Ambigamy

Insights for the deeply romantic and deeply skeptical

“I’m Leaving You Because Of My Performance Anxiety”

Preferring porn and small women may often be because men feel inadequate

Rejected women take comfort. If men find you too big, overweight, or simply not as interesting as porn, your impulse to blame them may be more than vengeful sour grapes. It may really be all about them.

Sex is fun, but for us guys a bit risky. In our dreams we take you women over, dominate you with our commanding prowess. Still, we don’t have full control over our prowess. Our plumbing downstairs is not at our command. 

See, a funny thing happened on the way to becoming homo sapiens. Most mammals have a bone in their penis, a baculum it’s called. When it’s time for sex, they’re ready, bone hard because the bone articulates the way any bone does, muscles hoisting it into position. Even chimps have penis bones. Evolutionary biologists speculate that our lack of Baculi provides women a way to identify and select healthy virile men, the ones who can get it up. 

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There’s even speculation that the Old Testament’s reference to Adam’s rib is really a reference to Adam’s baculum. The word for rib and baculum would have been the same, meaning structural member or stick. People in Old Testament times knew we had the same number of ribs on both sides of our rib cage—no missing rib. But they would have noticed that we lacked the penis bone present in the mammals we kept. Sheep, goats and cattle had them. We had them too but only when aroused by attractive women, an association that perhaps led Old Testament writers to think we gave up the penis bone to make women.

Anyway, for us sex is a bit risky. Can we get it up and keep it up? Can we dominate women 50-shades-of-gray style, or will we be a flop? These questions are a bit of a buzz kill for us. If women aren’t aroused by us in bed, it’s our fault. But if we aren’t aroused by them, it’s our fault too. What’s a guy to do?

Find women who are easy to overwhelm, frail little things, not too big boned, strong or wide in the hips, not an insurmountable mountain to mount.

And look at porn, since there our prowess isn’t tested. We can identify with male porn stars without wondering much in real-time about our similarity to them, just as a milk toast guy can identify with the hulking action hero in movies and video games without wondering whether they’re really like them, an out-of-body experience, a brief vacation from wondering.

Of course, with sex it’s never just one thing. Styles change over time. As the blues tune says, “Big legged mamas are back in style again,” the days when Twiggy was the ideal waning. And of course there’s huge diversity in sexual preference, for example, little men lusting for big women. Yet there are also these interesting correlations.

The Kama Sutra distinguishes men as hares, bulls and horses based on penis length and women as does, mares and elephants by vaginal depth, and argues the advantages of dimension-compatibility, hares with does, bulls with mares, horses with elephants.

Maybe well-endowed men like bigger women because they’re not threatened by them. The less-endowed man may reject you if you’re large because you make him feel inadequate. 

Of course body and organ size are not directly correlated. Smaller people sometimes have larger organs and bigger people sometimes have smaller organs. Still there may be enough correlation that we see trends. It may be no accident that the song is blues and not Emo.

In the long run, porn feeds men’s performance anxiety. While watching it, we free ourselves from performance anxiety, but after we can’t help but wonder how we compare. And as the porn industry competes for our attention, with competition accelerating at breakneck pace now that the internet porn highway delivers a deluge at rates too cheap to meter, it strains to offer with ever greater precision whatever turns us on. Everything’s on display but especially what turns on more of us, so the male stars get larger and the women stars get smaller, and real men get more anxious about whether they’re “real men," and take ever more refuge in porn, feeding a vicious cycle.

Take comfort, women. When he leaves because you’re too big or just not as interesting as porn, maybe it’s his inadequacy not yours. But also take pity. Sometimes it’s hard to be a man too, wondering just how hard we’ll be when push comes to shove. 

And take a moment to muse about the pitiful irony in all of this, women straining to keep their weight down, hating their hunky and chunky places in a world where men dream about being hunkier and chunkier in the right places, something over which they have little or no control. Sex is fun but also funny.

Caveat: There’s no research behind this article other than self-reflection, anecdote, observation and conjecture. Science isn’t just empirical testing, it’s noticing interesting correlations worth testing.

Jeremy Sherman is an evolutionary epistemologist studying the natural history and practical realities of decision making.

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