In this article I will explore the reasons why this is the case and will provide possible solutions.
Examples of poor misrepresentation of male sexuality in popular culture are found in films such as Superbad, or Anchorman wherein the main characters of both films feel the need to use both trickery and luring tactics, as well as, alcohol consumption in order to get the girl. This misleading portrayal relates male sexuality with predation.
A real life example would be the now infamous Steubenville rape case. I won't go too far into this, as it was a hideous crime committed that is often times difficult for me to reiterate in words. But it is a perfect example of how we, as a culture have become so accepting of sexual/male privilege, and violent rape culture. This particular case involved two high school football players raping and humiliating a fellow classmate and posting the crimes of the incapacitated woman for everyone to see. This clearly has more violent undertones than the above pop culture references, but it nonetheless follows the same guidelines we have come to believe and accept about male sexuality.
What are we teaching women and girls as a result? I think one of the most damaging parts of the stereotype men face surrounding their sexuality is that we inadvertently teach women and girls to safeguard our sexuality, that men are uncontrollable sexual beings, and that we are not agents of our own sexual desire.
This simply is not true, in broad terms at least. There will always be individuals around us that take in these poor representations in the media as truth, but this is certainly not the case for the majority. In fact, it is insulting and sad. On an evolutionary scale, we are among one of the most developed species on the planet. So much so, that our ability for impulse control and self discipline astounds me on a regular basis. This is not to hint that those with sexual urges and desires need to castrate themselves, but have the capability to respect one another and seek out consent.
While we are on the topic of male sexuality, let's challenge the idea of purity that is pushed on young girls and women every single day. Here is a quote from Jessica Valenti that perfectly illustrates our obsession with
“..the hope I have for women: that we can start to see ourselves-and encourage men to see us-as more than just the sum of our sexual parts: not as virgins or whores, as mothers or girlfriends, or as existing only in relation to men, but as people with independent desires, hopes and abilities. But I know that this can't happen as long as American culture continues to inundate us with gender-role messages that place everyone-men and women-in an unnatural hierarchical order that's impossible to maintain without strife. For women to move forward, and for men to break free, we need to overcome the masculinity status quo- together.” - Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth: How America's obsession with virginity is hurting young women.
Personally, I believe that our own sexuality should not be placed right up top with self worth, and that we should not condemn and humiliate one another for exploring sex openly. We all view sexuality in such different ways. I still believe it is one of the most intimate, freeing, and enlightening things you can do with another person. It is admirable if you have the ability to reserve that part of you for someone special, but there is no judgement, shame, or decrease in ones worth that should be brought on to another person that views sexuality differently, unless you are using sex self destructively to hurt one other. Even then, everyone is born of different circumstances and has full autonomy over their choices in life. At the very least, we need to just learn how to coexist and respect one another fully, regardless of their personal choices.
So what are solutions to these narrowing views on male and female sexuality?
I think the one focus we should all agree on is understanding what privilege and entitlement looks like, and how they tie into the culture of sexuality in damaging ways. Pop culture blatantly places self worth with sex, regardless of how many partners a person has, or how much sex they do or don't have.
Communicate with one another! We all have different needs and desires, we are all ebbing and flowing in different moments in our lives. Communication is key for any type of relationship with another person, this is commonly referred to as consent. Seek understanding.
Be honest and open, instead of tricking or luring us in. Be confident and trust that you are worthy of someone that likes you for who you are and that you don't need to use games or tricks into wanting you.