By Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD, DLFAPA
Έρος ανίκατεν μαχαν
— “Sensual love (forever) undefeated in battle” Sophocles (chorus in Antigone)
Sexual drive and behavior in humans are powerful in dominating our behavior in more ways then one. Sex is complicated and involved in every area of our existence.
For starters, sexual reproduction is a process almost universal in life — across species and kingdoms, whether plants or animals. It is fundamental in protecting the offspring from the possible accumulated mistaking information of the parents by their individual contribution making up eventually the fertilized egg. (Although examples of asexual reproduction, called parthenogenesis exist, like where certain lizards for instance have only one parent.)
But, coming back to humans: as a species we try to accommodate or handle our sexual drive and its behavior, literally, “in any way we can.” We hide, we pretend, we lie, we cheat, we often mess up happy arrangements in our lives. We’re also ready to castigate vilify, and denounce others who are caught in sexual misbehavior, even though we too may very well have done similarly in the past. We claim innocence for ourselves rolling our eyes upwards as it were; i.e., a well known religious leader in the recent past, declared that a misbehaving colleague of his “be cut off from the body of Christ,” while himself during that time, was also victimizing a lady friend of his own. When he was then caught, he declared “the devil made me do it.”
There are multiple problems in us humans regarding sexuality.
- The length of time in raising a helpless born child (up 6 or 7 years) making the longevity of of the relationship of the parents important. It is helped by the continuous sexual enthusiasm for each other. People that make love together stay together, helping each other in raising the children.
- The drive to have a permanent partner (monogamy) is often in conflict with a desire and drive to be polygamous on the side.
- We are also able and eager to split the sexual drive from devotion and bonding using it alone as a recreational tool ,power and even commercializing it.
- The rather spectacular different strategies between men and women and securing and raising children. For instance, men tend to be somewhat opportunistic (the more partners the better producing children with a different partner thus enlarging the chance of survival of his own genes). Women, by virtue of their biology as well as social forces, are more eager for permanent exclusivity and securing a sexual partner with more influence, power, or wealth since the number of children they can possible have, is limited. Nevertheless, both sexes often find time and eagerness to cheat on the permanent partner; thus, having children with an enlarged genetic information ensuring the survival of their genes. Basically, and in general, men and women are in a perpetual underlying conflict in this area with each other.
- Meanwhile, both are equally eager to control and safeguard and monitor the behavior of one’s partner in a classic display of hypocrisy and double dealing.
So here we go: men of power, intellect, and rationality frequently endanger all — with depressing regularity — for just having an “affair.” Presidents, kings, emperors, and men of influence and wealth are all included — an endless line of them — as society bears on with legal action, social disgrace, and shame, resulting often in a social catastrophe for their lives.
Society itself, depending on the zeitgeist — the spirit or mood of the time — may tend to lean on one gender or the other. One hundred years ago, women were blamed and out-right victimized being called seductresses, manipulative, and even witches. Nowadays, society tends to focus on the nastiness of men in their sexual misbehavior, or women for mixing desires for securing men or again being the victims. All along, in reality, both sexes are in a mess up to their ears in handling their sexual drive.
In closing, let’s not forget sexual drive and behavior in human is meant to join forces augmenting the devotion and bonding and sharing the “magic” and creative meaning in their existence as married partners.
So let’s close the article, with the rest of Sophocles’s statement “Έρος ός εν μαλακες παρίες ένα νυκτι νεανίδος ενειχνευεις” translates to “oh sensual love which you hide under the soft cheeks of lassies at night.” Any advice: Stick with your partner and stay busy in strengthening the bonding and the shared moments with him/her and good luck in your efforts.
Copyright © 2018 by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD
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