Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bill Patrick - What we straight guys can learn from our gay brothers about friendship

Bill Patrick blogs at XY, a cool site that addresses issues around men, masculinities and gender politics. In this recent post he suggests that straight men can learn a lot about friendship from their gay brothers. Maybe, but I am not that convinced gay men have the market on friendship cornered - although I do admit that my gay male friends are much more comfortable talking about their feelings than my straight friends.

Some of my best friends are gay! In fact most of them are! (What we straight guys can learn from our gay brothers about friendship

Last June The Village Voice published a tongue-in-cheek piece by a gay man entitled “Why I Hate Being Gay! 62 Reasons!” (You can find it here.) Although the column was aimed primarily at gay men, I think I understood most of it. I got many of the cultural references, and I chuckled at the things I was supposed to chuckle at.

I think.

But reading that column also got me asking myself two questions: first, why, as a hetero guy, was I able to understand and appreciate so much of the humor? And, second, after reading that article, why did I feel compelled to write something from a straight male perspective that would sing the praises of gay men?

The answer to both of these questions is this: throughout most of my life I have been wonderfully blessed to have had numerous close friendships with gay men. And it has been my experience that not only is it a lot easier to begin friendships with gay men than it is with my fellow hetero guys, but once these friendships take root, gay guys also typically make much better friends than we straight guys do.

(I am well aware that there are some gay men out there who happen to be very nasty. Just like there are nasty people in any segment of society. But in my experience, most gay men are far kinder than they are cruel.)

Bro-mance? Man-date? I am also aware that there are some straight men who against all odds do manage to maintain long-term, emotionally-intimate relationships with other straight guys.Interestingly, I never hear these men refer to these relationships as “bro-mances” or to their activities as “man-dates.” Maybe this is because these guys understand that to use such silly terms cheapens the deep love they feel for each other.

But the fact that society even has these new terms “bro-mance” and “man-date” suggests that we are only now beginning to grapple with how to describe the relatively rare phenomenon of deep intimacy among straight men. And while some straight guys do have this deep intimacy with other straight men, I believe that most of us don’t – either because it makes us uncomfortable, or because we just don’t know how.

Social isolation and violence. So what does all of this have to do with pro-feminism and working to end violence against women? The social isolation that is all too common with many heterosexual males has been linked to a whole slew of problems, including relationship violence. Many of us hetero guys are terribly isolated.Having few if any close friends, many of us lack the social networks that would help to lighten our load. And, tragically, far too many of us act out our suffering onto the women in our lives.

But it turns out that there are models that we straight men can follow that would help us improve our relationships with other guys – and shore up our social networks. One model is women’s friendships. Women typically have far superior relational skills when compared to straight men – and they have more rewarding, more supportive friendships as a result. But another model – this one a model of friendships between men – comes from our gay brothers. If we are willing to follow their lead, there are many lessons we can learn from gay men, including . . . . .
Read the whole post.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Art of Manliness - The Importance of Trusting Men in Your Circle

Good article. A lot of men feel more comfortable with women than they do with men - maybe it's a competition thing, a holdover from our evolutionary past when all males were competing for dominance and mating opportunities. Or maybe it's that trust comes with emotional awareness and openness, and so many men are never taught how to be open with their feelings, to know what they feel and be able to share it. Or maybe it's that men are socialized to never be too open with other men, fearing it might look girly or gay to do so. Likely, it's a combination of many factors.

Learning to trust other men, though, is an important part of maturity.

The Importance of Trusting Men in Your Circle


Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Wayne M. Levine of
I lead men’s groups. I’ve seen the obstacles men face in developing trusting relationships with other men. These obstacles come in all shapes and sizes. But what they have in common is their power to keep men stuck…right where they are. The key to getting unstuck, to becoming a better man, father, husband, and leader, is to find a way through these obstacles, and to allow yourself to fully trust the men in your circle.
Why is developing these trusting relationship so important? Well, to become the best men we can be, we need to be in the company of other men. Many men feel far more comfortable in the company of women. That’s to be expected in our feminized culture. Most men of the last couple of generations were raised by their mothers, or other women, while their fathers were barely present. These boys didn’t receive their fair share of masculine modeling, guidance, and nurturing. It stands to reason that these men would feel more comfortable sharing their feelings, time, and trust with women.
So what’s the problem with that? If you’re still young, you may not have bumped up against the issues that will undoubtedly arise as you find yourself facing the challenges of long-term relationships, career choices, child rearing, mid-life, addictions, fidelity, and mortality, to name just a few!
Those of us who are longer in the tooth have had to confront our doubts, fears, and limitations as men who have been taught to rely primarily on women for advice. Women can teach us many things, but they cannot initiate us into manhood. For that, we require other men, fathers, and mentors.
Men who have continued to rely on their female significant others as their sole source of guidance, their only sounding board, or for their psychotherapeutic interventions, have seen their long-term relationships deteriorate. These men are asking too much of the women they love.
Those who have chosen to deal with these challenges alone have, more often than not, found themselves on the losing end of their own counsel. But those of us who have been fortunate enough to be introduced to the benefits of these strong male relationships have received the guidance, butt-kicking, love, and mentoring we’ve needed to navigate the treacherous waters of our lives.
Some of you may have already dismissed this notion of men needing other men. It’s difficult to see the need you may have for something you have never seen, experienced, or valued. How can you be expected to appreciate the benefits of something that our society has relegated to the shadow for generations? But I can assure you, each of us men have so much to gain through our relationships with other good, committed men. More about the benefits in a moment. Let’s get back to the obstacles.
Read the whole article.

WebMD - 15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore

Men tend to ignore health problems until they reach the crisis stage - I know because I do it, too - and I see it in my male training clients all the time. But there are some things we should never ignore, and this article offers 15 symptoms related to cancer that need our prompt attention.

15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore

Men, heed these possible clues and find cancer early, when it's more treatable.

Experts say that men could benefit greatly by being alert to certain cancer symptoms that require a trip to the doctor’s office sooner rather than later. But when it comes to scheduling doctor visits, men are notorious foot-draggers. In fact, some men, would never go to the doctor if it weren't for the women in their life.
Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, is deputy chief medical officer for the national office of the American Cancer Society. According to Lichtenfeld, men often need to be pushed by women to get screened for cancer. That’s unfortunate. Routine preventive care can find cancer and other diseases in their early stages. When cancer is found early, there are more options for treatment. That means there are also better chances for a cure.
Some cancer symptoms in men are specific. They involve certain body parts and may point directly to the possibility of cancer. Other symptoms, though, are vague. For instance, pain that affects many body parts could have many explanations. It may or may not be a sign of cancer. But you can't rule cancer out without seeing a doctor.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 1: Breast Mass

If you’re like most men, you’ve probably never considered the possibility of having breast cancer. Although it’s not common, it is possible. "Any new mass in the breast area of a man needs to be checked out by a physician," Lichtenfeld says.
In addition, the American Cancer Society identifies several other worrisome signs involving the breast that men as well as women should take note of. They include:
  • Skin dimpling or puckering
  • Nipple retraction
  • Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge
When you consult your physician about any of these signs, expect him to take a careful history and do a physical exam. Then, depending on the findings, the doctor may order a mammogram, a biopsy, or other tests.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 2: Pain

As they age, people often complain of increasing aches and pains. But pain, as vague as it may be, can be an early symptom of some cancers. Most pain complaints, though, are not from cancer.
Any pain that persists, according to the American Cancer Society, should be checked out by your physician. The doctor should take a careful history, get more details, and then decide whether further testing is necessary. If it's not cancer, you will still benefit from the visit to the office. That’s because the doctor can work with you to find out what's causing the pain and determine the proper treatment.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 3: Changes in the Testicles

Testicular cancer occurs most often in men aged 20 to 39. The American Cancer Society recommends that men get a testicular exam by a doctor as part of a routine cancer-related checkup. Some doctors also suggest a monthly self-exam.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 3: Changes in the Testicles continued...

Evan Y. Yu , MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington and assistant member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Yu tells WebMD that being aware of troublesome testicular symptoms between examinations is wise. "Any change in the size of the testicles, such as growth or shrinkage," Yu says, “should be a concern.”
In addition, any swelling, lump, or feeling of heaviness in the scrotum should not be ignored. Some testicular cancers occur very quickly. So early detection is especially crucial.  "If you feel a hard lump of coal [in your testicle], get it checked right away," Yu says. 
Your doctor should do a testicular exam and an overall assessment of your health. If cancer is suspected, blood tests may be ordered. You may also undergo an ultrasound examination of your scrotum, and your doctor may decide to do a biopsy. A biopsy requires the removal of the entire testicle.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 4: Changes in the Lymph Nodes

If you notice a lump or swelling in the lymph nodes under your armpit or in your neck -- or anywhere else -- it could be a reason for concern, says Hannah Linden, MD. Linden is a medical oncologist and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She is also a joint associate member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. "If you have a lymph node that gets progressively larger, and it's been longer than a month, see a doctor," she says.
Your doctor should examine you and determine any associated issues that could explain the lymph node enlargement, such as infection. If there is no infection, a doctor will typically order a biopsy.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 5: Fever

If you've got an unexplained fever, it may indicate cancer. Fever, though, might also be a sign of pneumonia or some other illness or infection that needs treatment.
Most cancers will cause fever at some point. Often, fever occurs after the cancer has spread from its original site and invaded another part of the body. Fever can also be caused by blood cancers such as lymphoma or leukemia, according to the American Cancer Society. 
It’s best not to ignore a fever that can’t be explained. Check with your doctor to find out what might be causing the fever and to determine its proper treatment.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 6: Weight Loss Without Trying

Unexpected weight loss is a concern, Lichtenfeld says. "Most of us don't lose weight easily." He's talking about more than simply a few pounds from a stepped up exercise program or to eating less because of a busy schedule. If a man loses more than 10% of his body weight in a time period of 3 to 6 months, it’s time to see the doctor, he says.
Your doctor should do a general physical exam, ask you questions about your diet and exercise, and ask about other symptoms. Based on that information, the doctor will decide what other tests are needed.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 7: Gnawing Abdominal Pain and Depression

“Any man (or woman) who's got a pain in the abdomen and is feeling depressed needs a checkup,” says Lichtenfeld. Experts have found a link between depression and pancreatic cancer. Other symptoms of pancreas cancer may include jaundice, a change in stool color -- often gray -- a darkening of the urine. Itching over the whole body may also occur.
Expect your doctor to do a careful physical exam and take a history. The doctor should order tests such as an ultrasound, a CT scan or both, as well as other laboratory tests.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 8: Fatigue

Fatigue is another vague symptom that could point to cancer in men. But many other problems could cause fatigue as well. Like fever, fatigue can set in after the cancer has grown. But according to the American Cancer Society, it may also happen early in cancers such as leukemia, colon cancer, or stomach cancer.
If you often feel extremely tired and you don’t get better with rest, check with your doctor. The doctor should evaluate the fatigue along with any other symptoms in order to determine its cause and the proper treatment.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 9: Persistent Cough

Coughs are expected, of course, with colds, the flu, and allergies. They are also sometimes a side effect of a medication. But a very prolonged cough -- defined as lasting more than three or four weeks -- or a change in a cough should not be ignored, says Ranit Mishori, MD, assistant professor and director of the family medicine clerkship at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. Those cough patterns warrant a visit to the doctor. They could be a symptom of cancer, or they could indicate some other problem such as chronic bronchitis or acid reflux.
Your doctor should take a careful history, examine your throat, listen to your lungs, determine their function with a spirometry test, and, if you are a smoker, order X-rays. Once the reason for the coughing is identified, the doctor will work with you to determine a treatment plan.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 10: Difficulty Swallowing

Some men may report trouble swallowing but then ignore it, Lichtenfeld says. "Over time, they change their diet to a more liquid diet. They start to drink more soup." But swallowing difficulties, he says, may be a sign of a GI cancer, such as cancer of the esophagus.
Let your doctor know if you are having trouble swallowing. Your doctor should take a careful history and possibly order a chest X-ray and a barium swallow. The doctor may also send you to a specialist for an upper GI endoscopy to examine your esophagus and upper GI tract.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 11: Changes in the Skin

You should be alert to not only changes in moles -- a well-known sign of potential skin cancer -- but also changes in skin pigmentation, says Mary Daly, MD. Daly is an oncologist and head of the department of clinical genetics at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
Daly also says that suddenly developing bleeding on your skin or excessive scaling are reasons to check with your doctor. It's difficult to say how long is too long to observe skin changes, but most experts say not to wait longer than several weeks.
To find out what’s causing the skin changes, your doctor should take a careful history and perform a careful physical exam. The doctor may also order a biopsy to rule out cancer.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 12: Blood Where It Shouldn't Be

“Anytime you see blood coming from a body part where you've never seen it before, see a doctor,” Lichtenfeld says. "If you start coughing up blood, spitting up blood, have blood in the bowel or in the urine, it’s time for a doctor visit.”
Mishori says it’s a mistake to assume blood in the stool is simply from a hemorrhoid. "It could be colon cancer," he says.
Your doctor should ask you questions about your symptoms. The doctor may also order tests such as a colonoscopy. This is an examination of the colon using a long flexible tube with a camera on one end. The purpose of a colonoscopy is to identify any signs of cancer or precancer or identify any other causes of the bleeding.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 13: Mouth Changes

If you smoke or chew tobacco, you need to be especially alert for any white patches inside your mouth or white spots on your tongue. Those changes may indicate leukoplakia, a pre-cancerous area that can occur with ongoing irritation. This condition can progress to oral cancer.
You should report the changes to your doctor or dentist. The dentist or doctor should take a careful history, examine the changes, and then decide what other tests might be needed.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 14: Urinary Problems

As men age, urinary problems become more frequent, says Yu. Those problems include the following:
  • The urge to urinate more often,especially at night
  • A sense of urgency
  • A feeling of not completely emptying the bladder
  • An inability to start the urine stream
  • Urine leaking when laughing or coughing
  • A weakening of the urine stream
"Every man will develop these problems as he gets older," Yu says. "But once you notice these symptoms, you should seek medical attention." That's especially true if the symptoms get worse.
Your doctor should do a digital rectal exam, which will tell him whether the prostate gland is enlarged or has nodules on it. The prostate gland enlarges as a man ages. It’s most often caused by a noncancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. 
Your doctor should also order a blood test to check the level of prostate-specific antigen or PSA. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland, and the test is used to help determine the possibility of prostate cancer. 
If the doctor notices abnormalities in the prostate or if the PSA is higher than it should be, your doctor may refer you to a urologist and perhaps order a biopsy. Prostate cancer may be present even with a normal PSA level.

Cancer Symptom in Men No. 15: Indigestion

Many men, especially as they get older, think "heart attack" when they get bad indigestion. But persistent indigestion may point to cancer of the esophagus, throat, or stomach. Persistent or worsening indigestion should be reported to your doctor.
Your doctor should take a careful history and ask questions about the indigestion episodes. Based on the history and your answers to the questions, the doctor will decide what tests are needed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bi-Sexual Men DO Exist - What a Relief . . . .

In the recent issue of Biological Psychology, researchers discovered that there are men who are sexually aroused by both men and women, contrary to an earlier study (2005) that suggested there was no such creature. When I read that early study I was alarmed - it implied that I do not exist, or that my experience is somehow not real.

The new study, as you will read below, was a lot more intellectually honest in how it recruited subjects than the original study.

Here is a little bit of the New York Times article:
No Surprise for Bisexual Men: Report Indicates They Exist

Published: August 22, 2011

In an unusual scientific about-face, researchers at Northwestern University have found evidence that at least some men who identify themselves as bisexual are, in fact, sexually aroused by both women and men.

The finding is not likely to surprise bisexuals, who have long asserted that attraction often is not limited to one sex. But for many years the question of bisexuality has bedeviled scientists. A widely publicized study published in 2005, also by researchers at Northwestern, reported that “with respect to sexual arousal and attraction, it remains to be shown that male bisexuality exists.”

That conclusion outraged bisexual men and women, who said it appeared to support a stereotype of bisexual men as closeted homosexuals.

In the new study, published online in the journal Biological Psychology, the researchers relied on more stringent criteria for selecting participants. To improve their chances of finding men aroused by women as well as men, the researchers recruited subjects from online venues specifically catering to bisexuals.

They also required participants to have had sexual experiences with at least two people of each sex and a romantic relationship of at least three months with at least one person of each sex.

 Men in the 2005 study, on the other hand, were recruited through advertisements in gay-oriented and alternative publications and were identified as heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual based on responses to a standard questionnaire.
Read the whole article.

Salon then ran it's own story on this topic. They looked more closely at the cultural binary, gay or straight. Bi men do not fit into this little box (nor do bi women for that matter, but everyone seems to be okay with that, especially straight men). Because of this limited perspective, bi men become invisible.

In my own experience, gay men tend to think bi men are not fully out or are straight guys exploring a fetish. Likewise, straight men tend to pretend we are normal heterosexual men, possibly as a defense against having to deal with the ambiguity of bisexuality and what it might mean about them (just a guess).
The invisible bisexual man

Science has proven that they do exist, but bi guys say we're a long way from seeing sexuality in shades of gray

By Tracy Clark-Flory 

The big sex news of the week was that bisexual men exist.

OK, so a new study proving that bisexual men are aroused by both men and women didn't come as "news" to bi men, but most are nonetheless relieved by the results, because it will help to legitimize their identity in others' eyes. (This is especially true since prior research controversially reported that there was no evidence of male bisexuality.) Still, the more than dozen bisexual men that I interviewed about the study say it serves as a reminder of just how far they still have to go toward acceptance and understanding. Despite enormous strides made in the past decade for LGBT rights, male bisexuality remains a challenging idea and a unique taboo, even within sexually progressive circles.

A large part of that is because, culturally, we tend to think in terms of black-and-white, not shades of gray -- and that's especially true when it comes to the subject of sex. Rarely does a bisexual come out without fielding questions about which sex they like more -- the assumption being that they must lean one way or the other. It's true that many do: As Ryan from Vancouver wrote in an email, he puts an "emphasis on the 'preference' in 'sexual preference.'" He might be attracted to women more often than men, but believes he "could be attracted to pretty much anybody in the right circumstances, sexuality be damned." But there are also many bi men who describe their sexual attraction in much more fluid terms. The 27-year-old says: "To me, I look for and fall in love with the personality and the intelligence, and then the overall style of the person, never giving any thought to if they are 'male or female.'"

Romantic as it may be, that is a concept not so easily grasped by the general public -- which can make bisexual men feel invisible. Simon, a 26-year-old living in Brooklyn, N.Y., tells me, "Whenever, say, some prominent heterosexually married male public figure has a same-sex affair, literally everyone rolls their eyes at the 'closeted homosexual,'" he says. "I'm not sure I remember ever hearing someone seriously entertain the possibility that the philanderer was bisexual." Bisexuals are more visible than ever, but our cultural default, the shortcut we take to understand a person, is still: gay or straight?
Read the whole article.

If you would like to read this new study, it's been made available online in Google Docs by the good folks at The Stranger in Seattle.

Rosenthal, AM, Sylva, D. Safron, A, & Bailey, JM. (2011). Sexual arousal patterns of bisexual men revisited. Biological Psychology, doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.06.015

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A warrior code gone wrong - Hazing is not initiation

This article from the Times Live (South Africa) does a good job of distinguishing between hazing and meaningful initiation.

Hazing is mean-spirited, cruel, and serves no purpose other than humiliation. Often, it is little more than ritualized abuse. Initiation, however, is not mean-spirited or focused on humiliation - it seeks to test the initiate to prove his merit. Initiation is a "rite of passage."

Initiation has essentially disappeared in any meaningful sense. (The Mankind Project has their own version, but many men have found it humiliating and degrading.) In the absence of any real structure, hazing has become widely practiced and accepted, especially in sports teams and fraternities.
A warrior code gone wrong

Judith Ancer | 28 August, 2011

Initiation practices are all too often brutal, bizarre and wholly irrelevant.

The 13-year-old boy was home for a holiday, having just finished his first term at a prestigious boys' boarding school. His parents had brought him to therapy because he was "just not himself" - he was withdrawn, moody and had lost weight. While the boy at first insisted everything was okay, it soon emerged that senior boys had made him crawl naked over concrete, had rubbed Deep Heat over his genitals and forced him to drink what he thought was urine.

The boy had been "initiated", playing his small part in an often agonising ritualised drama that has been going on for centuries.

Sambia people in New Guinea did it by thrusting wooden sticks up the nostrils of five-year-old boys. In prisons, some gang initiates still do it by stabbing prison warder s. In the Russian army, some non-commissioned officers do it by branding recruits. At universities, undergraduates occasionally die while doing it. Some school sports teams do it by stripping, shaving and beating each other.

The question is, why?

Why do these kinds of practices survive in the 21st century? When we test someone's right to join our fraternity by cursing, assaulting or humiliating them, we are doing it to the previous version of ourselves. We were once that high school kid, that freshman. Yet we stand in line to pass it on to the next generation.

Communities have always conducted rites of passage both religious, such as bar mitzvahs, circumcisions and christenings, and secular, like 21st birthday parties and matric dances, which take young people through a journey from childhood to adulthood. Today these acts of initiation range from character-building and profound, through the playful or silly, to the abusive and frankly illegal.

The original purpose of initiation often gets lost. The word "initiation" derives from Latin for "entrance" or "beginning", literally "a going in". Historically, these rituals helped prepare individuals psychologically, physically and symbolically for the world they had to live in. But out of context, and taken too far, they constitute ritualised group abuse and institutionalised bullying.

Once they take hold in a group, harsh initiation practices become part of that culture and can be difficult to uproot. More than one school head has discovered that their attempt to moderate initiation practices is actively resisted by pupils, who wish to pass on the same trial by fire they underwent.

Often initiations are defended as arduous tests of strength and character, teaching humility and toughening up or weeding out the weak, the argument goes. However, most of us school our children to prepare them for the 21st century workplace, not for the rigours of the battlefield or a survivalist lifestyle.

Even in the military, brutal initiations are controversial. Sean Renaud, a New Zealand academic who researched the Chechen wars, comments on the impact of initiation practices on the Russian army when they fought in Chechnya. Those units that had the harshest versions of initiation were the first to fall apart under enemy fire and desert. And how well did our Kamp Staaldraad warriors do in the 2003 Rugby World Cup?

As parents, we might feel anxious about our children's initiations. There are a couple of questions you might want to ask:
  • Is your child being initiated or hazed? Initiation is intended to be a meaningful, controlled and ritualised ceremony. Hazing is just abusing and humiliating someone who is new;
  • What is the purpose of the initiation? How will running through a line of stick-wielding verbal abusers prepare your child for a future job as a doctor, IT specialist or plumber?;
  • For boys, is initiation merely a way of forcing them into a stereotypical mould of masculinity? Being tough and controlling one's emotions is just one version of masculinity. A 21st century man has just as great a need to solve problems and contribute to nation building; and
  • Do we tolerate the practice because we believe in it, or are we denying the pain, vulnerability and humiliation of our own initiation experiences?

Parents must make up their own minds about initiations, but should do so from a position of knowledge. Your child is ultimately your responsibility, so insist that a school is transparent about initiation practices and that you will not tolerate mindless hazing.

Lastly, speak out about the need for initiation practices to move with the times. Isn't it time initiations focused more on collaboration and community building through problem solving, creativity and strategic thinking?

Ancer is a Johannesburg-based psychologist

A Woman's View on 3 Myths About Masculinity in Relationships

Liz Leia (Getting Inside a Woman) is a relationships coach (an expert on dating and attraction, whatever that means). Still, I found this to be an interesting "woman's view" on how men get it wrong in listening to some of the masculinity experts (point three is aimed directly at David Deida). She explains three common myths that men have taken on about how to be more masculine in relationships.

My deeper sense is that the real issue is that too many men feel they have to be or do something in order to be attractive to women. They have to have "game," or some other nonsense, but what most of the women I know really want a man to know who he is and not feel the name to wear any kind of mask.

3 Myths About Masculinity in Relationships

August 26, 2011 By Liz Leia

Have you ever heard the idea that in order to attract women and be successful in a relationship, that you need to get in touch with your masculine energy (Maybe you’ve heard that from yours truly)?

Well, this is definitely true; many men end up in the friend zone or in sexually unfulfilling relationships because they are uncomfortable with their own masculinity.

That being said, I’ve also seen way too many men screw up their relationships because they can take certain beliefs about being masculine to the extreme.

Even men who understand masculinity don’t always understand women (go figure!). :)

Here are 3 common beliefs that many men hold about what it means to “be a real man” that are actually killing their relationships and ability to attract women.

Whether you’re well-versed in the study of masculinity or not, if you would like to create a happy, healthy, and drama-free relationship with a woman, then read on…
  • Masculinity Myth #1: You Don’t Need or Want Anything From Her  
  • Masculinity Myth #2. You Must Remain A Grounded, Unmovable Statue During Her Emotional Storms
  • Masculinity Myth #3. You Must Choose Your Life’s Purpose Over The Relationship 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Man and His Dog - Grieving

This short video made me cry . . . hard - deep sobbing sensations of loss released from my body. We so deeply underestimate the love and awareness of the animals we live with in our lives. I could feel Hawkeye's pain through my whole body - never experienced anything like that before.
Heartbreaking Video: Dog Mourns at His Navy SEAL Owner's Funeral

Earlier this week the funeral for Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, who was killed in Afghanistan, was held in his hometown of Rockford, Iowa. And there among the 1,500 people mourning Tumilson at the service was his Labrador retriever, Hawkeye.

(PHOTOS: Dogs at War)

The photo above was snapped by Tumilson's cousin, Lisa Pembleton, who captured Hawkeye lying near his master one last time. The dog walked over to the casket at the beginning of the service and "dropped down with a heaving sigh," reports MSNBC.

Phil Tyson - Emotion Phobia in Men

I've been working with men in various ways for the past several years, but never as intensely as I have in the last three months as an intern counselor. My experience in coaching was very different than it has been in counseling - perhaps that was as much about me and my perspective as it was about my clients.

What I have found - and what Tyson (Men's Well-Being) is speaking to here - is that men are every bit as emotional as women. Likewise, women as equally as fearful of entering into challenging emotions as are men. Women believe they are more comfortable with their emotional lives, and maybe some are, but I have actually had more men willing to get in touch with their deeper feelings than I have women.

We need to end the old stereotypes, and I need to keep learning to enter into therapy with beginner's mind. I used to have some expectations of the differences between men and women, mostly in their socialization, but so far, most of those expectations have been shown to be wrong (or partial at best).

Emotion Phobia in Men

Phobias manchesterWorking with a wide range of men, I am struck that the stereotype of men being unemotional is simply not true. Men, like women, fall on the spectrum from those who are extremely comfortable and aware of their emotional worlds, to those who, simply, aren't.
Of course we are all emotional creatures. Everything we experience we do so with an emotional tone. We see a beautiful woman, and we feel attraction. We see the England football team, and we feel disappointment.
Some men, however, have become scared of their emotional lives. They choose to see themselves as "rational", and become distrustful of emotions in themselves and others. They have become emotion phobic.
This is a short post, so feel free to go read the rest of it.