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Black Masculinity: Sexuality & Intimacy

Essay by   •  July 13, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,360 Words (6 Pages)  •  977 Views

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Sexuality and Intimacy

"She wants to communicate with her man through the language of her mind, body, and spirit; she wants to bond with him in the deepest, most sacred part of herself. In the meantime, all he may be thinking about is [sex]. These two opposing views give a good picture of why men and women have such a hard time understanding each other."

The passage above comes from an article entitled "The difference between macho sex and true intimacy" published in a 1995 issue of the popular Black magazine, Ebony. Simply the statement raises the question, why is it that in Black relationships, men and women are not on the same page when it comes to intimacy? It would make more sense to look at this issue from the perspective of the Black male, since it is stated that he is the one who lacks the thoughts and emotions of intimacy. What makes the Black male stray away from the idea of intimacy? And is this a generalization of all Black males? Through various sources of research, we'll take a look at the Black male and his concept of what intimacy is.

When it comes to sex the black male is strongly concerned about his masculinity and his sexuality. Most men become very defensive when it comes to their masculinity and sexuality. These two identities are the basis of how men conduct themselves within society. Their masculinity as well as their sexuality defines who they are as people to the world.

"I know some black guys that have nothing going for themselves except for what they think are positive stereotypes concerning their masculinity. Take that away and they have nothing. I'm not surprised that many black men act this way." (s)

Our tradition has valued "masculine" attributes more than "feminine" ones (Weems). Most men will do whatever it takes to emphasize their masculinity, such as changing their original image to fit that of the Black male body (hypersexualized with a high fashion sense) established by societal ideas.

"The hegemonic male is someone who is "macho", who play sports and heterosexual...the opposite of those [ideas] are what makes a person non-male or the "other". The genitive comparison not only generates the idea that women are inferior to males, but that males who possess feminine attributes such as being less athletic and caring are a weaker, lesser man." ("Black Masculinity: The Black Male Body and Popular Culture")

It is these overbearing ideas that force men to either become more "macho" or to be conflicted with them because they do not fit this "macho" criteria. This brings back up the idea that men are overly sensitive when their masculinity comes into question. What is wrong with allowing yourself to care or feel affectionately for a woman? Do most men feel guilty that they are going against the standards set by society, even though they are behind closed doors?

"Many people think of intimacy as physical closeness involving sexual activities. However, intimacy is much more than that. You can be intimate with someone without having a sexual relationship with them. Intimacy is how well you and your mate feel accepted, appreciated, understood and cared for." ("Intimacy - Are You Intimate?")

It is safe to say that most men see the feelings and acts that correspond with intimacy as something "feminine". He [the Black male] does not want to be seen as less of a man because he conducts himself in acts of intimacy; thanks to the perspectives of society for conditioning them in this manner. They do not want to be seen as "gay" because they spend time with their women rather than conduct themselves in "macho" activities (violence, sports, etc.). However, does intimacy really have confliction with the Black male's masculinity and sexuality or is it more to reason they run away from intimacy?

"Now to be clear, I don't think Black men lack intimacy, I think we simply truncate it for the "sexuality safety." To me sexuality safety is about the maintenance of an image of heterosexuality (meaning: I'm a guy, I mess with women);

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