This is a letter man to man. It is about the topic that men are the least likely to keep their head on straight about: women. It includes a few big thoughts and a shocking admission. This might be a little early, you are only 10 months old. However, I do not know when you will start seeing what you will see or hearing rumors flying. If I know anything, it will be long before your biology catches up. It is best I have my thoughts together now. Don’t worry, I’m not going to write “the talk” in a letter. That would be wierd, but we do have some ground to cover.
Sex is broken in this country.
Let’s start at the beginning. All people have tremendous value. You have tremendous value, your sister has tremendous value. Everyone person, period. There is a war on that value and sex is a primary weapon, used in a million different ways, especially towards women. I’ve spent the better part of today reading the stories of hundreds of women who have shared their experiences of abuse, harassment, devaluation, fear, and pain. How could this happen? How is it that almost every woman out there, even your Mom, can say in one way or another “I’ve been there”? The short answer is bad sexuality.
Sex is not enough to make you happy.
In our time, people count on sex for fulfillment more than any time in human history. It is crazy town out there. In fact, the claims are so fundamental that it is a common conception that you can measure your manhood by measuring the length of a certain apendege or how often you use it. Do not buy it. False notions on manhood will make you miserable and likely crush a lot of of other people in the process.
Here is my shocking admission: I have only had sex with one woman, ever. It is fantastic and it is how we got you. I know gross, but deal with it. In the eyes of some, that might make me less of a man. For others, that might make me a purveyor of outdated ethics. But to your Mom, that makes me uniquely hers. The other opinions simply do not matter. What we have is not about guilt, shame or repression. It is about the abundance of joy we get to share with each other. Honestly, sex is an amazing thing when you do not have to be afraid of it.
Sex is not a weapon, so do not let it be.
With a “go with the flow” attitude you’ll almost certainly be drawn into and dragged down by the war to some degree. Here are some ways to fight it:
1. Refuse to value a person based primarily on their appearance. Reality is, in all likelihood, you will see women and be attracted to their bodies. That is not something to be ashamed of. However, if you pursue that attraction solely for a physical sensation you will only damage everyone invovled, including yourself. This is not about being a “nice guy”. It is the strength to relentlessly value the people in your life for the complete person that they are, not what they can do for you. All men worth admiring get this.
2. Refuse to label someone by their past, no matter how recent or extensive. Sexual experiences are already plugged straight into forming identity. No one needs the flurry of accusation and confusion that comes from a rumor mill. Eliminate words like “whore” and “slut” from your vocabulary. Take no part with people who try to sling shame and dispense judgement. Instead, remember that people are valuable, period.
3. Refuse to act on assumption. If you are confused, ask questions. If you want to know what a girl is thinking, do not guess based on the trash notions you find on the internet or through your friends. Just ask her. Most importantly, really listen. If the answer is not what you were hoping for, keep it together and move on.
Sex is a good thing
All this stuff can make you feel like an alien in your own world. It can make you feel like an alien in your own skin. You should know that sex is a good thing. When you get it right, as a consummation of a lifelong marriage commitment, it is amazing. There will always be men and women who use and abuse it, with heart breaking consequences. These are the type of men I have the painful responsibility to warn your sister about. That letter will come. However, perhaps when more young men and old men are willing to take a stand against sexual warfare, then the harassers, manipulators, shamers, stalkers, murders, rapists, and abusers will be exposed for what they are and will be stopped before they can hurt the valuable people we love.
I love you,