Do you feel powerful within yourself and connected to your partner?

I’ve had the vantage point to dive under stereotypes and learn deeply about how men feel about themselves and their partners. Just like every person is multi-dimensional, so are men and women.

Masculinity is Sociological

Masculinity, the qualities attributed to a man, is deeply personal, however, your culture influences the content you choose to use to define yourself. Often, when talking about masculinity or femininity, the conversation stays on politics of terminology or value judgements of each side, as if there is a competition, for instance, “You know men are, they ____” or likewise, “Women are all so _____.” 

The conclusions drawn are often simplistic and judgemental, but it’s also understandable. Masculine or feminine doesn’t exist on an island, it’s embedded in the larger historical, political, legal, religious, and economic context. 

I understand why both males and females get reactive about each other’s reactions. You get judged, oppressed and privileged via your societal  gender identification, so, of course, it comes loaded with implications. It’s important to be aware of these embedded within your own identity and that of your partner. In fact, conflict is typically the means you use to get to and unpack these underlying sensitive issues.  

However, the position of having or not having power in our society, is only one part of a person. There’s much more going on deeper inside– feeling wise– but that often doesn’t get addressed.

Masculinity is valuable

In my work, I’ve learned that the masculine identity is often misunderstood, by men and women. You contain rich value that’s not been mined well, instead, overlooked and not translated. I decided to become an advocate for male psychology, not becuase it’s superior, obviously, there are plenty of abusive characters of each gender, but because as a feminist, I believe in equal value and respect for men, women and everything in between. To respect a person, you have to try and understand them from their point of view as the starting point. 

Masculinity is an energy; flexible and creative

Both genders have feminine and masculine traits that you use interchangeably in your daily life. In fact, the terms are a little dated, for instance, the “they” pronoun is very appealing to people as an innovation. There’s lots more openness and interest among many in the continuum of identity and sexuality. 

As a couples counselor, I resonate with those who discuss masculine and feminine “energy.” The masculine energy isn’t gender specific, per say, but one that is associated with protection, outcome, aggression and drive. The feminine energy is associated with senses, being in the body, creativity, communication, and intuition. I know the terms are likely dated and perhaps can’t be divorced from a historical perspective of oppression, but I see how we all need both aspects (whatever label you want to use) to be connected. Both are equal in value. You need the yin and yang and people often feel confident when they have access to all parts of themselves. Sexual attraction is also interlinked to the interplay of masculine and feminine energy.

If you are living in a fixed, one dimensional masculine role, or you’re judging yourself based on that expectation, you may likely feel irritable,  frustrated, fixated on performance issues. You need more feminine energy in your life. Conversely, if you cut off from the masculine energy that’s natural to you because you were told that part is bad, or you inferred it as a kid, or you’ve had some challenges that you perceive to be failures as a man, you may also feel irritable, frustrated, also fixated on performance issues. You need to heal the masculine part of you,  a re-alignment of your yin and yang. This will help you feel relaxed, focused and proud.

Masculinity can be an easy mark for manipulation

Very few guys call me directly asking for help about abuse or mistreatment. It’s been slowly changing, but I’ve learned that masculine types don’t register negative treatment because your brain is wired to assess physical harm as threat. If someone verbally abuses, manipulatives or humiliates, it often goes unperceived by the threat radar. You might say, “It’s not like she/he can hurt me” disregarding the psychological abuse that lingers on and on.

The masculine type of person, man or woman, is wired to not register easily being harmed, or to stay in denial about it, because of the alpha protector, caretaking response in your brain. You can get swindled by a pretty, manipulative person as he/she hacks your masculine brain to “take care,” while you’re being taken advantage of emotionally, financially, psychologically; your protective part of your brain blinded to aggression.

Masculinity is often unspoken, not unfelt

Conversely, if you asked alpha-protector types about deeper feelings of embarrassment with previous break ups, love for your partner, your wish for her approval, your hope about your efforts for others, your feelings about your economic security and your families health, and quietly listen, there’s a lot of feeling inside. You often tear up or, “have allergies” as my husband calls it. Still waters run deep.

You might need to convert language in words that seem comfortable to you. The word feeling changes to “your thoughts on..” or anxiety converts to “what are you stressed about…” or love becomes “do you feel protective of…” or even “how are you?” can become, “how’s business,” but that’s just translation. Once the masculine person is listened to, in the words that feel comfortable, with positive assumptions, your self-reflection and worry for others is usually shared freely.

Masculinity is personal identity, pride and integrity

These deeper feelings get buried easily because many stoic types don’t naturally narrate their internal thoughts. When your partner misunderstands your silence for lack of feeling and judges you negatively, you often agree. Instead of patiently explaining the truth, you shut down or get reactive. 

You’re likely super hard on yourself, needing to prove your worth to yourself to have true self respect. 

Inside, you might feel you failed to please the person you assigned yourself to take care of, whose opinion matters the most. Feeling hurt about being misunderstood and failing someone you love, you often stay silent, not wanting to further reveal vulnerabilities by expressing these weak thoughts. You also assume the partner is correct, and internalize a negative perspective of your own intentions, thoughts and feelings, not stopping to use the misunderstanding as a way to better understand your true self and translate this to your partner.

Love Sex Trust Productions is built upon a deep respect for all forms of masculinity. Growing up, I was completely oblivious to the inner workings of males. My brother and father’s lack of connection and communication, explained away as “how men are,” which truly wasn’t them at all, but in fact, deep depression. I am grateful to have a career where men have opened up, allowing me to appreciate the complexity of the masculine experience. 

You say you aren’t complicated, but you really are. The products are carefully designed incorporating masculinity as a core element, not something added as advice for “what’s good for you.” The idea is to help you be more competent in knowing yourself at a deeper level, which is authentic confidence.

What’s Next for Me?

Your own self knowledge is your most powerful asset in life. Stimulate the conversation with yourself and your loved ones.

Begin by asking yourself:

  • How important are my feelings on this subject to me?
  • Am I being mean to myself?
  • Do I need support?

Read our eBook, Love Sex Trust: An Overview

Let it all simmer, until you’re ready for more.

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