Earlier today, Glenn Reynolds linked a piece which gets at the real problem of gay marriage perhaps better than anything I’ve read in the past few weeks. In his post, Why Can’t a Man Be More Like a Woman?, Stuart Schneiderman writes “about experiments in Germany and the United Kingdom where men were treated with a nasal spray containing the hormone oxytocin . . . a hormone that men and women possess, but that women possess in larger quantities”:
According to the article, it triggers labor pains, helps mothers to bond with their babies, and produces enhanced sensitivity and empathy.
The article fails to mention that when a woman has a sexual experience her body produces extra oxytocin, thereby drawing her closer to her lover. Researchers call oxytocin the “cuddle hormone.”
Oxytocin is one of the primary reasons why women who make a habit of hooking up cannot detach their emotions from their sexual experience as easily as men can.
And this difference why making the case for lesbian marriage is a heck of a lot easier than making the case for gay marriage, given that women more readily make an emotional commitment to their relationships than men do. And seem to more innately understand the link between sexual fidelity and emotional commitment. That said, our culture is replete with stories of women “taming” men, where the Lothario becomes a Romeo under the influence of a woman.
Marriage serves to resolve the natural tension between the sexes.
Now, this is not to say that we should not consider gay marriage because of the absence of sex difference between the partners, but instead that we should address that absence in our conversations on gay marriage. And, in our personal lives, find means to incorporate the qualities contained in that tension in our relationships.