Key to successfully navigating romantic relationships, and creating and maintaining sexual attraction, is understanding the dynamics of masculine and feminine energy. Understanding these energies opens the door to expanding your sexual fulfillment and expression.
These concepts are far from new. They are millennia-old wisdom and fundamental truths that have also taken the names of Shiva/Shakti, yin/yang etc. “We’re all born with both yin and yang energies; we all have the potential to lean more towards one polarity or the other”, says spiritual teacher, Deganit Nuur.
What are masculine and feminine energies?
While most men have predominantly masculine energy and most women have predominantly feminine energy, it is important to remember that masculine and feminine energies are separate from gender. Individuals express varying degrees of masculine and feminine energies.
There is a range between being fully masculine and fully feminine. There are men who are more feminine in the expression of their energy, and likewise there are women who tend to be more masculine. Both sexes can learn to access or integrate these energies. A man can learn to embrace his feminine side, and likewise a woman can learn to integrate her masculine energy. Additionally, a man can learn to embody more of his masculine energy and a woman can learn to embody more of her feminine energy.
Masculine & feminine characteristics
To better understand masculine and feminine energies, let’s explore their characteristics. The feminine is like the ocean – unpredictable, vast, flowing, and wet. It is also creative, expressive, emotional, sharing, communicative, intuitive, open, caring, nurturing, flowing, soft, and receptive.
The masculine is like the land – rooted, formed, firm, and grounded. Words that describe flavors of masculine include; purposeful, direct, focused, efficient, rational, analytical, solid, and penetrating.
In traditional societal roles, these characteristics are evident, especially in earlier generations. For instance, women are often perceived to play a primary role in child-rearing due to their nurturing nature, while men typically provide for their families.
How masculine & feminine energies interact
While creativity without direction or purpose can lead to a beautiful mess, direction, and purpose without creativity can get stuck, be boring, or even unloving.
Beauty arises out of how things are structured and arranged. Let’s take the example of a building. Structures are masculine in their very nature. However, physical structures that are considered beautiful have had creativity brought to the structures. A beautiful structure is a great example of a physical building that embodies both masculine and feminine qualities. In this example, a building could exist with beauty, but beauty could not be witnessed without the structure.
Another example can be found in art… while the canvas and the frame (the masculine) provide the structure, the feminine is the art on the canvas. When the masculine and feminine come together in a complementary way, we witness the creation of beauty.
The masculine needs the feminine, just as the feminine needs the masculine. Beauty needs a witness just as the witness desires something beautiful to observe or hold.
What men want vs. what women want
The masculine values freedom while the feminine values security.
The masculine and thus the majority of men have a core value of freedom. Freedom is one of the most important values for a man. There are many ways in which the masculine seeks to express and experience freedom. One way that men desire to express this freedom is by having multiple sexual partners.
The feminine and thus the majority of women have a core need for security. The feminine deeply desires security. There are many ways in which the feminine seeks to acquire and experience security. In sexual relationships, the feminine tends to desire long-term committed relationships which provide a greater sense of security.
A man having sex with other women can create feelings of insecurity for the feminine. A woman may fear that she will be abandoned or that she will be replaced by someone else. Because a woman’s sense of security can be threatened in this way, it is easy to understand why many women prefer a monogamous committed relationship.
The masculine energy, on the other hand, desires variety. It seeks to explore and to penetrate, hence the desire for multiple energies/partners. When a man is considering or in a monogamous, committed relationship, he can begin to feel restricted. This is because his core need for freedom is threatened.
So here you have different core needs that can be at odds with each other. I believe this is one of the key reasons why, in most people’s current relating paradigm, there seem to be so many problems.
Sexual repression and cheating
Some of the issues created by the way we relate to our partners in a monogamous relationship include sexual repression and cheating.
Peggy Vaughan, author of The Monogamy Myth, says that about 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an affair at some point in some marriage.
Why do people cheat? Forty-four percent of men cheat because they want sex more often and 40 percent cheat because they want more variety in their sexual partner. Forty percent of women cheat because they want more emotional attention and another 40 percent do so because they want to be reassured that they are desirable.
It has, in fact, been suggested that the high prevalence of sexual abuse within the Church is attributable in large part to clerical celibacy, a form of sexual repression which dictates that only unmarried men may be ordained as Roman Catholic priests. “The repression of desire drove normal erotic urges into a social and psychological netherworld.” writes James Carroll, author, journalist and a former catholic priest, on the church’s attitude towards sexuality.
A study undertaken by the University of Vermont showed that eighty percent of women and 98% of men fantasize about someone other than their partner. It is fair to say that the presence of these fantasies indicate an underlying or subconscious desire. With this understanding, men and women who remain faithful to their spouses are likely doing so by repressing their sexual desires, which can lead to a wide variety of problems.
In many monogamous relationships, men may find the need to suppress their innate sexual desires for other women. While on the surface they may say they are okay with it, deep down they may feel that they are cutting off a part of themselves or suppressing something healthy and natural for the sake of their partner or what they think is required to create a successful long-term relationship. Not only does this have a negative emotional and psychological impact, it also has an adverse physiological impact.
Testosterone is essential to the development of male characteristics, such as hair growth and muscle mass. It also plays an important role in verbal memory and thinking ability, mood, and quality of life. Testosterone contributes to both a healthy heart and brain. Testosterone increases during adolescence and early adulthood and declines slowly (about 1% per year) after age 30.
Studies have shown that the testosterone levels of married men decrease at a higher rate than testosterone levels of unmarried men. Even more surprising, divorced men experience an increase in testosterone, which suggests that a man’s body adjusts biologically to being with a single partner.
There could be severe consequences for men facing dramatically lowered testosterone levels. Decreased testosterone can lead to anxiety, depression, decreased energy, mood swings or a number of other health problems.
When a man chooses to be in a relationship with a single partner, it is often accompanied by sacrificing his true sexual nature. He hides, denies or suppresses his desires, a state which is neither healthy nor sustainable. When sexual frustration builds, it eventually leads to things like cheating or watching porn, which is the monogamous man’s way of cheating.
Women and sexual repression/freedom
Women desire the security of a monogamous relationship, but at what cost? I believe that so many women have, out of their own primary drive for finding security in romantic relationships, shut down or limited their full sexual nature. They either haven’t given themselves permission to explore their own true sexual nature and desires or, even worse, they cannot access it.
Research shows that women in long-term relationships suffer from plummeting libidos. According to a 2015 Forbes article, “women who had been in a relationship between 1 and 5 years were 45% more likely to have lost interest in sex than those who had been in a relationship for less than a year. Those in a relationship between 5 and 15 years were 137% more likely and those in a relationship for over 15 years were 131% more likely.”
While a woman’s suppression of her sexual desires may make it easier for her to remain monogamous, a lack of sexual desire has an adverse effect on her sexual health, experts warn. In extreme cases, this can lead to the death of her sex life, which is harmful for both men and women.
In a survey of 1,162 respondents, ages 20 to 29, twenty-four percent of respondents indicated they had sex four or more times a week before marriage, while only 9 percent reported having sex as frequently after marriage.
The same study found that 60 percent of couples “had sex at least two to three times a week before they were married” while “only 43 percent estimated they are having sex at least two to three times a week post-marriage.”
Suppressed sexual libido can be associated with psychological health issues, among other serious problems. “Experiencing the loss of desire and then avoiding sex can lead to feelings of shame and inadequacy. It can also be a threat to the marriage or relationship evoking conflict and hurt feelings and a general sense of losing control over one’s life and existence.” says sex therapist Dan Pollets.
Women have a complex and changing relationship with monogamy.
Women suppress their sexual desires for other partners because such feelings threaten their perceived security in an existing relationship. However, when a woman has the freedom to explore her own sexual interests, in a relationship with some level of security and commitment, she is often surprised to discover a desire for sexual variety.
It’s interesting that when a woman first experiments with the idea of being with another man or woman while in a committed relationship, she thinks, “Wow, I never even knew this was possible.” It’s unfortunate how shut off so many women are to this possibility and how freeing it can be.
What can happen within a relationship when both men and women enjoy sexual freedom?
After enjoying the experience of being with someone else for the first time, either on her own or together with her partner, a woman will typically come back and say to her partner, “I appreciate you so much more now”. This is true for both men and women. When we create relationships where sexual freedom and expression is not controlled but celebrated, we discover deeper levels of appreciation and satisfaction with the person we are in a committed relationship with.
When a woman acknowledges her man’s need for freedom and understands that it does not diminish her, he is free to experience the variety he desires without the risk of losing the woman he is committed to. Through this avenue he ends up appreciating her more.
The masculine is surprised to discover how strong his desire for wanting to commit to a relationship can be when his partner understands his desire for variety in sexual interactions and does not try to restrict him. An even more powerful level of commitment can be created when his partner supports and encourages the fulfillment of his desires.
This is a dynamic that develops on both sides as two people are exploring greater sexual freedom within their relationship.
Speaking from a man’s perspective, what women don’t get is that in the above scenario, this woman becomes irreplaceable. She attains the very security she so deeply desires. She attains this through facing what is one of the greatest fears for so many women.
How do we create a relationship that truly serves the needs of both?
The energetic dynamics of the masculine and feminine and the different needs of the two create the demand for a new relationship framework, one that can truly serve the desires of both, the masculine’s desire for freedom and the feminine’s desire for security. In my article, A Fresh Approach to Relationships, I present a new model to creating and sustaining romantic relationships.
When two people create a relationship by embracing the values of openness, trust, honesty, communication, and having clear agreements around each other’s needs and expectations, both parties can experience the freedom they desire without sacrificing safety. They can have their individual needs served in a way that doesn’t take away from the needs of the other.
Being in a monogamous relationship can keep you from exploring your own desires and of feeling the uncomfortable emotions that come up when your partner expresses their desires. Because you have both partners suppressing their desires to protect the other, or to keep the other from feeling jealous or insecure, neither of you ever get to face those fears. In this way, monogamy can keep you from being a fully emotionally integrated and sexually expressed human being.
While the current model of monogamy is fundamentally restrictive of sexual desire, there is a whole new level of relating that is possible. A way which is based in freedom and does not require suppression of sexual desires. To be in a relationship model other than traditional monogamy such as open, polyamorous, or fluid relationship, it is important to have both a high EQ and a high LQ.
EQ enables you to recognize your feelings and empathize with your partner’s. LQ or how deeply you have loved yourself, allows you to be present with the emotions that come up around your relationship. When you raise your LQ, you feel greater safety in your body, empowering your ability to face jealousy, fear, and personal insecurities.
Insecurities are going to come up when your partner wants to be with someone else, either on his/her own or as a couple, and you need to have the tools to work through these emotions. If you have the internal tools to love yourself more deeply, you can face whatever fears or insecurities come up. If you have the right communication tools and abilities, you can express those feelings to your partner. Your partner, likewise, will need to have the ability to listen, so that you feel heard, acknowledged, and understood.
You may have these desires, and you may want them for yourself, but you may not want to give them to your partner. The more deeply you love yourself (raise your LQ), the more freedom you have access to, and the more freedom you will want for your partner. In fact, the freer you become, the more freedom you want for the people you experience life with; and sex is one of those things where, for most people, greater freedom is available. Understanding the dynamic between masculine and feminine energies and the needs of men and women helps you to better navigate your relationship. A man’s desire to be free and a woman’s desire for security are at the heart of these core dynamics.
The interplay between the masculine and feminine underpin our relationships
The masculine and feminine are different, and the relationship needs of each are unique. To create a way of relating where both you and your partner’s desires are being met, there needs to be an understanding of these primary needs. This will open the doorway to creating a relationship based in freedom, where full sexual self-expression and emotional maturity can be realized.
If you or your partner are suppressing your needs and desires because of the uncomfortable emotions that may arise, it keeps you from fully evolving emotionally. However, when you approach your relationship with honesty and authenticity, both you and your partner develop greater internal security. In doing so, you find that not only do you have more access to your own desires, you also want to know and fulfill all of your partner’s needs.
When you and your partner are no longer trying to control, or limit each other’s sexual expression and desires, you begin to value and treasure each other more. This creates a space for whole new levels of relating that allow greater access to personal sexual expression and exploration.
This is the next frontier of relating for mature, high EQ and high LQ individuals seeking to liberate and expand their emotional and sexual capacities and desires.
Have you ever cheated on your partner on been cheated on by a partner? Perhaps you have not cheated, but you’ve met someone with whom you have an incredible connection. You want to explore a relationship with this person but feel guilty about being attracted to someone other than your husband/wife/girlfriend, etc. Alternatively, you could be in an open relationship, but at some point you could begin to feel that you want to be with your partner exclusively.
These are just a few of the many issues that couples face at some point in their relationship, sometimes resulting in the end of the relationship. Marriages have a 40 to 50 percent divorce rate, and the stats for second and third marriages are even higher. In fact, the latest data shows that more couples choose not to marry at all because they don’t believe that they can be with only one person for the rest of their lives. There is an epidemic in the unnecessary failure of relationships. This failure is caused by the limited and restrictive approach to creating a romantic relationship found in society and in most people’s current paradigm. A new approach to creating a romantic relationship is needed.
The framework I am introducing has the potential to transform the way we relate to one another romantically and bring an end to this epidemic. It can eliminate many of the common challenges that couples face resulting from a lack of self-awareness, honesty and communication. This approach or way of relating gives everyone involved access to the greatest amount of freedom, flexibility and self-expression.
If you are in a relationship and would like to experience something more or different, it does not need to end. If you are not in a relationship, this framework will give you a fresh approach to creating your next relationship in a way that gives it a greater chance of thriving.
In this article I introduce a relationship framework in-which you can explore all of your desires and emotions without fear of alienating your partner, suppressing your emotions or damaging your relationship.
A meta-frame for relationships
This new approach provides a meta-frame for how to design your relationship from the beginning in a way that gives it the greatest chance of succeeding. When you can say I want to create my relationship in a way that’s most empowering for myself and for my partner and for the relationship, and you set about asking, how do I do that? That’s what this new relationship paradigm is all about.
To understand this approach, you must first set aside, if only for a moment, all of your pre-programmed ideas about how relationships should be, the ideas or paradigms you got from your parents, your friends, religion or society. This approach gives you freedom from all of those things. So in order to truly understand and see what is possible for yourself and your relationship you must step into this conversation with an open mind. Here are some key ideas underpinning this meta-frame.
There is no right way to be in a relationship
The first premise of this approach is that a romantic relationship doesn’t have to be any certain way. You have the power to create whatever feels best for you and you can explore what that is.
The paradigm I am presenting to you is a construct. It’s a new and fresh way of thinking about relationships that doesn’t limit any person to any one given way of being in a relationship.
Often a person may have only been exposed to one type of idea of what a relationship should be, like monogamy for example, and they may be very limited in what they know about how to relate to somebody in a romantic way. So, the idea I am bringing forward is that there are many ways of relating to somebody else romantically and that there’s no one right way.
People change over time and relationships need to accommodate change
Most people identify with one model of relating be it open, monogamous, polyamorous etc. but one model alone is not sufficient over a long period of time. This approach eliminates the common problems people experience when coming from different models, or when people inside of one set model have different desires or when two people who are in one model feel like they want to shift over into another model.
Because people change over time, they need a relationship framework that allows their relationship to change and grow with them. This is a way of creating a relationship which best supports you and your partner which you can adjust as your relationship evolves.
This is a meta-frame for relationships and not a new relationship model
This framework is not about subscribing to any conventional or even typically unconventional relationship model. What I am describing here is a framework or a meta-frame for creating your relationship rather than an established model like monogamy, monogamish, polyamory or open.
This new approach to relationships encompasses all different relationship models. It is a way of thinking about relationships that gives you the freedom to draw from all the relationship models and design your own relationship.
Identifying with a given model of relating basically tells you how you should operate in a romantic relationship whereas this framework is for people who want access to a greater level of self-expression and creation. It gives them the freedom to create their ideal relationship derived from their true desires and through clear agreements.
Modern relationships are more fluid
According to the APA “About 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.” The situation in the United Kingdom reflects a similar trend where the percentage of marriages that ended in divorce declined from 45 to 42 percent between 2005 and 2010.
According to the 2015 census, more people are choosing to stay single for longer, or indefinitely. The PEW research center tells us that “a rising share of births are to mothers who are not married, meaning that marriage is no longer seen by many as the only gateway to parenthood”.
Furthermore, 70% of Americans do not believe that there is one person who you are meant to be with. The dating app Zoosk found that both men and women use the word honest the most while describing what they’re looking for in another person.
The way people relate to one another in romantic relationships is changing. There is more focus on love, happiness and honesty and less focus on lifelong commitments with unrealistic expectations. Hence the need for a new framework.
To paint a picture of what this fresh approach and meta-frame of relationships could look like, here are a few scenarios.
It could be that you are in a committed relationship and are only sexually intimate with each other. After a period of monogamy you may decide to bring other people into your relationship and perhaps you stipulate that you only have sex with other people when you’re together, or when you’re on vacation, etc. These examples are all points in time. This new structure gives you the ability to create your relationship as you desire it to be and the flexibility to have it change over time as best serves each individual and the relationship as a whole.
Whatever it looks like, the beauty of this approach is that you and your partner/partners can follow your hearts and your own desires. You have the freedom to explore your feelings for your partner in addition to any desires or feelings you may have for someone else. It all starts with knowing your own desires, communicating those with your partner, and making clear agreements about what is acceptable. More on that in the following section.
What’s necessary for this relationship framework to work?
This framework is rooted in freedom, commitment, communication, trust, honesty, integrity, love and honor. Over many years of being in relationships I’ve explored and studied numerous different relationship models. Monogamous, monogamish, open relationships, polyamorous relationships and everything in between. I have spent over 10,000 hours reading about, researching and experimenting with relationships.
In that time I’ve learned things about myself, about others and about relationships in general. In addition to the insight that a new approach to romantic relationships is required, I have also realized that there are a few key ingredients that are essential for all healthy relationships.
In this framework, there are no assumptions. Two people enter a relationship with no expectations of how the other person should be operating. For example, you’re not assuming that your partner is or is not sleeping with other people. From the very beginning you create how you want your relationship to work.
This is a core component because when people are operating within a certain relationship model they come with predetermined assumptions or expectations based on that model, which creates problems from the start. Even if you’re operating in the same framework of monogamy for example, there are still variations of what’s acceptable or not and that creates problems. If you start with no expectations or assumptions, you get to create the terms of your relationship together.
This is something that most people struggle with, no matter what relationship model they’re in, so communication is a fundamental component of this new relationship framework. When people have trouble communicating it can be tied back to how deeply they have loved themselves and given themselves permission to communicate and to listen. Self-love is the core that unlocks all these components; self-awareness, communication, your willingness to be with your own feelings and the willingness to receive what your partner is feeling. When there are open lines of communication and there is a high level of trust between yourself and your partner, you feel safe enough to share what you truly desire.
Self-love as the core of this new relationship paradigm
If there was a starting point for the creation of a successful relationship, I would say it is self-love. Loving yourself deeply and fully leads to self-awareness, which is your own awareness of how you feel about different things. It also gives you permission to feel whatever it is you feel and be honest with yourself about your desires; and if your desires differ from your partners, you are able to love yourself through any feelings of embarrassment or shyness to a place of being comfortable with your own needs.
You may have an awareness about how you feel and you may know how to communicate but do you have the courage to communicate what it is you want or how you’re feeling to your partner? Many people lack the courage to say what they really want. This ties back to self-love because self-love can give you the courage to speak your truth.
Then there is the willingness to be with your own emotions, which ties back to self-love too. If you are feeling jealousy or desire or frustration, being able to be with your emotions is just as important as self-awareness and communication.
Finally, there is the willingness to receive however your partner is feeling. This is the openness to feel and experience what your partner wants, needs and desires. Unfortunately, this is where most relationship breakdowns occur, it’s the unwillingness to acknowledge that your partner finds somebody else sexually attractive. Lots of people can’t even hear that because it challenges their own internal self-esteem and self-worth. Once again, self-love helps you to feel through these emotions.
Once you and your partner are in the right space emotionally and once you have a level of trust and honesty and a desire to create the relationship that supports both of your needs; it is useful to create a relationship agreement. This can be a written agreement or it could be as simple as talking about your relationship and having a verbal understanding of each other’s commitments and intentions. Talking things through and having a mutual understanding are really what matters most.
It has been my experience that men and women hear things so differently. A guy can say one thing but his partner will understand something different. So, having it written out can help make things so much clearer. However, even when things are written out, there can be misunderstandings, so it’s important to communicate often and keep making things as clear as possible. If you do opt to have a written agreement, think of it as a living document which gets reviewed and updated regularly.
Agreements and intentions are at the heart of this new relationship paradigm. You and your partner create your intentions and agreements together and if you want to change those agreements and intentions, you do it with integrity and communication.
A relationship agreement can have several components. Apart from commitments and boundaries with each other, a relationship agreement should also stipulate your intentions for being together.
I think writing an intention or a mission or finding clarity around why you and your partner are actually together is very powerful. For example, you could say we are here to explore love, enjoyment and fulfillment through being together in this way… This serves as a reminder of why you’re together.
A relationship agreement is helpful, especially when you’re not operating from any of the existing relationship models. However, I would encourage anybody in a relationship to clarify intentions, agreements and commitments because it just makes your relationship that much more powerful.
Thinking outside the box–the importance of flexibility
This new relationship paradigm solves some of the many challenges people in typical relationships experience.
Individuals taking this approach feel free and safe to express their needs in the moment. If you meet someone you are sexually attracted to and you would like to explore a sexual relationship with that person, that is something you can talk about. In this way nothing gets hidden, held back or suppressed.
There are all these different relationship models, such as monogamy, polyamory, open relationships etc. and each of these have different structures in terms of how they work. Taking this new view is not saying oh I’m monogamous or I’m polyamorous because that already puts you into a box.
This new relationship paradigm allows a couple to shift as needed. If for example you are relating to each other in a monogamous way and you decide you want to shift to be more polyamorous, that is something you and your partner can discuss and do. If after some time you decide you would like to shift back, that can also be facilitated within the relationship.
Having this flexibility to shift is an advantage. Whenever you create a label for yourself you get stuck with that label, I’m polyamorous or I’m open or I’m monogamous, people identify themselves as that and that identification prevents them from having the flexibility to be something different even if they or their partner wants it.
So, this new relationship paradigm provides a context of not having to identify with any particular relationship type. That in and of itself solves so many challenges.
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.Arthur Schopenhauer
The ideas presented here are not foreign. There are many relationships that are structured to some extent in a variation of the above. However, sometimes in many of these relationships communication, intent and honesty are lacking which leads to challenges and conflict.
This framework requires a high degree of honesty, communication and integrity – personally and between lovers. Adopting this paradigm means that the parties involved talk about what they want and deliberately set out to create a relationship that supports their needs and desires, so there is intent, communication and acceptance.
To operate within this new framework requires a whole new level of skills. It requires self-love, self-awareness, and the ability to communicate at greater depths. It also requires both people to face insecurities, fears and discomfort and to communicate through that.
This is the next step in the evolution of romantic relationships and brings an end to the epidemic of unnecessary relationship failures. This paradigm has the potential to transform our approach to relationships in a way that enables us to treat each other with more compassion, kindness and understanding. It is a framework that creates the greatest amount of freedom and self-expression within a relationship to support what is best for the individual and the relationship as a whole.