In my upcoming book, 12 Rules for Men: How to Live Fully, Love Deeply, and Make a Difference in the World, I hope to mentor men and help women better understand what’s great about men. I shared some of these important facts in my article, “The Single Most Important Fact About Men.” Here are 12 more facts about men that will help you improve your life and relationships.
Fact 1: Males and females are different and the differences aren’t what you think.
Biologists have a very simple and useful definition of what is male and what is female, whether we are fish, ferns, or human beings. An individual can either make many small gametes (sex cells) or fewer but larger gametes. The individuals that produce smaller gametes are called “males” and the ones that produce larger gametes are called “females.”
Fact 2: “There are ten trillion cells in your body and every cell is sex-specific.”
This fact was discovered by David C. Page, M.D., professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “All your cells know on a molecular level whether they are XX or XY,” says Dr. Page. “Men and women are not equal in our genome and men and women are not equal in the face of disease.”
Fact 3: Sperm are small and expendable. Eggs are large and precious.
The female strategy produces gametes that are large, and have a high rate of survival and fertilization. The male strategy is to produce as many as possible, to increase the chances of finding a large one. About 400 eggs are ovulated in a woman’s lifetime. A healthy male produces 500 million sperm per day, but only one is needed.
Fact 4: Like the sperm we make, males compete with other males to be chosen by an attractive female. As a result, men live with constant, though usually hidden, insecurities.
Jungian therapist Eugene Monick concludes that these biological realities of sperm competition can tell us a lot about male insecurity and fear of failure. “Natural wisdom tells a male that catastrophic consequence is always present, actually or potentially, as in the fate of his sperm…What the sperm experiences in its life struggle toward the ovum is the ground or archetypal pattern for a man’s daily struggle for virility.” We know that only one sperm will succeed while most will die. “This is the raw material of masculine psyche, the fuel for a male’s terror,” Monick concludes.
Fact 5: In the competition to mate, a few men succeed, but most men fail.
Throughout human history some men (think alpha males like Genghis Kahn, Wilt Chamberlain, and Warren Beatty) had sex with lots of women. Most men were not chosen. “Looking back across the entire history of the human race, and taking nature’s criterion of success as passing on your life to others,” says Dr. Roy Baumeister, “we can say that most of the men were failures. Being male goes with biological failure in a way that being female doesn’t.”
Fact 6: In order to succeed, males take greater risks in life.
Even alpha males worry that they will be replaced by a more successful male. In modern times most men will find a partner to have sex, but men never overcome our fear of being left out of the evolutionary lottery. As a result, males take more risks, they are gamblers. A few succeed, but most crash and burn.
Fact 7: Men die sooner and live sicker.
I’ve spent my life trying to help men live long and healthy lives. I want it for myself, my sons, grandsons, and all males. But we have to fight our biological and evolutionary history. Sperm are expendable and males have been expendable. Men suffer and die from 9 of the 10 most common illnesses at rates higher than women (all expect Alzheimer’s disease). We have to get serious about our health
Fact 8: Men are more violent than women, but most of the victims of male violence are other males.
Women are rightly afraid of violent men. But the reality is that most of the victims of male violence are other men. Males die in wars trying to prove they are manly. But even more men die from suicide feeling they are inadequate and unable to fulfill the demands of the male role.
Fact 9: Millions of men grow up in homes where a father is absent physically or emotionally.
Roland Warren says, “Kids have a hole in their soul in the shape of their dad. And if a father is unwilling or unable to fill that role, it can leave a wound that is not easily healed.”
“A father may be physically present, but absent in spirit,” says psychologist James Hollis. “His absence may be literal through death, divorce or dysfunction, but more often it is a symbolic absence through silence and the inability to transmit what he also may not have acquired.”
In my book, My Distant Dad: Healing the Family Father Wound, I share my own healing story. You can get a free chapter here.
Fact 10: Wounded men wound others and are often irritable and angry.
Until I dealt with my own wounding and stressful childhood, I was often anxious, irritable, and angry. I wrote two books, The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression and Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from The Irritable Male Syndrome (I’m happy to send you a free copy of the ebook if you sign up here.)
Fact 11: Men can heal the father wound by joining a men’s group.
As long as we live with a father wound, we feel inadequate as males, no matter how successful we are in business, how much money we make, how big a car we drive, or even if we become President of the United States. I’ve been in a men’s group that has been meeting for 40 years now. One of the organizations focusing on supporting men’s groups is Evryman. Check them out here.
Fact 12: Men are the canaries in the coal mine of a world out of balance.
This is a confusing time to be man. Manhood today is maligned and misunderstood. Some believe maleness itself is inherently destructive and should be eliminated. I disagree. I believe the problem isn’t with men, it’s with a social structure that separates us from the earth, from each other, and most importantly from ourselves.
The fact that so many men are angry and destructive isn’t because men are bad. We are the canaries in the coal mine and are alerting everyone to the fact that we live in a world out of balance and it’s us who must change.
Together we can use these facts to change the world for the better. Men and women are natural allies. These facts need not separate us but help us recognize the incredible creatures we all are. I look forward to hearing from you. Be sure to click the graphic in the upper right of this page to pick up your free e-book to discover your love map and receive our free weekly newsletter.
Originally published on Men Alive
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