I subscribe to several men’s magazines for my husband. He usually ignores them, so I read them; largely to keep myself abreast of articles that pertain to men’s health. In addition, one of these magazines sends online material. I get a particular thrill out of reading these as if I am stepping behind a curtain, the shower curtain in the gym as it may be. The very sense of being on "other" territory is titillating. I feel rather like a spy.
So, what are they thinking? What are they plotting?
It was worse than I expected.
The lads at a certain magazine believe they have cracked the code on the brain – the female brain. Every generation of men thinks they have done this. Goddess must sit back and laugh. There were all kinds of interesting tidbits that sounded more like how to fine tune your computer’s clock speed or your Mustang’s carburetor, but this was to be applied to that ‘other thing’, a woman; maybe one just captured by sleight of hand at a bar, maybe a girlfriend or a wife.
Amused, but my curiosity piqued, I read on. There were tips on manipulating her dopamine levels. My nose wrinkled. It is not so simple to manipulate oneself in this way, let alone other people. The boy geniuses at the mag never considered that for all the millions of women on SSRIs or the new SNRIs in this country, these dopamine tricks would not work. These gals have been chemically altered.
Perhaps this explains the article on "the rise of fembots" I read recently with much awe and not a little consternation. Is this the neuro-chemical effect of a generation of teenagers put on Prozac? Still, SSRIs will make a woman’s dopamine flatline, causing emotionally flat affect, lack of sexual desire, difficulty with arousal, and difficulty with orgasm. I would say this is an evil plot to neutralize women’s sexuality, but it puts an end to the happy-hydraulics of men as well, which is not good either. Serotonin exists in opposite relationship with the neuro-transmitter dopamine. You need dopamine to experience the emotion of romantic love. Then, we came to the voles…
I believe that as long as there has been a patriarchy, generations of men have applied themselves to the task of building a better mousetrap – er – chastity belt. They of course cleverly tried to keep themselves on the outside of such bear-traps, and pocket the key as well if they could; which is where paradox, bitter irony, and unmitigated disaster reign until the next batch of lads say, “You old fogies had it all wrong! This is the way!” and it begins again.
Well, the brave new 21st century lads at this magazine are dying to tell you about the mating neuro-chemistry of voles. Now, a vole is a charming creature, vaguely related to a prairie dog or the average editor at a magazine who would promote such sociopathic advice as they gave, not to have a better sexual relationship with a woman, but how to attempt to manipulate her neuro-psychologically to be "addicted to you" while teaching you how to keep yourself far away from such an effect. Of course, you wouldn’t want that, they suggest with a wink. You’re a man, not a rodent, right? Right?
The neurotransmitter in question is oxytocin, the primary bonding chemical. It bonds women to men (and men to women, the dips) and women to their children. Kissing a woman’s breasts sends neurological signals to the brain and clitoris and releases oxytocin. Cuddling with your mate is good for your relationship, making you both feel bonded and safe and connected. But this is not what the voles writing the article had in mind.
They suggested that as a woman’s orgasm releases oxytocin in her brain, a man should craftily climb onto the back of her legs after this event and massage the muscles in her spine in little circles going up to her neck, making sure to stay clear of this himself, natch.
The cunning plan is not to relax her, give her pleasure, or show her love. The reason was to attempt to have the effect of manipulating her body into producing more bonding chemical to cause a neuro-psychological "addiction" in her brain beyond her conscious control (ah, the dream springs eternal) thereby ensuring not only her fidelity, but her slavish devotion, all the while steering clear of such deadly effects himself; the better to chase Fifi, Muffie and that hot new intern at the office.
The writers and editors assure a bloke that he can actually do this (practically and ethically), control the woman like a Stepford Wife with a control manual and then be non-monogamous himself, feeling tipsy with methanated power that he has assured the woman’s sexual servitude with only a few handy tricks and tweaks worthy of Popular Mechanics. Zombified from his manipulations and tripping from an overdose of oxytocin, she will presumably stumble past even more handsome and eligible men, and he can sleep at night.
The reality is more like this. Yes, when women orgasm, oxytocin is released. If all other systems are go, she may be bonded to you, which means she will also become protective, possessive, and madly jealous. Jealous as in "hell hath no fury." I promise. This can turn what a guy thinks he has neatly compartmentalized as a casual booty call or fuck buddy into something entirely different (in her brain) and can become major drama if he happens to find "the one". Just try telling SuzyQ she was just a booty call then. I wouldn’t want to be there.
The situation recalls The Magician’s Apprentice. Things get very out of hand. There are just so many possibilities for this to explode. It is sad that men’s magazines would suggest to men that they could control women neuro-endocrinologically, while keeping emotionally removed and immune themselves. This is not about love or giving pleasure. It is about a pathetic attempt at the usurpation of sexual relations for dominance and control, feeding into men’s lowest, most fearful base cultural conditioning of controlling women’s sexuality while having theirs uninhibited.
Even if you could do that – which as I explained, would backfire spectacularly – it’s so crassly manipulative as to be sociopathic. It’s just totally gross, with major jerk factor. I expect such from my husband’s multiply divorced friends, who still don’t get it. The paradigm, idea and application are wrong. They end up losers in the end. Detached and manipulative in the bedroom, they are endlessly paranoid as to whether their woman is glassy-eyed under their sexual control, while they hope to furtively bang someone else in the supply closet.
It is never wise for men to play women. Play at your own risk. Once a woman learns you are not faithful, there will be hell to pay. I won’t even go there if she comes across a copy of that article and puts your ‘new moves’ in context.
Ultimately, if you betray her trust and are lucky, she may punish you and keep you on a short leash. If you are not and she thinks you are not worth her emotional investment, aggravation, and assaults on her self-esteem, she may head for other pastures with less well-informed and crafty stallions, leaving you to figure out why that radical vole-trick-neuro-control panel-chastity belt tip not only did not work, but blew up in your face.
When are men going to learn that they have as much chance of controlling women as they have of controlling cats?