Discovering What Men Want in Relationships
Men sometimes feel that they don’t know how to do relationships. We can feel confident and competent in other areas of our lives, but we can feel lost when it comes to fulfilling the romantic needs of our partners. We become clumsy and uncomfortable with romance, and when this happens we feel less competent. What men want in relationships varies of course, but what are the possibilities? Is this different from what women want?
How should relationships be?
Men can feel that they haven’t really contributed to the plan of how the relationship is going to be. In many instances, men go along with the idea of the relationship put forward by their partner. Men often don’t say how we want our intimate relationships to be; instead, we respond to what our partners say they want. When we don’t really comprehend or understand that vision, men feel confused and unskilled. What men want sometimes goes unexpressed.
Men might sometimes tentatively say how they want to have relationships. However, when men do this it can be unacceptable to their partners. Sometimes, the way that men often want to have relationships is labelled as being wrong and primitive. This doesn’t help anyone. After being shut down, is it surprising that men don’t say much?
The different views of relationship
To generalise, we can get a sense of what some women want from relationships from romantic novels. They show men as strong, protective, engaged and self-sacrificing. Relationships are shown as monogamous, fidelity is the norm and there is a lot of other non-sexual activity.
In a similar way, we get a sense of what men want in relationships through the pornography they watch. In porn, the contact between people is goal focused; the emphasis is on physical actions rather than emotional interactions and vulnerability is minimised. Putting all of the problems of pornography aside, is porn telling us something about how men want relationships?
What men want in relationships
Men don’t want to have relationships which are the same as porn. It is as simplistic as saying that all women want to have relationships like in romance novels. However, pornography might show us a stylised and hyper-concentrated view of some of the aspects of what men want in relationships.
While we can attempt to understand what men who use pornography want, we also make a lot of assumptions that may not bear out.
Pornography narrows the focus
Some men have difficulty fulfilling the requirements of intimate relationships because it’s different to what they want. Pornography focuses on what men want in relationships and regard as important. It focuses on in on those things that men understand and are most likely to meet their immediate needs.
Clearly, porn can be destructive to relationships because it is so simplistic. However, because it is so simplistic perhaps it is a key part of what men want in relationships. This distillation can be a starting point for exploring how relationships can be satisfying to both parties. To start, men need to take more responsibility to understand and to state what they really want from relationships.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Now, read about disclosing your secrets: when it makes it worse.
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