In my never-ending crusade to help my fellow men be happier and healthier human beings, I wanted to dispel the following myths. These are commonly held by men and women alike. They are most harmful when they are held by men who misunderstand themselves. So, have a look and comment wildly. I would love to hear pushback, additions, and any other thoughts you might have.
Myth One: Men Are Shallow. Men are not shallow, and every man has an inner life. This myth comes about not because of an actual lack of depth among men, but because men sometimes ACT in shallow ways, or in ways that appear to be shallow. Everyone has a soul and men have very deep feelings, passions, hopes, dreams, fears and visions. Some men need to have the right kind of encouragement to share their depth. Some men need a little mentoring or training or guidance to find their depth, but every man has depth. And it must also be said that knowing that depth is an important ingredient in every man’s search for happiness.
Myth Two: Men Only Think About Sex. Men do think about sex, a lot. But they don’t only think about sex and when they’re thinking about sex, they are rarely thinking about just the sex. Most modern men are lacking a deep sense of mission in their life. Few men have a deep connection to any kind of sacredness or Universal power or God. So without a clear mission and/or a connection to Spirit in some form, they are hungry for something intense and juicy. So they think about sex. For most men, sex is something very holy and sacrosanct – even if they’re not getting any. To a man without a mission or a God, a young woman’s behind becomes their place of mental pilgrimage. When they connect to that little bit of primal arousal energy, they feel alive, they feel driven and connected to something greater than themselves. The poontang finds its proper place for men who have a deep sense of purpose and connection to something higher.
Myth Three: Sex is an Uncomplicated Act for Men. Go back to busted myth #1 – men are not as shallow as you think. Men may not have the same kind of emotional entanglement that women have in relation to sex, but it’s not just as simple as “sticking it in” either. Whether they know it or not, sex is a deep act for men. The orgasm is one time that men truly become vulnerable. On the surface, a man may be wanting to simply “get off” but on a deeper level, a man in pursuit of a sexual release is in pursuit of a moment of what the yogis call samadhi. Of course every man is different, but for many men, physical intimacy is also the way that they feel truly loved and accepted and nurtured. Men are fooling themselves and also doing themselves a disservice if they think that no part of their heart is involved when they offer up their body during sex.
Myth Four: Men Don’t Need to Talk About Their Feelings. Men have the same need to talk about their feelings that anyone does. In fact, I would argue we have even more of a need – simply because we don’t share a lot of feelings in the course of normal interactions. Most women tend to be more open about their feelings in general so the bigger feelings don’t build up. Men, on the other hand, hold more in and tend to “suck it up” and keep moving. Because of this, men need regular rituals of speaking their heart-truth. This is especially true when it comes to speaking with other men. Barbershops, poker nights, and fishing trips used to do that for men. These days, men have to go out of their way to find these moments. I encourage all the men I work with to have some “brothers” that they can share anything with. It’s so important for men to hear their own feelings spoken out loud – no matter how irrational, weak, or silly they may seem.
Myth Five: Men Don’t Like Spiritual Stuff. Believe me, as a veteran spiritual teacher I get it. For years, my retreats would be 75 women and 5 confused men. The common belief is that spirituality, self-help, any anything “woo woo” or “koombaya” is really for women or for men who are “in touch with their feminine side”. That’s simply not true. It’s just that the expressions of spirituality and self-help products have been mostly geared toward women over the past few decades. Men love spiritual stuff if it’s offered in the right way. Invite most men to a yoga class, ask them to bend over and do “downward facing dog” on their purple yoga mat, and they mostly encounter resistance. Take a man into the desert or into the woods. Bring a man into a circle of men gathered around a fire. They will suddenly get real spiritual.
The bottom line of all of these busted myths is that men are whole human beings. We have hearts, we have deep minds, we have souls. More and more, we need to find ways to have conversations where men can take care of their-our inner lives. Too much is at stake otherwise.
David H Wagner is a spiritual teacher, men’s group leader and author of the men’s book BACKBONE.