Philosophical study of life, death, and nature
Confessions of a Frigid Man
Section 1: The Experience of “Ejaculation” and the Sense of Self-negation
1 “Men’s bodies are dirty!”
My investigations thus far have revealed two fundamental problems that exist within me. The first is that “I am frigid,” and the second is that “I cannot affirm my own body.” Ill fruits such as an attraction to miniskirts, a uniform fetish, and lolicon have flourished in this soil.
There is an incident I keep coming back to when thinking about these issues. It occurred at a meeting of a certain group. There were about twenty men and a few women in the room, and we were discussing issues like prostitution. The participants talked frankly about their own experiences and engaged in discussion in a relaxed atmosphere. One middle-aged man revealed that he sometimes hired prostitutes. There was a moment of tension, but without anyone criticizing him, those in attendance then began to talk about the nature of a desire to hire a prostitute. The discussion turned towards pornographic videos. When someone was talking about how a woman’s naked body is sexually arousing, one of the women in the group asked, “What about a man’s naked body?” Immediately the man who had admitted to hiring prostitutes exclaimed, “But men’s bodies are dirty!”
As soon as I heard this, I felt as though something had suddenly become clear to me. At the root of behaviors like buying women and becoming obsessed with pornography, there is a powerful sense that one’s own body, one’s male body, is dirty. This could be said, I thought, not just of this particular man but also of a majority of men.
Reflecting on my own feelings, it was clear that a sense that my male body was dirty lurked within me as well. To put it more precisely, this is not a sense that male bodies in general are dirty, but that “my own body,” which is male, is dirty. I now suspect that in my case this awareness transformed itself into an urge to get out of my body and slip into the body of a young girl, and this in turn ultimately led to my lolicon and uniform fetish. In the case of the man discussed above, it seems that this same awareness led him to pursue pornography and sex with prostitutes. When he said, “But men’s bodies are dirty!” I thought to myself, “That’s right, they are.” Body hair grows thickly, the color of the skin is bad, bones jut too prominently, and muscles bulge grotesquely. There is a penis and pubic hair around it, both dirtied by semen. I have an unavoidable sense that my body is extremely dirty.
2 The origin of the “my body is dirty” feeling
When I analyze my own psychological mechanisms more carefully, the following picture emerges.
When I feel that my body is dirty, the part I perceive as being the dirtiest is the area around my penis. To put it more bluntly, it is the area around my penis after semen has been released, because after I have ejaculated, whether during sex or masturbation, some semen always remains stuck to this part of my body. I have to wipe this semen off afterwards. This is when I find my body most dirty.
I feel dirty in this situation because the act of wiping off my genitals brings me back to when I first started having wet dreams as a junior high school student. One morning I woke up to a strange feeling between my thighs and the presence of a white, sticky substance. I didn’t know what to do. In the end I had to wipe the semen off with a tissue but I couldn’t get the stain out of my underwear. I continued to periodically have wet dreams even after I had learned to masturbate. I always woke up at the moment I was ejaculating in the dream. When this happened my first thought would be that I had soiled my underwear again. Wiping off the area between my thighs with a tissue as I rubbed my sleepy eyes and going to the basin to wash my dirty underwear were painful experiences. No matter how many times I washed them, I could not get the yellowish stain out of my underwear. Even though I made a point of masturbating before I went to sleep to avoid wet dreams, there were nights when I had them anyway.
My experience of wet dreams gave rise to a sense that “my body is dirty.” Presumably, my mother noticed what was happening, but she didn’t say anything. I thus had no choice but to face my sexual awakening on my own as a junior high school student. At school, boys whispered about wet dreams amongst themselves. But there was no serious counseling. I can still clearly remember one of my friends saying, “Hey, is something bothering you?” when I was standing on the classroom veranda looking out at the schoolyard and wishing I could give up being a man.
I had to face the experience of my first ejaculation, the central event in the emergence of male secondary sex characteristics, in a state of complete isolation. I had to deal with these things on my own, with neither the opportunity nor the inclination to discuss them with anyone else. I could not affirm having been born into a body that had to have wet dreams, and I could not affirm my own body that was changing inexorably into that of a man.
I now think that the experience of having wet dreams is very important for boys. The starting point of sex education for boys should be how they can welcome their first ejaculation positively (listening to the accounts of other men, it seems that some men experience their first ejaculation in a wet dream like I did, while others ejaculate for the first time while masturbating).
So what about girls? Even today some mothers cook “red rice” to celebrate their daughter’s first period. In any case, when a girl begins to menstruate, this is accepted by those around her and considered a blessing. This is how girls begin their sexual maturation. When boys begin to have wet dreams, on the other hand, this fact itself is completely disregarded by those around them. Everyone vaguely senses that it is happening, but no one will talk about it out loud. Boys deal with their wet dreams on their own, ignored by everyone around them, and as a result, there is a danger that negative feelings about their bodies will take root inside them. When I presented this idea at a seminar, one of the women in attendance pointed out that when a girl’s first period is celebrated it is only her ability to give birth to a child and become a mother that is being recognized as a blessing. I agree that this is indeed the case. When it comes to boys, however, their wet dreams are not celebrated as a blessing even in this sense, and for this I think they are to be pitied.
3 My masturbation experiences
Around this time I started to masturbate. I would masturbate while imagining erotic scenes or remembering erotic images from manga I had read, but after ejaculation my arousal would quickly dissipate and a feeling of regret would begin to grow within me. I should have stopped doing it because I always felt regret afterwards, but during my junior high and high school years my libido was incredibly powerful. Sexual urges would well up inside me like lava inside a volcano, and there was nothing I could do about it. If I went to bed without masturbating I would have a wet dream. As a result I masturbated before going to bed. This was a vicious circle. And to escape the depressing feelings that followed ejaculation, I would try to fall asleep as quickly as possible. In this way the “frigid man” sexuality of “quickly releasing something that has built up” was constructed inside me.
It was through masturbating in junior high and high school that I fully realized I was “frigid.” In the pornography I began to read around that time, adult women writhed with a pleasure so powerful it rendered them delirious, and in comparison my own experience of ejaculation was distressingly pedestrian. I was confronted by this disparity every time I masturbated.
I once attempted to escape from this situation by ceasing to masturbate. I think it was around the time I entered university that I decided to stop masturbating and endure the ensuing sexual frustration. After a while I had a wet dream, but I continued to refrain from masturbating. I had another wet dream. I managed to keep this up for about a month, but at that point it became impossible to endure. A strange odor began to emanate from my body, and it was impossible to suppress the urge to ejaculate any longer. The sensation I had at that time of something lava-like welling up inside my body is something that can in no way be explained by social constructionism (the view that social phenomena, human behaviors, and ways of feeling are socially constructed).
Many times I thought to myself, “If only there were some medicine that could get rid of these sexual urges.” And I began to yearn for a chance, if it were possible, to go back to the time in junior high school when I started masturbating and having wet dreams, and relive the moment of bifurcation between male and female in the other direction. I suspect that my uniform fetish and lolicon grew out of this yearning. I felt that it would be impossible for me to ever affirm my own body and sexuality unless I could go back to that time and relive the moment differently.
In short, the dirtiness of my semen when I had a wet dream led to the formation of a sense that “my body is dirty,” and the feeling of emptiness that followed ejaculation led to the awareness that “I am frigid.” As a result of these two factors, I became unable to affirm myself.
4 Ejaculation: a fundamental event for men
There may be some readers who find it difficult to believe I cannot affirm my body as a whole and my own sexuality just because of semen stains on my underwear and a feeling of emptiness after ejaculation. But I think the event of “ejaculation” has sufficient power to determine how a man thinks and feels about sex. The erect penis, referred to as “the phallus,” has come to be thought of as the most powerful symbol of manhood. But I think that “ejaculation” is perhaps more essential to men than “erection.” There must be many psychological problems that can be better clarified by viewing “ejaculation” rather than “erection” as being of central importance.
Looking back at my childhood, I started getting erections in the upper years of elementary school. I can remember talking innocently with other boys about how that part of our bodies got hard and increased in size. But at that time, secondary sex characteristics had not yet arrived. My body still had its unisex mien. It was after I had entered junior high school and started ejaculating that my body took a sharp turn towards that of a “man.” As a result of the male hormones that had begun to course powerfully throughout my entire body, my body hair began to grow and my voice changed. When my body began to radically transform itself from unisex to “male,” it is not “erection” but “ejaculation” that most accurately symbolized this transformation.
It seems to me that for an adolescent man it is indeed “ejaculation” that is the most powerful symbol of the fact that he is a man. And it was this “ejaculation” that I could not accept affirmatively. It was because of this stumbling block that I was not able to love my body that was becoming that of a man as a whole. This is the reason I cannot love my own body.
Section 2: How Did I Become a “Frigid Man”?
5 Birth of a “macho” man
What did I do when I fully realized I was unable to love my own body? To fill the emotional void inside myself I turned to “masculinity.” Since I couldn’t become a “woman,” in order to be able to affirm myself as a man I had to make the body I had more “masculine.” And not only my body but also my mind and behavior had to become more “virile.” If I could succeed in achieving this, I would surely be able to affirm my own body and sexuality. This was how I thought about it at the time. I felt like a drowning man grasping at straws.
I began to heavily apply “make-up” to my mind and body. I tried to paint over and cover up the parts I didn’t like. In this way, I constructed a man who pretended to be completely confident in his body and his sexuality even though he did not love himself. This was the birth of a “macho” man.
The process by which I came to grasp at “masculinity” may be quite particular to me. What I will describe next may not apply to most of my male readers. I will take the liberty of writing about it anyway, however, because it played a very important role in the formation of the person I am today. I hope male readers, if their experience was different from mine, will think about what happened in their own case and how they themselves went about becoming “masculine” and “confident.” The study of sexuality based on one’s own experiences can only begin with each individual engaging in this kind of introspection. We must not demand answers that apply to everyone at once.
6 Approaches from gay men and older women
When I entered university and began living alone, I tried to escape from the world of masturbation and wet dreams. I looked for opportunities to meet women, wandering the streets and participating in “gōkon” [a kind of group date, usually involving five or six members of each sex]. What I encountered, however, was a series of completely unforeseen events. I wanted to go out with girls my own age, but they showed no interest in me. The people who did show sexual interest in me were gay men and older women. I was bewildered.
My first approach from a gay man was quite intense. I had skipped class and gone to see a movie in Shibuya. Soon after the film started a man sat down beside me. Just as I was thinking that this was a bit strange, since there were many empty seats in the theater, the man began to slowly press his leg against mine. When I, not understanding what was happening, tried to shift away from him, he pushed up against me even harder. Panicked, I stood up and fled to the theater’s balcony. That was my first experience of sexual contact with another person. My first sexual contact coming in the form of unwanted touching in a public place was quite a shocking experience (incidentally, the film I had gone to see was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). This experience has allowed me to understand, if only to some small degree, the anxiety and trauma suffered by women who are groped on trains. For a while after this incident, I would immediately get up whenever a man sat down beside me on a train or in another public place. Having a man sitting beside me produced an unbearable anxiety.
But this incident was nothing more than a prelude to the advances from gay men I was to receive later. At a bar I was approached by a man I did not know who straight away asked me to go to a hotel with him. Even at university I was abruptly handed a long love letter from another male student; line after line he spelled out his passionate feelings in meticulous handwriting.
Among such incidents there was one that was particularly intense. It happened when I was attending a research meeting in a suburb of Tokyo. I was riding a bus from the train station to the location of the meeting. The number of people on the bus gradually declined until finally only I and one other male passenger remained. I got off at the penultimate stop, after which a ten-minute walk along a riverside embankment would bring me to my destination. I walked along the picturesque riverbank. There was no one else around. It was a sunny afternoon. Suddenly I heard the sound of rapid footsteps approaching. The footsteps got closer until they were right behind me. I looked over my shoulder. The man who had remained on the bus until my stop was walking behind me. He leaned in close to my ear and said, “How about joining me for a cup of coffee?” We were the only ones on the embankment. I felt a chill run down my spine. “No, thank you,” I said. He stopped walking and before I knew it he had disappeared. I kept walking along the embankment without looking back. My heart was pounding. I was afraid. It was frightening for me to be pursued in this way.
Of course, looking back on it afterwards, I felt as though I had treated him badly. It must have taken a lot of courage for him to come up and speak to me. But more than guilt, I felt fear to think that I was being targeted from places unknown and that this targeting was sexual in nature.
Here I would like to state once again that I do not have any negative feelings toward gay men; I have met many homosexuals and I know from personal experience that they are normal men who can be found in all walks of life. In almost all cases, there is nothing that noticeably sets them apart from straight men. For this reason, I hate the prejudice and discrimination against gays that can often be seen on television and elsewhere in this society. (Sexual harassment and assault must not be permitted, of course, regardless of whether or not the perpetrator is gay).
7 The misapprehension that men must be “hunters”
Returning to my original topic, through these experiences I was forced to acknowledge that I was a “pursued body.” At the time, this was extremely difficult for me to bear; I was supposed to become a man who “pursues women,” but instead I was being pursued by gay men. I was occasionally approached by women, but they were always quite a bit older than me. And when I tried to approach women around my own age, they were almost completely unresponsive to my advances.
The fact that I was a pursued body weighed heavily on me. I had to transform myself from a body that was targeted to a body that targeted others. I believed without question in the prevailing idea that men should be “hunters.” I therefore had to become more “masculine.” Up until that time my extremely skinny body had not developed much in the way of muscles, but by doing simple physical training every night before going to bed, I managed to gradually put a little more meat on my bones. Thanks to this training I became able to swim the breaststroke.
I was generally quite passive in my dealings with other people, but I thought it was necessary to be able to take the lead with women so I resolved to become better at being the one to suggest things and make decisions. I studied maps of good restaurants and bars to take women on dates and read books on how to please women during sex. In this way I ploughed ahead towards my goal of becoming a “macho man” with a “body that pursues.”
I wanted to be a man who could make clear declarations about things, not one who was weak and irresolute. I wanted to become a man who could invite others rather than waiting for someone to invite him. I thought I had to obtain the composure and enough money to be able to suavely pay for everything rather than sharing the check. I thought I had to become the kind of person who is never timid and who remains calm and imposing no matter what happens. Without doing this, it would be impossible to attract women. And in the event I managed to find a girl and get married, I would have to become a “head of the household” who could support and protect his family.
I tried to turn myself into the kind of man who is always capable of taking the lead when it comes to his relationships with women. I tried to become the kind of man who can please women and make them happy. This is what I thought “masculinity” was. And in order to convince myself that my body was not dirty, I also began to pay attention to how I dressed.
In this way, a man was constructed who, although he secretly still bore his “frigidity” and “self-rejection,” skillfully presented himself as though he were completely confident in his own body and sexuality. As early as my twenties, I had already become a fully formed “frigid man.” (This personality was later to be demolished through a complicated process, and I encourage those interested in how this came about to read Painless Civilization (Mutsū Bunmei Ron, Transview, 2003).
8 What are “frigid men” like?
Up until now, I have used the terms “frigid man” and “male frigidity” with similar meanings, but here I would like to make a clear distinction. “Frigid men” are men who, while carrying “male frigidity” and “self-negation” hidden within themselves, avoid acknowledging these traits as much as possible and behave as if they did not exist.
Here I would like to take a moment to briefly summarize some of what I have said about “frigid men” thus far.
A frigid man suffers from male frigidity. If he could accept this condition as it is, he would be better off, but in practice he is unable to do so. He attempts to ignore it as much as possible and thinks it may be possible to find astounding sexual pleasure elsewhere. A “frigid man” thinks his body is dirty. He is thus unable to love his own body and sometimes wishes he could escape from it. He also thinks he might be able to love himself if he could become more “masculine.”
This kind of sexuality casts a dark shadow over his relationship with women. To begin with, he knows he cannot surpass women when it comes to feeling pleasure so he tries to dominate and control their pleasure in order to place himself above them. By dominating women he attempts to attain a sense of superiority that will cancel out his frigidity. Strangely, it is experienced as a kind of healing. But when this domination fails, he begins to have a desire to punish and take revenge on women who are capable of feeling pleasure. This is when the urge to rape arises. And when the desire to escape from his own dirty, frigid body becomes stronger, uniform fetishes and lolicon tendencies begin to emerge. This is discussed in greater detail in the preceding chapters.
The result of this process is men who use women for their own ends by foisting their own self-centered images and desires upon them. While on the inside these men are full of insecurities and self-negation, outwardly they may appear to be full of confidence, sympathetic to women, or wear an expression that says, “I too am being hurt.” And when a problem arises they do not try to directly face women to solve the problem but instead try to discard them cold-bloodedly and one-sidedly. For these men, the image of a fantasy woman on which they are fixated is more important than the flesh and blood women they meet in real life. This imaginary woman has no will or feelings of her own and is thus easy to control.
So why are frigid men a problem? First, if their desires get out of control, there is a danger of their committing rape or sexual crimes against young girls. We must fully acknowledge this fact. Second, these men live their lives without being able to affirm themselves or love their own life. I think they normally try not to think about these issues, but at some point, the misery they cause becomes impossible to avoid. Third, there is the risk of their forming unhealthy, twisted relationships with the women they become intimate with. Both parties can end up carrying on with these relationships even though deep down they find them difficult and painful.
This is roughly how I see this issue. As I said earlier, I have no idea how many “frigid men” there are. Based on what I see every day, I suspect the number of men who have at least one of the symptoms described in this book is quite large. There are of course many fully formed “frigid men” and many men who have only one foot across this threshold.
There are also presumably “frigid men” who have neither a uniform fetish nor lolicon and vice versa. In my case, these conditions happen to overlap, but I suspect this is not something that can be said to hold true in general. Not all lolicon and uniform fetishes, therefore, can be explained by the “desire to escape from one’s own dirty, frigid body” hypothesis. This is an area in which future research is needed.
Section 3: Begin by Accepting “Male Frigidity”
9 In order to move beyond being a “frigid man”
So how are we to move beyond being “frigid men”?
I would like to approach this question by considering men who have symptoms similar to mine.
To begin with, men like me must frankly acknowledge the “frigidity” of our bodies. We must fully accept that there is nothing to be done about our urination-like ejaculations and post-ejaculation feelings of emptiness. To accept our frigidity is also to accept that we were born biologically male. One approach we can take is to face up to this fact and declare, “I am frigid, but that isn’t a problem at all.” I definitely suffer from male frigidity, but no treatment is needed.
Because the fact that they cannot experience much sexual pleasure is something frigid men cannot accept for what it is, it becomes twisted in strange ways and leads to the emergence of problems like attempts to punish women who can feel pleasure and the desire to hurt oneself or to inhabit the body of a young girl. This is also one of the roots of discrimination against women. There must presumably be a way of preventing these sorts of problems by unreservedly accepting one’s own lack of sensation and escaping from the negative feelings that it causes.
In order to be able to acknowledge the frigidity that we carry within ourselves, we must somehow find a way to heal our memories of sexual activity that have been scarred by ejaculation. It may be necessary for a frigid man to have a place where he can share his experiences and discuss with other men the fact that he is not the only one who feels misery, emptiness, deep regret, listlessness, and anxiety after ejaculation. We will presumably feel much better if we come to believe that the tendency to have these sorts of sexual feelings is part of what it means to be born into a male body, and that there is thus no need to view our experiences negatively.
10 People who promote ancient sexual techniques
There are some people who, taking the opposite approach to mine, assert that if you don’t like being frigid you should study sex that enables you to feel true pleasure. They maintain, for example, that true male sexual pleasure can be attained through traditional sex techniques such as those found in Chinese Taoism and Indian Tantra. Here I would like to take a brief look at this approach.
In The Multi-orgasmic Man (Thorson, 1996), authors Mantak Chia and Douglas Abrams Arava advocate the modern resurrection of traditional Chinese sexual techniques. They draw a distinction between “orgasm” and “ejaculation.” They then claim that with practice men can learn to experience “orgasm” many times without “ejaculating.” In concrete terms this is done by cultivating inner energy (qi in Chinese) within the body, developing the muscles around the genitals, and using these muscles to prevent the flow of semen when ejaculation seems imminent. In this way you can savor ejaculation-like pleasure without actually emitting semen. By experiencing pleasure without ejaculating over and over again, you will eventually become able to experience ecstasy so powerful it is like your body is becoming one with the universe. They claim that since no semen is expelled, you can avoid the feeling of depletion that follows ejaculation. If you feel unable to hold it in, you can apply pressure with your finger at the base.
Charles and Caroline Muir’s Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving (Mercury House, 1989) offers an easy to understand introduction to Tantra. They too distinguish between “orgasm” and “ejaculation.” Using Tantric sexual techniques it is possible to have sex for as long as you like and regain your erection quickly with little recuperation time required after ejaculation. As a result, once sufficient proficiency is attained, you will be able to have sex that makes you one with the universe. But they do not encourage the physical prevention of ejaculation. On the contrary they state that this may lead to illness. After ejaculation, your penis must be left inside the woman’s body for an extended period of time, because through controlling your breathing while remaining in this position, it is possible to suck the sexual energy you have released into her back inside yourself.
I understand the motivation of these people who want to resurrect these traditional sexual techniques in the modern era. They presumably intend to somehow provide relief from miserable heterosexual intercourse in which the only aim is male “ejaculation.” They seem eager to tell everyone about the amazing experience of a man and a woman coming together to achieve oneness with the universe. I suspect they may also want to avoid the sense of emptiness that follows ejaculation.
In Platonic Animal (Puratonikku Animaru, Jōhōsentā Shuppankyoku, 1992), Tadashi Yoyogi also distinguishes between “orgasm” and “ejaculation,” maintaining that men can attain true orgasms by removing their male armor and destroying their own egos. He then goes on to suggest that if everyone on Earth could experience genuine orgasms, the world would be a better place to live.
11 Pitfalls latent in the pursuit of pleasure
I do not reject the efforts of these authors. But I would like to take a different approach, because if you set off, like them, in pursuit of true orgasms, there is a danger that you will only increase your “desire for sexual pleasure” while maintaining your distorted sexuality and interpersonal relationships as they are.
In concrete terms, there is a risk that in attempting to help men attain greater sexual pleasure, we may inadvertently encourage men to have a lot of sex with prostitutes (in fact, one man who is engaged in efforts to spread the adoption of Tantra has written an essay in which he speaks proudly of the supremely pleasurable tantric sex he had with a prostitute in India). It is also easy to imagine a man who has gained the ability to have multiple orgasms without ejaculating becoming a peerless hunter, felling his prey one after another. This is not the kind of man I want to become. I therefore think it is necessary to first think very carefully about how to deal with my twisted sexuality and how to avoid being manipulated by the sexual desire that exists within me before pursuing an orgasm that will make me one with the universe.
Furthermore, as I discussed in How to Live in a Post-religious Age (Shūkyōnakijidai wo Ikiru Tameni, Hōzōkan, 1996), I used to belong to a “Qigong” group, and there was a time when I felt drawn toward the Aum Shinrikyō cult. I have seen with my own eyes the potential for evil harbored by people with a longing for ultimate pleasure and a feeling of oneness with the universe. There are indeed pitfalls awaiting any man who seeks pleasure. Gradually and without his knowing, the pursuit of pleasure can transform itself into the pursuit of power and greed.
I therefore think the best approach is to begin by humbly acknowledging “male frigidity” and accepting it as something that can be affirmed.
12 Towards a “frigidity” that opens into “gentleness”
“Frigid men” are by nature not eager to acknowledge their own frigidity. But what happens when a “frigid man” accepts his frigidity with dignity? I think he may then have an opportunity to escape from being a “frigid man.” If he becomes able to deeply affirm and love his frigid self he will no longer be a “frigid man”; while remaining unable to experience intense pleasure he will nevertheless become able to be unreservedly happy to have ejaculated, and, along with the feelings of emptiness and isolation that follow ejaculation, tender feelings will also spread within him and he will begin to have a desire to cherish humanity and the world. What I am looking for, I think, is this sort of experience.
In this book, I have used the term “frigidity” because I thought it would be comforting to treat it as a medical condition in a broad sense rather than to treat it as a personal or private concern. But “frigidity” is not necessarily something that requires medical treatment; it is possible to live a fulfilling life with this condition.
One way to do this may be to remember once again the sort of relationship you originally wanted to have with the woman you love. A man can say, “I suffer from frigidity, but I want to be gentle,” and attempt to live his life by this maxim. If “frigidity” opens into gentleness, can it not then be wholeheartedly welcomed rather than shunned? Even when you have no sexual partner, it might be better for you to attempt to fill your heart with kind feelings towards other people immediately after you masturbate. The key is a “gentleness” that can only be shown because you are “frigid.” I am confident that this experience of frigidity, which has a tendency to lead to feelings of “defeat,” “self-negation,” and “revenge,” can also be made to inspire feelings of “gentleness” towards beings that have life and are easily harmed. Making frigidity a source of gentleness: this is the opening through which we can escape from being “frigid men.”
There must be a way in which a man can first acknowledge his frigidity for what it is, recover a body and mind that enable him to have gentle feelings after ejaculation, unravel the kinks in his sexuality and interpersonal relationships, and then attempt to discover sexual pleasure. The most important thing is to build tender relationships with the people you love and who are important to you, relationships in which you are able to respect and cherish each other. If it is required in order to support the creation of this kind of relationship, you should explore the furthest reaches of sex together with your partner. A great deal of information relevant to this kind of exploration is easily available. I think you should not have excessive expectations regarding sex when it is not absolutely necessary in order to foster gentleness or when you do not have a partner. In any case, the most important thing to avoid is having sexual pleasure become your goal and its pursuit come to dominate your life. More than anything, what is needed to begin with is for each man to take a hard look at himself and figure out what practical approach would suit him best.
13 Dissolving the sense that “my body is dirty”
The second thing a frigid man must do is thoroughly dissolve his sense that “my body is dirty.” Men who continue to have sex while thinking that their own bodies are dirty tend to harm not only their female partners in various ways but also themselves. But it does not seem likely that this problem can be solved by lifting weights and paying more attention to fashion, because there are cases in which men continue to hold on to the idea that their bodies are dirty while working far too hard to make themselves more physically attractive.
It is perhaps necessary for each individual to analyze the source of this “my body is dirty” feeling. In my case, the fact that I could not affirm my experience of wet dreams was very important. I encourage readers to think about how things went in their own case. In order to change this feeling, it may be helpful to have a partner you can trust. You could open up to this partner about what bothers you about your own body, and if she accepts what you say sympathetically, then you could talk your problems over with her and try to find a way to solve them. There should be ways of coming to better understand each other and gradually share with each other the fact that your body is not really dirty and there is no reason to have a negative feeling about that. There are many things that can be gained by gently touching each other’s bodies and sharing your feelings.
Concerning the above, I think it might be better if it were customary for experienced adults to provide sexual guidance to both girls and boys when they reach junior high school age. Rather than only providing sex education in a classroom setting, would it not be better to have a culture in which adults with strict self-control acted as practical advisors, talking with children about worries and difficulties associated with sex and providing assistance regarding their sexual development and behavior? I don’t think it is absurd to suggest that adults should share their experiences, failures, and lessons learned with children before they develop a distorted sense of the human body and how people have sex through the Internet and other media.
Here something else comes to mind. I would like to ask my male readers if they can imagine their own fathers masturbating and ejaculating. I suspect most of them will feel somewhat disgusted when they try to imagine this kind of scene. There may even be some who find it nauseating. You can imagine your father heartily slurping up a bowl of noodles without difficulty, so why can’t you imagine him masturbating? The reason this is so difficult is that you yourself cannot fully affirm masturbation. Your father almost certainly masturbated, and it was from his sperm released during sex that you were created. It is important to think about these things a little bit more deeply.
Men often talk with great feeling about the fact that they were born out of their mother’s womb, but when it comes to the fact that they were also created by their father’s ejaculation, this is something they tend to thoroughly avoid acknowledging. It seems likely that both the problem of male frigidity, which is connected to ejaculation, and the problem of men finding their own bodies dirty lie behind this tendency.
14 Freedom from the illusion of “tremendous pleasure”
The third thing a frigid man must do is liberate himself from the delusion that there is “something tremendous” hidden in targets of fixation such as sex with young girls, rape, uniforms, and what is underneath a miniskirt. “Frigid men” are particularly prone to this kind of delusion, because being unable to find pleasure within themselves, they suspect that “something tremendous” may lie hidden in some “unknown territory” beyond their own bodies. For example, they may imagine that if they rape a girl who is still in elementary school, they will attain the kind of “tremendous pleasure” they have never been able to feel in the past. Getting excited by just looking at a miniskirt or uniform may not be so terribly bad, but when the search for tremendous pleasure leads to actually paying a young girl for sex or raping her, it becomes a serious problem.
The incident that occurred in the Akasaka area of Tokyo in 2003 in which female elementary school students were abducted and held in captivity can be seen as a model example of this kind of case. The man who committed this crime killed himself with the girls still being held captive, and presumably he wanted to use these girls to experience, even if only once before his death, “tremendous pleasure” of a kind he had never known. In order to eliminate rape and sex with young girls, men must be freed of the delusion that “tremendous pleasure” must exist in some unknown territory. This is something that I believe is extremely important.
To this end, it is important that the mechanism of things like miniskirts, uniforms, lolicon, and rape be made clear in a way that anyone can understand. This book is one attempt to realize this goal. I hope you will delve into your own experiences while using what I have said as a reference. Even if it is only for a brief instant, if you can get a bird’s-eye view of the mechanisms of the sexual labyrinth in which you are trapped, it should make it easier for you to see the route to the exit. The clarification of these mechanisms will require further research in addition to the investigations conducted in this book. Joint efforts between men’s studies and women’s studies in this area are eagerly awaited.
15 To people who are troubled by what I have been saying
Among the readers of this book, I suspect there are some who feel an indescribable sense of discomfort with what I have been saying. It may seem as though this male author has been indulging in undisciplined discussions of male sexuality for his own satisfaction. Some may suspect that I have in fact just been affirming the status quo while writing in a style that suggests I am criticizing it. Feminist women may ask why they should have to listen to a man preach about sexuality at this point. I did in fact receive this kind of criticism from some of the participants when I gave a presentation at a meeting of the Women’s Studies Association of Japan. Their criticism was that since a social structure in which men dominate, despise, and inflict violence upon woman has been put in place when it comes to sex, any theory of sexuality that does not include self-criticism of this fact is like a middle-aged man lecturing a bunch of women with his fly open.
This book may also come in for criticism from those who do not think sex should be discussed so lightly. Others may wonder why this author talks so arrogantly about sex without studying the structures through which men dominate women that have been elucidated by feminism. I have in fact received this sort of criticism. My writings may feel like yet another case of a man sidling up to women. There will no doubt be derisive claims that what men say cannot be trusted at all.
Regarding the above, there is only one thing I would add. My “men’s studies” began as a direct and earnest response to the impact of feminism and women’s liberation. Feminist Mitsu Tanaka once stated that she wondered if the time will ever come when men will talk about their own pain in their own words, and I think men’s studies begins with the sincere undertaking of this task. For an example of my engagement with feminism and women’s liberation see my Life Studies Approaches to Bioethics (Keisō Shobō, 2001).
I find feminism’s depiction of structures of male sexual domination very persuasive. Men must change in order for these structures to be broken down. In particular, men’s sexuality must change. I believe that my first-person narrative of unspoken aspects of male sexuality can bring its essence into the light and provide an opportunity for the dismantling of these structures of sexual domination from the male side. In this book I have made various attempts toward this end. These have included topics that may invite misunderstandings and issues that are dangerous to address. But I have never taken the attitude, all too common among young intellectuals, that it is fine to go no further than making superficial and pedantic discussions about this or that subculture (such as, for example, the way otaku talk) while affirming the current state of affairs.
At the same time, however, I would also like to make a clear distinction between my views and the sort of conservatism that supports the “restoration of fatherhood.” At first glance, this book’s approach of affirming “the state of being a man” may seem similar to the conservative assertion that men must “go back to being more manly.” Conservatives lament that recently men have started to become weak like women. They preach to young men that it is important for them to have more self-confidence and become dignified and imposing “Japanese men.” What I believe, however, is that on the contrary it is tremendously harmful to try to forcibly shape yourself in accordance with the sort of “masculinity” demanded by society. Affirming oneself and regaining the sort of “masculinity” prescribed by society are completely different things. This must not be misunderstood.
On the other hand, I may also be criticized for dwelling exclusively on the miserable side of male sexuality in this book. This sort of criticism would hold that no amount of this sort of wallowing will help damaged men recover their courage. A harsh critic might even say that he or she does not want to listen to a discussion of men based on my deficient sexual sensitivity, sexual experiences, and delusions. But what I have written here is what is true for me. In this book I have indeed not been able to say very much about the bountiful side of sex. I would like to acknowledge this here; there is indeed a fulfilling side to sex. But I believe there are things that absolutely must be done before I can discuss it. I wanted to focus on these things that are not normally discussed. I believe that after having succeeded in these efforts, various forms of sexual relationships in which other people are not merely tools in the service of your own desire will emerge. I think these will include a truly diverse range of sexual relationships and approaches to sexuality.
16 As questions for each individual…
In this book I have said many things about myself and proposed many extreme hypotheses. What I hope you, the reader, will do now is begin to ask yourself how things stand in your own case. As for researchers, I hope that if they find my hypotheses incorrect they will propose new ideas of their own to replace mine.
When it comes to questions of sexuality there are no universal answers. Each reader must continue to think about these issues on his or her own.
As for my own case, I have now gotten to the point of being able to publicly acknowledge male frigidity. This took a long time, but I think I have at last managed to do so. I no longer think that there is some kind of tremendous pleasure lying hidden and waiting to be discovered. Instead I have come to think that since having frigidity is not really a problem, what I want to strive for is becoming a kind and gentle man in the truest sense of these words.
Regarding my own body being dirty, this is something that I have not yet been able to overcome. I have come to understand what a surprisingly large impact wet dreams and masturbation had on me. As a result I have not even come close to reaching a state of mind in which I can affirm and love my body. This is my task going forward.
As for my uniform fetish and lolicon, by coming to understand their mechanisms I think I have finally been able to free myself from them. Of course, I still feel an attraction when I see a pretty girl in a uniform. But because I am now able to dispassionately view my emotions from a distance, I am no longer at the mercy of these feelings. I have come to clearly understand how consuming image after image of women causes flesh and blood women to suffer. I have also come to realize that people can build good relationships by understanding and sharing each other’s feelings. I can testify that it is possible for a man’s sexuality to change in any number of ways.
While there are many things that still need to be discussed, for now I will stop here.
Afterword – 2004
I set out to write a book about male sexuality that would be easy to read, enlightening and enjoyable. As the writing progressed, I realized that the topics I was dealing with were quite difficult and painful, and many times I found myself struggling to continue. Mustering all my strength, I pressed on until I had managed to put something on paper, but how did this effort turn out?
In any case, I think it contains many discussions you cannot find in any other book, and I hope that what I have written is not too far off the mark. Regarding the specific contents of this book, I can only ask that you read the main text, but I think that until now there have been hardly any attempts to approach sex from this angle.
When I brought this book to Chikuma Shinsho, my original idea was to target female readers because I thought that most women have no knowledge of the “men’s secrets” I was planning to write about. After having finished writing it, however, I began to want men to read this book as well as women, because men do not necessarily know themselves completely, and particularly when it comes to these sorts of topics we have a tendency to intentionally look away.
There is one thing for which I think I must offer an apology. It concerns what it means for someone who is a teaching professor at a university to write this kind of book. I would not want to in any way limit my own academic freedom, but I suspect this book might make some of the young university students I teach uncomfortable in various ways. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for this. I hope they can forgive me. I have no intention of touching on any of the things I talk about in this book in my classes.
For those interested in the intellectual background of this book I highly recommend reading my previous work Painless Civilization (Transview, 2003). Reading Painless Civilization should help you understand why I think it is necessary to consider issues of male sexuality from the perspective I have taken.
I think this book can also be seen as a good example of “life studies” in a slightly relaxed or casual form. This is something that would be interesting to examine further.
I would like to express my gratitude to Chishū Ishida, Yuka Orii, Yasuhito Kaneko, T. Kael, Kumi Tsukahara, Rio Numaoka, Ichiro Numazaki, and WAKKI for the valuable comments I received when this book was at the manuscript stage. I would also like to offer my thanks to Hiroyuki Ishijima who oversaw publication of this book at Chikumashobō.
October, 2004, while on a rooftop looking at the moon before sunrise.
(End of Chapter 5 and Afterword)
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