Steve Horsmon shares the most common craving heard from husbands around the world…and what they are getting instead.
Women’s jaws would drop if they could listen in on my conversations with married men.
Our discussions contradict just about every misconception wives utter about their husbands.
Husbands don’t want to hurt. They don’t want to argue. They don’t want to control.
And they definitely don’t “just want sex”.
These guys are desperate for her to know the truth. And they shed tears at the thought that their wife may never WANT to know the truth.
The Power in Her Pinky
The truth for these men lies in the end of her pinky finger.
In that finger is packed an unspeakable power many wives choose to ignore or have yet to discover.
When a woman calmly grazes the end of her pinky finger across any exposed skin on a man’s body and offers a verbal or non-verbal vote of confidence or support, his world changes at that instant.
It’s so simple and so tender that men are afraid to even ask for it. We barely talk about it with each other! We don’t want to appear soft. We don’t want to risk a woman’s reaction to our weakness.
What is it?
It is the power of a delicate, skin-to-skin touch of feminine acceptance and approval.
When a woman calmly grazes the end of her pinky finger across any part of a man’s body and offers a verbal or non-verbal vote of confidence or support, his world changes at that instant.
It is so powerful we are often left speechless. Our throats and tear ducts begin to swell and we quietly indulge in the comforting reassurance of the moment. If we could package the word “love”, it would feel like this when the bottle was opened.
Our “well-being meter” pegs out and our heart rate and breathing slows.
Every husband I know is dying to feel this. Simple, easy-peasy feminine acceptance and approval.
Nothing else. Just…this.
A World of Men Speak About Pinky Power
These are real examples of how men across the globe describe it. In every case I can hear their clenched voice of vulnerability trying to sound “strong” as they speak. Just for fun, try to imagine their accents as you read these.
“She reached over during the movie and put her hand on my knee and looked at me and smiled and said ‘I’m happy you brought us here, thank you.’ ”
“She slapped me on the butt and giggled and called me ‘stud’ “
“She scratched the top of my head for about two minutes and didn’t say anything. It was awesome.”
“She touched my elbow and whispered, ‘You’re such a good father and a sweet man, I love that about you.’ “
“When I told her about my idea for a better vacation spot she grabbed my arm and said, ‘I f#cking love you!’ “
“She just reached across the car seat and scratched the back of my head softly as I drove. It’s intoxicating.”
“She spooned her cold butt into me and said, ‘Oh baby you’re always so warm’ “ (okay, that one was mine)
Why Men Can’t Tell Women about Pinky Power
It’s simple. We think women will think it’s silly.
It’s not “manly”. Too vulnerable.
The most common reason husbands feel like they can’t talk about it is because their wives have already proven they aren’t interested or can’t handle it.
Women might laugh at the notion that their words and touch could cause a lump in our throats. Even if we try to explain it, they might just roll their eyes along with a big “puh-lease!”
The most common reason husbands feel like they can’t talk about it is because their wives have already proven they aren’t interested or can’t handle it.
In her brilliant article, “I Am the Patriarchy”, Jonalyn Grace Fincher listed 17 shining examples of how women refuse to let men be vulnerable. The article continued the discussion Brene Brown started in her book, Daring Greatly, where she addresses male vulnerability.
“We ask men to be vulnerable, we beg them to let us in, and we plead with them to tell us when they’re afraid, but the truth is that most women can’t stomach it. In these moments when real vulnerability happens in men, most of us recoil with fear and that fear manifests as everything from disappointment to disgust. And men are very smart” (Brene Brown, Daring Greatly).
What most women don’t know is that just reading this list can make a grown man cry. These things happen on a daily basis for many husbands who don’t dare discuss them. Here is Jonalyn’s starter-kit list for women.
Believing my husband is substandard when I have to do manual labor due to his absence/illness/unavailability. e.g. snow shoveling.
Avoiding eye contact when he admits feeling overwhelmed.
Taking over when he seems to fumble.
Assuming his emotional absence (shut down) is normal and natural for men and refusing to pursue his feelings.
Showing embarrassment when he’s afraid.
Expecting him to shoulder the hardest work (emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually) without complaint.
Never asking him what he’s afraid of.
Refusing to offer him the understanding and sympathy I offer my girlfriends when he’s overwhelmed.
Expecting him to tolerate more criticism than a woman.
Growing quickly impatient when he doesn’t demonstrate mastery over a project: from booking social events, to filing our taxes, to fixing the kitchen sink.
Becoming business-like and cold when he asks for help.
Knowing our girlfriend’s needs and wants more than we know our own husband’s.
Hiding his mistakes from our kids, as if they (like me) cannot handle him being vulnerable.
Expecting him to have more strength than I do.
Expecting him to shoulder more grunt-work.
Expecting him to “man-up” (whatever that means) when I want him to do something unpleasant.
Expecting him (when you’re both equally fire-arm trained) to inspect every scary sound in the house and calling him names (even in your head) when he shows hesitation.
What to do With This Information
For the Women: You have more personal influence and power in your relationship than you know. Your ability to inspire feelings of confidence and well-being in your man is available to you at all times – every minute of every day. What might you stop doing today and start doing tomorrow that could change his world in an instant? You have this secret power – why wouldn’t you use it?
For the Men: Admit it. You want pinky power. You love pinky power. Her touch of approval and acceptance is a gift you want more than sex. If we’re honest, those are the feelings we seek through sex, aren’t they? Don’t be ashamed of your needs and vulnerability. Stand proud in your manly desire for her pinky power. Explain it without apology or fear. Find out what HER version of pinky power is from you. Then apply generously.
I wrote a special report for men in a struggling marriage. Download your free copy of “The Hard to Swallow Truth About Saving Your Marriage” by clicking HERE.
Photo Giovanni Coppini/Flickr
Read the article, agree with the premise! The issue for men is that we desire things from our wives that we find hard to emotionally articulate. Our wives dont truly understand because they “see” things differently. Almost sounds like a hopeless situation. BUT its not! Ultimately, it boils down to serving one another. You dont have to understand the why of “it” for “it” to work, you just have to do “it” because its needed for their security and inner peace. The problem, for both, is when one tries and is rejected or fails. The failure/rejection tends to scream “run… Read more »
Disappointed. I thought this was going to be some perverted sex talk.
Kidding, but I will tell you this. I’m about as far from soft and sensitive as one could get, but I’m spoiled as hell too.
Wife does this often. We could be just watching TV and she will reach across to hold my hand. We could be driving and she will reach across and touch, arm, back of my neck,whatever.
I do the same. Touch has always been important. I thought it was normal for people to do so.
Me like. It gud.
Indeed. I am one of those ‘sensitive guys’ who has owned it. As I have , I’ve gotten that depspite how I was conditioned by society, not all women are somehow naturally or intuitively more in touch with their own emotions. As I’ve wokken up to that, I’ve made better choices in who I get involved with and it’s made me a much more fully intact man and therefore father and boyfriend.
Wow. Yet again, another article that turns my stomach. What is wrong with these particular women??? (I am female + a feminist + humanist AND a menist).
No wonder men slap/push my hand away or pull back when I have touched them like the abovementioned ‘pinky power’. I would too if the horrid retaliatory behaviour had been directed at me in the past.
(yes I know some men treat women much worse, but this is a men’s support/growth site & I’m staying on topic)
are you kidding? maybe you are a little rough or he has not engaged in that way before. This happened to me when i first started dating a man, he would push my hand away frequently but I knew he spent his time around women who were more like truckers on a cold road, so I pursued because he has a lovely body and he’s a lovely man…just bear that in mind next time you touch a man think lovely and it will make your pinky move mountains.
All I have to say is, YEP!
That touch, that moment of affection, those encouraging words… That is the most important thing I can get from my wife. And the sex stuff that follows is pretty awesome too. But it’s all about feeling that specialness from her. And so often it is so simple to convey. We do need to learn how to say this.
Vulnerability ** (not culnerability)
I feel like this is so important. The culnerability on both ends is so important. Sometimes it feels bashful or gushy to share but I basically can’t keep that stuff inside. I am wondering though if I am doing it wrong or if I need to work on noticing specific things because a lot of the time I feel like my husband makes jokes off of it and deflects words of care and compliments. It’s as though words of frustration are an opportunity for debate or quickly turn into who hurts who more or first, but words of affirmation, how… Read more »
Being able to receive love and appreciation from others is not easy for some people. And some men are afraid to show the same level of vulnerability in return. Love him openly and without apology. I bet he feels the connection deeper than you think. Allow him time and space to give you love back in his own way.
Is this generally applicable to Asian marriages as well? I’m from an Asian (Chinese) household. From my observation of chinese couples, there seems to be less emotional involvement as compared to Western marriages. I do believe there are many other differences in the dynamics of the two. Would be great to get a perspective on how this applies to Asian marriages.
No, not Asian households. Just North, Central and South American ones. ;^)
Sorry, just kidding.
Do YOU believe in pinky power? Do you want it? Does the article FEEL true to you?
If so, I’d say it applies to you personally. Don’t be afraid to say so to everyone you meet.
Whether or not your wife sees herself in the article is a different subject.
Steve, I loved this article. Thank you for writing a really great article that helps us ladies understand our men better and speaking to us respectfully as you conveyed your message. I’m saving this article so I can reference it again and again.
Thanks, Erin. I’m glad you liked it. And thanks for being so engaged and thoughtful with your comments!
@ Tan He loves you because he feels you love and desire for him. Men need to feel loved and desired too. You make him feel alive. I am sure you make passionate love to him. He also reciprocates. He looks forward to seeing you, the smile on your face, your touch, your feel, your scent. All of these things we men love from our women. Yes, because of these little acts of caring, his love for you will grow. Unfortunately, today in America fewer and fewer women want to do hardly anything for their men. But, they expect men… Read more »
Jules you are right: “Unfortunately, today in America fewer and fewer women want to do hardly anything for their men. But, they expect men to do so much for them.” But a part of the problem is that those same women are deeply hurt by those same men, and feel too tired or hurt at the denial of their own vulnerability to work at honoring their partners. It’s not right, it is just a vicious cycle in a lot of these relationships in my experience.
wow maybe that’s true… My boyfriend were looks so happy (dunno to explain situation he makes his expression like a kiddo getting new toys) everytime I scratch his head or touch his cheeks softly when he drive me home… He always said that he is soooooo happy to be my boyfriend. I did realize that give him little act of caring bring him to love me more 😀 #lol
anyway i love your every single posts , thank you for sharing 🙂
Expectations. Nearly every one of them in the list of how to completely shut him down – is your expectations. The deal with vulnerability in men, and especially in me, is we can’t handle your expectations of us much less most of our own of ourselves. The widely cited quote from Edison – you know… it wasn’t 10,000 failures… we feel like that. A LOT of the time. But you sure as fuck won’t catch us ever telling you that, and the smart ones make sure to not even show you that. That invariably ends up with a relationship with… Read more »
I was raised primarily by my mother. My father spent most of the time away from home working all day/night to support the family, so my world view was molded primarily by my mother since my father was gone most of the time. While this was completely fine for most aspects of my educaton, I see now that it was a problem for one specific area of my education: How to think about and relate to women. My early views on the roles of women in our society and the expectations of how I should treat women were almost exclusively… Read more »
You are so right, Colby. Women were/are raised being told that men will always protect them and create a safe environment to thrive. When a man who really understands what he needs, wants and desires in a woman opens up and gets really, truly vulnerable with her…if she doesn’t have her stuff together it will rock her world in such a way that she can lose respect, lose that safe feeling and bolt or hold it against him for scaring her to the core, sometimes without even really knowing why. Being raised in the 60’s also, I get this and… Read more »
Colby – In all honesty, your response made me feel like retreating into a cave, and I’m not even a man. There is a marked difference between your response, which turns women exclusively into the ‘bad guys’, and the article itself which manages to way more successfully address women without turning women into the bad guys. I give two big thumbs up to this article in helping women understand men better but I give you two big thumbs down for your blaming of women, your mom, your teachers and Feminism for all the ills you suffer as a man who… Read more »
Saw who authored this article and almost passed it by. Glad I didn’t as it was ‘Spot On’. Unfortunitaly the female responses jive with what Brene Brown writes. I’ve personally tried these things, the results were underwhelming to say the least, so back into the cave I go!
While I understand why you would want to go back into the ‘cave’, so to speak. Please understand that women are as imperfect as you are and that when learning new relationships tools or concepts there is a learning curve that takes some trail and error. Which means that if she is trying, even if she isn’t getting it 100% how you wish she got it, you should be trying too and not using your cave as a means to justify retreating. And just to reiterate, I totally get why you feel like going back into the cave. But if… Read more »
Erin, It’s not nearly about being perfect or getting it 100% right, every time, just right off the bat. It’s more about, if every time an issue comes up (look at the list in the article), it seems like everything you get in return just reiterates your itch to go into the cave. Then how do you know she’s even trying? And I’m not even sure most women want better communication either. I think most women, just like most men, just firmly believes that communication would be so much better IF their partner would just adapt to their own style… Read more »
While I understand the desire to retreat into a cave, it’s not going to help matters any more than she may be doing through her behavior. I’m not saying it’s wrong to retreat under the pressure of a relationship, but it’s not going to help either. Both people have a responsibility to make the relationship better. That’s all I’m really saying. It’s really difficult to talk with a man that you know is already closed off from any kind of conversation. If I was talking to someone for 15-20 minutes and they made no acknowledgment of the conversation even if… Read more »
Hi Erin, Regarding your first paragraph: It has to be a work in progress. I don’t think there’s a lot of people out there who expect 100% perfection from the start, but both have to be able to learn and adjust from mistakes. And on the second part: I’ve been looking at people and nodding while they talk all my life. You say that it’s about change in communication styles, and that we should meet somewhere in the middle. And as a general rule I can certainly agree with that. But I have a few questions. – If, upon our… Read more »
In retrospect, I think the “Let’s put that qoute back into context, shall we?” part came off a fair bit more snarky than it was intended. I stand by my comment, but I apologize for the choise of words in that particular passage.
It all boils down to honesty. Honesty about your needs, honesty to yourself and your partner. Weakness is not in the need, but in the denial of it.
Right on Steve. It’s true that most men (and women) want sex with a willing, accepting, and passionate partner. But deeper and more long-lasting, and more devastating when it is absent, is the personal acceptance of who we are and the spontaneous appreciation of what we give and who we are.
F*cking brilliant Steve!
Last month I attended a birthday party and spotted a woman who I could tell from her body language was in the “mood to groove,” so I led her in some dance steps. At the end of the song she grabbed my arm and said, nearly in tears, because she saw that I knew how to dance with a partner, “You made my day!” She made mine with that response.
Now THAT’s what I’m talking about! ;^)
Thanks, Steve. This is very helpful. Men will have to figure out how to tell us this. It seems to come more easily at the beginning of a “relationship” but then…..into the cave you go. Sometimes, maybe even often, we do misunderstand; trust me, it’s not intentional. However, the worst is the silence or violence extremes. No one knows what to do with that….and it screams at us that you’ve checked out. That’s when we check out because it’s received as if you don’t care to fix whatever the problem is. If you don’t know how to fix it…..you have… Read more »
You have a point of course. It’s a two way street. I think Steve is trying to say here is that when women allow men to be vulnerable without judging, we won’t feel the need to go to our cave (I like how you put that, been there…). Then, when not in our cave, the positive spiral in the relationship allows men and women to meet those other’s needs in a non-judgemental, open and loving way. Including your pinky -) I’m not saying it’s all on the woman but in the context of this article and the ones cited here,… Read more »
What does “allowing men to be vulnerable” look like to a man? I’m asking in earnest, because I believe women want to provide it, even if they don’t know how. Well, this one does. It’s the same for us, we were generally not taught this and have to come to this knowledge the trial and error way most times as well. I’ve done the “just let him talk” thing….then I get “are you there?”. My reply, “yes, just listening”, then he goes into the cave. I’ve let men cry without judging…..honestly it was a shock to the system at first,… Read more »
Hi Her, I really appreciate your comments and honesty. Feels good to read them. I respect everything you have to say and feel your desire to be a better partner with a man…even as frustrating as we can be sometimes. Okay. I’m going to give an example and say something really risky that most men might never say to you. I’m going to be totally vulnerable here and tell you how I feel. My hope is that you will not defend yourself and can accept my input as valid because it’s how *I* feel. I want you to accept my… Read more »
Thanks Steve. I do appreciate your comments. Please know however that I don’t actually “say” these things. Those are my online interpretation statements of the things I have experienced or know others who’ve experienced them. I think we all can confess that sometimes things don’t always come out of our mouths the way we want them to, or they way we think they do (as we try to construct them in our minds). I’m not absolving myself; I make concerted efforts to be careful when I speak to folks, whether it be an S.O., family, a friend, colleague, whomever, to… Read more »
Loved everything you shared. Yeah, when things go both way, it makes it all easier and worthwhile.
Glad you mentioned presence. My article this coming Friday is about that!
Happy holidays to you, Her.
@ Her, “I feel like men don’t seem to understand how they press for the things they want, but feel offended when women press for the things they want in the same manner.” I can truly empathize with you. I understand how you feel and how other women feel on this matter. You and other women have every right to feel this way. When I was married, I felt the exact same way on a daily basis. I felt hurt and rejected. It was not just about the lack of the physical. It was the lack of intimacy from the… Read more »
Thanks for the elaborate article, and reply.
Just wanted to add one thing:
“Yes, men are MUCH more sensitive to words and tone than most women think. The examples in the article which apply to my point is when women, “Become business and cold when he asks for help.” and, “Assume his emotional absence/shut down is normal and natural.” “</i"
Emotional absence/shutdown isn't normal or natural, but it becomes normal and natural quite easily as we learn (which most of us do, but not neccesarily with our current partner) that "there's noone ther" at the receiving end.
Hi Steve, Sorry for chopping up the brackets., I’ll try again. Thanks for the elaborate article, and reply. Just wanted to add one thing: “Yes, men are MUCH more sensitive to words and tone than most women think. The examples in the article which apply to my point is when women, “Become business and cold when he asks for help.” and, “Assume his emotional absence/shut down is normal and natural.” “ Emotional absence/shutdown isn’t normal or natural, but it becomes normal and natural quite easily as we learn (which most of us do, but not neccesarily with our current partner)… Read more »
Too many men who open up with their feelings get seen as weaker, less attractive and I guess the men realize that they get less sex and intimacy from it so into the cave they go.
If a man does open up and then his partner tells him to man up then it’s a sure way to close his emotions up for quite some time.