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.