Women have been accused of hysteria, and in my field, “Histrionic Personality Disorder” (HPD) for a long time. The DSM-V (our psychiatric bible) describes HPD as “a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking.” HPD also describes someone who has inappropriate sexually seductive behavior and who considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are. You can imagine how many doctors referred to women as hysterical or as having HPD throughout the years. The word “hysteria” is derived from the Greek, meaning a wandering of the uterus. In the past few years, females have not been targeted as much as they were in the past with this diagnosis. However, I’m beginning to believe that men might be the ones with hysteria these days, but we should probably call it “testosteronic personality disorder” (TPD) for the male equivalency of HPD.
Suddenly we have all these powerful men being exposed as sexual predators. I believe they have “male panic” or TPD. If we view all this sexual behavior biologically, we can get a good perspective of the situation. Since men cannot reproduce by themselves at this point, they need to engage with females in whatever way they can. Their showing off, touching women inappropriately, or masturbating in front of them all show “male panic.” Their instinct is to get their sperm out there at all costs. All over the world societies set rules for male-female engagement. In the West, we usually choose someone (Tinder or whatever), date, have sex, marry (maybe), and then reproduce. Although these rules are changing rapidly, the marriage unit has ensured the male that he will have a mating partner and usually that the offspring are from his sperm. This is a safe harbor for males, and also females who are most vulnerable during pregnancy and afterwards. Of course, people are reproducing in all sorts of ways; using sperm banks, surrogate mothers, etc. Eventually we will be able to reproduce without using women’s wombs, but then I’m sure all sorts of laws will lock us down. Males (and females) can copulate with many partners, but some of them panic unconsciously, fearing that they won’t reproduce and fulfill these compelling instincts. Powerful males (and unattractive ones), like Harvey Weinstein, have the ability to mate with many females and spread their sperm to the most desirable mates. Their positions as alpha males have guaranteed them “getting away with it.” In most primate groups, i.e., chimps and gorillas, the alpha male gets the most females and produces the most babies, no questions asked. Keep in mind, that we share 97% of our DNA with these animals.
Why has male “testosteronic” behavior suddenly been exposed and action taken against the perpetrators? Again biology can explain it. Our population is huge and growing. So perhaps unconsciously we are noticing excessive male sexual behavior in an effort to curb our population. If males have to control their “testosteronic” behavior, they will have less sex, less reproduction, and the population will decrease.
All of this has allowed women to speak up about what has been happening to them for centuries. Men try to engage women while they are in their reproductive years. Sometimes we women want to engage, other times we don’t. Of course, the choice should be ours. I think it’s a good idea to label this behavior and thus, try to control male panic.