Men’s Issues


When I thought about specializations in the field of therapy, what I truly, authentically wanted to help people with, a little voice in my head said, very quietly and very gently, “Don’t forget ‘Men’s Issues.’” So while I was in my ego thinking that I’d like to have a focus on this and that, it was that little voice that came forward to let me know my truth.

Just by virtue of being a man, by growing up white, in the Midwest of the USA, I learned certain ideas about manhood; that is, I was socialized into having certain ideas about that age old question “What is it to be a man?” It seems to be one of the more persistent questions that continues to come up for men, too. Know that no other man than himself can provide the answer to that question.


Intimacy is about connection. Whether it be between women, men, best friends, co workers, or a guy and his dog, intimacy is about connecting with another (or yourself).

Many times mens’ ideas of what I call an “Immature Masculine” can get in the way of making connection with others. Intimacy can have the words caring, loving, nurturing, spiritual, and sensitive, go along with it. And for many men, these words are “feminine,” and therefore, scary. They don’t want to be associated with feeling anything “feminine,” after all, because they’re a man. That’s part of what I’m calling the immature masculine, where men don’t feel these types of emotions…but they do. What I’m calling the mature masculine incorporates these emotional states as well as other aspects known to be “Masculine.”

I know many men who are straight who show up as caring, sensitive, and many men who are gay, who show up as callus, and indifferent–so thinking that I’m feminine if I show these qualities doesn’t equate to a man’s sexual orientation–it speaks to how he shows up as a man.

Often men might experience fear of getting close. Let’s use the idea of getting married–it can be overwhelming. Thoughts like, “I’ll lose my freedom…I’ll lose myself…I won’t ever get to have/be anything that I want,” and with these thoughts, I push that relationship away. Often men will feel that they’ll lose themselves if getting into an intimate relationship with another, especially if I get into a relationship with women. This is where it can get complicated, but the truth is, that this getting “lost” in the other…it doesn’t have to happen, not at all.

Without knowing it, I can get in my own way, and stop the connection with others. I’m using ownership language (“I” statements) here on this page (and on the site). owning my own feelings (happy, mad, sad, afraid/nervous) (I felt sad when…) I’m off to a good start.

Intimacy is
Connecting with someone.

  • It’s eating together.
  • It’s experiencing stuff together.
  • It’s talking about stuff that’s important to you.


It’s about getting to know someone (including getting to know myself). Intimacy affects every area of my life… how close I am to my coworkers at work, my neighbors, my “intimate” partners, and even the person behind the counter at the local Starbucks. Ultimately, intimacy affects how we treat ourselves and our ideas about it can affect our anxiety levels, and how we cope in life.


Many people identify the word masculine as aggressive, hard-headed, and rational, and non feeling, exploitive. Some people include in their ideas of masculinity, the domination and objectification and subjugation of women.

Some would also have the idea of current masculinity and manhood as that men are stupid, not thoughtful of others, clumsy, irresponsible, and overall, not good enough. And there are others who think that men today are more feminized, because they don’t measure up to their stereotypes of what men and the masculine expression “should be.” The current portrayal of men from what I see on TV alone, seems to me to reinforce all these ideas about men.

But what about masculinity defined as courageous, caring, gentle, nurturing, honorable, generative, responsible, and capable?


Many will identify Feminine as sensitive, receptive and related or relational, sensitive, and receptive. While brain studies show that there are differences between the right/left hemispheres of our brains and differences in how men/women process information, in my view, to attain a mature masculine, I must incorporate and integrate what is often thought of as feminine. In Jungian terms, this is called the “Anima.” (Also from my point of view the mature feminine will incorporate and integrate the masculine qualities, of the “Animus.”)

The ideas of masculine men being only “rigid,” “cold,” “indifferent” holds men, women and humanity down in my view. It stops us from seeing the fullness of what a mature masculine expression is. And as a man, to embody ONLY these qualities presents a lot of limitation on how I can relate with others, the world, and myself.


Men’s sexuality is often, well, not talked about.

Sometimes when it is talked about it’s about body parts or objects, not connection. Sometimes it’s about too much surfing porn, thinking about it too much. And sometimes when men’s sexuality is talked about its talked about in terms of sexual orientation…am I gay, am I straight, am I bi, etc…. Sexual orientation can play a huge role for a man, and, when I talk about men’s sexuality, while I do talk about orientation, I’m also talking a lot about what I’ve already mentioned here: Intimacy, The Masculine, and The Feminine, and how I relate to my partners and how I relate to my self.

Men like sex. Yes, they do. But that doesn’t make men “wrong,” or “bad” for liking it. And it may or may not make me “selfish,” depending on how I’m using and expressing my sexual urges as a man. “Men only want one thing!” If that one thing is Peace, then yes. If that “one thing” is sex, then from my point of view, there’s a huge misunderstanding of men’s wants.

Men are taught that it’s not ok to feel sad, hurt, lonely, afraid, but that they CAN feel angry, and they CAN have sex (but if they do, then they’re “wrong,” or “bad”) So in turn, it appears that one of the few emotional outlets of the natural expression of sadness, grief, hurt, and loneliness is through anger, which many confuse and “fuse together” with violence, and sex, in the form of control and domination of their partner.

This is spiritually unhealthy. For men. For women. For the children who grow up seeing and learning these patterns, and for humanity. This is just spiritually unhealthy.

Many in my field who study “sexual addiction,” look almost exclusively at “the behavior.” From my view, yes, they’re watching porn…yes, they’re having sex outside the relationship…ok, what’s next? My thinking has been that must be something more to this, not just the action. What’s the metaphor here? What’s the bigger picture?

I’ve always looked at what the deeper issue was when looking at sexual expression, and the truth is, my conclusion is very similar to what I understand depth psychology to say, that we’re yearning to connect with the Infinite, with Spirit, with the Eternal, and we’re yearning to connect through sex.

As I understand some Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, specifically in how they’re defining what’s called The Lover Archetype, sex is a part of our natural creative expression, not just sexual but an active creative expression that springs up from deep within us. It’s this libidinal energy that is creative, intuitive, toward life (and paradoxically) toward death (the original unity with the All).

A major problem, or challenge with this, is that many religions try to crush this very idea. And. Another challenge with this is that sex in our carnate form CAN’T physically connect with the Eternal, or “The All” because, well, that’s impossible. So we see reflections of beauty (eternity) in others and try and connect, through compulsivity, through domination, etc., and it doesn’t work.

If you’ve followed me so far in this section, even a little bit, you may be getting that there is a WHOLE LOT MORE TO MEN than sex.  There is a connection between sexual expression and spirituality much more than the statement “Men like sex.” Being a man is about how to strive for, embody and to embrace a mature masculine.

Yes, it’s important to identify and acknowledge and to fully “own” the immature masculine, it’s polarities, it’s Shadows (both Gold and Dark), but our society needs us to strive for the FULLNESS of the Mature Masculine, not what’s out there now, the immature, and power hungry, but to seek something bigger, more embracing and inclusive. not out there, but inside.







What is RIGID?

What is POWER?


What is CARING? (And what does that look like?)

What kind of man do you CHOOSE to be?