“Just be a man”
“Man up son”
I used to get these remarks quite often although I never fully understood what “real” manhood was all about.
Let alone how to be one..
It doesn’t really come with a manual you know… And I got the feeling a lot of men my age are having the same problem.
In this post I’ll be talking about the slow rising pandemic of decreasing manhood, the dangers of masturbation and porn, incessant pursuit of women, the dichotomy of gender roles and what it means in my opinion to rise from boyhood into a full-grown man in our modern day and age.
Basically, a lot to take in – Grab a drink, cup of tea and maybe some notes.
Deterioration Of Manhood
A year or-so back (surprisingly not-so-long ago) I found myself pretty lost in this world. Consumed in a video game addiction, a dependent relationship, ego-centered personality traits and indulged in online porn and (excessive) masturbation.
It resulted in low self-esteem, confusion and the feeling of powerlessness.
I felt like crap basically.
To escape this upcoming depression I tried to compensate the solid foundation I lacked on the inside with an image – a mask – to hide what I had become.
I started to build muscle to impress others (especially women), experimenting with alcohol at parties, creating a “bad boy” image by rebelling at school and even contemplated to get a massive tribal tattoo on my left arm (Thank god I didn’t)
And I’ve actually seen this pattern in many men my age who are drifting aimlessly trough life (to a certain extent).
We try to copy attributes on the outside that appear to be “masculine”.
“We live in a world where we identify only with the things we see outside of ourselves” – Guy Finley
Our lack of proper education on manhood and credible role models has led to the deterioration of manhood. Which has created a deluded image in our modern youth of what a “real man” should be;
- Be strong at all times
- Never show emotion
- Be aggressive and get in fights
- Drink alcohol and do drugs
- A “real man” is big and muscular
- “Fuck hot bitches” & get money
In the modern world manhood is falsely measured by external factors: money earned, power acquired, penis size, accomplishments, amount of women conquered and so-forth.
In my opinion none of these are true.
Manhood isn’t related to the amount of women you’ve slept with,
It can’t be tape-measured by the size of your biceps or your penis,
And it surely isn’t defined by the number in your bank account
Yet I do however see friends, relatives and people online admiring (sometimes even worshiping) these “ideal” men, especially young ones. And therefore copying their (often destructive) behavior
I don’t believe real manhood is defined by anything that can be found outside of yourself. It’s a combination of;
- Character values (Self-defined)
- Clear direction in life (Self-directed)
- Autonomy (Self-supported)
I believe modern men are lost these days – adrift at sea – and for good reasons.
So what is it then..?
“A woman simply is, but a man must become” – Camille Paglia
In my opinion manhood is unique for everyone and has to be re-found trough self-introspection. Sam Keen and Joseph Campbell talk in their books (Fire In The Belly and “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” respectively) about the process each boy needs to go trough in order to become a full-grown, self-sustaining man.
Let’s take a look..
The first stage in becoming a man is for the boy to become responsible, independent and self-reliant. That is in my eyes the essence of manhood: autonomy.
Yet these days we’re constantly being bombarded with tv, media, internet, women, drugs, alcohol and so-forth. They all form distractions which disable us to focus on further developing ourselves.
Do you want to know the worst part of this?
Many never get out of this “distracted state” and stay trapped in it for the rest of their life. A continuous loop of bad choices which leads incrementally deeper down the rabbit hole.
Therefore a boy looking to become a man must isolate himself. Most
men boys never get to this point. We’ve been taken care off for the majority of our life and as we grow older our boss/work simply replaces the providing role of our parents.
Birds don’t learn to fly by having their mother bring them all the food they need – They learn to fly by getting pushed out of the nest. It’s fly or die basically.
And if you’ve never taken this fearful step it’ll come back to haunt you in the future.
This can be done by leaving home, travelling far away alone (especially away from women) or any other means to become more autonomous. Only then can he start the discovery of himself whilst building the mental resilience required – which is distinctively masculine.
A man can’t become a self-directed individual with high self-esteem when he’s still reliant on others to feed him or to provide financial support. This will lead him to become helpless and dependent on others.
The second step in becoming a full-grown man is to submerge the young boy in traditional masculine rituals and teaching him the classical traits one should possess like courage, honesty, fortitude of mind, leadership,… .
The essence of this is for the boy to create a psychological profile of what a “real” man is – and live accordingly. This will provide the secure sense of identity which allow the man to stand firm trough the troubles of life.
Rites of passage have traditionally marked major life transitions for men (as opposed to women who have been under influence of biological rites like menstruation, childbirth and menopause)
Note: Again, this doesn’t mean that women don’t struggle with their femininity but that’s not the main aim of this post.
Yet these rituals are no-where to be found these days.
In old Spartan traditions young males would be taken from their families to enter the “Agoge” which was designed to produce physically and morally strong males to serve in the Spartan army. It taught essential traits like stealth, loyalty, hunting, morality, pain tolerance, mental rigidity from the age of seven to twenty-one.
It allowed them to develop the psychological profile/image in their mind they could live up to.
But now? What role models do we have?
The ones in teenage-girl-fashion magazines? Bodybuilders? Rappers? – Those are the ones the mainstream media shows continuously as “successful”, “attractive” and “masculine”, pretty much brainwashing the younger generations.
Like I said before; Too many base their sense of self-worth on external factors that aren’t under their control.
This will make them continuously dependent on comparison to others to retrieve some sense of self-worth. They’ll start comparing these external factors to others in order to “measure” their sense of self-worth
- Am I good-looking enough?
- Is my penis big enough?
- Does she want me to have more money?
- Am I tall enough?
- Are women attracted to me?
Only if you look better in comparison to others you’ll be able to retrieve a sense of self-worth out of that. If not – you’ll feel miserable and undeservant. Although these external factors are rarely (if ever) under our own control.
The most important part in this step is to define for yourself a psychological definition/image of what a “real man” is. Base this on internal factors that are under your control.
This definition will be derived mainly from the people you admire. Your “role models” so to speak. Copy and combine their belief systems and see yourself transform in your own ultimate version of the ones you admire.
The way I’ve done this is simply picking five different values I define as masculine and live up to that image. These are;
See how the focus is shifted to actions/values that are under my control?
I can choose to be intelligent by reading books and by becoming self-educated, I can choose to treat people with integrity and honesty, I can choose to be loving to women and children, I can choose to be strong by exercising willpower and self-discipline, I can choose to be calm by breathing right and meditating.
I can’t always choose to be rich, I can’t always choose to be good looking, I can’t always choose to have great results with women, I can’t always choose to have a huge penis …
See the difference?
Character values are all factors that are under my control. As long as I live up to this definition – I’ve learned to allow myself to feel valuable. The key is to base yourself on character traits that are fitting for your definition of masculinity (since these can differ amongst cultures)
Write it down and read it daily. Visualize how you would be as ideal man and live accordingly.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of initiation rites since they are mostly event-oriented.
- Camping in the woods
- Stabbing yourself (yeah, I’ve actually read a story about this)
- Jumping out of an airplane
Does it really prove anything? If it does – is this feeling truly sustainable or only good for the short-term?
I do – however – see the value in creating your own initiation rite. You can use them for proving to yourself that you live up to these pre-defined values.
Besides that, masculinity (in my opinion) is a constant, evolving process that can’t be defined by a singular event.
We grow into it over time.
Sam Keen said it before;
“Becoming a man is a process, not an event. There’s no such thing as “microwave masculinity”. The rough edges of manhood will be smoothed by time” – Sam Keen
When this process is done and you’ve become an autonomous, self-defined man you’ll be able to be re-integrated in society. Too many men start their life before they’ve become fully grown man.
Before they’re “ready”
Chasing women, building a business, starting a family, getting children, marrying and losing themselves in those eventually.. since they haven’t build their life on this solid foundation.
““We cannot be comfortable in intimacy with women because we have never been comfortable in being distant from them.” – Sam Keen
There’s a lot of men (maybe even the majority) who define their sense of self-worth according to the relation they have with women, making them dependent on their “approval” in order to feel valuable. This results in them being desperate for sex in order to get confirmation that they are – indeed – a “real man”
Removing this factor will allow you to stand as a strong tree who has his roots firmly planted into the ground – no turbulent winds can knock him down. The interference’s of life will trouble you less, you won’t be tempted to fight ego battles and so-forth.
You’ve become a man.
Once you got this strong sense of identity you’ll have to start figuring out what direction you should take in your life. It’s another defining trait in masculinity.
Hence why men in suits are so appealing. They are actually doing shit in their life and making a difference.
Another masculine image is that of football players or soldiers that are running over the field – determined and focused on their goal.
Find your strengths and interests and see how you can make impact on the world around you into work that you find meaningful.
I’m quite introverted, good at writing and have learned a lot about self-improvement the past year and I’ve noticed that the knowledge I have can actually be used by other men trying to find their way in life. – So that’s exactly what I’m doing for now.
What are your strengths and interests? And how can you combine those two to create impact on the world – some meaningful work?
It’s something you’ll have to keep redefining continuously as the vision for your end-goal in life changes. Stay on this re-defining track and don’t let yourself be discouraged or – even worse – distracted
Many men sacrifice their life’s direction in order to pursue a family/woman instead of making impact on the world by doing more important work. They blindly follow whatever chaotic direction he’s offered by his spouse unthinking if this is actually the best choice.
As David Deangelo said : Stay your own course!
If you don’t know your direction yet – your “purpose” so to say. Don’t panic. Purpose is not an event but a process that evolves trough trial and error. If you haven’t yet found meaning in your life, just choose one thing that seems important for now.
Finding passion/purpose/meaning/worthwhile work is a process. Just keep redefining what you believe to be is the most important contribution you can make to the world.
Sam Keen said it before:
“There is no easy formula for determining right and wrong livelihood, but it is essential to keep the question alive”
Experiment, adjust and re-define.
Women & Pick-Up
And that’s basically all women are looking for: A autonomous, purpose-driven man.
Become attractive by building yourself up trough self-improvement.
Many confused boys try to master their “pick-up skills” which are – again – those outside factors to seduce women to sleep with them, which in turns “confirms” their masculinity.
But instinctively women know when you’re not “firm” in your own self-belief and don’t have clarity in your life. You might fool them for a week, a month or even a year but never for a full lifetime.
The cracks in your mask will eventually begin to show.
That’s exactly why they test you in clubs. Little jabs in order to see if they can rely on you, that you’re able to support them if they would start a relationship with you.
Ever had remarks like;
- Why are you talking to me?
- Hahaha, you’re cute and adorable!
- What’s wrong with your hair? It’s ridiculous
- You don’t own a car and you’re 20 already? (This is the latest one I’ve gotten)
These little jabs are actually a good sign. It means they’re testing you because they see potential.
Although they can be frustrating at time, they’re – from an evolutionary perspective – necessary.
Women’s role is as gatekeeper to sex and reproduction. Therefore they check for reliability in these tests. It will ensure strong offspring that will stand the test of time. Our natural aversion from low confidence, no symmetry in faces, fluttering eye contact and body language are ingrained in our brain.
They are all clear indicators that you’re not “valuable” as a man to procreate with.
Women care little about status, looks (although some indicators of health), wealth, possessions and all that stuff these days. They look “under the hood”. Immediately judging strength of will, character and vitality.
And they’re good at this, so you better have “your shit together” when you meet. These tests push you to become better by self-development – which is a great thing.
But most men don’t do this.
They don’t know who they are nor where they are going with their life. They’re confused and guided only by their primitive instincts for most of the time.
This imbalance has made us resort to scrupulous tactics to seduce women to have sex with us (since our instinct to procreate is still strongly present) based on outside “skills”. We rely on personality and “pick-up tactics” to relate with women instead of building ourselves up first from the inside-out.
This leads to the recent events involving Julien Blanc of the company “Real Social Dynamics” where he has pretty much dug his own grave by promoting these superficial tactics as the “holy grail” of what manhood and attractiveness is about.
Although it doesn’t have to be this way.
RSD – at its core – teaches men how to build themselves up by having more confidence based on character values, finding meaning in their life by pursuing passion and overcoming negative (bullshit) thoughts in your head provided by social conditioning and mainstream media.
It’s NOT about “just fucking women”, manipulating others nor sexual abuse or teaching misogyny.
It’s about the person you become by learning the principles required to live a successful life. – And THAT is what makes you attractive.
Another (more recent) obstacle to relationships has been the
Dichotomy Of Gender Roles
Confused men aren’t taking control of their life since their natural role of provider and protector has faded away.
Women have become increasingly self-reliant and independent which has obscured the traditional gender roles and has led to frictious relationships between men and women.
Women can’t seem to find a “real man” and man can’t find “feminine” women.
Instinctively we’re still largely attracted to the traditional gender role of male dominance and female subordination.
These were important in the times where men were the providers of the essential physical resources necessary for survival (food, shelter, protection, money, …)
Now we live in a more modern age where that isn’t the case anymore and intellectually these traditional gender roles do not make any sense anymore. They lead to asymmetrical power-relations and miss-communication.
Basically: We’re instinctively attracted to male dominance and female submission although intellectually we crave equality.
See the dichotomy?
The woman who strives for female rights in the day is the same woman who reads 50 shades of gray at night and fantasizes about being conquered by a dominant man
The man who intellectually strives for equality among men and women is the same man who’s instinctively programmed to see women as a lust object.
There’s no escaping our instincts trough rational thought.
Our brains simply haven’t adapted yet to these new gender roles. (evolving our instinctive conceptions about procreation takes a lot of time)
As William Ickes clearly states in his research on Traditional Gender Roles (HIGHLY recommended reading)
The “paradox” of traditional gender roles is, in this sense, a product of the opposition between what our genes and past culture dispose us to do and what our present culture now prescribes.
The same traditional gender roles that facilitate men’s and
women’s attraction to each other may also, in the context of egalitarian social ideals, impede their ability to communicate and lead to dissatisfaction in their
The only thing we can do is understand this concept and talk about it in our relationships.
Masturbation & Porn
As depicted in many different books like Think And Grow Rich, The Way Of The Superior Man and Sexual Ecstasy. The masculine drive is fueled by his “life force”. Whenever we ejaculate to much out of our body we’ll lose the much-needed energy to actually work on our goals and make some impact.
They talk about “cultivation of sexual energy“ by refraining from ejaculation too often. This way we can invest this energy in greater tasks.
This is a HUGE problem with modern men since (devoid of purpose/meaning) they blindly chase women and sex and therefore end up in a never-ending spiral of low-achievement and instant gratification.
“Men should aim to transform their sexual energy into a creative force or else it will look for lesser ways of release (masturbation/sex)”
I’ve personally noticed a tremendous increase in energy, focus and drive when I ejaculate less frequently, simply because I’m able to direct my energy to greater tasks like writing this article, reading books, waking up early, exercising, …
And I’ve actually seen this also in other high-achievers.
The gist of it is basically this: control your ejaculations, achieve more
“You won’t be willing to bypass ejaculation until you have experienced the much greater pleasures which lie beyond it. If you have accumulated a lot of tension in your daily life, ejaculation will afford you with temporary release.
But as you live your life with more and more purpose, you won’t accumulate so much tension during the day. Then you will discover that ejaculation, for the most part, actually depletes and weakens you.
It feels great for a few moments, but the price you pay for thegenital sneeze of ejaculation is a much higher level of mediocrity in your daily life.- Dadid Deida
I’ve also found numerous benefits of stopping with masturbation. Here are some that I’ve found to be very true;
- Increased confidence and pride
- Clarity of mind, no mental clutter
- Feeling worthy of really attractive women
- Vibrant and alive looking eyes
- Voice is now clear, body language firm
- A tangible magnetic connection with women
- Men respect you more
And what’s the deal with porn these days? We’re creating fictitious videos of what an quote-on quote “idealized” image of sex would look like; big tits, huge penises, excessive moaning and so-forth.
But porn – in essence – is fake.
We’re training our brain to become attracted to these unreachable scenarios making us more and more numbed from the real thing. We’re no longer stimulated by real women which causes diminishing erections/attractiveness in our illusive pursuit for sexual satisfaction in these forms of instant gratification
We’ve stopped caring about the real thing and have become so desensitized about sex that it has led to unnatural extremes which are continuously going to get worse if we don’t deal more consciously with the way we approach our sexuality.
Some boys (most actually) get introduced to porn before they experience the real thing and some become convinced that masturbation and porn is even better than real intimacy with women.
I see zero benefit in this.
Quit immediately (or reduce gradually)
It’s true. It’s difficult defining manhood these days.
Even harder actually being one.
But trough the process of trial and error and by consciously learning more and more about ourselves we’re able to become self-directed and autonomous men in this age of confusion.
“Throughout human history, men always had a clear and concise path laid out before them. We’re one of the first generations that doesn’t. You can do or be anything you want in any capacity that you want. So create your own standard and then surpass it. Psychologically that’s where we derive our worth and our value. – Mark Manson
This is NOT easy.
But it’s not supposed to be either. But let me re-phrase that;
You don’t want a life that’s easy.
A life that’s easy – constantly indulging in forms of instant gratification and being supported by others – is an unrewarding and pathetic life. It will lead to deterioration of yourself and eventually your downfall.
Depression, obesity, scarcity, sexual malfunctioning, mediocrity and more…
Who wants a mediocre life?
I surely don’t and I got the feeling you don’t either (since you’re already 3000+ words into this article)
You want a life that’s centered around a strong sense of identity, based on character values, continual growth and the contribution of meaningful work to society.
It won’t be easy – But that’s just the price you pay for being in the arena of life and not on the sidelines, as spectator.
Point being; You’ve always truly known all of this, but it’s just the fear and uncertainty that’s always pushed you back into comfort. What if I fail? What will I do? How will I make money?
All your questions will be figured out once you hit rock-bottom. When you’ve hit your face on the pavement so many times you eventually learn to catch yourself. (G.P.)
Your security lies in the trust you have in your own capacity to produce, to think, to learn, adapt and provide value not in being supported in any way by others. Time to un-plug.
Ask yourself this;
What if I make it?
Anyway, now all is said and done – Here are
5 6 practical steps I want you to take away from this post;
- Define for yourself in 5 values what a “real man” is and choose to live accordingly. Re-read it daily and visualize yourself in that role.
- Find a way to become financially independent
- Find your natural strengths and talents and find a way to combine these two to do worthwhile work
- Take control of your mind
- Stop watching porn and masturbation. (Or reduce it gradually – edging and multiple dry orgasms are allowed)
- Read “Way Of The Superior Man”, “Fire In The Belly”, “Iron John” and “The Way Of Men”
- Talk with your spouse about the dichotomy of gender roles. Understand that; intellectually and instinctively we desire opposites.
These steps will take a lifetime to master.
Guess that’s all I have to say about masculinity (for now). I hope you guys found it more than useful,
If you know someone who can use the advice I’ve given in this post – don’t hesitate to share. There’s enough bullshit being spewed on the internet already and I hope this can clear (some) things up for people who can really use this.