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"challenging Casanova"
November 19, 2012 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Guys don't want casual sex: "This stereotype 'tells us that guys are primarily interested in sex, not relationships... This contributes to the notion that guys are emotional clods who are incapable of connecting with their partners because, hey, they’re just guys, and guys are only interested in sex.'... the Wake Forest University professor lays out the current data on young men’s sexual desires and behavior to make a case against this insidious stereotype." Salon interviews Andrew Smiler, author of Challenging Casanova: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male.

More from the interview:
...When we interview adolescents or undergrads, the girls really have the impression that guys are just interested in sex, that they’re not interested in relationships. What we know is that most guys do get into relationships, they enjoy relationships, they do a lot of things in relationships that are not about sex and they’re not doing them just to put up with them in order to get sex. Guys get something out of relationships; they like relationships. If you add in the fact that average age of first marriage is something like 28 for guys, a lot of guys have the sense that this girl they’re starting to date at 17 or 19 or 21 probably isn’t going to be the one — and yet they are choosing to date. They could easily choose to just hook up — or instead of spending that money in a bar you could get a prostitute — but they’re consistently choosing to be in relationships.

...One of the ways it impacts girls and women is they get the wrong proportions. They’re told that most guys, if not all guys, just want sex, that they don’t want relationships. So we have a lot of stories and evidence that girls are putting their bodies out there and doing things sexually in order to entice guys into relationships. We’re giving girls the wrong percentages which makes them perhaps behave in ways in which they wouldn’t behave otherwise — starting your contact with somebody sexually instead of relationally, for example. [Some have argued] that because we give girls this image of boys, girls are taught to not attend to their own desires and own sexual wants. So girls’ whole sexuality is really about both enticing desires from boys and also controlling that desire. That introduces some real issues around duplicity and intention. We’re not doing girls any favors here either.
NYT: Inside the Mind of the Boy Dating Your Daughter
The stereotype of the 16-year-old boy is that he has sex on the brain. But a fascinating new report suggests that boys are motivated more by love and a desire to form real relationships with the girls they date.
NYT: follow-up to "Inside the Mind of the Boy Dating Your Daughter"
Researchers said the findings show that teenage boys really are motivated by love and a desire for meaningful relationships. But many people still don’t buy it, including, it seems, many former teenage boys... Such skepticism about boys in their teens isn’t surprising, say researchers, but it reveals more about what’s going on in the minds of adults, than of teenagers.

...None of this is to say that teen boys aren’t interested in sex. Of course they are. But adolescence can often be a lonely time, and for many boys, girls represent needed companionship, Dr. Thompson said. “Many boys are yearning to talk to somebody, but they can’t talk to their boy friends because it’s all teasing and a lot of competitiveness,” he said. “For many boys who have been a little bit lonely in the boy group, finally meeting a girl and talking to her is a huge relief.”

But the widespread skepticism about teenage boys is worrisome, some psychologists say, because it may mean that boys ultimately will fulfill our low expectations of them.
*Smiler on HuffPo: Why So Bleak?
What we're missing is an understanding of why relationships are a mess. The answer is both simple and complex: we give young people very little guidance in developing healthy relationships. In common culture -- the world of the media and popular Internet content -- we get a very singular depiction of a good couple, or at least good courting, in a million variations. He makes the moves, she guides the relationship and they eventually get married and live happily ever after. Yes, there are misunderstandings and the couple almost -- or does -- break up before they come to their senses. That realization is accompanied by an (often grand) apology, acknowledgement of misunderstanding or fear and the couple lives happily ever after.

In most segments of common culture, the work it takes for couples to stay together is invisible. We don't really see the efforts to identify one's own wants and the difficulty in balancing one's own needs with a partner's needs. We rarely see crises whose resolution requires more than an episode or two, and certainly not the same problem occurring over and over. We never see the resentment that builds up when one person always puts their partner first and rarely, if ever, gets their own needs met.

The places where that content appears with some regularity are aimed squarely at girls and women... So what's the message? Girls talk about relationships, almost exclusively with other girls or women. Boys get to figure it out for themselves. As a result, boys and girls have very different levels of knowledge about relationship dynamics. It's no surprise some people think they're from different planets!
*Smiler on The Good Men Project: Are We Afraid of Men in Love?
*an article and a discussion of Smiler's lecture on Young Men's Sex Lives: "...the sense is that the majority of young men cite emotional reasons for engaging in sexual behaviors - Smiler suggests that this runs counter to our view of most young men falling into the "Casanova" role."
*Smiler on the "Secret Lives of Men" radio show: Young Men's Sexual Lives (audio, ~25 min.)
*his book's website
*an excerpt from the book - Chapter 5: Masculinity, Peers, and Identity
posted by flex (122 comments total) 71 users marked this as a favorite

 
That should probably read... But a fascinating new report shows that boys say they are motivated more by love and a desire to form real relationships with the girls they date when asked by some old people why they are with those girls.
posted by Blake at 9:05 AM on November 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


I, for one, am looking for something more formal, more like an evening-coat, white glove type affair where we exchange dance cards and I get to wear a monicle.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:07 AM on November 19, 2012 [17 favorites]


A relationship is far and away the best way to get both high quality and high quantity sex. Teenage boys are stupid, but they aren't totally stupid; there's no dissonance between wanting sex and wanting a relationship.
posted by Forktine at 9:08 AM on November 19, 2012 [34 favorites]


Inside the Mind of the Boy Dating Your Daughter

Fear. If I have anything to do with it.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 9:11 AM on November 19, 2012 [17 favorites]


The 10th Regiment of Foot, you should really have one on you just in case.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:11 AM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


When I was younger, I hurt some guys pretty badly because I had totally bought into this stereotype. I spent all this time worrying about whether they were just using me, but in retrospect it was rather the other way around. I had no idea I was trampling on their feelings because I had been led to believe that they didn't have any. I look back on it now and feel absolutely awful. Thanks for this post.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:12 AM on November 19, 2012 [45 favorites]


Guys don't want casual sex

This isn't accurate. While most guys may ultimately want to be in a relationship, if they get the chance to have what is for them casual sex with a woman to whom they are attracted but don't for some reason consider girlfriend material, they'll very often go for it.
posted by orange swan at 9:14 AM on November 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


This isn't accurate. While most guys may ultimately want to be in a relationship, if they get the chance to have what is for them casual sex with a woman to whom they are attracted but don't for some reason consider girlfriend material, they'll very often go for it.

True, but I'd venture to say that's true for many (most?) girls as well. It was certainly true for me.
posted by peacheater at 9:16 AM on November 19, 2012 [22 favorites]


I, for one, am looking for something more formal, more like an evening-coat, white glove type affair where we exchange dance cards and I get to wear a monicle.

This is how I now imagine The 10th Regiment of Foot.
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:16 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, men are human beings who have feelings. Who knew?

(This is me being sarcastic at the idea that this news is surprising, not me slagging off men. In my experience, men only say 'We just want sex and we can't help it' when they're trying to get away with treating women badly. Some men don't want relationships, but plenty of them do, and why not? Peoples is peoples, as the Muppets say, and most people want to be loved.)
posted by Kit W at 9:17 AM on November 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


This isn't accurate. While most guys may ultimately want to be in a relationship, if they get the chance to have what is for them casual sex with a woman to whom they are attracted but don't for some reason consider girlfriend material, they'll very often go for it.

And vice versa. It's a human characteristic, not a male characteristic.
posted by mochapickle at 9:17 AM on November 19, 2012 [17 favorites]


I agree with Orange Swan. As a former teenage boy I remember wanting both casual sex and meaningful relationships. I think the most important thing to remember when talking about people's desires in general is that we have lots of them, and they're often contradictory.

I both want to zestfully dig into the brownie fudge ice-cream sundae, AND to be the person who controls their appetite easily and without thought.

The most awkward dates I've ever had are when the women wanted casual sex and I wanted a deep meaningful relationship. The women got what they wanted, but then had to deal with what must have seemed like a really clingy freak. Since I've been on the other end of that equation as well, I don't have any anger about the situation. Sometimes these things just happen.
posted by bswinburn at 9:21 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


This isn't accurate.

I agree it could be misleading, but I'm pretty sure from reading what he's said on the subject that this statement "guys don't want casual sex" is meant to convey "most young men don't want to be players, hooking up casually all the time, such as what's portrayed in the PUA movement".

For instance, two of Smiler's most recent Tweets are "Most contestants on #ThePickupArtist want to get girlfriend. Maybe 1-2 want to be players" and "About 25% of young men say want 2 or more partners in next 30 days; 75% say they want 0-1."
posted by flex at 9:21 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"About 25% of young men say want 2 or more partners in next 30 days; 75% say they want 0-1 WHEN ASKED BY AN ADULT (who they lie to)"
posted by Blake at 9:25 AM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Blake, you're really pushing this "they're lying to adults" angle, but I don't really see the reason. We can either take people seriously when they tell us what they want or we can assume they're going to lie and project our own assumptions onto them. I don't see really any reason to go with the latter option.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:29 AM on November 19, 2012 [40 favorites]


I bet Andrew Smiler is a really nice guy.
posted by symbioid at 9:29 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't see how the fact that most guys don't want multiple short-term partners leads to the conclusion that most men only want one partner. That's silly.

I like any sort of research that challenges conventional assumptions, but I wish the language wasn't so sensational. "Guys don't want casual sex"? Not all, maybe not most, but some? Of course we do.

"guys don't want casual sex" is meant to convey "most young men don't want to be players, hooking up casually all the time, such as what's portrayed in the PUA movement"

OK, but those further details are so important, b/c it's been shown over and over and over and over the yes, indeed, men DO want casual sex with variable partners, especially men who have been married for a long time. ahem.

This isn't accurate. While most guys may ultimately want to be in a relationship, if they get the chance to have what is for them casual sex with a woman to whom they are attracted but don't for some reason consider girlfriend material, they'll very often go for it.

True, but I'd venture to say that's true for many (most?) girls as well. It was certainly true for me.


Yeah, it's true for men and women. Hey, wait a minute, maybe the headline should be "Guys AND Gals Want Casual Sex Sometimes" but that doesn't scan as well, I suppose ...

Are there any truths to the Casanova myth?

Well, it’s not a myth. There is a percentage of guys that do that.


Oh, OK. Wait, what were we talking about again?
posted by mrgrimm at 9:31 AM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'd say this suffers from the same problem that demographic data collected about church attendance suffers from: significant overreporting due to the emotional bias naturally baked into the questions. Folks don't answer "do you go to church every Sunday" but rather answer the question "is going to church every Sunday something that you think you should be doing." With church attendance, the answer was to ask people to complete a time diary.

I suspect that the way to ask about sexual/emotional motivations would be to ask people to complete a relationship diary that explains how and why sexual relationships started/ended. When confronted with this proposed study method, participants said, "I'm not keeping a journal about my relationships. What do you think I am, a fag?" Then punched the researcher and ran away.
posted by jph at 9:32 AM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


75% say they're not that interested in multiple partners when asked by an adult who they could lie to.

0% say they're not that interested in multiple partners when not asked by an adult who they have no chance to tell the truth to.

Which is more likely to produce a more accurate result?
posted by Casuistry at 9:32 AM on November 19, 2012


Some men are, some are not. Some women are just interested in casual sex too, but society pushes both genders towards specific roles where its ok for men (and looked up to) and not for women.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 9:32 AM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


0% say they're not that interested in multiple partners when not asked by an adult who they have no chance to tell the truth to.

Where are you pulling this 0 % figure from?
posted by peacheater at 9:34 AM on November 19, 2012


I like any sort of research that challenges conventional assumptions, but I wish the language wasn't so sensational. "Guys don't want casual sex"? Not all, maybe not most, but some? Of course we do.

It probably shoulda read 'guys don't just want casual sex', but surely you're familiar with the stereotype that this article is rebutting, right? That guys can and should fuck as many women as possible, but women should avoid sex at all costs because guys are just out to use and discard them? I think any research that says that attitude is bullshit should be shouted from the rafters...
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:34 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's certainly true that young men are more miserable than ever. 4chan is full of threads of 'I know that feel, bro' and 'Time to an hero' (suicide).
posted by colie at 9:34 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


To add to Bulgarktonos's point: even if we consider that young men habitually lie to adults - a rather unfair assumption, to my mind - why assume they're lying to sound more monogamous? We live in a culture where promiscuity is associated with virility, especially among younger men; there might be a pressure to sound like 'good boys', but there's a pressure to sound like 'real men' as well, and a lying boy might just as well exaggerate his casual-sex drive as play it down.

We can't know, so let's not assume we know better than the researchers a priori.
posted by Kit W at 9:35 AM on November 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


When I was 16-19 (back in the stone ages of the '90s), I certainly wanted sex... but I wanted a relationship more. I wanted an actual girlfriend. I wanted a genuine relationship so much that I passed up on more than one opportunity for a fling (make-out session or probably much more), because I didn't want to wind up getting my heart broken.

I was 24 before I ever had my first one-night-stand, and even that I'd have preferred to see turn into something more lasting. Only now, at 37 and after a good 11-year run of serial monogamy (and, briefly, polyamory) would I be okay with the notion of a "just sex" fling were I single... but I'm in a serious, committed relationship now, and I'm very happy with that, thank you.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:39 AM on November 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


if they get the chance to have what is for them casual sex with a woman to whom they are attracted but don't for some reason consider girlfriend material, they'll very often go for it.

The myth is thinking this applies to every random guy one might meet. In my experience, and knowing that of my friends through high-school and our single and dating years, it's not the case a lot of the time. He's tired, he's not feeling it, he's got issues, she's drunk and not yes means no, it would be messy afterwards or screw-up a friendship. There are all kinds of reasons she might not be Ms. right now.
posted by bonehead at 9:40 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


In summary: different people want different things, at different times, for different reasons.
posted by windykites at 9:40 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


This over-generalises a bit, but I'm pretty happy with anything that is explaining that gender stereotypes are largely incorrect and harm both sides. Turns out humans are pretty similar, who knew?
posted by notionoriety at 9:41 AM on November 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's funny how when you present a study where young men seem to have given a direct answer to a simple question, both men and women line up to explain how all those young men are actually lying weasels and the old stereotypes just happen to really be totally true. It's like a feminism thread but with penises.
posted by The Prawn Reproach at 9:41 AM on November 19, 2012 [55 favorites]


“Inside the Mind of the Boy Dating Your Daughter”

Ella Fynoe: “Fear. If I have anything to do with it.”

This is neither here nor there, but fear is really a terrible motivator, especially for young people of that age, and it seems pretty dangerous to use it on its own considering that it's likely to have unexpected consequences.
posted by koeselitz at 9:42 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, the idea that men are as promiscuous as society will allow them to be is just as limiting and poisonous as the idea that all women fit into some virgin/whore dichotomy. There's more variation within genders than between them.

75% say they want 0-1 WHEN ASKED BY AN ADULT (who they lie to)

Teenagers can understand the difference between information-gathering surveys and being grilled by your principal. I'm not saying this data is perfect, but if teenage boys always erred on the side of "tell the adult what adults want to hear," wouldn't marijuana usage statistics for teens be at 0%?
posted by almostmanda at 9:42 AM on November 19, 2012 [19 favorites]


When I was an adolescent, I wanted a relationship; I was interested in sex, sure, but even before I thought sex was a possibility I wanted to be in a relationship and have that closeness with someone of the opposite sex. Even after sex was on the table, relationships were more about emotional connections than sexual ones; I remember vividly having opportunities to cheat sexually that I rejected, because I cared more about the person I was in a relationship with, and that feeling like an easy choice.

At the same time, I was willing to have sex without a relationship, when I wasn't already in one, and so even though it is anecdotal, I'm going to run with a reasonable amount of support for adolescents wanting attention and intimacy, with sex as a subset of that, and wanting the support and validation that comes from being in a relationship.
posted by davejay at 9:43 AM on November 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


I was once a teenage boy and I was looking for girlfriends who read poetry and stuff.

It's interesting that this is going on while another thread is assessing the burgeoning career of 'James Deen'.
posted by colie at 9:44 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


The stereotype for me isn't "guys don't want relationships". It's "guys think the things THEY want are ordinary things to want but things SHE wants are pointless and unnecessary." But women do the same thing in reverse. Empathy takes time to develop.

There's a tendency to think, when you've just hit it off with somebody, that the things you like about each other are in fact things you have in common. Then suddenly they want to do other things and it's like, wait, no, can't we go back to doing the thing I like doing all the time, I thought you liked doing that all the time too. Then it turns into, he/she is so demanding and is trying to make me into somebody I'm not, this probably isn't gonna last, but maybe let's not say that yet because the sex is pretty good. Friends of both genders fall into that all the time.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:45 AM on November 19, 2012


I was once a teenage boy and I spent a lot of time fretting over what I might say to a girl if I ever met one.
posted by notionoriety at 9:47 AM on November 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Put me down as a (gay even!) teenager who didn't want sex so much as a relationship. I didn't have sex for years after many of my peers specifically because I didn't want meaningless sex. I always thought this made me an anomaly as a person and even moreso as a gay person but maybe not. Maybe it's like those teen drinking perception statistics, everyone thinks everyone else drinks waaaaaay more than the vast majority of people actually do.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:47 AM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think any research that says that attitude is bullshit should be shouted from the rafters...

Well, not if it's trivial or misleading, because then it looks like your case is weak.

There's more variation within genders than between them.

Now THAT needs to be fucking shouted from the rooftops.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:48 AM on November 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Fear. If I have anything to do with it.

It's really hard to scare a boyfriend. We know your blind spots, we know your daughter likes us, and we know that anything you threaten to do to us'll likely end worse for you than it does to us. Unless you're truly crazy, but your daughter will let us know immediately if she thinks you're full of shit.

Why not aim for fucking respect? It's not super hard. Let us see you as people. Let us understand how powerfully you love your daughter, how much you care about her. Make us see that this relationship is really as much about making your daughter happy as it is about whatever we get out of it. Boys aren't monsters. We're just smart enough to disrespect you if you're acting like an ass.

(My girlfriend's parents are amazing and I like her even more knowing she's their daughter. But I've had parents try to threaten me and let me tell you, it did nothing to help what I thought of their kid. If you're going to make this into a game, the one getting played'll end up being your darling little girl.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:52 AM on November 19, 2012 [24 favorites]


The entire premise that there are only two poles in this debate...casual sex or relationship, and NOTHING in between is ridiculous and probably adds to the confusion between the sexes. Everyone wants a relationship, but not everyone just wants to have sex with only one person for the rest of their lives...OR, mostly, during college and early 20s. And why is that a problem?
posted by spicynuts at 9:53 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


> While most guys may ultimately want to be in a relationship, if they get the chance to have
> what is for them casual sex with a woman to whom they are attracted but don't for some
> reason consider girlfriend material, they'll very often go for it.

Maybe it's different in a time when (some) women are supposed to be just as ready for no-strings sex as (some) men. In my life nothing ever made me feel as much of a sleazeball as having sex with a woman who has not demanded a committment but who clearly wants and hopes for one, when I know it isn't going to happen. It hit me at 19 that blueballs was not as bad a feeling as that.
posted by jfuller at 9:54 AM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's funny how when you present a study where young men seem to have given a direct answer to a simple question, both men and women line up to explain how all those young men are actually lying weasels and the old stereotypes just happen to really be totally true. It's like a feminism thread but with penises.

It's a trade-off. If we give up on the Men Are Like X And Women Are Like Y stereotypes, suddenly people are actually accountable for their own behavior instead of unthinking slaves to biological imperatives. And sudden accountability for the past is a scary thing.
posted by almostmanda at 9:57 AM on November 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


I've had parents try to threaten me and let me tell you, it did nothing to help what I thought of their kid. If you're going to make this into a game, the one getting played'll end up being your darling little girl.

OK mate, but your attitude won't lead to any entertaining high-school teen gross-out movies.
posted by colie at 9:57 AM on November 19, 2012


I guess I've always heard the whole guys want nothing more than to get into your pants line, but it has never really been borne out in my own first-hand experience. I mean Reddit boards are one thing, but I can think of exactly one guy in my personal experience who has been interested in me who was just interested in sex.
posted by peacheater at 9:57 AM on November 19, 2012


Inside the Mind of the Boy Dating Your Daughter

Fear. If I have anything to do with it.


haha, you are using fear to enforce ownership of your daughter's sexuality against the evil males that might steal it! That's so classic!
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 9:58 AM on November 19, 2012 [50 favorites]


Snark: It's what's for dinner.
posted by Justinian at 10:00 AM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Judging from my own experience, I think I would do a horrible disservice to the boys and men who were part of my life if I thought they wanted sex and nothing more.

As a tween and as a teenager I was the object of several beautifully innocent crushes. Some of them were unrequited, some of them weren't, but they were always sweet, respectful and the boys were always adorably nervous and non-threatening, and they seemed to truly want to get to know me as a person.

As a woman in my early twenties, guys were either openly pursuing a relationship, or openly pursuing casual sex. They were honest and straightforward, and they treated me with respect. I myself have looked for casual sex occasionally, so just wanting to fuck a nice person didn't seem like a particularly male thing to me.

In my mid and late twenties I met my husband who obviously treats me in a satisfactory manner and wanted a serious relationship.

I doubt I was particularly lucky. I mean I am sure there are some non-committing people out there, men and women. But I think the relationship hating man stereotype is as common as any extreme stereotype can be.

I also think there is a huge pressure on men to look like thy MUST NOT CARE about affection and love, and they MUST ALWAYS BE READY to have sex with anything that moves, which is certainly related to this.
posted by Tarumba at 10:00 AM on November 19, 2012 [14 favorites]


It's really hard to scare a boyfriend. We know your blind spots, we know your daughter likes us, and we know that anything you threaten to do to us'll likely end worse for you than it does to us. Unless you're truly crazy, but your daughter will let us know immediately if she thinks you're full of shit.

Speaking as a high school teacher: teenagers really aren't afraid of us adults all that often. Certainly not the ones who'd do something to hurt your teenage daughter. Sorry, I know that's very ego-deflating, but it's true.

That whole thing about not pulling out a gun unless you plan to use it (not just "will if you have to," but actually plan to use it) is about the same with trying to intimidate your daughter's prospective boyfriend. He'll call your bluff, and unless you're honest-to-god willing to throw your life (and custody of your daughter) away on the point, you'll only come out looking weaker for it.

Plus one should consider how much of the "scare the boyfriend" bluster is really about concern for the daughter and how much of it is about the parent's concern for him/herself.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:03 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Teenagers can understand the difference between information-gathering surveys and being grilled by your principal. I'm not saying this data is perfect, but if teenage boys always erred on the side of "tell the adult what adults want to hear," wouldn't marijuana usage statistics for teens be at 0%?

I distinctly remember plenty of kids gigglingly ticking off all the "I use ______ daily" boxes in those surveys they used to endlessly subject us to in junior high, just for the lulz. And the real users ticking the "never" boxes out of paranoia.

I'm sure the methodology here is somewhat more strict than a pile of scantron forms in Home Ec, but it still doesn't seem unreasonable to treat direct reporting data as at least questionable.
posted by ook at 10:04 AM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think anyone of either gender knows what they really want when they're in their teens. We all get hit with some mighty powerful motivators on all sides - chemical, societal, peer pressure - and it takes a lot of us a long time, well into our 30's or sometimes never, to figure out even how to decide what we may want.

So yeah, boys want sex. So do girls. Boys also want relationships. So do girls. So do men. So do women. And whether that sex is casual or that relationship is serious depends on the individual's history and current circumstances and chemistry with the person they just met and hell, possibly even barometric pressure and supernatural whims.

So I think everyone's right.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:04 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Oddly, I wore torn jeans and leather jackets and rode a motorcycle in high school... and my well-off, poised, high-class love-of-my-teenage-life brought me home to her parents in part because she figured they'd freak out. Sadly for her (and perhaps for me in the long run), her mom read me as a "nice boy" right from the start and my "bad boy" cred died a very quick death.)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:06 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


"About 25% of young men say want 2 or more partners in next 30 days; 75% say they want 0-1 WHEN ASKED BY AN ADULT (who they lie to)"

There's also no guarantee that what men tell each other is the truth. It's totally plausible to see guys putting on false fronts of machismo among their peers for fear of being considered less masculine. Imagine the guy playing Halo with his buddies that interrupts their frag session by saying, "dude, I totally don't want to fuck all sorts of random bitches, I want a nice long meaningful relationship with one girl like my grandparents have." It wouldn't happen, even if the speaker truly wanted that.

So I don't think what young men say to each other is any more indicative of the truth than what they tell adults. If young male peer groups were really trees of trust where you could say what you desired without fear, you wouldn't have so many young men afraid to come out as gay.
posted by shen1138 at 10:06 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Fear. If I have anything to do with it."

On preview having taken a while to write this I see that you've already been kind of piled on here, but I hope that you would take a much better path. When I was a young rascal interested in other peoples daughters, I got to meet parents with a pretty diverse set of strategies for containing the existential threat I represented, and they had widely varied levels of success:

My first serious girlfriend had a mother who was TERRIFYING; she was a captain in the Air Force, had biceps about the size of my torso, and made a point of showing me her very extensive gun collection. I lived in perfectly valid fear that this woman would hunt me down and look me in the eye while she slowly disemboweled me with that giant bowie knife of hers should I ever cross her wrong. Being an immortal teenager, this had an unshockingly small effect on me or my teenage ability to judge risk, however it did have a very large effect on her daughter. Her daughter knew that she would never be able to go to her mother with any problems she had with me, because instant disemboweled partner. She also knew that she could never go to her father, who was incidentally pretty awesome, because he would tell her mother who would then follow my unfortunately axe based scent like a wild predator drone and promptly disembowel me. When we ended up in some, ultimately very mild but to us really scary, trouble we knew her parents couldn't be a resource for us because I would end up flayed on a stick floating in the Potomac. While I really really can't claim that I was a relationship genius, I thankfully did not end up an asshole or an abuser because, looking back, her mother's disposition indeed would have left her really vulnerable to that.

My second serious girlfriend had parents who were totally different, despite us both being pretty young and very teenage stupid, we were never made to feel the least bit intimidated by them. Curfews were negotiated rather than imposed, it was made clear that I was always invited for dinner (with advance warning appreciated), and much more importantly they made a significant effort to really get to know me for who I was as I was. I was brought along for trips to the local Shakespeare theaters, a family obsession for them, included in an awesome thanksgiving with their relatives 400 miles away when my own parents were splitting up, and generally made to feel as if I had a second home. This had a number of important effects on me where I knew I could trust them for help if we ever needed it, up to and including a ride home whatever the circumstances were or the time was, and if I had any fear in my interactions with them, it was a fear of disappointing them. Looking back though, I think the effects this kind of strategy had on their daughter were, at least in a general sense, even more important. She never felt any need to lie to them about me at all, she knew she could rely on them for help and support if she ever had any kind of problem with me, and her relationship with me was not something she felt a need to compartmentalize away from what she had learned about relationship from her parents. I could be an integrated, though if need be totally disposable, part of her life – which was so much healthier than option one was for my first girlfriend.

I get that there is a cultural expectation that the suitors of daughters should live in fear of parents, but there are so much better ways for us to interact that are so much better for everyone involved. MetaFilter's own Maias has done a bunch of journalistic work looking at the differences between how Dutch parents and American parents deal with this kind of thing that I’ve found pretty enlightening – especially in terms of the differences in results.

For me? Even though their daughter and I broke up years ago, I still think of my second serious girlfriends parents as a second set of my own parents. I just got the sweetest thanksgiving card from them from across the ocean that totally made my day and I love them to death. So much more awesome than wondering if I’ll end up scattered across the bottom of the Chesapeake.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:08 AM on November 19, 2012 [83 favorites]


There's a difference between "nearly all men want only sex" and "nearly all the people who want only sex are men".
posted by DU at 10:08 AM on November 19, 2012


There's a difference between "nearly all men want only sex" and "nearly all the people who want only sex are men".

Yeah but there's a similarity too, in that neither one is remotely true.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:12 AM on November 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


As a tween and as a teenager I was the object of several beautifully innocent crushes. Some of them were unrequited, some of them weren't, but they were always sweet, respectful and the boys were always adorably nervous and non-threatening, and they seemed to truly want to get to know me as a person.

My God, there's hope for the human race. Honestly, that's the nicest thing I've read in ages.
posted by colie at 10:15 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I arrived at high school with some pretty sentimental ideas about love and sex. I wasn't prepared for the hook-up culture that I found there, and ended up hurt, confused and discouraged, even in the midst of a fair number of sexual opportunities.

I met plenty of sexually confident girls but most were generally not interested in having boyfriends; why should they be, when they'd be heading off to college in a year or two? I quickly found found myself in hormonal catch 22 - too horny to leave well enough enough alone, but too sensitive and inexperienced not to feel rejected when the hook-ups failed to transition into anything more meaningful. By graduation, my teenage drive to find love and sex with the same partner had been a bust. It wasn't until the waning days of college that I found the kind of relationship I was looking for, and I'm grateful that it happened at all.

I have no doubt that lots of boys and girls at my high school were experiencing the same thing, but at the time I felt pretty isolated and frustrated with myself for being such a marshmallow. Everyone was acting so detached and sophisticated. I wish there had been more credible, reassuring messages in the culture that it was normal for teenage boys to maybe not be 100% comfortable with NSA hook-ups.
posted by ducky l'orange at 10:16 AM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


mrgrimm: "OK, but those further details are so important, b/c it's been shown over and over and over and over the yes, indeed, men DO want casual sex with variable partners, especially men who have been married for a long time. ahem."

Anecdotes aren't data, but my own anecdotal evidence says that men are less interested in casual sex the longer they're in a relationship while women are the other way around, probably due to different times of peak sex drive.

Rory Marinich: "But I've had parents try to threaten me and let me tell you, it did nothing to help what I thought of their kid."

Again using my anecdotal experience, parents hating their daughter's boyfriend just makes their daughter that much less likely to break up with him. Conversely, parents liking their daughter's high school boyfriend just makes her that much more likely to break up with him. Teenage rebellion manifests in weird ways.
posted by wierdo at 10:19 AM on November 19, 2012


I'm really glad this thread is here. Thanks flex.
posted by Apropos of Something at 10:25 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


In my mid and late twenties I met my husband who obviously treats me in a satisfactory manner and wanted a serious relationship.

Deep inside, isn't this what we all long for? Someone who treats us in a satisfactory manner?

"Spouse, I am so grateful that you consistently treat me in a satisfactory manner. Please accept these odorous flora as a token of my sincere appreciation."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:28 AM on November 19, 2012 [21 favorites]


I bet Andrew Smiler is a really nice guy.

He is. Incredibly so. And he gets bonus points for being married to a librarian. (I'm a family friend.)
posted by librarianamy at 10:33 AM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Some of these arguments are just commonsense logic and it surprises me that people think they're either controversial or gender-specific.

OK, but those further details are so important, b/c it's been shown over and over and over and over the yes, indeed, men DO want casual sex with variable partners, especially men who have been married for a long time. ahem.

Well yeah, because physical intimacy is a thing you can be with every single person you meet and the longer you spend being intimate with only one person, the more you start to wonder what forms of intimacy other people have to offer – and the more you convince yourself that by not exploring those other people, you are Missing Out.

There are a lot of reasons to like monogamy – stability of a relationship, reliability, it's easier on kids if you have them – but I don't know of any couple my age, even the monogamous ones, even the married ones, who don't give experimenting with other partners at least the occasional consideration. (Not that "consideration" means "doing".) Sex isn't sacred; sex with more than one person your entire life isn't breaking a trust with some divine spirit. Much like anything else, diversity means learning new things, experiencing difference, and likely it'll make you appreciate what you already have even more. Not all couples think that sex is really something they need to further their experience of, but plenty do, and even the ones who don't rarely see anything wrong with at least asking whether it's worth a thought.

Anecdotally, I know more women who are interested in pursuing variable partners than men.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:35 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's really hard to scare a boyfriend. We know your blind spots, we know your daughter likes us, and we know that anything you threaten to do to us'll likely end worse for you than it does to us. Unless you're truly crazy, but your daughter will let us know immediately if she thinks you're full of shit.

Why not aim for fucking respect? It's not super hard. Let us see you as people. Let us understand how powerfully you love your daughter, how much you care about her. Make us see that this relationship is really as much about making your daughter happy as it is about whatever we get out of it. Boys aren't monsters. We're just smart enough to disrespect you if you're acting like an ass.


Jesus fuck, yes. And this works both ways, too. Trying to be all badass and scary to your sons' girlfriends is a surefire recipe for unmitigated disaster.

Elder Monster had a couple of girlfriends prior to his current (6 years and counting) relationship, and the parents of those girls did the whole chest beating, respect-mah-authoritah, get all up in his bidniz thing. He broke things off, because he was not interested in the girls in question enough to deal with that kind of crazy on the regular.

His current? OMG. The child of wonderful people. They took a shine to him right away, and he to them, and we constantly heard about how awesome and welcoming her family was. It wasn't until the kids had been seeing each other for a bit over 6 months that the families got together...and discovered that we knew each other already. I had gone to college with her Dad, the husband went to high school with her Mom. They're at our house constantly, we celebrate holidays together, and the kids are just happy as clams.

Younger Monster is in his first real relationship, and he is much beloved of his girlfriend's family. His girlfriend told us the other night when she was here for dinner that her grandmother gets anxious if Younger Monster hasn't been over in a couple days, she thinks he's the bee's knees. No threats, no veiled hostility, just warmth, welcome, and a little melancholy if they haven't seen him all week, which I find pretty adorable.
posted by MissySedai at 10:35 AM on November 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


I just have to say that the whole "scary parent" angle really just translates to "sheltered kid," and in the eyes of an asshole that said kid could be dating, that itself translates to "easily taken advantage of." And that goes beyond gender. In my experiences, it is the kids who had parents who respected their decisions, respected their friends and respected their choices in boyfriends/girlfriends who turned out to be the most well-adjusted adults. The ones who lived in the shadow of their parents' approval, on the other hand, did not.
posted by griphus at 10:53 AM on November 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


I was making a joke, though largely to myself it appears.* Studies like this make me tired, by their absurd premise; stereotypes are inherently stupid, as individual variability swamps any one-dimensional discriminator of human characteristics.

*I'm glad it inspired a good discussion. I expect to have a good relationship with my kids' boyfriends/girlfriends, barring a reason not to.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 11:02 AM on November 19, 2012 [14 favorites]


Well I thought the joke was funny, Ella Fynoe.

But yeah. I ran a bit of the gamut in terms of treatment from girlfriends' parents. In terms of "cautious with our little girl," the smartest thing I went through was a mom and dad having me drive them around the block before taking their daughter out on what was to be her first date ever. Basically, they wanted to hear what the plans for the evening were and to make sure I could actually drive. But they were cool and sweet and non-threatening, so there was a nice mutual respect thing there.

In any case, kindness repays kindness, respect repays respect, in all but cases of sociopaths, and yes, parents should be on the lookout for those. Just know that they aren't always, you know, easy to spot.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:11 AM on November 19, 2012


For my part I'm sorry for being a part of the pile on, I had already written all of that by the time I saw it and didn't want to just toss it away. It is funny how the trope has so much cultural cachet that we all instantly understood the nature of the joke despite being so vague, even if we didn't see the hamburger.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:13 AM on November 19, 2012


Yeah, I would like to make it clear that I wasn't at all implying you are somehow raising your kids wrong. But I do think it's a stupid joke, just because it reinforces a shitty stereotype.
posted by griphus at 11:16 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


And this stereotype is precisely why I never brought dates home and still don't tell my family a word about my love life, even as I tiptoe on the precipice of age 40, and even though my family was and is otherwise loving and welcoming about all other things. In the end, it hurts the daughter much more than the date.
posted by mochapickle at 11:32 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Eh, it's not teenagers who want incessant casual sex, it's slightly older guys. Say, guys in their late-20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s...
posted by Zerowensboring at 11:34 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I also just wanted to mention something else about my second serious girlfriend's parents that had a big effect on me. They really conspicuously cared about her but didn't try to control her, which served as an excellent model for a partner to follow. They also soon enough conspicuously cared about me, which was very much reciprocated. The relationship I had with them was one of mutual respect rather then mutual fear.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:07 PM on November 19, 2012


Yeah, I'd say this suffers from the same problem that demographic data collected about church attendance suffers from: significant overreporting due to the emotional bias naturally baked into the questions. Folks don't answer "do you go to church every Sunday" but rather answer the question "is going to church every Sunday something that you think you should be doing."

Honestly, if any kind of social desirability bias is at work here, I'd think it would be just as likely to run the other way. Teenage boys aren't, by and large, socialized to think that admitting to wanting a deep relationship is masculine and okay ("What are you, some kind of pussy?") Besides, from the NYT article:

The boys were asked their reasons for dating and were allowed to mark more than one answer. Notably, being physically attracted to someone wasn’t the primary motivation they gave for dating. More than 80 percent of the boys noted “I really liked the person.” Physical attraction and wanting to get to know someone better were the second most popular answers.

Among the boys who had been sexually active, physical desire and wanting to know what sex feels like were among the top three reasons they pursued sex. However, the boys were equally likely to say they pursued sex because they loved their partner. Interestingly, only 14 percent said they sought sex because they wanted to lose their virginity, and 9 percent did so to fit in with friends.

The researchers note that there is no way to assess the truthfulness of the boys’ answers, but the rate of sexual activity in the sample is consistent with national trends, suggesting the boys were answering honestly. The survey group was ethnically and economically diverse, and 95 indicated they were heterosexual, while 10 boys didn’t answer the question.


...which would seem to indicate that they weren't really ashamed of admitting to wanting sex.
posted by kagredon at 12:08 PM on November 19, 2012


The authors of the actual research paper we are discussing indirectly without having actually read it have some pretty solid defenses for their work:

“I wanted to get to know her better”: Adolescent boys’ dating motives, masculinity ideology, and sexual behavior
Little is known about adolescent boys’ motives for dating, although stereotypical portrayals highlight a desire for sexual behavior. This issue was examined from a normative perspective that connected dating motives to intercourse motives, masculinity, and dating and sexual behaviors. Data from 105 racially and economically diverse 10th-grade boys were analyzed. Results indicated that the most commonly endorsed motives for dating and intercourse focused on the boys’ partners and relationships, and that boys’ motives tended to be consistent across dating and sexual behavior. Peer conformity motives were less frequently endorsed and typically co-occurred with other motives. Findings revealed few connections between motives, masculinity ideology, and sexual behaviors. Discussion highlights the importance of moving beyond stereotypes when examining boys’ romantic and sexual motives.

It is available in full text so you don't even have to MeMail me.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:17 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's only available in full text for $31.50, unless you have an institutional affiliation.
posted by enn at 12:26 PM on November 19, 2012


Balls, I have an institutional affiliation that sometimes automatically gives me access to things without telling me that others don't. If you would like to read the paper, or any others related to the topic, just MeMail me with an email adress I can send a PDF to - for the purposes of this academic discussion we are currently having of course.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:28 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Oddly, I wore torn jeans and leather jackets and rode a motorcycle in high school... and my well-off, poised, high-class love-of-my-teenage-life brought me home to her parents in part because she figured they'd freak out. Sadly for her (and perhaps for me in the long run), her mom read me as a "nice boy" right from the start and my "bad boy" cred died a very quick death.)
posted by scaryblackdeath


Good to see your still trying!
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:50 PM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I used to think I wanted casual sex but then I realised I had this terrible tendency to really, really like any woman nice enough to have sex with me, and then wanting to see her again, and get to know her better, and maybe go out for dinner on Friday, and maybe see that new movie everyone's talking about and... dammit, casual sex fail!
posted by Decani at 12:57 PM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sure, some people lie on surveys. A surprising number are fairly honest. There are ways to minimize and account for those kinds of errors. But while the mean and averages may be off by a little bit, these results are entirely consistent with research using other methods. I saw a SNA study a few years ago that found the majority of high-school students were serially monogamous, with only a handful of triads and a relatively small cluster that were chasing multiple partners. Just about every approach I've seen to tackling this has come to the conclusion that most teens and young adults are serially monogamous with only a few partners a year.

And how much Western lit is filled with tales and songs about masculine heartbreak?
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:36 PM on November 19, 2012


As I was thinking about this research more whilst walking around my fair city looking at attractive women: a lot of men might like the fantasy of casual sex, but the reality is often much less fulfilling. If they could have the casual sex of their dreams, most men would go for it, I think. But hookups are usually not the greatest sex partners (imo).

Eh, it's not teenagers who want incessant casual sex, it's slightly older guys. Say, guys in their late-20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s...

That's actually a fair point, imo. Before I was sexually experienced, I was less likely to be interested in hookups, mostly b/c I was afraid (of rejection of some sort). And a lot of teenagers are pretty damn inexperienced. And the boys all cum too soon.

Also, you have to be seriously OK with rejection to be into casual sex as a teenager. Most people hate rejection.

Also, if you believe casual sex to be an impossibility (i.e. a common teenage refrain of "nobody is attracted to me"), you're less likely to pursue it or even claim to not want it (sour grapes, etc.)
posted by mrgrimm at 1:42 PM on November 19, 2012


My parents' faith in my ability to choose a nice guy to date in high school (and beyond!) is something that I have always appreciated. My mom always asked if the guy made me happy and treated me well, and that was really all that mattered to them, as far as I know. They trusted my judgment and didn't impose their own. I think that's given me a lot of self-confidence in my ability to judge character and be sure that what I do, I do because I want to, and I know my folks have my back. Neither of my parents are particularly physically imposing, but they made their presence and interest in the guys I was seeing known. My mom was always very up on the guy and asked lots of questions about him and his interests and family and stuff, and while my dad is pretty quiet, he made it clear that he cared about me (both to me and to whoever I was dating).

Probably the most embarassing/endearing thing that happened in high school occured while I was dating an 18-year-old at 16. Fahrenheit 911 had just come out and I was dying to see it, but since it was rated R and I was a very short and round-faced 16, I couldn't just buy a ticket, and if my boyfriend had bought me a ticket, I probably still would have gotten carded. So my dad came and sat next to me on one side, and my boyfriend sat next to me on the other, and the two of them chatted about applying to college and engineering schools while I got brighter and brighter red. I think he and my dad got along better than he and I did!
posted by ChuraChura at 1:52 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


you have to be seriously OK with rejection to be into casual sex as a teenager. Most people hate rejection.

I agree. I remember being 16, male and hopeless and doing a lot of thinking or similar shit rather than talking to young women, and one day it seemed that a guy in my social group basically decided to go for the 'fire enough arrows and you will hit a target, somewhere, sometime' approach to women.

Sure enough, he was getting loads of action, because he literally tried on the sexy-sexy with every woman he passed in the street, and anywhere else. Seriously 99 per cent of them rejected him, laughing. He was happy with the 1 per cent, which was more than I was getting.
posted by colie at 1:53 PM on November 19, 2012


You people apparently live on a different planet. Guys are much, much more likely to want casual sex in the universe I inhabit. Hell if I know about teenagers, since I never dated as a teenager, but from my twenties on up? Yes, and the rare exception is an anomaly.

And in my experience dating men and women, men are the ones who push for sex about twenty times faster than I'm comfortable with, even the rare anomaly who is looking for a relationship like he's going down on the Titanic. It doesn't mean a woman hasn't, but that is just as much an anomaly as a guy looking for a relationship.

It's almost enough for this atheist to start dating Christians, because at least (many) of them have some social pressure to slow down and at least pretend to be looking for a relationship.

On the other hand, the interesting thing is that I've found this is partially dependent on where I've lived. Southerners are more likely to actually want to date, versus the west coast, where almost everyone I've met is either looking for something casual, or a piece on the side that they see once a week (even if it is in a recurring fashion, and they like to call it that person a "partner").
posted by thelastcamel at 2:01 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


My experience in dating both men and women was that the set of men I dated included somewhat more "people who wanted casual sex" than did the set of women I dated, but that I wanted more casual sex from both groups than I got.

My sample size is of course statistically insignificant, but if surveys like this--however flawed--shatter the myths of monolithic "what men want" and "what women want" about sex, that's all to the good.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:05 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a former teenage boy I remember wanting both casual sex and meaningful relationships.

I'll second this - except I'll add that those two wants never went away. I still both want a meaningful relationship and the occasional no-strings roll in the hay. As far as I can tell from talking my friends who are women, so do women.

Our society doesn't support such arrangements, favoring instead the nuclear family model, and the overwhelming mental model we're taught is that sex is a kind of consumer good, and that having sex is an economic transaction - it pervades our pop culture (see Beyonce for a very popular example). The upshot of that model is that is mostly disempowers women, not men, because as the steward of the "goods," women are held to one standard of sexual behavior while men are held to another. Men are therefore more free to act on their normal biological urges for both sexual variety and emotional relationships, but women, in general, are socialized to judge themselves and each other when those actions are acted on (see: the recent election conversation about single women on birth control as "sluts".)

That social arrangement is decaying, at least in big cities - here in New York, I'm running into more and more women who are abandoning that model and behaving more like men their age always have. I think that's a good development, a necessary step in the opening up of individual liberty as regards sexuality.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:14 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I couldn't have explained to myself what I wanted out of relationships with the opposite sex when I was a teenager, much less expressed it accurately to an adult.
posted by straight at 2:19 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seems to me there's two things going on here that make this complicated. One is that for most teenagers there's a big gap between "What I ideally want" and "What seems possible for me right now." And the other is that teenage boys in our culture get a very loud message saying "Most of the stuff you'd enjoy about a real relationship just isn't possible for you right now." (File under: The Patriarchy Is Bad For Men Too.)

Thinking back to when I was a teenage boy — and okay, I was a weird queer non-gender-conforming teenage boy, but I think this would have been true for a lot of my straighter butcher male-er friends too — the thing that really sums it up is the song "Wouldn't It Be Nice." Yeah, okay, the guy in that song wants to get laid. But it's not just "I wish we were married so I could fuck you once and then tolerate your presence for the next few decades" or even "I wish we were married so we could fuck whenever we wanted." It's "I want to wake up next to you; I want to support each other and take care of each other; I want to have adventures together; and yeah, we'd get to fool around too, but then I want to fall asleep in your arms afterwards." Wouldn't that be nice? And I think most teenage boys deep down would agree that, yeah, that would be awful nice — if they thought it was an option for them.

The catch is that, for most guys that age, that isn't a realistic goal, or doesn't feel like one. Some of the obstacles are real practical ones. You can sneak out and fool around with your girlfriend, but you can't spend the night even if you want to. You can't, like, go on vacation together. You can't even reliably go out and see a movie together when you feel like it, because curfews and parents and etcetera. Right? Guys — you remember that, that was frustrating as hell, am I right?

And that's just the practical issues. There's also a very insidious cultural message that boys get that says "Men can't count on women for actual support. All women want to do is rein us men in and restrict us and make it all about their own emotional needs. They'll never actually care about what we want." And kids believe this shit! So for a lot of guys it's like, "Well, I can dream all I want about a really supportive and caring girlfriend, but everyone else says that's just a pipe dream." In the same vein, we tell boys "You shouldn't want emotional support anyway, that's weak and unmanly." We tell them "Besides, boys suck at relationships. If you found the sort of caring and supportive girlfriend you're dreaming about, you'd probably just fuck the whole thing up and she'd hate you and it would be all your fault." And again, a lot of guys believe that shit.

And on top of all that, there's the fact that relationships are just hard and a lot of teenagers — of all genders — don't really have the skills or experience to make one work.

And so at a certain point I think a lot of young men are just like "Fine, whatever. Ideally I'd want someone to fall in love and build a life with. But since I'm not supposed to want that, and since all the really fulfilling parts of that would be off-limits or totally unattainable anyway, — well, fuck it, at least I can still try to get laid." Which depending on the guy and the details of his situation you could either describe as defensive sour-grapiness or as rational way of making the best of a bad deal or as some combination of the two.

(Meanwhile, teenage girls end up doing their own version of this, only with different constraints and a different set of cultural messages, and so they end up sour-graping off in a different direction: "Okay, apparently I'm not allowed to enjoy the sex and I can't expect him to really respect me, but fuck it — at least I can get some emotional validation." Or something like that. I'm not really qualified to describe what being a teenage girl is like, and I'd appreciate it if someone who's actually Been There could set me straight if I'm barking up the wrong tree, but I do think there's clearly some sort of settling-for-the-next-best-thing going on there too.)

Long story short, if I had to sum up gender-stereotypical dating behaviors these days, it wouldn't be "Boys want sex and girls want commitment." It would be "Everyone wants love and emotional support, but boys think sex is the next best thing and girls think romance is the next best thing." Which, of course, is still a massive oversimplification, because not everyone behaves in gender-stereotypical ways: some boys would prefer romance; some girls would prefer sex. I'm just saying, even for those teenagers who are acting in totally gender-stereotypical ways, the best interpretation isn't "that's all they want" but rather "that's the closest they think they can get right now."
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:54 PM on November 19, 2012 [39 favorites]


Also: I think there's at least a sizeable minority of guys who actually really don't enjoy NSA sex, and just take a long time to figure that out because they're constantly being told they should.

All through my 20s, random hookups would leave me feeling gross and lonely and depressed, and rather than conclude "Gee, apparently I prefer sleeping with people I love," I spent way too long just like "Huh, I guess I must be Doing It Wrong, because obviously if I were only better at this I'd be having a blast. Better try again! I'll get it figured out sooner or later!"
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:58 PM on November 19, 2012 [14 favorites]


Holy shit, nebulawindphone. That's about the smartest thing I've heard anyone say in any context in a very long time. Every last little bit of that resonates.
posted by Apropos of Something at 3:15 PM on November 19, 2012


In other news, Cinderella isn't a fairy tale.
posted by Twang at 3:27 PM on November 19, 2012


scaryblackdeath: "It's really hard to scare a boyfriend. We know your blind spots, we know your daughter likes us, and we know that anything you threaten to do to us'll likely end worse for you than it does to us. Unless you're truly crazy, but your daughter will let us know immediately if she thinks you're full of shit.

Speaking as a high school teacher: teenagers really aren't afraid of us adults all that often. Certainly not the ones who'd do something to hurt your teenage daughter. Sorry, I know that's very ego-deflating, but it's true.

That whole thing about not pulling out a gun unless you plan to use it (not just "will if you have to," but actually plan to use it) is about the same with trying to intimidate your daughter's prospective boyfriend. He'll call your bluff, and unless you're honest-to-god willing to throw your life (and custody of your daughter) away on the point, you'll only come out looking weaker for it.

Plus one should consider how much of the "scare the boyfriend" bluster is really about concern for the daughter and how much of it is about the parent's concern for him/herself.
"

Heh.

I remember when first I went to meet the parents of the woman that was to become my future ex-wife, Dad the retired Marine broke out with one of his guns. I defused the threat by combining a little engineering knowledge and gaming skills to discuss the gun's high and low points. This led to him and I sitting down over a beer a few minutes later and chuckling.

I am SOOOOOO glad he never found me that time I ended up trapped naked in his closet...
posted by Samizdata at 3:50 PM on November 19, 2012


The thing not being discussed here is the impact of relationship failure on both genders. Breakups, and divorces, can be some of the most damaging experiences in the lives of both genders. Even when one person does not experience them, witnessing heartbreak in peers, coworkers, and (particularly) parents is enough to "put the lie" to deep personal truths. But since we are looking at an average of five to fifteen years of "dating life", most people do end up with heartbreak we maybe weren't quite designed to deal with.

Both genders break. It does seem to be true that guys break towards shallowness while girls break towards ... enforcement? But if you think "guys just want sex" -- well, your mental model is incomplete.
posted by effugas at 4:39 PM on November 19, 2012


nebulawindphone,

I forgot to mention -- your post is brilliant, but the opinions you ascribe to "society" actually seem to reflect the failure modes of dying relationships. In other words, breakups aren't a moment, they're a ... process ... and the lessons learned are problematic.
posted by effugas at 4:44 PM on November 19, 2012


I met my wife's fairly conservative, gun-totin', pickup-drivin', simple-livin' parents as a fat sissy homoflexible Jewish high school dropout nerd. An aspiring musician with no job! Who she met on the Internet, before that was really an accepted thing. Obviously, I was terrified at first, but they were SO WELCOMING from the first minute.

It helped a little that Future Mrs. Jake was even more socially awkward and withdrawn than me, so they were used to her bringing over weirdo geeks. But it was also the first time a boyfriend brought her Mom flowers and complimented her home. A week later I cooked dinner for them from scratch, and fixed their computer. They all but adopted me on the spot.
posted by jake at 4:53 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


My experience is that I got a lot of very conflicting messages about what I should want as a teen. I was nominally tied to the culture of a mainstream church that held long-term monogamy as an ideal, and any sexuality before that just gets brushed under the rug as unmentionable. Then there's a pop culture narrative in which knocking boots just seems to happen at a certain stage of a relationship. Then there's the whole Playboy/Hustler thing going on that if you were really open-minded, you'd be having a lot of sex with a lot of people.

Reality is a bit more complex. My partner and I both come from families where pre-marital sexuality was a bit like Santa Claus. "In college, we had these parties, but don't tell your mom about it." My partner and her siblings all independently discovered the secret first marriage, and thought they were the only ones in on the secret. And like the secret stash of Christmas presents, if you shook one, the whole pile started to topple out of the closet: swinging nudist cousins, aunts disowned for interracial romances, great-grandmother's multiple men who kept her fed, housed, and out of more explicit prostitution.

The revelation that my stable nuclear family that I idealized came about through hard work, not wanting to imitate bad examples, some experimental fooling around, and a lot of luck didn't come until after I found myself in a toxic and emotionally manipulative sexual relationship. Probably the reason why I lean toward monogamy is because the family ideology and the religious ideology centered on making it work through war, economic depression, and disabling illness. Had I known that some relationships just start broken and couldn't be fixed, I would have experienced and caused a fair bit less heartbreak in the early ears.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:54 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, CBrachyrnhynchos, that's the other thing, there's just so much lying about relationships. Romantic comedies in particular couldn't be less realistic if they involved potential mates shooting at eachother (which, hell, probably happens from time to time).
posted by effugas at 5:08 PM on November 19, 2012


It's interesting to me that there are stereotypes of both extremes. The flip side of the promiscuous Casanova is the "Nice Guy(tm)" stalker who becomes emotionally obsessed with the women around him.

("Nice Guy(tm)" refers to men who become irrationally jealous of platonic friends and wail "Why is she with a loser like him when he could have a Nice Guy like me?" Not men who are legitimately nice and respectful of women's choices.)
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:14 PM on November 19, 2012


Here's more support for the post in the form of personal acecdata:

I'm a man who feels emotionally dead inside, so I don't really crave casual sex.

Ain't that some shit.
posted by Evernix at 5:38 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Through Junior High and High School I was like many here; awkward, geeky, and out of place. I had my herd of fellow nerd friends. It was the only way any of us stayed sane.

Commiserating, gaming; tabletop, console, and computer; and camaraderie.

For me, sex wasn't on the radar... maybe it was over the horizon. I just really wanted to meet a girl that would want to talk to me, and maybe come to understand who I am... or was...

I didn't even tickle the fancy of a woman until I was 19, and well on my way to 20.

There were few women that I had relationships with. I can count all of them on one hand... even the last disastrous two...

Now? Hell. I can go up to a week without speaking with a woman... just because the opportunity really doesn't present itself... as I do work in a male dominated field.

This past weekend was quite the aberration. I had two random conversations with two different women. It was nice. I didn't need anything more.

Just talking helped remind me that I'm human.

I can't even see what any of those women ever saw in me in the first place.

After all that has happened, I don't want sex... and I know the parts of me that I need to maintain a healthy relationship with a woman beyond random talking and cordial working relations... simply don't exist anymore. Those parts were blasted out of me.

I needed them and they are gone.

I am a smouldering, radioactive derelict... floating through the void.

But there is all this love. All this feeling. All this hope, despite everything...

I can't see there being anyone to share it with anymore.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 5:54 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, I'm into it. Ladies.
posted by Fister Roboto at 6:50 PM on November 19, 2012


These results may be less surprising if you don't constantly call men "guys".
posted by lubujackson at 10:45 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I was a teenage guy, sex was a referendum on how much somebody cared about me, or how much somebody would care about me. I'm not proud of that fact, at all. But lots of that was socially embedded. I wanted to stay up with my girlfriend until 3 AM and cuddle, and talk about our hopes and dreams, and act like we might have some sort of future shot together no matter how unlikely. But that wasn't gonna happen - ironically, because people were afraid we'd have sex, as if 11 PM is the only time teenagers are capable of boning down.

Nebula is so right to file this under "The Patriarchy is Bad for Men, Too." There's no damaging narrative about how a woman's virginity is a Special Flower that Needs Protection without someone to protect it from. That's how we get to guys always want sex and girls never do, and how I got into that really dangerous territory where sex was the measure of if someone really liked me, and sex was the only way we could be intimate. I was ashamed, from the very start, of what I had "taken" from someone who had a free will all her own and knew how to express it. I was ashamed of being curious, and wanting to be close to someone, which means I had a very hard time learning how.

There's no excuse for bad, anti-social, lecherous behavior. But if you've ever wondered where the PUAs and the nice guys and the leeches get the impression that sex is the only way to relate to women, look around a little at what we get told by people who want to sell us body spray and condoms.
posted by Apropos of Something at 11:09 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Actually, I've been happy to see that most condom ads I've come across in recent memory seem to involve what appear to be committed couples.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:21 AM on November 20, 2012


Apropos of something-

I so rarely hear this male perspective; partially because I think, socially, men aren't allowed to talk about it much. But also because, in a way, there's a part of me that thinks of men as these dangerous, bizarre, incomprehensible creatures to be either placated or avoided, and so when they are trying to share who they are with me, it's almost like I can't hear them. I'm too afraid of them, and too busy trying to protect myself from them.

A part of that reaction is because I've had a lot of terrifying, bizarre, incomprehensible experiences with men. But I think a lot of it is cultural; we're constantly bombarded with messages telling us about how men and women are different. As a woman, I'm exposed to a lot of "he's a man, of course he doesn't understand", from women actually saying this in casual conversation, to the hundreds of books and guides on how to communicate with a man as a woman.

It's like, whenever there's a conflict or misunderstanding or disconnect between a male and a female, we assume it's because of their genders or something. I've had a lot of terrifying, bizarre, incomprehensible experiences with women, but for some reason I don't viscerally generalize that to all women. Men frighten me, but women don't, and that's (for me) the crux of the problem- it's impossible to relate to someone you're afraid of. So I think that part of the reason it might be hard for us to pick up this message, the message that you're sharing, is that, though we're told it, we can't hear.

My brother talks to me sometimes about how he wants to meet a girl and get married. So do some sweet guys from my church. But there's still a part of me that resists hearing it, that can't accept tenderness from men, and though I made jokes about these "findings" upthread, the truth is that I don't know what to do about it. Reading your post made me really sad, because it's writing on the internet and it's far away and it doesn't feel "gendered" and it's sort of abstract. But if you told me that in person, I would feel really uncomfortable and I wouldn't really hear you. In fact, to be honest (and im ashamed of this), there's a part of me that would assume you were lying, were trying to get something from me, and i would probably be kind of mean to you, or at least unreceptive. And I don't know what to do about that.
posted by windykites at 6:36 AM on November 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


And the worst thing is, that reaction seems to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
posted by windykites at 6:37 AM on November 20, 2012


I so rarely hear this male perspective; partially because I think, socially, men aren't allowed to talk about it much.

Not to sound all, "wha, I'm an oppressed white man", but men sadly aren't traditionally really expected to talk about much of anything other than business, politics, sports, and cars. Things are beginning to change, but you're still more likely to hear about these issues with an affected, detached bravado rather than in an honest emotional way.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:48 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


windykites: "Reading your post made me really sad, because it's writing on the internet and it's far away and it doesn't feel "gendered" and it's sort of abstract. But if you told me that in person, I would feel really uncomfortable and I wouldn't really hear you. In fact, to be honest (and im ashamed of this), there's a part of me that would assume you were lying, were trying to get something from me, and i would probably be kind of mean to you, or at least unreceptive. And I don't know what to do about that."

Really appreciate the honesty. These conversations are difficult to walk into because I honestly do believe (here he states the obvious) that women on the whole have the raw end of the sexism deal: that the cultural forces have aligned in such a way that many men feel emotionally victimized by the system, but many women feel emotionally and physically victimized by the system. Your reaction, I'm sure, is a response to the very real threat of physical violence and unsafe objectification that happens to women every day.

Like I said upthread, there's absolutely zero excuse for lecherous behavior, and being victimized by a system is no excuse for men to take that out on women, who I don't believe are "to blame" for any of that. Instead, I think it's certain men, the powerful ones, that have left our culture the way it is. Love and affection are counter-forces to the power of presidents and preachers, and so if they want to exert control over whether I'm loyal enough to country to go fight in a pointless war, or when you do or don't have a baby, or whether your father gets to decide whether this guy makes enough money for you to marry him, the easiest way to lay the ground for that is to sow the seeds of distrust in the culture. We're not the ones taking advantage of you, they say, this fourteen year old kid is.

I did stuff when I was a teenager that I'm not at all proud of. It took me a very long time to cut myself a little slack, take responsibility instead of guilt, and realize that I made those mistakes not because I wanted to go out of my way to take something from women but because I was young and unpracticed and didn't know any better and was subject to all these really damaging cultural narratives.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:13 AM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I did stuff when I was a teenager that I'm not at all proud of

We all did. No worries.
posted by windykites at 9:54 AM on November 20, 2012


Not me. I was pure as the driven snow. Alas, wasted youth...
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:03 AM on November 20, 2012


10th Regiment, you're not the only reformed good-two-shoes...I didn't have my first kiss until I was nineteen.

(Although considering the options I had available to me when I was in high school I think I dodged a bullet because holy shit what losers)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:44 AM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


In fact, to be honest (and im ashamed of this), there's a part of me that would assume you were lying, were trying to get something from me, and i would probably be kind of mean to you, or at least unreceptive. And I don't know what to do about that."

I think part of the answer is just to recognize that you're not actually obligated to trust anyone you don't want to trust. You know?

And there's degrees of trust. It's totally reasonable to say what you're saying here: "This is just a conversation, and there isn't anything at stake, so what the hell, why not? — I'll assume you're telling the truth. But stories and self-reports aren't a good enough basis for me to trust a guy in a real-world situation where something important is at stake. I want to see more evidence than that before I trust anyone with anything real."
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:48 AM on November 20, 2012


Not me. I was pure as the driven snow. Alas, wasted youth...

I was also a total goody-two shoes, didn't kiss anyone until I was 19 type, and I did all kinds of stuff I'm not proud of. I mean, I'm not exactly going to brag to people about how I didn't have a girlfriend, but instead had a girl whose papers I wrote and then pined for while she was off with her boyfriend. Celibacy isn't exactly a perfect solution for teenage regret.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:58 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, the thing(s) I miss most about being single is not sex (although some would be nice) is making out and cuddling up in bed before sleep.
posted by Samizdata at 11:12 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's worth noting that Casanova and Don Juan were considered notorious for the sexual excesses, not typical.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:24 AM on November 20, 2012


I, for one, am looking for something more formal, more like an evening-coat, white glove type affair where we exchange dance cards and I get to wear a monicle.

It seems that you were never part of cotillion. There, young men and ladies (middle-school aged, if I recall my odd year-long experience correctly) are taught how to behave, complete with the young ladies wearing gloves, and the young men taking them in an appropriate fashion. And we danced with plates on our heads, to master posture or something. But I didn't see any monocles.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:18 PM on November 20, 2012


"Guys get something out of relationships; they like relationships."

True, but that doesn't mean that they enter into relationships because they want a relationship, exactly. You can serve someone up a kale and rocky road sundae, but that doesn't mean that they won't pick around the kale as much as possible, even if it's potentially good for them.

"a lot of guys have the sense that this girl they’re starting to date at 17 or 19 or 21 probably isn’t going to be the one — and yet they are choosing to date . . . they’re consistently choosing to be in relationships."

So, why dating instead of random hookups and prostitutes? Because, random hookups are not all that easy to get with any degree of quality, prostitutes are an expensive, sordid, oftentimes unflattering way to get off, and neither necessarily provides a guy with what they want. (Though random hookups come closer.)

A guy wants a woman to want them for as long as they want that woman themselves... after which point they'd just assume that there's a happy, amicable moving on.
They don't want a pressure-y, stalkery, clingy, jealous ex, but they would kind of prefer them to keep themselves available, and be open to more sex later, should the guy want that. Or maybe a threesome, even. Most guys would really like that in an ex... but yeah, ideally, they want a validation of their superior appeal.

That's why hook-ups are better than hookers, but not as good in many cases as relationships. Sex is both physical and emotional. It doesn't have to be about love, but sex without desire or sex that feels entirely too calculated is like ice cream without the hot fudge, whipped cream, and nuts. They want women who want them, not their pocketbook. And they don't want a woman to have casual sex with them, only to kick them out afterward. They want to feel wanted and #1... and don't want sexually promiscuous women who are as calculated about sex as guys tend to be. They don't want to feel judged or compared, and want to feel secure in their ability to get what they want from a woman as much as they want.... but not more. If casual hook-ups attracted a higher caliber of woman and had more effort made by the women as to ego stroking the men, their comfort, and their continued desirability... but with no pressure otherwise applied, more men would opt for hookups, because it would meet most of their needs. These are things that most prostitutes know and use in order to gun-up repeat business, but it's hard to be a whore, act like a whore, and not come off as a bit of a whore... even with a well-imitated golden heart.

So, yes... dating leading to relationships often seems like the best choice. They are certainly the most widely available option, with a larger variety... potentially leading to more women of particular appeal. However, there are countervailing pressures when it comes to dating, that both attract and repel men... so there's a bit of a mating dance, really. They enter in to relationships to get control of a stable supply of sex, emotional support, a comforting, homelike environment, or simply the ego stroke of ownership, even if they choose not to have sex or are generally cold and distant. A guy being cold and emotionally distant is understandable. He could be preoccupied, weighing his choices, less satisfied than he was at first after the initial rush of attraction, or simply not interested in dealing with a woman's clingy behavior. A woman being cold and emotionally distant is frigid and angry, and probably wants something out of the relationship that he clearly never signed up for, such as housework, more intimacy, more commitment, more dedication to the supposedly shared goals of the relationship, etc.

Really, guys enter into relationships as a way of getting their needs met, not all of which are sexual. However, those needs probably have little to nothing to do with getting married, raising children, visiting their partner's parents, going to company Christmas parties, etc.

In addition to all this, guys tend to be immature and not in touch with their sexuality or particularly aware of what they want exactly, especially when they are younger. A young woman's idea of dating and a relationship may be a young man's idea of experimenting. As such, if they happen to have sex with your best friend -- either male or female -- well... it's a victimless crime, really. Due to man's ability to justify most everything, while compartmentalizing practically everything, this phase could last awhile... say, 40-60 years. Rest assured, it's not personal. It's just sex.. unless it becomes a relationship. Either way, there is the distinct possibility of a continued sex life, especially if you're interested in a threesome. (Generally speaking, when it comes to a choice between two partners for men, the one who is open to a threesome wins.)

In short, guys can be real dicks. Women aren't much better, however... especially to each other.
posted by markkraft at 1:41 PM on November 20, 2012


(The short answer: It takes time for most men to like kale. It's an acquired taste. But properly prepared, it can be pretty tasty.)
posted by markkraft at 1:43 PM on November 20, 2012


*YMMV
posted by shakespeherian at 1:49 PM on November 20, 2012


Wow
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:49 PM on November 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


they enter in to relationships to get control of a stable supply of sex, emotional support, a comforting, homelike environment, or simply the ego stroke of ownership... really, guys enter into relationships as a way of getting their needs met, not all of which are sexual... guys tend to be immature and not in touch with their sexuality or particularly aware of what they want exactly, especially when they are younger...


OTOH, um, all of this applies to me, but I am a mostly heterosexual female of the species. So I am not sure where to go with this except that I think you might be missing some information or something.
posted by windykites at 2:02 PM on November 20, 2012


I want a stable supply of sex and emotional support is what I am saying here.
posted by windykites at 2:03 PM on November 20, 2012


"OTOH, um, all of this applies to me, but I am a mostly heterosexual female of the species. So I am not sure where to go with this except that I think you might be missing some information or something."

Actually, that makes perfect sense. Men are, in general, less dislike women than most women tend to believe. What's mostly different are the societal roles involved... and the effects of various hormones, of course.

They dance around each other, trying to get their needs met, which, oftentimes, leads to situations where neither party exactly gets their needs met... or even feels comfortable and secure enough that they can actually give voice to those needs.
posted by markkraft at 2:14 PM on November 20, 2012


My main stupid decision when I was 19 was deciding to do nothing, so ha! I get to resentfully envy you all!
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:03 PM on November 20, 2012


windykites: "But I think a lot of it is cultural; we're constantly bombarded with messages telling us about how men and women are different."

I keep thinking about this. I can't for the life of me dig up the comment right now, but I'm reminded of (what I think) was a quote from a linked piece about how few diverse representations of sexuality in the media, and how that lack of diversity included both queer folks and men who get major emotional meaning out of sex. I obviously wouldn't suggest the level of suppression or oppression there is equivalent, but I increasingly think they're closely related. The public and cultural conception of what sexuality includes is a (white) man giving gifts or attention to (white) women in exchange for sex, because those are the things men and women want. That's incredibly, incredibly damaging to everybody.

It occurred to me the other day how much having an open mind about kink has influenced my progressivism. Once I understood sexual feelings and activities as a really diverse set of gender identity and interests and feelings, it was much easier to subsume within that the idea that people are totally different from each other, are attracted to different kinds and genders of people, and get different things out of sex and really out of relationships.

And, yes, per the distinction between guilt and responsibility, it's on me as a man to call bullshit on this stuff, and particularly call bullshit on the men who perpetuate this stuff. I have a lot less to lose. But I hope, when we actually do get our act together to call bullshit on this stuff, there will be someone there to listen.
posted by Apropos of Something at 6:03 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


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