An Ordinary Man

Or, Men 101

Month: February, 2014

Condoms for “Crunchy” Women?

“He sipped the soft drink she had given him and looked out over the mountains of New Mexico, or maybe Colorado. Monogamy for him had never been much of an issue. He used to joke with Andrew that freedom from condoms alone justified it, but in truth he accepted it as something of a no-brainer. You couldn’t sleep with all the attractive women out there, you’d be likely to get hurt by women who finished with you before you were finished with them, your history would eventually become unpalatable to any woman other than those more promiscuous than you were, and would the conquest really be worth the effort if she considered you just the next one in a long line?”

There was an interesting article on, if you got past the somewhat off-putting title (“Move Over Trojans, Condoms Appeal to Crunchy Women“), discussing the impact of female purchasing power on condom manufacturing and marketing. The sad fact of the matter is that it often falls to the woman to protect herself from both pregnancy and STDs resulting from casual encounters these days and women seem to like gentler marketing and more environmentally-friendly construction (I guess that’s what’s meant by “crunchy” women – tree-hugging granola eaters?). An Ordinary Man argues that monogamy is the better route, especially if the woman is soft and tender.

Sustain condoms:
L. condoms:

Well, yeah ….

"You mean you don't?" (photo by Jason Edwards)

“You mean you don’t?”

Richard Wilson, the evolutionary biologist whose struggle with marital sexuality is explored in the novel An Ordinary Man, would be amused at the discovery of the black-tailed antechinus, heralded in a piece. According to the report, “[m]ales of the species mate so intensely that they die before their young are born.” The females of this species of marsupial apparently mate with many males over an extended mating season, storing the sperm until they ovulate, resulting in the birth of half-siblings.

“To raise their chances of siring more offspring, males mate for hours at a time with many females, Baker [Mammalogist Andrew Baker of the Queensland University of Technology] said. This sex bacchanalia sends the animals’ stress hormone levels skyrocketing, which eventually results in death.”

photo by Jason Edwards

“Life is short; have an affair?”

That is the motto, without the question mark, of, the notorious website enabling cheaters to cheat. Its founder, Noel Biderman, is profiled in today’s edition of The the New York Daily News. Interestingly, Mr. Biderman claims he has not cheated on his own wife, who, according to the photograph included in the article, is quite attractive.


Not surprisingly, she says she would be “devastated” if she caught him having sex outside their marriage and to his credit, he cites this devastation as one of the reasons he hasn’t strayed. But I hope she keeps in mind how he would feel if, for some reason, their marriage would slide into sexlessness. An ordinary man is just as devastated by celibacy as an ordinary woman would be by adultery. And, apparently, vice-versa; according to his statistics, what’s good for the gander is also good for the goose as an involuntarily celibate woman is also going to be tempted to cheat as well.

It’s one marital problem that is not impossible to resolve.

photo by

Alison Jolly (1937 – 2014)

Alison Joy, an American-born primatologist died in England the other day. In a quiet manner, she upended some basic tenets of evolutionary biology by studying lemurs in Madagascar.

“Writing in the journal Science in 1966, she suggested that the many hours lemurs spent in play, mutual grooming and social networking — activities that establish the social ties and hierarchies that determine access to food, mate selection and migration patterns — may have been as important to the evolution of intelligence as the development of weapons and tools of hunting and protection, then considered the hallmarks of evolutionary advance.

“More unnerving to colleagues was her discovery that in some primate species, females run the show. The finding upended a bedrock assertion in evolutionary biology — based on studies of chimpanzees and orangutans in captivity — that males dominated females in every primate species, including humans.” (NY Times)

"You're hot for me and I know it"(Flickr/Jasper180969)

“You’re hot for me and I know it”

More unnerving to male colleagues, I would guess. But I don’t think Mr. Darwin would have been surprised, and I’m sure an ordinary man like Richard Wilson wasn’t. Our social constructs all reflect the fact that women have what men want, and what, incidentally, men cannot give to women. That kind of power scares us.

Your Opinion, Please

One of the more controversial elements of An Ordinary Man comes when Richard and his wife, Liz, are discussing his friend’s philandering. His friend has told Richard that he feels he is doing his wife a favor by spreading out his sexual demands among several women. The friend’s wife has filed for divorce upon finding this out and Richard isn’t quite sure he thinks this is fair:

“Have you ever stopped to think maybe she’s violated her vows as well?”
“She’s cheating on him? With whom?”
“Not like that. She’s not cheating on him, she’s cheating him … Not having
sex within a marriage is as much cheating as having sex outside the marriage.”

In other words, Richard equates being involuntarily celibate because a wife has stopped providing sex with stepping out on said wife. A husband who steps out despite sleeping with his wife is a cad, but what is a wife who stops sleeping with a decent husband? A yes/no vote over-simplifies, of course, but assume an otherwise cordial, friendly, loving relationship.

Do you agree?

The Universality of Sex, Marriage & Cheating

One of the interesting things about a blog is the host, here WordPress, often allows you to see where the hits come from and yesterday, the Russian Federation rang in for the first time. The list so far:

United States
United Kingdom
Saudi Arabia
Republic of Korea
Russian Federation

While copies of An Ordinary Man have not been sold in all of those countries, it is some evidence of the universality of the theme of love and sex within a marriage.

We Know the Feeling

One of the themes of An Ordinary Man is the hold women have over men. An Arizona inmate, Joseph Dekenipp, demonstrated this quite convincingly by climbing two walls and crawling through razor wire – apparently suffering severe lacerations in the process – in order to meet his girlfriend at a saloon ten miles from the prison (did he walk that distance, bleeding?) on Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, his girlfriend reportedly arrived at the same time the cops did so they had no time together. And the escape is likely to add time to his sentence.

Richard Wilson understands and raises a glass in salute.

the romantic inmate

the romantic inmate

News Flash: Men Want Sex for Valentine’s Day!

None other than Time Magazine, quoting another source, discloses this startling fact:

“A new survey hints at one way couples can avoid breaking the bank this Valentine’s Day: Two-thirds of men and 30% of women say they’d rather have sex than get a gift for the holiday.”

Survey: Men Would Prefer to Have Sex on Valentine’s Day |

So sixty-six out of 100 guys are competing for the thirty out of 100 women. Best case leaves 36 guys – over 1/3 – disappointed. If you didn’t already know this, there’s a book you should maybe read ….

Comfort food, sex as

Whatever you think of her or her politics, Hillary Clinton is not a stupid person. Thus I found it interesting when a conservative online newspaper, Free Beacon, dug into some recently available papers of her late friend and confidant Diane Blair regarding Clinton’s reaction to her husband’s dalliance with Monica Lewinsky:

When Clinton finally admitted to the relationship after repeated denials, Hillary Clinton defended her husband in a phone call with Blair. She said her husband had made a mistake by fooling around with the ‘narcissistic loony toon’ Lewinsky, but was driven to it in part by his political adversaries, the loneliness of the presidency, and her own failures as a wife… Blair described the contents of the Sept. 9, 1998, phone call in a journal entry.

“[Hillary] is not trying to excuse [Bill Clinton]; it was a huge personal lapse. And she is not taking responsibility for it, …. But, she does say this to put his actions in context. Ever since he took office they’ve been going thru personal tragedy ([the death of] Vince [Foster], her dad, his mom) and immediately all the ugly forces started making up hateful things about them, pounding on them. They adopted strategy, public strategy, of acting as tho it didn’t bother them; had to. [Hillary] didn’t realize toll it was taking on him, … She thinks she was not smart enough, not sensitive enough, not free enough of her own concerns and struggles to realize the price he was paying.”

Hillary Clinton recognized the simple fact that for many men, sexual release – in and of itself – is the most fundamental comfort food. Did Hillary Clinton “deserve” to be cheated on? No, a vow is a vow. Were the chances she would be increased? Yes, a guy is a guy. Interesting indeed. An Ordinary Man explores this theme and many other aspects of male marital sexuality.

“Soul Mate in a Box”?!

An Ordinary Man details the struggle a married man, Richard Wilson, has with his unfulfilled sexuality, including the damaging effect his involuntary celibacy has on it. Thus it was interesting to see this piece, again in the NY Times (but this time in the Sunday Review) by Daniel Jones, on February 7, 2014, wherein he writes:

“We’re always searching for new ways of finding love that don’t involve having to feel insecure and vulnerable, because who wants to feel insecure and vulnerable? That’s the worst part of the whole love game, putting oneself out there to be judged and rejected. So when we get the chance to hide — whether through typed messages we can edit and control, or by saying whatever we’d like over Skype without expecting the relationship to ever turn physical — we’re freed from much of that anxiety, and we’re fooled into thinking this may be a better and truer way of having a relationship.”

The whole article is worth a read; click here for it. I’m guessing you’d rather have the real thing, though – wouldn’t you? I know Richard would….