Men sometimes think being good, caring and giving is the path to be happy, loved and fulfilled. But this isn’t the whole picture. When men find themselves without the success or intimacy they want it’s often that they have Nice Guy Syndrome…
[Read more…] about Episode 36: How to Be a Nice Guy Who Doesn’t Finish Last
In this conversation we cover:
- Whether masculine/feminine distinctions are helpful or harmful
- How to move beyond stereotypical masculine norms and find your unique power
- The foundations of creating real intimacy and connection with your partner
- Neil and Shana’s experience supporting men with their truth and desires
- Experiments to create more spark and connection in your romantic relationship
Shana James Coaching – Learn the most important skill men who are professionally successful and have a fulfilling love life use every day AND get the transcript of this episode
In this conversation we cover:
- How to navigate the 3 paradoxes of asking for what you want
- 7 clear steps to make challenging conversations go well
- The Win-Win factor – remembering that when you ask for what you want, others actually benefit
- The power of learning the art of HOW to ask, in addition to WHAT you ask for
- How to make agreements that give you more confidence and ease in the midst of challenging situations
Shana James Coaching – Learn the most important skill men who are professionally successful and have a fulfilling love life use every day
The male libido, or male sexuality, has no doubt been used brutally. It has also been used lovingly.
While I appreciate Stephen Marche’s framing of “the Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido” for the way it highlights the disrespect and abuse we are now culturally ready to look at, reading the NY Times article also made me cringe. I fear the stand the author takes could push men into more fear, shame, and isolation—what I see as the root causes of harassment and abuse.
Having coached nearly a thousand men over the past 15 years, I believe much of the current day “brutality” comes not from the libido being essentially brutal, but from the isolation, lack of education and absence of support for healthy emotional and sexual expression.
The world becomes more dangerous when we look at the libido as separate from affection and emotional intimacy, especially with men. The men I’ve worked with tend to see few if any avenues available for receiving the affection, care, and love they want and need.
We could argue men should find other ways to get these needs met. But in a culture where even the act of two men holding hands is often ridiculed, how does this happen? Who will hold a man when he finds himself in an experience that evokes vulnerable memories? Who will lovingly stroke his hair to comfort him as he expresses his fear, insecurity or the challenges he is up against?
Some spouses share this kind of affection but it’s not a given. It also becomes even more confusing when vulnerability or rejection happens in a man’s dynamic with his spouse.
Women have more culturally accepted “touchy-feely,” emotional interactions. My girlfriends will snuggle with me or play with my hair and comfort me. Many of the men I work with admit to feeling starved, not only for sex but for affectionate touch and caring.
These men are single AND married. Both situations can become a bind where a man doesn’t see the possibility of having deeper, caring connections.
Add to this recipe that many men were teased as boys—and some men are still teased—and chided or shunned for their sexual desires. Now we have a recipe for disaster.
Sexuality is such an innate part of one’s humanity that when rejected for it men go about getting their needs and desires met without connection (porn is the most common avenue) or abusively, or they shut down their sexuality, which eventually and inevitably ends up surfacing as an unconscious and likely abusive act.
When we stop separating a person’s libido from their emotional life, we see that boys being taught to suck it up and hide their feelings actually impacts how they treat women. When they are taught that their vulnerability is weak they hide and hold it back.
For sex to be intimate, and for a partner to feel connected with rather than objectified, a man has to be able to feel his emotions and vulnerability. Otherwise, women become objects to him.
Is the cycle becoming more apparent?
We are in the midst of cultural evolution. Women are being heard. I feel thrilled about this. Reese Witherspoon and other women are right. Time’s Up! But we can’t move forward without supporting men, too—both men who have done harm and men who would never abuse or harass women.
If we don’t teach men to connect with women in ways that are trustworthy and honest, especially about sex . . . if we don’t create a culture where it is safe for men to express their vulnerability without being rejected or seen as weak…then we will be left in this painful state where sex is used as a power-play.
This is actually powerlessness masquerading as power. A dynamic that causes pain for all—men, women, people of all genders—now and in the generations to come.