“The Sexual Mask”
The Mask of Masculinity by Lewis Howes
Just about every man wants it. Some will go to great lengths to get it and some could just snap a finger and have it at their disposal. It’s abused in so many ways and seen differently by so many people in so many different ways.
In Lewis’ book, he specifically discusses how sex is used as a tool to make a “man” out of males by being the dominant sex king.
Sex has been a part of my life for almost as long as I could remember. The first time I ever felt a sexual sensation was at my second cousin’s house while I roamed her closet getting caught up in a pretty shiny dress. I don’t know why, but the dress turned me on.
I know, weird right?
Ever since then my body grew into some kind of sexual monster, drawing up naked women, prowling pillows, teddy bears, and vibrating back massagers. Then the worst thing that could ever happen to a curious young kid happened to me, I was exposed to pornography and my world flipped upside down.
Just like every other man who has been exposed to this drug, porn brought an unstoppable sensation to my little guy. I was utterly addicted and could not get enough of it. Given that I was in puberty, you could only imagine the heavenly thrills that porn brought to me. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
“For most boys, junior high and high school is a time when they struggle to figure out sex, have sex, and then brag about having sex. What’s left out of the discussion is what’s happening to them-and to their partners-during all of that. Boys simplify the discussion of sex down to a binary system-whether they have or haven’t had it-and their social status and masculine security hang on the answer.”
As time progressed, more and more I had the desires to actually want REAL sex. I was jaded in my thinking and thought that the thrills I see the people in porn were having, I too would experience the same.
I didn’t make sex to be a priority, but I did make it a fantasy and goal that I’d have at some point with one of the girls I had been dating. I dated a lot.
Finally, when the time came, it happened. The first time wasn’t the best, but it was something. After that first initial instance, the feeling was even better in the succeeding sexual experiences.
Yet there was a huge missing piece of all of this with my girlfriend and me at the time (in middle school). We were not at all emotionally connected whatsoever. I just merely used her body as a tool for my own pleasures.
“And it isn’t just fiction either. We perpetuate these stereotypes and myths in real life. Men who find that book up with women are players, studs, ballers. Meanwhile, what’s our take on a guy who is committed? He’s tied down. He’s settled. He’s off the market.”
When I realized that there was just something missing, I decided that enough was enough and I wanted more. I wanted to be the kid with all the ladies. I knew that since I’ve been able to do it once, I can do it again. So I ended up leaving my girl, multiple times, in fact, only to fail at finding someone new.
In the end, I’d end up going back to her and using her for her body once again, as she did with me. The lack of connection that we had was mutual. We were merely using one another then ridding ourselves of one another after all was done and we got what we wanted.
“But this nonsense is rattling around in our heads when it comes to thinking about committed loving relationships. And it certainly doesn’t make it easy for young impressionable men who are trying to figure out whom they should admire and emulate. All too often, they grow up thinking that single life equals fun and married life equals boredom.”
This mentality brought me to where I was not too long ago. It distanced me from the church community because I didn’t want to be someone who was committed and “tied down” to only one person. The main reason I never wanted to ask any girl out was because at the core of my heart, I wanted to have “fun” before I settled with just one woman in my life.
“Truly great sex has at its root all the same stuff as emotional intimacy: being open with the other person about what you want; being able to communicate; being able to trust that the other person isn’t going to think you’re strange or crazy. Put more simply: Showing your emotions could lead to the best sex of your life.”
As I mentioned earlier, the emotional attachment between my ex-was never there and therefore even when the sex was enjoyable, so was masturbating by myself, there was nothing even remotely significant behind it.
One of the biggest turning points in my life came one dark evening before driving to my brother’s apartment in Sacramento two hours away from where I lived. I stopped at a Starbucks before leaving my city but my main purpose as to why I was there wasn’t to exactly study or get coffee like any normal person, but to find someone to have sex with.
This is one of the most shameful things I’ve ever done with my life. Nervously, after drinking some alcohol and a bit tipsy, I drove over to where the lady was at a hotel and did what I did after six years of being absent from it. In spite of how long I could have kept it going, she pressured me to rush out of there and as soon as I was done I was quickly ushered out without a whole lot of thought.
I have never told anyone this. It’s a deep shame that I utterly regret to this day. But there was something extremely significant I got out of it.
Something that I will never forget.
Driving to my brother’s place that night I felt a sense of complete emptiness inside. I was nearly brought to tears because of how empty I felt, there was just something very unsatisfying about what I had just done. I knew that it was because wanted an emotional connection that wasn’t there. Ironically, I was the one that felt like a used piece of meat. It killed me inside and to this day I’ll always remember that emotional yearning.
About a year later I met an amazing woman who unexpectedly gave me just that, an emotional connection that I not only wanted but absolutely needed for my life.
“…And while I imagine that there are issues in their relationships, what I find is that they, as a pair, work on them together. When the mask drops, in other words, something unique and powerful is revealed.”
We’ve been officially together for about two months as of writing this piece, not counting the several months of talking back and forth. I’ve never felt so grateful for someone to have come into my life. It took some time for me to warm up to even begin dating her, but I realized how much value she brings into my life, even when she isn’t trying to – it’s the fact that I’m practicing how to love her that makes the both of us obtain value from it.
When we work on issues together, accept one another in spite of our flaws and mistakes, that’s when we grow together as a unit and there’s nothing better for an individual than to grow as human beings who are capable of loving beyond themselves.
“Sex is the perfect way to avoid emotions. It feels close and intimate, but sex allows a man struggling behind his Sexual Mask to compartmentalize those emotions and focus only on the physical aspects of sex. The problem with a singular focus on the physical part of sex is what it will never be enough.”
I had the privilege of witnessing my own roommate, someone who’s been with multiple women in his life, fall in love with one girl recently and then instantly begin to mature.
Slowly, his life began taking a turn for the better as he learned to prioritize and care for the new woman in his life and it’s such an amazing thing to see. He began doing things like cooking with her, sacrificing his time from video games to hang out with her, driving her to and from work, etc.
Commitment is beautiful – it allows you to grow, blossom into someone better, someone with convictions and purpose, someone who can handle life a little better because they have someone by their side and could go through the stormy weather together with.
Without commitment, we wouldn’t see the strong bonds of friendships, family, children and parents, husband and wife, business partners, all change and grow together for the better as we all go through “thick and thin” with one another.
To conclude this piece, I’d like to end by saying that the best sex comes with true love and trust for the other person – just as Lewis states in his book, I agree wholeheartedly. With experience, I’ve truly come to know sex is a sacred act that means so much more than a penis inserted into a vagina.
When sex is shared by someone who you love and are committed to emotionally and physically, things change for the better, there’s absolutely nothing like it. There’s a reason why it’s called “making love”.
Don’t learn the hard way like I did, take your sex seriously and give it to someone who has truly made your life better. If there was one thing religion got right, I think holding sex in high regards is definitely one of them.
Get the book! Lewis Howes: Mask of Masculinity