I’m one of those people who fantasizes about living in a cave. Not forever. Just for awhile. To attain enlightenment or something like that. And, while humans have, for the most part, not lived in caves for the last 10,000–12,000 years, when it comes to matters of the heart, I’m constantly stunned by how little we’ve changed.
Though I’m a feminist, an executive and haven’t held a baby of my own in almost a decade, there is still something I find so hot about a man who, when push comes to shove, seems willing to stand outside of the cave with a club, should a tiger happen to saunter by when I’m bare-breasted by the fire.
Of course, the feminist in me feels guilty for wanting this, or at least for saying so, especially since fighting rape culture is something that I do. But, it’s undeniable. When I get close to my man, skin to skin, resting my fingers on his biceps, my lips on his smooth back, the arousal isn’t just about sex. It’s also about safety.
It’s not just women who are driven by those cave(wo)man norms, cemented in our DNA over millennia. Perhaps more groomed and more emotional (go beta males!), most men, too, are still cavemen in disguise.
For two million years, being a man meant being a member of a band of brothers, whose purpose was to hunt in order to feed their people. Hunter-gatherer men would traverse great distances in their pursuit of game, would work in teams, would activate their fight/flight systems at regular intervals, sleep under the stars and return home to their mates after stretches that could last several months.
In other words, they were in-shape, in community, hormonally balanced, and free. Sounds pretty great, right? All they had to do was avoid the occasional mauling.
I’m a strong woman and I’m attracted to strong men. In my professional life and my non-romantic personal life, I’m the one who is going to beat you in a race or hunt you down if you have something that I want. But, when it comes to love, my satisfaction skyrocketed when I made space for the neanderthal in my man.
Men are primal. They only want what they can hunt.
Men are primal. They only want what they can hunt.
This is not to say that men can’t do things they don’t want to do, or that they don’t also want to be stable partners, loving fathers, good role models. Of course they do.
But, when it comes to deep down, carnal, lusty wanting, for most men, it has everything to do with the hunt, and the sooner we can make space for that ingrained biological tendency, the happier we will all be.
Before I go any further, I want to be clear — just because wanting is linked to men’s ancient past in hunter-gatherer societies, I’m not saying that men have free reign to act like animals, to take without permission or to eat their young. But, the 21st century has done a number on men, sending the message in myriad ways that male desire is deviant in one way or another. That message is not true and is very problematic. We’re talking here about healthy male desire.
I am an aggressive woman. If I want something, I go after it, in the boardroom and in bed. I can hunt with the best of them. You can imagine then, my frustration when I’d feel my lion go limp after a few fiery weeks of play.
In my experience, there is no man who does not enjoy a hot night with an amateur dominatrix, but on balance over time, unless you’re settling into a true dom/sub relationship, passion fizzles if he’s not the one in pursuit.
One of two things happens for my man when I make it too easy for him, either by throwing myself at his feet or by being the one who is doing most of the work in the relationship. I either deprive him the satisfaction of the hunt, or I make him feel tamed or trapped; he becomes the gazelle and not the lion.
I’m the type of woman who likes to start my day with an orgasm. Every day. Morning is best. If you curl up behind me as I’m drifting from sleep to wakefulness, I’m going to want you to come inside.
I know my lover is grateful to share his bed with someone so sex-positive, but it does not take too many mornings before my eagerness can move from blessing to burden. For him, sex is as much about feeling powerful as it is about feeling loved, and there is power in the hunt.
Sex is as much about feeling powerful as it is about feeling loved, and there is power in the hunt.
But, the harder lesson for me to learn, as someone who is a lioness herself, is that when I come in hot pursuit, not in bed, but in the terrain of the heart, I can turn him into prey, and he doesn’t much like it. He must feel that he has dominion over his personal space and over his heart most of all. His must be rooted in his own strength in order to feel safe enough to be vulnerable.
Really, don’t we all…
The aim here is always deeply satisfying relationships, in which everyone has enough space to be and be seen. After all, we are more than neanderthal.
True intimacy is based on reciprocity in all things, gender roles included. But, as psychotherapist and relationship guru Esther Perel teaches in her seminal work Mating in Captivity
“The caring, protective elements that nurture home life can go against the rebellious spirit of carnal love. …In order to bring lust home, we need to re-create the distance that we worked so hard to bridge [when we were first getting to know our mate.]”
Tending the great flame of life is a delicate dance. I want the space to arrive in my fullness, to bring the full texture of my sensuality to the bedroom, and I want my man to do the same. I want him to be carnal. I want him to devour me. I love him for his strength. As a strong woman, I work hard to make sure he knows it.
The Mistake That’s Costing Us So Much Pleasure
Heterosexual sex could be so much better if men and women dropped these two false assumptions