What do you think of when someone mentions “men’s entertainment?” Probably strip clubs, Playboy, pornography or other penis-centric activities. Behavior once characterized by a pubescent seventh-grader has been established as the gold standard of manhood.

This attitude pervades the sex-crazed Western world. When in Italy a few years ago I noticed frequent nudity during TV commercials. Almost every time a topless woman was show, the commercial was for a cell phone. I have yet to place the connection between naked women and text messaging. While commercials shown in the United States are not quite as exhibitionist, they still suffer from the same sexual pathology.

Almost every movie that attempts to cater to a male audience will include obviously gratuitous nudity. Commercials that market products to men will likely include some female model. As the saying goes, “sex sells.” Technology conferences that include product expos include the gratuitous “booth babes” that attract men by their pants instead of their minds. The same is true for auto expos.

It is easy to blame marketers for using women as cheap props and catering to the worst in men. The fact is, however, marketers would cease using sexuality in an instant if it didn’t work. Society has socialized men into being led around by their pants. The few men that speak out against such insipid nonsense are instantly labeled as dweebs.

Historically, this pattern of male over-sexualization has not been the norm. Men who openly lusted after women were derided and viewed as dishonorable. Those who engaged in premarital sex where shunned by their families and communities. Women, for their part, would simply not tolerate men who could not control their libidos. The rule didn’t necessarily hold for the cultural elite. Their morals have always been more flexible in every time and civilization. However, they still maintained the public façade of fidelity.

The rise of feminism and the sexual revolution has altered this dynamic. Previously, male sexual wanderlust was generally opposed by women. Women used their position to enforce, to some extent, male sexual fidelity. The sexual revolution and the brands of feminism that drove it dealt with the problem differently.

The anecdote most commonly heard is how unfair that a man who sleeps around is a “stud” and that a woman who does the same is a “slut.” The implication that generally follows is that a woman should be allowed to be just as promiscuous as men seem to be. It quietly assumed that the worst men among us were the model of manhood and then held up the model for women to emulate.

To be fair, feminism (or more precisely “Sex and the City feminism”) is not to blame for the boyish tendencies of the modern male. Those tendencies have existed since the beginning of time. However, by encouraging the behavior by labeling it normal and then encouraging women to do the same has made the problem epidemic.

The result has been nothing short of tragic. Young men and women simply do not know how to relate to each other outside the bedroom. When talking about women’s health, odds are the conversation is solely around birth control. Discussions on men’s health are more likely about sexual performance. Sex is meant to precede relationships, not flow naturally from them. Men have always been averse to commitment. Society now encourages this behavior.

The true brunt of this boyishness is felt by women. They are generally left raising children alone by men who refuse to commit. Most studies indicate men are more likely to cheat than women. Additional studies show the emotional devastation that women endure when they find their spouses are frequent purveyors of pornography (i.e. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 28, 198-206).

Men are harmed, albeit to a lesser degree. They are left unable to engage in an intimate relationship with a woman. They enter loveless after loveless relationship never able to look at their partner as anything more than an object. Over the long term, they begin to feel the brunt of loneliness and emptiness.

It is time that both men and women stand up and say enough is enough. Women, for their part, need to insist on sexual maturity from men they are or will be involved with. Men must not tolerate those among us to continue to act like pubescent 13-year-olds. Until more people stand up and treat sex as sacred instead of a worthless commodity to be traded without thought, the damage to women and men will continue.

John Bambenek is the Assistant Politics Editor for Blogcritics and is an academic professional for the University of Illinois. He is a syndicated columnist who blogs at Part-Time Pundit and the executive director of The Tumaini Foundation which helps AIDS orphans and other children in Tanzania to get an education. He is the current owner of BlogSoldiers, a blog-only traffic exchange.

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