Why do hardly any straight men write about sex and dating? – The Guardian
For every date a heterosexual woman goes on there is, for better or worse, a man there. But while women produce a wide and varied literature about this experience, from dating columns to films, there is hardly any personal writing by straight men about their sex, dating and relationship lives at all. There’s Karl Ove Knausgård. But you could list women writing in this genre for hours. Nora Ephron, Anaïs Nin, bell hooks, Elizabeth Gilbert, Dolly Alderton, Candace Bushnell, and so on.
Men date. Men fall in love. So where is the writing from men about these experiences? There are a few basic dating and sex advice columns aimed at straight men. Rhys Thomas writes Hey Man for Vice, Justin Myers wrote one at GQ for a while. Perhaps this is the masculine mode: anonymously ask a question, get a straight answer. Elsewhere, it feels like affairs of the heart are snuck into writing directed at straight men like vegetables into a child’s dinner. A recent New York Times article about the podcaster Scott Galloway noted that he smuggled relationship content into advice about career paths. And of course, as so many young men are doing of late, you can dive headlong into the cesspit of woman hacking, care of professed misogynist Andrew Tate. But that isn’t exactly what I had in mind.
It may be that the only group of people gagging for a dating column by a straight man are the women who date them. I know that men have fascinating thoughts about their romantic lives, and I love talking to my straight male friends about it. Recently I’ve been talking to them about the difference between what a man “settling” and a woman “settling” might look like; someone’s theory that culture has massively overstated the degree to which straight men want to have sex; someone else’s that straight men are talking about a different experience when they use the term “heartbreak” than women are, and so on.
When I asked them why they think the straight man relationship writing genre doesn’t exist, they were unanimously of the view that it just wouldn’t work. “I would see a dating column by a straight dude as undignified,” one said. “If it’s going well, it comes off braggy and vulgar, and if it’s going poorly, stop whinging in print.” So maybe it’s not surprising that a lot of male writers wouldn’t touch this subject with a bargepole. “Paradoxically, the sort of men who have the insight and sensitivity to write well about that experience preclude themselves from doing it exactly because of the sensitivity and awareness that would make their writing insightful,” another friend argued.
There are reasons to do with the history of this particular literary form, as well. It may be that, for a number of fair reasons, women are allowed to denigrate men …….