This is part 2 of our conversation on masculinity where we get real about the challenges men face with strict gender conformity and how it ties in with relationships. Today we’re focusing on sex – the myths, the misconceptions, and the reflections. We unpack some of the biases and challenges that men face in the bedroom.
And to keep you in the loop, during the month of June, I’ll be revamping the podcast to expand the reach of people who want to join in these conversations with us. I’ll be coming back with a brand new title and new episodes in July so enjoy this last release and always feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.
Here are a few of the ideas we discuss:
Boys’ first experiences with porn and sexual excitement – who is teaching boys about sexual education?
Exploring Erectile Dysfunction as a manifestation of a vulnerable internal state of mind: anxiety, self-esteem, body-image, depression, performance anxiety, etc.
What are some ways that men would prefer to be treated in relationships?
Keeping your partner current on what you want from the relationship sexually and emotionally
The importance of sexual communication within relationships and during the heat of the moment
The myth that men are “easy” and constantly “ready to go” sexually
The patriarchal policing of men by using the term “gay” for a man who doesn’t follow the hetero-normative male code
Sexual fluidity is not the same thing as sexual orientation, and the stereotypes of men who are more sexual fluid with the same sex
SHOW SOME LOVE FOR THE PODCAST BY LEAVING A REVIEW ON iTUNES & SHARING WITH A FRIEND!
Today, I’m sitting down with a room full of diverse men to talk about the challenges of masculinity. The reason I wanted to facilitate this discussion is to bring to light some of the points and perspectives on what it means to be a man in modern day, told by men. Many of my male followers have expressed sentiments that they don’t fit perfectly within the main, traditional box of masculinity. They’ve confided in me that they don’t feel as though they quite measure up in their sex lives, their love lives, and in many other ways. By listening to this group of men speak tonight about their experiences, hopefully my listeners will feel more acceptable in their own skin, and maybe even inspire them to continue these discussions with their own friends, family, and lovers.
Everyone, regardless of how they present or identify, should have a vested interest in loosening the tight grip of patriarchal masculinity because it not only hurts women and LGBTQ people, but it hurts men, too.
Here are a few of the ideas we discuss:
The overwhelming statistics of violence by men, not just to others, but to themselves (suicide), and the gaping void of close friends they can turn to in crisis within individualistic societies
The myth of the “real man”… who is this mythical man?!
The lack of vulnerability men are “allowed” to show, especially when it affects their physical and emotional well-being
When the tough guise of manliness serves a purpose as an adaptive mechanism (combat zones, police force, etc) versus when it’s maladaptive (in family life, relationships, with our children, etc)
The lack of healthy leadership for boys as they transition into adulthood, that directly impacts their ability to be good, present fathers and learn how to enjoy their sexuality in a healthy way
The socialization of men into being autonomous and not asking for help, even when situations are dire
Stay tuned for next week’s continuation of masculinity, where we talk specifically about sex and masculinity. We unpack some of the biases and challenges that men face in the bedroom. See ya next week!
Welcome to episode 25 of F*ck Like a Woman. Today, I’m discussing toxic masculinity, redefining gender roles, and how some of our sexual stereotypes about men directly impact their sex lives. This episode isn’t meant to attack men or tell men they need to be more sensitive or that they have to discard their whole masculinity. And it certainly isn’t meant as a gender war to spark debates about who is the greater villain or who is the greater victim. For time’s sake we can only cover a fraction of the full potential of this conversation, but I hope it initiates some thoughtful conversation for you in safe spaces. My intention is to let men know they have choices, they have options, and one of the options available is that they can still keep the masculine attributes that feel comfortable for them, but we have to identify what defining parts of masculinity continue to be toxic to men, women, little boys, and little girls because those parts have got to go. The aggression, the violence, and the perpetual need to establish dominance and maintain control are among the most concerning elements of toxic masculinity. In fact, one of the 9 predictors of divorce that the Gottman Institute discovered is men’s inability to accept influence from their women. So if we think these conversations don’t directly affect our daily lives, think again.
With that said, let me ask you: Don’t you want full access to all of the capabilities you have as a human being? We let ourselves be controlled by forces outside ourselves all the time – for the good and for the bad. But when it’s to the detriment of our ability to be a full human being, then you’re really cheating yourself and you’re being cheated by these systems out of your greatest potential. You only have 1 life to live, don’t you want it to be a damn good one?
When you get men alone, you hear sometimes completely different messages than when they’re in front of other guys or even women.
So for you men out there who have ever felt that you don’t quite fit into this rigid box of masculinity, you are not alone. Therapists have known this for a long time. If you could hear what I hear as a coach, you would know that lots of men don’t feel they quite measure up to this one main way of doing masculinity, but they feel the pressure of losing social status if they don’t keep up the outward display for women, but especially for other men.
It doesn’t mean you’re weak, less manly or less masculine to question these things
In fact, I would argue that not bucking the norm of this one rigid way of doing masculinity is actually a very passive stance
Toxic masculinity specifically is really a caricature of a very antiquated way of doing masculinity to the detriment of everyone’s mental and physical health – men, women, and children. Men’s violence, which is a primary component of toxic masculinity, is connected not just to women, but to other men and to themselves also – the same system that produces men who abuse women, creates men who abuse other men and boys, and who abuse themselves via male suicide
I believe that when a man bucks the masculine norms and rejects the notion of being seen as an animalistic, unemotional, aggressive, and a sexually aggressive caveman who is always ready to fuck, always ready to fight, always ready to prove he’s a real man, who can “grab women by the pussy” cause he’s gonna give her what she deserves, he’s actually demonstrating that he’s very subversive, very autonomous, and fully self-determined in making his own choices and he isn’t going to let someone else narrowly and rigidly define who he is and how he’s going to be portrayed.
And these ideas directly impact and effect our sex lives. In the last 30 minutes of my video, I talk about women’s role in perpetuating some of these male sexual stereotypes that make it difficult for men to express themselves in a more transparent way.
We all have a part to play in creating and facilitating these conversations, just like we do for any other form of discrimination – but let’s not kid ourselves, certain groups of people have more responsibility in leading the way, specifically the members of the dominant groups who are benefiting from these systemic privileges and maintaining the control
Usually the people who criticize social progress are those who have either not educated themselves on the issues that directly affect the lives of those who are suffering or they are the very people who benefit from things staying the same
A lot of times a sign that you can tell if someone is the benefactor of a certain type of privilege is if that the issue is actually invisible to them, it means that they’re not the one who is dealing with the negative consequences of it and therefore they can’t or don’t want to recognize its legitimacy
As Martin Luther King, Jr. was quoted saying in the struggle for civil rights, “In the end what will hurt the most is not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
I think underneath a lot of what’s so concerning about this for men is that they wonder if they’ll have any value after we neutralize their masculinity – it’s kind of like, what am I supposed to do now? If I’m not allowed to be the protector, the rock, the provider, or whatever, then what? Where do i find my identity, my value, my worth, the thing that only i can provide, the thing that you can’t get from your girlfriends, your job, or your children, your vibrator. This is what I know how to do and how to be, and now i’m being told I shouldn’t be or do this, so how do I maintain some sort of worth.
We live in a culture with mixed signals – rewarded sometimes yet other times told something else. Tell your sons, I expect more from you
What’s at stake?
It’s much easier to build healthy children than to repair broken men. – Fredrick Douglas
BOYS WILL BE BOYS IS ACTUALLY AN ANTI-MALE STATEMENT –
This argument is made to defend bad behavior
This idea that men can’t control themselves and dont have the mental capacity to control their actions and have full control over their faculties
That men aren’t moral actors and agents who can make ethical decisions – they’re just “BEASTS”
If that doesn’t sound like having low expectations for men, I don’t know what does
The “Wussification” of men –
The question should be: what does it mean to be strong?
Not centered around aggression – so antiquated
This is a caricature
Apologizing = admitting weakness
This is neanderthal thinking – this is absurdity on a high level
But also on this note, we need to recognize that the ability and risk for certain boys and men who live in particular sub-cultures within our larger american culture have significantly harder challenges challenging this dominant version of masculinity because their safety is literally at stake – so you could maybe even make the argument that saying, “you just have to speak up” is a privileged point of view to a large extent. Its not saying it’s impossible to pick and choose your battles, but it’s not so simple in some communities where the stakes are much higher. To survive.
So much of young boys and young men life has direct ties to their family life
Sexual abuse in military by men to men – overwhelming perpetrators and significant amount of victims – “Spotlight” movie about Catholic church sexual scandals
It was women feminists who brought these topics up and don’t get credit for shining light on sexual abuse to boys and young men – but you never hear this in the public conversation, instead they’re portrayed as anti-male and male bashing
These are LEADERSHIP issues for men, not sensitivity training
Not because you’re a nice guy helping out the women, but because you’re a leader and we need to raise the bar
True prevention is going to the root of the problem – and this means going to boys and men
And the men were talked to as you’d better do this or else you’re going to have trouble with the law (Men were focused on as perps or potential perps) – turns men off, they tune out – I’m a good guy, it’s a problem but its not my problem
We need to raise the bar a little higher for what it means to be a good guy in america for 2019 – you shouldn’t get high fives for not being a rapist
Challenge and interrupting the behavior
Members of the dominant group – white, heterosexual, male for example – it’s your job to challenge them – if you don’t say something, what are you saying? Attitudes influence actions
“Those who remain neutral take the side of the oppressor”
Start with more concrete things and examples, instead of going for the grey areas like comedy – there’s a context, nuance, and subtly
Think critically and introspectively about their language and behavior – they need to make those determinations for themselves
You have to step out of your comfort zone to gain any kind of understanding
Everybody wants to find a place and a person who accepts them despite what their body looks like, despite their education, the salary they make, their sexual background, their sexual attraction market value (conventional attractiveness) – everyone wants this, this is something that transcends every difference we all have
As Kamala Harris says, “You don’t let people tell you who you are, you tell THEM who you are.”
My guest today shares a dark family secret ridden with shame – he was birthed out of incest. He opens up about his experiences with an alcoholic father and learning the shocking truth about where he came from.
Lynn Everard is now an author, a life coach, and a speaker, hoping to share his heartfelt message with the world about how speaking your truth could save your life. You can find more information on my guest here: https://lynneverard.com/
Specifically, we’re going to talk about:
The lack of physical touch for young boys
“As men we all have a war within that robs us of our peace but also can negatively impact the women in our lives, but as men discover their own war and are able to let go of it they become more capable living their lives from a place of balance. This includes how we treat and relate to women.” – Lynn Everard
His recent experience coaching a workshop for men called the Masculine Journey
The balancing act of masculine and feminine within all of us
“All men and women carry both the feminine and the masculine within. Our experiences, sexual identity and belief systems impact how we deal with it. I believe that many, if not most, men fear our feminine aspect. And as men we often attack what we fear. As men we cannot attack the feminine concept but we can attack women. I am not saying that this is the only possible truth on the matter but rather something to explore.” – Lynn Everard
His childhood experiences with incest and how it shaped his life and his 34 year marriage
Lynn’s upcoming book, How Speaking Your Truth Can Save Your Life and How It Saved Mine and he’s the co-creator of the soon to be launched How To Speak Your Truth Workshop.
By assisting his clients in writing their life stories, he helps them speak their own truth. Lynn believes in helping aspiring writers become powerful authors of their own lives.
I’m here with my two guests, Carrie Sampson, an academic researcher and gender studies scholar who is here to impart some insights she’s gained from studying the porn industry, and my other guest, Aaron, aka, my husband. I’m bringing him into the conversation because it’s important to let men speak from their own experience, especially a man who has a similar journey with porn as many of my male listeners probably have. For the sake of his privacy, we’ll leave it at that.
So let’s get down and dirty. I mean that with all my heart… because what I’m about to describe is quite repulsive for some, but I wouldn’t be discussing it if weren’t at least beneficial to living a life of higher consciousness in order to make more educated choices. And if you can’t stomach the next few minutes of graphic material describing a few of the more popular sexual practices that are now part of mainstream porn, fast forward to the sweet angelic voices of Carrie and Aaron and you’ll know you’re in the clear. So here goes.
The porn industry has an estimated worth of $97 billion dollars worldwide, about $12.5 billion estimated from the US alone. Today’s conversation ties in with a book written by Robert Jensen, called Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity. Some of his research includes interviewing all kinds of professionals who make their livelihood in the porn industry, even some of the top producers. What he teaches us is that around the mid 1970s after it moved away from being so underground, the legal constraints on porn began to loosen and move into new territory. Once oral and vaginal sex was exhausted, the producers started to look for new ways to heighten the sexual charge and keep sales up. So the first practice they went to was anal (man to woman anal), which was super edgy during the 80s. By the 90s that was old news, so they moved into new sexual practices that are distinctive of mainstream porn today – practices which are not practiced in the day to day sex lives of most people in real life, not that they don’t occur but they’re very uncommon.
Let’s talk about what some of those common practices are that were once unheard of in most people’s sex lives.
The first one is DP- double penetration where 2 men penetrate a woman vaginally and anally at the same time. Another is called Double Vag – which is 2 men penetrating a woman vaginally at the same time, and Double Anal – 2 men penetrating a woman’s anus at the same time. And various combinations of these. One specifically with Double V, Double A, where they had to suspend the woman in a specially built harness to make it work. Let’s just all pause for a moment of silence for whoever that poor woman was… … Another recent porn innovation is the gag factor – or aggressive throat fucking to the point where they gag or even vomit. Then you have ATM, which is ass to mouth where a man penetrates a woman anally and then places his penis directly into her mouth without hygiene. Let me pause to ask any of you women listening if you’ve ever sought doing ATM with your partner? Anyone? Okay, ya. My guess is it’s not that many. So why do men find this so exciting if there’s no added friction to his penis? Jensen says that it’s not about physical pleasure at all, it’s about humiliation. This is a practice where they get to literally make women eat shit. The crazy thing is that this isn’t even in fringe porn where anything and everything you can ever imagine and then some has been made into porn. This is in mainstream porn. Jensen says this is about the degradation of women, which is becoming increasingly humiliating. And furthermore, he’s researched patterns where as porn producers continue push the envelope, everyone else in the industry moves toward that end, and what happens next is mainstream media begins to use it.
Wow, what a great conversation everyone. Our hopes in bringing this conversation to you is not to scare you, but to bring some interesting points that maybe you hadn’t thought of before. If porn is something you want to have as part of your sexual lifestyle, it’s good to know there are sites out there that will show more diverse, accurate representations of human sexuality that can open doors to exploring our own. And more so, to do it in an informed responsible way that gives the proper dignity to the real life people we see on the screen. For some of us, it’s hard to go back to making the same choices as before, when we zoom out and see the broader implications this has on all of us, especially when it hits so close to home with our children and the ways we see women and men as whole people, not just fragmented body parts. My homework for you is to go check out one of the referenced materials Carrie mentioned and DM me to let me know what you found interesting about it. Happy exploring everyone!