Secret Confessions of a Normal Guy

Ok, so I read a lot of blogs. My blogroll has some of the best of them, but my bookmark bar has quite a few more. For reasons I can’t really explain, I’d say the blog-authorship-gender ratio is something like 90:10 female authors to male authors. Perhaps I just like having some kind of insight into the minds of women, perhaps I’m still too busy reflecting on my own stuff to read about another guy’s too (nah), or maybe there is just a larger percentage of interesting women on the internet than men. Maybe it’s a bit of all three.

I also suspect that the majority of my readers are women. I base this SOLELY on the comments and emails I’ve received so far, but for that reason, the remainder of this post is directed primarily at the women of the internet.

A lot of blogs out there have some very personal dating and relationship experiences. In reading a lot of these I see a few recurring themes. Themes about guys, about what guys might be thinking (or NOT thinking), about the stupid things guys do, and worst of all about the things stupid guys do whether they were thinking or not.

I’m a guy, and I would say that on the general spectrum of guys, I’m a pretty normal guy. I know lots of other normal guys and I can comfortably say I understand how normal guys think. So I would like to address some of these recurring themes from a normal guy’s perspective.

The reason I actually started this post is the recurring theme of guys who make fun of a woman’s “skills” in the bedroom. At first, I couldn’t honestly believe this actually happened in real life. It’s like finding out that Cthulhu rose from the depths thirty-two years ago and now has a theme park in Sheboygan. It’s both too surreal and too horrible to imagine.

Ladies, I realize this sounds painfully obvious, but just to be totally clear: if a guy EVER makes fun of your “skills,” run away. If he does this semi-publicly in front of either his or your friends, slap him and then run far away. If he does this openly in public (say a bar or sporting event) slap him, run away, and hire someone to have him whacked. Most guys I know (myself included) would do this for you free-of-charge just to try and redeem the rest of our gender.

Bedroom time isn’t a skills test. Normal guys don’t go into the bedroom with a grading sheet. Laughter is sexy, and if something funny happens during a sexual encounter, normal guys just hope they didn’t embarrass themselves too badly.

Now, I’m not saying every moment in bed is going to be straight out of a romance novel or have direct-from-porn production values…but this isn’t comparison time. Ever. This is non-negotiable. Any guy who uses the following phrases in or about the bedroom should be publicly executed after you drop him on his ass:

- “That’s not how [ex-lover's name] did [sex-act], I really miss that.”
- “Have you ever done this before?”
- “You need to watch more porn. It’s educational.”
- “Now, I’m not calling you a prude, but some guys would.”
- “You stopped going to the gym, didn’t you?”
- “If you loved me, you’d try it.”

(Obviously this list isn’t all-inclusive, and I will gladly take suggestions and add them to the list with credit).

No group of guys sits around making fun of the women they’ve been with. If guys get together, the guy who did that would be stared at and then shunned. If, somewhere in this universe, there IS a group of guys that do this (and some blog posts lead me to believe that there might be), please believe me when I say that they are minions of Satan. They ARE NOT HUMAN. They cast no reflection in a mirror, no matter how many times their vain little heartless-voids look. Please drive a wooden stake through them as your duty to humanity. No jury of your peers will convict you; we will, however, probably give you a medal.

Seriously though, do NOT tolerate this. Do NOT give it even one millisecond of thought. No woman is “bad at sex” even if she’s not gifted at stroking some particular infantile jackass’s…ego.

I realize that seems counter-intuitive. I’m sure everyone reading this can think of an example from their own past and say “ah ha! You don’t know what you’re talking about! I KNOW better!” But you’re missing my point. A sexual encounter can go badly, be unsatisfying or just not “work” for a lot of reasons; but NONE of them are due to a woman’s “skills” because it just doesn’t work that way. Period.

The primary reason a sexual encounter goes badly, based on my experience and the collective experiences of my friends (male and female), is miscommunication. Not skills, not stamina, not flexibility, not size/shape/color, just simple miscommunication.

Let me share a not-very-well-kept secret about guys: we all still have that pubescent man-child in the back of our heads that’s completely terrified that we don’t know what we’re doing or if we’re doing it right. All of us. It never shuts up.

Where women have intuition and logic, we have a squeaky twelve-year-old constantly second guessing every little thing we say or do. Doesn’t matter if we’re sixteen or ninety-six, it never goes away. I know some guys who have “notched a couple hundred up on the bedpost,” and some guys who’s confidence and ease with women confounds their peers; and all of them admit that the voice is still there…they just got better at drowning him out.

Now, that voice is a two edge sword…

On the one hand, that voice is the reason that no matter what, no matter when or where or how or even why, if you take off your shirt, we’re excited. Somewhere inside every guy is a voice that shouts out “Boobies!” every time we see them. Twenty years, three kids, and a second-mortgage into a marriage, and a husband will still have a voice in his head that shouts “Boobies!” if you walk out of the bathroom after a shower with the robe untied.

On the other hand, the voice is completely ignorant of relationships or commitment. If it sees the next door neighbor walking from room to room with the blinds open while changing her bra, it WILL shout “Boobies!” then too. It is TOTALLY unreliable for making good decisions. Period.

Do you want to know what drives a man during sex? That pubescent man-child in the back of our heads. You are the gatekeeper, he is the keymaster, and the only things guys have to steer the squeaky twelve-year-old with are the psychological equivalents of a laser pointer and a squirt gun.

Do you want to know the ONE thing that overcomes the man-child’s inherent fear and doubt? The ONE thing that will make him worship even the most naive virgin as a sexual goddess? Enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is the only gauge we use. And this is where miscommunication becomes so dangerous. If you have reservations or personal issues with a specific act, a certain level of intimacy or even sexual intimacy at all, or just aren’t sure that the time/place/partner is right, it is very likely that any attempted sexual session will not be as fulfilling as you or he want.

If you aren’t sure whether or not to go to bed with a guy, let me give you some advice that neither I nor any other guy would actually admit to giving: don’t. If you aren’t sure, it’s unlikely that you will be very enthusiastic about the encounter. If you aren’t enthusiastic, it’s pretty unlikely that it will be any good for either of you.

Notice how at NO point did I say it would affect your skills. Because that’s just bullshit. The kind of bullshit that the man-child would spew out to try and make himself feel better. To convince himself and other’s that it wasn’t his fault. Because, honestly, that’s his greatest fear: to be told he’s as bad at it as he thinks he is.

Now, I’m NOT advocating abstinence. I’m all for people having as much enthusiastic sex as they want under just about whatever circumstances they’re comfortable having it. But if you aren’t sure if you want to go to bed with a guy, don’t.

If you’ve been hurt before, and you’re not sure if you’re ready to get back into that particular arena, I would suggest a simple test, “can you be enthusiastic with [name of potential partner]?” If the answer is yes, then maybe you should take a chance, bang his brains out with gusto and leave him weak and spent with a huge grin on his face. If the answer is no, then save yourself and your potential partner an uncomfortable exit, averted glances, and quick changes of direction on the sidewalk in the weeks to come.

So far most of the advice has been sort of focused on “first time” issues, but the basics here apply to every stage of a relationship. If something is bothering you or affecting your enthusiasm for sexual play, communicate it clearly. Normal guys WON’T hold this against you…in fact we’ll be relieved. See, the thing guys are most afraid of is doing something “wrong” in the bedroom…and anything that leads us to think that something IS wrong will be agonized over endlessly in a vicious circle of doubt and bravado until our heads explode. Because no matter what is actually affecting you, we will always blame ourselves and our abilities. Always.

Also be advised that the vicious circle of doubt generally renders us powerless to the man-child. This is bad, because he’s an infantile little ass-hole. Always.

If it IS something we’re doing wrong; bumping your cervix, forgetting the foreplay, doing it like a bull rider (lasting for eight seconds), or just making funny faces at inopportune times; whatever it is, just break it to us gently. Then, be willing to work on it with us. Try some extra enthusiasm if we get it right, Pavlov’s dogs have NOTHING over on a guy in bed.

1) Guys actually like foreplay. Guys are intimidated by feminine complexity. These two factors epitomize the opposing forces in a guy’s brain. There’s an old example of this where male sexuality is illustrated with a picture of a single large red push-button. Female sexuality is illustrated with a picture of the cockpit of a 747 Jumbo Jet. The intimidation factor tends to lead to “video-game” syndrome for guys. If we can push all the right buttons, and make all the right movements, we “win” the game (foreplay accomplished). The next phase of “video-game” syndrome is trying to push the buttons and make the movements faster…to win sooner…which is actually the opposite of how foreplay works, but we don’t instinctively know that. We just want to “win” as fast as possible. It becomes more about how fast and how many times we can win, and NOT about how well we play the game.

Addressing “video-game” syndrome can be tricky. One the one hand you don’t want to tell the man-child he’s not doing it right, but on the other hand the adult mind wants to know that everything is working as intended. If you find yourself down the “video-game” syndrome path, all I can say is be gentle, but be through. Explain what will make the experience better (longer flight time) and then be willing to engage in practice. It’s probably pretty rare that a guy wouldn’t take you up on an opportunity to spend quality time with your girl parts.

And remember what I said about enthusiasm.

2) There is no such thing as a “good” or a “bad” blow-job. Generally, we prefer that you cover your teeth with your lips…but we’re not dumb enough to complain if you don’t. Guys with an IQ below 20 are still smart enough not to complain. Guys that ARE dumb enough to complain shouldn’t be afforded an opportunity to pass on their genes, even by accident. Please take that into account.

3) Guys experience sexual sensations in very general ways. The penis is not, in fact, a precision tool. It’s a blunt instrument. Small changes in pace, sensation, angle or pressure are pretty much indeterminable. The male is generally designed to “do things,” not differentiate different things “done” to him.

4) PHYSICALLY, different sexual positions are really for you, not us. SEEING you in different sexual positions is TOTALLY for us. By and large we think we want to be porn stars. Porn LOOKS exciting, we like to be excited, vis-à-vis sex should LOOK like porn. Yes, we really are that stupid.

5) According to Douglas Adams, 42 is the answer to “Life, the Universe and Everything”…but the questions are different for men and women. I have no idea what the question is for women, but for men it’s usually “how many states and capitals can you name before crossing the point of no return?” Sometimes we don’t get all the way to Rhode Island. Sometimes YOU won’t get to Rhode Island. Sometimes we won’t be able to drive you to Rhode Island before…well, before the wheels go flat. Remember enthusiasm. Remember practice. Remember that we probably DO care if you’re happy, and we’d like nothing more than to know what makes you enthusiastic.

We know you don’t like the man-child. He comes out when we get drunk, or just stupid, and he says things and does things that you hate. But we hate him too, and we’re afraid of him. Any guy who isn’t is probably exactly the kind of ass-hole who talks about a woman’s “skills” in the bedroom.  And we all know what should happen to him…

Normal guys really do want to be about the romance, about the emotion, about the connection…but we share space with an infantile little ass-hole in our heads. The best we can usually do is a compromise somewhere between shouting “Boobies!” out-loud, and being in the emotional and romantic moment.

The next time you’re in your guy’s arms, sharing a passionate kiss…look deep into his eyes. You just might be able to see the adult chasing the adolescent with a laser pointer and a squirt gun.