Men and Intimacy: 5 Myths about men, love and intimacy
This article explores the common myths about men and intimacy—in particular, the belief that men do not value emotional connection. Learn about the hurdles that make emotional expression challenging for so many men and discover the central way in which men connect with their partners.
When it comes to love, men often get a bad rap.
Myth 2: Men do not care about their partners'/spouses' feelings.
Myth 3: Men only want sex (rather than emotional connection).
Myth 4: Men are controlling and tell women what to do (and therefore prefer passive women).
Myth 5: Men would rather spend time with their guy friends than their wives/girlfriends.
Of particular importance is the way in which fathers (and other male mentors) act as role-models for their sons. While many fathers are becoming more comfortable with their sons' emotional lives, some fathers continue to hold the expectation that once their male child hits a certain age, this emotionality will give way to stoic control.
Feelings of vulnerability (tenderness, sadness, fear, feeling "less than," embarrassment and shame) conflict with the ideal of masculinity—central to this ideal is the trait of masculine strength. Men value power and in the arena of love, power and strength equate to being able to take care of your loved ones. As the requirements of relationships change and men are asked to be more emotionally available, the guiding questions for many men are:
But men still value connection!
As Roger recently said:
"My wife didn't like the color of our bedroom and when she was out with her sister, I painted the entire room her favorite color. I couldn't wait to see her reaction. When she got home she gave me this big hug and I felt like a million bucks…"
In other words, Roger felt emotionally connected to his wife. He experienced intimacy through doing for his wife, rather than emotional expression.
The important point to remember is that "myth" does not equate to "fact." No matter how ingrained a preconceived notion might be in a society, we are all free-thinking individuals who can choose to look beneath the surface and appreciate our partners for what they have to offer and the unique way in which they try to offer it...regardless of what prevailing assumptions about gender might tell us.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Nicastro, Ph.D. is a relationship and intimacy coach with over fifteen years experience helping individuals and couples live more fulfilling lives. Dr. Nicastro's relationship advice has appeared on television, radio and in national magazines.