Are two people having sex, or is one person f*****g the other?
Let me start by saying I grew up in what seemed to be a pretty normal southern American environment, which is to say it was racist, homophobic, unenlightened and violent. Despite my best attempts it wasn’t until years later that I learned how much of our language was misogynistic, judgmental and just plain wrong.
When a group of young men gathered, the subject of woman often came up. Most likely each guy’s sex life, or interest in particular girls would come up. Whenever it does, the phrase “Did you f**k her yet?” or “Have you slept with her?” would be uttered. It was not only common to hear, it was accepted as part of “Man talk.”
Man talk: The language exchanged between males when females are not present, or do not pose a threat to those taking part. Often includes crass humor, offensive vulgarity and gossip. Grandstanding and acts of bravado are normal and even encouraged.
Needless to say, typical Man talk, has become offensive to myself and a host of modern men, many of which would like to use the label feminist. The phrases above turn women and the act of sex into nothing but conquests and notches on the bedpost. Man talk devalues women. The reduction of another human being to the value of their genitalia, devoid of emotion or connection, is part of the problem in our society.
As I cannot speak for other men, I shall speak for myself. I try to speak consciously. I make an effort to speak my truth, about how I feel, and avoid judgment or conclusions. I try to be present with those around me and give myself to each experience. This is not easy, especially in the age of technology. But the biggest place this has affected me is my love life.
I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times, communication is key to any relationship. Whether gay, straight, mono, poly, vanilla or kinky, communication is the binder that keeps the relationship functioning. Too often people think just talking is communicating, but ideally it’s being, not just heard, but understood. To understand women, men need to speak the same language, which means removing our decades of bad habits. This is not easy, nor does it ever seem to ever be a completed task.
Our society is still patriarchal, and the old language still surrounds us. It is an internal struggle for a man to resist the existing system and learn how to communicate with women. I tell you though, it is worth it. To not only understand a woman, but to be understood in return, means that the two of you can now explain your needs and have them met. Isn’t that the point of a relationship? I think it is. To have someone that can respond to you in such a way that both of you are getting your intimate needs fulfilled is the most rewarding part of a relationship. I encourage all men to try unlearning the old language and be more conscious about your words.