A Challenge to Male Roles In U. S. Since 1937

Another Conversation on Masculinity, Society, and Change. by  Calvin Harris H.W., M.


man in the mirror.jpg

“Rationalization was much easier than recognizing the gravity of what was lost: an innocent, healthy childhood and an introduction to sexuality on my terms” - Concepción de León

This is a powerful quote from New York Times writer, Concepción de León.

I have spoken before about the necessity of sexuality, and  gender preference be defined by the individual, coming from their innate self, expressed outwardly decided by the  person in their own terms.   

I have mention before how this innate process has been derailed through  children’s storybooks, affecting  children’s gender and sexual behaviors from centuries past. So, today I would like us to look at a tenacious  twentieth century  American comic strip, that has speed seemed to act as an equalizer of bad behaviors (if for only one day), a chance for the young female adults of the last era to enact behaviors befitting their male counterparts. and  how this American folktale may have the underpinning for new sexual roles and yet again poor marks regarding Males and Masculinity in the twenty first century and beyond.

The Sadie Hawkins Day Race

The Sadie Hawkins Day Race

The Comic Strip was created by cartoonist Al Capp and called Li'l Abner. The Encyclopaedia Britannica reported that Li’l Abner, ran in American newspaper from 1934 until 1977, chronicling the absurdities of daily life in the fictional Appalachian town of Dogpatch.

The comic strip abounded in stereotypes of Appalachia. Its title character, Abner Yokum, was a handsome, muscle-bound hillbilly, as lazy as he was dull witted. Like Abner, most of the men of Dogpatch were cast as essentially useless to society; all the real work was done by the “wimmenfolk.” One such woman was the curvaceous and beautiful yet hard-working Daisy Mae Scragg, who was hopelessly in love with Abner and pursued him fruitlessly for years before they finally married in 1952; they produced a child, Honest Abe, in 1953. Another was Abner’s mother, Mammy [who to me looked like Popeye the Sailor], She was the unofficial mayor of Dogpatch, who smoked a corncob pipe and kept the Yokum household running while her lazy, illiterate husband, Pappy, did little more than lie about.

Capp used Li’l Abner to comment satirically on American life and politics, spoofing ruthless capitalists in the early years before turning his wit on hippies and antiwar activists as his views grew more conservative later in life. He retired his creation in 1977, two years before his death. Since then, Li’l Abner has been reprinted at various times.”

In its wake, this comic strip has had a profound influence on the way the world viewed the American South, Men’s  & Women’s roles. and a notable celebration in Dogpatch called, Sadie Hawkins Day, on which the women of the town were allowed to marry any bachelor they could chase down and capture; annual on that  day of role reversal. Females asked males to dances, have sex, or marry. The enormous popularity of the Sadie Hawkins Day  had Capp obligingly  making it a comic strip tradition every November, lasting four decades. The Sadie Hawkins Day phenomena went from being  a pseudo-holiday  November 15, 1937 to gaining in popularity in 1939, two years after its inauguration, the celebration warranted a two-page spread in Life Magazine, who reported that on “Sadie Hawkins Day, Girls Chase Boys in 201 Colleges." By the early 1940s the comic strip event had swept the nation's imagination and acquired a life of its own. By 1952, the event was reportedly celebrated in various venues around the world. It became a woman-empowering rite at high schools and college campuses, long before the modern feminist movement gained prominence.


The practical side of Sadie Hawkins day was simply one of gender role-reversal. Women and girls take the initiative, make decisions in preparation to go out with their  invite  man or boy of choice — almost unheard of before 1937.


Yet the Male paradigm, the persona of the male counterpoint in Dogpatch  depicts a protagonist, “who is handsome, muscle-bound and as lazy as he was dull witted. A character essentially useless to himself, to his family and to society.  

A character, that we can only hope will not take hold in the American male psyche, as the roles of men and women begin to balance each other out, no longer  men vs women but equal in opportunity.


Book Unspeakable by Daum

Book Unspeakable by Daum

Meghan Daum, author of “The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion”,  an occasional, Los Angeles Times oped columnist.


On a topic of women vs men causes and movements,  Meghan said [these movements] “will live or die by the degree to which it’s willing to let people in. Until it makes room for examinations not just of toxic masculinity but also toxic femininity—and, even better, dispatch with these meaningless terms—it will continue to tell only half the story. Until it admits that women can be as manipulative and creepy and generally awful as men, the movement will continue to send a message that we’re not really whole people.”


I’m wary of any language that defines people ‘only’ based on what was done to them, as opposed to an identity they chose.  I would not want people’s life story to be overshadowed by notions of popular culture.

Yet so many men have felt isolated and unresponsive by what was misread as to how they should act and be by their culture. Decisions in life and sexually counter to their nature, that they just freeze up, or succumb to that which can only be described as trauma.

“The Body Keeps the Score”.jpg

Dr. van der Kolk a psychiatrist specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder, working with  veterans to sexual assault survivors, wrote a book called: “The Body Keeps the Score”  which hinges on his idea that trauma is stored in the body and that, for therapy to be effective, it needs to take into account the physiological changes that occur. He says, “Many people also experience dissociation, which can manifest as literal desensitization in parts of the body or the inability to describe physical sensations.”


Men’s identities must change to be able to let go of painful isolation.  Let go of fragmented storylines,  images, sounds and emotion that must be processed as belonging to the past.

The Re-Imaging of Masculinity in the 21st Century and it’s role model for the coming youth, must be vigorously overhauled and fiercely optimistic of a person’s place in the world, for example:

Masculine youth needs to learn to be rigorously honest about what he knows and what he needs to know, and what he feels. To express constructive emotions that exposes the past and lets it go. He knows how to rage without hurting others. He knows how to fear and keep moving. He knows joy, and shares gratitude. He seeks self-mastery.

The 21st Century and beyond male youth has to learn to let go of childish shame. Feeling guilty when they have done nothing  wrong. He is kind to men, kind to women, kind to children. He teaches others how to be kind.

He stopped blaming women or his parents or men for his pain. He creates intimacy and trust with his actions. He stopped letting his defenses ruin his relationships. He stopped letting his libido run his life. He has learned self-respect comes from telling the truth. He has men who he trusts and turns to for support.

He confronts his limitations. He knows how to take conscious chances makes things happen. He knows how to learn from his mistakes and roll with it. When he falls, he gets back up. He practices compassion, for himself and others.  He is disciplined when he needs to be. He is flexible when he needs to be. He has high expectations for himself and those he connects with and finally He knows how to listen from the core of his being.

S. F. Pride 1986 Snake Man

S. F. Pride 1986 Snake Man

He knows he is an animal and part of nature. Yet he knows his spirit and the connection to something greater. As a whole person, he looks for ways to serve others. He knows he has a higher purpose. He loves with fierceness. He laughs with abandonment because he lives fully.


These are some descriptions of the Re-Imagined Masculinity, a reality that means a revolution/evolution of the holders of the future, that means a change in you, A call for a rethink of the stories you tell about yourself, a rethink of expectations of yourself and others, and a focus on tomorrow.


If these words speak to your heart, learn more  

mentoring and training that offers powerful opportunities for men’s personal growth at any stage of life.

Calvin has been facilitating men’s work for over a decade.

A credo for the new masculine. a New Conversation with Men,

Reclaiming Male Role Models,

Advertising, Gender, and A New Masculinity

Man is comtemplation.jpg

A poem by a man, a mechanic by trade and  poet/writer  by vocation Jim Storm, his poem  says a lot about the month of October and the uncovering of the new masculinity within all people: “October is about leaves revealing colors they have hidden all year. People have an October as well.”

In a blog that I wrote (April 2018 - SOC) entitled “Masculinity Is It the Problem or A Programed Expectation?”   What is Masculinity? How is it measured? What are its demands? And how is that person meant to look, think, act, and feel? and should that be according to the mores of society?

This is a continuation of that conversation, and to somehow navigate  that  storm of debate on the subject of Masculinity successfully using a compass with an edge, and that edge is composed of paying attention, and preparation gathered from how the storms behaved in the past, there in is the edge.


We looked at how common nursery rhymes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from Europe and America had negative descriptors of Masculinity, and the male gender described as slugs, snails, snips, and frogs depending on where in the world the rhyme was told.

In today’s society, Advertising has played one of the important roles of carving out either negative or positive representations of gender and masculinity of late. But with a focus on women’s empowerment dominating the  cultural landscape, Producers keen on selling their brand and products are forgetting their role in shaping male identity as a consequence.

Suzy Bashford, international journalist in her article for the online European business  marketing website called The Drum (July 2016) wrote:

“A growing global ‘boy crisis’ suggests that we could be, in fact, empowering the wrong sex…. The difference is that we are all now familiar with the narrative around [women’s issues] and tackling these issues, thanks in no small part to groundbreaking campaigns such as ‘Like A Girl’ by Always, Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ and Dove’s ‘Real Beauty ’ [ad campaigns]…..

We are much less equipped to talk about the issues affecting boys. There’s an unconscious bias that males should simply ‘man up’ and deal with any crisis of confidence themselves…Yet, the reality is that men commit suicide more than women, and are more likely to drop out of education and get involved in crime, drugs and binge-drinking. Moreover, as women are increasingly empowered, many men feel increasingly dis-empowered, accentuating these social problems.”

Vintage Advert remixed

Vintage Advert remixed

Unilever known as Lynx, owner of “[Axe] deodorant brand who wants to become the number one male grooming brand in the world. Had to realize that their marketing strategy failed when sales slowed dramatically from when they’d first entered the market with the “alpha-male” concept. Lynx/Axe admits it had been relying on assumptions before its repositioning. It was only when sales growth slowed that the brand decided to invest in some proper research, leading to a 10-country study of 3,500 men, and consultation of experts such as neuroscientists, to find out what men are really thinking. The results shocked the brand explained Stephanie Feeny, head of strategy at 72&Sunny Amsterdam’s An Advertising Agency used by Lynx to research and reform marketing strategies. “Ideas of masculinity had changed and it recognised it wasn’t quite keeping pace with culture. Lynx/Axe found men are craving a more diverse definition of what it means to be a ‘successful’ man.”

One of the sectors most impacted by this insight is FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer daily used Goods). With analyst from FMCG buying practices, gender role assumptions were most challenged. It was found the person who wins the bread and the person who buys the bread isn’t down to gender these days, for example,

It is often now that the advertiser discovers that in some country’s men are doing 40 per cent of the supermarket shopping. That in the US men have been running household budgets. If producers of goods don’t recognised this, they are going to lose out because they’re increasingly ignoring their potential biggest audience. We hear a lot about women’s voices needing to be heard, but when it comes to men, it becomes strangely silent.

Campaigner David Brockway, who manages the Great Initiative’s Great Men project, urges the industry to be “more revolutionary”,

The Lynx /Axe global brand repositioning had been a “difficult”, steep learning curve admits Fernando Desouches, brand development director, he argues that he learned “men are actually more emotional than women” and that they need more empowerment than women. Desouches says, “you’ve got to ‘set the platform’ before you explode the myth.”

the Argentinian’s voice is tangible when he says” “Women have feminism. But men don’t even know they are sick. This is why we need to put men alongside women, not move them to the side to give room to women. Both genders need to be in the center.”

The Gender divisive issues are certainly at the center of the storm, and will subside through guiding principals of compassion and compass points like attention, and preparation to steer you through the storm. At the end a truly equal future, when sex becomes a far less defining characteristic than it is today.

Suzy Bashford puts it this way:  “After all, you cannot fully empower either gender if by empowering one you are creating divisions and disempowering the other.

As Nobel peace prizewinner Malala Yousafzai puts it ‘we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.’ A statement that is equally true of women, as it is of men.”

The (missed) Perceptions that Leads to Penis Envy in Men By Calvin Harris, H.W.,M.

It seems that sooner or later that within a conversation about masculinity the subject of the Penis will pop up and rear its head. Since all things Masculine has been a subject of conversations, reading, and writing with me lately I am not surprise the subject of Penis came up. Since this is a difficult subject to discuss, some levity has been added in this post as "puns" disguised as  "Freudian Slips." We learn through humor as much as through struggle. 

Neptunes Penis bologa, Italy

Neptunes Penis bologa, Italy

I am not new to the subject of men and their relationships to their penis, but in this context, of Penis envy, two situation occurred that tip the balance and moved me to write. One situation is a repeating occurrence that happens, and the second situation occurred in a relax few friends at lunch gathering. I was taken aback by the rise of emotion and  in heat of the conversation over the despair at the lost of foreskin and the possible pleasure missed as a result of that. At the time, I felt pieces were missing to the dialogue presented at the lunch conversation and needed to be put in a larger context along with Health, Love, Sexuality, Sensuality, and Relationship.  

I am not surprised with the notion about the penis and its importance in receiving pleasure in some men's lives (it is the most interesting thing they do), yet I am surprise as to the absence of any mention of other components to pleasuring oneself such as through other erogenous zones about the body, or to healthy relationships either with the self or anyone else? Well back to my story.

The latest instance for me in the Penis envy scenario occurred three weeks back at this pub, when an associate I don't know well, turns to me and says: “How" lucky I was to be born African American!, with that look of envy on his glassy eyed face, and you know that he didn't mean I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. As I looked at him, you could just picture, in his minds eye, him in that 1974 scene as the Monster with Madeline Kahn, from the  Young Frankenstein Movie – He sees himself toting an enormous schwanzstucker. You can hear Marty Feldman saying to him - “You are going to be very Popular.”  Unfortunately, I am looking at him and thinking maybe, He should sober up before meeting his date, that sexual encounter he describes he wants with such vigor ( upturn  shot glass after shot) and yet his fear of self prophecy of being dissipated, failing  his date, by being a rudely inebriated mess that has repeatedly fallen asleep mid coitus.  Personally I am thinking she declines sex with him, and considering an android companion that talks, learns and satisfies sexual desires on que.

Sizing each other up

Sizing each other up

The second instance of professed envy came during a lunch meet up of several friends, when  the discussion turned to an article by Van Barrett, an author and blog writer. He had written a blog on the envy of the uncircumcised penises.  One of the men felt a strong need to defend Barrett's  position, for it turn out, that he too longed for and desired foreskin.  A wish not to have been circumcised.

Van Barrett blog had come about due to one of his fictional book. his feeling  was so prevalent in the book that a reader wrote to question his sexual gender. The article he wrote in  response is found at the end of this blog. 

As to Mr. Barrett and the Lunch partner,  bemoaning lost of foreskin - It sounded like "the grass is always greener." To give the other side of the coin, we turn to - Hayley MacMillen, who did an article on the problems that Uncircumcised men face in the U. S. in her article in Cosmopolitan Magazine, Oct 5, 2016. The magazine titled - 9 Things Uncircumcised Guys Want You to Know.
Cosmopolitan quoted one interviewee, named only as Henry, as saying: “that while he’s open about not being circumcised with his partners, it’s a different story with his guy friends. "I never talk about it with other guys," he says, and even though "guys talk about their dicks all the time ... fear is absolutely a factor because being different is stigmatized."


What is key here is  'Perception' - "What are men focusing on when it comes to  pleasurable sex?"

Most times Male banter is about  “getting off,” not about having an experience that is a satisfying sensual-sexual experience.  This maybe due to Porn, or the speed of living life, or the unwillingness of men to make time for themselves to create an environment for true sexual pleasure. There is a large majority of men that  have concluded that all sexual pleasure is encapsulated in the manipulation of the skin that surrounds their penis, and they want to work it until, in the jargon of the day, you bust a nut - i.e. get off.

Given how much symbolic baggage this body part carries, it’s no wonder the misconceptions about it. To enlarge this conversation, as difficult as it is, it is  yet worthwhile.  Beginning with the misperception that your penis is '"The" Sex Organ', if you think that is so, you have completely missed out on your Biggest Sex Organ experience, which is the Skin that covers your entire body coupled with the creativity  of the Consciousness of the Mind …. roll that around for a while, you may find that statement to be correct. Now that being said, think then how much sense- satiable pleasure you have missed out on, if you are not activating your whole-body/mind experience? 

Dr. Debby Herbenick, a sex researcher, educator, and author as wells as the Co-Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington & the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.  From her research findings, she states: “Often when people think about the pleasures of sex, they think about genital arousal (e.g., erections or vaginal warmth or lubrication) or orgasm. While I certainly wouldn’t argue these, I would add that one of the most pleasurable parts of sexual intimacy is the experience of touching and being touched all over.

Decades of research have shown that humans.... need touch…. not only to survive, but to thrive. Touch can have a biological effect that releases oxytocin (which has often been referred to as the “Cuddle Effect”) Touch can have psychological effects of helping people to feel loved, happy, accepted, calm or reassured.

In sex, we have the uncommon opportunity to touch and be touched all over our bodies. ... press bodies against each other in a hug or, while kissing or in one of many possible sexual positions, they get to experience an enormous amount of skin closeness. They may touch cheeks, lips, chests, legs, and feel... hand along their back, thighs, or stomach. There is, after all, something qualitatively... intimate in the experience of being exposed – physically, and often emotionally.” [sexual dilation].

From that point of view then the almighty penis becomes just another body part, vital but still one among many body parts in a mind body- somatic sexual dilation.  I’d like you to entertain the notion of making time for the sex experience (or putting sex on maximum drive).  Think of sex as something you gift to yourself be it alone or with a partner. Permit yourself to be mindful of being naked, of touching all over as much you can. To relax into an exploration that promotes sensual enjoyment, an inner awareness of intimacy and dilation.  Have an experience of sexuality that does not start nor stop (uncircumcised or circumcised) with those few centimeters of skin that extends over an Erect Penile Length and Circumference but engages a full mind-body (somatic) experience.  Then and only then can the identity of Sexuality be disengaged from the notion that it is a control of genitals. You can begin then to stop comparing or lamenting about genitalia, what you have or do not have and start enjoying the mind-body (somatic) wholeness that you truly are.

I recommend the following four books, they can be helpful in your striving for control and perception of a healthier, loving, and more pleasurably experience during sex. 

The Penis Book Photo.jpg

The Penis Book: A Doctor's Complete Guide to the Penis―From Size to Function and Everything in Between” by Aaron Spitz MD

Manhood: The Rise and Fall of the Penis” by Mels van Driel, Paul Vincent (Translator)

 Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered—For Better, Smarter, Amazing Sex” by Dr. Debby Herbenick.

Anal Pleasuring (A Good in Bed Guide)” by Dr. Debby Herbenick.


Now here is the article that created weeks of discussion, debate and finally my blog.  I would be interested on your take on this,  so jot me a note. 

Van Barrett, Are You Really A Man?

 An article by Van Barrett  July 28, 2016

I had an e-mail recently from a reader of my book Seven Nights who was quite convinced that I am secretly a female, hiding behind a male pen name — and they were not too happy about it, either!

I must be a female, they wrote to me, because I write about men with circumcised cocks and men with uncut cocks — therefore, it’s a given that I’m writing about something I can’t possibly know or have firsthand experience of. Right? From there, it’s surely a small leap of logic to assume that I actually know nothing about what it is to have a cock, how they work and what they feel like, because I’m just a woman making crap up as I go. Insert eye roll here.

So? What say you, Van Barrett?

I’ll give you the answer to this burning question in a moment! But first I wanna share a personal anecdote.

I was in the seventh grade when I first had to take a ‘lifestyle’ class. I forget the exact name of it — something like “health and lifestyle” — but whatever, you get the gist. It’s the sort of course where you learn about balancing a checkbook and how to eat healthy and oh, oh gosh, (*cheeks blush*) human anatomy and sexuality. So that was the first time, age 13, that I’d had any sort of formal sex education.

And here’s where I should point out that some form of sex-ed probably should’ve come a lot sooner, as I remember riding the school bus home in the 4th grade with my best friend. Curious about sex, we looked up the word ‘sperm’ in the dictionary. We’d both heard this term, this magical sperm before, and we knew that it was related in some way to sex. When we read the definition, we looked at each other with puzzled expressions. Embarrassingly, I concluded that a sperm must be the head of your cock, and it detached from the shaft when the moment was right. Cough. We had trouble wrapping our brains around how there could possibly be some ~100 million more cock-head sperms just waiting around in our nuts to be ejaculated. Fun image, right? Clearly, something didn’t add up, and we still had no idea what a sperm was.

… Anyhow, I digress.

It was because of this lifestyle class in 7th grade that I first learned of the concept of circumcision. I’d never heard it before. I think we glanced over it and class and I didn’t give it much thought. It wasn’t until a couple days later, when I was hanging with a friend of mine, that it came up again.

My friend was uncircumcised. He gloated about being intact, he bragged about how uncut men statistically are said to have better orgasms and better sex and their partners report being more pleased. He asked me if I was uncircumcised. I had no idea! Again, I’d never heard this word before our class and even then, it didn’t seem like it applied to me. My penis seemed to work fine, and it didn’t look cut up, so why bother, right? But based on all the stats he told me, I sure hoped I hadn’t been cut!


But I wasn’t sure. I asked my friend to describe what a circumcision looked like. There were no suitable pictures or illustrations in our textbook for me to get the idea. He kept saying something along the lines of, “c’mon, this isn’t hard — it either looks like a bell or like it has a turtleneck that can cover the whole thing up! Which one is it?”

And still I was truly stumped. But more than that, I was a little frazzled. This idea that I might have been altered as a baby … without my knowledge or consent … that resulted in a less fulfilling sex life?

“No way,” I protested. “It looks fine. It’s totally natural. It doesn’t look like it was hurt.”

He wanted to see it: he said he’d tell me if it was or not. A shy kid in my youth, I said no way. So we opted to look at my newborn baby pictures instead.

“Dude,” he laughed. “You’re circumcised, alright. See that? That’s the head of your dick and it’s not covered. That’s a circumcision, Van.”

So it was. The realization set in immediately: I had a circumcised penis.

Was I crushed? Was I disappointed?

I’m sure I was — on some level. But not a consciously-available level. That would probably require more self-awareness than a 13-year-old possessed. Instead, I adopted a psychological tool more fitting for a teen: indignant anger.

“Yeah, well, everyone says a circumcised penis looks better!” I gloated right back at him. “And it’s cleaner, too!”

Then we’d argue back and forth about who had the better and the best pleasure-giving penis. It got pretty heated — and we even wrestled and threw punches over the debate. Yeah … 13 year olds … what can you really say?

Okay, to give some perspective as to why I’m sharing this story with you — it took years for me to process the emotions I’ve had over the fact that I was circumcised. As I aged and became an adult, I thankfully dropped that self-defense mechanism of “nah nah nah boo boo, my cock is better than yours!” and I started to think of it differently.

It was kinda fucked up, after all, that I’d been robbed of some level of sensitivity down there to the tune of 20,000 nerve endings! I’d never asked for it and I probably wouldn’t have, if given the chance. I also began to see uncut cocks in a different light. Hell, they started to look kinda pretty — and that foreskin sure looked fun to play with. I was sad, angry, and depressed over what had been taken from me.

*Lifts needle from the record*

I just want to stop here and say that I don’t want to make any parents out there feel bad — that’s not my goal at all! I understand why my parents did it, and I don’t begrudge them for it at all. There’s just so much information out there, and societal customs and so on — it’s hard to make any sense of it sometimes.

But future parents, please do educate yourself about this topic before you make the decision! And if you still choose to circumcise your kids, that’s fine, that’s your choice and I wouldn’t give anyone a hard time for it. But just educate yourself because there’s a lot to learn and it’s one hell of an interesting area to research. E.g., did you know that John Harvey Kellogg, the doctor who pushed for circumcisions in the US [and yes, the cereal man], also wanted females to be circumcised? Yup — he wanted to pour carbolic acid on the clitorises of newborn girls. Lucky for all you ladies, that one didn’t catch on.

Thankfully, this story isn’t all sadness and depression. So, it was back in 2010 when I discovered that a man can actually restore his foreskin. It’s not a surgical procedure — it’s done through applied tension to the skin over a long period of time (2-5 years). It can be as simple as using your hands to tug and stretch the skin. Stretched to its physical limit, cellular mitosis takes over and the skin cells begin to duplicate. It takes a while, but you can absolutely grow your foreskin back.

Okay, so you’ll never be exactly the way you were prior to getting cut, of course. Some nerves endings are permanently lost. But it’s a big improvement, with a fuller spectrum of pleasures and sensations that simply weren’t available before.

So, yes, I write characters with cut and uncut dicks, because I’ve personally been both. I know what it’s like to be cut — the contrived sense of superiority over what is actually our natural form, the repressed anger, the jealousy, etc. I also know what it’s like to have a foreskin now — and it’s made me so much more sensitive. I also know how this topic is taboo, and a lot of people don’t like to think or talk about it at all. I’ve been called names just for going on this journey of restoring. Clearly, there’s a lot of emotional trauma swirling around this topic. It’s not an easy one for people to deal with. I get that.

So you’ve probably figured by now that in my book Seven Nights, Austin’s ‘jealousy’ and fawning over Cedar’s uncut cock comes from a deeply personal place for me. (Let’s just add an unofficial line to the epilogue: Austin, inspired by Cedar, began the journey of restoring his foreskin. Yay!)

If anyone wants more information about this, feel free to leave a comment or drop me an e-mail. Obviously, it’s something I’m personally invested in and passionate about, and believe me, I have a lot more to say.

For any guys out there, who want to get started on the journey of restoring, I’d recommend starting with the Foreskin Restoration forum on reddit. I say journey because it takes time — and it will require you to be dedicated and patient. But it’s worth it, in my experience.

Sooo, to answer the original question that prompted this blog post — yes, I’m actually a man. Shocking plot twist, eh?

SiteofContact can be reached for comments, information, or appointments at

Masculinity Is It The Problem or A Programed Expectation?

Samson by Ernst Fuchs sharded by William Floyd

Samson by Ernst Fuchs sharded by William Floyd

This blog came about due to conversations and comments sent to me about my March 2018 blog post, which was titled ‘A Conversation on Masculinity, Society, and Change” located in the Male on Man section of SiteOfContact. I thank my faithful readers for their comments, responses, and interest in the subject.  This article also takes on its particular tone of delivery, due to a deep probing conversation with a client over an article written by David de las Morena’s from his Website called: “How to Beast,” his blog titled - “ How to Increase Masculine Energy and Rebuild Self-Esteem.” (At the end of this piece you will find the link to David’s blog article

I really don't want to get into a critique of Mr. Morena's concepts especially his concept of 'No More Mr. Nice Guy'  other than to say it was the touchstone for my client and myself to engage in a deeper conversation on 'Masculinity and Gender.' David de las Morena ’s comments. per se. have more to do with self-respect and self-worth, rather than perhaps a focus on a root cause of gender (mis)label. Personally, I must warn you that some may find David's manner of expression distasteful and rude, yet beyond his style as a 'straight heterosexual,' he does make one or two valid suggestions to gain self-respect and self-worth.   But again that is not my central theme. I am wanting to address  the early social conditioning that gets associated with expected behavior or expected gender patterns coming to us as early as our  nursery days, and in the stories we are told which we then (mis)label as "masculine."  


What is Masculinity? How is it measured? What are its demands? And how is that person meant to look, think, act, and feel? and should that be according to the mores of society?


We have a lot of opinions about being a “Man” or more to the point having “Masculinity “.  Now to surprise you, you could say Masculinity is not, gender-specific, I say this because I have known some masculine women, including my Mom (not to look at her), but that woman had balls.  This is all to say, what are we focusing on?  The word, or is it behaviors that get labeled as Masculinity?

Masculinity comes up a lot lately and unfortunately, you can expect it to be related to trauma in an experience. Or sometimes in ‘How’ to integrate the Masculine aspect of oneself into a more positive and holistic lifestyle

This piece of writing is not to diminish any circumstance where trauma has occurred, we can all see how under various circumstances the word masculinity has been misrepresented by men caught in stereotypes, causing the word to lose luster, respect, and aliveness. We could say Masculinity is lost due to diminished meaning.


I could see how some people can be caught up in the illusion that to be masculine only meant to be aligned with bathroom bullies; politicized pulpits; with privilege; overt racism or sexism; or with bigotry toward groups of people. That kind of action portrayed by a few men is not a true representation of Masculinity, and yes if that is a view of the word, it needs to be tanked in the toilet.



I have seen, in my work as a life coach, the effect of the above description of what masculinity misrepresented can do to some men, for example, the issues of self-worth become diminished. Abandonment and loss of manhood become issues. Male childhood developmental trauma, which can color men’s interactions with other men and women. The clue to the problem is "early childhood trauma." 


Clipping a Childs Wings.jpg

This is not the first time in history were maleness appeared to be vilified. I can recollect in my own history, in the 1950’ s, being taunted by a younger sister who loved to recite repeatedly, a portion of an old nursery rhyme called “What are folks made of?” by Robert Southey writen in 1842.  The segments of the rhyme my sister loved to taunt me with was the portion called - "What are little boys made of?"  and “what are girls made of?”

What are little boys made of?
Slugs and snails
And puppy-dogs’ tails,
That’s what little boys are made of.
And what are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And all things nice,
That’s what little girls are made of.

This was a common nursery rhyme of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This rhyme deserves our attention in part, due to its negative descriptors of the male gender, described as slugs, snails, snips, and frogs depending on where in the world the rhyme was told.


The rhyme by Southey in two additional verses goes on to say:

What are young men made of, made of? 
          What are young men made of? 
Sighs and leers and crocodile tears; 
          That's what young men are made of.
What are young women made of, made of?  
What are young women made of? 
           Rings and jings and other fine things
     Sugar and spice and all things nice; 
          That's what young women are made of.   

I think you get the jest of it...


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Nursery Rhymes play key roles in how we explain to children our cultural attitudes about themselves and gender behavior. Reciting Nursery Rhymes to children is one of a series of first steps to providing children's education about self-esteem and what is expected of them.


It can implant gender shame and things not good in the youngest minds of our society before (arguably) they have the critical function to question such assumptions and provides children with ideas of masculinity and femininity to which they may well not conform (thank heavens) yet creating a pressure towards adopting gender stereotypes which, frankly, toddling tots could have done without.  Here is a place to start, with a new vision, stories, and Nursery Rhymes.


These new stories, to be made then in part for the cultural socialization process,  would not expect transgressions of young males but does expect exploration, and do not dismiss and expect ‘boys to be bad, and then require them to do more 'to prove themselves otherwise.' While shaping young girls into passive restrained toys that need do nothing but be pretty for worry not you can do nothing wrong attitudes, that does not prepare them for a life of diverse opportunity that may not always need sweetness and passivity. These  kinds of stories had fallacy, any conscious mother of children of both sexes could debunk and tell you that, 'it was a  pile of the well-known stuff.'   

The bad behavior displayed in teen males may come from early unconscious childhood expectations. Expectations that come from the nursery. A more positive model is needed to be created and employed.  Nursery rhymes that re-imagine, re-envision, and ground masculinity in a self-affirming way.

Tom Tom.jpg


Often a male child, if traumatized by his childhood environment is then expected to, on his own, “get over it, “to “outgrow” it, or somehow zap it away.  Yet it is that very trauma that will freeze him into isolation, into not seeking help, into not allowing himself to talk about it.  because he feels it is expected of him to bear up especially if viewed by other males. Yet, there are some things that happen to men that they never “get over,” and must reach out to their culture and other men to correct the concept.


So, to refocus this discussion for the conscious adults amongst us, I ask, that Masculinity not be looked at as the Problem, but perhaps as your Expectation?

If it is the Expectation, then where did that expectation come from? A change of the approach, to re-envision Masculinity is needed.  We must begin by realizing that both males and females are comprised of Male and Female components or as Carl Jung called it Anima and Animus. We are both Masculine and Feminine in attributes, some of us more of one than the other and by God, we should not all try and fit a cookie cutter visions of what that is going to manifest as. It is not one definition fits all.


Okay, we have Men,  beyond the age of nursery rhymes, that have the pressures to refashion a new sense of them-self, of self-being.  Let's be bold here and strip everything away and start with an identity as individuation of consciousness, with emotional intelligence. This concept is of course for the person who wants to have dominion over their own life, then he can start by  re-inhabiting his maleness even in the face of disturbing experiences, as he then weaves a more "integrated" narrative of his life for himself.  Re-authoring the sacred story of ‘who am I’ and calling forth a new future for himself not yet known

Trusting the worth and validity of his expression of masculinity, and in that expression a self-love, that will be able to soften the callus wounds of the body, mind and the heart, embracing a fully realized masculinity by his design a vision of masculinity, designed for him by him, so it becomes alive within his being as a force for good. This allows for a profound empowerment, that for anyone is revolutionary, if lucky enough even contain bits of humor, and sometimes bold in its persona. These skills will be needed to then start writing and telling  the New nursery stories for those yet unborn.

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The goal then is not some fixed, “cured” state where we have successfully purged masculinity which is an aspect of our self-experience from what we are, as if it were some wretched foreign substance, but rather to find a larger home for it within our concept of the self. Slowly, we can allow what has become frozen and solidified to thaw and become flexible. To make the masculine force rightly seen within us and children to come, as a valued and balanced energy.  A refocus of our attention and thoughts, to break out of that cycle of trauma, blame, and shame. To move towards a balanced identity, that has a stable, and positive context for humans with masculinity, who are given an expectation to be a force for life-sustaining good.

David de las Morena’s Blog post -

Masculine Archetypes

Many thanks to my long-time colleague Richard Hartnett for the following post.

Today a great football coach gave his resignation speech from an organization that he had been a part of for 15 years. At several points in his presentation, he had to stop because he was overwhelmed with emotion.   It was obvious that he loved his job, loved the men who played for him and loved the people he worked for. This moment was a stark contrast from his departure from the previous organization where he coached. When he was fired by that organization it was due in large part because his players hated his “hard ass attitude”. What had changed this man into a sensitive and honorable man?   The shift for this man started when one of his players came up to him and said, “I love you coach”. That simple statement compelled him to reconsider the profound influence of his position.  

It may seem strange to find deep emotions expressed in a game that is essentially a forum for violence. Yet, it starts to make sense when you understand the intention of this coach changed from simply being focused on winning to developing character in each of his players that would not only motivate them to win, it would become the cornerstone of the success in their lives beyond football. Football has always been a place where men are given the opportunity to develop their warrior nature. Like it or not, it is essential that we have a healthy warrior nature. It is one of the four important masculine archetypes.

Courtesy John Martinez Pavliga, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license

The abuses of our masculine warrior nature have brought forth a significant amount of scorn from those who were previously oppressed and exploited by it.   This persecution of the masculine is understandable. There is still way too much violence caused by men. It is necessary that we challenge our bad behavior, but as is often the case, we assume that we must get rid of masculinity completely rather than master its expression. Masculinity is not the problem; the problem is the distorted expression of masculinity.   Distortion is a consequence of not fully understanding an archetype.  

To begin to understand masculinity must first ask, “What is an archetype?” an archetype is a universal energy that we must all deal with in one form or another. Each archetype has specific characteristics and each offers unique skills and talents to master. Each of the archetypes, challenge us to learn about ourselves, and our place in the greater reality of our universe. In order to be successful in life, one must come to understand these influences if not outright master their use. Working with archetypes is something we all do because archetypes are universal.

There are four key Masculine archetypes. They are: The King, the Warrior, the Magician and the Lover. Each represents an important vehicle for assertive masculine expression. If you want to fully understand these archetypes, I would strongly recommend reading the book, “The King, The Magician, the Warrior and the Lover” by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette.

Archetypes are influences that exist in all cultures but have different images and names associated with them. Rulers are called kings, presidents, sultans, emperors, chiefs, lords, sovereigns, and even potentates. The archetype represents the common elements that all rulers share. All cultures have stories about the qualities and characteristics that rulers have. Each Ruler may be different in how their power is applied but they all share in common that they are the Ruler of their kingdom. The archetype represents the essence of rulership itself. All Rulers will fall short in their application of ruling because they have to deal with the challenges of this limited material world and because our understanding of the archetype of rulership is still evolving. It's important to recognize that no matter how successful any Ruler might be, there will always be more to learn. This is equally true for the warrior archetype as well as the others.

The book, by Moore and Gillette, explains both the appropriate and distorted expressions of each of the archetypes. Now that concept alone makes the book worthwhile. You will find a great deal more in this book that will help you to understand masculinity in all its forms.

One of the key concepts these gentlemen convey is that distortion has two forms of expression. Either we can express too much or too little of an archetype. Each is equally toxic but for opposite reasons. This coach was initially guilty of applying too much masculine aggressive behavior, yet it would be equally dysfunctional for him to apply too little. Somewhere in his transition into the second organization he began to find a healthy balance.

A coach is for all intensive purposes the embodiment of the King archetype.  He rules his players who embody the warrior archetype. One of the functions of a king is to convey a purpose to motivate the warrior. The key difference between an appropriate warrior and an inappropriate mercenary is their motivation. A warrior serves a higher cause, which in this case is the pursuit of excellence. While a mercenary fights for no other cause than to serve himself; whether it’s his desire for fame or money, his behavior is always selfish.  A mercenary has little regard for his opponent, the integrity of the game or even how his behavior affects his teammates.  There is a great deal of mercenary behavior going on in professional sports.  Yet, every once in awhile you hear about someone such as this coach who rises above the limitations of the past and brings forth a new understanding of an archetype. Every man who struggles to find his place in the world needs to understand that these archetypes are always in the background influencing the events of our lives.  It is always in our best interest to study and to master the appropriate expression of an archetype.  To ignore them does not make them go away, to persecute them only drives them underground where their expression ends up coming out in a distorted or perverted way.

This forum is devoted to the exploration of masculinity.   You will find that studying masculinity will transform your life in ways that you cannot imagine.  I encourage all men to read the aforementioned book and to celebrate their manhood by finding the best way to become a man of integrity.  Our greatest hope for the redemption of our society is to find the proper motivation for our masculine expressions.  Yet, we must always remember to honor and respect the feminine in all of its forms while we are expressing our masculinity.  Finding our appropriate motivation by serving a higher purpose than selfish desires, will transform not only our world, it will transform our relation with ourselves.  Let us all find the way to walk forward together as newly evolved men into a brave new world.

Send email to Richard at; visit his website He produces video lectures on YouTube, and you can find him on Facebook.