Ok, there are some things that are too personal to share here 🙂
I really wanted to share with you a passage from Daring Greatly by Brene Brown that really highlights the difference between Men and Women when it comes to things of a more intimate nature.
In 2006 Brene Brown met with 22 community college students male and female to talk about shame (this is her area of research).
A young man told a story about his recent divorce because of his wife’s affair. He wasn’t surprised – he never felt good enough for her. He explained that he constantly asked her what she needed but then she would move the goalposts.
A young woman said that guys are the same way. They are never satisfied either. “We are never pretty, sexy, or skinny enough.”
A discussion then broke out about body image and sex, the discussion centred around the fact that it is scary to have sex with someone you care about when you’re worried how your body looks.
The young woman then said, “It’s not easy to have sex and keep your stomach sucked in. How can we get into it when we’re worried about our back fat?”
The young man, who told his story about his recent divorce slammed his hand down on the desk and shouted, “It’s not about the back fat! You’re worried about it. We’re not. We don’t give a shit!”
The class fell silent.
“Stop making up all of this stuff about what we’re thinking! What we’re really thinking is, “Do you love me? Do you care about me? Do you want me? Am I important to you? Am I good enough?” That’s what we’re thinking. When it comes to sex it feels like our life is on the line and you’re worried about that crap?”
At that point half the men in the room were so emotional that they had their faces in their hands. A few girls were in tears and Brene couldn’t breathe.
The young woman said, “I don’t understand. My last boyfriend was always criticising my body.”
The young man said, “That’s because he’s an asshole, it’s not because he’s a guy. Give us a break. Please.”
A middle aged man in the group said, staring straight down at his desk, “It’s true. When you want to be with us…in that way…it makes us feel more worthy. We stand a little taller. Believe in ourselves more. I don’t know why, but it’s true. And I’ve been married since I was eighteen. It still feels that way with my wife.”
Brene writes that she had never considered before that moment about men feeling vulnerable about sex. She writes, “Never did I consider their self-worth was in any way on the line. I didn’t understand.”
She then interviewed a therapist who explained to her that sexual rejection soon becomes the hallmark of masculine shame.
He explained, “Even in my own life, when my wife isn’t interested, I still have to battle feelings of shame. It doesn’t matter if I intellectually understand why she’s not in the mood, I’m vulnerable and it’s very difficult.”
Brene further addresses the issue of male vulnerability in the book and discusses the fact that growing up males get some leeway to draw, be creative, run to their Mummies but all too soon these things are seen to be un-masculine and our culture sets in to make them “men”, squashing any vulnerability and giving them sole access to their own pain and shame.
This is a profoundly interesting book and topic and I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂