Maybe It's Just Me, But...

Musings of a mildly mad multi-disciplinarian

Do Men Need to Feel Desired—and Should They?

In an earlier post I claimed that most men don't feel the need to feel desired because they've never experienced that feeling. But an exchange with a reader made me think more about the issue... Read More

Its not "should vs. need --- it's that women should show desire.

Your analogy to touch is perfect.

Yes, women are taught to be coy. But, not making a man feel desired may make him withdraw.

At least that's my typical reaction. If a woman had a take-it-or-leave-it attitude, I assumed she wasn't really into me, so I moved on. Sometimes, I'd hear that she was shocked I left -- well, she didn't make me feel like I was all that welcomed to begin with.

Besides, if she doesn't appear to desire me, I'm left wondering who does she desire--I may as well move on rather than wait for her to leave.

Also, there's the issue of reciprocation: if one does not feel desired he may not put in the effort to make her feel desired.

He may think: If she's not into me, then I'll take care of my needs -- thank you ma'am.

And, then she is left feeling unwanted. ( Nothing makes a man leave his wife faster than having a younger women make him feel desired.)

So my point is not to try to answer the question of "should vs. "need", but that it is in a woman's best interest to make a man feel desired, whether he needs it or not --- lest he finds someone else who does show him he's desired.

.

Excellent perspective...

...thank you! Your closing point about competition is particularly well-taken.

exactly

Anonymous wrote:
Your analogy to touch is perfect.

Yes, women are taught to be coy. But, not making a man feel desired may make him withdraw.

At least that's my typical reaction. If a woman had a take-it-or-leave-it attitude, I assumed she wasn't really into me, so I moved on. Sometimes, I'd hear that she was shocked I left -- well, she didn't make me feel like I was all that welcomed to begin with.

Besides, if she doesn't appear to desire me, I'm left wondering who does she desire--I may as well move on rather than wait for her to leave.

Also, there's the issue of reciprocation: if one does not feel desired he may not put in the effort to make her feel desired.

He may think: If she's not into me, then I'll take care of my needs -- thank you ma'am.

And, then she is left feeling unwanted. ( Nothing makes a man leave his wife faster than having a younger women make him feel desired.)

So my point is not to try to answer the question of "should vs. "need", but that it is in a woman's best interest to make a man feel desired, whether he needs it or not --- lest he finds someone else who does show him he's desired.

.

This is exactly how I feel. It is exactly the reason I have left past relationships. If she cheated then I don't feel desired. If she tries to make me chase her then I don't feel desired. If she treats me like an ATM then I don't feel desired.

It blows my mind to even think that any human being alive, male or female would not want to feel desired.

I often wonder why women treat me like they desire me only AFTER I have left the relationship and it is to late.

Works both ways.

I showed plenty of desire for my ex-husband, both in words and acts. At best, it left him cold; at worst, it made him uncomfortable or even repulsed him.

From talking with many heterosexual women, I know we were not some kind of exceptional aberration. Many of these women do express their desire for their man, with little to zero results. The usual response from their man seems to be that he wants any and all expression of erotic desire to be on his terms only: when he wants it, where he wants it, in the way he wants it. If she takes any initiative outside of these bounds, then at best her efforts go unnoticed, and at worst he gets suspicious or disgusted.

So yes, women have to throw the shackles of their education which taught them that a good woman doesn't show desire. But men have to do so too, and accept to deal with women who show desire without unconsciously associating it with something negative ("She's a whore", or "She wants something", or "She did something bad and she's trying to sweeten me up before telling me", and so on.)

I can tell you after 14 years

I can tell you after 14 years of being married to a woman who shows little to no desire for me that I absolutely do need to feel desired to be satisfied in my relationship. I think that women who feel desire for their men show it...but most women don't feel desire. Most women feel desire after arousal...and arousal comes from their men desiring them.

exactly

Women have, on average, lower sex drive than men. Some women feel sexual desire, but many women have a sexuality that is receptive rather than active. They're willing to have sex, they can even enjoy it once it's happening, but they don't feel desire beforehand.

This makes it tough for men to feel desired, unless the man is fortunate enough to find a high-desire woman.

Need desire but can't have it

I'm a thirty year old man who's never been desired or touched romantically or sexually, and I feel this need quite acutely. At the same time, I recognize that this need is unlikely to ever be satisfied. I simply don't have what it takes to appeal to women, and I've come to recognize that I am intrinsically inadequate in this department.

How do I eliminate my need to feel desired? Since this need can never be satisfied, it serves no purpose other than to cause me pain and must be excised so that I can move on with my life. So far, therapy and antidepressants have proved ineffective. Are there other medications available? I'm also willing to pursue more aggressive treatments if necessary.

I agree with the first

I agree with the first comment completely! Im a 35 year old man who after 20 years of relationships can confidently say I need to be desired. In fact, its the reason I am not married and I wont get married until I meet someone who makes me feel desired.

Ill admit its a "tread lightly" sort of area with a woman. Some women Ive dated see it as insecurity. That made me withdraw completely and obviously ended the relationship. But I also knew why they saw it as an insecurity since they'd never dealt with a man who wanted to be desired. The funny thing is, women do desire men. This struck me at an early age because I had many female friends. They would talk openly about what they would do to a certain man or the image of a man made them desire him. It was at that time I realized "hey I want to be desired like that!"

Do I think every man wants to be desired? Yes in some facet they do. Is it obvious to that man? No, probably not.

Reduce Slut Shamming, so Women can Explore Expression of Desire

I am a 21 years old male, in college.

I've always enjoyed feeling desired. I grew excited to pick up the signs that a girl was into me, or to hear it directly from her or someone else. Even if it is coy, its the small gestures that imply the desire that kept my attraction and motivation.

I am aware that many men persistently court women due to our gender roles. And I faced some invalidation in my need for desire from girls who followed this gender norm. However, I've had enough personal success and have seen enough desire fired in other relationships from the women in them that I might hypothesize that the gender norm is (fortunately) turning more! Wether or not this is due to the feminist movement or something, I honestly can't say I understand.

But I can open the discussion up to this: have you heard of a term called "slut shamming?" It's a popular equality concept in colleges nowadays. There's this idea that women should be allowed to seduce and actively seek out sexual experience as much as men do without scrutiny. However, due to our gender norms, the woman with a reputation to sleep around a lot is shammed, often called a "slut." On the contrary, its acceptable or even encouraged for the man to sleep around a lot. Many women I talk to on my campus hold a pet peeve about this.

And it makes sense to me as well. I understand that there a lot of evolutionary factors that have developed, such as defense against rape culture, that have built to our current norms. But such factors are just unfortunate and need to be continually fought in our society. Sure, its evolutionarily sound for women to know how to protect herself, but socially, we also need to keep actively discouraging men to rape. But this is just side note; I digress...

In the current norm, Men have a right to establish a better understanding of their own attractions in their relationships, and could use this in consideration of a long term commitment if that matters to them. Ideally today, women should be accepted to explore their sexuality as much as men, so they are allowed to build an understanding of their sexuality when they are ready to settle.

This belief implies that women feel their own desires to express, and that desire can be a factor for their commitment. I think that's fascinating. Here we are saying that as men, we want to be desired, while a lot of younger women today are speaking up to say they want to give desire. I think some women are more comfortable to express desire more than others, but the ones who do want to express desire shouldn't be oppressed with slut shamming.

I think as far as progressing the idea that men need and should get desire as much as women, we have to enable women to express and explore their desires more openly.

Sexual shaming of any kind is wrong

We need to get rid of slut shaming but we also need to get rid of the sexual shaming of men too. Both can e damaging and both can hold people back from pursuing a relationship or asking out somebody who just might actually be interested in them.

I believe everyone would love

I believe everyone would love to be desired but the question is, do you make yourself desirable? Current bf does not have a very high level of good hygiene and although I have mentioned very nicely my concerns, he still doesn't get it. So, although it may seem superficial, it is not easy showing desire to someone who doesn't adhere to the basics or doesn't see the importance.

Desirability and self-esteem

So recently I was in a relationship with this girl. She cheated on me and I think I did pretty well.. I called the relationship off in a calm manner after finding out all the details.

As a 25 year old guy I had only had sex with this one girl in my life - And I didn't feel very valuable (as a sexual being aka. 'desirable') at all. I particularly felt bad about my inexperience. I felt like I could get someone better in my life, and I was hurt.

I said to myself - 'I would like to find someone for sex' - to make me feel better about myself - to see if I could, and to enjoy myself. (like some of my other friends manage to do)
and so I tried, for some time - (yes, seriously - not an unattractive bloke, and I read PUA books and put myself out there)
and while I was failing at this I was feeling worse and worse - and eventually I was getting angry and bitter. (yes... eventually Elliot Rodger style)

(She however had no trouble finding other people to make her feel 'desirable' in this same regard)

I felt like I was being downtrodden in a direct competition with every other guy on the planet, for scraps of validation that the occasional women might choose to bestow apon the best ranks of insatiable men.
eventually I got so angry that I was beginning to loose efficiency in my life because of it - and I couldn't find peace.

I remembered an old family friend who was a friendly and religious fellow who lived the bulk of his entire life (even till today) with only a pet cat - voluntarily with no-one else for physical comfort and perhaps some deeper bitterness.
I reached relaxation and a catharsis when I began to consider that I would be OK with a life such as this - perhaps I too would be able to find contentment and happiness with a cat.

And so I began down this route, I began to use some of the ideas and techniques I learned in my first relationship to give life into some old friendships and to try and foster some new and meaningful ones, I reconnected with my little brother, and I went on a sizable and daring holiday by myself. I began to go out of my way to take 'dates' (ie. fun adventures) by myself - and sometimes others - for myself.

I am feeling a bit better.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

From the comments above, I am assuming we are talking about physical/sexual desire.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that being physically desired was every mans fantasy. Isn't that what many of the porno films play on? A hot women who can't keep her hands off of you and yearns for you and can't get enough of you? Isn't it also the reason that many men in long term relationships complain that their partner never initiates love making? It would make the man feel desired if the woman came to him wanting his body.
So, to answer the question: Do men need, or should they need, to feel desired?
I believe that it's every mans Deepest Desire to feel Desired.

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Mark D. White is the chair of the Department of Philosophy at the College of Staten Island/CUNY.

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