Men like to depict themselves as stable, simple, and strong, but underneath that rough exterior lies many secret fears. Some you may know, others you may not. These worries fall under the categories of medical, failure, self-image, and immortality. Following each category will be a few suggestions of things you can do to help bring some relief:
Doctors – Men fear doctors. Some fear them so much, they will shrug off the majority of their aches and pains, as “nothing”. A recent survey, however, indicates that men are 40 percent more likely to die from cancer because of their hesitance to seek medical attention at the first sign of trouble.
Prostate – Beyond the occasional aches and pain, what men truly fear is any problem occurring down south. Prostate and testicular cancers are a big concern among men. In addition, most men fear their first prostate exam.
Vasectomy – Going along with the general fear of doctors poking around in their genital region, most men fear the vasectomy as a form of birth control. Many would rather have their partner sterilized, even though the female tubal ligation is a much more invasive procedure.
Erectile Dysfunction – And now we come to the pinnacle of men’s medical concerns — the fear of losing his ability to achieve and maintain an erection. Many men link their image of youth and manhood to their ability to engage in sex, and engage in it well. A man who cannot perform satisfactorily may not see himself as a worthy member of society.
How to Help: Men don’t like to talk about this stuff with their partners. That is just a fact of life. However, if he knows you care about him, knows you are there to listen when he needs you, and knows are willing to support him every step of the way … that’s a good start.
In His Relationships – In the beginning of a relationship, most men fear commitment. They fear the finality of it, loss of freedom, loss of space, and having only one sexual partner for the rest of their life. Men who are committed, fear failing in that commitment (cheating, etc.), getting a divorce, and dying alone.
To be an Adequate Lover – This may occasionally tie into erectile dysfunction, but most all men fear being labeled as a lousy lover. While it is a common joke that men get on top of their partner, do their thing, then roll off, and fall asleep, according to a national survey by Harris Interactive, men actually do care what their partner thinks about their performance.
To be “the Best” She Ever Had – Men are very competitive with each other, and they always want to be better in bed than any other man their partner has been with. He may not come right out and ask if he is the only one who uses the “counter clock-wise swirl with a pinch …” (Jerry Seinfeld reference), but you can be sure he’s counting on it.
At His Job – A man’s success at his job and ability to provide for his family is always a number one concern. Men want to be a good hunter-gatherer, which means providing adequate comfort and security. A man who is living pay-check-to-pay-check is under a lot of stress, because he fears he will be labeled as a poor provider, and that is inexcusable in his eyes.
To Rank Highly on Google – It may sound silly, but technology has brought men a new accomplishment to worry about, their ranking on a Google name-search. Many men secretly compare themselves to friends on Google, i.e., “Jerry is on one and a half pages, George on three and a quarter … ” Men fear not becoming an important contributor to society, and Google is a tangible confirmation of that fear.
How to Help: Even though it may seem more beneficial to discuss the problems in a relationship, some women forget that men need to know the good things, too. Men like to be the hero in their relationship, which means they want to know they are pleasing their partner in the bedroom, making her feel secure, loved, and taken care of. Men are not perfect, so we don’t want to be lied to in order to make us feel better, but we do need to hear occasional compliments to go along with the criticisms.
Hair – Research indicates that well over 4 million men worldwide are using some sort of product(vitamins, monkey urine, Rogaine, Propecia) to battle their hair loss. Men are vain, proud, and feel perpetually 28-years-old until that moment they look in the mirror and see their aging, balding father staring back at them.
Body – Most men fear how their partner sees their body. They worry that their partner will think they are too hairy, too scrawny, too pale, too smelly, and most importantly, when the time comes to expose their manhood, how will it compare to her expectations. Deep down inside, no matter how big a man is, he wishes he was just a little bit bigger.
Is He Still ‘Cool’ – Men fear losing their youth, and they also fear becoming ‘uncool’ in the eyes of their friends and loved ones. Men fight to the bitter end to remain cool, whether it be with hair plugs, a corvette, or an all-night love session with Viagra.
Homophobia – While this is indeed a touchy subject in today’s politically correct society, many heterosexual men at one time or another fear being perceived as homosexual, or too feminine. He may skulk at wearing a pink shirt or deny crying in the movie Avatar, but all he is really looking for is confirmation that he is a man.
How to Help: Men are not all that different from women, in that we worry about being attractive to our partner. One of the easiest ways to boost a man’s self confidence is through an honest compliment (your hair is sexy, your laugh is addictive, etc.). Whatever you find attractive about your man, don’t be afraid to let him know about it. To really drive the point home, men love the thought that their partner finds them so attractive, she literally must throw him down and ‘take him’ right on the spot.
His Father’s Death – Men fear the death of their father, which inevitably makes them question their own mortality. The passing of the patriarchal flame from father to son is the moment when a man must face his own accomplishments and failures, and take into stock his own worth.
Leaving His Mark – All men think about the legacy they stands to leave behind when they are gone. Will he be considered a good provider, good husband, good father, good business partner, etc.
How to Help: A man’s mortality is something that he must face alone, but let him know that you love him and are there if he needs to talk. Even though he may ask to be alone, he will take comfort in knowing that you are right there by his side throughout his journey.
Despite a man’s secret fears, his greatest accomplishments are never measured by his honors, marathon love sessions, or fancy burial plaque, but rather his everlasting love to his family.
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