I wrote an article, “The
One Thing Men Want More Than Sex Is The One Thing Women Find It Hard to Give,” that
has been read now by more than 3 million men and women. “How many times have we
heard the phrase, ‘All men want is sex?’ I asked in the article. “When I was 17
years old, I was sure it was true. When I was 37 years old, I suspected it
might not be true. And now that I’m 73 years old, I know it’s not true. Now
don’t get me wrong, sex can be wonderful at any age, but there’s something that
is more important than sex, but it’s something that men have difficulty
admitting and women have difficulty giving.”
Now, I want you to stay tuned, as Paul Harvey used to say,
“to the rest of the story.” It will help you understand why so many of us are
obsessed with sex, worry about our obsession, hunger for a great sex and love
life, but have a difficult time having it and keeping it alive. Stick with me
here. What I’m going to say may seem surprising and confusing, but it is
founded on facts and has been shown to be scientifically accurate.
I could build the suspense and give you the answer at the
end of the article, so I’d be sure you read the whole thing and were duly
impressed, but I suspect you’d like to hear it straight away: The single
most important fact about men is that we are terrified of being disrespected.
Men will kill and they will die, they will harm themselves,
other men, and the women they say they love because they are not getting the
respect they need. In his book, Violence: Our Deadly Epidemic and Its
Causes, James Gilligan, M.D. says, “I have yet to see a serious act of
violence that was not provoked by the experience of feeling shamed and
humiliated, disrespected and ridiculed.” He dissed me are fighting
words for insecure men.
Why are men so sensitive to being disrespected? To answer
the question, we need to understand the research findings of Dr. Roy
Baumeister. He found the answer to a simple, yet profound question. What
percent of our ancestors were women? It’s not a trick question, and it’s
not 50%. True, every one of us had a mother and a father, but some mothers and
fathers had more children than others and female ancestors had more children
than male ancestors. How much more?
According to Baumeister, the answer is something like 66 to
80% of our ancestors were women and only 20 to 33% were men. When I first heard
these statistics my first question was “Who the hell is Roy Baumeister and why
should I believe what he says?” Turns out, he’s is one of the world’s most
prolific and influential social psychologists. He has published well over 500
scientific articles and more than 30 books, including international
best-sellers Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength and Is
There Anything Good About Men? How Cultures Flourish by Exploiting Men.
Here are some of the important facts about men, women, sex,
love, and power:
- Sperms compete for access to the precious eggs.
A healthy adult male can release between 40 million and 1.2
billion sperm cells in a single ejaculation. Since only one lucky sperm will be
successful in making his way to that magical egg, there’s a good deal of
- Eggs are big and precious. Sperm are small
The very definition of male and female is related to the
size of the sex cells. Females are defined as the ones that make large sex
cells. Males are defined as the beings that make small sex cells. Although the
human egg is microscopic, it is large enough to house 250,000 sperm.
- In the animal, kingdom males compete for access
Imagine you’re a young stallion. Like all young males you
have sex on your mind. But in the world of horses, it is the alpha male who
rounds up the females and when they are in estrus has sex with as many of them
as he can. Most males don’t reproduce at all, so there is a fierce competition
to become the alpha male.
- From an evolutionary perspective, success is
measured by how many children you have who reach adulthood and have children of
Though we sometimes forget, we are part of the animal
kingdom and men and women are still driven to a significant degree by the pull
of sexual success.
- Most women who want to have children can find a
man to have sex with. Since men must be chosen, some men score big and some men
are shut out completely.
Throughout human history, some men (think alpha males like
Genghis Kahn, Wilt Chamberlain, and Warren Beatty) had sex with lots of women.
Most men were not chosen. “Looking back across the entire history of the
human race, and taking nature’s criterion of success as passing on your life to
others,” says Dr. Baumeister, “we can say that most of the men were failures.
Most of the women were successful. Being male goes with biological failure in a
way that being female doesn’t.”
- All males fear they may not be chosen by a
Although we live at a time where most men can find a woman
who will want to mate with him, we still fear being one of the evolutionary
losers who never had sex with a woman. Even alpha males worry that some other
male will replace them and they will be among the losers again.
- Status and respect is what allows men
to move up in the world of men and be chosen by a woman.
Throughout human history, males grew up in the company of
other males and needed their respect and support. Loner males died early.
Successful men found their place in the community of men. Women chose men who
other men liked and respected.
What men and women can learn from the facts:
- Just being male makes us more vulnerable to
There’s a saying in my men’s group, “When you’re looking
good, you’re looking bad.” It reminds us that trying to pretend we’re big,
strong, and invulnerable is a recipe for failure. Accepting the reality of
being small and vulnerable can actually make us stronger.
- Though women say they like men to be real, they
are often sexually attracted to the top dogs, the alpha males, the bad
boys, the ones with money and power.
If women want to have more sex, love, and power, they need
to be more accepting of good men who may not have that alpha male sexiness.
- Respect from other men (including our fathers
and other male elders) helps us feel good about ourselves and makes us
attractive to a potential partner.
- Being part of a men’s group helps us find our
place in the community of men.
I’ve been a men’s group for 40 years and its one of the
things that tipped the balance when I met and fell in love with my wife 39
- Men need to learn the rules for being the best
men they can be.
In my new book, which will be released next year, 12
Rules for Men, I offer the guidance guys need to live a fully authentic
life, to love deeply and well, and to find your calling to greatness.
This article first appeared on Jed’s blog.