Men & Fear of Intimacy
Men have been socialized, taught, and told to appear to be strong, independent, and in control. That's the more acceptable message of "being a man." Unfortunately, this seemingly helpful message have caused men to lack the practice and permission to express any emotional vulnerability. It actually pushes them to hide any weaknesses they might have, which interferes with their ability to experience intimacy.
Men are stuck in between "being a man" and "being intimate." Their fear of losing themselves and losing their reputation. As a result, they rarely experience "True Intimacy," which is the ability to show up as who you are from the inside out to connect with your loved ones.
I do want to point out that not all men are afraid of intimacy. But for those that do, why are they so afraid of intimacy? Let's explore that.
Fear of intimacy may happen due to an addiction. Addiction can have a significant impact on a person’s brain and behaviors. It is not something that's always logical and easy to manage, even when they are trying their best and hardest. Therefore, men get stuck in their destructive emotional and behavioral patterns.
Addictions can come in many different forms: alcohol, drugs, work, exercise, food, gambling, addicted to new relationships, the addiction of trying to keep secrets, and pretty much anything you can think of.
Sex addiction, porn addiction, and new relationship addiction are also common. Regardless of the forms of the addictions, it takes a hold of the person and creates more barriers for the relationship. It is a way that prevents a man to get in contact with his inner experience. It is too scary and too much for men to get in contact with their deeper experiences and emotions given that they have had minimal permission and practice around managing them.
2. Self – Esteem & Body Image Issues
Low self – esteem and poor body image can hugely affect a man’s ability and readiness to be intimate. Intimacy is revealing yourself, and that requires a lot of inner courage. Lack of internal strength, positive self–love, and self–validation can cause men to have more fear of intimacy. If a man does not like the way he looks, or if he does not have a positive relationship with his penis and body, he will not have the confident and the motivation to move forward. He will also not have the courage to stand up for himself and let himself being seen and heard. As a result, relationships suffer from lack of intimacy, which will create more distance between partners. The distance will generate more intimacy fears, and the cycle continues.
3. Performance Anxiety
Performance anxiety can play a major role in a man’s ability to stay present and open to himself and his partner. Once anxiety kicks in, intimacy is out of the window. And guess who comes in? Fear and more anxiety! Men get a lot of pressure and messages growing up that it is their responsibility to please women and make them happy. They need to be strong and any signs of weakness are not acceptable. That is a heavy responsibility to carry for a long time.
Moreover, when a man focuses more on what he needs to do in order to perform at his best, or worry more about how his partner might respond, he creates more disconnection within. And that is a killer for intimacy and a builder for fear.
A lot of men’s sexual issues like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or delayed ejaculation are due to performance anxiety. They really want to please their partners, which is a great intension. That same intension however, is a penis killer and sex terminator. The over focus on pleasing their partners creates too much pressure. That creates even more fear towards intimacy because they are too scared to disappoint their partners. As a result, the relationship becomes anxiety based. Both partners start experiencing more pressure, more anger, more frustration, and more resentment. Even when they do have physical and sexual contact, there is more pressure instead of pleasure.
4. Untreated Mental Health Conditions - OCD, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD/Trauma, Paranoid Symptoms
Untreated mental health conditions can prevent men from being intimate even if they want to. They are often more vigilant and more afraid of relationships. They are also more afraid being vulnerable and intimate because of the unknown and uncertainty. The fact that they will not have control over what might happen make it more difficult for them to take risks, which is essential for intimacy building and having a satisfying sex life. They need to feel constant control, stability, and predictability. Those are all important to all of us but too much of them can hinge the development of romance, fondness, playfulness, and memory building in relationships.
Men with untreated mental health conditions can have high anxiety and low motivation. They can also struggle with a lot of self – criticisms, self – doubts, and self – image issues. All of that only further complicates their ability to be intimate. They might be able to engage at the initial stage of a relationship but it is too much for them to handle as time goes on. They will feel like “it is so much work.”
The War on Intimacy Between Men & Women
I just gave you four more reasons why men have fear of intimacy. If you haven’t read the first three, you can visit my blog - 3 Reasons Men Have Fear of Intimacy in Relationship & Dating.
We all want intimacy but doesn’t mean we all know how. Like I shared in my other blog about 3 Reasons Men Have Fear of Intimacy in Relationship & Dating, men want intimacy but don’t know how to have intimacy. Women want their men to be intimate but they don’t always see it when their partners are being vulnerable and intimate.
Men can be intimate but they just need more skills and practice. Women ask for intimacy but they are not always being the intimate partners they need to be. The on going misconnection creates more miscommunication and misunderstanding between men and women. Therefore, more conflicts arise and more pain created in relationships.
I wanted to emphasize that I have seen more and more women having fear of intimacy due to society, cultural, technological, and generational changes. So all the above four reasons for fear of intimacy can apply to women as well.
Fear of Intimacy: Tips & Help
Fear of intimacy is not unresolvable. It is not hard science. Partners who can be intimate because they have received the right information and the right guidance. Intimacy can be learned and how to be an intimate partner can be taught. You just need the right skills.
Start recognizing that intimacy is a skill. It is not an innate talent that you are born with. It is not easy, and that's ok. It's okay to not want to dive right into it but don't let it stop you from trying. It can bring so much more joy and connection once you try it and practice it.
Take a deep breath and take an emotional risk. Open up because you want to strengthen yourself and not get stuck in the same old pattern in every relationship. Do it for your own growth and own development. There are always risks involved when we step out of our comfort zone. Don't look it as a failure when you don't get the response that you want. Look at it as part of a social experiment and you are trying to figure out what works. Don't wait for your partner to open up. Waiting won't get your anywhere.
Working on your intimacy skill does not require you to be have a partner. It is never too late. The opportunity to practice is everywhere. Make the world your new playground.
Face your own limiting beliefs about "what a man is," or "what a new century woman is." Do you like it? Has it really served you well in your relationship and dating? If not, you have the power to change it and make it work for you.
Seek out an individual therapist or relationship counselor if you need help with developing intimacy.
Does your relationship need more intimacy? Do you want more intimacy? Are you and your partner stuck in this frustrating, painful war of intimacy?
You don’t need to struggle alone. For real!
Please Contact Me for Your 15 Min Free Counseling/Therapy Phone Consultation Now.
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