Sex and Love
Just what makes a sexual relationship work? Is it the sexual connection? Or is it the emotional, spiritual and physical connection, of which sex is but one part?
At first sight this may seem like a silly question.
After all, there are many things that men and women share when they're in a relationship: emotional support, companionship, friendship, raising children, working towards a joint vision....but consider this: how many men would get into a relationship if there were no sex involved?
What would be the attraction?
To put it another way, why do men chase women, court them, try to impress them so much, and woo them in every conceivable way possible? Sex.
Cynical? Maybe. But it makes sense, biologically.
A man is programmed by millennia of evolution to try and spread his seed: a woman is programmed to be more resistant to his advances, to make the man court her and prove his worth before she risks getting pregnant: after all, she wants to know if he'll be around to help protect and provide for her and the child after the birth.
In purely evolutionary terms, he's more likely to stay around if she (and any other woman) makes him work hard before he is allowed to have sex - he has less chance to impregnate other women, and more to lose if he abandons the new mother.
This view of the two sexes is based on socio-biology, where the object of all sexual behavior is to pass on the genes to the next generation, and the interests of the two sexes may actually be different.
Males want to spread as much seed around as possible, and probably not hang around looking after the offspring; females want a reliable male who can protect and provide for the offspring, thereby protecting their very considerable investment of time and energy in the offspring.
But we are not animals, after all, we are human, and love takes us from the realms of socio-biology into the realms of what makes us human. Do animals feel love?
Well, who knows, but humans do, and being in love is one of the great rewards of a relationship - the excitement, the fluttering heart, the breathless idealization - a fantastic experience, and one to be savored.
But the real work starts when the love has become more realistic, and the beloved is seen for the fallible human he or she actually is.
And with the dawning of reality comes a whole new set of problems: communication!
Men and women are very different creatures, as any man or woman who has come up against the entrenched behavior of the opposite sex will readily testify.
Such differences are summed up in a whole industry of self-help books: "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus"; "Why Men Don't Listen And Women Can't Read Maps"; "You Just Don't Understand"....and so on and on and on.....it's all there, in minute detail, purporting to explain why men and women can't communicate and find each other's behavior and attitudes so frustrating. Do such books help us?
I guess they do, for they emphasize the fact that we do communicate differently, man and woman, and some understanding and tolerance is needed to ensure that two people in a relationship are meeting each others' needs.
Why is there this difference, though? What is it for? (A typically male question...based on men's programming to look for purpose in everything.)
Maybe it isn't for anything - it's just the by-product of the fact that we develop differently. Males and females both have testosterone in their systems, but males have far more of it, and it does affect the way a baby boy's brain develops.
Indeed, the degree of masculinization of the male brain is directly related to the amount of testosterone in a baby boy's system.
This has a big impact on how he functions as an adult. Testosterone wires up the brain so that men can do different things to women.
And if they stick together for long enough to have a child.....then a whole set of issues arise around the relationship during pregnancy. For one thing, how will they feel towards each other? How will they manage their sex life?
Sex during pregnancy is not necessarily an easy course to navigate, but with good communication and openness, a man and woman can ensure their relationship not only continues but flourishes.