I have decided to call the website Integrated Male. This is a phrase coined by Dr. Robert Glover, a therapist that noticed how many men are not stepping up in the relationship, leaving their partners often frustrated, feeling unseen and unloved by the nice guy behaviour of these men.
An integrated male, according to him, rises above the level of a jerk or a nice guy, the latter two still operating from a level of fear. The jerk has the fear of being oppressed and the nice guy has the fear of being rejected.
I am one of them, mostly operating as a nice guy. When I was growing up, I subliminally formed the false idea that if I do what pleases my mother, older sister, partner, boss or other authority figure, I would have a problem free life. This is probably the result of being raised with no father, and being imprinted with the more feminine ideas of cooperation, compliance, protecting feelings and agreeableness by my older sister and a single mother.
Now I want to share the imprints that I have received from other men, that had been left under-emphasized in my youth, such as accountability, responsibility, discipline and honesty, even if feelings get hurt.
Our sexual organs are in the way of gender becoming a social construct.
When I look down, something is sticking out. When a woman looks down something is hidden.
I have ten times more testosterone than a woman.
So here I am, concerned to be painting men as ruthlessly honest and women as easily offended, and writing this piece to defend myself against men and women that could be offended. So why still call the website integrated male, and not integrated integrity or some other quality that isn’t distinctly attributed to a gender?
The reason is that I have chosen to speak from my perspective as a guy, growing up with strong women and an absent father, seeking male teachers later in life and finding out that these men have qualities and wisdom that I find inspiring and that was previously absent in my frame of reference. Qualities that I now aim to integrate with my existing, more feminine taught, qualities.
Speaking with the men in my men’s group my story of being a nice guy is far from unique, and I expect that there are many other men out there that resonate with what I share.
I realize that sharing these qualities could create a one sided picture of what an integrated male would be, emphasizing the masculine and perhaps implying a rejection of the feminine, but I will take that risk, for the simple reason that I have blind spots and no illusion to be writing a complete manual for the modern man. Plus I aim to share the more sensitive topics that are often left untouched.
Naturally I do acknowledge that the qualities that I promote are not exclusively masculine or male and possibly people can take offense to me using gender specific pronouns at places. Also, that risk I will take as I speak on behalf of me and not all men.
So I won't enjoy it, but people will probably take offense. As a result, in the last few days I have prepared myself mentally, mostly by listening to podcasts on cancel culture and formulating a personal rule book on how to respond. This way of responding is quite like how I aim to deal with domestic fights: to hold space for the other, inspect their point of view from as many angles as I can find, then sniff my armpits and refrain from replying until I feel I can respond free from triggers or knee jerks. That respond could include an apology, but only if I feel it serves the other. If it mostly serves me any apology would be opportunistic, false and meaningless.
Let's see if I can hold myself to these rules and not become too trigger happy.
My frame of reference has been for a very long time hetero-normative, white, male and somewhat feminist. Nowadays my sexual identity is more determined by the sexual energy than purely physical, I like to inhabit a whole spectrum from feeling deeply masculine to super feminine, thanks to my Tantric explorations. My sexual interests have moved all over the spectrum and I consider them to be fluid, thanks to my explorations in the kink and queer scenes. My physical gender identity was and is still CIS. As said earlier, I often feel very feminine, but I have no idea what it is to be a woman or transgender.
My feminist views are roughly the same, I am 100% in favour of equality of opportunity, yet I cannot see how affirmative action can be done without infantilizing, and thus dis-empowering women. Having grown up around strong independent powerful women, I believe I would do them a disservice if I would promote equality of outcome.
I do not embrace the idea that women and men are essentially the same or that among men there are more differences than between men and women. Even though it is true that men and women encompass a huge spectrum of personalities, relationship styles and behaviours, I do think that having a penis or having a vagina makes a difference.
The first difference is that testicles produce levels of testosterone that are unique to men. Making thus men on average taller and with more upper body strength. This difference has all kinds of consequences, such as a sense of physical danger that many women report and the possibility to physically dominate for men.
A second difference is that a penis is sticking out and a vagina is internal. So the sexual centre is respectively outside the body or inside the body. I can only imagine what differences that creates and off course I have asked women about it. The women I know who wear strap-ons, report that it makes them feel completely different. So these differences are undeniable to me.
I can imagine that in a Utopian world these gender differences have become fully optional, and who knows what gender I would opt for. But as long as I experience differences, I will not argue with reality.
Yes they are equal, this is a matter of principle. I do make a distinctions between people and behaviour and yes, I think some men and women are superior in their thoughts and actions than other men and women, but this is across the field and not between men and women.
I do emphasize that I don’t want men and women to be the same. The beauty of sexual polarity should not be thrown out with the bath water, in our endeavours of promoting equality. Even more so, I love to switch with my partner and celebrate my feminine side while she celebrates her masculine side. Healthy polarity thrives with consciously embodying complementing forces, like yin and yang, Shakti and Shiva or whatever cultural appropriation we choose.
As mentioned before, I wrote this piece to give a frame of reference every time I talk about men, women, male, female, masculine and feminine. These are concepts that I like to keep using, as trying to rephrase them into the latest politically correct version will only make these phases suspect, which they are not in my opinion. I love both men and women, masculine and feminine and I will keep using them in my endeavour to celebrate sexual polarity and healthy relationships.