As a Sex Coach for men, I have a unique window into what women need to know about men, and I think a lot of it will surprise you. There are so many myths and misconceptions about sex that are so harmful to our men in sex and relationships. Consider this an introduction to what men want women to know… and look for a lot more men’s sexuality content in the future.
I was invited to speak to a women’s collective in January. While they usually host events for, we decided to use my expertise as a men’s Sex Coach to create a workshop about what women need to know about men. Stay tuned for more details from my event partner!
While I work with all sexualities and genders, this post in particular speaks to cisgender women dating cisgender men. I do not see gender as a binary, and yet so much of my work with people is focused on unwinding the cultural/social conditioning we received when we grew up as boy or girl. No matter how you identify now, or what type of relationship you’re in, you might still be working through some of this conditioning.
Here are the main challenges that come up in the men that I work with:
- Body shame and penis shame.
- Lack of skills to be emotional, vulnerable, and intimate.
- Not giving men the tenderness and kindness they deserve.
When I think about what women need to know about men, these ideas really are at the core. In this article, I’m going to talk about each of these ideas in turn, and how you can use your own self-reflection to build better relationship from within. You might be super frustrated with or angry about your relationship, and I hear that. And, I invite you in as a healing partner into the relationship. Let’s go!
The Patriarchy Harms both Men and Women—But Differently
The patriarchy harms us all, men and women and people that live beyond the binary, in different ways. If you’re a woman you’ve likely been shamed your whole life for not being pretty enough, thin enough, blonde enough, young enough, sexy enough (or too sexy), and we’re told that we’re too difficult, too emotional, too needy, that our bodies are hard to figure out.
But guess what—little boys get messaging that’s equally damaging. Little girls are made of sugar, spice, and everything nice… but little boys are made of snakes and snails and puppy dogs tails. Little boys are given the message that ‘real men’ only look one way, and that unless they torture their body with starvation and weightlifting they simply won’t look like ‘real men.’ Little boys are told to ‘man up’ and not be emotional, to hide their feelings and be strong. Why do you think we have a collective of men that can’t talk about their feelings?
Basic Sex Education for Women about Men
There’s a lot of information here, but one of the most important things I want you to take away from this article: Loving Men = Respecting Penises.
How many times have you made jokes about small dicks? Whether it’s about an ex- or current partner, or a random dude on the street, any amount of penis-shaming is too much, period. There’s a lot of casual shaming of men’s bodies that we engage in on an individual and cultural basis (ie: small dick energy, making jokes about cars = small dicks). We make fun of men for being too big, too small, and so much more. And men do it to each other, too. Men tell me of locker room terror, watching porn to see if they could measure up, and wondering if they are normal. Likely, YES, they are normal.
Pop Quiz: What do you think is the size of the average penis? See the end of the article for the answer!
So many men tell me about their deep sense of body shame. This shows up in penis shame, but also because they are too short/too tall, too muscular/not muscular enough, too hairy/not hairy enough, and so much more. There is so much about our body that we cannot change, and the deep shame we heap upon men for their bodies and penises (and they heap on each other, for sure) is just so detrimental.
A lot of this stems from lack of basic sex education, but also social conditioning (ie: what we expect men’s bodies to do and when). One way that you can help deprogram shame and stigma about penises is to learn more about how they work!
- Erections sometimes happen, sometimes they don’t. This is called arousal non-concordance: your brain is turned on but your body isn’t showing it, or your body is showing signs of arousal, but your head isn’t in it. Erections (or lack thereof) doesn’t mean he’s ready for sex; lack of doesn’t mean he’s not attracted to you/interested in you. Here’s a great article about erections and impotence featuring Dr. Rachel Rubin.
- “Bodies being bodies:” This is the phrase my partner and I use when our bodies don’t do exactly what we want. This awareness is especially important as we age.
- Ejaculation! Sometimes it’s faster than he wants, sometimes it’s slower. Premature ejaculation is actually a medical diagnosis, but we use it colloquially to the detriment of our men. A phrase that is more respectful is erectile unpredictability; there are practices to learn that help men gain control of their ejaculation and learn to not ejaculate at all (see my article here about edging).
- Soft cock appreciation and play. Learn how to love and with him in softness. This is some really deep, mindful sex exploration, and learning to love and play with a soft cock is super fun, very sexy, and can be a lovely way to experience pleasure without an erection.
Pop Quiz: What do you think is the medical diagnoses of premature ejaculation (in minutes)? See the end of the article for the answer!
Emotional Stuckness: The Nice Guy Situation
The men that choose to work with me are generally nice guys. The men that come to work with me want SO MUCH to be good partners, boyfriends, husbands, fathers, and friends. And yet, because we don’t give boys opportunity to express emotions and be vulnerable, as adults, these men might not be great at it yet. So we have a lot of men who are really good, but the niceness might not always translate in the way women can see and hear it. Secondly, this superficial niceness doesn’t necessarily translate immediately to openness and vulnerability.
Complicating this, there are lots of men that want to do good, but sometimes their feminine partners are so dismissive and aggressive, the men can’t ever get it right. There is a lot of work to do here, and I really think it takes deep self-reflection.
Many women sling a lot of blame onto their partners. Henceforth, we’re going to do our best to not blame, and instead be super reflective about how we’re showing up in our relationship and how our own behavior towards our partners legitimizes some of their actions and discourages them from making the changes we want.
Years ago, I read a book by another female sex educator that worked with men. One of the things that really struck me was that, “they want us to be NICE to them; niceness trumps everything.” You might be thinking, yeah, I’m totally a nice person. And yet! When I speak to women about the bad behaviors that I see in couples, the women in my groups usually say, OH, yea. I do that.
One of the primary ways this shows up is in relationships criticism and contempt—two of the Gottman Institutes ‘Four Horsemen‘ of the relationship apocalypse. According to decades of research, these behaviors indicate relationship distress. I’ve seen this in couples where the man will say something vulnerable or make an offering of support or changed behavior, and she shuts it down, or tells him he’s doing it wrong. If you regularly eye-roll your partner, shame him in private or public (whether he knows it or not), or if you are critical of them, this is not good for you, for him, or your relationship.
When I work with men, to the best of my ability, I give them the benefit of the doubt. To be clear, this is not true in the face of truly bad or abusive behavior. In that case I will step into my Domme energy and tell them about their bad behavior and not let them make excuses.
But often these behaviors are tied together. If you are partnered with a man, I invite you into self-reflection about how you behave towards your partner. I know there are some women that will say, “why should I show up for him when he doesn’t show up for me blah blah.” THIS IS EXACTLY THE TYPE OF SELF-REFLECTION I WANT YOU TO PAUSE AND CONSIDER.
To me, there are two things here. One, I totally understand how it might seem impossible to show up for your partner, especially if you think they don’t show up for you. But in the relationship, someone has to take the first step. Second, if you really feel like UGH I don’t want to show up for that person, I really invite you to think about whether this relationship is the right fit for you.
Third, and often most importantly, we are so DEPLETED from our relationship roles (and the mental load) that we can’t imagine taking on more tasks, practices, or jobs. This feeling of depletion or resentment can also be corrosive in relationships. However, stepping into your feminine energy can be really important here.
Many of us feel depleted because we’re not asking for what we want—we use nagging and complaining in order to ask for something that kinda meets our needs—an example of a wounded feminine. Rarely do we ask with clarity and conviction. You simply must advocate for yourself, ask for your needs to be met, and really show up for yourself in relationships, and do so clearly, often, and in ways that do not blame or shame. This means stepping up, having the hard conversations (kindly) and learning how to grow together.
This might mean you work with your own Honolulu Sex Coach or Sex Therapist to deal with your own shit. This might mean getting really clear about your needs and desires in relationship, and learning to ASK FOR THEM. It means advocating for yourself even when it’s hard, and when you think your partner won’t like it. Saying the clear thing, even if it’s the hard thing, allows you to show up more authentically for yourself.
In my decades of relating with men, I’ve learned a lot of this the hard way. I was socialized to nag and complain and hope that he would meet my needs. This has never worked. Now, I practice clear communication, direct requests, and really being more present for the dynamic man I love.
Sometimes this means saying no when it might hurt him, sometimes it means advocating for space when I know he wants togetherness, but the cost of NOT advocating for myself is too great. I’m dedicated to this partnership and the work it takes to make it be really great. I hope these tools of reflection also help you dive into your own process and build the relationship you want, and deserve.
- The size of the average penis 8.8 cm (3.5 in) when flaccid and 12.9 cm (5.1 in) when erect.
- The medical diagnoses of premature ejaculation is within one minute of entering your partner (citation)