These days it seems ever more trendy to find novel ways of bashing masculinity. The narrative has been so skewed by ideology that any out-in-the-wild masculine behavior is seen as wrong or misguided. Guys are told to be more caring, less aggressive and more vulnerable. They are told they are toxic and that’s the reason why the world is bad as it is.

Frankly, such patronizing talk is quite annoying. Especially so, when no one on the other side seems to consider that there are good reasons why men behave the way they do.

Incidentally, I am far from ecstatic about the term “masculinity” and its use as a prescription of certain male behaviors. Yet, there are certain patterns one cannot help but recognize among most men, the few exceptions to them notwithstanding.

I wanted to write this post because I have spent years trying to understand what it means to be a man and why certain things appeal to me and others don’t. Throughout this journey, I have seen and heard many opinions about masculinity. Sadly, very few of them rang true. At least to a young guy like me, most things said out there about what being a man means seems at best out of touch and at worst a malicious attack on what is construed as an ideologically problematic group of people.

I want to stress this last word: people. It’s a sign of the times that this needs saying, but: men are people too. In other words, we do make mistakes and our views are not always right. But the same applies for women and everyone in general. To single out the bad without acknowledging the good in a person is not only to be biased and unfair, but to demand perfection in a world which has none.

Before I begin, I want to stress out that I understand the topic naturally involves generalizing statements which I’d prefer not to make. But the term masculinity is itself a sort of generalization  which we as men supposedly all possess. And since that is the language of the accusations leveled against men, that will naturally be mine too (even if I’d much rather deal with separate individuals as opposed to abstract groups)

With that said, let’s talk about men. And what better place to start than the much discussed male sexuality. Continue reading Modern Lies about Masculinity

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Woman kissing a naked body

It’s hard to write about youth and freedom while staying silent on the topic of sexuality…

Now, everyone sees sexuality in their own particular ways. Some might try to ignore it or keep it secured away from others. Others, however, as is clear from the media, perceive of their sexuality as a key ingredient to freedom.

Indeed, judging from the newspapers and the TV shows around us, one could imagine that sexuality would also be a key ingredient to our day to day conversations too.

Yet, the opposite has always seemed true to me. The topic of sexuality is still in the high-trust zone of sacred ideas we only ever dare talk through with a few select others. That the topic is in the media might only demonstrate the bottled up demand for a conversation that is otherwise too difficult to have. Continue reading Sex and the West: An awkward symbiosis

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Among the mix of many emotions and actions that make up the lifestyle we call love, there are few uniting themes more prominent and significant to me than that of vulnerability.

Yet, vulnerability is not the first image we seem to associate with love.

Indeed, vulnerability is easier to think of as a necessary evil, a by product of the dating scene the need for which goes away once love is achieved, secured and developed.

In other words, as young teenagers all throughout the world realize early on in life, to be noticed and be loved requires an acceptance of a certain level of exposure to potential shame and hurtful rejection. It requires opening up your inner world to somebody else and allowing them to judge the whole of you just for the chance of co-living life together. Scary.

Nonetheless, many take the deal. After all, the potential benefits of long-term happiness, growth, and intimacy seem to justify the risks. The initial vulnerability might truly feel uncomfortable, but without it life becomes the dwelling place of inexpressible desire and a home to a haunting sense of loneliness.

But is vulnerability just a bitter cost we have to pay initially so we can eventually find love and never again be made to exchange comfort for appreciation?

Yes. But really, no. Continue reading It’s Vulnerability all the Way Down

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