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I'm not a researcher and I'm not going to throw statistical analyses at anyone.   And I'm not going to throw out the fact that I'm a therapist who has worked for over 15 years with couples, families and individuals.  I'm talking from my heart and my own experiences on this one.  You may not like it, you may disagree.  Go for it.  But because it comes from my heart, you won't win any arguments with me.

I love men.  I love my men friends.  I love my men clients.  The same could be said for the females in my life but I'm not talking about them right now.

I have two sons who are 25 and 26.  My sons are great young men. They may not want to talk about it, but they have all the love and respect for the women in their lives, their sisters and me.  They've been in relationships with different women and it's been my honor and pride to watch the care and concern they have felt and shown for these women.  I do not find them to be anomalies, no more so than the many young men I've worked with their age.  Young men who anguish over how to please the women in their lives.

I've had the good privilege and honor to be allowed access into the interior of men's lives for many years.  I've sat and listened to the young, the old, the restless, the heartbroken.  When I talk about the objectification of men, I speak to the way our culture pressures them in many ways.

The pressure men feel to "perform" is staggering.  There is a reason for the high rate of heart attacks among men.  We may feel that Gloria Steinem and Bettty Friedan brought on the age of equality, but for many men, they feel no release from the burdens of theses pressures.

They come into my office quietly full of shame.  They feel nothing they do is good enough, ever enough.  They don't talk enough, they don't please their mates enough, they don't make enough money...money is a big deal.

For most of them, sex is the way they connect.  Sex is the way they feel loved.  Often times women are flippant about their man's need for sex, dismissing it with a wave of their hands lamenting that their man is just being "horny", that their men come to them to scratch their itches and nothing more.

A wise woman knows that sex is the way that many men feel valued and needed and SEEN.  Yes, men need to be seen as much as women.  But the way in which they need to be seen is not necessarily the way women do.

 "I'm on my period", "I'm hormonal", "I'm tired".  I hear my female clients say this a lot and I just look at them and say, "Do you gotta hand?  Do you gotta mouth?  Does it always have to be about YOU?"  Get adventuresome I tell them.  Go outside the box.  I'm not talking about threesomes here (although show me a man who doesn't have that fantasy and I'll show you someone who's lying).  Give them some adventure, some fun, some imagination, some role play.   I assure you, it won't take much. And it won't take long (10 minutes max).  Just kidding, don't get your panties all in a wad.

When a woman says, "We need to talk", most men instantly shrink away.  They feel overwhelmed and full of shame.  "Now what? What have I done wrong?   Women want to talk as way to connect, to feel a part of.  Many women fear abandonment while not knowing her man is withdrawing because he is ashamed that the woman he loves is not happy.

Steven Stosny, a therapist and renowned researcher on the profound and transformative work he does with men and domestic violence, believes that marital therapy goes wrong with its constant attention to "communication skills", "I statements" and the like.  He, along with another marital therapist, have written a ground breaking book called "How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It".  The theory is that much of traditional couples counseling has been based on communication that works best for women and not for men.

When I work with couples and the woman is inevitably complaining about the lack of communication between her and her husband, I will say, "Stop talking about it so much."  There is instant horror in many women's faces, while the men's visible sighs of relief melt into the walls of my office and smiles stretch across their faces.

I will tell you that I work with the most liberated of women, and yet many of them carry the age-old expectations of men to provide financially, even when they themselves make more then enough money for both.

This is the objectification of men I am talking about...the size of the wallet is what many women look for.  And most men I know take the responsibility of providing financially for their families very seriously.  It is an area they feel they might actually be able to succeed in but they pay a high cost for the relentless demands that only money can buy.

 In another post, I theorize about the PAWS women:  Penis and Wallet Seekers.  If you've ever traveled to Aspen or LA, you'll see these couples.  Of course, total judgment on my part, but I don't think I'm far off.  And when it gets right down to it, the penis is optional for many of these women.

Women don't hold the market on being used or being objectified.  It just looks a little different.  And I would suggest that the next time you want to TALK to your man, take the wise and sage advice of Chris Rock who says (and I'm paraphrasing):

"When a man gets off work, he needs to smoke something, he needs to drink something, he needs to drive around for awhile.  He does this because he knows that as soon as he walks in the door, his woman's gonna be right there saying, "I need to tell you about my day, you won't believe what my friend did to me, you won't believe what the kids did, etc. etc."  Give the man a break!  Give him 5 minutes and whatever you do, GIVE HIM THE BIG PIECE OF CHICKEN!"

 

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