Men, Expectations, Whores and Madonna

Dan Bolton


Expectations have such a broad impact on relationships, I had to break this into a couple of different segments… This week's focus is on how they affect men's psychology and behavior once in a relationship, as well as changes in what men expect from their partners.

Sometimes men believe that once they are in a relationship they are entitled to have sex whenever they want, or that a relationship entitles them to experiment with sex in ways they have not before with their partner. I'm all about exploration and experimentation, but the fact that you are in a relationship or married does NOT mean the grab bag of all things sexual has been opened up to you for the pickings. If you have not communicated this through with your partner to see if the two of you are on the same page before jumping in, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration.

My rule of thumb is this: what you've been seeing is what you should be getting. If there was not elaborate sexual experimentation before, there is no guarantee that there is going to be afterwards. There might be, but it is not a given. It could come with openness, honesty, and communication which all build trust. Without this nothing is going to change, no matter how strong the expectations. Also, for my female readers out there, if he was not a great communicator before, it's likely he is not going to transform into an eloquent interlocutor once you have him committed to you. This takes time and trust from a man as well.

Alternatively, to some men marriage has been associated with such high levels of respect that they cannot allow themselves to be as sexual as they once were with their partner. Often men see their partner in a chaste light after marriage and their female counterpart wonders what happened and feels sexually frustrated as a result. Why would a man be able to be sexually open with their "girlfriend" but not their "wife"? This is typically based on their social conditioning around what they saw with their parents growing up or what message their parents gave them about marriage and sex, or even their religion. It is a well documented phenomenon in men, typically called the Madonna/Whore Complex. Even Freud wrote: "Where such men love they have no desire, and where they desire cannot love." Sometimes this process is automatic, so it is good to open up the hood and take a look at what's underneath before assuming you know everything about yourself.

And, there are so many dimensions to this…

You might have not liked how your father treated your mother, and want to compensate for what you perceived your father lacked in relation to your mother, or compensate for your mother's complaint about your father to be a "better man" than he was. This is all unconscious. But is this YOUR concept of a relationship and how you really want to be in a relationship? Or is this a concept you've bought into based on a painful experience in your past? Or worse yet in the past of your parents?

Interesting questions to explore. I look forward to hearing your thoughts…


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