Advice Male Perspective

The Male Perspective: Intimacy and Vulnerability

To put it bluntly, a guy’s childhood is very adversarial. In the schoolyard fights will break out between boys on almost a daily basis and showing emotion is considered a weakness for other boys to exploit. This sort of adversarial system manifests in more verbal and mental ways in the classroom, sports and dating during the teenage years. During these development years showing emotional vulnerability is considered dangerous because it may be used against them. In a lot of ways this is very sad and I’ve always believed that this is more a symptom of the society we live in rather than being caused by genetics.

So when a guy is sexually intimate with a woman it’s one moment when he is emotionally vulnerable and it is not necessarily voluntary. Despite how many men can seem to have sexual relations without having already developed emotional attachment to the woman he’s with, it’s not completely true. During sex when sperm is released and testosterone levels are affected, a man may find himself facing a level of emotion he doesn’t usually deal with in everyday life.

However, due to the fact that many men have grown up in an environment where showing their emotions is dangerous, they don’t know how to handle this kind of vulnerability when it manifests during sexual relations. Thus, this is why some women may have had sexual encounters with the guy who disappears after the sex has been finished; he does this because he doesn’t know how to handle what he’s feeling emotionally and he fears being around another person when he’s feeling that way and he’ll be hurt.

Whether a guy can reach the point where he can deal with being emotionally vulnerable around other people is dependent on a couple of things, the most important of which is what his relationship is with his mother. A man’s relationship with his mother is the first one he has with a woman on any level and if it’s one where he didn’t feel he was accepted as a person it may make him reluctant being vulnerable around other people going forward.

Another factor is what was the guy’s romantic relationships were like growing up. Were they ones that were healthy and fondly remembered or ones where the guy was rejected and hurt? The more cases of the guy being rejected and hurt the more likely that he’ll try to bury his emotional side so he doesn’t feel that hurt again in the future; sometimes this can even result in the guy becoming a ‘player’ where he moves from one woman to another with the relationships becoming increasingly short. Basically he’s trying to avoid being vulnerable again.

So the question becomes what can be done if you’re involved with someone who is having a difficult time dealing with being emotionally vulnerable around you. In a lot of ways the key is to listen, be patient, and recognize that it may take some time before the guy will feel comfortable being emotionally vulnerable around you. There may be moments after you’ve been sexually intimate where it seems like he’s a bit distant; this is not because he doesn’t feel something for you, but rather that he feels too much towards you and doesn’t know how to handle it or whether he’s safe to let his guard down.

This is not a subject that is typically broached amongst a guy and his friends so consequently it’s not usually something he’s used to discussing. So it may take some time before he feels comfortable discussing it with the girl he’s with, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t already developed very deep feelings for her. Admittedly in this century men are more used to being emotionally vulnerable than they once were, but some of the societal stereotypes enforced on men while they were growing up still are a factor even today.

Lastly, how a guy chooses to be emotionally vulnerable may not be in a verbal fashion. Instead it may be through art, doing something kind for the woman he cares about, or through a simple non-verbal cue such as watching her while she sleeps. The important thing is to remember that men have had to learn to be emotionally vulnerable in a society that has taught them not to be and often sexual intimacy is when that vulnerability often happens.

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