What’s Really On a Man’s Mind – is it still those childhood, Oedipus fantasies?

/
What's really on Mind - Lily Yang

One of the biggest mysteries in the world of relationships is why do men in serious and committed relationships stray when they can get sex right there in their own backyard.

For those, like me, who are fascinated by this seemingly self-destructive behaviour, we could study the work of the early psychiatrists like Sigmund Freud, who thought it was a symptom of what he called the “Madonna/whore syndrome”. Sigmund was the pioneer of psychoanalysis and a man driven by theories of unconscious childhood urges lurking just beneath our veneer of social morality. He proposed the answer lay in the way men divided women into two types: the wives and mothers of their children (picture-perfect angels of purity), and the raw, lust-filled harlots who were only good for one thing, which was to satisfy the pent-up desires of men, thus protecting their wives from their unseemly ravages of desire. I suppose the idea of cheating never really came up as a problem. The theory went that men chose one type to marry, the other type to have raunchy sex with on the side, and that everyone should be pleased with the arrangement. Especially, no doubt, the men.

Sigmund Freud was a man of his times. Come the present era of female “liberation and equality” and we don’t look at things in quite the same way, though perhaps the vestiges of his ideas still linger in the unconscious mind. Some people, again mostly men I suspect, believe a better solution to the stigma now attached to cheating might be for us women to act more “erotic” and “uninhibited” with them if we want to prevent our men from straying. With a bit less the Lady and a little more the lascivious libertine, if you like, our men would do us the honour of their monogamous attentions. A little more of a scrub-up occasionally and an appreciative word in our ear occasionally might, in response, also keep our own eyes from wandering – an interesting topic for another post!

Others discuss the desirability of re-visiting the good old days when Freud’s theories held sway. Especially with the pressure-cooker environment we all live in. But I wonder whether it’s again time to accept the wonderful social role of the prostitute to ease the stresses of long hours, time-poor recreation and, let’s face it, the general loss of interest that happens with just living together for so long?

Like most people, you may not have considered this novel proposition very deeply but go with me on this for a little longer. A prostitute could be just the therapy people need to save their failing marriages. With one constructive move, partners could completely sidestep the problems of affairs and bring back the sizzle they both had in those heady, can’t-keep-your-hands-off- each-other days. Remember those? The possibilities are endless, and both husband and wife could benefit from someone telling them what they could both do better in the bedroom. By hiring a prostitute to watch the action and give them pointers, it would be much like a coach correcting a golf swing or a bad yoga position. Plus, a little competition in the bedroom during the practicum would undoubtedly get her wanting to lift her game and him, happy to contribute to their mutual domestic debauchery.

A seasoned, worldly-wise prostitute could easily correct those little misunderstandings that lead to large divorce settlements, thus in effect the exercise is, as it were, a terrific investment. Once the wife sees all the tricks that drive him wild, that spark would ignite her competitive side and she’ll be vying for his affections like a teenager at a Justin Bieber concert. He would likely never want to leave the house, let alone run to the charms of another. I could even be doing myself out of a job…

Also, there’s always that lingering “housewife” epithet, that seems, unfairly, to carry such negative connotations. It may be that the wife doesn’t work, staying at home and having children to raise, but it’s really starting to set a bad role-model example for a teenage daughter. This alone could be the catalyst for seeking “professional guidance”. The last thing any caring parent wants is a daughter growing up thinking a man is going to take care of her all her life.

You’ll want her to know the value of an honest day’s work. Getting a prostitute running around the house will set that perfect example of a strong, independent working woman for a daughter that she so desperately needs.

It’s high time to look past the touchy-feely counselling remedies we’ve grown too comfortable with lately: the psychologists, social workers and those facilitated circles of whiners who all seem to think a few hours baring your soul to another bunch of similarly afflicted souls will actually help anything.

I think we should look to the past to find a way to navigate the complexities of our modern relationships. Thanks to the likes of pioneers like Freud, we can find real solutions to the problems that bedevil healthy marital relationships, while also avoiding the mental dilemmas about having affairs. Surprisingly, we can find a modern, practical solution from the oldest profession in the world.

Visit Lily Yang for more commentary, her books and charity work.

Originally published on Medium