Why Men Can’t Be Friends With Women They’re Attracted To (And Some Can)

Can a man be friends with a woman he’s attracted to? I’m a Man. I have lived this question thoroughly.

The short answer is simply, Yes. Yes, Mature Men can be legitimate, authentic friends with the women they’re sexually attracted to. We can work respectfully alongside them, hang out with them, have lunch with them, talk sincere and impartial with them about their boyfriends and husbands and do pretty much anything else we’d do with any other friend. Mature Men can experience sexual attraction and still honor healthy boundaries with women.

Mature Men can do this.

Mature. Men.

On the other hand … Adolescent boys – and men perpetually stuck in adolescence – will have difficulty being honest friends with the women they’re attracted to. why-does-he-cheat To be clear, this blog isn’t about a man’s ability to shift from an intimate relationship to a friendly one with a woman. That’s called a breakup and deserves different consideration.

The question I’m asking is, Can men be authentic friends with women they want to sleep with but haven’t and won’t because those women don’t seem interested in sleeping with them? (note: I say “don’t seem interested” because I’m pretty sure men are biologically programmed to never give up hope, no matter what a woman says or does.)

This blog is about men who, like adolescents new to the sexual experience, haven’t yet learned how to move their sexual energy in healthy ways when among attractive women; men at the mercy of attraction which complicates interactions.

Unfortunately, so many adult males are stuck in a perpetual adolescence. Some haven’t even matured that far. Anyone see similarities between toddlers and US Congressmen? Of course many grown men have learned how to be respectful human beings, as well as veritable mature men in various aspects of their lives (such as career and fatherhood), but fewer of us ever really learn how to be mature masculine Men in relationship to feminine Women with whom we experience strong sexual attractions.

Most men are stuck in perpetual adolescence because our culture feeds us immature ideas about what it means to be a man: real men win at all costs, make all the important rules, make lots of money, sleep with lots of women, have the biggest dick in the room, don’t cry or feel emotions or show weakness, etc. As a result, most adult men are profoundly confused about what it means to be a healthy mature man, whether they admit it or not – and of course most can’t admit it because that would be a mature thing to do. I have been confused for 20 years. And I never even knew it.

That said, here are “4 aspects of masculine immaturity” that prevent men from being honest friends with women they’re sexually attracted to:

spilling-water

1) Men have not learned how to be with their sexual energy without having to do something about it

Just like adolescent boys, most grown men in our culture don’t have a clue how to simply be with the powerful masculine sexual energy coursing through our bodies. So it owns us.

The basic story culture teaches me from birth is that I was born an uncontrollable ravenous shark in a pool filled with tasty guppies. I was then given two strong conflicting directives: (a) eating guppies is a measure of a man’s worth, and (b) try not to hurt any guppies. Then I was left on my own to unravel this dilemma while living inside a sexually charged body ready to pound the bottom out of a boat with every erection.

Since men can’t be vulnerable to work openly through the resulting confusion, we cope with the inner turmoil in countless ways unhealthy ways: we sex it, money it, game it, work it, porn it, drug and alcohol it, TV it, shame it, deny it or anger it into oblivion. By doing so, we live perpetually disoriented, and sometimes a detriment to ourselves, to the women we genuinely love and also to those we don’t.

For most of my life, whenever confronted with intense sexual experiences in my body, I would usually choose the easiest of shame, sex or masturbation as my main options for quickly dealing with it. No one ever taught me how to wield my sexual energy in intentional, respectful ways; how to direct it constructively. Most men never learn this.

As long as a man is owned by his sexual energy, he remains stuck in sexual adolescence. Unfortunately this kind of man is all too common in our world, which drives attractive, intelligent women on Facebook to post frustrated public denunciations like the recent one my FB friend wrote:

If a man has a penis, he wants to sleep with you. Period. It doesn’t matter how old he is.

But when a Man matures by learning how to be intentional with his sexual energy and not slave to it, he embodies the essence of what author Byron Katie wrote:

“Just because a man has an erection doesn’t mean he has to do anything with it.”

Then he can be friends with an attractive woman. If he chooses to. (Read the short blog “Breathing Into (Untimely) Sexual Energy” for a simple practice to begin working with this energy)

polarity_art

2) Men don’t know the difference between authentic love, romantic love and sexual energy

In his book, Intimate Communion, David Deida talks about the three separate elements of the intimate experience: love, romance, and polarity (sexual energy). Like adolescent teens confused about the rich new experiences happening in their bodies, most men still confuse sexual polarity with romantic love. With such an immature man, you can trace the entire path from lust to love along the contours of a petite woman’s aerodynamic ass. Those lust-love thoughts tempt me all the time in the presence of attractive women. They often insist I could love the woman attached to those long legs walking by. But I’m pretty sure such thoughts are just mental leakage from my lizard brain. I’ve learned not to trust them.

Having lived many years in a man’s body, I can tell you it is fascinating to have witnessed my own experience of what felt like love for a woman essentially vanish in the afterglow of a powerful orgasm. It’s astonishing – and disturbing – just how quick sex can switch a male mind from the “ocean-deep loving” setting to the “kiddie-pool shallow” one.

Why do you think urgent flash-in-the-pan sex often leads to short-lasting flash-in-the-pan relationships?

When two people don’t give themselves breathing space, time, to discern what’s really happening between them, they can’t easily see that more often than not it’s everyday sexual polarity at play, not genuine romantic love. While genuine romantic love is fairly elusive, men can experience sexual polarity with different women … every … single … day. Polarity attraction happens. Constantly. In the grocery store. At the DMV. In our cars. At the bars. On a plane. In a rocket ship … to the stars.

We’re like polarized magnets walking around bumping into each other everywhere. Of course we’re going to feel the pull. But that doesn’t mean we have to act on it. Sadly, many immature men intentionally use this polarity-love confusion to manipulate women into sex. Such immature men help confuse the trust right out of women.

For us to become mature men, we must learn to distinguish this sexual polarity energy from both romantic love and our deeper authentic love. We must stop manipulating women into false romances fueled only by sexual energy. And we must gain some level of mastery around how we ultimately wield that sexual energy.

Otherwise it will own us and continue ruining potentially great friendships.

boy pulling girls hair

3) Most men do not fully respect the boundaries set by women, because they do not fully respect women

Adolescent boys and aging toddlers clearly make up most of culture’s rules. So we still don’t fully respect most feminine ways of being.

We place high value on immature masculine expressions of competition, rational thinking, control and domination, achievement for achievement’s sake, etcetera. We place far less value on the feminine gifts of consensus building, intuition and heart-centered thinking, holistic well-being, beauty for its own sake, emotions and vulnerability. This bias is so fundamental to our world that I don’t even need to offer examples to convince you (think politics, business, military and war spending, money-driven popular entertainment, billionaire sports athletes and broke school teachers, paternalistic religions … and on and on).

Until we silly men fully honor and understand that feminine wisdom is as essential as masculine wisdom to the healthy functioning of the world, we will not be able to fully respect the boundaries of our hot female friends. We will continue exploiting weakness in their defenses, whether with subtle manipulation or actual violence.

the mask you live in

4) Men don’t know how to be authentically vulnerable

Most men don’t know how to be with awkward feelings and experiences without having to do something “manly” about them. We believe we are supposed to act on our feelings, even if that means forcibly suppressing or drowning them in addictions. We are compelled to take whatever action will get us most quickly away from our discomfort.

That’s why we usually hate it when women cry. We don’t know a middle way.

We do not know how to simply be with awkward truths, nor do we know how to express them without playing for an outcome. Because so much of our worth is tied to a woman’s approval, being vulnerable is particularly difficult in relationship to women.

Our fragile adolescent egos can’t risk feminine rejection of our authentic inner worlds. So we’ll be vulnerable and tell women how we feel, but we’ll do our best to control the scenario so that we either get what we want in the end or keep them far enough away that they can’t possibly reject us. Which is how adolescent boys behave.

It’s hard to create genuine friendships without being genuinely vulnerable. Even with other men.

_MG_9089 Image a world where Men …

Imagine a world where Men could differentiate between sexual energy, romance and pure love; and where he could acknowledge this openly, without shame, to the women in his world who would appreciate his honesty.

Imagine a world where Men could breathe into their sexual energy and simply enjoy their own erections without always having to do something with them.

Imagine a world where Men fully respected Women and the wisdom they offer.

Imagine a world where Men knew how to be vulnerable with their deepest truths, their joys and their sorrows, and could easily share them with women (and men) without manipulating for an outcome in the sharing.

Wouldn’t the Men in such a world make for incredible masculine friends to women? … not to mention spine-tingling intimate partners, too!!

* special thanks to “J” and “I” who inspired this blog through their honest, raw facebook posts on the subject. (and to “I” in particular for helping me consider a bigger perspective)

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A former US Air Force Captain, Bryan Reeves has survived multiple dark nights of the soul and done really stupid things with women that he deeply regrets and has learned a great deal from. Bryan is now a Life Coach & Relationship Coach for men, women, and couples, and is the author of the viral blog, "Choose Her Every Day (or Leave Her)," at www.bryanreeves.com.

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Posted in Conscious Relationships, Love, Masculine Feminine, Mindfulness, Relationships, Self-awareness, Sexuality
38 comments on “Why Men Can’t Be Friends With Women They’re Attracted To (And Some Can)
  1. There is no middle ground. It’s either platonic or not.

    • Bryan Reeves says:

      I’d say that’s a very masculine way of looking at it. I don’t think you’re wrong, but I don’t think you’re right, either. There’s a whole universe of middle ground in between the ON or OFF extremes.

      • Well, when you have been raised by two alpha males who taught you instilled it in you to take it like a man I guess that explains of my perspective. My thinking is, I don’t want to be part of some man’s fan club of admiring eyes. Just my two cents but thanks for making me smile again anyway.

  2. Mariela says:

    Wow! Thank you! Every men in the planet should read this

  3. tangodenise says:

    I ABSOLUTELY love reading your posts! Please keep them coming!!!

    OMG, I would so love to have a real conversation with you about this…and about my own discoveries and questions as I grapple with maturity and immaturity in my own feminine sexuality.

    Having been either married, divorced–or immediately in relationship and then eventually married again 3 times since the age of 19, I was astonished to find myself (after all the learning, changing, growing, trying, stretching, risking, etc.) in yet another unworkable situation where there was no healthy way to stay together that worked for both of us.

    Then, after At the age of 49 I decided to spend at least a year intentionally staying single. Although sex was quite limited, that did not necessarily mean complete celibacy.(I felt that might be too easy for me to hide behind.)

    I committed to stay fully present to all my feelings…and if I got involved romantically or sexually, to use as much compassion and wisdom as I could regarding the feelings and maturity of the other…and to expressing my sexually and intentions as honestly, clearly and responsibly as possible..

    I learned alot about myself and about attraction, energy, friendship and love…

    It’s been great! And I am happier now than I’ve ever been with my freedom, my friends, my life! I’m stunned how loved and loving I feel every day, how peaceful, how thrilled I feel with each moment alone and each connection I make…no matter how long or briefly it lasts! And no matter what form the connections arise in…a dance, a friendship– whether masculine or feminine, my family, a kiss, a conversation, a flash in the pan…or a friends with benefits exploration.

    There have been joys and heartbreaks. And I’ve felt every emotion imaginable. My heart is open like never before and I’m in love with every moment!

    But I can see the possibility of wanting to explore a committed relationship of some form in the near future…and that brings up a million questions of how I might manage to share myself–all of myself– in all my open hearted lovingness and freedom.

    Going into relationship from here…well…I have no idea…no map…Which is just fine actually, but uncharted territory is always both terrifying and exciting!

    Relationship is not what I used to think it was… And what it is is yet to be discovered. But having a conversation with someone of the opposite sex with similar experiences and questions seems like an amazing idea!

    • Bryan Reeves says:

      Hi Denise. I’d like to make an invitation to you. I invite you to experience a powerful coaching conversation with me around this. I’m a Life Coach. I get to live my dreams by helping other people live theirs … even as those dreams shift and change, and dreams always do. We’ll set aside up to 2 hours for this (this is no surface stuff, this is deep transformational conversation). If you’re up for that, email your phone number me at bryan@managingthemagic.com and we’ll make an appointment. I’d love to support you on this, and in one intentional conversation we can move into some incredible stuff.

  4. Fiona says:

    Love this Bryan!!
    I appreciate the enormous courage to share like this. Fear is so taboo and currently misunderstood and keeps us immature/victims.
    I sense some mysandric overtones. Were these conscious and intentional on your part? They resonate with my immature feminine. 😉
    Thank you for all that you are bringing forward in the world.

    • Matt says:

      “I sense some mysandric overtones.”
      I’m glad I’m not the only one to get that. Although the way it came across to me, was in the form of a thought, “this guy is trying to get laid. With a feminist. And this is a bid to impress her.” Being male, I do readily acknowledge that my reaction could easily be pre-conscious defensiveness, however.
      What I found oddest, though, was a seeming undertone of mysogyny — for example, the line, “Sadly, many immature men intentionally use this polarity-love confusion to manipulate women into sex”
      doesn’t give women much credit, does it? Perhaps “manipulate” was just a misleading word choice.

      • Bryan Reeves says:

        Thanks Matt. I appreciate your insight on this. As I wrote to Fiona: “there might be mysandric overtones. I’ll have to really sit with that. My intention with so much of my work and writing is really showing where men (myself included) can work on growing into a more responsible way of being on the planet. The stakes are pretty high. I don’t wish to shame anyone, but I do believe most men need to be spoken to directly and honestly, and sometimes it’s gonna sting a little bit, though that’s not my first intention.”

        I do think men manipulate women into physical interactions, knowing they aren’t interested in what those women are interested in. I’ve done it. Countless times. I know plenty of men who have. Countless times. I stand by that one. Us men need to look that one straight in the face and deal with it honestly and courageously.

        You’re the 2nd man who’s had that thought, that I wrote this to get laid. Interesting how men go there.

        I don’t write to get laid. I’d do much better to pick up a guitar. However, if amazing women are attracted to me because of my writing, then fuckin’ good for me!!

        Matt, I really appreciate you adding your voice to the conversation. It’s an important one to have. I don’t have it all figured out. This is really healthy dialogue.

      • I just had to add my two cents to you for what it is worth: (1) men don’t try to get laid with any woman. She chooses him or not from her own criteria. Usually she knows if she wants to sleep with him within a minute but may change her mind should new information come to her attention, (2) Feminists by nature are not terribly impressed by men and are more turned off if any man even dare tries, and (3) very few men can manipulate a woman into sex using polarity. Both genders can turn up or down a masculine or feminine essence at will. Some are more skilled at this than others. Immature men use words to manipulate because they lack the mature understanding of the physics of polarity. Mature men are aware of the polarity enough to be able to withstand its attraction generating ability without acting on it like they are on automatic.

        Personally, I wouldn’t profile you Matt as pre-conscious defensive. I’d simply say you may be a black and white thinker on this matter of can men and women be friends if there is an undertone of attraction. My standpoint is no because such situations in my observation and experience seem fraught with too much drama potential. Another possibility is that your POV on the male/female interplay of the modern dating scene is strategy driven. if one sees relationships and interactions as part of one big chess match, they can easily read an essay like this as mysandric.

    • Bryan Reeves says:

      That’s an interesting observation, Fiona. Mysandric overtones. You know, there might be. I’ll have to really sit with that. My intention with so much of my work and writing is really showing where men (myself included) can work on growing into a more responsible way of being on the planet. The stakes are pretty high. I don’t wish to shame anyone, but I do believe most men need to be spoken to directly and honestly, and sometimes it’s gonna sting a little bit, though that’s not my first intention. But thanks for pointing it out. Bryan

      • matt says:

        Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Bryan. I bet you’re a great life-coach! And, knowing now that you can play the guitar, your point is well taken. If I had actually asserted that your motives were so base (it was just my knee-jerk reaction, not my conclusion; apologies if that was unclear), I would withdraw the statement. 🙂
        I guess that “manipulation” is kind of vague, in that the word as defined strictly is neutral, but in context and in most usage it has definite negative implications. I think I hear what you’re saying, but perhaps it sounds worse than it is. If pursuing physical interactions whilst knowing that desires differ, counts as manipulation, then sure — I’m right there with you, guilty as charged 🙂 But since when do the priorities of men and women ever have perfect congruence? To me, it is the differing foci of the genders that makes masculinity and femeninity a yin/yang sort of thing (ok I realize that “yin” and “yang” have enough gender meaning that I may have simply been redundant there, but hopefully you get what I’m saying.) My point is that saying women are “manipulated into sex” sounded to me like, “men are players, and women fall for it.” I’m not playing the virtous one here; I have most definitely had the experience of a huge shift in my interest level, immediately following the, er, “attainment” of my goal. But it was a shift, because the lying I had been doing was to myself, and until experience taught me to recognize my motivations, I really was whole-heartedly into it.
        I suppose I’m saying that I basically agree with everything you’ve said — in spirit, at least. But men don’t have a monopoly on manipulation, manipulation is not necessarily bad OR sexual, and when it IS bad, that’s a shitty thing no matter where its from or what the goal.

        Women have been exploited, under-dignified and downtrodden for most of human history, in almost every culture, and I think it’s fair to say that we’re still quite a ways from true equality. The social/mental liberation from the tyranny of archaic power structures is ongoing, and I think the very recoil of it has confused and made chaotic the shift in awareness and action, like the snap of a rubber band that is stretched to breaking. It seems hard to get anywhere without a lot of counterproductive finger-pointing and undeserved self-flagellation along the way… a situation that, in many ways, parallells the plight of displaced indigenous peoples, now existing amidst their displacors, who are individually just as indigenous and have nowhere to go even if they were inclined to return the land. In that scenario, and in the Gender Gap, we have people who suffer from disadvantage for no other reason than the existing culture was built that way, and it has inertia. I’m hopeful, that the solution may be as simple as, we must achieve a critical mass of uncritical minds — at which point society will be internally motivated to change. Like a meta version of “be the change you want to see.” 🙂
        But like you, Bryan, I haven’t got it all figured out; I just do the best I can, and try always to be who I am, no more no less just my best. Despite the tone of my first post, I do suspect you’re doing the same.

  5. allteresting says:

    Reblogged this on Allteresting and commented:
    Can men be friends with women they’re sexually attracted to?

  6. Pat Benage says:

    It’s not only possible to be friends, but it is actually possible to choose not to have sex with a woman you are attracted to because you prefer the friendship over the romantic relationship. It’s possible to reach a point of realization that sex for the sake of sex is just not very satisfying. Sure there’s the immediate pleasure, but without a deeper connection it holds little real value. I know many men and women alike who don’t really get this. I think it’s probably difficult until you have experienced the depths reachable when making love with someone with whom you are deeply connected.

  7. Here is what I took from this. Man bad woman good, men need to be more like women. Men you must get in touch with your inner femininity to be a true mature man. Give it a rest. FFS when did it become a crime in this world for a male to be manly. It seems to me there is a war going on against anything overtly masculine here. Look, I’m sorry that you removed your balls and have them tucked away in some purse somewhere but it’s really showing.
    Just look at the tags you tagged this blog with. “feminine masculine” “miss”representation project. It’s really quite sad how blatant you are. Next time maybe try to hide it a little better. Just a tip.

    • Bryan Reeves says:

      The way you’ve framed your comment, there’s not much room for meaningful conversation, but I appreciate you taking the time to say something at least relevant, so I’ll offer this … Men don’t need to be more like women. Men just need to be actual Men and grow beyond our adolescence where so many of us get stuck for all our lives. That’s the point of this blog. And I think it takes pretty big man balls to say so. Bryan.

  8. sissou says:

    I am a woman and I absolutely love your posts. I wish I can talk to you. Men can have issues, but rarely admit it. Thank you again.,

    • Bryan Reeves says:

      Ha. Man HAVE issues. Just like we have nipples, too. We’re not accustomed to vulnerability, though. There’s so much to say about this. I’m doing a 60-day 100 coaching conversations challenge. If you’re interested in a conversation, take a look at my website and let’s schedule one 🙂 http://www.managingthemagic.com

  9. Lori D. says:

    I am a woman and a feminist. I LOVE MEN! I am interested in a man who handles his masculinity well, and simultaneously fully respects and embraces the luscious qualities of a woman without fear or trepidation.

    In response to Jackie’s post: I want to define FEMINIST – because many times now, I’ve heard people, men and women, use it with disdain, disregard and as a substandard position, on the contrary. { Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.}

    This is the definition I work from (Wikipedia). At no point, does it indicate a lack of desire of men. To over-power or degrade men or the masculine. It is a movement and construct for equal opportunity regardless of gender. I do not condone, man-hating rhetoric or woman-hating speak either ~ feminist or not and all in-between and beyond. I stand to unite us all. All women together WITH men.

    Without the feminist movement of the early 1900’s, we still might NOT have the right to vote, own property, author books or even attend college. This only happened under 100 years ago because of direct efforts by feminist women. Feminism deserves respect and reverence by both genders and especially by women.

    One other note: I agree with you Bryan regarding the polarity issue. . . some/many women have fallen prey to manipulation for a multiple of reasons. To denounce it and state that it is the full responsible for women to navigate and intuitively know when a man is manipulating or not, is ridiculous. Some men, as women, can be extremely cunning. It really lies in the intent of each individual. So as Bryan defines the qualities of “love” from men, I think it is a valid repeated paradigm.

    This is not to say that all women are virtuous by any means. Women have a whole set of reasons for their immaturities. Please keep in mind, we are speaking in generalities; and as we know, these do not define each individual. We look for repeated patterns to help us break certain environs that we are accustomed to and hopefully create a better and just world.

    I applaud your crusade Bryan and am grateful for this new movement for the evolution of man. We need the mature masculine as well as the continued evolution of the feminine in order for us to unite and work together for the survival of humanity. Thank you for your courage to step out of the status quo and help our world!

  10. brandbull says:

    Wonderful perspective! However, coming from a rather less open culture, Bryan, I see the fact that very few women are mature and strong enough to accept the truth as is, being totally missed out.

    Something as direct as “you lost your father” has to be quoted carefully and indirectly to make most women not burst into an emotional volcano.

    Take a closer look and you will understand that men always respect decisions where the women is clear about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable with logical reasoning and I am afraid Bryan, logic has to have a definitive answer and can’t be “gray”. And let’s admit it, if there is any gray area allowed in interpretation, anything not in both’s favour(read expectations) would warrant constant debates or arguments. Which largely, flips the resulting situation to the distaste of one or both.

    And my observation is, with the so many I have spoken to, women are more creative than men in assuming what all could happen as a result of them even responding to a stare of a man across the room.

    So, your definition of maturity though interesting, IMHO, would need to assume that both the man and the woman have the same expectations from the interaction/conversation/relationship.

    Do explain your perspective, if otherwise.

    I am not a psychologist, however, I am researching and analysing psychology of human relationships and sexual mindsets, on a personal level.

  11. Jamie Rose Brown says:

    Brilliantly said! I have been searching for a man who grasps and understands this concept but am yet to find one!

  12. Corc Hamr says:

    This is an interesting and thought-provoking post, and I hope more men take the time to read it. However, that is not to say I agree with everything put to page. Agreed, men need to act more maturely in regards to their sexuality, and in regards to women. Completely agreed, a man can be purely platonic with a woman he is sexually attracted to, and vice versa. However:

    1) You seem to denounce masturbation as immature and shameful, as well as aids to masturbation, in the following passages:
    “… whenever confronted with intense sexual experiences … I would usually choose the easiest of shame, sex or masturbation … for quickly dealing with it.”
    “Since men can’t be vulnerable to work openly through the resulting confusion, we cope with the inner turmoil in countless ways unhealthy ways: we sex it, … porn it, drug and alcohol it, [etc.]”

    I disagree with the implication, if indeed this is what you are saying. I often take issue with those who shame others who masturbate. I often point out that even those who have sex regularly sometimes masturbate, as well, and not necessarily because they “aren’t getting enough”. I know those who can masturbate easily without much aid, and those who find it easier with visual or auditory cues (and one who can only really get into it with the smell). I know both men and women who are in their mid-thirties to late fifties who masturbate, and move on with their day, and who are quite respectful to the opposite sex.

    2) You also seem to equate maturity as being 100% comfortable with one’s sexual appetites and bodily functions. Now, I feel very comfortable when I expel gas in public, despite the fact I’ve made it very uncomfortable for everyone else’s olfactory sense. However, my significant other does not feel comfortable expelling gas, and feels very out of place if she does so in public. This does not make her “immature.”

    People do not need to be comfortable with themselves 100% in order to be mature. Some people do not like their hair. Some people do not like the size or burden of their breasts. Some people kind of hate that feeling between their legs when they get an erection. Not everyone is going to like sex, or mustard, or Picasso paintings. Not many people are comfortable in places that are very different from their culture, unless they first mentally prepare themselves to experience it. This does not make them “immature”.

    I get that mostly you are arguing that men should learn to manage their emotions and sexual urges positively, and I agree with that (and I love your post on Breathing Into [it]; reminds me of some of my early meditation classes). I also agree that our culture has not done many favors in teaching men how to deal with those urges. However, in your closing arguments, assuming that someone who is mature will “… enjoy their own erections without always having to do something with them,” does an injustice to those who need to read this post and will never be fully comfortable with some aspects of themselves. I am somewhat concerned that someone who reads those words and has that false expectation of themselves will revert to previous ways of thinking and actions when such results do not occur.

    My two bits. Have a good one, and please keep writing on this subject.

  13. Jeff Norton says:

    I was REALLY hoping that you would have awesome suggestions as to how to do this. Simply pointing out the challenges without offering any suggestions misses a great opportunity for needed help. It’s very true what you say, but just more people highlighting the contradictory and extremely frustrating situation that we men are in without helpful ways to fix it feels like more condemnation. I would absolutely love helpful and encouraging tips and action steps. In the spirit of vulnerability, I don’t believe that most guys are animals and awful (which I hear many women express in a variety of ways), but I do know that many of us are confused and would LOVE being better, but we lack the understanding of how to make effective and lasting changes. Suggestions?

  14. Kaitlyn Fae says:

    I am completely in love with this article. You hit the nail on the head so many times it hurts! Thank you for writing such brilliant and heartfelt insights, your words are living proof that enlightened men can and DO exist out there!!!!!! Please keep writing gems like these, and good vibes all day long 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Bryan Reeves says:

      Hi Kaitlyn … yes, please have faith. More and more of us men are finally awakening to our full brilliance. Most of us did not have healthy masculine male role models to learn from, so unfortunately we do a lot of stupid things along our journey. But we’re waking up. It’s time.

  15. Claire Born says:

    I got a surprising answer from a man who had told me that if we couldn’t be lovers, we could no longer be friends. He said, “It hurts too much.” He wasn’t talking physical pain (lol). He was a very sensitive guy. His heart hurt when he saw me, he wanted more. I was his teacher, though, and it was not appropriate, alas. Thank you, Bryan, for this and all the work you are doing~ Namaste

  16. Andy B says:

    Interesting article, I can relate to this situation, I guess we make decisions on what we feel is right for us at the time – but I do agree about the maturity bit.

  17. On-idle says:

    This was a very insightful article thank you for researching and writing it.. As a woman that served in the military I had many male platonic respectful friends. Yes some tried to cross boundaries, yet when they knew I wasn’t willing to accept that crossing they would back off. It’s very difficult from being in that environment and going into a relationship with someone I do care deeply for that doesn’t think male/female friendships can exist without becoming intimate and in fact it’s even disrespecting him to be friends. It’s beyond reasoning that why would I want to be intimate with any of my friends and when I want to only keep them as friends and only ever wanted them as a friend.. I don’t think it’s fair to end my friendships yet I don’t want to lose him either. I do know it’s at the end of the day it’s about trust and respect for me. Suggestions?

    • Bryan Reeves says:

      I have two observations:

      1) Your current partner clearly has challenges around trust. Could be he saw evidence as a child that suggests intimate couples can’t really trust each other to have friends (perhaps in his parents)? Could be a cultural thing (I lived in Egypt for a time, and men-women are definitely not trusted as friends). Maybe he was cheated on before. Regardless, you must know this is not about you. He has a serious trust problem.

      2) Part of this trust problem is because HE clearly hasn’t learned how to be authentic friends with a woman. He doesn’t even see how it’s possible. That speaks a lot to his ability (inability) to control his own sexual urges in the presence of women.

      My suggestion for you would be to consider how stubborn he is on this subject. If he isn’t willing to consider other possibilities, then this is the life you must get used to in his presence. Don’t expect him to change; that’s called a “Love Project.” And those are exhausting, frustrating, and usually completely futile. Don’t love him “on potential.” Expect he’ll never change.

      However, if he is willing to consider other possibilities … 1) that’s a sign of a healthy human mind and 2) then you have room to explore. He may need to ease into scenarios where you have male friends, and you might start with men who could not possibly be threatening to him.

      However, an insecure person is going to see “threats” to their survival everywhere, even where those threats are completely imagined (which is most places).

      Whatever direction you take, just remember you are here to simply wake up to the truth of who you really are. Whether you stay with this guy or not, your life’s purpose is to open up more and more to love. (that’s what I believe, anyway)

      I hope this is helpful. (I was in the military, too)

    • Thomas says:

      I am an Educational Interpreter for the Deaf. Most Sign Language Interpreters are female which means that most of my coworkers are women. After working with them for over seven years most of them are trusted friends. If my girlfriend was immature we couldn’t be together. So I feel your pain On-idle… It can be a difficult balancing act being respectful of your man’s feelings while at the same time keeping these important friendships intact.

  18. […] 3. Why Men Can’t Be Friends With Women They’re Attracted To (And Some Can) […]

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