While women have Diffuse Awareness, men’s thinking processes function in what we call “Single Focus.” We believe this is because hunting is not something you can do – successfully – while doing anything else at the same time. It requires single focus or the deer will get away.
If you want to understand what is happening with a man at any particular time, just ask yourself, “What’s the deer?” In other words, what is he focused on? What is he trying to accomplish? What is he hunting now? There will always be a deer, even if what he’s after right now is recovering himself for more hunting with a good nap.
Being in sync with men requires understanding what they are hunting at any moment. For example, most men don’t shop. They hunt articles of clothing. If your man is looking for pants and you, as a gatherer, spot an attractive shirt and point it out to him, he might look at you funny or even say, “That’s not pants.”
Every year at this time, many women try to find summer clothing and beach wear that will appeal to men; or dread that they won’t be able to. Since the most attractive quality in any woman is Self-Confidence, you’ll get more “bang for your buck” if you dress for you first by buying clothes that make you happy to wear them.
When deciding on a purchase, consider the fit and then ask, “Does it make me happy?” Only buy the ones that do. The hardest part will be turning down the item that doesn’t make you happy, but is on sale. (In Understanding Women, we talk about how Sale Items are the modern-day gatherer’s version of ripe berries.) If you follow this recommendation, you’ll have the most attractive and alluring qualities and woman can have – Self-Confidence and Happiness!
Competition is part of the design of men. It’s easy to understand when you think like this: “If the game is survival, what’s second prize?”
Basically, you win, you live; you lose, you die. Therefore, masculinity includes very compelling instincts related to winning. For example, instinct will have men (and very masculine women) only attempt things at which they have a very good chance of succeeding. And if men don’t think they can win, instinct tells them to conserve their calories until they find an opportunity in which they can succeed. This is why if a man doesn’t know what will make you happy, his instinctive response will be to do nothing.
We can all overcome instinct and often do. But working with instinct is one of the ways to empower ourselves and each other. As women, by giving men the information they need to succeed, we set them up to win which makes them free to act. That freedom will often translate into a creativity and generosity that goes way beyond instinct, but was empowered by not aggravating instinct. As men, go out of your way to set other men up to win: tell them how to succeed with you by letting them know the results you most need and value. If they work for you, this will have you get their best performance instead of their minimal efforts.
More on how men define winning to suit their purposes next time...
Being a Provider is an integral aspect of being a man. You can’t separate Provider from Man; they are one and the same, the front and back of the same hand.
When asked what they fear the most, almost all men will respond with their version of: “Failing to provide what my loved ones need.” When asked what it’s like to be a Provider, almost all men will respond with their version of: “When I’m supported and appreciated, it’s a privilege and a joy. When I’m not supported and appreciated, it becomes a burden and a source of resentment.”
Every man has specific things he’s passionate about providing, he’s willing to provide, and he’s not interested in providing. Understanding what falls into these three categories is essential to understanding the men in your life, and if you are a man, essential to knowing yourself.
You might try this before or on Father’s Day: Ask your dad what he most enjoys providing for his family; if you’re the dad, tell your family what you love providing.
Happy Father’s Day!
A major source of frustration for women and men is the challenge of speaking and listening to one another. This should help.
Think of men as hunters and women as gatherers. If you imagine a man in a forest, you can see he’s very focused on finding “the deer.” To him, this is the whole point of being in the forest. And that’s what he’s listening for in a woman’s speaking: the Point. She, on the other hand, spends her time in the meadow, seeing and cataloging all the present and future possibilities for gathering. The purpose of her speaking is sharing with her partner what she found in the meadow lately, which she often does in great detail. Not having a gatherer’s data base, this detail will overwhelm men. The overwhelm will be exacerbated by his persistent thought: “What’s the point?”
Here’s the solution. Ladies: Watch the amount of detail you provide and stick to the elements you are most excited about; and invent a point. Gentlemen: Remember that there is no point; she’s sharing with you because she trusts you and is delighted by what she found in the meadow; enjoy her delight.
Why do women provide so much detail? And why do we feel like something terrible will happen if someone cuts us off before we can finish providing it?
As the gatherers, women held a huge responsibility for the well-being of the family and tribe. Berry-picking may sound like a simple task, but how do you make sure you bring back the right berries? This becomes imperative when you realize that the wrong berries could easily poison the whole tribe. Hence, women’s instinctive drive to note the minutest details. As the hunters, men bringing back any game was good. A pregnant female was a bonus, but it never mattered whether they caught the one with the white spot on the heel or not. Thus, his mind is not usually organized for that type of detail.
Herein lies the conflict today: a woman will ask a man to get her, let’s say, some tomato paste from the grocery store. He’s thinking, “Fine, tomato paste.” She then describes which tomato paste, “Get Heinz, not Del Monte; it’s the green can with the white lettering and the tree, not the red can with the black lettering. It’s on the far left of the section, next to the tomato sauces. But don’t get the kind with basil, just the plain stuff…”
About half-way through this, the man will declare, “I got it! That’s enough!” But the woman knows she hasn’t told him all the details he needs to come home with the exact right thing. This produces tension in her body which compels her to provide more details. And this drives him nuts because he’s already overwhelmed.
The solution? Have the hunter call from the grocery store and the gatherer can guide him step-by-step to the right item. A charming solution many men have implemented...bring home five different types of tomato paste (or tampons) and increase your chances of success!
By understanding what a difference sex makes in providing peace, intimacy and unity in a relationship, many of our graduates have developed a new willingness to provide sex for their partners on an “as needed” basis. They are not worrying about whether or not they want to; they’re expecting they will “get into it” soon enough. For the most part, this will work great. It will reduce tension while increasing fun, communication and partnership.
To prevent resentment from developing, it’s important for every person to determine their “Pumpkin Hour.” This is the time after which providing sex will result in loss of sufficient sleep. Given how much men need sleep, and women benefit from plenty of sleep, giving up sleep for sex will eventually create some animosity and decrease the willingness to play.
What’s your “Pumpkin Hour?” You may have one on both ends – a too late and a too early time for sex. Make sure your partner knows what it is, so no one’s feelings have to be hurt, and no one has to be the bad guy.
In Understanding Men, Sex & Intimacy, women are often surprised to learn that men love it when women initiate sex. Many women are surprised to hear this because they have been turned down so many times. Or at least they think that’s what happened. In speaking to their partners, we found out that the men often didn’t even know that they had been invited for sex. Why? Because how she invited him, didn’t register! He never even knew she was indicating a desire for sex!
One of the most important things to work out in a relationship is your “signal.” How do you indicate a desire for sex? Does your partner know that’s what that means? If you’ve ever felt like it was ignored, there’s a good chance he or she didn’t know what it was. The question to ask each other is, “What’s a good way to let you know that I’d like to have sex?”
Once you know each other’s signals – whether it’s high heels, a balloon tied to the bed, or a direct statement like, “I want you bad!” – there’s a much better chance you’ll connect.
One of the difficulties couples experience is having their sex drives align. Thinking about it like hunger, we often need to enroll our partners in eating when we’re hungry and they are not. What’s the easiest way to do that? Offer something delicious! Most people will eat dessert when they’re not hungry.
So, what’s your “dessert?” Does your partner know what it is? Another way of saying it is, “What can your partner do that will interest you in sex when it’s the further thing from your mind?” Men often describe these things as “Bell Ringers.” Another man used the expression, “that activates the launch sequence.”
By understanding what will jump start your partner, you greatly increase your ability to have sex happen with much less struggle and effort.
A subject of a lot of research these days, and certainly warranting it, is Oxytocin, affectionately referred to as the Bonding Hormone. This hormone is released in the bodies of both men and women during extreme stress and during orgasm. Oxytocin causes us to bond, or attach, with others, and in the case of orgasm, with our sexual partner. It has also recently been shown to shut down the part of the brain responsible for critical analysis and judgmental thinking.
The effects of Oxytocin are exacerbated by estrogen and minimized by testosterone. The bonding effect seems to last 2-3 weeks in women and 2-3 days in men. This could partly explain why younger women get more attached due to sex than younger men; and why post-menopausal women experience more freedom around sex while older men want regular sex to feel connected to their partners. It also explains why we see each other in a different light after orgasm (it’s orgasm that counts, with or without intercourse).
Both men and women may want to consider the effects of Oxytocin. Are you ready for that attachment, either by you or to you? Are you ready to abandon judgment?