[NOTE: This post has been slightly edited from the version that debuted yesterday.]
The previous installments of this series were surprisingly controversial, but I got bogged down with real-world stuff and couldn’t follow up as quickly as I would have liked and unfortunately lost a lot of momentum.
One of the issues I wanted to talk about regarding maturity is which gender is more in touch with their emotions in a mature connected way. Many of the commenters who disagreed with my assertion that modern, Westernized women are actually less mature than men kept using the topic of emotions to prove their point. Dissenters kept repeating that women are far more likely to talk about their emotions and listen to the emotional problems of others than men are. Mark Manson kept mentioning studies that proved how men are much more reserved with their emotions, keep them bottled in, and are terrible at talking about them with other men.
However, such studies are never persuasive to me because I don’t accept the premises they start with when judging emotional maturity. Instead I prefer to ask, is what the average American woman displaying here truly a mature manifestation of emotion, or actually something else, a different form of immaturity?
Or to put it another way, I believe it’s a quality versus quantity issue. Sure women may deal with far more emotions, but sheer quantity doesn’t prove that the quality of these emotional interactions is very deep, connected, or productive.
To utilize a comparison, physical masturbation is no substitute for sexual intercourse that has a deep, emotional connection, fueled by genuine mutual empathy. And I doubt anyone would argue differently. Masturbation is by definition a self-centered act. However, there are forms of masturbation that masquerade as intercourse. Immature, self-centered people, even when they have sex with other people, are still engaging in masturbation. They’re just masturbating with other people’s bodies.
This is an important distinction to understand. Sometimes it gets boring to just masturbate by yourself. So you masturbate using someone else’s body instead of your hand. “Excuse me, can I just borrow your body for a bit?” The other person’s job is to be an extension of your hand, to be an extension of your fantasies, to be an audience, to provide validation. If you worry about the other person’s pleasure, it’s only because you know pleasuring the other person helps boost your ego and image and also because you understand a bit of quid pro quo is necessary. You have to allow the other person to masturbate with your body a little in order to get reciprocation. The sex is a mutual masturbation society where you’re using each other’s bodies.
And of course since it’s not real, mutually connected, empathetic sex, it can be like empty calories. It doesn’t satisfy for long or fill deeper needs. This is why sex addicts can never get enough sex, are rarely satisfied once it’s over, are filled with shame and guilt afterwards, and are soon looking for their next fix. They’re expecting masturbation to fill the need that real lovemaking does and are invariably disappointed each time. Now this is not an indictment against masturbation, be it solo masturbation or masturbation with another’s body, as long as you understand what it is. To continue the empty calories analogy, empty calories are okay as long as they aren’t the staple of your diet and you are aware of what they are and don’t actually expect health and nourishment from them. It’s when you expect empty calories to fill the needs that healthy, staple foods fill that you run into problems.
In a way the disappointment is even worse with mutual masturbation than with regular solo masturbation, because at least with solo masturbation you’re never under any illusions about what you’re doing. No matter how you close your eyes and fantasize, what you’re watching or reading, or who you’re on the phone with, you’re always fully aware that you’re masturbating and have no expectations that you’re going to experience a soulful mutual connection with another human being.
With mutual masturbation pairings, many times people are too immature to realize that all they’re doing is just masturbating with other people’s bodies rather than engaging in real, bonding sexual connection. So when they feel that same void and lack of fulfillment afterward as the solo masturbator, unlike the solo masturbator they can’t understand why they feel this way, since in their minds they were doing the opposite of masturbating.
Masturbating, whether alone or with another person’s body, is a more immature act than making love with another person in a connected, loving way, which requires a certain amount of selflessness and empathy in the sexual act to pull off, so an immature person engaged in sex will always end up masturbating, regardless of whether they’re having sex alone or with another person.
To bring this back around to women and maturity, the average, modern American woman rarely engages in true emotional intercourse, they are primarily emotional masturbators. Guys, how many times have y0u gone on a first date with a woman or just met a woman and she proceed to projectile vomit all types of emotional baggage on you and try to turn you into her therapist on the spot? And there’s no connection there. And you often find out they’ve spewed the same sob story on a dozen people that day indiscriminately, and that you’re not hearing it because there’s anything special about you. Whatever self-absorbed emotional dilemmas she’s projectile vomiting at you, these are the same dramas and non-crises that she’s cycling through her head nonstop when alone. Now that she has someone with her to be an audience, she gets to emotionally masturbate with someone else’s brain instead of just her own, just like the solo physical masturbator may primarily masturbate alone but keeps biding time until the next opportunity comes to physically masturbate with another person’s body instead, which he finds far more preferable.
Sometimes the smarter emotional masturbators realize that people get tired of being an audience to their emotional masturbation, so they will allow and even encourage the other person to emotionally masturbate too. They will both now be emotionally masturbating with each other’s minds, just like the two people in a sexual tryst are both physically masturbating with each other’s bodies, but once all the energy dies down, both pairs of mutual masturbators will feel more drained and unconnected than before they began, like two people who wake up together after a binge.
There is a phenomenon known as circle jerking, which Wikipedia describes as
a sexual practice in which a group of men or boys form a circle and masturbate themselves or each other…Circle jerks are typically an experience of adolescents, teenagers, and college students. Often, they feature a competitive element, with the “winner” being the participant able to ejaculate first, last, or farthest depending on the pre-established rules.
When it comes to emotional equivalent, a good example is girl’s night out, which can be seen as an emotional circle jerk of sorts, as seen in this Onion article Although the article is obviously fictional and intended for humor, there is a lot of truth in it. Reread the Wikipedia description excerpted above and compare to the phenomenon described in the article and see how many parallels you can spot. How much genuine emotional connection and empathy do you really believe occurred in the girl’s night out that was described in that article? And do you think it was significantly more than the emotional connection experienced in an average guy’s night out binge drinking? I’d argue that the emotional expression in both cases is superficial and largely not genuine or deep.
Saying that modern Western women are more mature than men because they express their emotions so much more freely is not a good analysis unless you look at how they’re actually expressing their emotions. Is it in a mature, mutually connected, empathetic way or in a self-centered, indulgent way that is mostly a one-way transaction? It’s the equivalent of saying that the average American man is more sexually mature than the average American woman because he watches so much porn, and spends so much time thinking, talking about, pursuing, or engaging in sex.
As I’ve said repeatedly in this blog, there are three faulty, immature coping mechanisms: avoidance, surrender, and overcompensation. Immature men avoid their emotions, or overcompensate against them. The modern Western woman who is wallowing in emotional dilemmas in her head and online whenever alone, or blabbing about her emotions nonstop whenever she has an audience, is constantly surrendering to her emotional states, and has a total inability to master them, not unlike many children. That’s why the entertainment she’s so attracted to is hardcore emotional pornography, much like the sex addict is drawn to sexual pornography. The main difference is that the modern American woman has gotten society to view her self-indulgent addiction as a sign of strength.