Shelves have been filled with books trying to explain the sexes to each other.
Despite what some want to believe, we have our differences. And there’s nothing bad about that. It’s not about better or worse. It just is what it is.
When it comes to men and women, there are statistically significant variations in physical averages like body fat percentage, height, voice pitch, upper-body strength, and average age of puberty… and psychological variations in average levels of empathy, aggression, vulnerability to depression, and risk-taking (among many other things).
Today, it is almost taboo to even suggest that men and women have any inherent differences. Some people believe that we are all blank slates that are only influenced by our environment and societally reinforced gender constructs, and that nature doesn’t play a part. I don’t subscribe to that line of thinking. I believe that nature and nurture both play a role in how individuals express themselves in the world.
If we can accept the fact that there are statistically significant differences between men and women, and even be curious about understanding some of those differences, we can create huge breakthroughs in how we relate to one another.
More specifically, it can give your romantic relationships more flow, harmony, enjoyment, and long-term success.
The problem is we try to project our intuitive logic and emotional maps onto other people to help understand their behaviour.
This is a necessary part of the beautiful human gift of empathy. But if the other person’s mind works in different ways, this creates a clash between us when we make assumptions, or create expectations, of how another should think and behave, according to our own internal reality.
Some of these differences just can’t be explained without fully stepping into the other’s consciousness. Even on the inside of our own bodies, most of us aren’t even aware of how our minds are working in the first place.
We make all sorts of ad-hoc rationalizations, but the true motivating forces are often hidden from our awareness.
So, many of the points I’m going to share with you about men will be a surprise to them too.
If you’re a woman who wants to understand men better, applying these insights will make you seem like a unicorn. You’ll be able to magically intuit and understand some of your man’s deepest needs before he even knows them. You will also begin feeling much more ease in dating and relationships.
Without further ado, here are eight vital things women need to know about men.
1. It’s difficult to overcome our social conditioning in order to cry in front of you
Most men have worked so long, and so hard, at pushing away our sadness that we often can’t even feel it until it hits the breaking point.
The nature of repression is that it happens automatically, far below conscious awareness. It’s something the mind and body have learned to do on their own, and it’s very hard to override.
Men are taught to be strong for each other, or we’ll be ostracized and ridiculed. But we also take it on 10 times more to be strong for women. We want to appear unshakable, capable, rugged, durable, and reliable (and no, crying does not negate ANY of the things on that list. If anything, it only adds to it).
You might have found yourself wondering if your man is a bit numb, shut-down, or avoiding his feelings. Or maybe you were simply confused about his reactions in hurtful or painful moments. This very well might be the case. But know that he’s doing the best he can from inside his emotional conditioning.
Most men report it’s far easier to cry in front of men (after they’ve built initial trust) than it is a female lover. That’s mostly due to the dynamics I just mentioned. We want to save face and be respected amongst our brothers, but the unconscious pain of being rejected by our partner (aka the psychological imprint of our mother) can be far scarier to confront.
So, we’ll often close up a little more around you. It becomes harder to access and admit to our more vulnerable feelings.
On the surface, when a man is bumping up against this block, several things might be happening. He could be acting passive, shut down, or aloof. He could also slip into a more active aggression (such as defensiveness or rudeness) as a means of self-protection and avoidance.
Whatever his brand of emotional avoidance tactics that he deploys, it’s likely that his conscious mind isn’t aware of them (at first). It takes time to map the wires, disconnect them, and reconnect the right ones.
But if he’s done some work to familiarize himself with his reactions, and recognize how his body feels when it’s shutting down emotions, he’ll be able to communicate when he senses this happening. Give him some time for his nervous system to settle, and he’ll be able to share more openly in a matter of minutes, or hours.
2. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform sexually
Call it social conditioning and/or evolutionary hardwiring, but our default sense of manhood is massively tied to our sexual performance with women.
In the same way that we want to manage your perceptions of us by controlling our emotions, and not crying, we’re also obsessed with your approval and validation in the bedroom.
Early on, we learn that a real man is supposed to be the best sexual partner she’s ever had. Next to what job he works and how much he makes, it’s how many women he sleeps with (and how well he does it) that defines his status of manhood.
No matter how tough, or cool, or cocky he appears on the surface – and even if he’s done some inner work on this – he still gives a HUGE fuck about how you think he fucks. This is probably the area where our egos are the most fragile.
If you’ve noticed your man clam up while you’re giving sexual feedback, or offering direction, or anything that could be considered dissatisfaction, or criticism, this sensitivity is often why. I’ve even met several men who told me that they broke up with their partners after they came too quickly, because they didn’t want to give her the opportunity to shame him for it (like he was already shaming himself, in his own mind).
Most men will already tend to communicate very little during sex, because they’re trying to “be a man” and “know-it-all”. He wants you to think he already knows exactly what he’s doing. When you’re with a man who openly asks in the moment what you like, and what feels good, that’s often a sign that he’s a more evolved lover and moved past this conditioning somewhat.
So, when you like something: tell us.
It will fill us with pride and joy. And when you want something different, try phrasing it as: “Baby, I would love it if…” and follow up with positive affirmation. This will not only intensify his energy and confidence, but it trains him to know what you like.
On the ego level, we’re delicate flowers. We want to please you, but we don’t want to feel inadequate. We will take direction well if it’s framed with excitement and the promise of turning you on or pleasing you more fully. And if you consistently give your lover feedback of what you’d like more of, and they don’t take action on prioritizing your pleasure, well, then a different kind of conversation might be needed.
3. He will still be attracted to other women, but it doesn’t mean anything
This is a common point of contention in monogamous relationships. So much pressure is created when either person pretends that they shouldn’t be attracted to other people anymore.
Even the most evolved, loyal man on the planet, who is in a monogamous relationship, will get aroused by other women. He would never cheat, or cross any boundaries, but he is still captivated and energized by the feminine – in its many forms.
Now, to be clear, aroused doesn’t mean that if he takes a passing glance at an attractive woman that he’ll get an immediate erection and wish he was with her and not you. Not at all. But think of it like this…
Imagine you’re sitting at a table in a restaurant and you’re eating your absolute favourite dessert in the entire world. It is delicious. It feels so good in your mouth. You are completely happy with it. And then a server walks by with a tray of other kinds of dessert and it catches your eye for a brief moment. It doesn’t mean that you then wish you could trade. You don’t want to trade. But you still look. And the fact that you looked doesn’t mean anything about your level of satisfaction with the dessert that you have in front of you.
Ultimately, it’s just a sign that he’s vital and alive. Honestly, I would be suspicious of any man who claims to only be attracted to his one partner. Because chances are he’s either a bullshitter, or simply disconnected from his full self.
He will look at other women from time to time. It’s perfectly normal, and doesn’t mean a thing about his interest and love for you. Both attractions can exist at the same time. The one he has with you will always be the most important to him.
This message of “attractions are okay” is of course assuming the man is mature, functional, and self-aware. If he is staring at women for longer than a brief moment, or getting lost in his head and engaging in fantasy in his mind during sex to the extent that you really feel his lack of presence with you, then by all means, bring it up with him directly and let him know how you feel when this happens.
But the healthiest, most centred, and balanced man will have these feelings arise. He’s just able to understand that and keep them well under control.
4. Give him time to transition when he gets home
Most men need space and stillness to adjust and be fully present in a new setting. Especially if we’re returning home from a high-stress or high-stimulus environment, like the workplace, it can take at least 15 minutes to “arrive” and switch gears to let everything go from the workday.
If you crowd him a little too soon, he may give off a cold, distant energy. It’s because he subtly feels overwhelmed and intruded upon. He wants to connect with you – he just needs a little time. After a little reset, he’ll be able to hold space and listen, make conversation, and be more available for physical connection.
Some guys will be able to walk in the door and strike up a conversation. But generally, he’ll appreciate the opportunity to experience a bit of spaciousness up front.
If you start experimenting with giving him this buffer when he steps in the door, you will likely begin to notice him approaching you more often, wrapping his arms around you, dishing out kisses, and generally making more bids for attention and connection.
5. He either sees you as a goddess of feminine essence… or a distraction that keeps him from his work
Not every man knows it, but the most important aspect of his life is his mission and purpose.
When he’s on his path, he feels a flow of love and worship towards his woman. But when he feels stifled and distracted (even when it’s his own fault) those feelings will flip to resentment and repulsion. He will project his dissatisfaction with his relationship to his work on to you, even when you’ve done nothing to intentionally distract him or sway him from his centre.
Without enough time, space, and sufficient heart put into his work, his relationship – and perception of his woman – will suffer greatly.
Something that hurts the issue here are the false ideas of “Disney love” we’ve all been brainwashed with. Through media, we’re subtly taught that romantic relationship and finding your soul mate is the single greatest human achievement. It’s supposed to be the biggest, dramatic focal point of our entire lives.
But that’s just not the case – especially for men. We love our partners and families deeply. But if our mission is sacrificed for all that, our vitality and happiness will be crippled.
Something that I often tell my male clients is she can be your favourite anyone, but not your favourite anything. In other words, if a man makes his woman the centre of his universe, this is a one way ticket to a codependent nightmare, and, as a result, he won’t ever feel grounded in himself (and she will eventually grow to resent his lack of direction outside of their relationship anyways).
Ultimately, a man secretly yearns for a woman who is supportive of his growth and adventure, who respects the boundaries on his energy. Whether or not he has set any boundaries, he will always love hearing her say something like, “Let me know if you need some alone time to get stuff done. I want to make sure you’re doing what makes you happy.”
Because at the end of the day, regardless of gender, we’re all just looking to grow in our lives, alongside each other, in love and harmony! End sermon.
6. Men fear relationship commitment because they value freedom above all else
It takes a ton of inner work to masterfully manage long-term relationship. This is particularly difficult for men, because of their deep inner longing for freedom.
Without strong boundaries and a lot of self-awareness, relationship will always feel like a bit of a risky trap, which might hold him back and make him feel constricted, and fearing it will ultimately have a negative impact on his life.
It’s natural for women to want a bit more connection and quality time than their man does. It’s just the nature of the feminine (as in, the feminine energy in any person, which always prioritizes love and connection).
The way to have him commit to you deeply is to first make sure that he is in touch with his life’s purpose, and then be a person who supports him in his purpose coming true. Once he sees you as a genuine and obvious ally for him stepping into his power, then he will be able to commit to you deeply. He won’t ever want to let you go.
In the beginning stages, don’t rush it. Women’s internal clocks and schedules for escalating commitment are often different from men. Share your truth and feelings without applying any pressure, when you can.
The best way to start off is by making your interest known, but ultimately, it’s generally best if you let him choose you and “make it official”.
If he’s in touch with himself and his masculinity, he will be able to. But if he’s obviously taking too long and not reciprocating mutual respect, affection, care, or meeting reasonable needs, then he’s not maturely able to choose a woman at this time in his life (which says nothing about you and your lovability).
As things progress, maintain time in your relationship where you’re apart. Both men and women need to embrace the fact that time apart, and travels apart, are incredible healthy for you. Observe any insecurities and anxiety that might come up around this, or have you question the premise, or worry that it would lead to cheating.
Because in good relationships, when we’ve done our healing work, the total opposite is true.
The man will have so much gratitude, and be replenished by space and alone time, that he will value the relationship even more, and show up as the greatest partner he could possibly be.
7. Men are afraid of women because of their immensity
Feminine energy can be all consuming to a man who isn’t grounded in his masculine core. Being in relationship can actually feel like he’s being swallowed whole.
Men want to please you (though perhaps too much). We want your warmth. We want your love. You bring such beauty and lightness to our lives. And we need that connection. But that’s why we might ultimately fear relationship commitment: because we have experienced our own tendencies to defer to you and lose ourselves in the relationship.
We can easily let our desire to please you overwhelm our own truth, needs, and desires. In the field of a woman we’re drawn to, we’re prone to losing our sense of centre and direction.
We also might hold back our edge and stop being as fully self-expressed as we would normally be. This is a common trait among men from younger generations because we’ve been taught it’s not okay to have edgier, more assertive personalities. And it’s definitely not okay to bring that energy to women (even though it’s what you deeply want from us.)
Over time, these little compromises and withholds will stack up and do one of two things. It will either create a repelling force away from the woman, because he can’t handle it, or it will cause him to energetically shrivel up and shut down, and have him sitting on the sidelines in his life.
In his mind, it can start looking like the woman is reason why he doesn’t feel powerful and free. And if he’s submitting himself to a woman who is legitimately a bit overbearing and manipulative, then yes, that might be a factor. But it’s usually the man’s own behaviour and relationship patterns that are the cause.
To be clear, I’m not giving you an excuse to put him down. I’m giving you an awareness to work with to support him.
Recognize your immensity in his life. If you don’t account for it, and simply run your relationship with default routines and behaviours, you’ll end up with a less powerful partner and overall connection than you could potentially have.
Give him space, encourage him to be fully expressed, honest, and powerful… encourage him to connect with the other men in his life, and support him in his purpose.
8. Only a man in his full power will be able to be with you in your full power
If a man has not spent time integrating his relationship to his masculinity, he will not fully be able to be with you without projecting his fears and shadow onto you.
Only a man who has done his work of transitioning from boy to man will be able to handle a woman in her full power.
To be with a powerful, fully expressed woman, a man needs to be able to stand tall and use his voice. He needs to be in touch with his fluctuating needs, his life’s mission, and be strong enough in his masculine core to speak up and honour them.
Sometimes, this self-expression will inevitably lead to conflict, or a clash of desires. And he has to be able to handle the temporary discomfort of communicating through these moments to reach a resolution.
At the same time, you have to be comfortable with these moments as well, and know that they’re bringing you both further into your highest selves.
One of the biggest patterns we’re seeing in young men today is that they’re struggling with “dropout” energy. They’re lagging well behind women in academics. They’re unsure of their place in society. They’re allegiant to women, and supportive of their empowerment, but (for some men) dysfunctionally so – at the expense of their own sense of well-being.
The average man today is less in his true masculine power, but tides are turning. Movements are happening. With some major cultural shifts in hindsight, we’re able to see more clearly how those affects and our responses to them aren’t serving us, and beginning to connect with what does.
If you could take away two practical, fundamental, and actionable lessons about men from this entire piece, it would be that they need space, and support in their life’s work.
If you’re able to support him in getting these needs met, you’ll watch him transform before your eyes, and be more committed to you than he’s ever been to any woman in his entire life.
Dedicated to your success,
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