man botches an attempt to get laid, he has only 15 million homo men to turn to in his next attempt. So even if you accept the argument that all gay men are sluts who will have sex with any other gay man at the drop of a hat, gay men have a far smaller pool of potential sex partners to choose from.

This means that the hunt to get laid for gay men is not necessarily easier than it is for hetero men, it is the dynamics that are different.

A hetero man can assume that any women he encounters is also hetero, and he has a 90% chance of being right. A gay man has only a 10% chance that any man he meets is also gay. A hetero man might be turned down if he asks for sex, but he rarely puts his life in danger if he accidently asks the wrong woman. Outside of gay bars and bathhouses, it can be difficult for gay men to figure out which one of ten men he encounters might be gay. Worse, if a gay man asks the wrong man for sex, he not only risks being turned down, he faces ridicule, humiliation, public ostracism, a severe beating, or even death. So if a gay man asks the right man for sex, he might have a higher chance of getting a yes, but if he asks the wrong man for sex, the consequences can be severe. And since there is only a 10% of guessing right, and a 90% of guessing wrong (and potentially risking that disastrous response), a gay man has to be a LOT more circumspect about asking for sex than a hetero man does. His life could depend on it.

So gay men do not necessarily have it easy.

Nevertheless, I loved your post anyway Charles. Even when you are wrong, I love how your mind works.

Posted by SDA in SEA | March 2, 2007 5:38 PM

Speaking of having trouble with the math SDA,

Of those 300 million, approximately 25% are minors under the age of 18 (granted some states allow limited consent below that age - HOLY CRAP! The age of consent in Hawaii is only 14??? WTF?) - okay so that takes out quite a few right there. In addition, there are about 55 mm married households in the U.S., nearly all of whom are over 18 years of age, and the overwhelming majority of which presumably aren't interested in sleeping with anyone other than their spouses. So, that's roughly 120 - 130 mm out of your 300 mm already out of the game. See where I'm going with this?

Now granted, that's still going to leave an awful lot of potential sex partners for the straight. However, your 10%/90% formula just doesn't pan out for gays? Why not? Because of factors you yourself allude to, namely that, when gay men go looking for potential sex partners, they don't - at least the ones I know don't - go trolling where the fish ain't biting, if you catch my drift. They go places where the likelihood of running into other gay men of similar inclinations are much, much higher than 10%, closer to 75 or 80% if what my gay friends tell me is correct.

Do the odds ever get that good, even for reasonably attractive straight guys, and even in clubs where hooking up with straight gals is fairly common?

Posted by COMTE | March 2, 2007 8:03 PM

I was going to respond to this but it's so incredibly stupid on so many levels that all I can do is finish this sentence and then stare at my monitor dumbfounded for a few minutes by the depths of human idiocy.

No offense.

Posted by doctiloquus | March 3, 2007 12:34 AM

Look Charles,

Getting laid is just as easy (probably easier) for straight guys than gay guys.

Straight guys can buy sex on the street with women who market themselves as prostitutes. All you have to do is pay them money and they will sleep with you.

If you are looking for a relationship
with sex a part of that, gay guys, lesbians and straight men and women are going to have to work just as hard to achieve that goal. Get real.

Posted by lawrence clark | March 3, 2007 2:24 AM

I agree with post # 1, Charles needs to get laid. What a dope. No wonder he can't please a woman, his words are boring and he comes off as a lunatic. Boring lunitic? Dude, boring lunitics never have good sex, no matter if they are gay, bi, straight or Anne Coulter.

Having had sex with women and men I can attest that there is bad and boring sex in both genres. You get what you bring to the table, Charles, put the books down, grab a girl and go for a dance. As it is, you are a bore.

Posted by rufus | March 3, 2007 9:22 AM

Charles, this post is a transparent attempt to get laid. It's a great example of the humiliating hoops we breeder boys have to jump through just for a little fun in the sack. Good luck!

P.S. Guys, if you find a woman who disagrees that men want sex more than women, marry her.

Posted by Sean | March 3, 2007 9:45 AM

Charles, I dont need sexual narrative or noble suffering. I just want to get laid, goddamn it.

@ 12 - It's "completely untrue"? I'd honestly like to think so, and I've encountered some seriously horny women, but frankly, all evidence available to me has backed the notion that those women who can keep up with the sexual desire of the average man are in the minority. If a relatively sizable one.

Posted by tsm | March 3, 2007 9:52 AM

Why can't straight guys just accept sex from other men and quit whining?

Posted by cat | March 3, 2007 5:13 PM

33- I will do my share.

The best solution I have ever heard. And without all that sexual frustration, no war, prosperity and goodwill abound.

Put it in the Dem. platform.


Posted by Freddy | March 4, 2007 12:11 PM

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