One reason I have a great deal of difficulty taking seriously most (but not all) gay marriage activists (particularly those of my sex) is that they are loath to discuss the emotional significance/meaning of the institution. And as I study male psychology, I wonder that it often takes a woman (or a child, or combination thereof) to activate the nurturing aspects of our psyche that seem to come more naturally to women, aspects essential for developing enduring relationships.
To be sure, there are some men who seem to have already internalized those “feminine” qualities.
Several years back, I had an e-mail exchange with a leading advocate for state recognition of same-sex marriage. He practically bristled at my questions about his failure to address monogamy in the conversation on expanding the definition of this ancient institution. He simply could not (refused to?) see the link between sexual fidelity and emotional intimacy, how that ideal deepens the bond between the two individuals in a marriage.
Indeed, at those meetings on gay marriage, I found that those most willing to point out that monogamy was an (essential) aspect of marriage were (almost*) always women.
Look, I realize these thoughts may seem kind of random, but because of several serendipitous circumstances on my cross country journey coupled with thoughts about my dissertation — and how Athena’s relationship with Tiresias (this paragon of wisdom to the ancient Greeks being the only individual who had lived as both a man an a woman) fits in — has got me thinking about this yet again.
I fear sometimes we men don’t work at developing emotional relationships with other men. That so visual and physical is our sex drive, we don’t want to consider the emotional consequences of infidelity.** This is not to say that men don’t achieve emotional intimacy, indeed, many do. But, they’re not the ones at the forefront of the movement for state recognition of same-sex marriage.
As one young friend of mine put it, none (or few) of the (male) leaders of that movement (and by that, he referred broadly to the national gay organizations as well as those advocates focusing specifically on marriage) are in long-term relationships.
Look, this is not exactly the post I wanted to write. For now, however, I hope it does serve to get at least some of you thinking about the issue–and sparking a serious conversation about this important topic, a topic which is very much not a political one.
*I put the word, “almost” in quotation marks because as I write this, save for the questions I asked, I can’t recall another man ever raising the issue in the numerous panel discussions I have attended. But maybe one did.
**We are more ready (and willing) to act on our sexual impulses than our women and seem better able at detaching the emotional aspects for the physical “stimulation.” (I realize this thought needs to be developed–and has been elsewhere.)