Joanna Schroeder has always been a Guy’s Girl, and that’s given her some important (and surprising!) insights about men.
When I was younger, my deepest friendships were always with guys. Some of them were people I’d dated but remained friends with, others were guys who were just like brothers to me. To this day, some of my most important relationships are with guy friends, and this has given me a unique insight that my friends who are “girls’ girls” sometimes miss out on.
1. Guys actually gossip about sex way, way less than women do.
Okay, one caveat: There definitely are guys who are your stereotypical locker-room bragging types and who will sell a woman out to be considered cool or popular. But in my experience, these guys are in the minority.
Most guys seem to know that this type of braggadocio is not only uncool, but disrespectful to women. They don’t want to be the dude who talks about the breasts of the woman he hooked up with last weekend. They want to be the guy who smiles politely and keeps his intimate moments to himself.
Women, on the other hand, often have deeply emotional bonds with one another and feel like sharing intimacies about our sex lives is a part of bonding. Because there isn’t a stereotype about women bragging about sexual conquests (the opposite, actually, we are often shamed for our sexual desires), my girlfriends and I have often felt like our friendships with other women are a sacred place to say anything we wanted.
This leads me to my second point…
2. Guys often need a place to talk about their feelings, insecurities about sex, and what they’re going through.
One of the special things about being a trusted girl-friend of guys is the opportunity the friendship gives guys to really open up about what they’re going through.
My guy friends have often felt like they had no place to put their sadnesses, their feelings of being less-than, and their worries about sex – including their size or performance. But the ones who trusted me felt okay about talking to me.
I’ll never forget when one of my good guy friends, a total “guy’s-guy”, came to me distraught needing to talk about a sexual issue he was having with his partner, who is a woman. He told me he felt extraordinary relief to be able to get this problem off his chest, and I was happy to offer some insight.
After that, he and I bonded over all sorts of emotional issues – from the death of his father to trying to figure out if he should marry his partner or not (he ended up marrying someone else). In turn, I felt like I had someone who would give me the brutal truth, and be an awesome sounding board.
Guys’ friendships, for whatever reason, are often considered odd if they’re deeply emotional or intimate. That has to change. Men need to be able to bond emotionally with other men. But in the meantime (and hopefully even after we reach that goal), having a girl-friend can be a great opportunity for a truly intimate friendship. (As long as it’s truly reciprocal and neither of you are giving too much in the hopes of it someday becoming a romantic relationship.)
3. Guys get their hearts broken, too.
In fact, they sometimes are totally and completely devastated by a break-up. I don’t care if the guy is straight or gay or bi or anything else, a hard break-up has the potential to destroy him the same way it would a woman.
Somewhere we got the idea that guys were the tough ones, immune to heartbreak and longing.
Well that’s BS. Anyone who has a close friendship with a guy can tell you that most men have experienced a break-up so profound, it changed the way they saw the world. Some may disappear into a depression, some may quest to make themselves better, some may write poetry or music about their loss. But no man I’ve ever known has been immune to having his heart broken.
4. Guys care way, way less about whether your body is perfect than you think they do.
The thing I’ve heard my guy friends say most often about what makes a woman hot is her confidence with who she is, regardless of her body.
That’s a surprisingly tough thing to hear as a woman. It’s not like we can just snap our fingers and be happy with our bodies. Society tells us our entire lives that we need to look a certain way, and pretty much none of us can live up to that ideal. Then we’re told by guys that we are supposed to be confident about who we are, and that’ll make us sexy. Well guess what? It’s not that easy, and we can’t grow our confidence just to make you want us. That wouldn’t be a good outcome for any of us. So sometimes hearing that puts us into a doubly insecure situation!
But it really is true, from my experience, that the kinds of guys you’d actually want to date really don’t care if your thighs have dimples, if your belly has rolls or if your boobs don’t look like Kate Upton’s. That shouldn’t be a motivator to get happy with your body, that’s between you and yourself only, but I do believe most guys when they say that the “perfect” body is pretty irrelevant to real desire.
5. Guys need affection more than they need sex.
I’m not joking!
Of course sex is important to guys. It’s important to women, too. But society has told us – both men and women – that guys only want one thing: Sex.
But here’s the newsflash: Guys crave intimacy and affection as much as women. At least the guys I’ve known.
The issue with lack of sex is often tied to this need for affection. For many people, in particular guys, sex=love. Sex also equals acceptance and is a satisfying way to receive affection. So when their partner loses an interest in sex, the source of the suffering a guy experiences is less about orgasms, and more about the loss of a form of affection and reassurance that they felt comfortable accepting.
Any guy can satisfy his own direct sexual needs one way or another. But just like women, guys crave intimacy and the reassurance that they are attractive, loved, and cared for. In our society, however, we’ve told guys that their sexuality is the only way to gain that intimacy.
The lesson to be learned here, women, is that even when your libido is down, you can help your guy by reassuring him that you love him, that you think he’s hot and smart and sexy, and by giving him lots of physical love when you feel up for it. Massages (sensual or not) go a long way. Even -gasp!- cuddling. Because here’s the biggest secret of all: Guys like cuddling, too.
6. Guys hate being trapped in the “Act Like a Man” Box.
Women often complain that guys only like a few things: beer, boobs, and football. I think we’ve debunked some of those myths above, but I want to dive a little deeper into this stereotype for a moment.
Those three things are stereotypes about guys that keep them firmly rooted in the Act Like a Man Box (or “ALMB” for short). You need to be heterosexual, have a high libido, enjoy watching sports, chugging beers, and you can’t have complicated emotions. To fit into the ALMB, you also need to hate figure skating, shopping, and quiche.
But most of the guys I know have one way in which they explode the ALMB just by being who they are. They hate sports, or they’re gay, or they’re straight but don’t quest after women as sport, or they really get emotional listening to classical music. Doesn’t matter what it is, a lot of guys are terrified of the world discovering that they don’t fit into the ALMB.
And who can blame them? Society is pretty attached to our caveman-like image of dudes. Including a lot of women.
So ladies, if you’re really looking for a loving, sensitive guy, you need to make sure you aren’t part of the system that enforces the ALMB. Whatever you do, don’t make fun of guys’ feelings. Oh, and sometimes offer to pick up the check.
Also read: 7 Ways Guys Need Romantic Superheroes Too
What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
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