Critters Like Us

Males and females are very different critters. I know the politically correct perspective is to believe that we are all the same. Perhaps we are in many important respects like abilities. But when it comes to some of those deep-seated emotional and hormonal (hang on, I don’t mean it the way you may think) aspects, we are very different.

Take sex, for example. Nature has programmed us to assume specific roles that help assure the continuation of our species. To keep things from getting a little too political, let’s look at other mammals. Lions, my favorites, have very specific strategies designed to balance and keep active the gene pool. A pride of lions is actually a group of lionesses. They are generally related as sisters and their daughters. The males (lions) are really not part of the pride. Groups of males, which nowadays seem to be replacing single male members of the Lion family are called alliances.

If I pride has a resident male, other males may attempt to displace him. This behavior is what most of us understand to be the way the king of the jungle is replaced as he ages. It turns out this isn’t the case much of the time. According to more recent research (and no, I can’t cite it because I received it as part of a confidential document and the source was not given), the lionesses will kick a lion out of the pride after about two years. Then, they will interview new lions to replace him. The reason for this is obvious. While part of the pride, the lion impregnates every lioness who comes into heat. Generally, when a new lion joins he will kill any of the old lion’s nursing cubs. When a lioness does not have cubs to nuraw, she goes into estrus and the new lion can impregnate her.

The old lion’s cubs are getting old enough to mate. Since he has been removed, there will be no incest and the gene pool will be preserved. What’s particularly interesting about this is how lion society is organized to maintain diversity. Males, isn’t this always the case guys, are fairly unimportant in a Darwinian sense.  It is true that he does have a protective role. But that doesn’t make him king of beasts. This newer research shows that the lionesses call the shots. If the lion gets out of line he gets nipped in the butt. He never retaliates.

Obviously, human interactions are far more complex. We can maintain genetic diversity without the need for such drastic strategies. The fact that we are thinking creatures and that we have built complex societies covers up some of the fundamental differences between human males and females.

Primate research reveals that often a female selects a cooperative, protective, and loyal mate. However, she will stray when fertile and look for the strongest, most of virile male to impregnate her. I was surprised when I read this. It showed a fundamental difference between the “relationship” and procreative sex. Obviously, this strategy assures that future generations will be strong and improve, while a nurturing, loving relationship supports protecting the young.

I haven’t seen anything about how the males operate. Do the ones that pair bond remain monogamous? Are those virile, desirable males unencumbered by a full-time mate? I suspect that’s how it works. But the reason I bring all this up is that there is a lot going on in our mammalian brains that we aren’t necessarily consciously aware of.

I think we can find examples of both kinds of behavior with humans. My nickname is apt. Excepting the fact that I won’t be thrown out after two years (we’ve been together over 17), Mrs. Lion and I behave very much like our four-footed namesakes. I’m bigger and stronger and I take on the role as primary breadwinner and protector. Mrs. Lion is very much a traditional female and takes excellent care of me. She’s a nurturing mother, though her cubs are long gone.

However, we weren’t completely happy until we started behaving in a more lion-like manner. I stay in control and get my way as long is it pleases Mrs. Lion. When it doesn’t, she uses a paddle to bite my butt. Before we began this, Mrs. Lion was more frustrated. She didn’t have a ready path to strongly express herself inside of our marriage. Similarly, I felt something was missing.

This is where it starts to get complicated. I wasn’t looking for a new mommy. I absolutely didn’t want someone to micromanage me and tell me what to do. What I want is for my mate to be able to assert her authority when she feels she should. When she does, like the lioness, I want her to communicate her feelings unmistakably. Like my namesake, I’ve never felt any desire to retaliate.

You can relate all this to not only our domestic discipline (FLRD), but also to enforced male chastity. As long as I’m in our little pride, which I hope will be the rest of my life, I am forbidden any sexual contact that doesn’t come from Mrs. Lion. This is enforced not only with her paddle, but with her ability to lock me in a male chastity device.

There are other relationships that are more like the primates. I think the male determines which sort he will have. If he is an accepting, submissive sort, he will probably be perfectly happy with the primate model. He may encourage his mate to have sex with bigger, stronger men. From what I’ve seen, that sexually excites him.

Similarly, my lion-like behavior is partially fueled by the fact that I get sexually excited thinking about Mrs. Lion controlling me. I also get excited thinking about being spanked. These feelings motivate me to create our lion pride. Mrs. Lion, like me, would be unhappy in the primate model. She has always been strongly disinclined to find other males.

Obviously, these examples are far from perfect. But I think they do accurately describe the way I feel about our relationship. I’m not sure whether Mrs. Lion agrees or not. Regardless, my description of how we relate to one another is accurate. For the record, I have never had any inclination to kill her cubs from her first marriage.

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