Male loneliness is not a woman's problem to solve
If the Shani Silver link isn't working try this one! https://www.instagram.com/s/aGlnaGxpZ2h0OjE3ODYwOTAxOTUxMzU0NTE2?story_media_id=2505277307687841724_5634235&igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
I'm single by choice. A male acquaintance insists that "girls like me" are the reason men are so unhappy... I should just get into a relationship (with him, I believe is the unstated) and I'd improve both my life and that of the man. When I state that my life is already pretty damn good, he says I'm disillusioned 😁. When I ask for a list of five things that would improve in my life by making the change he suggests, he cannot do it. 🤷♀️
The thing that always makes me SO ANGRY whenever we're forced to have a public conversation about "men's problems" is that it feels like there's an assumption that some human experiences--loneliness, horniness, the sting of rejection--are uniquely male experiences.
I've known plenty of women who wish they were having more sex, who feel lonely and isolated (not all women are good at making or maintaining friendships) and I and other women have definitely been turned down by people we were crushing on.
But society doesn't see any of that as a problem to fix because women are told from a young age that our problems are our own to fix. And I guess because we don't typically threaten people with violence if we don't get our way? It just makes me so angry beyond words.
I think it was a tweet I saw that said something like, "If you want proof that sexuality isn't a choice, just look at all these poor het women attracted to cis men. Why would you choose that?" And also, I'm well aware of compulsive heterosexuality.
Very happy to be a contented queermo over here.
I read that Esther Perel interview this morning and particularly noted when the interviewer said, "divorced parents sometimes seem the happiest of the lot." I wonder if she really meant "divorced WOMEN." Anyway.
I recently had a man I dated OVER 10 YEARS AGO leave a letter IN MY MAILBOX asking me to contact him if I was interested in a date (ie hookup, if I had to guess) because he couldn't find me on social media (CORRECT, GO AWAY). I decided to ignore him instead of contacting him (OR THE POLICE) to tell him how inappropriate he was, but COME ON.
I hope that you write a script about a woman who is figuring out exactly what you have. I would love to see a movie where the hero finds herself and is happy. I've got a friend going through the "lonelier with someone" than single ish and deciding whether or not to stay, and I'm hoping she leaves. Another option is to open a singles bar for people who want to stay that way.
Forgive me. I didn't follow up on all the wonderful links to check if you linked to it, but just in the last couple of days there was an opinion piece in the NYT that basically said, "Everyone is more lonely! The answer is more sex!" And the author made some attempt to acknowledge the difference between the expectation and demanding of sex with het women by incels from your garden-variety loneliness, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. Like, maybe we'd all (but especially women) be having more sex if the sex was any good consistently? Maybe if we had comprehensive sex-positive education in schools and universal coverage of contraception and, god forbid, the universal right to choose abortion then we'd all be having more sex and the sex would be better and freer and actually worth having?
They only made a nod to the ubiquity of social media as increasing our loneliness. That was the sole provision of context. Feh.
Telling people to have more sex to deal with their perennial loneliness seems inadequate at best. Like, let's talk about the wider social context in which sex is happening, and the systemic barriers to good sex for both men and women, but most especially women, maybe?
“Men benefit when a relationship exists.” So true. I am very clearly seeing this with my husband, who I separated from a year ago. It didn’t matter that I was miserable, depleted, and not even wanting him to touch me anymore. He just wanted me to be there. Since I moved out and remain the primary parent to our daughter, I don’t feel like my life has changed that much when it comes to daily stuff (it has definitely changed for the better when it comes to having my own space, etc.), but I can see how he is struggling with not having a wife at home to take care of stuff.
Thank you so much for this. There’s this vicious circle of men punishing women and women being traumatized by the punishment and then men becoming angry that women are traumatized and as a result trying to punish women MORE. It feels like an endless cycle of “the beatings will continue until morale improves.”
I wish more of us looking for and/or in relationships would constantly challenge ourselves to ask what we bring. Too often men think if we can provide - shelter, income, “a male presence” - that’s it! We’re done! And the woman can care for the home and be desired and maybe pop out some kids and everyone lives happily ever after.
This is not a healthy way to live with a partner! I have meetings all day so I have to stop now but I love this and will read it and the links all over again.
Lyz, you always do great work, but you really knocked it out of the park today.
A few weeks ago on the podcast’Lovett or Leave it’, one of the guests was Gabe Mollica who wrote a play about men not having friends. There was a throw away comment about how women’s friendships are face to face (eating brunch, getting coffee, etc) and men’s relationships we’re side to side (watching sports, playing video games) and it just really blew my mind. Men don’t just go out and sit and talk with their friends without an activity as the intermediary.
Fabulous essay, Lyz, I have shared it with tons of friends. Thank you for bringing up the orgasm gap in addition to everything else. The orgasm gap is a real thing and it has absolutely been a problem in my life. Also, I am a poly person. I will never forget the guy on a dating app who contacted me. Not for a date but because he wanted to meet me and complain face to face about his girlfriend's refusal to open up their relationship. I told him that sounded like emotional labor, and I charge for that. Happily, I never heard back.
When I told my husband I was leaving him roughly a zillion years ago, he asked me to stay. When I asked him why, he literally could not list a single reason why I should stay, except that he wanted me to. But why? He could not say. After I started dating again, on a couple of first dates the guy has said, "I want you," and then looked at me soulfully. Is that a thing? Do guys think that we are supposed to fall in bed with them just because they want to fuck us? Cause that shit definitely does not work on me.
Oh, yeah. Yep.
I've been divorced for 10 years now and I have ZERO desire to be in a romantic relationship with anyone right now. I want to have sex, but I do not want to carry the emotional load of another person. It is simply too much work.
This was a great read - thank you. I'm going to respond with one of my typical juvenile anecdotes. Years ago, 30 years, I was in a car with two cis couples, close friends of my boyfriend and me. He was out of town. We were in our late 20's, btw. I was the fifth wheel. What better time to chirp up with "Hey, I have a question! If you could have great sex the rest of your life - or children - but only one or the other - which would you have!???" Both of the women in the car, simultaneously, shouted "Great sex!" One man said, "Any sex is great sex." The other man said, offended, "I don't like the question and I'm not answering it." Why does this moment come to mind after reading your piece...
Spot on and brilliant!
Your work here in this Substack is an education for me! Loving it....
My life has been easier in a lot of ways in the 30+ years I've been married and one factor is that I only have to pay attention to one guy most of the time. I can just ignore the others--sorry! I'm married! It was a huge relief way back when.