I do not believe that we are bestowing enough importance to what is happening in the intimacy of our married life and in amorous relationships in general. We are undergoing a revolution of the utmost importance, one which can be defined like this: in the past, life in common was based on the greater capacity for people to make concessions, to forsake personal desires and interests in the benefit of their partner aiming at harmony at any cost; nowadays our capacity to concede has been greatly reduced and the disposition we have now is for our wishes to be respected together with our interests and personal style of governing our life.
That may seem a little thing, but in reality it represents a fundamental alteration, because it is based on a change in the manner of thinking and experiencing the amorous phenomenon. The truth is that individualism is growing together with the technological progress that equipped us with the possibility of being entertained by television, computers, or individual sound appliances that we can listen to everywhere we go…
We can entertain ourselves more each time in the absence of company, and that has helped us to develop a tendency to become more selective about companionship. That is progress, it is a positive thing. Individualism is not selfishness, as many people believe. The egoist is not an individualist because he needs others to serve him! He favors group life because he will endeavor to extract advantage from the company of others.
The idea that reigned during the times of Romanticism – and that is living its last days – was that we are halves, creatures who can only be complete when reunited with their other half, their complement. This other half represented what we lacked: the lid to our pan or the other half of the orange that would round us up to completion. Different halves tended to attract each other more intensely, thus establishing the majority of marriages between very different persons; and even today things are still like that, although subject to a quick process of change. Of course life in common suffered because of great misfits and disagreements, and could only survive due to a great ability to make concessions by both people involved.
It is also appropriate to mention that, in these couples, almost always one partner made concessions and the other was demanding and imposed his own rhythm to their life in common. That is, the capacity for concession was always praised, but only one of the members felt obliged to concede. The more selfish partner always furthered his personal interests above those of the other members of the family. The generous partner conceded and the selfish one took advantage. The conceding member felt superior, better, more evolved, and the selfish partner judged himself the smartest because he obtained benefits more easily. The truth is that, one way or another, both became extremely interdependent. There can be no selfish partner in the absence of a generous companion and no generosity can be carried out when there is no selfishness to receive its favors. Reciprocal dependence happened because people could not imagine themselves without a partner. The reigning idea was that “it is impossible to be happy by oneself”. Halves do not support themselves unless they can lean on their other halves.
Thanks to the technological progress that has made us more competent to live alone, by and by we have discovered that we are not halves but whole persons! We are whole individuals who feel incomplete and experience emptiness in the “pit of our stomach”, but we are more conscious about being a unity instead of a fraction. The amorous relationship that is being born is, therefore, different from the Romanticism of the XIXth century and the beginning of the XXth. The rules of relationship are changing and are adjusting to the new times. Whole persons who encounter each other form more unstable couples, pairs that can separate.
We are faced with another important reason for the misunderstanding between the sexes. Again we stand before the complicated problem that consists in not knowing how to deal with our differences. These, when poorly understood, constitute an element for offense, humiliation and rejection. Women may have felt abused because their men wanted to possess them even against their will, while the men felt rejected because they did not find their women sexually inclined exactly “on that day”. It is important and urgent to be able to gather more information about how the sexual disposability of women varies during their menstrual cycle.
I do not believe that women feel interested in the exchange of erotic caresses during all days of the month because I do not believe that they live in a permanent “heat”. By the way, I find the word “heat” inconvenient and inopportune to describe what happens in our species. The fact that women provoke men on a permanent basis cannot be mistaken for what goes on in their intimacy. Of course, being rational beings, we can go way beyond what our biology commands. Thus, a woman can always have sexual intercourse, even during those periods that do not coincide with her greater inclination. That will happen when the desire to please her partner is bigger than the biological resistance that she might perhaps experience. Besides, it is probable that great individual differences exist concerning the intensity of sexual desire as well as the interference of the hormonal cycle on sexual inclination.
Translated by: Norma Blum