By MARK GREENE
We have all heard it said, over and over, that many men do not share their feelings. That these men can be good friends, husbands and lovers but that they remain, on some level, hidden.
That they do not communicate feelings well. The tendency to remain emotionally guarded is a matter of practical survival that men learn early in life.
They are taught that revealing their feelings is not safe. It is dangerous. It will cost them. It is result of a culture of male emotional withdrawal reinforced by generations of male traditions which value toughness and stoicism over communication and emotional connection.
While millions of men are choosing to try to move beyond these archaic ideas of what it is to be a man, millions more continue to endorse outmoded and emotionally limiting ideas of what it means to be a father, a lover, or a husband.
Leaving many men trapped in gender roles that are often brutally enforced by other men, women and sometimes, their own families. But whether one is attempting to move past old ideas or not, all of us continue to be haunted by fears born out of generations old ideas of manhood.
One result of this ongoing emotional suppression of men, is that our public dialogues (that of both men and women) are increasingly angry and binary, indicating that although both sexes are still invested on some level in our culture’s more archaic gender roles, no one’s all that happy with them anymore.
And we see these angry public discourses everywhere, in the media, on Facebook and at the local bar. But ask anyone who knows. Anger is just fear talking. Fears unspoken and unexplored. Below is just a sample list of some of the fears that men face. This list is by no means complete. But men’s fears must be acknowledged. Because they are so deeply rooted, men’s fears can determine the course of an entire lifetime without ever being examined. As hidden as they are, they are not to be taken lightly.
So what are men afraid of? Here are a few examples.
1. What I Want Sexually is Wrong (In One Way or Another)
Men carry the deep seated fear that their sexual needs are, in some way, just not right. Whether it’s something as complex as a fetish, or as simple as frequency, men carry the deep-seated fear that sexual love in relationships isn’t sustainable because what they want and need sexually is too much, is too selfish, is wrong.