If you have a round peg that doesn’t fit in a square hole, do you blame the peg or the hole? You probably blame neither. We don’t assign blame to inanimate objects. But you might have some questions about the person who provided you with these mismatched items and set you up to fail.

If a lion and a zebra show up at the same watering hole, and the lion kills the zebra, whose fault is that? Maybe you say the lion is at fault for doing the killing. Maybe you say the zebra should have chosen a safer watering hole. But in the end, you probably conclude that both animals acted according to their natures, so no one is to blame. However, if this is your local zoo, you might have some questions about who put the lions with the zebras in the same habitat.

Now consider human males. No doubt you have noticed an alarming trend in the news. Powerful men have been behaving badly, e.g. tweeting, raping, cheating, and being offensive to just about everyone in the entire world. The current view of such things is that the men are to blame for their own bad behavior. That seems right. Obviously we shouldn’t blame the victims. I think we all agree on that point. Blame and shame are society’s tools for keeping things under control.

The part that interests me is that society is organized in such a way that the natural instincts of men are shameful and criminal while the natural instincts of women are mostly legal and acceptable. In other words, men are born as round pegs in a society full of square holes. Whose fault is that? Do you blame the baby who didn’t ask to be born male? Or do you blame the society that brought him into the world, all round-pegged and turgid, and said, “Here’s your square hole”?

The way society is organized at the moment, we have no choice but to blame men for bad behavior. If we allowed men to act like unrestrained horny animals, all hell would break loose. All I’m saying is that society has evolved to keep males in a state of continuous unfulfilled urges, more commonly known as unhappiness. No one planned it that way. Things just drifted in that direction.

Consider Hugh Hefner. He had every benefit of being a single man, and yet he decided he needed to try marriage. Marriage didn’t work out, so he tried the single life again. That didn’t work out, so he planned to get married again, although reportedly the wedding just got called off. For Hef, being single didn’t work, and getting married didn’t work, at least not in the long run. Society didn’t offer him a round hole for his round peg. All it offered were unlimited square holes.

To be fair, if a man meets and marries the right woman, and she fulfills his needs, he might have no desire to tweet his meat to strangers. Everyone is different.  But in general, society is organized as a virtual prison for men’s natural desires. I don’t have a solution in mind. It’s a zero sum game. If men get everything they want, women lose, and vice versa. And there’s no real middle ground because that would look like tweeting a picture of your junk with your underpants still on. Some things just don’t have a compromise solution.

Long term, I think science will come up with a drug that keeps men chemically castrated for as long as they are on it. It sounds bad, but I suspect that if a man loses his urge for sex, he also doesn’t miss it. Men and women would also need a second drug that increases oxytocin levels in couples who want to bond.  Copulation will become extinct. Men who want to reproduce will stop taking the castration drug for a week, fill a few jars with sperm for artificial insemination, and go back on the castration pill.

That might sound to you like a horrible world. But the oxytocin would make us a society of huggers, and no one would be treated as a sex object. You’d have no rape, fewer divorces, stronger friendships, and a lot of other advantages. I think that’s where we’re headed in a few generations.

Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  -2585
  • Print
  • Share
  • Share:


Sort By:
+34 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 15, 2011
And this is why gay men are having such a blast out there. Negative nellies can criticize the promiscuity often associated with the gay men's lifestyle. Really, though, it's just that they found other people with similarly shaped holes for their pegs. Or perhaps better to say they gave up on the whole peg-and-hole thing completely, and found more effective ways to play with the pegs they were given.

I've lost track of how many entendres I've reached.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 15, 2011
It's not a question of the primitive urges so much as a lack of self control. Men can either:

a.) Do something "bad" and reap the consequences of their actions, or
b.) Suppress the urge to misbehave and deal with those consequences (unfulfilled urges, aka !$%*!$%*!$%*!$ one forces men to choose (a), but many do because they are not capable enough to make a concession now for a large benefit in the future. If someone's going to consciously make that choice, let them, and let them deal with their consequences. Let the politicians resign/be forced from office for sexting/sexual harassment, etc. Do I really want someone who fails that cost-now/benefit-later assessment to have a say in our budget or any other policy with long-term consequences?
+9 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 15, 2011
How faulty are your faculties if your example for "unfulfilled urges" is Hugh Hefner?! (And he's already been married twice. He was going for a third.)

So... why hasn't evolution bred this out of men by now? I mean, we've logged about 10,000 years of basic familial structure. How long should it take to establish a new norm based on the pressure of the ideals of a civilized, law-abiding, family-respecting society?
Jun 15, 2011
Western women have to take a lot of the blame for the way things are now. It's no secret that fertile women select male partners with the highest testosterone levels (i.e., chicks dig the "bad boys"). Unfortunately, this is carry-over evolutionary behavior that serves no purpose in our modern world.

Therefore, if anyone should be taking the drugs, women should be taking drugs to make them !$%*! for low-testosterone, nerdy guys. Then after several generations our society should have improved quite a bit. Sex scandals will be a thing of the past.

I guess there would be side effects that would hurt industries that make loud motorcycles, handguns, large-size condoms, single malt whiskey, war machines and plaid flannel shirts. Butch lesbians might be able to take up some of the slack, but for the most part these industries would be relegated to niche status.

-7 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 15, 2011
holy !$%*! now how punny was that? ;-)

Jun 15, 2011
I blame the hole, but that's just me.

It seems to me that behavior approved by society as a whole and behavior approved by the individuals you run into on the street are entirely different things. Society might condemn the "bad boy" while women love him, even if they don't know why. As long as the behavior isn't actually criminal, following the male instinct is rewarded and privately encouraged, even if the same behavior is considered scandalous when the media gets into it.
+11 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 15, 2011
You have an unusual perspective of male and female natures. You tend to think that society marks "male" as "bad" and "female" as "good." That's an oversimplified model of society.
But I'm thinking of the wrong argument. You are arguing about the horniness of men and it's restrictions because of society. Perhaps the compromise is something like this. The demand for sex is mainly dominated by the male population and the supply is mainly the female population. There's a market for earning sex. A society that places too high of price for sex will lose population and perhaps suicide rates will increase, a society that places too low of a price for sex will gain too much population and "all hell would break loose."
+14 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 15, 2011
Hmmm... I thought I read recently that Alan Turing (English mathematician) was chemically castrated and subsequently committed suicide? I'm sure the other readers will flag this if it's incorrect, but it might give one pause.
-9 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 15, 2011
I feel like the "castration chemical" might actually be the next big thing. Women already take birth control, which often reduces sex drive. If men take it too, at least no one wants it!

I feel like it would make for a sad society, though. What scandals would we amuse ourselves with then?
+38 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 15, 2011
"[...] society is organized in such a way that the natural instincts of men are shameful and criminal while the natural instincts of women are mostly legal and acceptable."

I think this might be the most incorrect thing I've ever read on this blog. Some reasons:

1. Women typically have higher emotional intelligence than men, which makes them much, much less likely to *get caught* doing something that isn't legal or acceptable. So a lack of women politicians making the news with sex scandals does not translate into a lack of inappropriate sexual behavior by women politicians (for example).

2. You think most women who *are* following the 'legal and acceptable' script are acting on natural instincts? Or it is possible that there are some systematic society-wide constraints on women's behavior that women are simply less able to violate thanks to a few centuries of conditioning?

3. Women's 'natural instincts', insofar as they are expressed at all, may often be legal, but still not 'acceptable' - for instance, it might be true that women really do have a natural instinct toward collaborative (rather than competitive) behavior, but this is typically seen as a downside, a reason not to hire a woman (or not to put her on your company's top accounts, or whatever the equivalent is).
-21 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 15, 2011
Brilliant piece. It seems men in the West are to blame whatever they do but I've just read an article about the terrible treatments that women get in 'developing' countries and it is horrific when one 'side' (in this case the men) are totally in the driving seat. Why we can never find a common ground escapes me.
+43 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 15, 2011
True, but we make more money and can pee standing up. So it's kind of a wash.
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 15, 2011
" that would look like tweeting a picture of your junk with your underpants still on. Some things just don’t have a compromise solution."
Made me laugh for about fifteen minutes.
Get the new Dilbert app!
Old Dilbert Blog