Tag Archives: relationships

Daily Sexy Musing: Spontaneous Loving

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For most of my life, I’ve been a fairly regimented person. Whenever there’s something I need to do, I try to plan it out. I set aside specific times of the day to work on it and I often plan other activities around it. By and large, it served me well. It helped me navigate school, work, and other daily tasks.

Naturally, this approach has found its way into my love life. In all the relationships I’ve been in, there has been a fair amount of planning involved. However, when it comes to love, I tend to be less organized, so to speak. It’s one of the few aspects of my life where I actually seek a little spontaneity. I learned early in my adult life that spontaneity can offer a unique brand of sexiness.

In the same way you can’t predict the weather or the stock market, you can’t predict when you’ll be in the mood for some sexy time with your lover. You can be out buying groceries or doing yard work. Suddenly, that sexy feeling comes over you and you just don’t want to map it out. You want to do something right then and there.

It can be chaotic and even a little kinky, but it definitely has an appeal. One moment, your lives are just unfolding as usual. The next, you’re tearing each other’s clothes off and unleashing the full force of your passions. It’s a beautiful thing and something that makes for many sexy moments. Hopefully, this Daily Sexy Musing inspires some of those moments.

In an instant, everything is so normal and bland.

In an instant, we’re just two people, living our lives.

In an instant, it all changes in the hottest way possible.

It’s a natural byproduct of our love. A sudden spark of passion brought us together. The fires of that passion keep our love strong. We treasure it, nurture it, and follow it wherever it takes us. Sometimes, it takes us down unexpected paths. Other times, we’re the ones who forge those paths.

In this case, where we are, what we’re doing, and what we had planned does not matter. Our priorities and goals vanish, if only briefly. Our shared lives, and the passion that connects us, ignites with a sudden surge. Like a bolt of lightning or a shooting star, it happens so briefly, creating its own spectacle. From it, we forge something greater.

We stop what we’re doing.

We find a quiet place.

We unleash our passion upon one another.

We shed all restraint and reservation.

It’s so intense, turning a mere spark into a raging firestorm. It’s tender and rough at the same time, a perfect blend of loving sentiment and unbridled lust. The line between one and the other doesn’t exist. The time-tested system that we’ve refined so perfectly becomes unnecessary. There’s just us, our love, and a desire to express it.

I want your love.

I want your sex.

I want your passion.

I want it now, without thought or tact.

Once again, you share my desires. You follow me into this timeless moment of spontaneous intimacy. Together, we make it our own.

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The (Unequal) Gender Politics Of Divorce

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There are a handful of words that evoke a special kind of dread. I’m not just talking about racial slurs, crushing insults, or George Carlin’s famous seven dirty words. There’s one word that evokes dread that transcends race, gender, and political affiliation. That word is divorce. I’ll give everyone a moment to stop cringing.

I can personally attest to the impact of that word. I have many close friends, relatives, and family members who have gone through divorce. I’ve seen, first-hand, how devastating it can be to individuals and their family. It can be every bit as devastating on children as well. While there is certainly a benefit for spouses and children who escape an abusive relationship, there can still be lasting scars.

Most people agree that divorce is a pretty traumatic experience. It is very much the antithesis of the love, connection, and intimacy we seek in others. It is against everything I generally write about on this website. However, divorce is a significant part of our society.

At this point, it’s worth pointing out that the old “half of all marriages end in divorce” saying is not in line with the data. According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, the divorce rate in 2015 was 16.9 divorces per 1,000 marriages. That actually represents a significant decline since the 1980 when the divorce rate was nearly 23 per 1,000 marriages.

Whatever the rate is, the effects of divorce are still devastating and heartbreaking. Those effects also get lost in a lot of doom-saying surrounding marriage and the state of the family, which is often led by religious zealots and reactionary pundits. Beyond even the tragic and painful stories surrounding divorce, there is another element to it that often goes overlooked.

Unfortunately, it has to do with gender disparities and I’ve learned in the course of writing about this topic, this often brings out some heated debates. I expect that to hold true more than usual on this issue because it’s already so emotionally charged. On top of that, there’s plenty of data to show that when it comes to marriage and divorce, men and women are not on the same page.

The first major indicator of that disparity is shown in who does the proposing. Even in today’s more progressive climate, men are still the ones who propose 90 percent of the time. Despite the many running jokes about men being afraid to commit, they’re still the ones who pop the question. While more and more women are starting to propose, this gap is still significant.

The second indicator, which I’m sure is going to inflame ongoing gender conflicts, has to do with who initiates divorce. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 80 percent of divorces are initiated by women. Again, that’s not a trivial gap. That implies there’s a major disconnect at work and it’s not getting better, even as more people remain single.

The reasons for women initiating divorce are many. I don’t want to get too deep into them, but there are many conflicting narratives. There are those who see marriage as a tool of patriarchal oppression and divorce is tool of liberation. On the other side are those who claim marriage is just an institutional tool that women use to exploit men for resources with divorce being the oversized sledge hammer.

With the added complication of no fault divorce, alimony laws, and child support, there are more legal mechanisms than ever to rub salt in the wound that is divorce. It’s not enough for a relationship to end and for romance to fade. Involving lawyers and lawmakers adds multiple layers of heartbreak and frustration to the mix.

This is where the gender divide can get especially hostile. On top of the disparity in who proposes and who divorces, there’s also a significant divide in how these laws affect each gender. Even though women have gained much more economic independence over the years, 97 percent of the ex-spouses who receive alimony after a divorce are women.

Add the ease of no-fault divorce into the mix and there’s a painful incentive for women to initiate divorce. If the choice is staying in a boring marriage or leaving with some money without having to prove any wrongdoing, then who could blame someone for taking that option? It’s still heartbreaking and hurtful, but people are going to respond to incentives, regardless of gender.

It certainly hasn’t helped gender relations. Many unabashed misogynists will cite how many women receive alimony and use that to claim that all women are manipulative psychopaths who only see men as a wallet or a sperm bank. Those kinds of generalizations are crude, but when you can cite real-world cases of unapologetic gold digging among women, it’s easy to see where that hatred comes from.

Personally, I don’t believe that hatred is justified. Most men don’t see women with that kind of hostility. In principle, alimony exists to protect women who would otherwise be in poverty after divorce. That is reasonable and well-intentioned. In practice, though, it’s a legal tool that can be abused and further foster hateful attitudes.

The data for who gets primary custody of children is just as striking. According to Census data, 82 percent of mothers get custody after divorce. That same set of data also notes that this stat hasn’t changed much over the past 20 years. That, in my opinion, is the most frustrating aspect of this issue.

Despite all the other changes and trends we’ve seen in recent years with feminism, men’s rights activism, and evolving trends in marriage, there hasn’t been much change in the overall narrative. Even as feminists bemoan patriarchal oppression and men’s rights activities protest gender-driven injustice, the rhetoric rarely translates into meaningful change.

I understand that some relationships are just doomed from the start. I also understand that the nature of romance is changing in accord with culture, society, and law. However, the lack of change in the fundamentals of how we pursue marriage and manage divorce is confusing and even a little infuriating.

Women seek, and have gained, a great deal of rights and protections in pursuing their own path within a more egalitarian society. At the same time, they still hold onto traditions surrounding relationships. They still expect the man to propose and to support her in the event of divorce. I doubt that’s out of malice. This is just what we, as a society, consider normal.

At the same time, men are pursuing their own brand of rights and protections within this society. Issues like father’s rights and reforms to family courts all have a place in pursuing a more equitable system. Even so, men still expect women to play a certain role within a relationship while assuming too much about their own role.

It’s an untenable situation. Society is guiding the genders in one direction while they’re pulling towards another. The old narrative surrounding divorce is just not compatible with the one that’s emerging. The situation today is very different than it was in 1908. Laws, culture, and even the economy are changing the factors that guide divorce. The only thing that doesn’t change is the pain of a broken relationship.

As it stands, men and women both seem to want more equality in the tragic realm of divorce. However, they each seem to have very different ideas of what constitutes “equality.” The narrative, as it stands, is built around men pursuing women and women deciding when that pursuit is over. Anything that deviates from that is seen as abnormal or absurd.

Every relationship is different. Every individual is different. There are probably some women out there who divorce out of blind hatred and there are men who marry women they have no intention of loving for the rest of their lives. There are plenty of vindictive people out there and divorce is a weapon that needs no sharpening.

The late, great Robin Williams once said that “Divorce is like ripping a man’s genitals out through his wallet.”

Feminist, Gloria Steinem, once said “You become a semi-non person when you get married. The surest way to be alone is to get married.”

These attitudes nicely reflect the current gender divide when it comes to divorce. Until that gap is narrowed, the heartbreak and hatred inspired by divorce will only get worse. Men and women have enough reasons to clash with one another. Divorce just makes it worse by giving that animosity legal powers.

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Daily Sexy Musing: Early Morning Loving

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When people contemplate the perfect time to make love, they rarely single out early morning hours. More often than not, the morning is the time for afterglow. It’s the time when you and your lover relax, reflect, and enjoy the memories of the love you’d made the night before. I completely respect and appreciate that approach. It can definitely work.

However, I am a morning person. I feel like that’s an increasingly rare personality type these days. When I tell people I’m a morning person, they look at me as though I just told them I have a pet dragon in the trunk of my car. I don’t deny that it’s difficult to be a morning person. If it weren’t, the coffee industry wouldn’t be a $74 billion a year industry.

It’s still possible and I know this from personal experience. My ex-girlfriend in college was the same. I can even attest that we were at our most affectionate in the early hours of the morning. That was when we had the most energy and drive. I like to think we made good use of it. I hope others do the same.

I imagine the majority of people reading this don’t consider themselves morning people. Those that are appreciate that unique feeling that comes with becoming fully awake and feeling so focused that you can do anything with your day. When you’ve got a lover who’s wired the same way, things can get pretty sexy. This Daily Sexy Musing offers some intimate insights into this increasingly unique mentality. Enjoy!

The sun rises.

The alarm sounds.

Our spirits awaken.

Our bodies follow suit.

My day begins on the highest of notes. I open my eyes and you’re the first thing I see. Mere hours ago, we crawled under the sheets, tired and drained from the previous day. We had the passion, but not the energy to express our love. Now, as the light from the sunrise creeps through the window, a spark ignites.

I lean in and kiss you.

You cuddle up to me and kiss back.

Our naked skin makes contact.

We arouse one another for the day that awaits.

There’s no need for an elaborate journey. Fancy clothes, excessive makeup, and expensive activities are an afterthought. We’re already at the finish line. What we seek is already within our grasp. We’ll never be as alert or energized as we are right now. Why not make the most of it?

The warm light, the crisp air, and our disheveled disposition gives us all the right incentives. While others battle restlessness and dismay, we lay a strong, passionate foundation for our day. It may start with a kiss and an embrace, but that’s not where it stops. We dare to make that foundation stronger.

The warmth from the sun spreads.

The sheets of our bed ruffle.

The touch of our bodies intensifies.

The sinews enmesh in a glorious celebration.

What others see as a culmination for a day, we see as an inspiration. Whereas the morning brings dread for some, we use its refreshing spirit to forge our own path. Already, we are ahead of the game. We’ve savored our desert before we’ve had our first meal. We made waking up the best part of our day. Everything else can only make it better.

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Daily Sexy Musing: Animal Loving

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Technically speaking, human beings are animals. I know there are certain individuals, especially creationists, who abhor such an association. For some, the idea of being closely associated with mere animals, let alone classified as one, just doesn’t sit well. While I’ve little respect for creationists, I can respect that sentiment to some extent.

That said, I don’t think being labeled an animal is necessarily a bad thing. In many ways, it provides an important perspective on ourselves and our place in the world. As humans, we’re capable of some pretty amazing feats. We have literally reshaped the face of this planet. At the same time, we’re still animals cut from the same mold as monkeys, dogs, cats, birds, lizards, and dinosaurs.

This extends to our love lives. I would even argue our animal nature is part of what makes our love lives so complex and kinky. Every animal goes about sex, society, and bonding in their own unique way. Humans just happened to be especially unique, but we still retain many elements of our animal nature.

At times, the greatest intimacy we experience comes when we channel our animal nature. There’s a reason why so many songs, euphemisms, and sexual positions have primal connotations. Whether we’re doing it doggie style or going at it like rabbits, we definitely have an animal side. When properly applied, it makes for amazing lovemaking. This Daily Sexy Musings should help make that case to the animal in us all.

This morning, everything was so calm. We were just two lovers, living our lives and navigating our world. Nothing was out of place. Our minds, bodies, and faculties were within our control. It was all so peaceful and serene.

Then, night came.

Then, our bodies awoke.

Then, our minds devolved.

Then, harmony gave way to chaos.

In an instant, the higher function of our human brains gives way to the base desires of our primal nature. We act on a whim and those whims are so crude. Gone are concerns about work, money, society, and propriety. In this moment, we are barely human. For the rest of the night, we are animals acting on pure, unfettered desire.

We’re dogs in heat.

We’re salmon swimming upstream.

We’re birds sounding the mating call.

On instinct, we respond to these feelings. There’s no thought or care to the details. All that matters is feeding this basic desire, following freely the primal path before us. Deeper love gives way to shallow lust. We seek no greater purpose or goal. Only a thirst for pleasure guides us.

Like hungry predators, we pounce on one another. We’re not gentle or careful. Clothes are ripped off rather than removed. There’s no caressing or teasing. Instead, we grope and grasp, indulging in the flesh that feeds the beast within us. Together, we unlock the chains and let the creature roam.

Moans become grunts.

Gasps become growls.

Words become glares.

What began as a deep human connection is now a shallow primal act. There’s no greater meaning behind our actions, nor does there need to be. Every hour of every day, we channel our humanity, just to get along with our fellow humans. When the sun sets and the doors close, we dare to unleash the animal within and savor the fruits of our beastly desires.

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Daily Sexy Musing: Make-Up Sex

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I’ve always had mixed feelings about make-up sex. That’s not to say I’m against it. I know that in certain situations, it can work for certain couples. It can even be good for certain relationships. If a couple can find a way to get something meaningful out of it, then more power to them. Being a romantic, though, it often leaves me conflicted.

I’ve known couples who treat make-up sex as a bandage, of sorts. They fight, bicker, and argue to no end, only to use sex as a way to mend whatever wounds they impart. Now, I’m all for using sexy activities to make a bad day feel better, but as a remedy for major issues, it’s a risky treatment option that is prone to all sorts of complications.

I should probably disclose that I don’t have much direct experience with make-up sex. It just doesn’t appeal to me, personally. In all the relationships I’ve had, it hasn’t been part of the romance. While I doubt it’ll ever be part of a future romance, I don’t necessarily rule out the possibility.

That said, I don’t doubt the potential value it may have in our collective love lives. I’ve seen other couples successfully use it. I even see the logic to it, using something sexy to counter conflict. When properly applied, it can do more than just temper hostility. This Daily Sexy Musing is my own little exploration into how ambitious lovers can go about it. Enjoy!

I’m so upset with you.

You’re so upset with me.

We vent our anger.

We share the dismay.

How did it go so wrong? On any other day, our love carries us through. Together, we find a way to work it out. We need not raise our voice or bicker needlessly. We’re supposed to be stronger, but on this day, our passions get the better of us. The frustration boils over and we show our worst selves.

I hate this feeling as much as you. Everything about it feels wrong. I want nothing more than to put it behind us. You want the same. It shows in your tears of anguish. I’m ready to make amends, but I don’t know how.

We can’t stand each other, but we can’t walk away.

We resent each other, but we love each other.

We annoy each other, but we console one another.

I can’t stand it anymore. This isn’t who we are. All the heart, soul, and energy we put into our love cannot be so easily subverted. There has to be a way to fix this. I promise to myself and to you that I will make everything right. The bitterness is strong, but our love is stronger. I need only find a way to channel it.

Finally, the feeling boils over. The anger turns to resignation. All the hate becomes a realization. The intensity of what we feel manifests in a new way. Suddenly, the resentment seems petty. Everything that seemed so wrong now seems trivial. To right our strained hearts becomes obvious. The same passion that caused us pain is re-purposed and reversed.

Together, we vent a new wave of emotions.

Together, we tear into each other once more.

Together, we unleash our most heated feelings.

Together, we turn hate into love.

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Beth And Jerry: The Ultimate Anti-Romance Love Story

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When it comes to telling a good love story, there are many ways to go about it. I’ve certainly learned that from the novels and short stories I’ve written. The nature of romance is constantly evolving. What constitutes quality romance today might seem strange or downright flawed by the standards of the past.

There are many examples of quality, well-developed romances in popular culture today, as well as a few that are downright toxic. However, there’s one particular love story that seems to break all the rules, yet still functions in its own eccentric way. Fittingly enough, that utterly unromantic love story plays out in “Rick and Morty,” a show often defined by its various eccentricities.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve talked about “Rick and Morty.” Like so many others, I’ve been anxiously awaiting news about the fourth season. Ever since the show was renewed for 70 episodes, details have been scares. There have been some occasional teases, but nothing of substance as of yet.

While waiting for those details, I think it’s worth revisiting an issue that has been evolving and devolving since the very first episode. That issue is the less-than-ideal relationship between Beth and Jerry Smith, the parents of Morty and his sister, Summer. Like everything else in the world of “Rick and Morty,” the relationship of Morty’s parents is subject to many issues, flaws, and mishaps.

In essence, the relationship between Jerry and Beth is the antithesis of romantic love. This isn’t a case of two people falling in love and facing challenges when kids enter the picture. It’s not even a case of two people not being in love initially, but falling in love over time as they raise a family. In fact, the most defining aspect of Beth and Jerry’s love story is the complete absence of traditional romance.

That lack of romance doesn’t just stem from the show’s over-arching themes surrounding nihilism and meaning. By nearly every measure, Beth and Jerry aren’t the least bit compatible. Beth, like her eccentric father, is a very smart and capable, as shown in more than one episode. She’s a skilled horse surgeon and can hold her own when wielding advanced sci-fi weapons.

In contrast, Jerry is a case study in mediocrity. He’s not a complete idiot, but he certainly walks a fine line between laughably inept and downright pathetic. He’s unemployed for a good chunk of the first three seasons and is so oblivious that he doesn’t even realize when he’s in a poorly-rendered simulation. At times, he can be a lovable loser, but most of the times, he’s just a loser.

How he and Beth ended up together is neither romantic, nor glamorous. It’s established in Season 1 that Jerry got Beth pregnant on their prom night in high school. The reason they stayed together was for the sake of their child, which isn’t saying much because they almost got an abortion. The only reason they didn’t was because they blew a tire on the way to the clinic.

That may sound dark, but it’s perfectly in line with how “Rick and Morty” handles serious issues like teen pregnancy and abortion. It doesn’t attempt to romanticize the situation, nor does it send the message that having the child and getting married was in any way rewarded. Their always at odds and arguing about everything. There’s rarely a sense that their marriage is loving, stable, or anything romantic.

At one point in Season 3, Rick calls Jerry out on how he ended up with Beth. Despite what he claims, it wasn’t an act of romance that brought him and Beth together. It was little more than pity.

Jerry, being so inept at everything, has little more going for him than pity. It’s the only real skill he has, but it was enough to get him an ill-fated prom date with Beth. Rick sums it up nicely in one of his many memorable speeches.

You act like prey but you’re a predator. You use pity to lure in your victims. It’s how you survive. I survive because I know everything, that snake survives because children wander off, and you survive because people think, “Oh, this poor piece of shit, he never gets a break. I can’t stand the deafening silent wails of his wilting soul. I guess I’ll hire him or marry him.”

This moment is revealing in that it reinforces how little romance was involved in the development of Beth and Jerry’s relationship. Their entire lives together are built around Beth feeling sorry for Jerry. Then, once she got pregnant and failed to get an abortion, circumstances did the rest.

It’s not romantic. It’s not tragic, either. They just ended up in a lousy situation and made the most of it. That’s not a love story. That’s basic survival for anyone who isn’t a super-genius with access to a portal gun.

That’s not to say there aren’t some moments of sincerity. Jerry, being the least capable member of the family, tends to remember fondly the early days of their relationship. He’s the only one who sees the relationship in a romantic context. The only time anyone else sees it, Beth included, is when they’re facing a crisis, be it an identity crisis or the end of the world.

When it comes to the day-to-day logistics of the relationship, it’s never that functional. Jerry can’t hold down a job or handle himself whenever he gets caught up in Rick and Morty’s adventures. Beth drowns herself in bottles of wine and episodes of “The Bachelor.” Even when they try to do something romantic, like a Titanic-themed get-away, it often fails spectacularly.

This dysfunction eventually culminates in the first episode of Season 3, “The Rickshank Redemption.” Jerry, in a rare moment of assertiveness, tells Beth that she has to choose between him or her father. In his unintelligent mind, he believes the romance they have will win out. He ends up being wrong. Beth chooses her father and Jerry gets kicked out of the house.

In most shows, that would be the end of a relationship that’s so inherently flawed. However, “Rick and Morty” isn’t most shows and not just because it has characters like Mr. Poopybutthole. In this world of infinite realities and bird people, even love stories devoid of romance find a way to gain meaning in a show steeped in nihilistic undertones.

That meaning emerges at the end of Season 3 in “The Rickchurian Mortydate” in which Beth has a chance to make another choice. This time, she’s at odds with her father, who had revealed some harsh truths about who she was as a kid and what it means to be smart. Unlike before, she chooses Jerry over Rick and he gets to move back in.

This, through the twisted logic of “Rick and Morty,” affirms Beth and Jerry as a genuine love story, but one that is still devoid of romance. Beth didn’t choose Jerry out of love. She chose him because she that’s what she wanted. That’s all there is to it. In a show where Rick once described love as “a chemical reaction that compels animals to breed,” that might be the greatest act of love anyone can offer.

It also mirrors the inherent value of having a choice. Episodes like “Pickle Rick” and “The Ricks Must Be Crazy” all emphasize the importance of choice, especially for those of near infinite capabilities. Both Rick and Beth are endowed and burdened with intelligence, abilities, and options. Their choices are, ultimately, the only actions that truly matter in a meaningless universe.

In the case of Beth and Jerry, the choice doesn’t have to involve romance. In fact, romance would only complicate things. Just choosing to be together, despite all the flaws in their relationship, is the only thing they need to make their love work. They’re together because they want to be together. That’s all there is to it and that’s all they need.

In that sense, Beth and Jerry’s story still qualifies as a love story, despite the utter lack of romance. It’s hard to say where their relationship will go in the coming seasons of “Rick and Morty.” Maybe it will develop some amount of romance. Maybe it’ll only become more flawed and less romantic, as the series progresses.

Whatever ends up happening, it still doesn’t matter, as is often the case in “Rick and Morty.” As long as Beth chooses Jerry and Jerry chooses Beth, their story will still be a love story in its own unique way. Regardless of whether love is real or just a chemical reaction in their brains, it’s still their choice and that’s as meaningful as love can get in a meaningless universe.

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How To Make A Man Feel Loved

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People seek out love. Whether you’re a man, woman, transgender, or just anyone with human emotions, we have an inherent drive to connect with one another. Whether it’s emotional or physical, we are wired to desire such intimate connections. It’s an integral part of being human.

I suspect most reasonable people would agree with that sentiment. Humans are social creatures. Both science and general experience make that abundantly clear. The disagreements tend to occur on the nature, process, and exercise of those intimate bonds. What some think of as love may come off as obsession to someone else. I’ve tried to be mindful of that difference, both within real and fictional romance.

Things only get trickier when you apply gender differences to the concept of seeking love. In a perfect world, there would be no differences, but we don’t live in that world. In today’s complicated web of social norms, traditions, gender politics, stereotypes, and taboos, how you go about pursuing love and feeling loved varies considerably by gender.

Now, I can’t speak to how women or those who identify as transgender approach that process. I am a heterosexual man. I can only speak to my own experiences, some of which I’ve shared in the past. I certainly can’t claim to speak for all men, either. Everyone is different, complete with their own romantic quirks and kinks.

However, in contemplating various gender issues and social taboos, I feel like there’s a growing disconnect surrounding the idea of masculinity, being in love, and what it means to feel loved. Some of that has to do with the current state of identity politics and loaded terms like “toxic masculinity,” a concept I’ve done plenty to criticize before. Other issues, I believe, run much deeper.

For me, being the self-admitted romantic I am, it comes back to what it means to feel loved. People can argue what love is until the end of time. I’ll leave those discussions to smarter, more capable individuals with a better understanding of philosophy. Instead, I want to focus on what it means for men, in general, to feel loved.

As a man with a modest amount of romantic experience, I think men are held to a very different standard. Some of it isn’t fair, but women and transgender individuals can probably make that same claim. With men, I believe those standards are rarely scrutinized and easily misconstrued.

To understand how, you need only refer to Chris Rock’s

2018 Netflix special, “Tamborine.” In it, he made this memorable observation about men and how they are loved.

“Only women, children, and dogs are loved unconditionally. Men are loved under the condition that they provide something.”

In addition to being both hilarious and insightful, this sentiment reflects the unique challenges that men face when it comes to love. It’s not always overt and oftentimes, it’s inadvertent. Some of these issues are just woven into social norms that go back to certain pre-modern traditions about family structure.

Whatever their source, society never stops evolving. How people interact and relate to one another will keep adapting to changing circumstances and make no mistake, those circumstances will change rapidly in the coming years. That’s going to impact how men, women, and everyone in between relates to one another and not always for the better.

With that in mind, I’d like to start a discussion on what men seek in pursuing love and how to go about making men feel loved. I know the media, popular culture, and even a recent movie centered around men’s thoughts have given us many impressions. In the interest of streamlining the discussion, I’d like to offer a brief list of insights and approaches for making a man feel loved.

Again, this list is hardly definitive. I’m just one heterosexual man. I’m sure there are plenty of other men out there with different experiences who can offer far greater insights. If you’d like to share those insights, please post them in the comments. For now, here are just a few small ways to help a man feel loved and inspire him to love others.


Make His Efforts And Contributions Feel Valued (And Not Just Expected)

This one is subtle, but powerful. Watch any sitcom, from “Married With Children” to “Leave It To Beaver,” and the man of the family is usually the sole provider. Regardless of how you feel about this family structure, be it a hallmark of tradition or a byproduct of a patriarchal conspiracy, the sentiment comes off as more of an assumption rather than a contribution.

Even if a man works his ass off every day, whether it’s digging ditches or selling women’s shoes like Al Bundy, that work isn’t always valued. It’s just expected. It’s just what a man is supposed to do. Him wanting any other kind of affirmation is just seen as excessive or a byproduct of a fragile male ego. However, such assumptions only breed resentment.

In almost any other situation, we seek and hope for acknowledgement of our sacrifices. We want our labor, be it physical or emotional, to feel valued. It’s part of being a social species and is not contingent on gender. A man isn’t going to feel loved if what he contributes is always taken for granted.

It doesn’t have to be glowing praise. It just has to be an acknowledgement of his efforts. That makes him feel good about the contributions he makes and will only make him work harder at returning the favor, which is good for any healthy love.


Treat Him As A Partner And Not An Asset

This idea manifests in many ways, the most obvious being instances of women seeking men for the sole purpose of gaining access to their money and resources. This sort of thing isn’t new. That kind of power dynamic goes back to ancient times when wealthy kings saw women as assets just as much as they saw his wealth as an asset.

We don’t live in ancient times anymore. While we still have rich men using their wealth to hook up with beautiful women, this issue often arises among those who are not rich. Relationships may start out as loving and intimate, but can descend into a bland business partnership where the man is nothing more than a buffer against poverty.

It’s true that a man can bring things like money, resources, and the siring children to a relationship. However, that can’t be the only things of value. If men are reduced to just the things they do, then they’re not going to feel loved. They’re going to feel like a tool, one who can be easily replaced by anyone of greater means.

That’s often why men get concerned, jealous, or even paranoid when their lover treats them more like a tradeable asset rather than an equal partner. Even those who champion equality often fall into a trap that focuses only on the tangible components of that relationship. Since love is inherently intangible, it can leave things feeling unbalanced.


Don’t Treat His Interests And Hobbies As Stupid Or Juvenile

When it comes to men’s interests, there’s often a sense that they’re always immature or crude. Sports, video games, and comic books are seen as something for children. Mature men are expected to outgrow them and embrace other interests more befitting of adults. However, it’s often the case that those interests align with those favored by women.

People have all sorts of hobbies, be it watching football, building birdhouses, or trash talking one another while playing video games. While some are healthier than others, denigrating them just sends the message that you want men to build their interests around you. It’s akin to wanting them to want to do the dishes rather than just doing the dishes. One requires courtesy. The other requires the thought police.

All good relationships require some level of sacrifice, but when one side is expected to sacrifice something they love and cherish, it gives the impression that they’re not loved for who they are. They’re only loved for what someone else wants them to be. It also implies that the only way for men to love someone is for them to make their significant other the center of their world.

That may count as romance in a fairy tale, but in the real world, that’s dangerously close to obsession. Most men seeking love aren’t looking for that kind of relationship. They’re seeking someone who will love them for who they are, which includes their hobbies.

That doesn’t mean you have to share in those hobbies. If you do, that’s a nice bonus. That shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, though. A man who can keep loving the things he loves and share some of that love with someone else is going to make him that much more appreciative.


Don’t Assume He Can/Should Fix Everything

When your car breaks down, you take it to a mechanic. When your toilet backs up, you call a plumber. Most people don’t give that a second thought. The fact that many mechanics and plumbers are men is beside the point, although I’m sure that colors our perceptions about what people who fix things look like.

In any relationship, things are going to break. That’s just life. However, when the burden of fixing everything falls on the man, it creates another imbalance that can compound a bad situation.

Regardless of whether you think men are more inclined to fix things, just assuming that they can further reduces a relationship to roles. If you’re the man, you fix things. It’s not always appliances, either. If someone is upset, the man is supposed to fix it. If something goes wrong, the man is supposed to resolve it.

If a good relationship is supposed to be a partnership, then this dynamic is hardly equal. One side can’t be solely responsible for resolving every problem, be it a faulty garbage disposal or serious intimacy issues. Being in love and making your partner feel loved goes both ways. Expecting only one side to get their hands dirty and make the sacrifices isn’t going to leave someone feeling appreciated, let alone loved.


Make Your Love Feel Like A Choice Rather Than A Favor

I’ve heard more than one women, and even a few men, tell their partners they’re lucky to have them. It’s not always in a condescending sort of way, but by definition, it kind of is. It sends the message that the love they’re sharing isn’t really a matter of choice. It’s just a favor they’re giving to someone, one that can be revoked at any time.

That kind of a relationship is many things, but it is not very loving. Men jump through a lot of hoops to be with someone. I know women have challenges as well, but in the current gender climate, men are still the ones who do most of the pursuing and women are the ones making the choices. Just look at the gender disparity on dating sites for proof of that.

As a result, a relationship will feel more like a privilege than a genuine, emotional connection. It creates this dynamic where a man feels like he has to navigate a constantly-shifting set of expectations, just to keep the relationship going. The woman is the one who sets those expectations and can determine at any moment that he has failed and the relationship is over.

Again, I’m not claiming that this is how most women approach a relationship. By and large, the love they feel is real. However, a good chunk of that love is contingent on the men treating that love as a favor that is granted rather than something that’s genuine and sincere. As Chris Rock said, it’s a conditional kind of love and that love will limit any relationship in the long run.


I hope this list helps further the discussion surrounding men, love, and relationships. If you feel like I missed something or need to expand on a particular concept, please let me know in the comments. For everyone out there lucky enough to be in relationships, I hope this gives you something to think about and provides tools with which you can use to make one another feel truly loved.

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