Over coffee, my friend and I discussed topics for her forthcoming series of podcasts.
I was a little surprised when she said that her first recording was on the subject of men needing to feel like a man within a relationship—not surprised about it being to do with relationships and sex, I expected this as she is the published author of autobiographical erotica, L.J. Brown.
I was taken aback because I’ve spent my adult life focussed on feminism and my rights as a woman. I haven’t taken the time to reflect on what it feels like to be a member of the opposite sex in modern society.
L.J. believes that women striving for equality and the rise of the feminist movement have negatively impacted a man’s sense of masculinity, and that men thrive when a woman offers them opportunities to feel like a man. This got me thinking.
I’ve recently watched the first two episodes of the Netflix series “Sex, Love & Goop,” where a sex therapist works with a couple who had drifted apart sexually after having children. The therapist pointed out how the man no longer felt like a man in the marriage; the woman having done what many do, had taken on a matriarchal role in the family home. She even joked about how being with her husband was like having an extra child in the house.
I’ve heard this said multiple times amongst communities of fellow mothers, but I had never considered how damaging it is to a relationship. As the sex therapist pointed out to the couple on the show, having a parent-child relationship simply isn’t sexy.
One of her ways to address this was to help the woman look to her husband as a man and think of him as a “king.” Okay, so I admit that I found that last bit a little cringey to watch, but you could see how the husband responded to being seen as a man. His posture, his energy, his behaviour, all responded as he was empowered and encouraged to feel like a man.
I remember reading something when newly divorced, from relationship and dating expert Matthew Hussey, about how a great way to get a guy’s attention when you first meet him is to ask him to help you in some way, even if it’s just, “can you please watch my jacket whilst I nip to the bathroom?”
Of course, asking for help is something that doesn’t come naturally to many of us strong, independent women, as we’ve grown accustomed to the “do it all myself” mentality. But, just because we can be entirely independent, doesn’t mean that we need to be. Asking for help and accepting it can feel liberating. In the context of the couple on the show, it would have provided more balance in their home life and also generated a sense of being in an equal partnership.
I recall Matthew also stating that “a guy wants to feel like a guy.” He pointed out that even a woman’s choice of language will affect how a man feels—describing him as “cute” and “sweet,” rather than “handsome” and “hot,” will evoke entirely different emotions.
The more I thought about it all, the more it made sense. In encouraging someone to be their most authentic self, that must incorporate empowering them in their sexuality. This isn’t about a woman surrendering her rights, or independence to a man, it’s about enabling him to feel like one, and empowering him to embrace his masculinity.
According to the experts, this will have a positive effect on the relationship, both in and out of the bedroom.