As some of you may or may not have noticed, I previously recommended a post by @EccentricSiren entitled Women As Objects. It’s good food for thought, and I’ve long been concerned about how incredibly common it is for women to be viewed as sex objects or commodities rather than people. I’ve also long been concerned about how men are commonly viewed as utility objects or commodities rather than people, but for various reasons most people are disinclined to talk about that subject so much.
I was watching a video on YouTube, and came across a really interesting discussion about the nature of men’s fears and desires in relationships. In particular, I was struck by Frank’s idea that men and women are trained to accept substitutes for what we really want, which is love. He suggests that women are trained to accept objects such as flowers, or rings, or cars, or houses as substitutes for genuine love. Men are trained to accept physical affection as love, which would include hugs, kisses, and especially sex. As a result, neither men or women are getting the love and respect they need in a meaningful way. We’re often accepting the substitutes and then when those substitutes aren’t fulfilling, we either convince ourselves that they are fulfilling and ignore our deeper need or leave the relationship behind and try to find another that will meet that deeper need. We usually don’t. Most people just seem to keep trying the substitutes as they’ve been trained to do.
Frank’s point here reminded me a bit of a bit of a post I made back in August of 2008 about how we so often accept substitutes for what we need rather than the reality that meets that need. My hope is that those of us who want to have those deeper needs met in the context of a healthy relationship will be open to having the discussion about those without getting defensive and while being supportive of others. My hope is that we can move beyond relationships in which the love-substitute of objects and the love-substitute of sex are accepted as substitutes for the fulfillment of our deeper needs, and that we can move into relationships in which the focus is love and respect expressed in the form of acceptance and approval while letting the objects and sex take care of themselves, as Frank puts it near the end.
So do you agree with Frank that we often accept these substitutes for love? Do you want better relationships? If so, what can we do about it?