It happened quite suddenly.
A good friend of mine came up to me one day, shoving a thick black book in my face, and exclaimed “This is going to change your life, bro!” At first I thought he was trying to convert me to the church of Bro-entology, but the gold silhouettes of naked women on the cover convinced me otherwise that, well … no, I guess he was. And so began my descent into the depths of the Holy Scriptures of seduction.
The two greatest commodities in this world: women and sex. You can have all the money on earth, but if you don’t have either of these, your bro card is on the fast-track to being revoked. But with such a high-demand for these goods and hardly anyone manly enough to obtain them, what’s a manipulative nice guy to do? Easy. Attend seminars, public and online forums and buy a load of merchandise that teaches you how to obtain said goods (Women and sex), so that you can transform from an average guy to charismatic stud. This, in a nutshell, is the seduction community.
And it worked.
We spent most of our weekend downtown in the malls and clubs picking up womyn—it was like a high for us. We knew that we were achieving something that other men could only dream of doing. While everyone else was afraid to ask for the waitress’ number, or ask out a random stranger in the mall, we were doing it daily with ease. The seduction community comprised mainly of adult professionals, so the fact that we were young meant that we had a head-start.
Over time I saw a dramatic shift in my friend’s personality. I always knew him as a shy guy, afraid to come out of his comfort zone, but one night as I observed him interacting with everyone on the dance floor; it occurred to me that that person was no more. In front of me stood a man who was able to unlock the full potential of who he was deep within. Now before this comes off as a promotion for seduction tactics 101, let me add that unlike many men who fell into the community, my friend and I were the few who did not become products of it. We had built an understanding that just as the masculine is important in helping us becoming ourselves, so is the feminine.
In fact, perhaps even more-so in this society we live. The seduction community is a by-product of patriarchy backfiring (Or succeeding, depending on how you look at it). Many who operate within the community feel the need to reclaim a part of themselves they felt they’ve lost or never had: the masculine. This is achieved through suppressing and shaming parts of maledom which don’t conform to the ideal mould of what is to be a man. Masculinity is generally seen as the domination over the material, and because womyn are thought of as objects, if you can successfully control them (mainly through sex) then you get a nice shiny badge oozing in male privilege (The equivalent to a degree in douchebaggery, pretty much). What my friend and I also came to understand was that the seduction community placed a lot of emphasis on what to do when it came to interacting with womyn, but not so much on how you feel while doing it, which makes a huge difference in the quality of our interactions.
Audre Lorde put out a call to action for womyn to embrace a source of power that lies within them which she identified as the ‘Erotic’: A deep spiritual female energy. This power has been distorted and devalued by patriarchy and has told us that it’s through its suppression that we can attain true power, so we, males, have learned to distrust it, and this has helped towards creating a divide within us; it has helped in perpetuating this sensation of feeling emasculated.
The idea of reclamation exposes a deep pain within men, and it only gets deeper when the lens of intersectionality is applied. Our masculinity was never lost; it’s because we haven’t allowed for other forms of its expression to reign free that we can’t properly identify it, and as a result we’ve lost connection with our Erotic being; we’ve chosen to neglect the possibility of even possessing this energy naturally. In order to compensate for this lack of connection, we’ve substituted the Erotic for a more superficial and material type of energy: the pornographic. If the Erotic is the sensation of true feeling, then the pornographic emphasizes the opposite.
That’s not to say that there is anything inherently wrong with it, however, it is not possible to unite with womyn or ourselves through this type of energy as it removes you from the experience and the state of vulnerability. The erotic speaks to this vulnerable part of ourselves that we don’t have the courage to face, thus we refuse to examine it. A part of ourselves which understands that in order for our humanity to be realized we must look for forgiveness from ourselves, the world and those we love, and learn to build a platform of trust. But as long as we continue to suppress it, we’ll never reach this level of wholeness. By interacting constantly through the pornographic, we treat those around us as objects for our own pleasure and gain, and the empowerment received is more synthetic than Hugo Shywzer’s solidarity with feminism.
The moment we can be honest with ourselves to face what we fear the most and embrace it; the moment we, as men, can come to understand that what we want to reclaim, we’ve never lost; the moment we can accept the flexibility of who we are is when we can begin to move to a more authentic part of ourselves and live, feel and love with true feeling. The erotic can only thrive within a space of authenticity.
I serve you, trust you, feel you, cherish you, hear you and experience you and it’s through these actions that I can love you. My masculinity is measured not through my suppressing you to reclaim a part of myself, but my ability to grow alongside and complement you on your journey and struggles through life as a womyn. Your love is a privilege which lies immeasurable power.