I hope with this post to share some strategies that has worked for me on how to deal with the Madonna Whore Complex.
A lot of this post might seem like obvious things that everyone knows, but it is still worth stating out clearly.
I plan to write more posts detailing my understanding of the dating world, attraction between the genders, etc.
The Madonna Whore Complex was coined by Sigmund Freud, he used it to classify men who were unable to feel sexual arousal towards their committed nurturing partner who they see as a saintly Madonna, pure, virgin, and unblemished.
In our current culture, there is a lot of stigma on male sexuality. We grow up seeing it as inherently predatory and it leaves us with a lot of anxiety. This anxiety breeds a sex negative prudish mindset, where men feel like they are profaning the object of their affection by also sensually desiring them.
Objectifying someone is considered to be a brutal undignified act. How can one reduce the mother of their kids, their wife to just an object?
So in some men this dampens their sexual attraction towards their partner in a secure committed relationship, further it might get redirected towards "whores"; the kind of women he might think are debased, hedonistic, and therefore worthy of being ravaged sexually.
Others would hold themselves to a high moral standard or their lust would not be strong enough, such that they turn almost asexual refusing to profane any women like that.
We can't go back to the past and avoid having that overprotective mother, or not consume all that media which failed to instil a positive model of masculine sexuality as it shamed aggressive aspects of male sexuality.
But to heal and fix this dichotomy I would share some paths that has helped.
To make the fundamental assumptions of your world model explicit takes effort and is one way to challenge it.
It really helps to internalize the truth that men and women are so much more similar than they are different. Culture punishes women for their sexuality and its a lie most cultures maintain to varying degrees.
It helps to know deeply that women are sexual creatures and they can reach heights of pleasure inaccessible to most men.
Women love sex as much as any horny man with the right guy, in the right context.
It is cruel to hold your partner to impossible standards, she is no saint, she is a human with carnal desires. Recognise the pedestal you think you are keeping her on is very uncomfortable.
The first idea is to see women as sexual creatures, the second idea is to embrace your own self as a sexual creature.
It helps to consume not just media that celebrates romance and meeting of the souls. But understand how physical intimacy can be a powerful way of communicating affection and feeling pleasure.
Framing romantic interaction as a dance helps, there is no inherent immorality in leading, taking initiative, and pursuing someone. Verify if you feel all power dynamics are inherently immoral and detestable.
Different people have different blocks and you'll need to diagnose it accurately to have a conceptual handle on the issue.
Some people have low self esteem and can't imagine a girl lusting after them. They need to believe that truly they are sexually attractive and can not just "take" pleasure but also give it someone. A solution is to touch grass, meet many people and pay careful attention to non verbal signs of interest being sent. Dating someone who can send costly signals of desire (detailed verbal explanations, initiative, etc) will also help.
Others are not confident in their ability to decipher boundaries, they are worried about how calibrated they are with respect to their theory of mind and worry about unintentionally being creepy. A solution would be to practice, recognise it is ok to be more verbal and you are only creepy when you are persistently encroaching boundaries repeatedly. A single mistake is quite forgivable.
Some guys grew up in religious households where they developed negative associations around lust. What worked for me is to examine the context in which such memes evolved and understand that such prudish norms served a forgotten purpose. It helps to develop a nuanced outlook on how burdensome the constraints on individuals should be by society.
The existence of contempt, dislike, anger towards women is something that we should acknowledge. A lot of it is due to the repressed sexuality, resentment for all the power held by the seductive women.
He is able to love the Madonna by saying she is different, not like the other girls.
These negative emotions help the man justify his action of ravaging the "whore". He is unable to ground the sexual act in any positive conception of shared pleasure, so the alternative way for release of the sexual frustration is by believing she deserves it.
Meditation helped me here too, metta or loving kindness meditation aimed at all living beings.
A lot of these issues are quite contextual and needs to be adjusted depending on your personal situation. Feel free to message me to chat.
It is very sad that we can't discuss these issues openly without getting caught in identity politics. For each of us our gender identity is a core belief that we are sensitive about.
It is always helpful to accurately identify the problem and discuss solutions rather than use this opportunity to throw stones and assign blame.
I hope we can summon some empathy for everyone involved, the men who struggle with MWC, the women who love them and are their partners, the people watching this issue manifest in subtle insidious ways around them.