Introduction: Lately there’s been a lot of talk about toxic masculinity and male privilege. Old school narcissists with tiny hands like Donald Trump are as bad an example of mature masculinity as Anthony Weiner who cant seem to keep his Gen X pecker in his pants and fingers away from his cell phone camera. Both of them protesteth too much as far as promoting themselves as “manly men” who carry a “big stick”. Me thinketh they both suffer from male-patterned insecurity cultivated in an unusually competitive capitalistic society and cutthroat sociopolitical state.
Historically, patriarchal cultures and patrilinear societies like the Roman Empire tend to be insecure about their political fate and sexual potency. Historians remark how obsessed ancient Rome was with “the penis motif” (otherwise known as the “dick”) and wonder why such an advanced civilization felt the need to install phallic symbols everywhere for protection, good fortune, and/or as conveniently shaped street signs. In contrast, my approach to men and masculinity applies broader and less “genital-centered” principles to address sex-related problems. Focusing too much on the penis either in therapy or in life can only lead to a bad case of performance anxiety, genital warts or penis envy a la Siggy Freud. As an older clinical psychologist and sex therapist of the male persuasion (62 years old) I hope to have gained (in addition to the proverbial extra 20 lbs “spare tire”) a few distinct advantages as a result of my longitudinal life experience. This includes but is not limited to such things as “hindsight” and a “big picture” perspective. It also means I’ve gotten my cocky male narcissistic butt kicked around enough times to know what humble pie tastes like. It’s rather tart in fact. Trying too hard to be the biggest and best at everything including sex can end up having the exact opposite effect on ones ego and externalized sex organ. In other words, it’s not just the grass that appears greener and possibly grander when you look too close at what others possess in the locker room or the Imperial gladiator ring. Personally, I say “thank the Gods” that there are other human attributes to focus on as we age besides ones penis length to offset the enlarged prostate, progressive baldness, hearing loss, and my total invisibility to any woman under the age of 50 at Starbucks.
Developing the psychological maturity necessary to experience and express emotional vulnerability, profound love, loyalty, compassion, receptivity, and empathy are not booby prizes in the sexual revolution or so-called battle between the now somewhat indeterminate sexes. Such qualities help to define our humanity and may represent the golden keys to freedom from an insidious form of male genital-centered slavery and oppression, something that has hindered both men and women alike for thousands of years. Hey, I am Spartacus!!