August 25, 2014

Savoring the Intoxicating Pungency of Femininity & the Salted Toffee Essence of Masculinity.


These emotions cause irresistible, unapologetic attraction for me. They are out of my control. I feel vulnerable even talking about them.

Steve Introduces the Idea:

I’ve read the viewpoints about the evils of gender essentialism, hetero-normative binary bias, and gender stereotyping. And I clearly understand the importance of not putting people in boxes and judging each other based on a black and white set of prescribed gender expectations.

The notions of femininity and masculinity are emotionally charged because many people feel personally judged and challenged to measure up to someone else’s standards for being “lady-like” or “manly.”

But what if we just stopped trying to describe them in terms of how people should act?

What if we simply described how we feel when we experience it from others?

In her book, Mating in Captivity, Esther Perel uses the word “other” to describe the energy we feel from someone when we feel emotionally and/or sexually attracted. It is that captivating, magnetic, and irresistibly attractive other which does not reside within us. We can only find it in others, and we feel it from others.

In a recent blog radio interview with Dr. Brenda Wade, she asked what I meant by the phrase “Masculine Energy” in the context of my “Dear Son, 5 Secrets I Wish I Knew before Marriage” article. I could tell she was tentative about going down the rough road of a gender stereotyping discussion.

When I explained my “we know it when we feel it” perspective, she was relieved. She understood as well as anyone how unhappy partners secretly talk about the energy they crave from the other.

Talking about how we feel when our partner shares their unique gifts is so much more productive than telling them to “man or woman-up.”

I believe the only words that properly define femininity and masculinity are created within our own hearts and minds when we have the intensely positive personal experience of being moved by the “other.”

From my vantage point as a heterosexual male, I can describe what I experience as uniquely feminine in a romantic relationship. All of these feelings are extremely pleasant and positive. They are intensely personal and not open for debate.

These emotions cause irresistible, unapologetic attraction for me. They are out of my control. I feel vulnerable even talking about them.

I may be the only man on earth with this unique and very personal definition. But, when I feel it, my mind wanders to the first Shrek movie when the donkey says to the girl dragon, “Why of course you’re a girl dragon. You’re just reeking of feminine beauty!”

Femininity Seen Through My Six Senses

It looks soft, smooth, and shiny. It is graceful and delicate. It sways with a sensual, but confident rhythm. It is curvy where I am not. It is colorful—even when dressed in black.

It sounds cheerful and inviting. The tone is melodic, but self-assured. It vibrates brightly and intelligently whether bass or soprano. It calms and soothes. It is a song that invites safety and sound sleep.

The aroma is sweet and alluring whether shower fresh or 20-mile-hike sweaty. It’s like walking into a flower shop—but not a candle shop. The fragrance is from nature and is able to lower my blood pressure. If I could bottle how it makes me feel, I would. And I’d be rich.

From head to toe the flavor can only be described as “otherness.” I know it’s just skin covered in dust mites, but it’s her skin. And God it tastes good. From soapy freshness to intoxicating pungency, it’s all girl. It’s as inviting and dangerous as indulging in the sweetest, coolest, crispest, watermelon you’ve ever had on a hot summer day.

Where do I start? Physical touch is my main love language. It feels like it looks—soft, silky, smooth, and sexy. Her complaints about it are laughable. She obviously cannot feel what I feel. I feel the deep, heaving breaths as she relaxes and softly invites my lips and fingers to explore. The absence of tension in her skin and her energy offers me acceptance and approval. The texture has magnetic power.

Heart Intuition
My heart experiences femininity as a passionate, nurturing strength. It envelopes my energy with its warmth and powerful convictions. Its boundaries are firm but loving. It is bright-eyed and confident as it melds with my energy in a dance of mutual admiration, appreciation, attraction and desire.

I guess that’s about it. It got me curious, though.

What would a woman’s version of this be? I suppose it would be as unique and personal as my version.

So, I decided to ask my good friend and colleague, Grace Cooley to give it a shot. Grace is a Certified Hypnotherapist and Registered Psychotherapist. She sees clients and facilitates Divine Feminine Hypnotherapy workshops for women.

I thought she would be a fascinating candidate to write her musings on how masculinity feels to her. So she did!

A Woman’s View—How Masculine Speaks to Grace

Whew! Just about got the vapors from reading that! After I recovered a bit, this is what surfaced for me.

When I feel strong masculine energy, I get the startling (and welcome) feeling of sliding right down into myself. I instantly get more comfortable in my own skin.

I am nearly always in touch with my body and how it moves through space and time (for better and worse), which is a feminine attribute, but when faced with masculine energy, my focus shifts and I lose my usual self-monitoring-through-space mode.

Instead, I feel polarized, and in orbit around, the masculine and suddenly don’t care what I look like or how I am moving through space. I know that seems contradictory—aren’t women supposed to preen for men or something?

With me, the “they-ness” dissolves into “we-ness,” as the feminine and masculine energy meet and dance, and I feel this other-worldly thing happening—it feels like when I am “in the zone” doing artwork or writing poetry. This is not something that occurs just with my lover, but rather, with masculine energy in general—with any man who is predominantly masculine.

The Tao calls it “wu wei.”

Defined as:

“In the Tao te Ching, Laozi explains that beings (or phenomena) that are wholly in harmony with the Tao behave in a completely natural, uncontrived way…the attainment of this purely natural way of behaving, as when the planets revolve around the sun. The planets effortlessly do this revolving without any sort of control, force, or attempt to revolve themselves, instead engaging in effortless and spontaneous movement.”

I have a “type” of man I think I find attractive, but honestly, when faced with a strong masculine presence, it does not matter what he looks like physically. It is all about the energy.

I can’t not be aware of him. Even when he is not in my line of sight, I can feel him and his energy as it interacts with my energy. My breath shifts to deep belly breathing, and I feel connected to him in some invisible, but obvious, way.

Masculinity via Grace’s Six Senses

It looks big, strong, square, sinewy and broad—sometimes callused. It has rough edges. It stands with legs wide and square with hands on hips or in front pockets. It looks wide at the shoulders, narrower at the hip. It stands balanced and grounded on the Earth, leaning forward a bit. It looks delectable—a good hand- and tooth-hold. Just looking at his big hands and forearms—those muscles—can unstitch me, because I think of those hands on my body, supporting, leading, strong—caressing.

It sounds low, rough and deep, bass. It sounds thrilling, soothing and calming all together. It is that low, guttural plunge and gurgle of smooth, thick water over slippery river rocks. It grounds me in him-ness. I love swimming around in his music and letting that undertow take me down. It sounds like the certainty of safety. Just his notes can undo me. It’s comforting—like the familiar saddle leather squeak at a trot. And when it’s my lover and it’s his breath, his voice, low against my ear—eeeeee!

It smells like musk—rich, dark, deep, heavy, thick—and a bit salty. Like sandalwood, cedar, beach wood. Like a day spent outside in the sun. Somewhat acrid, but pleasantly so. He smells earthy and substantial, weighty—like lifting the saddle and blanket off a horse after the ride. I love how no matter what products/soap/etc. he uses, his signature scent is always the bass note.

He tastes like salted toffee—sweet, savory and salty together. Musky. The texture under my tongue is rough and smooth all at once—unpretentious and real. Warm, inviting. Those obvious muscles, sinew and ridges invite teeth and tongue.

It is hard and soft together—obvious muscles under skin—sinew in other places. It is definition and variety. From smooth lips, scratchy beard stubble, broad neck, calloused palms, nice handfuls of ass and all the way down to sinewy feet and toes with thick nails and calluses. Peaks and valleys with some sharp edges.

Heart Intuition
My heart experiences masculinity as strength, safety and trust—certainty. I relax, soften; I feel safe, protected and empowered by that safety. I feel accepted just as I am—faults, stretch marks, cellulite and all. I experience the sensation of being enfolded. My breathing settles low in my belly and calms. I am cherished and adored; I feel somehow bigger, but also smaller and protected. The safety evokes a father’s strong, safe embrace. The boundaries are clear and maddening, but also comforting.

If passion moves past that energy to that of lover, I feel myself soften and open to him—splayed wide along my spine like a chicken boiled for so long that the meat falls off the bone, so that even the carcass surrenders to gravity at some point and the bones themselves detach from each other, softly falling even farther open. I long to surrender open to it.

What Else Can We Call It?

Umm…thanks, Grace. I need a cigarette. Really. That was awesome. Inspiring even!

If we can’t use “femininity” or “masculinity” as words to explain our open, honest, vulnerable feelings, what other words will do?

I recall an episode of Two and Half Men when Alan came out of the bedroom and said, “Charlie, I have never had sex like this before in my life. In fact, I don’t think anything I’ve had prior to this can even be called “sex.” Because if you call that sex, we need a new name for this. My suggestion would be ‘hootenanny yum-yum.'”

Yeah. That’ll do.


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Web4camguy/Flickr

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