"Other" Sex: Understanding Men and Women
A student from Rutgers University wants to know...
Men claim they are looking for independent women, yet when they get involved with one they often can't handle it and run away. Why?
Dr. Caron's Answer:
This is complicated. Some men may be genuinely interested in a relationship with an independent woman, while others may say they are and realize later they are really not. Keep in mind: We don't always look for what we really want; our desires may be elsewhere. It may be popular or "politically correct" to say you want an independent woman. In addition, we don't always consciously know what we really want.
A student from
UConn wants to know....
guys embarrassed to admit to being virgins?
give many, many social messages to boys as they are growing
up to be competent, to be knowledgeable, and to be in charge
- in such areas as sports, social performance, etc. Thus,
in this way, young men assume they are supposed to know
and be competent in everything - even in sexual matters
- before they have the experience. Everyone is a beginner
sometime. There is a first time and that can be very
from the University of Maine wants to know:
Why is it that men have a harder
time being close? Why isn't intimacy as important to them
as it is to women?
Dr. Caron's answer: I think it is just as important, but for
some men it is more difficult to show or express. Keep in
mind that, even today, many men do not get the opportunity
to build "intimacy skills" while growing up. Women
tend to have more practice in this area. Little girls are
allowed to stay close and connected to their mothers - while
boys are "pushed out of the nest" so to speak. Girls
are allowed to touch each other - while men can touch only
in specific situations (for example, during sports or during
sex). Research has indicated that women are more likely to
call a friend "just to catch up" - while men talk
to each other about doing things. It's more acceptable for
women to share feelings; many men are still being raised to
think it's "unmanly" to cry or say they feel hurt.
It takes time to unlearn some of these messages and to recognize
the benefit of feeling free to express yourself and feel close
to someone. Developing intimacy takes time. Fortunately, more
and more men are recognizing their desire to develop this
a student at MIT:
Why do women always want serious
commitments? I've never been able to have just a casual dating
relationship with anyone I've ever dated. Male, Junior
I think it's true, generally, that many (not all) women prefer
commitment to casual dating relationships. You should be clear
with yourself about what you want in a relationship. If what
you want is a casual friendship without a commitment, it is
important to be clear about this both with yourself and the
women you meet and date. Sometimes men implicitly make promises
about "always being there" for the other person
without realizing it. Some examples of "implicit"
promises include statements such as, "You're really special,"
"I've never met anyone like you before," or "I
can't wait to see you again." Think through your initial
relationships of the past and see if you have made such promises,
either verbally or nonverbally, in order to enhance you relationship
at the time.
from a student at Antioch College:
Are guys always ready for
sex? And why do most guys stop after they are satisfied?
In response to your first question: It's hard to generalize;
some men are and some men aren't. There are women who like
sex as much as men, and some women who like it more than men.
In response to your second question, some men stop after they
are "satisfied" because that's what they have learned. The
message has been that sex ends with his orgasm. If you are
experiencing this in your own relationship and it is a problem
for you, you need to communicate this to your partner. He
may not realize that his self-centered behavior bothers you.
There are other ways of experiencing sexual enjoyment together
where you can both feel satisfied.
from a student at the University of Maine: Why
do most girls say they want to have relationships with nice
guys but go out with jerks (and keep going back to them when
they treat them like dirt)?
Often, our past experience - even as children - preconditions
us to feel more comfortable, more at home, in destructive
relationships. People who have grown up with damaging experiences
often can change the direction of their lives with the help
of counseling. Of course, not every woman seeks this type
of relationship; but for those who do, counseling and psychotherapy
are often helpful.
from a student at Syracuse University: Why
do men use women for sex and how can a woman tell if a guy
is using her for sex before she sleeps with him?
Not all men use women in this way. Many guys want to have
sex only within the parameters of a meaningful relationship.
A meaningful relationship is not an instant achievement; one
doesn't develop a meaningful relationship at a single party,
in a casual conversation, or because you bumped into each
other in a bar. Friendships take a while to build, and develop
best on a basis of shared interest and experiences. If there
is no meaningful relationship and no friendship, there may
be no way for you to tell why another person wants to share
a sexual relationship with you.