Men Understand: The Hidden Reasons We Feel What We Feel And Do What We Do
When I was five years old, my father overdosed on sleeping pills and was admitted to the Camarillo State Mental Hospital. I grew up with an insatiable need to understand what happened to my father and I was afraid it would happen to me. I went to college, got married, had kids, got a masters degree, then a doctorate, and started MenAlive.com. I am seventy-seven now and I continue my quest to understand men and women who love us. Here are the highlights of what I’ve learned so far.
- We cannot understand men (or women) if we do not understand evolutionary science.
In college, I learned the basics of scientific method: make an observation, ask a question, form a hypothesis, make a prediction based on the hypothesis, test the prediction, use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.
Evolutionary science teaches us that individuals with traits that best suit their environment are more likely to survive, find food, avoid predators, and resist disease. These people are more likely to reproduce and pass their genes on to their children.
In her book Gender Gap: The Biology of Male-Female Differences, the evolutionary psychologist David P. Barash, PhD reports. and his wife, Dr. Judith Eve Lipton, who is a doctor and psychiatrist, say,
“When it comes to human nature, the differences between men and women must be recognized as real, important, and downright fascinating. Furthermore, there is no better guide than evolution when it comes to understanding these differences. “
- Remember that biology is not fate.
While there are differences between men and women that are built into our genetic and biological heritage, that does not mean that biology is destiny and that things cannot change. We now know that even the way our genes are expressed is influenced by environmental factors, including our thoughts and beliefs.
Early research on genetics suggested that the DNA in our nucleus controlled many aspects of who we are and who we can become. Because males and females are genetically different, we believed that males and females are inherently different and that these differences are ingrained and immutable. But we now have a new understanding of our genetic heritage. In his book The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles, Bruce Lipton says:
“The science of epigenetics, which literally means ‘control over genetics’, is fundamentally changing our understanding of how life is controlled.”
Citing new studies, Lipton says:
“Over the past decade, epigenetic research has found that DNA blueprints passed on through genes are not made concrete at birth. Genes are not fate! Environmental influences, including diet, stress and emotions, can alter these genes without changing their basic blueprint. “
So when I discuss the differences between men and women, keep in mind that these are not codified. Feminine changes will forever change men and vice versa. When the female roles change, the male roles also change. Who we are as males and females is determined by our biology and also influenced by our environment.
- Males and females face different evolutionary challenges.
We all descend from a long and unbroken line of ancestors who successfully fought for coveted partners, attracted partners valuable to reproduction, held partners long enough to procreate, and fought off interested rivals.
Since women bear the greater burden of reproductive success by carrying, giving birth, feeding, and feeding the fetus in their bodies, they are more valuable from an evolutionary point of view. Men compete with other men to be elected by a woman.
“Men are more aggressive than women and women are more caring, at least towards infants and children, then towards men,” says anthropologist Melvin Konnner. “I’m sorry if this is a cliché; that can’t make it any less factual. “
- Evolution creates different sexual psychologies for men and women.
According to Dr. David Buss, author of the textbook Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind,
“Human sexual psychology evolved over millions of years to cope with ancestral adjustment problems before modern contraceptive technology emerged. Humans still have this underlying sexual psychology, even if the current environment has changed. “
Evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers offers two profound truths to help us understand male and female sexual psychology:
- The sex that invests more in offspring, typically, but not always, the female, will be more discriminatory or picky about mating.
- The sex that invests less in offspring will be more competitive for sexual access to the high investment sex.
“What the competition is for men,” say Dr. David Barash and Dr. Judith Eve Lipton, authors of The Biology of Male-Female Differences, “Voting is for women.”
- Different challenges lead to unique differences between men and women.
Matt Ridley, author of The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature says:
“Not everything is different; most things are actually identical between the sexes. Much of the folklore about differences is just comfortable sexism. ”
He goes on to say
“Those who have studied the differences between men and women, even those determined not to find them, have concluded that significant differences exist.”
In her book Eve’s Rib: The New Science of Gender-Specific Medicine, Marianne J. Legato MD says:
“Everywhere we look, the two sexes differ not only in their internal function, but also in their experience of illness, surprisingly and unexpectedly.”
- Evolution drives two human natures, one male and one female.
Evolutionary psychologist David M. Buss conducted the largest human mating study ever completed, including more than 10,000 people of all ages from 37 cultures worldwide. He reported his findings in the book The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating and concluded that there were many similarities between men and women in what they wanted from a partner, but there were also significant differences.
What do women really want? Buss found that the three most important qualities women look for in men are exactly the same as men look for in women: intelligence, kindness, and love. When women find these three qualities, they consider a man’s ability to protect them and their children, his ability to perform, and his willingness to engage in the relationship.
What do men really want? Like women, men seek love, intelligence, and kindness in a partner. But then a man is drawn to youth and beauty. This interest is not just a modern, advertising-driven desire. According to Buss, it is a universal desire based on the evolutionary pressures for reproductive success.
Since women’s ability to father and father children decreases with age, youth is a direct indicator of fertility. Buss found that men all over the world were drawn to beautiful women. “Full lips, clear and smooth skin, clear eyes, shiny hair and good muscle tone,” he says, “are generally sought after.”
In Part 2, I will continue to share more of the hidden secrets of manhood that I have learned over the years. I would like to tell you about a new online course that I am starting with the title Healing the Father Wound. Over the years I’ve learned that too many relationships fail because of a hidden problem that few people realize or understand – the effects of growing up in a family where a father was physically or emotionally absent. Millions of us have been wounded and most of us don’t even know it. It is never too late to heal your father’s wound. You can find out more here.
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