Tag Archives: masculinity

Gender, Psychopaths, And The (Revealing) Differences

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Psychopaths are akin to the nastiest side-effects of the human condition. They are, by their nature, an extreme manifestation of certain traits that often run counter to humanity’s best strengths. A big part of our success, as a species, is our ability to coordinate, cooperate, and empathize with one another in ways that balance selflessness with survival. Psychopaths completely throw off this balance.

Between popular misconceptions and a glut of TV shows and movies that glorify psychopaths, most people don’t know the specifics of these twisted minds. In a medical context, psychopathy isn’t considered a mental illness like schizophrenia or OCD. It’s a personality disorder in which individuals exhibit a set of common traits such as:

Having little to no empathy, conscious, or capacity for guilt

Poor impulse control and reckless disregard for the consequences of their actions

A low threshold for boredom coupled with a high capacity for stimulation

Little respect for authority and a predilection for controlling others

Excessively high self-esteem and strong inclination towards selfish behavior

Basically, these are traits consistent with every classic supervillain ever made. Look at all the defining traits for a character like Lex Luthor. That’s the essence of a psychopath. It’s not just that they’re more selfish and less likely to regret bad behavior. They take their selfishness to an extreme and regret doesn’t even enter the equation. Guilt, for a psychopath, may as well be an alien concept.

Naturally, that kind of deviant behavior ensures that psychopaths are highly represented in prison. While they’re not always violent, they tend to be cold and calculating in their actions, not caring for mortality, law, or social norms. From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes them useful as ancient blood-thirsty warriors and modern dictators. In ordinary society, though, they can be dangerous.

However, and this is where discussions generally get heated, that danger manifests differently when gender enters the equation. While men, women, and everything in between are equally prone to becoming psychopaths, an emerging body of research is showing that the effect is not entirely equal.

One recent study revealed that while female psychopaths share most of the same traits as their male counterparts, those traits vary in a few key ways. They’re just as inclined to selfishness, manipulation, and deviance. They just go about it differently. You could even argue they’re more cunning in their approach.

That same study also showed that female psychopathy is frequently attributed to mental illness or other disorders, such as borderline personality disorder. While there often is overlap, it’s actually somewhat convenient from the perspective of a psychopath. It allows them to cloak their psychopathic behavior as an illness that warrants sympathy.

That approach does plenty to serve the interest of the psychopath because sympathy is an easy emotion to manipulate. Others don’t see them as selfish, callous, or reckless. They see them as victims. That means they need treatment, attention, and care, which can both stroke their ego and serve their interests. It’s working smarter and not harder.

While it’s difficult to know for sure whether someone has a legitimate issue with mental illness, the fact people are more prone to attribute psychopathic behavior with illness in women reveals something critical about our approach to gender. We’re perfectly fine labeling a man a psychopath if he fits the criteria, but we’re more inclined to make excuses for women.

Some of that, in my opinion, has more to do with popular culture than gender politics. When most people think of a psychopath, the first image that comes to mind isn’t some devious woman who emotionally manipulates everyone around her to get what she wants. They tend to conjure images of villains like Lex Luthor and serial killers like Ted Bundy.

That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of female psychopaths in popular culture. From the Wicked Witch of the West to Regina George in “Mean Girls,” most people can think of at least one female psychopath in fiction. Some can even identify a few notable female psychopaths from history. However, the fact they’re not the first image that comes to mind when we think of psychopaths is telling.

On some levels, we don’t want to believe that women can be as psychotic as men. Historically, society has been less inclined to attribute heinous crimes to women. More recently, especially with the anti-harassment movement, there’s an even greater tendency to give women the benefit of the doubt, even when there are documented cases of deceit.

Another major difference manifests in the preferred tactics that psychopaths utilize. One study by the International Journal of Women’s Health concluded that female psychopaths are more included to use flirting and sexuality to manipulate others into serving their selfish ends. While I doubt that’ll surprise anyone familiar with the traits of a psychopath, it further plays into a distinct gender-driven narrative.

Some of that is due to logistics. Male psychopaths tend to bully others more directly because of basic strength differences. A female psychopath is less capable of imposing their will on someone physically, but emotions can be every bit as powerful as muscles. When sex enters the equation, the incentives get even stronger.

These methods can be both effective and devious, but they serve the same goal. It helps the psychopath get what they want, be it attention, money, power, or just a good thrill. Psychopaths have a low threshold for boredom and a high threshold for satisfaction so they need to use whatever tactics work best for them. Women just work with different tools.

The end results for male and female psychopaths is just as striking. While all psychopaths care little for law or morality, female psychopaths are less inclined to commit homicide. They’re also less likely to end up in prison, but that may just be a byproduct of having different tactics that make killing less appealing to a psychopath’s interests.

Now, and I wish I didn’t have to make this disclaimer, none of this is to imply that female psychopaths are worse than male psychopaths. At the end of the day, the damage done by psychopathic behavior is gender neutral. Using, abusing, and manipulating people for selfish ends is deplorable, regardless of what body parts someone has or doesn’t have.

There’s still something to be said about how psychopaths conduct themselves and how we react to their behavior. In some ways, we may be doing female psychopaths a favor by approaching them differently than their male counterparts. Psychopaths don’t need much incentive to take advantage of other peoples’ more considerate tendencies. Our attitudes towards gender are only making their job easier.

Like it or not, psychopaths are part of our society. Some of them even wield a distressing amount of power and influence. This is one domain in which we have to be brutally honest and exceedingly fair in how we deal with psychopaths of any gender because they most definitely won’t.

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Why Idris Elba’s Advice To Men On The Anti-Harassment Movement Is Flawed

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These are tenuous times for gender relations. Between the rise of the anti-harassment movement and the revelation of egregious crimes committed by once-respected celebrities, society is undergoing to significant upheaval in how we approach sex, relationships, and harassment.

Some claim this upheaval is overdue and I don’t disagree. There is a well-documented history of powerful people getting away with egregious behavior. In general, it’s a good thing when society seeks justice and accountability for everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

With that good, however, often comes obstacles that need to be navigated carefully and flawed human beings have a mixed history in those efforts to say the least. We’ve already seen some of that in how some have responded to the anti-harassment movement. Some are going so far as to avoid women entirely to minimize the risk. This is an extreme reaction, but one in keeping with the law of proportional backlash.

It has been frustrating for those who genuinely seek to improve gender relations. It has also made for easy sources of outrage with one side calling the other misogynist, patriarchal bigots and the other calling them regressive, whiny leftists. There’s a lot of room for arguments and plenty of opportunities for shouting, especially in the age of social media.

 

It’s still a relevant question for people caught up in the current state of gender politics, avoiding accusations of sexual misconduct and maintaining amicable relations among the genders. Crimes should be prosecuted and punished. Good people, whether they’re men, women, or something in between, should be free to engage with one another without fear of getting caught up in fervor.

Recently, the reigning sexiest man alive, Idris Elba, offered an easy solution to all those arguing about the current state of gender relations that many have rallied around. In an interview with Vanity Fair, he had this to say to those worried about navigating the anti-harassment movement.

“It’s only difficult if you’re a man with something to hide.”

It’s a simple, logical, almost mundane piece of advice. Many loudly cheered it as a welcome change of pace from the more complicated responses given by Matt Damon and Henry Cavill. When you’re the sexiest man alive and a top choice for the next James Bond, it’s easy to offer a simple solution that carries significant weight.

Now, I have a lot of respect for Mr. Elba. He’s a great actor and, by all accounts, one of Hollywood’s most likable personalities. In a perfect world, his words would not be controversial and require no further scrutiny. Sadly, we don’t live in that world.

I won’t go so far as to say that Mr. Elba is dead wrong. I won’t say he’s more than half-right, either. More than anything else, his comments are incomplete. They’re coming from a famous celebrity who also happens to be a tall, dark, handsome man whose success often leads to a considerable detachment from reality, as often happens in Hollywood.

If Mr. Elba had just said that men who have something to hide will probably face more difficulty than others, then he would be spot on. Whether you’re a famous celebrity or some ordinary person living their lives, having nothing to hide makes you far less likely to be on the wrong end of a sexual assault accusation.

In the era of smart phones, social media, and hacked emails, it’s considerably harder for anyone to hide their misconduct, sexual or otherwise. If anything, celebrities and powerful politicians are the only ones with the resources to hide their misdeeds and even that isn’t always enough. For non-celebrities, though, the resources are far more limited and this is where the merit of Mr. Elba’s words comes up short.

There are many ways to break down why simply having nothing to hide is not the most effective strategy for navigating the current landscape of gender politics. To best illustrate why it’s so shallow, though, we need only know the story of Brian Banks.

This guy’s story will upset/move you. You have been warned.

If you’re not familiar with that name, then chances are Mr. Elba isn’t either. His story is a tragedy with a bittersweet ending. Back in 2002, he was a promising a promising football player from Long Beach, California who had already committed to playing college football at USC.

Then, a classmate of his accused him of raping her in a stairway. Rather than face the possibility of 41 years to life in prison, Banks accepted a plea deal that included five years in prison, five years of probation, and having to register as a sex offender. By every measure, his life and his once-promising future was over. On top of it all, Banks was completely innocent.

That’s not just what a court eventually ruled. The accuser actually confessed that she made it up, adding that it was part of an effort with her mother to sue the school for money. It’s every bit as deplorable as it sounds. By the time this came out, though, it was 2012. He still served five years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and lost out on his once promising football career.

Brian Banks followed Mr. Elba’s advice to the letter. He had nothing to hide. That still wasn’t enough, though. His life was still derailed and had the accuser not confessed, he probably wouldn’t have been able to rebuild his life to the extent that he has.

It’s easy for someone like Mr. Elba to give that advice and just as easy for him to practice it. As I noted before, he’s rich, successful, handsome, and respected. If someone tried to falsely accuse him of sexual misconduct, he wouldn’t have a hard time fighting it. Beyond his reputation as the sexiest man alive, he has access to the best legal defense that obscene wealth can buy.

People like Brain Banks don’t have that luxury. Exceedingly few individuals do. Banks plead guilty to a crime he didn’t commit because, without those resources, there was a real possibility that he would’ve gotten a much worse sentence. He’s actually fortunate that he managed to escape the fate he did. Others, however, weren’t so lucky.

Brian Banks’ story, alone, is tangible proof that Mr. Elba’s advice is incomplete. Sadly, there are other stories like this and some of them have far less pleasant outcomes. According to the Innocence Project, there are an estimated 20,000 innocent people serving prison sentences for crimes they did not commit. They too had nothing to hide, but were convicted anyways.

There’s men like Randolph Arledge, who served 29 years for a rape and murder that he did not commit. The evidence that convicted him was based entirely on informant testimony.

There’s also the story of Marvin Anderson, who had no criminal record when he was convicted of a brutal rape for which he served 20 years in prison.

There’s also the case of Ted Bradford, who spent 10 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. There wasn’t even any physical evidence tying him to the crime.

There’s the case of David Johns Bryson, who served 20 years for heinous crime involving kidnapping and rape. A combination of bad forensic science and misguided police tactics did him in.

These men are not celebrities. They’re not rich movie producers or well-connected politicians. They’re just ordinary men trying to live their lives. They had no more to hide than anyone else. That still wasn’t enough. In some cases, they were the victims of mistaken identity. In others, they were the targets of a vindictive accuser. In every case, their lives were irreparably damaged.

I still don’t doubt Mr. Elba’s sincerity. Even those who applaud his words probably don’t realize the flaws in his advice. Names like Brian Banks probably don’t ever cross their mind. Even if it did, Mr. Elba’s words present a clean, concise response to those who express concern about the larger impacts of the anti-harassment movement. For those looking for an easy recourse to a difficult problem, it has a lot of appeal.

That’s the biggest problem with simple solutions to complex problems. The narrative of the anti-harassment movement, or any social movement, cannot accommodate that much complexity. If it did, the narrative wouldn’t be as compelling. As I’ve noted before, the idea that there’s this brave movement of empowered women standing up to serial abusers has all the makings of a feel-good Hollywood story.

The reality, though, is far less ideal. Men like Brian Banks found that out the hard way. If the work of the Innocence Project is any indication, there are probably plenty more who never had anything to hide, but still got convicted. For them, Mr. Elba’s advice will only compound one kind of injustice with another.

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Filed under Celebrities and Celebrity Culture, Current Events, gender issues, human nature, media issues, men's issues, outrage culture, political correctness, sex in media, sex in society, sexuality, women's issues

Daily Sexy Musing: Handyman Sex Appeal

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Let’s face it. No matter how many high-tech gadgets we have in our lives, they’re going to break at some point. Whether it’s our cell phones or our toilets, it’s inevitable. Things break, no matter how complicated or simple they are. That just makes the people who repair them an integral part of our lives.

They often go overlooked and underappreciated. However, whenever something we value stops working, we depend on them to get the job done. When the eventually do fix something for us, we’re not just relieved. We’re astonished by them. Sometimes, that astonishment can have a very sensual connotation.

I’ve seen this happen more than once. Women see a man who can fix things and they find that genuinely attractive. Some may call it shallow, being attracted to someone on the basis of what they can do for them. That doesn’t make the feeling less real. It can get pretty intense too. When someone does something that inherently valuable for you, a part of you is going to want to thank them in a way beyond paying a repair bill.

The following Daily Sexy Musing is a testament to the handymen and handywomen who keep our complicated world working. Their sex appeal is underrated and worth celebrating. Think of that the next time you need something fixed. That person who can fix it for you might just end up being the sexiest person in the world. Enjoy!

Something breaks.

My world stops.

I try and a I fail to remedy it.

Then, I call you and you respond. I watch as you toil with things I cannot comprehend, tweaking and tinkering in ways I do not dare. You get down on your knees. You get your hands, face, and body so dirty. I feel dirty just watching you, but in the best possible way.

You speak with such knowledge and insight. You give me answers that seemed so distant. I learn from you what I did wrong or didn’t know to do in the first place. It’s humbling. Under your expertise, I feel smaller. As you speak, I feel like I’m looking up at a titan, one with the knowledge and skill to right the wrongs in my world.

These things that I rely on are my weakest link. Your ability to fix them turns that weakness into a strength. With you, I am no longer vulnerable. Together, we are equipped to use the best tools to overcome the greatest challenges. To be with you is to be so much more than my resources.

I have things you don’t have.

You have skills I don’t possess.

Together, we have it all.

When the work is done, the burden is lifted. My world continues, but it’s not enough to go back to the way things were. I seek to make things better and more robust. For that, I need your expertise. For you, I’m willing to offer my heart and so much more.

I reach out to you, not minding the dirt and toil still clinging to your hands. I embrace you, not minding the sweat and grime that your hard work has compiled. If anything, it excites me. Your skill with those hands makes me want to share some skills of my own. Driven by gratitude and grace, I have every incentive to get the job done, just like you.

You fixed my things.

I welcome you into my world.

Together, we forge an unbreakable passion.

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Daily Sexy Musing: Celebrating Role Playing

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Role playing is one of those rare activities that is either too kinky or not kinky enough. As someone who has dressed up for the New York Comic Con before and met many amazing cos-player, I have a special appreciation for those who dress up and embrace a unique role. It doesn’t always have to be of a sexual nature, but it definitely has sexual potential.

When done right, it can be pretty damn sexy and a lot of fun. Not every intimate activity has to channel the romantic intensity of a Shakespearean play or a “Twilight” novel. It can just be two people having fun in their own unique way. That way doesn’t always have to include being who you’ve always been. It’s okay to channel a role very different from your usual persona.

You don’t have to be an actor. You don’t have to be a self-professed nerd or a theater guru. You and your lover just have to have a desire to mix things up and let yourself go. The following Daily Sexy Musing is both a celebration and an encouragement of the sexier parts of role playing. I hope it inspires people and their lovers, among other things. Enjoy!

We come home after a long, hard day. We’re tired, but restless. For hours on end, we do our part and carry out every task. It’s not always rewarding. Sometimes, it’s downright thankless. That makes what we’re about to do both desirable and necessary.

Behind closed doors, shrouded by curtains and blinds, we shed the persona that helps us function in the outside world. The weight, restraints, and shackles disappear. Finally, we’re free. We can cut loose. Alone, we can find certain reprieve. Together, we can do so much more.

I can be a secret agent, seducing a fellow spy.

I can be a cop enticing a sexy suspect.

I can be a hero receiving a special reward from my grateful bystander.

I can be more than just your lover. At the same time, you can be more than the world allows you to be. Imagine who you want to be and what you wish you could do. Create, in your mind, the most fanciful scenes that heightens your passions and heart. For you, I gladly submit to your whims.

You can be a strict disciplinarian and I can be your deviant pupil.

You can be a charismatic leader and I can be your loyal follower.

You can be the one who acts or the one acted upon.

You can be whatever and whoever you want to be.

The possibilities are endless, bound only by imagination and energy. In this moment, we have plenty of both. Together, we secure a space. We create a scene. I accept my role and you accept yours. One moment, we are just two lovers in a private domain. The next, we are someone and somewhere else entirely.

I am more than your lover.

You are more than mine.

Together, we whisk one another away into a world of fantasy. We leave our limits behind, but carry our desires with us. We act out every moment, ignoring time and constraint. We need not closer our eyes. We need only abandon the grip of reality. The stakes of passion rise, as do the rewards. Through both, our love becomes an adventure.

Like every adventure, we complete a journey. In doing so, we fulfill our role to the utmost.

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Daily Sexy Musing: Loving The Rough Stuff

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When it comes to celebrating love, romance, and everything in between, there’s a popular perception that it has to manifest in certain ways. We’ve seen it play out in movies, TV shows, and novels, some of which I’ve written. There has to be candles, rose petals, and Barry White music playing in the background. If sexy lingerie is somehow worked in, then that’s just a bonus.

From there, it plays out in a way that’s simple, but powerful. There’s plenty of tender kissing, a dash of loving sentiments whispered over the sound of the music, and the kind of tender caressing that makes every nerve shiver for all the right reasons. It’s sweet and sexy in its own right, but I believe there’s room for other kinds of romantic expression.

Not every couple is going to be content with sweet and soft gestures. Even those who enjoy it regularly will probably be in the mood for something else at some point. That’s where the rougher part of romance comes in. By that, I don’t just mean the kind of elaborate BDSM acts that made E. L. James rich. I’m talking about the kind of raw, physical outburst that puts a little something extra into lovemaking.

These days, it’s somewhat tricky to celebrate rough sex. It’s become taboo to be rough with any intimate partner. The reasons for this are many and I’ve already written multiple articles about the tricky politics surrounding it. For this Daily Sexy Musing, I just want to dig a bit deeper into the unique appeal of the rough stuff that often finds its way into a passionate romance. Enjoy!

It’s our night again. We’ve gotten through our day, clearing ourselves of any and all distractions. Now that the sun has set, our priorities align. I love you and you love me. Now, we turn that love into action.

The stage is set.

The moment has arrived.

The desire wells up inside us.

We come together and let our passions do the talking. It’s simple and direct. I feel your body in my arms, tasting your lips with mine and savoring every sensation. You return every gesture, letting love and lust converge into a singular feeling. I can tell you want me. I want you too. Tonight, we’re going to fulfill those wants. Then, just as the feeling escalates, we realize something.

It’s not enough.

We stop kissing. I look at you and you look at me. My arms tremble and your body shudders. The weight of hard truth sinks in. To hold each other, kiss each other, and make love to one another just won’t suffice. For this night, we crave something more.

I see a glint in your eye and a twitch in your face. In an instant, you transform from an innocent angel to a mischievous demon. Within me, humanity gives way to more primal instincts. The balance of love and lust tips in favor of lust. We don’t fight it. In fact, we embrace it. There’s a time and a place to make tender love. Tonight, is not that night.

I don’t just kiss your lips. I devour them.

I don’t just fondle your body. I smother it.

I don’t just remove your clothes. I rip them off.

There’s nothing gentle about what we do. There’s nothing sweet or soft about it, either. We make our way to the bed, ravaging one another’s bodies with our lips and hands. We collapse top the sheets. Our flesh comes together. We’re neither careful nor slow. We just take the most basic acts of intimacy and unleash our ounce of pent up desire.

Our bodies rock.

The bed rocks.

The world around us rocks.

Grunts replace moans. Crude words replace loving proclamations. We grab and grope, smothering and salivating over the sweet bliss we conjure. This is our love at its most unrefined. Rough yet sincere, we need not channel or temper it. There will be other nights for that. For now, we express our love in the roughest of ways. Whether gentle or raw, our passions remain true.

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Masculinity, Feelings, And The Taboo Of Expressing Emotions

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Real men don’t get all touchy-feely with their emotions. How many times have you heard that said in one way or another? Maybe that’s the wrong question to ask. Maybe a better question would be why is it that men can’t get emotional without it being a flaw?

Whatever way you frame the question, it’s hard to deny that there’s an unspoken taboo when it comes to men expressing emotions. A man who gets emotional is seen as weak. He’ll get called a sissy, a wimp, or a pussy. Their ego takes a hit. Their reputation and sense of worth takes a hit. As a result, men have little choice but to suppress their emotions, which is objectively unhealthy.

Conversely, a woman who gets emotional tends not to get criticized. For them, showing emotions is normal. We don’t think it’s wrong for a woman to cry during an emotionally distressing experience. We don’t see that as a sign of weakness. If anything, we would be more concerned if they didn’t show emotion.

It’s a strange, but impactful dynamic. One gender is allowed to express a wide range of emotions without ridicule. The other is expected to suppress those emotions. For men, the only acceptable emotion, it seems, is anger. Men being angry is the only emotion they can show that isn’t entirely taboo, although even that is changing.

The same regressive attitudes that create meaningless terms like “toxic masculinity” adds even more constraints on men’s emotions. Now, a man isn’t even allowed to be angry anymore. His anger just identifies him as another member of a toxic culture that hates women, despises minorities, and wants to create a patriarchal world where they’re all Don Draper.

I hope I don’t need to explain why that notion is wrong, misguided, and just plain asinine. That’s not the purpose of this piece.

I bring this topic up because, as a man, I’ve felt the impact of these attitudes on a personal level. There are a lot of stereotypes about men and masculinity that don’t bother me because the effects are usually overblown or exaggerated. This is one issue where I’ve felt genuine distress.

As I’ve said many times before, I’m a big romance fan. I love romance in comics, movies, TV shows, and even video games. I’ve been a fan of all things romantic since I was a teenager. However, a young man who admits that enjoys romance is likely to get a lot of odd looks from men and women. Nobody ever told me that it’s uncool for men to like romance, but that’s the impression I got.

As a result, I was downright secretive about my love of romance. I wouldn’t mention romantic sub-plots in movies or TV shows among friends or family. I often had to seek out romantic media covertly. There were even occasions where I would be watching something with heavy romance on TV, but change the channel as soon as someone entered the room.

At times, I treated hiding my fondness for romance with the same tact as most men would in hiding their porn stash. If anything, hiding porn would’ve been easier because most people expect men to enjoy that. A man admitting he watches porn won’t surprise anyone these days. A man admitting he enjoys romance doesn’t have that luxury.

That sounds melodramatic on my part and in hindsight, it probably was. However, being a man, I didn’t want to deal with that extra scrutiny. Growing up, I already had other personal issues to deal with, including a terrible acne problem that killed my confidence for most of my youth. The last thing I needed was another reason to feel like a freak.

Eventually, it helped when I found online communities full of romance fans who were men, women, gay, straight, bisexual, and everything in between. That finally gave me an outlet and it’s a big reason why I started writing sexy stories. While I’ve come to appreciate that outlet, it was still frustrating having to hide the fact that I liked romance. If I weren’t a man, it wouldn’t have been a big deal.

As hard as that was, the cost of managing emotions as a man can get much higher. Just this past year, I’ve felt the extent of that cost in ways I honestly can’t put into words. It started with the passing of my grandmother. Saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done before.

I had to go through so many painful feelings during that process. I couldn’t tell you whether I handled them well. I like to think I did, but I can’t say with a straight face that I successfully managed my emotions through that whole ordeal. There was a lot I had to either temper or suppress.

It wasn’t because someone was stopping me. There weren’t a cabal of other men actively shaming me for feeling sadness, sorrow, and grief. There weren’t teams of women questioning my masculinity because I dared to show unmanly emotions. As a man, I just didn’t know how to express these feelings. There was just a sense that this wasn’t something men did.

I think it’s only getting harder as masculinity, itself, faces more scrutiny. Nobody can seem to agree on when it’s okay for men to get emotional or how they should go about it. We just know there’s a high price for screwing up. Think about the kinds of criticisms men face if they don’t put on the tough, confident poise of James Bond.

A man who shows too much anger is just a product of toxic masculinity.

A man who cries openly is overly sensitive.

A man who is overly romantic is either whipped or domesticated.

A man who shows sadness is weak and incapable.

A man who tries to talk about his feelings is either mansplaining or whining.

Given all these pitfalls, how is a man supposed to go about expressing his emotions? Just being strong isn’t enough anymore because strength has steadily become more gender neutral. While I think that’s a good thing for men and women alike, I also believe that dealing with emotions is a major blind spot in the world of gender politics.

That’s not to say this issue is being ignored. In wake of the anti-harassment movement, there has been some efforts to re-evaluate how we think about men and emotion. A few tech companies have even formed private men’s groups where men can get together and do more than discuss these issues, among other things.

I can already hear some men saying those groups are for wimps. Some might even doubt the masculinity of the men who participate. That’s understandable. These kinds of attitudes don’t change overnight. However, between the growing suicide rate among men and the impact emotions have on mental health, this is an issue worth confronting.

I won’t say yet whether these groups will be effective at helping men with their emotions, but I believe it’s a start. I also believe that this is one issue in which men and women can come together on. Other parts of the anti-harassment movement and modern feminism are bound to be divisive. This can actually be a unifying force.

Human beings are emotional creatures. No matter how masculine you are or how feminine you are, you’re going to experience a wide range of emotions over the course of your life. If one gender can’t even figure out which emotions are socially acceptable, then how can we hope to forge emotional bonds with one another?

I don’t doubt that emotions are difficult to deal with. I’ve learned that the hard way this past year. I know plenty of other men who are going through the same struggle. In the end, being able and comfortable expressing feelings should be one of the most gender-neutral aspects of the human experience.

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Daily Sexy Musings: Lazy Saturday Loving

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Who doesn’t love a lazy Saturday? You know the ones I’m talking about. They’re those rare days where you go out of your way to clear your schedule, finish every errand, and make damn sure you have nothing major to worry about.

Ever since grade school, I’ve had a special appreciation for those days. It might have been because I was such an overly-stressed grade-grubber with self-esteem issues, but that’s beside the point. I still loved lazy Saturdays back then. I love them now, but as an adult, they’ve gained a sexier dimension.

I don’t deny that healthy, sexy romances take work. In fact, it takes a lot of work, physically and emotionally. That’s exactly why it’s important to set some time aside to enjoy the fruits of all that labor. A lazy Saturday is a perfect venue for that. For that reason, and plenty others, I dedicate this Daily Sexy Musing to the sexiest part of lazy Saturdays. Enjoy!

We turn the alarm off.

We silence our phones.

We lock the doors.

Free of distractions and unburdened of chores, this day is ours. We work and toiled all week to carve this special time for ourselves, a single day in which there are no distractions or deadlines to consume our lives. There’s just us, together on our own terms.

We don’t put on fancy clothes. Anything more formal than a pair of underwear is optional, at most. You and I don’t even need clothes for this day. We’re free to cut loose and run wild. There’s no one to impress, no image to maintain. It’s just us and our love, a feeling we can celebrate on our terms.

As we lay in bed, we marvel at the hour. The sun has been up for hours. For once, we’re not out and about, completing one task and lamenting over the next. There’s no commute to endure or gathering to attend. It’s so jarring, but in the best possible way.

I can just be me.

You can just be you.

We can just be us.

On a whim, we embrace. There’s no big setup, fancy clothes, or elaborate spectacle. We just hold each other, bed hair and all. We kiss, conveying as much energy as necessary and not a fraction more. We ditch what little clothes we have on. We make love under the sheets, simple and basic.

In that moment, everything is raw and unrefined. There are no obstacles to overcome or challenges to navigate. We just do what comes naturally and what’s more natural than our love? Whether felt or expressed, it’s so real on this day. That’s when it truly dawns on us.

We can make love multiple times.

We can sleep in for hours on end.

We can loft lazily on the couch, watching whatever we please.

The options are limitless, but there’s no pressure to choose. There’s no schedule to keep. We just do what we wish, guided only by whim and impulse. It’s not just a passing moment in between daily stresses. It’s an entire day for us and only us.

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