Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hard Rocks Love 7:
The War Between The Sexes
In The Black Community

One of the longest wars in our community is not between the black bourgeois vs. the underclass, nor the gang bangers, but the war between the sexes.

There are several reasons for this.

Have you ever studied your female cat or dog in the weeks after she's mated? As her due date nears, she searches for a comfy little nesting area where she will call home and raise her brood. This could be your bedroom closet, the spot behind your stairs, or a corner in your attic.

Women often behave similarly after becoming sexually involved with a man they really like - even when they're not pregnant. No, they don't look for that cozy spot behind the steps, but their urge to nest kicks in. Unlike our pets, they want him to join them on an emotional level in an exclusive relationship.

Call it, a nest in your heart.

But let's return to cats and dogs for a moment. They are different in another critical way. The unspaded female is not sexually available throughout the year. She will have sex only when she is in heat. You'll know this because she appears to be on her period which occurs once or twice a year.

Women are not fertile when menstruating, but dogs and cats are. Your pet will give off a scent that the males can smell from long distances and her behavior is different. You'll need to keep her on lock down if you don't want her getting knocked up, because males will come around to mate with her.

Humans have that special scent too, and it's called pheromones. Our sense of smell is weak enough that we aren't conscious of it, but this interesting article in New Scientist reported that a commercial synthetic "pheromone" tripled the sexual success of women.

While we share some similarities with our four-legged friends, there is a major biological difference: as a species, women are in heat 365 days a year.

This makes temptation a challenge for men, and can be a curse for many women without partners, particularly in their most fertile years. This is because like their animal counterparts, women have a strong urge to 'nest' after 'mating', or sexual involvement with someone they're strongly attracted to. It manifests itself as an emotional attachment.

Men rule the world, but women rule the home. Most men defer to their wives when it comes to decorating. She generally makes decisions in how the kitchen and bathrooms will look and be organized. Why? Food and hygiene is critical in making a good nest.

In most cultures throughout history, including our own, this worked out fairly well because families of young women instructed them to hold off having sex until marriage. If they slipped up, it was usually with an identifiable boyfriend who married them out of choice or by a shotgun wedding. When they didn't, these young women caught the blues, from their family, their church - which often kicked them out, and their community. Still happens in many places.

The pre-condom and pre-birth control era, in Western nations in particular, made it a social taboo to have premarital sex because a child out of wedlock was an economic burden to the young woman's family. Combined with religious mores, her lapse in self-control was seen as disgraceful and sinful.

The old traditions have been shot to hell thanks to birth control and people living in high density, highly mobile population areas where being gossiped about isn't the problem that it was in a small town, where everybody knew everyone's business.

On the plus side, the great thing about this social transition is sexual freedom. It came hand in hand with women being free to earn their money and not be as economically dependent on family or a husband or brotha-turned-bully who wasn't so great to live with.

The downside is that women, by and large, still have the urge to nest after getting involved with man, and this can work against them in our culture where marriage is delayed until the mid-20s and older, or never happens.

This results in a lot of problems for the ladies seeking to build a figurative nest in their hearts and lives, for the simple reason that men, like male dogs and tomcats, don't necessarily seek out a nest after 'mating' with every female 'in heat'.

We're talking about he did me wrong.

Unless there is something about her that he really likes and makes him want an exclusive relationship with her, he'll be distracted by the next woman who comes along and signals that she's hot for him.

This doesn't make the single, uncommitted guy an asshole, bad or evil... it's his biology at work.

A lot of 'em will tell you what they think you want to hear to get the punani, but ask yourself if you're leading the witness, so to speak.

"Honey, tell me first," she might say to a brotha she met two or three weeks ago, when he's rock hard and ready climb in her bed, "do you love me?"

"Uh, sure. I love you."

Sistah please, getta grip.

I personally have no problem with casual, protected sex, because the appetite for it is our strongest appetite next to our hunger for food, That nesting instinct, however, can confuse it with love and invite self-deception and lying. This makes the relationship fake rather than fun, and puts too much pressure on both parties.

Where women get in real trouble is when they have the idea that they have give up their identity, values, or dreams to coax and keep an incompatible man in their nest, aka their life.

A man's decision to settle down in a committed, sexually exclusive relationship is often a challenge, and even after he decides to do this, his temptation to not stray when the perfect opportunity presents itself can be a struggle.

Men, I'll get to you in a couple of minutes, but ladies, this is where I'll speak directly to you.

The wandering male mindset can cause untold misery for many of us. For example:

Have you ever acted in self-defeating ways after becoming sexually involved with man who wasn't on the same page?

Or watched one of your good girlfriends or female family members go off the deep end over a guy who couldn't be more undeserving of her?

Sure you have.

The conversations are as varied as infinity:

"She gave up a scholarship out of state to stay here and be with him."

"She passed up a great job opportunity in another city because he didn't want to go and she worried about losing him."

"She doesn't use condoms because he doesn't like them."

"She never drank much or smoked until she met him, and only does it to convince him she can chill with him on any level."

"She'll drop off her kid with anybody, and I mean anybody, when he calls and wants to go out."

"She let him hide her drug stash in her house, and that's why it got raided."

"She's starving herself because he thinks she's too fat. She looks anorexic now."

"She dumped me and all of her other girl friends because he didn't like or trust any of her friends."

"She gave or loaned him a bunch of money, and now she's deep in credit card debt. He ain't never gonna pay her back."

"She got pregnant and had his baby knowing he had other girlfriends and wasn't into her that much, and now he don't even come around."

"She lets him drive her car, knowing damn well he doesn't have a drivers license and that if he has an accident, her insurance company will kick her out."

"She did everything for him, and he just shot her down."

Yeah, heartbreak feels like this.

Men, you may have behaved the same or similar way as mentioned above when strung out over a woman.

In some ways, men get even nuttier in intense relationships. We see this play out in the animal kingdom all the time. Likewise, jealousy-based assaults, murders and even tribal wars have been fought over punani.

From casual observation, however, self-destructiveness based on wishful thinking hits young women harder in relationships and more often.

While a lot of the conversation in girl-talks gives the impression that men don't care, this pisses off a lot of men who watch it happen to their female relatives and platonic friends. Truth be told, most of the brothas hate seeing a good sistah go down in flames.

The problem is that the hormonally driven urge to attain love, combined with our culture's idealizing woman-as-mother, and unconscious urge to reproduce, propels so many women to work too hard in convincing the man she's sweet on to join her in her nest. After these women have given up so much and the man doesn't and flies away, she is often left heart-broken and/or bitter.

And this is what lies under much of the anger of black women over the state of relationships in the black community.

On the flip side, black men historically and presently have been thwarted at every turn from having the opportunities to move as far ahead as their white male counterparts. This causes stress, and sex is a natural stress-releaser. So is excessive drinking, drugging, partying, gambling, video game playing, etc.

Systemic racism impedes their ability - as a group - to earn big bucks to buy that house or rent that nice apartment where they can bring home that great woman they love to be with.

A lot of young black guys still live at home with their mother or parents because even if they work full time in a low paying job, they can't afford to rent a decent place nicer than where they live.

You young'uns may not realize this, but through late 80s, renting a fairly nice crib was affordable for the single person making minimum wage. It was much easier saving money for a down payment on a house. Those days been gone, and this is one factor that has screwed up the ability of working class adults in their 20s to leave home and become independent. It's especially hard on a man's ego.

All of this has a way of effing up a man's head. While many have a strong urge to chill with the fellas - much like running with the pack - as maturity sets in, many have the urge to settle down in the nest made by a woman he really likes. But if he thinks he can't because his money is all F'ed up, it can leave him pissed off.

(Hint to the brothas: two can live cheaper than one because the rent is split in half.)

It further frustrates him that a lot of the sistahs can't seem to appreciate this. It makes things worse when he falls for the wrong woman whom he goes the extra mile for, only to be exploited financially, emotionally or sexually.

And don't lie, sistahs. When it comes to sexual exploitation, plenty of us do it too, playing with the hearts and oh so hot bodies of ghetto boyz, and then dismissing them as being too thugged out the minute a guy in a suit and tie comes along.

Rather than fume about all of this, a lot the brothas take the fuck it approach to intimate relationships and even work.

They play the cards in the half-deck that systemic racism dealt them, seek pleasure and happiness when they can and let the chips fall where they may. It leads to a lot of dysfunctional relationships, and if out of wedlock children are born, conflict over what their parenting role will or should be, and too often resentment over support a kid when they can barely support themselves.

And this is what lies under much of the anger of black men when discussing the state of relationship in the black community.

A woman's urge to nest is as powerful as man's urge to fill it. It's dictated by Mother Nature to keep us from becoming extinct. In many ways humanity is not compatible with advanced civilization.

Many of the best of the old ways have been brushed aside, leaving us feeling misunderstood and separate even when together, and more alone, lonely and angry than ever.

Our hormones, when out of control, can confuse us, and lead us into making irrational and self-destructive choices with people who can't possibly meet our needs or vice versa.

When meeting or getting involved with a new person, complaining about the problem between brothas and sistas is a conversational turn off, from the brothas who bitch that most women are out for what they can get, to the sistahs who nag that most men ain't shyt. Who the hell wants to be under their microscope?

Systemic racism grinds a lot of us down, especially in job settings. This has the potential of getting worse for most of us as our economy slides downward into unknown territory.

As a people, we have a lot of stress on our shoulders. Dating adds more. We - men and women - have our differences, but have more in common. A better understanding and acceptance of why we are the way we are, along with humor and flexibility, will go a long way in helping us thank God for each other.


  1. i was just over at GoGetItGirl's blog kinda sorta also reading about relationships.

    i understand the man's perspective. but isn't that what drive and vision is supposed to change? isn't drive supposed to make u get a degree and get a non-low wage job, so that when the right woman is ready to nest, you aren't running for the hills cuz you're shit ain't right? i know firsthand what lack of education and a job can do to a man and how he treats ppl around him because of that lack.

    but honestly though, sometimes it ain't about the pu**y, it's about the pu**y not having no goddamn sense. women need to stop trying to nest with obvious losers. if someone shows you heir true colors, BELIEVE THEM! damn!

  2. I am a big fan of your blog and I think you hit the nail on the head when discussing our nature and biology. i definitely agree that we as people need to be better attuned to what's natural to us as a species and not just fall into stereotypes and be fooled by false knowledge... thanx for a good post

  3. Emeritus, now that I'm awake, I can give a a decent response. I particularly agree with your point over the need for not nesting with obvious losers.

    The cause is at least partly the hormonally-driven nesting instinct that runs wild which causes this compromise in judgment. Others are lack of experience, naiveness, aching loneliness. Sometimes a person's faults simply doesn't register on our radar.

    The war between the sexes is hardly restricted to socio-educational-economic class. Black folks were either working class or outright poor until the Civil Rights movement gave us more of chance to succeed. Despite this we get along worse now than half century ago. We might also want to consider the impact of TV and movies.

    Pgh_Muse, Thank you, and I appreciate your leaving a comment.

  4. I will save this article when I'm talking to my daughter. This was informative on so many levels. It was fair and while I may not agree with some of your stances they weren't intrusive to the articles potency. I dig reading your stuff.

  5. folk, i wish they would have looked at socilaism in that article with respect to different countries as opposed to cultures wonder what would have proffered?

    and Emeritus - preach

  6. This article is so snagged. Thanks!

  7. Salsa, glad you enjoyed it.

    Torrance, I thought of researching this aspect of culture in Islamic countries since they have a high tech society but have not had a sexual revolution.

    Jaycee, that's a wonderful compliment, thanks, and yes, I try to be fair and see things from the male point of view. I didn't know how to do this until my 30s.

    I also mix in a lot of social biology, aka evolutionary psychology, and not everyone is familiar or down with that.

    I like it b/c it goes way beneath the surface explanations of why people behave in certain ways that are often against their best interests.

    Sometimes Mother Nature is in the driver's seat. Knowing this makes it easier to kick that bitch out of our car so we can act in our best interest, rather than like indiscriminate animals in heat, lol.

  8. wow

    are you single :)

    this article looked like something i would write

    thats scarry

    ive bee talking about this issue since i published my first post last october (i cant believe its been a a year already)

    the main thing we have to figure out is what works

    where are the apporpriate models on how to maintain relationships in this chaotic world so that we can gain some semblance of happiness in our interactuions with each other

    regardless of the fact that many of us dont get along there are many of us who do

    and this can be taught all over the nation and all over the world through workshops, the internet, dvd's cd's

    through every medium available

    we definately need to enhance the finacial status of black men so that they can take care of their kids and baby mamas better

    both of these solutions will help us get to where we need to go with each other

    i loved this post kitty (meow lol)

  9. This is really a great analysis.
    Thanks for sharing it with us.
    I agree, men and males can be cruel beasts. Fortunately, they can be the exact opposite too. I liked your positive conclusion.

  10. i definitely agree that there are way more factors to take into consideration.

  11. I haven't been single in a long time, but dang you are spitting some truths that I know I lived back in the day.

    Doing silly stuff for a man, asking did he love me right before the act. Now at the ripe ole age of 35, I am shaking my head, going of course he was going to say he loved me.

    I might need to send this to my son, since at 16 he is finally starting to like the girls and there is one that has his head spinning.

    Great post!

  12. Hey Kit,
    I'll just wisper this and not tell anyone else, but most of what you wrote is VERY universal.

    Your illustrations always blow me away. . . in and of themselves and the way you pick the perfect picts.

    Great stuff. I'm putting it all together and I'm going to publish it all and make a million dollars. . . I'll send you some.


  13. Heh-heh, Sagacious, I know it's universal. I tailored this article for my black audience, however, since our high stress from social factors exacerbates relationship issues. I see it more in black blogs than others, and our marriage rates are lower. The thing is, whites are catching up with us. It's not good thing for anyone. Thanks for the great compliment.

    Black Girl In Maine, Been there done that too. You wonder WTH you were thinking... but then you learn. Thanks too.

    Emeritus, True, but as Raw Dawg said, you preached it. Broke it down good and hard. You go girl!

    Ben Heine, On target with your insight, and glad you liked my conclusion. Indeed, in the end all we have is each other or the alternative of loneliness.

  14. Tubman, forgot to add feedback to you. Thanks, and yeah, I'm single. I see you post some of these issues too - and recently caught a bit of heat for it, lol! Glad you liked this.

  15. I also loved your illustrations with this post. WONDERFUL post! (I actually read it a few days ago from a link but didn't look at the entire blog site).

  16. MissJay, I'm glad you mentioned the illustrations. Hunting around for just the right photos takes quite a bit of time, but in these kinds of articles I like them because they bring the situations to life. Thanks for you comment and glad you enjoyed it.

  17. File this under "Things I wish I had known when I was 19." So very true, I almost think they should teach this in sex ed class (lol).


Hi, this is Kit.

I haven't posted since summer 2010, and comment moderation has been on for a very long time.

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