Probably my most "delicate" trigger is the concept of poisonous male sexuality. My upbringing in an anti-sex, second-wave feminist household (and being raised by my mother alone through puberty) meant that I grew up with the idea that male sexual affection is a burden borne by women.
It is not good, it is not noble - it is a disgusting, hurtful burden. This drove my "Nice Guy"-ism in earlier years and my regular placement in the FriendZone by women I was attracted to. Many of my female objects of affection were under the impression I was gay - and told me as much when I finally worked up the nerve to express my affection.
I eventually got over that - but there has always been a lingering question: Why would women appreciate affection from big, burly, hairy, masculine men? Our society clearly pedstalizes the physical beauty of femininity and women - how could women find pleasure in a man's affection?
Well, today I read a comment at NSWATM that was one of those once-in-a-lifetime "click" moments.
My mother was, and is, a horse-lover. We had horses on our farm and I was encouraged by her to learn how to care for and ride a horse. I still remember overcoming my massive fear of an animal far larger, stronger and faster than me. There was a point, after regularly taking care of my horse, Ginger, that she began to trust me, and I began to trust her. There was a surreal nature to our relationship - that a small boy like myself could care for and work together with an animal so capable of a life independent of me. I remember brushing her down one day, and I could feel her leaning into my brush strokes while wrapping her massive head around my back - and taking deep sniffs of my hair and shirt.
This comment was left by Katie Powell over at NSWATM:
things I find attractive in men:And it clicked for me. I suddenly understood why my wife would give an appreciative but brief moan when I come up from behind and wrap my arms around her.
men who hug me with their arms, their chest, and sometimes their pelvis or neck, as if being pressed up against me and holding me close is all they want to do,
men who make me feel a bit like I did when I was a kid and I’d hug the horses I used to ride and they’d wrap their big horse necks around and hug me back, awkwardly, distantly, and smelling of hay and leather, an animal not made for this mode of affection trying valiantly to give it a go.
I can finally relate to the deep, inner validation that comes from receiving affection from something that isn't expected to do such things.
I know I'm not a beast - I know the women in my life haven't viewed me as one, either. But I am a human being whose chromosomes, hormones and genetics passed down from tens of thousands of ancestors have twisted and fortified my body and mind for battle.