For centuries the male sex-role has been that of initiating sexual activity and persuading the female to accept his sexual advances and co-operate in his subsequent sexual activities. Put simply, the male has the active sex-role, the female the passive sex-role.
This identification as active or passive, which has been brought about by complete ignorance of or incomplete understanding of the nature of male and female sexuality, has had a tremendous influence on the sexual functioning of male and female, and is still the source of feelings of sexual inadequacy in both sexes, which lead to sexual malfunctioning.
In the other compartments of living, discrimination between men and women has largely been based on the difference in physical strength of the male and female.
The man hunts, goes to war, performs the heavy manual tasks because he has the superior muscular strength and powers of endurance. Somewhat strangely, his superior physical strength the male has equated with superior intellectual qualities, so he has allocated to himself the direction of business operations, and other spheres of productive activity.
While it is true that his superior skill for physical stamina fits him for soldiering and heavy manual tasks, in the last three-quarters of a century women have been proving that they possess intellectual qualities which fit them for certain spheres of activity on equal terms with men.
Naturally men have resisted the encroachment of these spheres by women, but they are now in retreat on several fronts. But whatever the merits or demerits of the arguments which men have used to make for themselves a male-dominated society, the sexual relationship is, and always has been, the one sphere of human activity in which superior physical strength is not a valid argument for male sexual superiority.
Certainly the internet has provided a forum for male pick up artistry to develop – it’s a mostly misogynistic form of sexual seduction, if not coercion.
Lovemaking and intercourse are no more arduous physical undertakings for women than they are for men. This being so, the allocation of active and passive sex-roles has no logical basis.
More than forty years ago I arrived at this conclusion as a result of my own marital sexual experience, when I persuaded my wife that she had an equal right to intitiate sexual activities and to be the active partner from first caress to orgasm whenever she wished.
I made only one stipulation which was that if she assumed this equal right, she also had to assume the equal responsibility that went with it, to make herself as skilled in the art of practical lovemaking as I tried to make myself; in other words, that she should make love to me to give me as much physical pleasure as I tried to give her when I took the active role. I am now firmly convinced that this interchange of sex-roles is one of the great preventatives of sexual boredom in marriage.
It then occurred to me that what was so clearly a great asset in my own sex-life could also benefit any other couple who adopted our sex-behavior pattern.
I was not so presumptuous as to imagine that we were the discoverers of the workability of this interchange of sex-roles, nor that we were the only couple conducting our sex-lives in this way; but I did know from my counselling that it was not widely realized that the traditional sex-roles were capable of being interchanged nor how beneficial it could be to the promotion of sexual happiness.
Though I appreciated that in the sexual atmosphere of the late ’50s it was a fairly revolutionary idea, I decided, nevertheless, to put it before the public.
Certain events had already persuaded me to write about sex in a way that was different from all other sex advice, in that it would be directed almost exclusively to the woman instead of to the couple, and it occurred to me that this would be a good forum in which to expound my ideas on the sexual equality of men and women.
So my thesis: The sexual relationship is an equal relationship with equal responsibilities for both partners. Specifically the wife should not be the permanently passive partner in the sexual relationship.
If at any time she feels she would like to indulge in intercourse, and her husband gives no sign of making any approach to her, she should not hesitate to take the initiative herself. In this way she can procure for herself what she does not yet possess in the sexual aspect of her marriage – equal partnership.
Many men, and some women, have been so conditioned in their sex-role identity that they find it impossible to vary from it without their actual sexual functioning being affected. This is particularly so where the woman is so insistent on the equality of her sex-role with the male’s that she compels him rather than persuades him to meet her wishes.
Retarded ejaculation is where the man can make love but no matter how long he thrusts he does not reach the point of orgasm and ejaculation. Yet he can do so with self-masturbation. The cause of this failure, distressing and frustrating as all other failures of sex are, is almost invariably psychological.
Sometimes, it is because he harbors a grudge either against women in general or his partner in particular, and is punishing the partner by keeping from her the pleasure of giving him satisfaction. Often, a woman in such a relationship insists on usurping the male sex role persistently.
And a man who cannot undertake to carry out the male sex-role is held back by feelings that she is being dominant. She also has feelings that for a woman to behave sexually in this way as initiator, all the time, is wrong, as she has not equipped herself with adequate knowledge or sexual techniques, and she fears that she will never be as skilful as her partner. This makes her feel sexually inadequate.
Guilt on the part of both men and women can lead to problems which affect the sexual relationship, and indeed the relationship as a whole. They need not arise if persuasion, gentle and gradual, is used by the partner, for equality of the sex-roles, rather than single gender dominance is a form of coercion.
Considering people who, according to the acceptance of their sex-role, that is, will be held to behave normally. There are a number, however, who do identifying with the opposite sex.
Sidebar: Video – What Is Delayed Ejaculation?