After 50 years as a relationship coach, Jed Diamond has discovered carefully preserved secrets of the male gender, which might surprise you.
It isn’t easy being a man (or a woman) these days. Roles are changing. The world is changing. It can feel like the very foundation of who we are has been built on an earthquake fault. Just when we think we can walk around safely, the ground begins to move and we are knocked off our feet.
My parents tell the story of my circumcision (one of the many hazards of being male, and still a hazard for many women in the world). My father was behind me as they spread my new-born legs and cut away my foreskin. It was supposed to be a ceremony of celebration of manhood. Not for me and not for babies who are abused in that way. I let out a scream and arched a stream of urine over my little head, which hit my father in the eyes.
I’ve been fighting assaults to our humanity ever since. Here are a few things about being a man that I’ve learned along the way:
Sex Matters: Males and Females Are Different in Every Cell of Our Bodies
According to Marianne J. Legato, M.D., Founder of The Center for Gender Specific Medicine, Everywhere we look, the two sexes are startlingly and unexpectedly different not only in their internal function but in the way they experience illness.” This difference goes right down to the cells in our bodies. David C. Page, M.D., professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) says, “There are 10 trillion cells in the human body and every one of them is sex specific.”
The Differences Are Not What We’ve Been Told
Like many, I grew up with images of men being strong, silent and violent. We needed to be courageous and fight for our country against other men who were the bad guys. Men had to be manly and try as hard as we could to have sex with beautiful, womanly women. If you were a smart guy (like I perceived myself to be) you went to medical school. If I had had a sister, she would have been encouraged to be a nurse.
But we realize now that these gender stereotypes had little to do with being a man. There are real differences, but they are not what we’ve been told. For instance, men have more testosterone than do women. It makes us more aggressive. Women carry babies in their bodies. It makes them choosier about who they have sex with. Being XY (male) or XX (female) has implications for how often we get sick and what medications can help us heal.
Whatever a Man Does From His Heart is “Manly.”
When I got my first pair of “big boy shoes” when I was four years old, I wanted the red Keds. I was told red was for girls, that what I really wanted were the blue shoes. I insisted on the red, and have been wearing red shoes ever since. When I got my first bicycle, I insisted I wanted one without the bar across the front. Even as an eight year old it was clear to me that falling off the seat on to a bar would hurt my man parts. When kids teased me that I was riding a “girl’s bike,” I told them that was impossible. If it was my bike and I was all boy, it had to be a boy’s bike.
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