Men, You Get To Have Your Feelings, Too

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Being more stable and open with our feelings contributes to a better relationship. And a better self. 

I recently experienced what some would call an emotional breakdown. The hippie, new-age Cali girl in me would prefer to think of it as an emotional breakthrough. But yeah, I had a breakdown.

Anger, unspoken desires, resentment, exhaustion, hunger—all of these conspired to create the perfect storm of matrimonial turbulence.

Until he finally held my shoulders, looked into my eyes and said, “You get to have your feelings.” Finally, the knot I had been gripping with all my arrogance melted. He had touched the sore place where love does not easily flow.

As woman, I want a partner, not a caretaker. A playmate, not a parent. Someone who is already whole, not depending on me to make him whole.

The welling tears spilled forth, and my shaking body, caught in the grip of deep climax, collapsed onto his chest.

I could trust this man because I know that in our relationship, he gets to have his feelings too.

♦◊♦

Men seem to be perpetually caught in a paradoxical mind-fuck which dictates that they must be the impenetrable ‘rock’ in the relationship. He can’t have any feelings or those feelings must take a backseat to his partner’s. This belief, while chivalrous in its roots, cripples intimacy.

The stoic and mysterious Don Draper may certainly be appealing for a night of sensual debauchery, but his relationship track record is pretty wretched.

To me, being a rock doesn’t mean that a man is bulletproof or fixed. A rock is a porous being. It absorbs the water just as much as it meets and holds it.

The rock is meant to symbolize constant presence. What that means is a man stays connected no matter what is swirling within himself or his partner. He remains open and permeable, mirroring his partner with equal amounts of honesty.

Vulnerability is the real strength. Someone willing to say what he feels while holding the space for his partner’s experience requires the utmost courage and willingness to stay firmly rooted in the moment.

When a man is permeable, he is truly feeling his partner and not simply dealing with him/her. The former breeds compassion and trust. The latter usually plays out one of two ways.

In the first, the man may completely detach from the experience. He essentially waits for his partner to ‘get it over with’ before he returns to the present.

In the second, the man may settle into the old game of  ‘son saves mommy’, leaving both parties completely disempowered as neither will take responsibility for his own experience. The focus becomes on finding someone to ‘fix’ and not on sharing experience authentically.

As woman, I want a partner, not a caretaker. A playmate, not a parent. Someone who is already whole, not depending on me to make him whole. When a man is in alignment and approval of his own inherent femininity, it opens the door for total, embodied masculinity (which is pretty damn irresistible).

So men, release the ‘handle-the-problem’ mindset and allow yourself to be penetrated. Your willingness to have your feelings allows me the freedom to share mine.

Open your heart. Ground into your cock. Breathe. Let your commitment to stay present remain unwavering and speak your truth. That is the real rock we are calling forth from you.

 

Image Credit: visualpanic/Flickr 

 

Read more about Marriage on The Good Life.

 

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About Candice Holdorf

Candice Holdorf is a writer and sex + life coach specializing in desire, sexuality and Orgasmic Meditation. She frequently contributes to elephantjournal.com and Straight Up Love, as well as maintains her own blog, The Orgasmic Life. For inquiries on her coaching, visit www.candiceholdorfcoaching.com. She is also a California-based actress, former yoga teacher and recovering anorexic who has discovered tremendous power inside of her hunger. Personal site www.candiceholdorf.com. Follow Candice on Twitter @candiceholdorf. Follow The Orgasmic Life on Twitter @theorgasmiclife. Follow Candice on Facebook. Follow The Orgasmic Life on Facebook. She is currently working on her first book, "From 6 to 9 and Beyond: Widening the Lens of Feminine Eroticism." Learn more here.

Comments

  1. I’m sorry, but what a load of horse-shit.
    For a man to express vulnerability in a relationship immediately kills attraction. It’s a sign of weakness.
    While in theory yes being vulnerable is more difficult and SHOULD be considered a sign of strength. But that just isn’t the case. Ask any guy who’s made the mistake of crying in front of a girlfriend, even for a ‘justified’ reason. That was probably the tipping point where she realized there was something she wasn’t getting out of the relationship (ie: a man).
    Expressing emotional vulnerability is still a sign of weakness and makes it impossible for a woman to find that man attractive ever again.

  2. Do you know their are thousands of men who have gone down this road only to be told by their wives and/or partners they want a divorce or out of the relationship? Seriously.

    “As woman, I want a partner, not a caretaker. A playmate, not a parent. Someone who is already whole, not depending on me to make him whole. When a man is in alignment and approval of his own inherent femininity, it opens the door for total, embodied masculinity (which is pretty damn irresistible).”

    I hear (and respect) what you are sharing. But, for some reason things just do not work out so well for these men. Too often women seem to find Don Draper, Tiger Woods, Jesse James more damn irresistible. And not for a night of debauchery.

    Are not women more likely not to be “whole” than men? The entire concept of being whole is the domain of female existence. I have never (until now) seen it discussed in regards to men. Honestly.

    Question: Assuming the men you described are in fact irresistible, does that also mean you find them sexually attractive?

    Usually the men you describe do not get much sex in LTRs and marriage. That is reserved for Jesse James and Don Draper….

    While I respect your view, I simply think it is totally untrue. What most women REALLY want is the opposite of what you described in my judgement.

  3. Melenas says:

    I think I get what you’re saying. Provide shelter; a place for your partner to express her feelings and support and return them with your own, not stoic silence.
    Vulnerability in this case does not mean breaking down and forcing your partner to manage your emotions, but accepting your partner’s emotions and expressing your own, not simply “weathering the storm” and waiting for her to get over it.
    This is definitely the type of person I want to be.

    Excellent article. Except the “ground into your cock” part of the last paragraph is either a misspelling or a Freudian slip. Especially since it follows “allow yourself to be penetrated.”

  4. Eagle35 says:

    I have to agree with R.

    No matter how eager society claims to be tolerant of men’s feelings, we’re still not there yet.

    A man expresses his feelings or traumas, these outcomes are possible in the current climate:

    1) Man up

    2) It’s nothing compared to what women go through.

    3) You’re not suffering. Stop acting like it.

    You can see this in relationships: Men are asked to shoulder the responsibility one hundred percent when a relationship sours. Even when they express their side of the story, it’s not enough to avoid society blaming them for mistakes.

    You want more men to open up their feelings then get society to start opening up towards their feelings. Otherwise, you’re just going to hurt these venerable men even more. Then what?

    • Bay Area Guy says:

      A man expresses his feelings or traumas, these outcomes are possible in the current climate:

      1) Man up

      2) It’s nothing compared to what women go through.

      3) You’re not suffering. Stop acting like it.

      Pretty much.

      I’m going to go out on a limb and say this. Censor me if you want, but it has to be said.

      I always find it irritating when women, in general, give men any kind of advice on dating, handling rejection, opening up in relationships, etc.

      It always rings hollow, at best.

      I can likewise understand why women find “mansplaining” on feminist websites very irritating.

      (though women who complain about mansplaining on a men’s website are out of line)

      • If you’ll read my comments, what I called mansplaining was the first few posters telling the female author “what women really want.” That’s mansplaining wherever it happens.

        • Bay Area Guy says:

          If you’ll read my comments, what I called mansplaining was the first few posters telling the female author “what women really want.

          Unfortunately, as many men have learned the hard way, what women say they want versus what they really want are often two different things. We’ve learned that we can’t accept what women say at face value.

          Also, if you want any men on here to listen to you, drop the term “mansplaining.” Those are fighting words around this part of town.

          • So, basically, women are liars? Men’s page or no, isn’t a major goal of this site supposed to be combatting misgyny?

            It was meant to be “fighting words.” It’s one thing to say ‘I tried this and got burned,’ quite another to go all Neanderthal ‘SHUT YOUR MOUTH FOOLISH WOMAN, I WILL EXPLAIN WOMANHOOD TO YOU!’

            • So, basically, women are liars? Men’s page or no, isn’t a major goal of this site supposed to be combatting misgyny?
              The observation that there are women that say they want one thing but actually want another is misogyny now?

            • “The observation that there are women that say they want one thing but actually want another is misogyny now?”

              No, because you modified it not to include all women. You didn’t do that before, and saying that because some women lie, “We’ve learned that we can’t accept what women say at face value” absolutely IS misogyny.

              Years ago, I had a virulently racist acquaintance. She firmly believed that “black men are rapists” on the grounds she had been raped by a black man. It didn’t defy comprehension, but it was racism all the same. What you’re telling me is a less extreme manifestation of the same principle.

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              @ Danny

              In their eyes, any and all critical observations of women qualify as misogyny. To them, women, as women can never be held accountable for their words or actions.

              At best, they’ll admit that those women are “a***oles” and only represent a tiny minority of women.

            • Incorrect. While there are many feminists who, witting or not, earned this reputation for the movement, some of us push back.

              However, lumping all women into one monolithic, doctrinally uniform entity (you know, like you just did) is precisely what I’m talking about. And, when it’s negative, as in your example and Danny’s, yes. That’s misogyny.

              I refuse to be held accountable for your past experiences with women on the grounds that I’m female, too.

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              And, when it’s negative, as in your example and Danny’s, yes. That’s misogyny.

              Ah, I see. So if I were to make a sweeping generalization about women that was positive , then that would be fine in your book?

              I refuse to be held accountable for your past experiences with women on the grounds that I’m female, too.

              Well, guess what? Men have to deal with that all the damn time. Feminists even came up with a term for it: Schrodinger’s Rapist.

              I’m not holding YOU accountable. I know very little about you as a person, nor do I really care.

              However, women don’t exactly have a reputation for sincerity, and DO often say one thing and do another.

              Call it Schrodinger’s Duplicitous Woman, if you will.

            • “Ah, I see. So if I were to make a sweeping generalization about women that was positive , then that would be fine in your book?”

              Not at all. “Positive” stereotypes aren’t good either. But putting women on a pedestal, problematic as it may be, is not misogyny. Saying we’re all liars is.

              “Well, guess what? Men have to deal with that all the damn time. Feminists even came up with a term for it: Schrodinger’s Rapist.”

              Shouldn’t you know better, then?

              “I’m not holding YOU accountable”

              On the contrary, when you hold “women” accountable, that includes me. When you say “women do xyz,” you’re lecturing me on who *I* am. Stop it.

              “However, women don’t exactly have a reputation for sincerity, and DO often say one thing and do another.

              Call it Schrodinger’s Duplicitous Woman, if you will.”

              Case in point. That’s not “women,” dude. It’s people.

            • Side note: I’d never heard “Schrodinger’s Rapist” before, so this morning I went digging. I just found the original article. Haven’t finished it yet, but this woman sounds like precisely the sort of “feminist” that got me to deny the movement for over a decade. I only recently came back into the fold, which is probably why I didn’t know about this.

              I’m to the part where she’s telling guys that all women live in a state of constant fear that they’ll be sexually assaulted/ murdered. As a feminist AND as a survivor of brutal sexual violence, I call bullshit. I do NOT live that way, and unlike these hysterical twits, I’d have cause if I did. As for the women who do live like that (PTSD cases excluded), I lay the blame at the feet of the misandrists-posing-as-feminists who so dominated feminism recently that women like myself refused to be associated with it. Some men are predators, true. But not so many that this sort of paranoia is remotely warranted.

              I don’t see this going anywhere good. Hopefully, it might avoid the “all heterosex is rape!” place.

            • K, after she said “BUT YOU MIGHT RAPE ME!!!” it was just a boringly offensive version of “tips on how to flirt without being a creep.” I’ve read much, much better renditions of that. Better advice, better written.

              Anyway, bullshit. All of it, bullshit. (Her, not you.)

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              Well Megan, even though I don’t agree with some of what you say, you strike me as one of the more sane feminists out there.

            • Bay Area Guy, I’ll take that as a victory, however small. If I can have a prize, be leery of pseudonym-wielding romance novelist bloggers posing as feminists theorists. Not that all the respected ones are that much better…

              Anyway, we’re not all like that, and no few of us are as fed up with such things as you are.

  5. Wow. The comments here astound me. For so long, I’ve heard women bitch and moan that their men just won’t tell them what’s going on. The man won’t open up and say what he’s feeling and then Candice suggests that he open up and there’s resistance to that?

    I think there may be some confusion about what it might look like. The way the masculine share might be vastly different from the way the feminine shares. It might not look like sobbing into your partner’s shoulders. (And so what if it was?) True vulnerability is exactly that: authentic for what is true to you. Some of my closest moments with my husband have been when’s he’s opened up and shared what has really been going on. In no way has the compromised our attraction or had me think less of him. If anything, I’m happy he’s told what what’s going on and hasn’t tried to squelch his emotions.

    I think it’s a load of horseshit that a man would have to show up as anything less than 100% self-expressed in his relationships. I mean, seriously? Women, do you want to settle for a man who is only half himself with you? I know I don’t.

    • Wow. The comments here astound me. For so long, I’ve heard women bitch and moan that their men just won’t tell them what’s going on. The man won’t open up and say what he’s feeling and then Candice suggests that he open up and there’s resistance to that?
      What you are seeing is the fact that a lot of guys have heard this from women before and when they did open up they learned the hard way that those women didn’t want the guy to open up for himself but rather she wanted him to open up on her terms and at her pace for her sake.

  6. To the people saying the author has it wrong, simply being present is no guarantee the relationship won’t work out. Furthermore, if your girlfriend dumps you for it… well, that wasn’t a woman, that was a girl. Don’t blame an entire gender for your bad taste in partners.

    • Don’t blame an entire gender for your bad taste in partners.

      True, but on the other hand that statement would be seen as a quite callous in response to for instance slogans like “Men can stop domestic violence”.

      • If you completely take it out of context, sure. But surely you can see the difference between a breakup where you assume the girl’s motives, and a brutal beating?

        Also, it seems someone took it upon themselves to delete my first paragraph….

    • Yet Meghan, who gets the support in the end when the realtionship fails? It’s not the man, I can tell you.

      Who also has many support structures and circles they can fall back on and will empower instead of blame them for the relationship souring? Not men, I can tell you.

      Look, as I said, if we want men to open up their feelings we need a society that will encourage and support it. Because all this talk about “It’s better to express than bottle it up.” is empty promises if the reality still remains indifferent to men’s issues and struggles.

      As far as the context behind “Men can stop Domestic Violence”, what context is there? It’s basically saying only men can stop domestic violence when women cause domestic violence as well thanks to new studies. I’d be much happier with “We can stop Domestic Violence”. (And please don’t say “Because men are the majority perpetuators” because, as I’ve said, new studies debunk this.)

      • “Yet Meghan, who gets the support in the end when the realtionship fails? It’s not the man, I can tell you.”
        I support my male friends in breakups. If I’m friends with both people, I do my best to support both without taking sides.

        “Who also has many support structures and circles they can fall back on and will empower instead of blame them for the relationship souring? Not men, I can tell you.”
        And this is the fault of women? A need for openness isn’t exclusive to romantic relationships, you know.

        “Look, as I said, if we want men to open up their feelings we need a society that will encourage and support it. Because all this talk about “It’s better to express than bottle it up.” is empty promises if the reality still remains indifferent to men’s issues and struggles.”
        Well, we can only do so much if you refuse to cooperate. I just reposted it, but for some reason, the first paragraph of my op disappeared. I just reposted it after discussion with a staff member, but the gist was that the article is a woman saying what she wants, only to be pounced on by a bunch of mansplainers telling her she’s lying. That was pretty important context for what came after.

        I don’t know how you got from this to domestic violence, but please don’t assume I’m a misandrist who thinks it’s ok so long as it’s a guy being victimized. That said, I don’t buy for a second that your conveniently uncited “new studies” debunk the reality that (like rape) it’s usually a male perpetrator.

        • Mr Supertypo says:

          But he has a point. Society (men and women) are generally hostile when or if a man opens up emotionally. Its not about the good will of few people, but its the general attitude that discourage men from showing vulnerability. Its not a easy task, but its something that goes beyond few individuals…

        • Eagle35 says:

          “And this is the fault of women? A need for openness isn’t exclusive to romantic relationships, you know.”

          Where did I blame women for this? I’m simply pointing out the supports men lack compared to women. This means I’m blaming women for this? Curious flying leap if you ask me.

          “Well, we can only do so much if you refuse to cooperate. I just reposted it, but for some reason, the first paragraph of my op disappeared. I just reposted it after discussion with a staff member, but the gist was that the article is a woman saying what she wants, only to be pounced on by a bunch of mansplainers telling her she’s lying. That was pretty important context for what came after.”

          Firstly, you lose my respect with the term “Mansplaining”. Never use that term because it’s derogatory and applied to dismiss what men have to say.

          Secondly, accusing men of refusing to co-operate doesn’t get to the heart of the issue. Where does that refusal to co-operate come from? Years and years of invalidation and being blamed for every ill on earth. And you’re surprised men don’t step up to the plate? How would you feel if your gender was blamed for relationship issues and societal ills? Not to mention using the term “Mansplaining”, which you did in that article commentary you referenced.

          “I don’t know how you got from this to domestic violence, but please don’t assume I’m a misandrist who thinks it’s ok so long as it’s a guy being victimized.”

          Tamen implied (correct me if I’m wrong, Tamen) that your call for not blaming an entiregender for the crimes of a few in realtionships would’ve be construed as callous if the same call was applied to “Men can stop domestic violence”.

          You said “If completley taken out of context”. I replied the context is it puts the onus SOLELY on men to fix the problem when, especially with new studies coming out, that women are equally capable of commiting the same crime.

          That’s where it lead.

          As far as your “It’s usually a male perpetrator”, that’s the kind of attitude that needs fixing: Assuming the perp to always be a male when women are capable of commiting similar crimes if only society would accept it and take them to task in an equal matter they do with men.

          I don’t think you’re misandrist. You said yourself that you support your male friends and that’s a good thing.

          Just on certain crux’s of these issues you don’t have the whole picture.

          • “Firstly, you lose my respect with the term “Mansplaining”. Never use that term because it’s derogatory and applied to dismiss what men have to say.”

            I’m not that concerned about your respect. However widely abused, mansplaining is a real complaint, and a bunch of men telling a woman what women really want epitomizes it.

            “Secondly, accusing men of refusing to co-operate doesn’t get to the heart of the issue. Where does that refusal to co-operate come from? Years and years of invalidation and being blamed for every ill on earth. And you’re surprised men don’t step up to the plate? How would you feel if your gender was blamed for relationship issues and societal ills? Not to mention using the term “Mansplaining”, which you did in that article commentary you referenced. ”

            Are you serious? Have you never heard of the GOP? Pat Robertson? Rush Limbaugh? Pick an issue, any issue… if it’s not women’s fault, it must be the dirty queers’, and I’m both. So spare me. Talk about male privilege!

            I did realize that the domestic violence reference was to the earlier conversation after I’d posted, but there’s no way to edit. But the context *I* was referring to was that of my own statements, not the unrelated “men can stop domestic violence” slogan. I agree with you about that – it’s inappropriate in many ways, and I’ve never supported it.

            “As far as your “It’s usually a male perpetrator”, that’s the kind of attitude that needs fixing: Assuming the perp to always be a male when women are capable of commiting similar crimes”

            Usually =/= always. Usually means USUALLY. As in, most of the time. Most doesn’t mean all, in case that’s another one you have trouble with. Now, do you have a legitimate complaint with the statement?

            “Just on certain crux’s of these issues you don’t have the whole picture.”

            Pot, have you met my friend kettle? Guess what, you don’t have the whole picture, either. Nobody does. There are various perspective, among them male and female. Seriously, you just asked a woman how she’d feel to be blamed for society’s ills!

            • Okay you two.

              Before this degrades anymore than it already has let’s see what we have here.

              We have a woman writing a post giving an explanation of what women are looking for in a man in regards to emotional openess.

              There is obviously an issue going on in the communication because we are not seeing eye to eye.

          • Okay you two.

            Before this degrades anymore than it already has let’s see what we have here.

            We have a woman writing a post giving an explanation of what women are looking for in a man in regards to emotional openess.

            There is obviously an issue going on in the communication because we are not seeing eye to eye.

        • JustAMan says:

          Study was by the Centers for Disease Control, Megan. As you may be aware, CDC, NIH and other health-based institutions have been the source of funding for gender-neutral studies of domestic violence. This is primarily the result of US Department of Justice policy refusing to fund studies of domestic violence if men would be included in the studied victims.

          • Yes, I am aware. As you may be aware, people – especially anonymous people on the internet – misrepresent studies ALL THE TIME, and that’s when they don’t invent them out of thin air and attach a respected name.

            I simply will not accept the claim that the majority of DV perpetrators are women, in defiance of all previous observation without examining this study for myself. And yes, by claiming that the majority of perpetrators are NOT men, that is precisely what you are claiming. So, what was the name of the study? A link would be handy, too. An article summarizing the findings is aceptable, provied it links to the source.

            That’s not feminism, it’s healthy skepticism. I’m not dumb enough to simply accept everything some random guy on the internet tells me.

    • With the permission of Gint, I am reposting the vanished paragraph of my original reply.

      I’m shocked to see so much mansplaining on this article. Telling a woman “what most women REALLY want,” seriously?

      • If you’re talking about Jules bear in mind that he quantified that by saying in his own judgement (but I think it would have been better to say experience). I don’t think he trying to literally say that that is what women want but in his experience that is what women have wanted.

        I think it would do us all good to quit trying to declare which view is correct all across the board.

        It sounds like they are all true to me.

  7. Simply put I think its best for guys to just learn to be comfortable with the kind of man that they are. If that means open and expressive fine. If that means closed and stoic that’s fine too. Speaking as a guy I’ve seen way too many examples of some women saying they want men to open up (and refering to that as the “real rock”? I’m sure you mean well but trying to speak on “real” anything can be a minefield) and of some women saying they want men to stay closed.

    It’s nice to see what women want in a guy but at the end of the day what he wants of himself is going to be more important than what she wants of him.

  8. In response to the comments that suggest that women reject men who share their feelings; this is a reflection of the women in question and the quality of the relationship, not the value of vulnerability. We cannot control the actions and perceptions of those around us; we can only strive to grow in a way we feel is right. I found this TED talk by Brene Brown to be an intelligent explanation of vulnerability, if you’re interested.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

    • Not buying it says:

      Elise, there’s a strong scientific refutation to TED talk by Brene Brown, it’s a new book that had just been released recently, in it there’s a 7 years detailed study that shots so many holes in this ” I want a sensitive emotional man ” , argument & the TED talk thing into Swiss cheese, have a good day.

    • Not buying it says:

      The book is called ” what women want by Daniel Bergen “

  9. People do not understand the difference of expressing your feelings and acting them out; I used to act out my feelings; cry; scream; say things I didn’t really mean and sometimes totally shut down myself. Once I learn to feel what I was feeling without resistance and just let it flow through my system, I was able to express them in a more authentic and vulnerable way; there was no tears or screaming or shutting down myself. I became stronger inside to be able to control my emotions.

    I do not get from the writer that men should show weakness and start crying and acting out their feelings (because that is what they mostly see from women ) Is just to feel whatever you’re feeling and express it however you want to, but do not shut down and run way. People have to understand the real meaning of vulnerability.

    • Excellent point. I know that being present and open as a woman doesn’t look anything like my hysterics as an adolescent. I don’t want the latter in a partner anymore than I want it in myself.

  10. I too am a little surprised at the response. And I think Danny has a point here that perhaps some of the responses come from a place of wounding, where men actually tried to express themselves and were rejected by those to whom they opened.

    Paget also totally nails when she says that vulnerability doesn’t necessarily look like a puddle of tears (and so what if it does). Vulnerability can be anything from anger to sadness to fear to regret to enthusiasm to silliness to sheer love. It could even be “Honey I love you, but I don’t feel like talking about this right now. I need some time alone before we address this.”

    You are right Eagle35–we still are not there yet. Which isn’t going to stop me from sharing I feel is a healthy, mature and sane way of relating. Hopefully that may tip the scales towards openness to men expressing themselves.

    And yes. Resorting to victimhood and blame anytime ‘mommy’ takes away the pacifier is not sexy. It’s also not vulnerability. It’s manipulation and not taking responsibility for one’s experience (and therefore also not rooted in presence, which as I mention above, is the real rock).

    All the examples posted above of how the relationship ‘soured’ are examples within co-dependent relating–where each person depends upon each other for their well-being. The responsibility is thrust upon the other to make each other ‘happy’. I am calling forth a whole new kind of relating between partners. One that is open and has space for everyone’s feelings.

    I have that kind of relationship. And yes, I still want to fuck him.

    Finally, no Melenas, I did not make a mistake. Ground into your cock is the turned on way to connect with that animal drive (and so many women are attracted to) while still connecting to your heart. That is the kind of integration and wholeness that I am calling forth from men everywhere.

    Blessings!

    • And yes. Resorting to victimhood and blame anytime ‘mommy’ takes away the pacifier is not sexy. It’s also not vulnerability. It’s manipulation and not taking responsibility for one’s experience (and therefore also not rooted in presence, which as I mention above, is the real rock).

      And herein I think some of the issue is. If the common perception is that men shouldn’t be vulnerable then wouldn’t it follow that when a man actually show his vulnerability he is assumed to be insincere (one interpretation would then be that he resorts to victimhood and is manipulative). Hence what the OP envisions can’t be achieved by just calling for men to be more open and vulnerable without a corresponding change in women’s beliefs and expectations from their men.

  11. Ironically, several men have expressed a feeling of fear that showing emotion to a sex partner or a potential sex partner is a buzz kill, and several women respond that those men’s feelings are based on a misunderstanding, and esentially, wrong. This would be funny if it weren’t so much the other thing I’ll call the opposite of funny.

    And Candice, I almost get what you say in the last paragraph, but I’m genuinely confused by the usage here and many places of the terms “presence” and “ground”. I see them a lot on this site and they trip me up. Can you define or explain your intent in using those terms so that they make sense to a sometimes concrete thinker like me?

    • “Ironically, several men have expressed a feeling of fear that showing emotion to a sex partner or a potential sex partner is a buzz kill, and several women respond that those men’s feelings are based on a misunderstanding, and esentially, wrong. This would be funny if it weren’t so much the other thing I’ll call the opposite of funny.”

      Well, you are rather understating the responses of the men in question. One – the first, iirc – called the article “a bunch of horse shit,” and all proceded to tell the woman (who was telling them what she wants) what women really want. Women on this page are probably going to be feminists, and few feminists respond charitably to mansplaining.

      • Bay Area Guy says:

        Women on this page are probably going to be feminists, and few feminists respond charitably to mansplaining.

        Yes, how dare we “mansplain” on a men’s website.

      • Adrian is rather understanding because it seems Adrian sees that there is a vicious cycle going on.

        Have you tried asking those guys why they think this post is horseshit?

        • I rather thought they did a good job of it the first time, so no. I didn’t get pissed until they started telling the author what women really want and really do. I’ve had crap boyfriends AND crap girlfriends and horrible breakups, too. But (A) you can’t just assume that all wo/men are psychological clones of each other, and (B) I would never presume to lecture a man about how wrong he is when he tells me what he wants.

          Reminds me of something I said on Facebook not an hour ago: my last serious girlfriend ended up dumping me on the grounds that I “think too much like a man.” That was three years ago, and I still haven’t figured out what it means. Honestly, I’ve known and loved many men, and I do NOT see a pattern!

      • The irony I suggested had nothing to do with the form of some of the men’s comments early in this thread. The irony is that on a page where women are probably going to be feminists, those women tell men that they’re doing emotions wrong when the men respond emotionally to an article suggesting they do emotions.

        The author basically said that men are attractive when they open up. You added that they shouldn’t do it like an adolescent girl. Point taken. Several men said, in sometimes clumsy terms, that in their personal experience this advise is pretty poor. That isn’t my experience, at least not exclusively, but it is theirs.

        Listen to their experience. Listen to them. Sure, you hear mansplaining, perhaps because it’s there and perhaps because you’re so attuned to it, but in any case, keep listening. Even mansplaining comes from a person who may have something to say worth hearing.

        • You know what? You’ve got a good point. I shouldn’t have said ‘that wasn’t a woman,’ and for THAT, I apologize without qualification.

          At the same time, dismissing the fact that these guys are lecturing a woman on what women want as ‘clumsy phrasing’ doesn’t help, either. The horse shit line was especially bad, since it means the author is flat out lying (at least, that’s what ‘horse shit’ means where I’m from).

          As I said in another response, there are ways to disagree with a woman, or reject her advice without resorting to mansplaining. And to the many who are so put off by that term: if you don’t want to hear it, don’t DO it!

          And there’s still the problem that these guys are assuming all women are the same. We’re not. I am not Woman78318598624, I am an individual. I am a PERSON. Just like you.

          • I have an irrational hate for neologisms in general, and mansplaining in particular. My issue. That you were offended by the over inclusive statements from some of the men here is first nothing I get to weigh in on. Your feelings are your business. Strictly as an observation, though, I see how that is irritating and I do respect your sensitivity to having your individual input dismissed that way.

            However, whatever the men wrote, I won’t dismiss their pain and confusion and anger. It may be stated harshly and some of it may be self inflicted, but it’s still pain and confusion and anger, and men expressing that stuff still seems to be primarily what we’re talking about.

            • Hmm. I didn’t think I was dismissing the emotions, but I can see how it came across that way. I absolutely did mean to confront them for expressing those emotions by lashing out at my entire sex.

              And now I’m reminded of the earlier post which raised the point that there’s a difference between being emotionally available and “acting out.”

          • @Megan…

            “And there’s still the problem that these guys are assuming all women are the same. We’re not. I am not Woman78318598624, I am an individual. I am a PERSON. Just like you.”

            No argument from me on this issue. All women are rather different individuals. However, there is commonality between them in many areas.

            The question for me is: Do women REALLY know what they want? I had lunch yesterday with a 52 yr old woman. She is single and feels that much of the confusion IS because women really do not know what they want. Just one woman’s opinion obviously.

            Honestly, I do not know what women want and no where have I stated such.

            I will leave you with this quote from American Anthropologist, Margaret Meade,

            “What a woman says, what a woman does, and what a woman says she does are three different things.”

            Many women say they want a man with A, B, C, D & E but they are dating/fucking a man that has neither of these qualities. So, I can assume 1) He proclaimed desires are false, 2) These requirements are dependent on her life stage, or 3) These requirements are not “turn ons” but minimum non-sexual qualities. No matter what they are, the fact remains they are not clear. If you talk the talk, then you MUST walk the walk. Else you lose credibility.

            • I nearly missed this, hope you didn’t think I was ignoring you.

              Good post, but it seems to me the crux of the matter is this one line: “The question for me is: Do women REALLY know what they want?”

              Just like men, the answer is “depends on the individual.” A lot of PEOPLE don’t know what they want, it’s true. A lot do. You can’t assume the answer based on genitalia.

              Totally agree about walking your talk (in all aspects of life), but when it comes to romance, it’s not that simple. A woman (again, just like a man) may well have a laundry list of ‘requirements,’ or more reasonable standards, then find herself surprised to fall for someone she never imagined and certainly never thought to want. Because, when push comes to shove, all those desires are fantasies. Reality wins, every time. I don’t think that’s hypocritical; it’s just life.

  12. While I agree with you on this article, I don’t think I can be a whole without my wife. Haha yeah pathetic right?

  13. Bay Area Guy says:

    *Yawn*

    Yet again, another womansplaining (see, two can play this game) article telling men that they should be open with their feelings, that trying to be an emotional stone is a distortion of true masculinity, etc.

    And yet when men do open up emotionally or do wear their emotions on their sleeves, they end up turning off these women. Women want men who are masculine, dominant, or assertive.

    I don’t think they lusted after Christian Grey on account of him being open with his feelings.

  14. Look Candice, I’m sure you truly mean well, and if your way works for you and yours’, that’s great! My life experiences are quite different. All the women in my life (Wife, 3 Daughters’Mom and 2 sisters) ALL tried to get me to ‘Open Up’ (My Mother was always complaining that I’m too closed like my Father) So when things were ‘piling up’ inside me and I said to myself “What the f**k, go for it!”. Well, to say it didn’t go well would be the understatement of the decade at least. No, now when shit gets to me I go to a ‘Paid Professional’. I would highly recommend this to any Men out there. Best money I’ve ever spent. Just remember, when women (at least all the one’s in my life) ask you ‘whats on your mind’ , they themselves might not even realize it, it’s actually a kind of rhetorical question.

    • Mostly_123 says:

      “Just remember, when women (at least all the one’s in my life) ask you ‘whats on your mind’ , they themselves might not even realize it, it’s actually a kind of rhetorical question.”

      I wouldn’t want to overgeneralize, especially by gender, but I must say I can really relate to that. There’s a difference between asking a question not knowing or expecting what the answer may bring; and then there’s asking a question because one already ‘knows’ the answer that they want & expect to hear, and are just looking for affirmation- the question becomes gratuitous. Asking a question does not automatically mean one is desirous (or even willing or able) to hear the answer they actually get.

  15. Not buying it says:

    Its been said in the past but it truly still stands & holds true, guys , After a certain age as a man never ever break down in front of anyone specially a female, don’t take my word for it ask men you trust around you , who did that , what their experience was like!!!??

  16. James Stanuszek says:

    It’s a curious dialog to be sure…

    Point to be taken specifically from the title of the article… A man has a right to have what ever feelings his has…. for no other reason as it’s a simple basic emotional human right. We have been wired to act by certain protocols specific to our genders over eons. It’s at least agreeable that the genders are wired differently and by virtue of that, our perceptions, interpretations and responses to all manner of things are going to gravitate towards and be filtered by those differences.

    As a species, we have the gift of adaptability. That adaptability is predicated on whether or not something may/may not interfere with our ability to survive as a species. No threat, very little if any change. Big threat, we change.

    We, for the most part, can’t help ourselves in the way we’ve either inherited or learned what traits we measure a prospective mate by that draw us in or dissuade us. Touchy/feely, no nonsense/logical, etc….

    I think it’s pretty apparent that regardless of what gender you happen to be and what age you are, we don’t really know what we want… We know what we like and what we don’t like but truly don’t know what we want…. Some have a idea of what that want is but we’ll continue to struggle with the whole idea of who am I, what is my place in the universe kind of stuff. Others could care less and be whimsically happy just watching grass grow with no further interest beyond doing that.

    If you’re lucky enough to find a partner and through your relationship building you both come to an equilibrium of expectations on what feelings to share, how to share them and how to help each other understand them in a truly trusting and supportive relationship, then I see no issue with a man/woman being able to share their feelings. To each their own…

    I guess in wrap up, if you ask someone a honest, open question, being willing and have the fortitude to listen and accept whatever that answer may be. Because in the end, don’t ask a question if you really don’t want to know the answer to… because once you do get it, everything that came before will change forever…..

    Just my rambling thoughts…..

    • Mostly_123 says:

      Thought that was very insightful & relatable- thanks James.

    • I think I’ve been on Facebook too long…. I actually miss the Like button.

      Wonderful contribution.

    • Emotional intelligence is a good thing. When looked at from that context, it’s sexy no matter what gender it’s from.

      But the general attractiveness of the “sensitive man” or “metrosexual” stereotype has been pretty well debunked at this point. I think that’s what folks are reacting to. Society simply hasn’t gotten enlightened enough for men to wear their emotions on their sleeve. As a 6’4″ male, I can tell you nothing makes people more uncomfortable as when I cry. People just don’t know what to do with it. If it’s a woman, it seems the reaction is easy. When I get angry, it’s not the same ‘oh, you’re cute’ reaction that infuriates my attractive 5’4″ female friend. People clear the hell out in a hurry when I get mad. No. People in general are still very put off by male emotions.

  17. FlyingKal says:

    Well, neither men nor women are monolith.
    One man cannot tell what women as a whole want, based on his experience of a few sampled individuals.
    But then again, that should also mean that no woman can tell what women as a whole want, based on her own individual experience and desires.
    (And vice versa, of course)

    And that is, I guess, what most of the mud-slinging in the beginning of this discussion was all about…

    • “But then again, that should also mean that no woman can tell what women as a whole want, based on her own individual experience and desires.”

      Yes, that’s an excellent point.

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