The Cost – How to Man in the Post #MeToo Era 

Before we begin, I will lay out some facts that are important to keep in mind. I am a heterosexual, lower middle class-ish, quarter-life-ish old Kenyan man who was raised Anglican coming from a traditional Luo background. So, there are generalizations I believe to be true that I have to very carefully confront and unpack for myself. This is to say, I am still doing the lifelong work and it will be a while. I am not an expert and my opinion does not (should not) matter to you unless you choose it so. There! It’s been said. What you are about to read are my personal thoughts on a very emotive issue but I want to share my perspective (hopefully as respectfully as possible). This is primarily written with men as the intended target audience, but I can appreciate it is a group topic.  

As a personal rule, I generally avoid collectivism. I psychologically grew up in isolation and the negative consequence of this has been crippling on and off major depression. But the positive of this same isolation has been learning to figure things out on my own and for my own. I spend a lot of time observing people and trying to figure out what I am seeing. Whereas, I do support the independence and recognition of women as more than their biological design and societal assumed usefulness, I am also a man who has to rethink, redefine and embrace my masculinity in a way that adds value to my life experience and society at large. So there are things that I will “yasss queen” and other things that I will respectfully “nope”. But that’s just for me. That being said, I hope it inspires positive conversations. 

Don’t Apologize for Your Natural Biological Desires
Enjoy them respectfully.

When I was younger, I was physically and emotionally attracted to a very particular type of woman because that was my schema. Unfortunately for me, and my unwitting co-actors, my schema at the time was based on approval. It was women who, I thought, I could not have and built them up in my head to the point of goddess-hood. It was women who I could get high fives for “getting” because they validated my self-esteem and the esteem of my boys. Even when I “got” or “got with” these women, I never believed it was because of mutual attraction. It must be because they were somehow in a psychologically weakened state or, in one nasty case, just using me to get over another man. I didn’t mind though. Sex! Yay! {Sarcasm}  

Who I was with was a psychological statement about who I was and not a reality to enjoy. You know what happens when you consistently date women who you believe are unattainable to you? You get cheated on A LOT! When you psychologically lower your self-value enough to believe that another person adds value to you as a person then the likelihood that you are dealing with another self-devaluing person is extremely high! You are raising her self esteem just as much as she yours. Even if it is raised highest when she finally delivers the, “I’m just not into you that way!” It comes after ya’ll have had sex several times and dated for a couple of months (or, you know, she’s used you successfully). 

What I was never brave enough to admit to myself (leave alone others) was that I wanted a very different experience. I used to think of myself as a mistreated and rejected “nice guy” but that isn’t true. There were very many women around me who wanted the same experience of and with me that I wanted to share. But they did not fit the schema. It’s funny how society standards shifted and thick women became the inn thing all of a sudden. But back then, probably due to limited fashion options and self-esteem issues, being thick must have been hard.   

I had to give up the approval of the boys to really find myself (collectivism=bad for me). This happened around university when I found what I call my tribe, rather the right group of boys for me. They taught me that it is OK to appreciate the company of unconventionally beautiful women. More importantly, that people are people with loves and interests beyond public perception. All women regardless of size, shape, ethnic background, race, faith etc are just… People! We all just want to be accepted and seen as us on our own in our own right. 

I am a straight man and I enjoy having sex! I enjoy very particular things and with very particular people (well, now one person). I am NOT apologizing for desiring the female form in all its glory. As one of my psychology lecturers in university said, “The female form is designed to inspire procreation!” Women are beautiful! They have nice voices, smell nice, walk with a musical sway and dance like their body parts move independently of each other (it’s witchcraft I tell you). They are fantastic to touch and be touched by when mutually consensual! Sex is a wonderful thing and I want to have as much of it as humanly possible before I die! No apology here for that! But I am also not a wild animal. I can choose what I do and don’t. What I like and don’t. That’s self-respect!        

Women want the same thing you want, respect. But you cannot take it by force! Yes, women are curvaceous goddesses we desire to worship on the altar of our bedspreads but they are, more importantly, people. They have bosses they can’t stand, complicated family relationships, traumas, kids (shout out to the single moms out there), taxes, health concerns and many more things. Approach with empathy, not entitlement. This includes strippers and commercial sex workers. They are doing a job. Heshima kazini (ask a Swahili speaking friend). If you believe someone’s chosen profession or life circumstances allows you to victimize them then really ask yourself who you are. Stop pretending in church, temple, the mosque and whining for your friends about what a nice person you are.  I know it is hard for us men to do that because we suffer in silence for years and nobody questions it so we believe our small entitlements are absolute.

Real talk, the voice of women is usually pretty low volume when fellow women are inflicting harm. In fact, it’s often loud with excuses which blame men. So, no surprise we do the same thing. We are mirror opposites looking through cracked screens. But fellow men, the mico-entitlements are just bars in the cage and not bricks in a palace. See it for what it is and set yourself free.   

Women Actually Enjoy and Want Sex… RIGHT!?
For this part we must establish something. “Women” means a person over the age of consent, capable of and willingly giving said consent. Not children and not rape! Sexual predators and rapists are not any definition of the word “us” I can imagine! 

How old were you when you realized that women actually want sex? Not just for reproductive reasons but as an enjoyable activity. Me? 25! I am not kidding! 25! My mind was blown! BLOWN! I had so many questions! This is a man who, between 10 and 25 years old has watched all the pre-internet pornography imaginable, all the post internet-pornography possible, a couple of episodes of Sex and the City (I’m such a Charlotte pretending to be a Samantha) and listening to a lot rap music. Far as I knew, women were unwilling participants in sex who had to be coerced with either alcohol, money, status or just force (also known as rape). 25 years! A quarter of life! Wau!   

However, like most boys-to-men I was fed a lot of advice, content and material that made me believe that sex was something men did to women. An assertion of dominance. A compliance tool. As far as I was concerned, the penis was a magic rungu (ask a Swahili speaking friend) and if you did your job right, your woman (and others) submit to your will. It sounds silly until you realize just how many men believe this to date and how many women reaffirm it in moments where they would rather not take responsibility for their own actions. 

The hard part about knowing women want sex is understanding that women don’t want to have sex with you! Phew! That will let the air out of your tires. Unfortunately, we convince ourselves that we need to do or be something different in order to get more sex. This is where the salesmen get us. Buying watches we don’t want to wear, cars we can’t fuel, outfits we can’t stand and so on. I still use Axe body spray but for different reasons compared to when I started. This “shiny objects” thing works. Some women are attracted to big flashy things because they have the illusion of safety. Especially now when some women are purposely using this insecurity in men to get free food and vacations for Instagram. Please stop commercializing your masculinity and don’t let anyone do it to you either!

Get ready because I am about to reflate your tires. 1, 2, 3… Here we go! Yes, women in general don’t want to have sex with you. But… Wait for it… #NOTALLWOMEN. There is a woman right now stalking the SH** out of your posts on social media. OK, maybe not that one, but there are women in your life who throw you that eye on the daily. Or laugh at jokes you crack that even you know are not funny. The way men express desire is to express it. Rather inappropriately and loudly at that. But women tend to express desire differently. Learn to speak the language and observe. But don’t be hard on yourself for not getting signals from all the women you want. Some people like tea and some people like coffee but not because they have never had enough of either. They have! That’s why!  

You are also not a slave to or defined by your penis. It is just one part of you. You are person with interest, destinations you want to travel to, movies you can’t stand and career ambitions. Blow your own mind by understanding there are women who enjoy the same things you do and find you attractive physically while finding you psychologically stimulating. These are the women who will enhance your experience both in general and in the bedroom. 

Like all men, I know that somewhere along the lines someone taught you (probably traumatically) that you have to have a magic ability to make women drop their panties at your mere sight, failure to which is a revoked manhood card. But I am giving you permission to let yourself be attractive to women who actually want you too. You are a valuable person contributing real value to society every day. If you aren’t this is where you should focus your energy! What are the things you love to do that are building up this world? Do those! Trust me, women are thirsty AF and if you are living the best you possible then one or fifty are already digging trenches around you without your knowledge. It sounds funny but it is also very true.  

I know rejection is hard. You shoot your shot and miss then everybody laughs at you. Humiliation is the enemy of all male psyches and we all know this. But you had the real manhood to respectfully shoot your shot! Not with a dick pics or vulgar demands, but a direct request from a man to a woman for a date encounter with intentions of knowing each other. Balls! So, focus on yourself and enjoying building yourself up. If you are going to “work hard” at something, let it be towards enjoying the most of life’s ups, downs, rights and lefts. With the right person. Not everyone deserves you! Yeah!? Yeah! 

I am a Man! YOU are a Sexual Predator!
Speaking of dick pics! Unless you know the person on the other end of that send button wants to receive it, stop it! Also, don’t google someone else’s penis and send it to someone. Remember, you are not your penis! It is a part of you but it is NOT YOU! Unfortunately, we as men have become a blanket protection for a lot of men who we do not want in our society because they ruin interactions for the rest of us. Men who put hands on women without permission, rapists, child molesters (and rapists), flashers and generally any man you would not want anywhere near your wife, sister or daughter. They are using YOU as a defense for their behavior. 

“I’m just a man…”
“Look at what she is wearing…”
“She shouldn’t have been walking around that late alone…”  

“It is like raping a woman who is already too weak…”

THESE ARE NOT THE UTTERANCES OF “REAL MEN”! In fact, they are very wrong things people say and we applaud them instead of asking what they are talking about. 

Stop letting your friends, brothers, colleagues, pastors, cab drivers and trolls on social keep whipping these out like they make sense. I am going to assume that you are not a rapist or a child molester. So, why would you let anyone slide that definition into your essence as a passing joke? I think as men we need to learn to be a lot more capable of isolating and removing men who believe detrimental things from our groups. I understand that because of past schema, most of these individuals end up as leaders both in small groups and larger contexts. They are supposedly “alpha males”. Nope! They are damaged boys who use collectivism to dramatize their damage on a large scale. 

As an unapologetic man I admire and will continue to admire the fine curvature of a woman all I want. I can also say that the way someone is dressed is not for me because it is not my preference. But I cannot impose my sexuality, sexual desires or beliefs on anyone because that is assault! It does not matter if you have a small army of like minded men or women around you to support you. Mob justice is just assault with more people involved! Look and keep it moving. Who she is and what she is doing is her business. If someone does proceed to assault her then you can identify the ones who are incapable of self control. The ones in need of removal and correction (prison). But don’t let anyone break the law and be inhumane  in your name.    

Do you really want to be a person who harms other people to get what you want? Is that where your anger has gotten you? Because that is what it is. Anger! You’ve been hurt long enough and you want to know what it feels like to dish it out and you do. With every mean twitter comment for no reason, you do.  Here’s the million shilling question. Are you happy right now? Trust me, abusing others will NOT make you feel better long term or change your circumstances. You can be and do better without being an asshole. Be a person people celebrate when you leave. That’s a life worth living. Not what the media, politicians and predators teach us.

Shared Reproductive Costs 

“I want to have sex! But I don’t want to catch a disease or become a parent!”

In high school Christian Union I would just tell you to NOT. Or you will get pregnant and die! AIDS is around ticking like a time bomb and abortion is a crime! But as one of my tweeps recently reminded me, after puberty, abstinence becomes less and less of a choice as it is sheer commendable will power. However, for consenting adults, knock yourselves out. By now, we assume, you can manage the responsibilities associated with the consequences of sex or their prevention methods. But remember sex has a cost.    

I am a married man and a father. Both by mutual choice. However, I understand that reproductive health has a cost. When a woman takes the pill it alters her body’s natural hormonal functions to prevent pregnancy. There are physical and emotional costs attached to that. Allergies, imbalances, lower libidos etc. Then there’s the injection that can wreak havoc on emotional states and regular homeostasis and implants which can dislodge and destroy organs or cause infections which destroy organs. It’s not looking great! Even with all this there is the threat of pregnancy which means 9 months of excruciating physical and emotional changes which can affect health, earning capacity, ability to go to school regularly (this is for the women in university/college going forward but I am aware that teen pregnancies are a current national issue too).

While women are taking on all these risks, what are we doing as men? Watching the latest big booty vixen music videos and negotiating condom prices with the local chemist. I am not hating, I am just pointing out the truth that there is a pretty steep imbalance going on. There is no male version of the pill at the moment but there should be one. According to Time, there is something in the works but it is still in testing. When it does come out, I advocate for men taking it. The other option is a vasectomy. Yeah, not for recreational sex. But… BUT! If you are determined not to get anyone pregnant but want to have all the sex while you are single then you can eliminate babies in your future and choose to only contend with the threat of illness. It’s an option.

The point I am making here is that the cost needs to be acknowledged and shared. If buying condoms is what you can do to mitigate the side-effects of other birth control options then do that. But insist on their use at all times! Yeah, you insist! Because all men over a certain age know that negotiation is not easy with a woman in heated contexts. People lose their minds a little in the bedroom. It happens. However, if you have other methods like the pill for men (if it ever drops) then take on that cost.      

Prophylactics are also available in the market but I do not (DO NOT) advocate for using these every time you have sex. They are meant for emergencies to keep you safe. Don’t abuse them! Remember that long term use of medication in this manner can cause liver damage, not to mention a whole laundry list of other side effects. So, obviously, a lot of this sharing I am doing is from the point of view of a mutually exclusive long-term relationship. If you are having a lot of casual sex, just be responsible. Period! 

The main takeaway here for men is to remember and acknowledge that when a woman is on a contraceptive that goes inside her body she is taking a pretty big risk to enjoy something you can enjoy relatively safely without invasive contraceptives. Acknowledge that sacrifice and ask questions if you have them. To this day I still ask my wife a lot of questions about contraceptives, periods and female bodily functions. Because I want to know how it works so that when she communicates something is physically, I know what it is and how to work with or around it respectfully. 

Ask Questions! Don’t Be Afraid to Look Dumb 

Like the subtitle says. If you are curious about something and have rapport with a woman, ask a question. Chances are you will get an answer. Of course, don’t ask strangers randomly about their sexual interests or reproductive health! But your friends and your sisters. YES SISTERS! If you are over the age of 18 (and this is a very fluid age limit), it is OK to ask you older sisters about what sex is like for women same way you would ask your brothers. If they have a relatively healthy sex life you may get some insights. Plus, as an added bonus, older sisters can usually tell you if someone is taking advantage of you or not. They are women who you don’t have to question their loyalty to you (depending on your family dynamic). 

Here is the risk with asking questions. How quickly people in this digital “I know everything” age try and shame you for not knowing. But ASK! If you don’t know something and someone else does, ask them! Of course, do your own research but take advantage of the knowledge of your network. It is through these conversations that we can understand the challenges women face and how we can grow conversation positively. But as long as people are in their collective silos firing bombs and “replies” at each other then nothing but ego games are at play. 

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