The Magic Boner

Old-man-looking-sad-eating-alone-547114

(Image/express.uk.com)

Men frequently demonstrate wisdom and foresight to protect future interests.

Saving money for retirement. Physical fitness and healthy eating. Career advancement. Thoughtful real estate and home-improvement investments. Paying for insurance policies.

These things are all done in the spirit of sacrificing now, so that their future lives might be better for having done so.

And it begs the question: For those who showcase this level of forward-thinking, disciplined decision making, why not apply the same logic to our sex lives and marriage?

There are many good reasons for a man to love his wife faithfully.

There are also bad reasons.

I want to believe when guys invest money in engagement rings, and thoughtfully execute marriage proposals, and make the internal decision to swear off other women for the rest of their lives, it is their honest intention to follow through.

I think men aspire to this. Because their fathers married and loved their mothers, and now they want to live up to that same standard, or maybe their fathers DIDN’T, and they tell themselves they’ll never do that to their kids.

My good friend’s dog passed recently. A bulldog. Let’s call him H. Super-close canine pal for the past 12 years. Got him through a difficult divorce. He knew H was struggling and didn’t have much time left. But he felt mentally and emotionally prepared for it, he said.

Then it happened, and it was MUCH harder than he thought it would be.

And I think I know why. I think we have a bunch of moments in life that we anticipate and think about and imagine a certain way. Our minds almost involuntarily predict how it’s going to be, whether it’s a date, high school reunion, wedding reception, business presentation, pet death, or marriage.

But we’re kind of shitty at predicting things. Moreover, when human emotion—specifically pain—is involved, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to know how we’ll feel during this future thing. It’s hard for someone who feels good now to know how they’ll respond to something later when they’re feeling unexpectedly bad.

Men propose to their girlfriends and enter marriage with good intentions, “predicting” that it will always be and feel like it is today. We have a great relationship! She’s the one! Failing to account for all the times (and more importantly, how it will feel) when the relationship is no longer a positive experience.

The good reasons for making marriage last are obvious. But, just in case that’s not enough for you, there’s also a bad reason to make marriage last, and we should talk about it.

Thinking With the ‘Other’ Head 

Men like and want sex. Lots of it. No reason to sugarcoat it.

Don’t tell me how much women like it too. I get it. I know women also like and want sex. But it’s often different with guys. Common is the man that would walk into any busy bar on Saturday night and sleep with any (literally any) woman that passes his Would I sleep with her? pass-or-fail test which probably gets less stringent with each drink. Much rarer is the woman who would do the same.

I don’t know what the adult entertainment industry is raking in these days (I’m totally talking about pornography, by the way), but the numbers are always scary-high. The Rockefellers could have probably just as easily built their fortune on sex films as they did on oil. Those eye-popping dollar amounts have everything to do with men’s appetite for it. (Which I think is bad, and we can talk about why someday.)

Man’s general desire for sex appears to be a root cause for many life choices. How he grooms, how he smells, how he dresses, the cars he drives, the stuff he buys, the way he behaves.

Any choice a guy makes along those lines has EVERYTHING to do with wanting to be sexually attractive. I promise he’s not trying to impress his buddies.

Men totally like sex.

If you’re a woman, you probably know this already from your personal experiences. If you’re a woman currently dating online, you FOR SURE know it, because dudes online are shameless and tactless and fail to exhibit whatever little manners they might in a real-world, face-to-face scenario.

Men sometimes are dishonest with their wives (and girlfriends) about how much they crave sex, and what kinds they like. I think it happens a lot to guys who grew up in conservative families where wholesomeness was a virtue to which everyone aspired. They’re taught their entire lives that premarital sex is bad, and God is mad at them for masturbating at 13, and that sex is only appropriate with their demure wives in the missionary position IF they’re trying to have a baby. They develop weird guilt-shame complexes about sex.

Secretly, they might want to go to European sex parties, or have BDSM dungeon sex, or have a three-way with a couple Asian chicks.

Even conservative guys want infinitely more than Demure Missionary™, but might feel uncomfortable having open and honest conversations with their wives about it. If she knows I’m into this, she’ll think I’m a sexually deviant pervert and won’t love me anymore!

One thing leads to another, and some couples go years without ever having a real conversation about what they want (or need?) from their partner, sexually (and emotionally).

Sex is no longer a positive in their marriage, because even at its best, it’s only moderately satisfying. Wives fantasize about being romanced by the cute guy at work who will spend a little more time doting on her collarbone and inner thighs. Husbands turn to porn and “take care of themselves,” while they fantasize about someone else. Sometimes, their respective fantasies lead to affairs. Even if they don’t, the sexlessness is an eventual marriage killer.

When he proposed to his girlfriend, he was eager to marry her and swear off all others. She wanted him. He felt really good.

Now? Both of them are justifiably sad, confused and angry. The marriage looks nothing like they thought it would.

Sometimes that, combined with months or years of a sexless marriage, lead men to look outside their marriage for sexual relief. They like feeling wanted again. And they justify it because their wives clearly don’t want them anymore. She changed, not me! What did she expect me to do!?

Tomorrow Always Comes

That’s a really long and tedious way of saying: sometimes men cheat on their wives for a variety of psychologically sexual motivations the rest of us often don’t understand.

Whatever the reasons, we should all agree it’s bad to break wedding vows or engage in deceiving our spouses, and that some component of the cheating is rooted in a desire for immediate gratification even at the risk of jeopardizing long-term security.

And the question is: Why? Why so much effort to work hard now and save money for later in this one area of life, but a total disregard for the long term in this other area?

Chump Lady gifted me this thought (and fantastic post title) in one of her posts from last week:

“The Dan Savages of the world would excuse such unilateral decision making (as a response to what they’d blameshift as your unilateral decision to Deny Him Sex), because Sex Is Of Paramount Importance! It trumps considering your partner and his or her health! Obey the Boner! Is cheating “optimal”? No, but hey, the MAN NEEDED SEX!

“Okay, you know what, cheaters? — go for it. Please, fuck the younger woman, the Thai prostitutes, the Craigslist hookups, the slutty co-worker. Do it all in service to Almighty SEX. Make that your paramount value. And good luck later when you need someone to change your colostomy bag. When you’ve traded all your gold for a magic boner — who’s going to love you when you’re old and vulnerable? When your equipment fails? When you’ve invested all those years in the magic boner and not in meaningful relationships — then what?”

And she’s right.

She is.

Tomorrow always comes, guys. Where you’re bald or sick or fat or ugly or can’t get it up anymore.

And all those cheap orgasms you chased? When you’re alone and unloved in your condo? What good did any of it do? What was it worth?

Tomorrow is gonna come, and your wants and needs will shift accordingly. It’s totally possible dying sick and alone with herpes on your penis is a super-fun time. I won’t pretend to know.

But I have to believe growing old with someone who stuck with you through it all, and feeling grateful for her every day, and falling asleep and waking up each day free of guilt and shame, might be a preferable alternative.

With fun holidays. And grandchildren. And self-respect.

Maybe not chasing cheap pieces of ass at the expense of your wife and family isn’t something you want to avoid because of your particular moral bent. Maybe it just doesn’t seem wrong enough to you. Some people seem okay with shooting and blowing up innocent people as much as possible, forcing me to admit there is some human behavior I can never understand.

Maybe “doing the wrong thing” isn’t a big-enough deterrent for you, and never will be. Maybe all the good reasons for excelling at marriage don’t register with you.

But why not, at the very least, give it a shot in the spirit of long-term security and your future self-interests?

Why not do a good job in your marriage for bad reasons?

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27 thoughts on “The Magic Boner

  1. woundedraven says:

    Great post! I have asked my husband time and time again since discovering his affair(s) …. “Was it worth it?” The answer is always a resounding NO. Thinking in the “now” probably wasn’t the best decision long term.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thank you. I’m sure there are sociopaths out there incapable of feeling remorse, but I would think the vast majority of people would feel a whole bunch of ugly afterward, that would more than offset whatever “good” they thought they were chasing in the affair.

      I try hard to not come off like a know-it-all things I can’t or don’t understand. This subject is one of them.

      But I like asking questions. And this one seemed worth asking: Why so little regard for the long-term on this particular subject?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Some ideas are so profoundly basic, I often marvel how they get missed. This is one of those times. My husband chased his sexual dreams and gave up everything else…. Literally cashed out his retirement to squander on the temporary, drowned himself in debt when the retirement funds dried up, signed away our house to me and forfeited any fruitful relationship with our kids….. and I sincerely doubt his unemployed, teenage boy-toy will hang around to change his colostomy bag when the rubber meets the road. It really makes me sad for him.

    Like

  3. zombiedrew2 says:

    Ah sex, the wonder topic.

    To be very clear, affairs by men or women should never be alright. I think it’s a reprehensible and weak decision. You know what, you want out that bad? No problem, I can respect that. But at least have the courage and courtesy to end your existing relationship prior to starting a new one. Trying to have “the best of both worlds” is a total BS move.

    That said, sex does matter.

    But if should never be just about sex.

    For people in sexless marriages, I think that is normally a barometer of deeper issues in the marriage – usually related to communication. After all, sex is really just another form of communication.

    There are a ton of reasons why sex drives break down, and stress and self-image issues are among the leading reasons. And even at the best of times, guys and girls will have differing sex drives. If you want your relationship to make it, that’s one of the many topics you need to have on the table and be willing to discuss.

    Lets assume person A wants/prefers sex once a day, and person B wants/prefers sex once a month.

    If person A pressures and prods person B for sex daily (according to his or her preferences) then yeah, I think it’s safe to say that person is an asshole.

    But guess what? If person B thinks that sex should only be once a month because that’s their preference – I think they are just as big of an asshole as person A.

    Sorry, a relationship is not about one person having their needs met the way they want. There needs to be willingness by both parties to find some common ground.

    Sure, I get that drives fluctuate over time and a preference for daily sex today doesn’t mean that will last. Hell, person A may be fine with sex once a month in a few years.

    But if they are expressing their need in a kind caring way, while actually working on the relationship and trying to be understanding and empathetic with person B that maybe they aren’t feeling good about themselves or the relationship – but all the while they are getting stonewalled on sex, then that’s a problem that goes much deeper then sex.

    Over time it will take it’s toll, and the person will start to feel that the relationship is one sided, that their needs don’t matter, and that their partner doesn’t desire them. In the short term people can “weather a dry spell”. But over time? Sorry, the relationship will break down.

    Does it excuse cheating? Hell no. But is someone justified in leaving a relationship over it? Over “just sex”, no. But sex shouldn’t be just about sex. It should be about caring, about communication, and about showing that you want and care about your partners needs. When that has broken down then yeah, I can see it.

    And I don’t even think it’s a short term view. Looking long term, does someone really want to stay with someone who isn’t willing to try and work with them to find a halfway point that can work for both people? Is someone really willing to live in a sexless marriage, knowing that sexual frustration will start to spill out into the rest of it?

    Walking away shouldn’t be an easy decision, but I do think it’s understandable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Matt says:

      Right.

      I’m sure there are a handful of total maniacs out there who had EVERYTHING they could ever hope for in marriage, but still went out and F’d around anyway. There are almost always anamolies.

      But I have to believe more than 90-percent of the time, there is a fundamental breakdown in a relationship that plants the seeds of motivation to stray.

      It does not excuse the straying. It’s simply the reason.

      So, the more people figure out all these other things we talk about — the psychological/emotion/spiritual components of a relationship — the fewer instances of infidelity will occur. Because they won’t ever want to in the first place.

      Thanks for chiming in.

      Like

  4. RD94 says:

    I often think nowadays too MUCH emphasis is placed on “sex.” Don’t forget about the “companionship” part. Now in my early 40’s and dating a twice-divorced woman with teenage kids (I have never been married), I do find the “just being together” part much more personally fulfilling than the “sex” part, though I still like BOTH!

    Maybe, as men, we SHOULD spend our early years chasing easy tail, and not get involved until our tastes change and our bodies begin to decline. We just might make better long term decisions that way, in every aspect of our lives. Of course, that may put a damper on doing the family thing, but let’s face it, our commercial society constantly showers us with perpetually adolescent things we haven’t done that we need to do NOW. It doesn’t take many years of that to start thinking only of what we want, the “next best thing,” whether it be hotter women, more vacations, nicer cars, better clothes, bigger houses, etc., but it’s a continual time suck and makes no sense over the long term. It’s a conscious decision that you have to come to yourself, it will NEVER come to you. Nobody wants to compromise or sacrifice anything anymore…they want what they want and they feel they deserve it.

    About 4 years ago I quit my VERY good six-figure job, sold everything I had, and moved nearer my parents to start my own business and live as “debt free” as possible. No, I don’t have the nice car or house anymore, or cool photos to post on my social media account to make my friends envious of the lifestyle I was leading, but there’s something to be said for not feeling the need to “keep up” with how society and commercialism pigeon-holes you as a middle-aged white Caucasian professional male. This is rambling now, as I don’t have the talent of organising my thoughts and putting them into words as well as you do, but in summary, I guess what is perceived as being important nowadays I find rarely is that.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      With all due respect, good sir, I think a lot of emphasis is placed on sex from all of the people who aren’t doing it very often, or perhaps not at all.

      Sort of like not having food, or shelter, or transportation, it only stands out as an issue when it’s not a readily available option.

      As for your second point, RE: young guys just doing whatever, I actually agree with you. I don’t know that it’s the best thing to do from a total wellness standpoint. I don’t think gobs of cheap, meaningless sex leaves a human being better off than before those occurrences, but whatever.

      I’m not very judgy. If people want to be promiscuous as single, unattached people, I don’t particularly care. I STRONGLY believe people get married too fast, and I think that’s simply a cultural byproduct of knowing when our parents married, and sort of “following the crowd.”

      Women who crave motherhood often feel pressure to get married and have children for a variety of reasons.

      And the guys? Often, their decision to propose comes down to this question it’s not necessarily fair for them to have to ask themselves: “Does the pain of losing her seem like it would be worse than the pain of getting married sooner than I feel ready for?”

      I think twentysomething guys EVERYWHERE make the decision to marry sooner than they want to because they just don’t want their girlfriend of three years or whatever to jump ship.

      Two people getting married too soon, both for the wrong reasons. Neither had the chance to grow up and learn most of what they need to in order to have a great marriage, and everything gets shitty in a hurry.

      I think if young, single people (guys, particularly) resist the social pressure to marry sooner than they feel ready to, they’ll discover (as it seems you have) that companionship can be a very fulfilling experience in adulthood that doesn’t feel as “oppressive” or “restrictive” as it may to a 23-year-old. Moreover, they’ll be better husbands for doing so.

      Lastly, I love that you were brave enough to walk away from a life of money and things to chase things that matter more, and that you feel good about that choice.

      I don’t think that can be emphasized enough to young guys who measure their worth by their salaries and long hours at work.

      Like

  5. Alice says:

    This is great and I have shared it!

    Like

  6. chumplady says:

    Glad to see the “Magic Boner” being shared. :-) Just would add — it’s not a zero sum game. Monogamy doesn’t have to be vanilla. Unless you decide a smorgasbord of pussy is absolutely necessary to your happiness, you can have a good sex life AND a committed partner.

    And no one should live in a sexless marriage, unless it’s mutually agreed upon. Have an honest conversation about your libido. Unilateral decisions on sex (to withhold in punishment, or to cheat) are shitty. But cheating is not equivalent to sexlessness. No one died from a lack of sex. But your health certainly can be endangered from STDs (and your emotional health from betrayal).

    It just really comes down to respect — self respect and respect for your partner.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Matt says:

      Very cool of you to pop in and comment. :) Thank you very much.

      To be sure, I don’t REALLY believe a man could do all of the things a husband should do to have a really great marriage through purely selfish motivations, like having companionship when they’re old and gray.

      It really does take a soul-searching, mindful commitment to behave daily the way one must to have a great marriage.

      Not unlike physical fitness, or being awesome at work, or any other thing in life a person might excel at doing.

      I think the very best marriages are comprised of people with exceptional sex lives. Two people who don’t hide behind masks with one another (<– not an Eyes Wide Shut reference) and have total honesty and vulnerability and emotional intimacy with one another, combined with actively trying to please their partner in the bedroom (or the laundry room or on the kitchen counter) have, I suspect, very fulfilling, mutually beneficial experiences.

      I want to believe two people who are super-honest with each other and committed to making that part of their lives awesome would NEVER have affairs, because every other person would be totally shitty sex partners by comparison. (Not to mention all the good reasons not to — like love and respect and stuff.)

      Anyway, thank you for always writing hilarious, thoughtful and thought-provoking things, and doing your part to empower people who I imagine feel totally defeated.

      Lifting people up and making them laugh at the same time is a unique skill. You do it extraordinarily well.

      I'm flattered you took the time to read and comment here. Thank you!

      Like

  7. anitvan says:

    I laughed as I read this, (because you are funny and I am warped) but it is a serious subject.

    My husband has tried to explain to me what it is about sex that is so important to him, and he has done his best to explain it, but I admit that my female brain doesn’t quite get it, probably because it’s the exact opposite of my own experience. The way he explains it, is that it is sex (with ME, just so that we’re clear) is where he finds his ultimate fulfilment in our relationship. It is in the very act itself where he finds intimacy. It is where he feels most loved; where he feels wanted by me, cherished and safe.

    I think I’m like most women, for whom the process works in reverse – sex is most fulfilling when we are feeling wanted, cherished and safe first. Sex, for women, is the culmination of emotional intimacy, but for men, it’s where they find it.

    I mention this because it was a helpful observation in our own marriage. I want to be as receptive as I can be to my guy – to be “all in” when he makes an overture. Because it’s important to him. And on the flip side he knows how to create a climate in the marriage where I feel loved and desired and safe and I’m more likely to be receptive. It’s about being accommodating to each other, neither insisting that the needs of one be met at the expense of the other. It’s not perfect – my guy probably makes more sacrifices in this area than I do – but sex is not a bone of contention in our marriage. (<<< Bone. Sorry, I could not resist!)

    But in marriages where that spirit of cooperation doesn't exist? I think it's fair to say that it's not just the husbands who are being awfully short-sighted.

    Like

    • zombiedrew2 says:

      Building on what you’ve said about what sex means to your husband vs. you…

      I’ve heard it said that women need connection for sex, and men need sex for connection. I don’t think that’s quite accurate. Instead, I think maybe for women sex goes along with connection while for men sex is symbolic of connection. But even for the guys it’s not actually about sex. It’s still about connection.

      Take sex away, and a part of us feels threatened and feels that the connection of the relationship is breaking down/has broken down.

      I think maybe men and women are both actually looking for the same thing. We both want connection, and to feel valued in the relationship. We are just speaking different languages, and becoming resentful as a result.

      Like

      • anitvan says:

        SO glad you commented back! That bit about take away sex and you start to feel insecure about the relationship? Boom! My husband has told me that very thing and I’m ashamed to say I dismissed it as being a “BPD thing”. He is recovering from borderline personality disorder and I’ve always assumed that the insecurity is a lingering BPD symptom. I never stopped to consider that maybe this is just a normal guy thing! This is tremendously significant information for me to consider. It helps me understand how I can better respond to my husband’s insecurities.

        Thank you so much for taking the time to add to the discussion. It means a lot. More than you’ll know.

        Liked by 1 person

        • zombiedrew2 says:

          I won’t pretend to represent all men. But I talk about this stuff, and talk to other guys about it, and from what I can see my thoughts on this are pretty common. And I consider myself a fairly self aware, well balanced guy.

          I think a lot of guys don’t really “get it” when it comes to sex, and often guys equate sex with intimacy. They’re pretty different in my mind – and intimacy should be the main goal in any relationship.

          Something I forgot to add earlier…

          …if the sex has broken down in a relationship, then in most cases so has general affection. Touching, hugging, holding hands etc. That stuff is way more important than sex, but if that stuff is still there then chances are the sex is too.

          I think when sex is missing people (guys) focus too much on that, not realizing that the sexual issue is really only a symptom of a larger issue.

          The best way I can describe it is that for many guys sex has become symbolic of the health of the relationship. So when it goes, we start to worry about the relationship in the whole and what it means to it.

          Liked by 1 person

    • pisces31084 says:

      Exactly!!!

      Like

    • Matt says:

      There’s a writer who writes about more than marriage, but spends much of her time tackling things not so differently than I do. I should read her infinitely more than I do because I think I’d be smarter for doing so.

      She writes here: http://girlwithadragonflytattoo.com/

      She reminds me a bit of me in a gender-reversal sort of way, except she seems to have a great marriage and family.

      But instead of pointing fingers, she’s always exploring how she can be a better wife, and how by doing so, her husband will be a better husband, and both will reap the benefits of it.

      That’s sort of what I want guys to do. Instead of getting defensive and trying to out-logic their partners all the time, how about demonstrating a little selflessness and enjoying how so many of the complaints about your wife or girlfriend magically go away overnight.

      Whatever. Thank you for sharing something personal about your relationship (and making me laugh), and being part of the conversation.

      All this stuff is really important, and it just isn’t talked about enough.

      Like

  8. I loved this Matt, well said. Men who chase nothing but sex, often wind up alone and full of regrets, never having known love, never having believed in it. I’ve looked after some of these men in their old age.

    On the flip side, the more positive, women know men like sex, but I think perhaps we don’t really “know.” It’s not fully understood, not taken seriously in a lot of marriages, so wives will deny husbands sex without understanding that the equivalent is a bit like depriving a woman of conversation or the right to speak. Sex is a form of communication for men, you cut him off, you’re cutting off the conversation. It does serious harm.

    Something else seldom spoken about, in mid life, men and women tend to change places sexually. While men’s sex drive may make a slight decline from his 20’s and 30’s, hers begins to rev up and peak around 40. They don’t call older women cougars for nothing. ;)

    Anyway, in a happy, healthy marriage, this can be a good thing, men start desiring the things women have always wanted, intimacy, conversation, companionship and women start desiring sex more often, physical attraction. Those hormonal shifts can create a lot of empathy for the other…and also lead to some second and third honeymoons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      It’s all part of the dominoes that fall once some aspect of a marriage gets poisoned.

      And maybe people have trouble connecting the dots sometimes. Seems obvious they do.

      Husbands don’t realize that she would want him more if he’d exhibit thoughtfulness over leaving dishes in the sink, and demonstrating a desire to sit with her, even if it’s to do or watch something she likes and he doesn’t necessarily. The payoff is she feels safe and trusts him and wants him.

      Wives don’t realize that if she praises him for his good qualities and demonstrates physical desire toward him, he will WANT to do things that continue to earn him that response from her.

      If both people talk kindly to one another, and at least one of them is always willing to be the first to demonstrate unselfishness on some super-small matter, then no one ever gets to that dark and shitty place where affairs and divorce are practically inevitable.

      Always good to hear from you. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. pisces31084 says:

    Couldn’t agree more Matt. You always say it so right! Great post!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Super-nice of you to say and think. Thank you. :)

      Once again, I hope things continue to improve in your home and marriage. I appreciate you reading very much.

      Like

  10. […] and unwanted, so he bangs a co-worker or the waitress at his favorite lunch spot because she looks up to him and makes him feel like a Man. She wants him and admires him. “Since my wife doesn’t want me and doesn’t fulfill my needs, […]

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