Swiss sexologists worry about kind/nice modern men who appear too afraid to have sex.

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:55 am

This is a google translated version of a Swiss newspaper article, which originally appeared in German.

Of course, a number of things don't translate correctly, including the title, which is supposed to be "Young men fail in bed - because they are too nice", not "too cute". Freudian Google, perhaps Wink Also, before I'm being attacked about things I did not say - I'm not agreeing with everything in the article, and a lot of nuance is certainly lost in translation. Still, interesting data point, in my opinion.

Since it's not possible to edit the translations on Google, here's a couple of roughly edited excerpts from the article. In the first one, a woman, Elisabeth Schütz, who's apparently in charge of the first academic programme in sexology in Switzerland, is quoted as saying:

"I'm a little worried about today's young men," says the expert in "Migros Magazine". They have to perform a lot more tasks/roles? than before. They want to have a carreer, look after the children, be house men and good lovers. It's too much for some. Schütz also believes that the men have been socialized too femininely: "Men have learned to sit while peeing, to be considerate, to be emphatic and talk about everything, which makes it harder for them to perform the seductive role of the man. "If a man (literally?) asks a woman if she wants to have sex, rather than to seduce her, the mood gets lost quickly. In the end, what women want is that their husband is the active party and shows how much he wants her."

...

Martin Bachmann, who does sexological counseling for the Zurich Men's Office confirms the phenomenon. He believes that especially men who were brought up to exhibit extreme kindness may have problems in bed: "The man must take the woman and actually penetrate her. That requires sexual confidence. But there are men who can not do this out of pure kindness. They fear to hurt the woman or to cross her boundaries." Especially very sympathetic and empathetic men were afraid to penetrate their partner.

Moreover, a lot of men would grow up in households, that would not relate to sex as something beautiful, pleasurable. "They are constantly warned to avoid pregnancies, the federal government warns with big campaigns against sexually transmitted diseases and sexual violence. That sex is actually precious gift, tends to be ignored, "says Bachmann."

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.20min.ch%2Fnews%2Fstory%2F30609495

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Post by The Wisp on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:12 am

First, your "excerpt" is like half the article Razz

Anyway, I wouldn't know about the Nordic-Germanic social context (do you, sam?), but I do think this can be a problem for anglo-sphere guys who were raised in very liberal and feminists areas and/or by very liberal and feminist parents.

I will quibble with the implication in the article that man=dominant and women=submissive, but even a sub man has to meet women, telegraph interest, penetrate here, etc.

Overall I was disappointed by the lack of substance in the article, no data or even testimonials from other experts.

What about it did you find interesting?
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Post by Chickpea Sarada on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:50 am

First of all, what is edX?  Is there anyone from Switzerland who visits these forums and may know whether it's a news site that is trusted by the general public or one that's not to be taken too seriously, like some tend to say about The Guardian?

I admit to rolling my eyes at it because it manifests some very common complaints among misogynists and anti-feminists.  "This feminist society is making men be more like women, the horror."  "Having to think about consent/empathy/equality/partnership makes me afraid to have any sex ever." "Women actually want to be dominated even if they won't admit it."

And as imperfect as Google's translation is, I sensed some machismo in the comments.


Last edited by Chickpea Sarada on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Guest on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:55 am

Makes me think of the current crisis in Japan re: soushoku danshi, or herbivore men. Not quite the same, but similar.

I can't say I think it's endemic to young men these days or anything, especially in the west, if only from the men my age that I know of. But I suppose I can see it as a trend that would be on the rise? I mean, I'm a pushover, but I'm a general pushover. Relationships / sex are just facets of my life affected by it. Laughing

It's funny though. That mention of growing up in a 'sex negative' household (to summarise the gist of that paragraph) makes me wonder. I definitely got conflicting messages as a child about whether sex was a good thing or not.

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:06 am

The Wisp wrote:Anyway, I wouldn't know about the Nordic-Germanic social context (do you, sam?), but I do think this can be a problem for anglo-sphere guys who were raised in very liberal and feminists areas and/or by very liberal and feminist parents.

I don't know Switzerland very well, my superficial understanding is that it seems to be a slightly more touch-averse society than Germany, or Britain, but then Switzerland is a multinational country, and I suppose both the French part and the Italian part of Switzerland will differ culturally from the German speaking part. As such, I don't know the extent to which any of this is scientifically comparable to any other culture, of course.

The WIsp wrote:I will quibble with the implication in the article that man=dominant and women=submissive, but even a sub man has to meet women, telegraph interest, penetrate here, etc.

I didn't get that - it seemed more like "masculine=assertive", "feminine=receptive". That's different, in my understanding.

The Wisp wrote:Overall I was disappointed by the lack of substance in the article, no data or even testimonials from other experts

Well, it's a news site. Not an in depth report, but, sure.

The Wisp wrote:What about it did you find interesting?

I found interesting that an academic sexologist would suggest these behavioral hangups, which certainly bear some kind of at least superficial resemblance to some aspects of dysfunctional male behaviour (nice guys) that was discussed here before, to be sufficiently common in the population she's aware of to be considered somehow "structural", regardless of what caused them - I'm emphasizing the latter, because the term feminism isn't mentioned once in the article, I think.

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:20 am

Chickpea Sarada wrote:First of all, what is edX?  Is there anyone from Switzerland who visits these forums and may know whether it's a news site that is trusted by the general public or one that's not to be taken too seriously, like some tend to say about The Guardian?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20_Minuten - "20 Minuten is distributed to commuters at over 150 train stations across the country. Since September 2004 the German-language edition has been the most widely read daily newspaper in Switzerland, surpassing Blick. The audited distribution in 2004 was 329,242 (WEMF AG) and it had a readership of an estimated 782,000. In 2010 its circulation was 494,368 copies, making it the most read paper in the country."

Chickpea Sarada wrote:I admit to rolling my eyes at it because it manifests some very common complaints among misogynists and anti-feminists.  "This feminist society is making men be more like women, the horror."  "Having to think about consent/empathy/equality/partnership makes me afraid to have any sex ever." "Women actually want to be dominated even if they won't admit it."

The term feminist isn't mentioned in the article, I think. "Feminised society" is different than "feminist society", I'd say. And I don't think the article says much of what you're reading. "The horror" seems only relevant with respect to the problem these men and their partners have. The other parts aren't about consent, but about how the sex-negative social discourse (including about sexual violence - not feminist, government sponsored according to the article) has also potentially dysfunctional consequences.

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:32 am

MapWater wrote:Makes me think of the current crisis in Japan re: soushoku danshi, or herbivore men. Not quite the same, but similar.

Yeah, very good point. On the other hand, in Japan, the sexless youth thing seems to be a problem for both genders for similar reasons. I've seen and read interviews with both young women and men who agreed that having a relationship, or even having a relationship only for sex, is considered too complex. Hence the whole Japanese "romance replacement service industry", which seems to be attempting to commodify parts of the humen experience that are considered to be only available for free by most people.

This complexity aspect is actually something the Israeli sociologist Eva Illouz mentions as one of the success factors for books like 50 Shades of Grey. She considers them self-help for people who are too confused by complexity of the communicative demands that are required today and would instead like to open contingency-spaces in which they don't have to constantly renegotiate but can actually succumb to the experience.

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Post by Chickpea Sarada on Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:55 am

Thanks for the link.  I noticed the format is "tabloid."

The word feminist is not used explicitly in the article, but like I said, the main ideas in the article are very commonly used by misogynists who blame feminism and "feminization of men" for a perceived downfall of society and men's sexual unhappiness.

You quoted this yourself (I'm just bolding for emphasis):

Schütz also believes that the men have been socialized too femininely: "Men have learned to sit while peeing, to be considerate, to be emphatic and talk about everything, which makes it harder for them to perform the seductive role of the man. "If a man (literally?) asks a woman if she wants to have sex, rather than to seduce her, the mood gets lost quickly. In the end, what women want is that their husband is the active party and shows how much he wants her."

I said "the horror" as a half-joke about how these people perceive it as terrible that men are exhibiting behaviors associated with women and femininity.

I've seen enough examples of these complaints to recognize them.

EDIT: And before you think I'm attacking you simply because I'm addressing you, I am simply pointing out where my points came from.
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Post by reboot on Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:12 am

20 Minutes is the equivalent of the NY Post or the now defunct Sun. Very sensationalized and simplistic (which is why I know it because it was the only German language newspaper that was simple enough for me to slog thorough when I was in Geneva), usually summarizing news from other sources, in this case Migros Magazine, which is sort of a lifestyle magazine http://www.migrosmagazine.ch/ , so take it for what. You can see 20 Minutes ranking in the Quality of Media yearbook linked at the bottom of this site: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamedia . So salt news from this source to your taste

And I am with Chickpea on the "horror" of men learning to be considerate and empathetic. And, frankly, if consideration and empathy trips up a person's seduction style that is probably a good thing because that style likely involved steamrolling someone's boundaries
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Post by BasedBuzzed on Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:00 am

Consideration and empathy include learning non-verbal signals and having confidence that your partner can indicate what she wants and doesn't want anyway.

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Post by Mel on Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:25 am

Yeah, I found this bit particularly squicky:

If a man (literally?) asks a woman if she wants to have sex, rather than to seduce her, the mood gets lost quickly. In the end, what women want is that their husband is the active party and shows how much he wants her.

Um, no, there are plenty of ways to ask a woman without losing the mood and plenty of women who don't "in the end" want their husband to be the primary active party. I have a huge problem with suggesting that there is no way of asking for consent while still being sexy (which implies it's unfair to expect people to ask for consent), and a huge problem with suggesting that all women want the same thing from their partners. What this woman is saying contradicts my lived experience as a woman, which means I can't trust any other broad statements she makes to be accurate.

Also, this:

The man must take the woman and actually penetrate her.

is factually incorrect. The man is not required to "take" the woman; last time I checked there were plenty of positions in which the woman is "taking" the man and controlling the penetration herself. Way to completely oversimplify sex in a way that reinforces this idea that there's only one way women enjoy it!

Finally, these parts:

They have to perform a lot more tasks/roles? than before. They want to have a carreer, look after the children, be house men and good lovers. It's too much for some.

Moreover, a lot of men would grow up in households, that would not relate to sex as something beautiful, pleasurable. "They are constantly warned to avoid pregnancies, the federal government warns with big campaigns against sexually transmitted diseases and sexual violence. That sex is actually precious gift, tends to be ignored, "says Bachmann.

sound strangely familiar. Oh, wait, that's because those are exactly the same issues women face. Women want to have a career, look after the children, be house wives and good lovers, and often find that too much. Women are constantly warned to avoid prengancies, STDs, and sexual violence, and often don't receive messages when growing up about sex being a beautiful gift.

I'm not saying it's good that some men are experiencing this too. But it's kind of ridiculous to focus on it as a men's problem. It's hardly fair that women have generally been expected to be the ones worrying about avoiding pregnancy, SIDs, violence, etc., for example--men should be equally concerned about all that, not continued to be let off the hook. So instead of suggesting it's a bad thing that men are facing these conflicts, how about we say it's a bad thing people are facing these conflicts, and try to find better ways of balancing responsibilities and pleasure for everyone?

Maybe that would be their solution, but the male-centric quotes and the way they're talking about these things as if they're brand new issues never seen before by other human beings is rather grating.
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Post by Suika on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:03 pm

Suppose that if men aren't getting confident in their capabilities to initiate something with the members of the other sex, will women automatically start picking up the slack? Not so sure about that.

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Post by kleenestar on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:13 pm

Some women will! Some of the rest will have less sex and/or fewer relationships. Some will have nothing change. I'm okay with that.
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Post by reboundstudent on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:19 pm

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:

This complexity aspect is actually something the Israeli sociologist Eva Illouz mentions as one of the success factors for books like 50 Shades of Grey. She considers them self-help for people who are too confused by complexity of the communicative demands that are required today and would instead like to open contingency-spaces in which they don't have to constantly renegotiate but can actually succumb to the experience.

Then she has never freaking read the books. Dear God, there was so much useless talking and talking and talking and talking in that freaking book. Jenny Trout (my favorite go-to reviewer for this series) spent most of the first book going "Where the heck is all the kinky sex?" I'd say sex makes up maaaaaybe 25% of the book; the other 75% is ruminations and endless "communication" about the relationship, the "damage" behind the kink , and just waffling back and forth. I mean, good Lord, the author actually fully spells out the "sex contract" in the book itself.

So, sorry, but reading "She considers them self-help for people who are too confused by complexity of the communicative demands" just made me laugh until my eyes rolled out of my sockets.

Swiss sexologists worry about kind/nice modern men who appear too afraid to have sex. Yuri-laughing-GIF_large

Also, quick anthropologist note here: we need to be very, very careful about transcribing our own cultural assumptions and readings onto other cultures. Japan absolutely has a relationship-problem among its youth, but beyond being a complicated social issues already, it's a social issue that is absolutely rooted in Japanese culture. Japanese culture can be very different from our own, even with a few filtered similarities. It's comparing apples and oranges. Swiss culture is probably somewhat closer, but it makes me very uncomfortable to even begin to comment on these sorts of discussion without some kind of background in current Swiss society norms and expectations.
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Post by Suika on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:21 pm

kleenestar wrote:Some women will! Some of the rest will have less sex and/or fewer relationships. Some will have nothing change. I'm okay with that.

Can't say that I look forward to the risk of more people ending up like me though.
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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:36 pm

Mel wrote:So instead of suggesting it's a bad thing that men are facing these conflicts, how about we say it's a bad thing people are facing these conflicts, and try to find better ways of balancing responsibilities and pleasure for everyone?  

Maybe that would be their solution, but the male-centric quotes and the way they're talking about these things as if they're brand new issues never seen before by other human beings is rather grating.

Yeah, I had the same thought when I read it: this multiple responsibility thing (Madonna/whore/mother/child/sinner/saint) has been talked about with respect to women for ages. I didn't get the impression that they're denying that, though, they're just looking at one side because it's apparently a new phenomenon - sexual/romantic dysfunction in men due to socio-cultural narratives/pressures.

Mel wrote:Um, no, there are plenty of ways to ask a woman without losing the mood and plenty of women who don't "in the end" want their husband to be the primary active party.

Based on my lived experience, I would say there are a few (not plenty) ways to ask without losing the mood, and a fair number (not plenty) of women who don't want men to be the primary active party. But yes, while I would say that plenty of women exhibit a difference between actual and stated expectations towards masculine role performace, it's definitely more complicated than alluded to in the article.

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:55 pm

reboundstudent wrote:Then she has never freaking read the books.

I guess she has.

http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/H/bo18232225.html

reboundstudent wrote:the other 75% is ruminations and endless "communication" about the relationship, the "damage" behind the kink , and just waffling back and forth.

That's what she feels is so critizised maybe not *in* the book, but *by* the book (50SoG). "Hard Core Romance" is actually very interesting because it really gets down to a lot of the consent discussions on a philosophical level: There *is* an inherent conflict between what she identifies as major social narratives in the West - romantic love (since about 1800) and personal autonomy (post WW2) - love is *defined* by giving up autonomy, autonomy is defined by not allowing love. "Consent" is entirely about autonomy, and it requires constant renegotiations, and that creates complexity, and certainly often confusion that was not present before - to be sure, usually at the expense of women who did not consent. But now books like 50SoG and all the others indicate that the communication requirements seem to be too much for many people, including women. And we don't really know how to rebalance the will to autonomy with the desire for succumbing to being desired (going back to the article now: also because the male performance of absolute imperative desire is even more impeded by constant communicative requirements.) The appeal of BDSM/50SoG is thus the creation of a pre-defined zone of acceptance in which consent is considered to be given until actually revoked (by safeword).

Also, quick anthropologist note here:  

Sure.

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Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:13 pm

kleenestar wrote:Some women will! Some of the rest will have less sex and/or fewer relationships. Some will have nothing change. I'm okay with that.

I don't know what the distribution is/will be. But I think it's hardly deniable that more and more people seem unhappy about their love/sex-life, both women and men. Now, that may be a matter of people speaking up who didn't have a chance before and everyone noticing now something that was always present. But both women and men complaining about mens gender role performance abilities is something I think is a new phenomenon. And I don't think most people will be ok with that.

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Post by UristMcBunny on Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:50 pm


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Post by Guest on Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:50 pm

reboundstudent wrote:Also, quick anthropologist note here: we need to be very, very careful about transcribing our own cultural assumptions and readings onto other cultures. Japan absolutely has a relationship-problem among its youth, but beyond being a complicated social issues already, it's a social issue that is absolutely rooted in Japanese culture. Japanese culture can be very different from our own, even with a few filtered similarities. It's comparing apples and oranges. Swiss culture is probably somewhat closer, but it makes me very uncomfortable to even begin to comment on these sorts of discussion without some kind of background in current Swiss society norms and expectations.  

For the record, that's why I said it's similar and not the same. Japanese culture is very different from Australian culture, Swiss culture, American culture etc. On face value, the Swiss issue and the Japanese issue look similar in results but what led to those results are, yeah, going to be culturally rooted somehow. When it comes to Japan, the roots run deep.

I can only really speak on the Japanese side of things anyway and not in any real authoritative capacity. It would be interesting to hear what a Swiss person thought of this apparent problem though.

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Post by kleenestar on Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:18 pm

What bugs me about the article is that it frames the problem as "niceness" and "kindness" when in fact it seems to me like profound self-absorption. I don't disagree that there's a problem - I just think the problem is actually continuous with other consequences of how we fail to teach men actual empathy (rather than a failed, narcissistic approximation).
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Post by The Wisp on Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:31 pm

kleenestar wrote:What bugs me about the article is that it frames the problem as "niceness" and "kindness" when in fact it seems to me like profound self-absorption. I don't disagree that there's a problem - I just think the problem is actually continuous with other consequences of how we fail to teach men actual empathy (rather than a failed, narcissistic approximation).

I would think a narcissist would be the last person to suffer from performance anxiety...
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Post by StrangePanda on Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:19 pm

It's disturbing for me to read "man must take the woman" like it's some act of conquering a land by force. Why not consider sex as an act between two equal people where sometimes it's the man who takes the leads and sometimes it's the woman? * And even if the woman doesn't like to take the leads, it's not like she is some passive thing who must be taken.
Another thing: why is the author  referring to being "kind and nice" as a bad thing? What, you can't be a good person and a good active lover at the same time?
Really sceptical about this article.  innocent


*Assuming we're talking about regular non-kinky sex.

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Post by reboot on Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:44 pm

The Wisp wrote:
kleenestar wrote:What bugs me about the article is that it frames the problem as "niceness" and "kindness" when in fact it seems to me like profound self-absorption. I don't disagree that there's a problem - I just think the problem is actually continuous with other consequences of how we fail to teach men actual empathy (rather than a failed, narcissistic approximation).

I would think a narcissist would be the last person to suffer from performance anxiety...

Ahh, but narcissists fear criticism and have a constant need for attention and admiration, so that can contribute to performance anxiety, especially if their partner makes requests of their own or has differing interests. Do not mix narcissism up with confidence.

See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001930/
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Post by The Wisp on Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:54 pm

reboot wrote:
The Wisp wrote:
kleenestar wrote:What bugs me about the article is that it frames the problem as "niceness" and "kindness" when in fact it seems to me like profound self-absorption. I don't disagree that there's a problem - I just think the problem is actually continuous with other consequences of how we fail to teach men actual empathy (rather than a failed, narcissistic approximation).

I would think a narcissist would be the last person to suffer from performance anxiety...

Ahh, but narcissists fear criticism and have a constant need for attention and admiration, so that can contribute to performance anxiety, especially if their partner makes requests of their own or has differing interests. Do not mix narcissism up with confidence.

See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001930/

Okay, so then that part makes sense, but still, on the other part of Kleenestar's post, I wouldn't think empathy would help with performance anxiety at all, and perhaps worsen it (given that having empathy isn't necessarily the inverse of narcissism, you can have little empathy and not be narcissistic).
The Wisp
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Swiss sexologists worry about kind/nice modern men who appear too afraid to have sex. Empty Re: Swiss sexologists worry about kind/nice modern men who appear too afraid to have sex.

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