A key distinction between men and boys is the ability to make decisions based on the knowledge of both immediate and future consequences. For example, give a boy a bag of candy and he will eat until he is sick, which is to be expected. The boy has one thing on his mind: the pleasure of eating candy. If you give a man a bag of candy, he considers the possibility of getting sick and the long-term effects of eating too much candy. Then he is able to enjoy the candy without getting sick. Let us call this choice, “more vs. now.” The man can focus on what he wants more (not getting sick) over what he wants now (lots of candy). The boy can only decide based on what he wants now.
Let’s apply this “more vs. now” principle to sex.
The “now” of sex:
The “now” of sex is one-dimensional; it is simply a “transaction of chemicals and pleasure.” It is based on personal gain for the individual and therefore is unable to create intimacy in a relationship. Most men presented with the opportunity to either enjoy the pleasure of sex or not in a given moment, will choose sex. However, there are many consequences (positive and negative) to consider before having sex than simply, “it feels good.”
Consequences to consider
When a man focuses on the “now” of sex he does not consider the life-changing possibility of pregnancy. No matter how much protection or birth control one can use, there is always a chance of pregnancy when having sex. Similarly, no amount of protection can 100% protect you from STIs (sexually transmitted infections). These are two consequences that must be considered in regards to sex.
The “more” of sex:
There is another side to this equation – the “more” of sex. This “more” is found in a life-long committed relationship, namely, marriage. Sex within this context is connected to the intimate relationship. The goal is to give yourself to the other person wholly and that is where sex finds more meaning than simply a “transaction of chemicals and pleasure.” You affirm your spouse and are in turn affirmed, all the while knowing you share the now and your future.
A “real” man, one who cares deeply for his partner and wants what is best for her, is one who is willing to set aside the “now” of sex and wisely choose the “more” of sex. Is it a difficult decision? Absolutely. But as with most decisions, when one makes the right choice, even if it’s the tough one, they are rewarded with “more” to life.
Where do you wish to see yourself? As the man in the first paragraph – the one who is able to apply some self-control and enjoy the bag of candy, but not all at once? Or do you see yourself in the boy – who indulges immediately and is gratified for only a short time, but has to suffer the consequences of eating the whole bag at once?
Let’s face it. Making these kinds of decisions are difficult. You might know what is right, but actually making that right choice can feel almost impossible. Sometimes, you just need someone to talk it through. Another man who understands what you are facing, and can offer support and insight, completely free of judgment.
If that’s you, you should know that Advice & Aid doesn’t exist solely for women. We have plenty of men who walk in our doors each year to receive support and encouragement from the men we have on our staff. Don’t hesitate to be one of those men – the kind who make the wise choices and choose the “more” instead of the “now.”