In conversations about sex, a major complaint is that heterosexual men become preoccupied with how a female body looks. They focus their rapt attention only on physical ideals. Nothing else seems to matter to them. Eventually this cultural indoctrination renders a man incapable of appreciating “real” women with “real” bodies.
I am a man. Hard as I try not to take this allegation personally, I usually take it personally. The allegation does not describe my consciousness, but I still think women believe that it does—because I am a man, and that’s the way men are.
It’s something like hearing people in other countries say that Americans are all ugly, ruthless, violent, mercenary, uncaring. What? Huh? Me? No!
Men’s lust is often portrayed as robotic, as part of the program that controls human males. There’s the visual cliche of the pretty woman walking down the street and men train their eyes on her like automatons. There’s even a pithy film out there to show how obnoxious this can be for a woman having to endure stares, catcalls, and annoying propositions.
So I wonder: what’s good for men (or more specifically for me) about being attracted to women? (I’ve thought of lobbying God on this issue I would love to see a new on/off switch for this attract-o-meter feature. It would be great to turn it off and be apathetic to attraction.)
WHAT IS HUMAN NATURE?
We have culturally dumbed down the portrayal of sexual attraction to a cartoon level stereotype — eyes rolling, tongue wagging, steam pouring out of ears. Basic carnal stupidity in the face of feminine beauty (often the feminine parts are stretched to new and even more ridiculous dimensions.)
But in the world of my night dreams, sexual attraction is often quite different than in physical life. It does not follow the same social conventions. Furthermore, the whole erotic dance in my dreams can be so different than anything on the earth plane.
In a dream I met a beautiful woman in her thirties or so who was very affectionate. We met in the parking lot of a supermarket and then met again inside the store. Without any special fanfare we began quite naturally kissing and rolling around on the floor of the market. I became fascinated with her body, particularly the tanned and intricately freckled skin of her arms.
In my dream my instant lover’s body fascinated me — yet it was intriguingly different than the cliches of sexual attraction in physical life.
She did not act seductively. She did not make ooh faces or display her breasts with come-hither stares. My attraction to her was force-of-nature natural. Being intrigued with her freckles was like being awestruck by a waterfall or sunset or seascape. The fascination seemed more like the powerful urge to discover and explore uncharted wilderness.
IN MY DREAMS
Erotica in my dreams is not so much “What does this woman’s body look like?” It’s not “How does her body measure up to my ideals?” It’s not “What can this body do for me?”
It’s more like being attracted to the beauty of nature. It’s like coming to a creek in the middle of the woods. An inner and possibly outer smile blooms. I get excited and want to take it all in. I pay rapt appreciation to the sounds of the flowing water, the reflections in the pools, the patterns of the light shining through the trees, the variety of plants that grow nearby. Ultimately it’s not just each component part but the entirety of the experience.
My dreams sometimes include a pseudo-flesh presence. Certain acts are accompanied with flesh-like sensations. Sometimes in dreams I can feel a kiss and even taste it. Sometimes I can smell things. But I often also do things impossible to do in physical life, like float airborne in a scene.
The scenes are usually devoid of the sexual politicking so common in relationship sex. There’s no bargaining, no calculated seducing. Love scenes seem so much more like true love even when meeting strangers or instant intimates. We seem to know each other even before introducing ourselves. I’ve never felt such instant love rapport as I do with the women in my dreams.
The attraction I feel in dreams seems so much more clearly about energy than flesh. I’m drawn to a woman’s vibration, not to her matter.
The rewards are different than in physical sex. Even during sex dreams where I experience something like an orgasm, the reward is primarily emotional. It is a full-blown love rush even with strangers. It expresses a feeling of universal harmony that I so cherish, a hunger for inclusion so often denied in our everyday competitive society.
Of course in night dreams there is no actual flesh to distract from the emotional rapport. There is only pretend flesh, like an imaginary friend. But dream sex is reminds me of all that goes on at the deeper feeling levels of physical sex. We’re often lulled into thinking that what we want out of sex is physical stimulation, but my dreams show me there is so much more to it.
Dreams show me that an emotional payoff dwells behind every physical desire. That payoff can be far-removed from the physical activity.
Dreams shrink time and space. Instant love happens because who wants to hang out through the long and winding road of romantic negotiation? Dreams are like fast forwarding to the good (or the bad) parts. Go for the gusto. In so doing they expose symbolic meanings more clearly.
Is hand-holding (or a kiss or a boob fondle or a tight squeeze) meaningful all by itself? No! It has a symbolic meaning that we each assign to it. This is most clearly shown in dreams where the environment is much more flexible that material reality. It’s that symbolic meaning that makes it compelling. That meaning varies from person to person and from situation to situation.
For one person it could be a sign of love. For another it could be sexual desire talking. For another it could be an invasion of privacy. And on and on.
In dreams, where there is no actual physical stimulation going on, the symbolic meaning becomes more clear since you can’t be sensually sated in the dream state.
In this way, physical bodies hold metaphysical symbolism. Dream sex is often more interesting to me than physical sex because these symbolic meanings take center-stage. (Granted that in my current circumstance, there isn’t much for dream sex to compete with.)
MAKING ATTRACTION ATTRACTIVE
I often think about how attraction plays out in the physical world. If it is reduced to a robotic response, just a “you look marvelous” kind of thing, I can see how women would feel as if they were commodities on display and for sale at Costco. I think that’s where the dumbed down version of sexuality we so often get is harmful to both men and women. It does not include the richness of meaning.
The pain out there from this paradigm is enormous. Some hate being regarded as “beautiful” or “sexy” when they’d much rather be regarded for their minds and souls — or just left alone. Others are deeply scarred from a history of being told they don’t have what it takes to be beautiful.
In my own personal universe, attraction is becoming much more like my dream state, which is to say it’s more of an emotional experience. When my attraction is welcome and appreciated, it’s a phenomenon that energizes me. My attraction for someone inspires an inner calling to join that being in a co-creation in whatever way is appropriate. It’s like seeing any other form of beauty and wanting to harmonize with it, often to become one with it.
The attraction that I feel in my dreams conveys to me that much is missing from the normal portrayal of attraction we’re taught to emulate in our cultural storytelling. We’re conditioned to objectify the physical and ignore the deeper meanings of this enchanting energy field.
I dream of changing that paradigm.