Why Men Can’t Be Friends With Women They’re Attracted To (And Some Can)

April 23, 2014

man looking at checking out woman


Can a man be friends with a woman he’s attracted to?

I’m a Man. I have lived this question thoroughly.

The short answer is simply, Yes. Yes, Mature Men can be legitimate, authentic friends with the women they’re sexually attracted to. We can work respectfully alongside them, hang out with them, have lunch with them, talk sincere and impartial with them about their boyfriends and husbands and do pretty much anything else we’d do with any other friend. Mature Men can experience sexual attraction and still honor healthy boundaries with women.

Mature Men can do this.



On the other hand, adolescent boys – and men perpetually stuck in adolescence – will have difficulty being honest friends with the women they’re attracted to.

To be clear, this blog isn’t about a man’s ability to shift from an intimate relationship to a friendly one with a woman. That’s called a breakup and deserves different consideration.

The question I’m asking is, “Can men be authentic friends with women they want to sleep with but haven’t and won’t because those women don’t seem interested in sleeping with them?”

(note: I say “don’t seem interested” because I’m pretty sure men are biologically programmed to never give up hope, no matter what a woman says or does.)

This blog is about men who, like adolescents new to the sexual experience, haven’t yet learned how to move their sexual energy in healthy ways when among attractive women; men at the mercy of attraction which complicates interactions.

Unfortunately, so many adult males are stuck in a perpetual adolescence. Some haven’t even matured that far. Anyone see similarities between toddlers and US Congressmen? Of course many grown men have learned how to be respectful human beings, as well as veritable mature men in various aspects of their lives (such as career and fatherhood), but fewer of us ever really learn how to be mature masculine Men in relationship to feminine Women with whom we experience strong sexual attractions.

Most men are stuck in perpetual adolescence because our culture feeds us immature ideas about what it means to be a man: real men win at all costs, make all the important rules, make lots of money, sleep with lots of women, have the biggest dick in the room, don’t cry or feel emotions or show weakness, etc. As a result, most adult men are profoundly confused about what it means to be a healthy mature man, whether they admit it or not – and of course most can’t admit it because that would be a mature thing to do. I have been confused for 20 years. And I never even knew it.

That said, here are “4 aspects of masculine immaturity” that prevent men from being honest friends with women they’re sexually attracted to:


1) Men have not learned how to be with their sexual energy without having to do something about it

Just like adolescent boys, most grown men in our culture don’t have a clue how to simply be with the powerful masculine sexual energy coursing through our bodies. So it owns us.

The basic story culture teaches me from birth is that I was born an uncontrollable ravenous shark in a pool filled with tasty guppies. I was then given two strong conflicting directives: (a) eating guppies is a measure of a man’s worth, and (b) try not to hurt any guppies. Then I was left on my own to unravel this dilemma while living inside a sexually charged body ready to pound the bottom out of a boat with every erection.

Since men can’t be vulnerable to work openly through the resulting confusion, we cope with the inner turmoil in countless ways unhealthy ways: we sex it, money it, game it, work it, porn it, drug and alcohol it, TV it, shame it, deny it or anger it into oblivion. By doing so, we live perpetually disoriented, and sometimes a detriment to ourselves, to the women we genuinely love and also to those we don’t.

For most of my life, whenever confronted with intense sexual experiences in my body, I would usually choose the easiest of shame, sex or masturbation as my main options for quickly dealing with it. No one ever taught me how to wield my sexual energy in intentional, respectful ways; how to direct it constructively. Most men never learn this.

As long as a man is owned by his sexual energy, he remains stuck in sexual adolescence. Unfortunately this kind of man is all too common in our world, which drives attractive, intelligent women on Facebook to post frustrated public denunciations like the recent one my FB friend wrote:

If a man has a penis, he wants to sleep with you. Period. It doesn’t matter how old he is.

But when a Man matures by learning how to be intentional with his sexual energy and not slave to it, he embodies the essence of what author Byron Katie wrote:

“Just because a man has an erection doesn’t mean he has to do anything with it.”

Then he can be friends with an attractive woman. If he chooses to.

(read my blog, “Breathing Into (Untimely) Sexual Energy” for a simple practice to work with this energy)


2) Men don’t know the difference between authentic love, romantic love and sexual energy

In his book, Intimate Communion, David Deida talks about the three separate elements of the intimate experience: love, romance, and polarity (sexual energy). Like adolescent teens confused about the rich new experiences happening in their bodies, most men still confuse sexual polarity with romantic love.

With such an immature man, you can trace the entire path from lust to love along the contours of a woman’s aerodynamic ass. Such lust-love thoughts tempt me all the time in the presence of attractive women. They’ll even insist I could actually LOVE the woman attached to those long legs walking by. But such thoughts are mostly merely mental leakage from my lizard brain. I’ve learned not to trust them.

Having lived many years in a man’s body, I can tell you it is fascinating to have witnessed my own experience of what felt like love for a woman essentially vanish in the afterglow of a powerful orgasm. It’s astonishing – and disturbing – just how quick sex can switch a male mind from the “ocean-deep loving” setting to the “kiddie-pool shallow” one.

Why do you think urgent flash-in-the-pan sex often leads to short-lasting flash-in-the-pan relationships?

When two people don’t give themselves breathing space, time, to discern what’s really happening between them, they can’t easily see that more often than not that it’s only everyday sexual polarity at play, not genuine romantic love.

While genuine romantic love is fairly elusive, men can experience sexual polarity with different women … every … single … day. Polarity attraction happens. Constantly. In the grocery store. At the DMV. In our cars. At the bars. On a plane. In a rocket ship … to the stars.

We’re like polarized magnets walking around bumping into each other everywhere. Of course we’re going to feel the pull. But that doesn’t mean we have to act on it.

Sadly, many immature men intentionally use this polarity-love confusion to manipulate women into sex. Such immature men help confuse the trust right out of women.

For us to become mature men, we must learn to distinguish this sexual polarity energy from both romantic love and our deeper authentic love. We must stop manipulating women into false romances fueled only by sexual energy. And we must gain some level of mastery around how we ultimately wield that sexual energy.

Otherwise it will own us and continue ruining potentially great friendships.


boy pulling girls hair

3) Most men do not fully respect the boundaries set by women, because they do not fully respect women

Adolescent boys and aging toddlers clearly make up most of culture’s rules. So we still don’t fully respect most feminine ways of being.

We place high value on immature masculine expressions of competition, rational thinking, control and domination, achievement for achievement’s sake, etcetera. We place far less value on the feminine gifts of consensus building, intuition and heart-centered thinking, holistic well-being, beauty for its own sake, emotions and vulnerability. This bias is so fundamental to our world that I don’t even need to offer examples to convince you (think politics, business, military and war spending, money-driven popular entertainment, billionaire sports athletes and broke school teachers, paternalistic religions … and on and on).

Until we silly men fully honor and understand that feminine wisdom is as essential as masculine wisdom to the healthy functioning of the world, we will not be able to fully respect the boundaries of our hot female friends. We will continue exploiting weakness in their defenses, whether with subtle manipulation or actual violence.


the mask you live in

4) Men don’t know how to be authentically vulnerable

Most men don’t know how to be with awkward feelings and experiences without having to do something “manly” about them. We believe we are supposed to act on our feelings, even if that means forcibly suppressing or drowning them in addictions. We are compelled to take whatever action will get us most quickly away from our discomfort.

That’s why we usually hate it when women cry. We don’t know a middle way.

We do not know how to simply be with awkward truths, nor do we know how to express them without playing for an outcome. Because so much of our worth is tied to a woman’s approval, being vulnerable is particularly difficult in relationship to women.

Our fragile adolescent egos can’t risk feminine rejection of our authentic inner worlds. So we’ll be vulnerable and tell women how we feel, but we’ll do our best to control the scenario so that we either get what we want in the end or keep them far enough away that they can’t possibly reject us. Which is how adolescent boys behave.

It’s hard to create genuine friendships without being genuinely vulnerable. Even with other men.



Imagine a world where Men …

Imagine a world where Men could differentiate between sexual energy, romance and pure love; and where he could acknowledge this openly, without shame, to the women in his world who would appreciate his honesty.

Imagine a world where Men could breathe into their sexual energy and simply enjoy their own erections without always having to do something with them.

Imagine a world where Men fully respected Women and the wisdom they offer.

Imagine a world where Men knew how to be vulnerable with their deepest truths, their joys and their sorrows, and could easily share them with women (and men) without manipulating for an outcome in the sharing.

Wouldn’t the Men in such a world make for incredible masculine friends to women? … not to mention spine-tingling intimate partners, too!


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    • I’d say that’s a very masculine way of looking at it. I don’t think you’re wrong, but I don’t think you’re right, either. There’s a whole universe of middle ground in between the ON or OFF extremes.

      • Well, when you have been raised by two alpha males who taught you instilled it in you to take it like a man I guess that explains of my perspective. My thinking is, I don’t want to be part of some man’s fan club of admiring eyes. Just my two cents but thanks for making me smile again anyway.

  • I ABSOLUTELY love reading your posts! Please keep them coming!!!

    OMG, I would so love to have a real conversation with you about this…and about my own discoveries and questions as I grapple with maturity and immaturity in my own feminine sexuality.

    Having been either married, divorced–or immediately in relationship and then eventually married again 3 times since the age of 19, I was astonished to find myself (after all the learning, changing, growing, trying, stretching, risking, etc.) in yet another unworkable situation where there was no healthy way to stay together that worked for both of us.

    Then, after At the age of 49 I decided to spend at least a year intentionally staying single. Although sex was quite limited, that did not necessarily mean complete celibacy.(I felt that might be too easy for me to hide behind.)

    I committed to stay fully present to all my feelings…and if I got involved romantically or sexually, to use as much compassion and wisdom as I could regarding the feelings and maturity of the other…and to expressing my sexually and intentions as honestly, clearly and responsibly as possible..

    I learned alot about myself and about attraction, energy, friendship and love…

    It’s been great! And I am happier now than I’ve ever been with my freedom, my friends, my life! I’m stunned how loved and loving I feel every day, how peaceful, how thrilled I feel with each moment alone and each connection I make…no matter how long or briefly it lasts! And no matter what form the connections arise in…a dance, a friendship– whether masculine or feminine, my family, a kiss, a conversation, a flash in the pan…or a friends with benefits exploration.

    There have been joys and heartbreaks. And I’ve felt every emotion imaginable. My heart is open like never before and I’m in love with every moment!

    But I can see the possibility of wanting to explore a committed relationship of some form in the near future…and that brings up a million questions of how I might manage to share myself–all of myself– in all my open hearted lovingness and freedom.

    Going into relationship from here…well…I have no idea…no map…Which is just fine actually, but uncharted territory is always both terrifying and exciting!

    Relationship is not what I used to think it was… And what it is is yet to be discovered. But having a conversation with someone of the opposite sex with similar experiences and questions seems like an amazing idea!

    • Hi Denise. I’d like to make an invitation to you. I invite you to experience a powerful coaching conversation with me around this. I’m a Life Coach. I get to live my dreams by helping other people live theirs … even as those dreams shift and change, and dreams always do. We’ll set aside up to 2 hours for this (this is no surface stuff, this is deep transformational conversation). If you’re up for that, email your phone number me at [email protected] and we’ll make an appointment. I’d love to support you on this, and in one intentional conversation we can move into some incredible stuff.

  • Love this Bryan!!
    I appreciate the enormous courage to share like this. Fear is so taboo and currently misunderstood and keeps us immature/victims.
    I sense some mysandric overtones. Were these conscious and intentional on your part? They resonate with my immature feminine. 😉
    Thank you for all that you are bringing forward in the world.

    • “I sense some mysandric overtones.”
      I’m glad I’m not the only one to get that. Although the way it came across to me, was in the form of a thought, “this guy is trying to get laid. With a feminist. And this is a bid to impress her.” Being male, I do readily acknowledge that my reaction could easily be pre-conscious defensiveness, however.
      What I found oddest, though, was a seeming undertone of mysogyny — for example, the line, “Sadly, many immature men intentionally use this polarity-love confusion to manipulate women into sex”
      doesn’t give women much credit, does it? Perhaps “manipulate” was just a misleading word choice.

      • Thanks Matt. I appreciate your insight on this. As I wrote to Fiona: “there might be mysandric overtones. I’ll have to really sit with that. My intention with so much of my work and writing is really showing where men (myself included) can work on growing into a more responsible way of being on the planet. The stakes are pretty high. I don’t wish to shame anyone, but I do believe most men need to be spoken to directly and honestly, and sometimes it’s gonna sting a little bit, though that’s not my first intention.”

        I do think men manipulate women into physical interactions, knowing they aren’t interested in what those women are interested in. I’ve done it. Countless times. I know plenty of men who have. Countless times. I stand by that one. Us men need to look that one straight in the face and deal with it honestly and courageously.

        You’re the 2nd man who’s had that thought, that I wrote this to get laid. Interesting how men go there.

        I don’t write to get laid. I’d do much better to pick up a guitar. However, if amazing women are attracted to me because of my writing, then fuckin’ good for me!!

        Matt, I really appreciate you adding your voice to the conversation. It’s an important one to have. I don’t have it all figured out. This is really healthy dialogue.

      • I just had to add my two cents to you for what it is worth: (1) men don’t try to get laid with any woman. She chooses him or not from her own criteria. Usually she knows if she wants to sleep with him within a minute but may change her mind should new information come to her attention, (2) Feminists by nature are not terribly impressed by men and are more turned off if any man even dare tries, and (3) very few men can manipulate a woman into sex using polarity. Both genders can turn up or down a masculine or feminine essence at will. Some are more skilled at this than others. Immature men use words to manipulate because they lack the mature understanding of the physics of polarity. Mature men are aware of the polarity enough to be able to withstand its attraction generating ability without acting on it like they are on automatic.

        Personally, I wouldn’t profile you Matt as pre-conscious defensive. I’d simply say you may be a black and white thinker on this matter of can men and women be friends if there is an undertone of attraction. My standpoint is no because such situations in my observation and experience seem fraught with too much drama potential. Another possibility is that your POV on the male/female interplay of the modern dating scene is strategy driven. if one sees relationships and interactions as part of one big chess match, they can easily read an essay like this as mysandric.

    • That’s an interesting observation, Fiona. Mysandric overtones. You know, there might be. I’ll have to really sit with that. My intention with so much of my work and writing is really showing where men (myself included) can work on growing into a more responsible way of being on the planet. The stakes are pretty high. I don’t wish to shame anyone, but I do believe most men need to be spoken to directly and honestly, and sometimes it’s gonna sting a little bit, though that’s not my first intention. But thanks for pointing it out. Bryan

      • Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Bryan. I bet you’re a great life-coach! And, knowing now that you can play the guitar, your point is well taken. If I had actually asserted that your motives were so base (it was just my knee-jerk reaction, not my conclusion; apologies if that was unclear), I would withdraw the statement. 🙂
        I guess that “manipulation” is kind of vague, in that the word as defined strictly is neutral, but in context and in most usage it has definite negative implications. I think I hear what you’re saying, but perhaps it sounds worse than it is. If pursuing physical interactions whilst knowing that desires differ, counts as manipulation, then sure — I’m right there with you, guilty as charged 🙂 But since when do the priorities of men and women ever have perfect congruence? To me, it is the differing foci of the genders that makes masculinity and femeninity a yin/yang sort of thing (ok I realize that “yin” and “yang” have enough gender meaning that I may have simply been redundant there, but hopefully you get what I’m saying.) My point is that saying women are “manipulated into sex” sounded to me like, “men are players, and women fall for it.” I’m not playing the virtous one here; I have most definitely had the experience of a huge shift in my interest level, immediately following the, er, “attainment” of my goal. But it was a shift, because the lying I had been doing was to myself, and until experience taught me to recognize my motivations, I really was whole-heartedly into it.
        I suppose I’m saying that I basically agree with everything you’ve said — in spirit, at least. But men don’t have a monopoly on manipulation, manipulation is not necessarily bad OR sexual, and when it IS bad, that’s a shitty thing no matter where its from or what the goal.

        Women have been exploited, under-dignified and downtrodden for most of human history, in almost every culture, and I think it’s fair to say that we’re still quite a ways from true equality. The social/mental liberation from the tyranny of archaic power structures is ongoing, and I think the very recoil of it has confused and made chaotic the shift in awareness and action, like the snap of a rubber band that is stretched to breaking. It seems hard to get anywhere without a lot of counterproductive finger-pointing and undeserved self-flagellation along the way… a situation that, in many ways, parallells the plight of displaced indigenous peoples, now existing amidst their displacors, who are individually just as indigenous and have nowhere to go even if they were inclined to return the land. In that scenario, and in the Gender Gap, we have people who suffer from disadvantage for no other reason than the existing culture was built that way, and it has inertia. I’m hopeful, that the solution may be as simple as, we must achieve a critical mass of uncritical minds — at which point society will be internally motivated to change. Like a meta version of “be the change you want to see.” 🙂
        But like you, Bryan, I haven’t got it all figured out; I just do the best I can, and try always to be who I am, no more no less just my best. Despite the tone of my first post, I do suspect you’re doing the same.

  • It’s not only possible to be friends, but it is actually possible to choose not to have sex with a woman you are attracted to because you prefer the friendship over the romantic relationship. It’s possible to reach a point of realization that sex for the sake of sex is just not very satisfying. Sure there’s the immediate pleasure, but without a deeper connection it holds little real value. I know many men and women alike who don’t really get this. I think it’s probably difficult until you have experienced the depths reachable when making love with someone with whom you are deeply connected.

  • Here is what I took from this. Man bad woman good, men need to be more like women. Men you must get in touch with your inner femininity to be a true mature man. Give it a rest. FFS when did it become a crime in this world for a male to be manly. It seems to me there is a war going on against anything overtly masculine here. Look, I’m sorry that you removed your balls and have them tucked away in some purse somewhere but it’s really showing.
    Just look at the tags you tagged this blog with. “feminine masculine” “miss”representation project. It’s really quite sad how blatant you are. Next time maybe try to hide it a little better. Just a tip.

    • The way you’ve framed your comment, there’s not much room for meaningful conversation, but I appreciate you taking the time to say something at least relevant, so I’ll offer this … Men don’t need to be more like women. Men just need to be actual Men and grow beyond our adolescence where so many of us get stuck for all our lives. That’s the point of this blog. And I think it takes pretty big man balls to say so. Bryan.

  • I am a woman and I absolutely love your posts. I wish I can talk to you. Men can have issues, but rarely admit it. Thank you again.,

    • Ha. Man HAVE issues. Just like we have nipples, too. We’re not accustomed to vulnerability, though. There’s so much to say about this. I’m doing a 60-day 100 coaching conversations challenge. If you’re interested in a conversation, take a look at my website and let’s schedule one 🙂 http://www.managingthemagic.com

  • I am a woman and a feminist. I LOVE MEN! I am interested in a man who handles his masculinity well, and simultaneously fully respects and embraces the luscious qualities of a woman without fear or trepidation.

    In response to Jackie’s post: I want to define FEMINIST – because many times now, I’ve heard people, men and women, use it with disdain, disregard and as a substandard position, on the contrary. { Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.}

    This is the definition I work from (Wikipedia). At no point, does it indicate a lack of desire of men. To over-power or degrade men or the masculine. It is a movement and construct for equal opportunity regardless of gender. I do not condone, man-hating rhetoric or woman-hating speak either ~ feminist or not and all in-between and beyond. I stand to unite us all. All women together WITH men.

    Without the feminist movement of the early 1900’s, we still might NOT have the right to vote, own property, author books or even attend college. This only happened under 100 years ago because of direct efforts by feminist women. Feminism deserves respect and reverence by both genders and especially by women.

    One other note: I agree with you Bryan regarding the polarity issue. . . some/many women have fallen prey to manipulation for a multiple of reasons. To denounce it and state that it is the full responsible for women to navigate and intuitively know when a man is manipulating or not, is ridiculous. Some men, as women, can be extremely cunning. It really lies in the intent of each individual. So as Bryan defines the qualities of “love” from men, I think it is a valid repeated paradigm.

    This is not to say that all women are virtuous by any means. Women have a whole set of reasons for their immaturities. Please keep in mind, we are speaking in generalities; and as we know, these do not define each individual. We look for repeated patterns to help us break certain environs that we are accustomed to and hopefully create a better and just world.

    I applaud your crusade Bryan and am grateful for this new movement for the evolution of man. We need the mature masculine as well as the continued evolution of the feminine in order for us to unite and work together for the survival of humanity. Thank you for your courage to step out of the status quo and help our world!

  • Wonderful perspective! However, coming from a rather less open culture, Bryan, I see the fact that very few women are mature and strong enough to accept the truth as is, being totally missed out.

    Something as direct as “you lost your father” has to be quoted carefully and indirectly to make most women not burst into an emotional volcano.

    Take a closer look and you will understand that men always respect decisions where the women is clear about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable with logical reasoning and I am afraid Bryan, logic has to have a definitive answer and can’t be “gray”. And let’s admit it, if there is any gray area allowed in interpretation, anything not in both’s favour(read expectations) would warrant constant debates or arguments. Which largely, flips the resulting situation to the distaste of one or both.

    And my observation is, with the so many I have spoken to, women are more creative than men in assuming what all could happen as a result of them even responding to a stare of a man across the room.

    So, your definition of maturity though interesting, IMHO, would need to assume that both the man and the woman have the same expectations from the interaction/conversation/relationship.

    Do explain your perspective, if otherwise.

    I am not a psychologist, however, I am researching and analysing psychology of human relationships and sexual mindsets, on a personal level.

  • Brilliantly said! I have been searching for a man who grasps and understands this concept but am yet to find one!

  • This is an interesting and thought-provoking post, and I hope more men take the time to read it. However, that is not to say I agree with everything put to page. Agreed, men need to act more maturely in regards to their sexuality, and in regards to women. Completely agreed, a man can be purely platonic with a woman he is sexually attracted to, and vice versa. However:

    1) You seem to denounce masturbation as immature and shameful, as well as aids to masturbation, in the following passages:
    “… whenever confronted with intense sexual experiences … I would usually choose the easiest of shame, sex or masturbation … for quickly dealing with it.”
    “Since men can’t be vulnerable to work openly through the resulting confusion, we cope with the inner turmoil in countless ways unhealthy ways: we sex it, … porn it, drug and alcohol it, [etc.]”

    I disagree with the implication, if indeed this is what you are saying. I often take issue with those who shame others who masturbate. I often point out that even those who have sex regularly sometimes masturbate, as well, and not necessarily because they “aren’t getting enough”. I know those who can masturbate easily without much aid, and those who find it easier with visual or auditory cues (and one who can only really get into it with the smell). I know both men and women who are in their mid-thirties to late fifties who masturbate, and move on with their day, and who are quite respectful to the opposite sex.

    2) You also seem to equate maturity as being 100% comfortable with one’s sexual appetites and bodily functions. Now, I feel very comfortable when I expel gas in public, despite the fact I’ve made it very uncomfortable for everyone else’s olfactory sense. However, my significant other does not feel comfortable expelling gas, and feels very out of place if she does so in public. This does not make her “immature.”

    People do not need to be comfortable with themselves 100% in order to be mature. Some people do not like their hair. Some people do not like the size or burden of their breasts. Some people kind of hate that feeling between their legs when they get an erection. Not everyone is going to like sex, or mustard, or Picasso paintings. Not many people are comfortable in places that are very different from their culture, unless they first mentally prepare themselves to experience it. This does not make them “immature”.

    I get that mostly you are arguing that men should learn to manage their emotions and sexual urges positively, and I agree with that (and I love your post on Breathing Into [it]; reminds me of some of my early meditation classes). I also agree that our culture has not done many favors in teaching men how to deal with those urges. However, in your closing arguments, assuming that someone who is mature will “… enjoy their own erections without always having to do something with them,” does an injustice to those who need to read this post and will never be fully comfortable with some aspects of themselves. I am somewhat concerned that someone who reads those words and has that false expectation of themselves will revert to previous ways of thinking and actions when such results do not occur.

    My two bits. Have a good one, and please keep writing on this subject.

  • I was REALLY hoping that you would have awesome suggestions as to how to do this. Simply pointing out the challenges without offering any suggestions misses a great opportunity for needed help. It’s very true what you say, but just more people highlighting the contradictory and extremely frustrating situation that we men are in without helpful ways to fix it feels like more condemnation. I would absolutely love helpful and encouraging tips and action steps. In the spirit of vulnerability, I don’t believe that most guys are animals and awful (which I hear many women express in a variety of ways), but I do know that many of us are confused and would LOVE being better, but we lack the understanding of how to make effective and lasting changes. Suggestions?

  • I am completely in love with this article. You hit the nail on the head so many times it hurts! Thank you for writing such brilliant and heartfelt insights, your words are living proof that enlightened men can and DO exist out there!!!!!! Please keep writing gems like these, and good vibes all day long 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Hi Kaitlyn … yes, please have faith. More and more of us men are finally awakening to our full brilliance. Most of us did not have healthy masculine male role models to learn from, so unfortunately we do a lot of stupid things along our journey. But we’re waking up. It’s time.

  • I got a surprising answer from a man who had told me that if we couldn’t be lovers, we could no longer be friends. He said, “It hurts too much.” He wasn’t talking physical pain (lol). He was a very sensitive guy. His heart hurt when he saw me, he wanted more. I was his teacher, though, and it was not appropriate, alas. Thank you, Bryan, for this and all the work you are doing~ Namaste

  • Interesting article, I can relate to this situation, I guess we make decisions on what we feel is right for us at the time – but I do agree about the maturity bit.

  • This was a very insightful article thank you for researching and writing it.. As a woman that served in the military I had many male platonic respectful friends. Yes some tried to cross boundaries, yet when they knew I wasn’t willing to accept that crossing they would back off. It’s very difficult from being in that environment and going into a relationship with someone I do care deeply for that doesn’t think male/female friendships can exist without becoming intimate and in fact it’s even disrespecting him to be friends. It’s beyond reasoning that why would I want to be intimate with any of my friends and when I want to only keep them as friends and only ever wanted them as a friend.. I don’t think it’s fair to end my friendships yet I don’t want to lose him either. I do know it’s at the end of the day it’s about trust and respect for me. Suggestions?

    • I have two observations:

      1) Your current partner clearly has challenges around trust. Could be he saw evidence as a child that suggests intimate couples can’t really trust each other to have friends (perhaps in his parents)? Could be a cultural thing (I lived in Egypt for a time, and men-women are definitely not trusted as friends). Maybe he was cheated on before. Regardless, you must know this is not about you. He has a serious trust problem.

      2) Part of this trust problem is because HE clearly hasn’t learned how to be authentic friends with a woman. He doesn’t even see how it’s possible. That speaks a lot to his ability (inability) to control his own sexual urges in the presence of women.

      My suggestion for you would be to consider how stubborn he is on this subject. If he isn’t willing to consider other possibilities, then this is the life you must get used to in his presence. Don’t expect him to change; that’s called a “Love Project.” And those are exhausting, frustrating, and usually completely futile. Don’t love him “on potential.” Expect he’ll never change.

      However, if he is willing to consider other possibilities … 1) that’s a sign of a healthy human mind and 2) then you have room to explore. He may need to ease into scenarios where you have male friends, and you might start with men who could not possibly be threatening to him.

      However, an insecure person is going to see “threats” to their survival everywhere, even where those threats are completely imagined (which is most places).

      Whatever direction you take, just remember you are here to simply wake up to the truth of who you really are. Whether you stay with this guy or not, your life’s purpose is to open up more and more to love. (that’s what I believe, anyway)

      I hope this is helpful. (I was in the military, too)

    • I am an Educational Interpreter for the Deaf. Most Sign Language Interpreters are female which means that most of my coworkers are women. After working with them for over seven years most of them are trusted friends. If my girlfriend was immature we couldn’t be together. So I feel your pain On-idle… It can be a difficult balancing act being respectful of your man’s feelings while at the same time keeping these important friendships intact.

  • This is written by a guy who’s controlled by women. We’re mammals, as in animal. The brain, body, strength, and interests are different, and nature rules, we have sex and make babies. That doesn’t mean we don’t protect woman and child, we do, but that’s not friendship. Friendship is being with someone where there’s the right chemistry, sex is being with someone with the right chemistry, too, but the chemistry is entirely different, one ongoing, the other hot and intense. This pro-friendship thing is unnatural, hard work that always ends. For heterosexual males, sex with women, friendship with guys, do that and sex with women is always good, become a friend with a woman and desire goes in the tank, always, eventually, lest one have guy breaks, then it might last rather well, without that, it will end.

    • If this article was written by a guy controlled by women, then this comment is written by a guy who’s actually afraid of them … If your orientation towards women limits you to seeing them as people to either have sex with or protect, but resist engaging with at any other level, it would seem to me that, like so many men, you have not yet integrated with your own internal feminine essence. Carl Jung wrote that men have a feminine soul (the anima), while women have a masculine soul (the animus). The way we men engage our relationships with women speaks volumes as to how fully we have accepted – or rejected – our own internal feminine soul. The capacity to love a woman fully, which may incorporate yet surely transcends her sexual utility, is directly related to our relationship with our own feminine soul. Anyway, I know this is a big concept for a blog comment, and I don’t mean to be offensive to you in any way. Women definitely don’t control me – any of my ex-girlfriends will surely testify to that, much to their frustration. Friendship with women is not only possible, it’s awesome. And believe me, it does not kill sex drive in any way. If channeled effectively, a friendship with a good woman you’re attracted to but don’t indulge sexually, can even massively enhance sex drive.

  • Excellent excellent article, I am a man who’s struggled with this mightily at work. I’m happily married to a beautiful woman who I love and trust. I’m also a bit of a ladies man, I’m very good with woman and I can attract them pretty easily. I’m not saying this to brag but more so that I happen to be friends with quite of few of them and some that are very beautiful.

    There’s one in particular at work that is breathtaking beautiful and with the nicest personality to boot. Which has made it very difficult for me because typically if the girls not cool, yet she’s beautiful, I wouldn’t give her the time of day. But in this case girl is total package. Now with that said we’ve been friends for years. And we are both happily married, we are also both strong morally, meaning neither of us would ever cross that boundary.

    Has it crossed my mind, you better fricken believe it, it’s so fricken hard sometimes because she’s so damn beautiful. But again like you said I’m a Man, not a boy. Men are mature they don’t need to act like infantile boys and act on every impulse. Listen we men want to have sex with so many different women throughout our life, the temptation is always there. And it’s there for women too. I know this girl is attracted to me too, it’s just the way it is. It’s not something to be ashamed of, we’re human, we have human emotions., it’s those that are mature, comfortable with who and what they are that allows you to harness the bigger picture and not be controlled and act on those emotions.

    A true player knows the game inside and out, but respects people for who they are along with their loved ones. Think about how selfish I’d be if I acted on my impulse to have sex with this girl, the lives I’d ruin, both partners, children, grandparents ect. All because I needed to act on a neanderthal impulse. Like you said a real man knows and is comfortable with his emotions, a real man knows he’s the man without ever having justify to any one else that he is.

    Anyone that says you can’t be friends with the opposite sex (when they’re sexually attractive) has no control of their emotions and who they are as a person

    • Tim (and Bryan):

      You’ve described my EXACT situation, but with some minor differences. The woman I’ve befriended is actually a sales rep for one of our vendors. Our paths cross two or three times a year at conferences and we talk a few times a month. We’re both very mature and as personal things get between us (verbally), she said she “would never cross that line”. Neither would I, although it has entered my imagination. Yes we’re only human, but I would think I’ve evolved to be mature enough to never act impulsively or on such thoughts.

      Yes, we’ve been friends for the better part of 7 years, and I will say that she had taken the first step in moving from a professional relationship to a more personal one (very mature and completely platonic). We’ve shared a lot with each other (family, friends, politics at work, etc.) and my wife is aware of our work-friendship.

    • You saying that this woman is definitely attracted to you is the perfect example of something called ‘toxic masculinity.’ If she hasn’t flirted with you, or told you this directly, then please don’t assume that she is. That’s creepy.

      I am a woman. And I’m simply tired of men assuming I’m attracted to them, that I definitely wouldn’t deny them and that I want something more. When in reality none of these things are accuate.

      Making women the subject of your frustrations is sick, and can make us so uncomfortable that we discontinue the friendship completely. Granted this was a great, very well-written article with the perspective we need to help us better understand the mind of a man, because some of us women are wondering why we can seldom ever have a positive, healthy and successful friendship with a man wthout his sexual proclivity’s getting in the way. I am in my early 20’s, and I have yet to have one.

    • If you are married and want to have sex with this woman who works with you, you already don’t have control of your emotions. As such, you should remove yourself from her company altogether instead of congratulating yourself for not having slept with her yet. Why don’t you tell your wife how you feel about this woman (if your position is so mature and lofty) and follow up with: “but honey, I haven’t acted on my feelings!” See what SHE thinks about that. Or put the shoe on the other foot. What if your wife told you that she was attracted to a man at work but isn’t sleeping with him. What mature thoughts would run through YOUR mind? So self-congratulatory that it is comical.

  • Thank You, Brian! So absolutely true. I love seeing more mature MAN in nowadays world. It’s a delightful experience of open communication as Person to Person. As mature to mature. Might be we call it Emotional Intelligence – To be mature to express our emotions freely especially vulnerability and knowing that this is our TRUE strength.

  • Your every article is so inspiring! What about man who almost doesn’t have (men) friends? All of his friends are girlfriends – some are exes, some business associates. Whenever he’s travelling, and that’s a lot, he’s having lunches, dinners, meetings with women. He enjoys flirting, but claims he’s “only” friend with every each one of them. I can even accept that, as part of his “colourful personality”, but I’m wondering – there must be a reason he has no male friends, and what it is about his need to be surrounded by women all the time.

  • A man is someone that grew up with a penis, nothing more, nothing less. Affect of a woman on a man has to do with his testosterone levels (which also play a large part in he behaves socially). It’s not usually about whether a man can be friends with a woman and more about if he wants to. Lots of men simply don’t seek out female friendship. Why put yourself through the sexual frustration?

  • *exhale* …

    Yes, I have seen good men be challenged by these norms – how to deal with attractive women and not willing to “not have an answer” to an uncomfortable feeling.

    But just because I can see it doesn’t mean they want it. As women, we are waiting for men to deal with life, love, and sex at a deeper level. And we are waiting to be seen and valued for our feminine gifts.

    What’s the path for men to want to wake up? (and then have the discipline to implement approaches like this like their life depended on it)

  • Hi Bryan,
    Love the article and you hit on so many truths I’ve witnessed as a 27 year old woman. My question is, I see men who actively seek out friendships with attractive women. I don’t fully understand the reasons for this, but I assume it’s some sort of ego boost to be seen with/interact with a beautiful woman. I’ve had experiences where married men whom I work with want to be friends, but I still sense an ulterior and not so wholesome motive. Am I crazy or just imagining it? Honestly, when I was reading the responses from previous comments, I couldn’t help wondering why these men pursue friendships with attractive women. I’m guessing that you might say that steering clear of pretty women is a way of avoiding becoming a man and owning the mature masculine traits. This makes sense to a point. Do you recommend men putting themselves in a position where they inevitably will have sexual thoughts about a woman and maybe even fall in love with her, when they are committed to another? I suppose as long as they have control of their sexual energy and fully respect the woman, then nothing would ever happen. But, it seems like that would just make life harder (albeit more exciting) and possibly cause pain for their partners IMO… Anyway, I don’t mean to criticize any commenters, I’m just really curious about your take on men seeking friendships with attractive women when they have a partner.

  • Great topic. Thank you a lot, Brian.
    I have always longed for guy-friends. My natural expression of the feminity is to be more “masculine”, the go-getter, and thus, many men are naturally a good friend-fit for me. It would be sad world for me to have no male friends.
    I would have secretely wished to have a gay-men friend: for the sake of friendship only. That would not end up in disappointment because I did not want to sexually accept him.

    I found this post in the time when I must realise that I had none of those friends. It was an illusion. Fear to be alone, to have no friends (as most of my former female friends married, had children, stopped being interested in me, they were not interested in mental things, discussions etc -and men were, so I had a good time with guy-friends). Only recently, I tend to meet women who like to discuss other, more “masculine”, animated topics. It feels so far more safe than risking a friendship with a man.
    My male friends were not honest to tell that they were mainly waiting until a romantic relationship ends (and when it was not good, they did not tell me that they saw that the guy was not so great for me) in order to persuade me to be in a romantic relationship with them. I had sort of bad feeling that my ideal of having these male friends was prehaps not the reality, but I hoped that things will change. It did not change. I only sew anger and resentment after even 10 years of friendship (when I was in such a deep low point in my life and refused these male guys as my partner: this is probably when they could have not made it anymore and left). I hope that I will no longer have such “friends”. I was thinking several times about how to talk about it: to tell them that I have an impression that they are around me out of some romantic or sexual expectation ? I thought that I shall not play their mother to or teacher to talk about everything as first, again….but maybe, next time, I shall ? Another way to disappear, not to have time to hang with them….but this is not that easy for me. I usually must have a good clarity on whether it is friendship I shall let go of.
    I am afraid of being alone, having no friends, then, but it is perhaps better than experiencing the friendship disloyality. It feels disrespectful to myself to let these guys to stay around me and pretend friendship. It is basically a form of a lie, a betrayal in friendship. As if I were good only for validating their worth (seen in the sexual attraction). If I don´t do it on a conscious level, I will be slowly manipulated in it. If it does not work even now, then I will be thrown away (it truly leaves me with the feeling what did I do wrong, and that this masculine part in me is obviously not good enough).

    Around the time, I figured this finally out, I felt like one of these “friends” was pulling energetically at me and forcing me to finally set up for him, to like him (even though he never raised this topic, never invited me). I had the impression that he goes to some coaching or therapy and tries some tricks at me (he changed the way he wrote, he started to systematically write e-mails to me, he called me with my name -what he was rarely able before). He promised some help, for way too long. When I addressed, he attacked me. Then he wanted to come to see me to help me (?, I was not sure with what). I politely refused, he never replied back. The betrayl of the friendship was shocking to me.
    I wanted to walk away from the friendship (s) also as I started to notice that I no longer like their character, their life style. Things had changed as one grew older. It was friendship as a friendship, but I was more indulgent for guys (and maybe compassionate, maybe I wanted to help them to feel, to be more evolved) while trading not being alone in my own masculine part.

  • See, my problem is that when I find a woman I reallllyy like, to the point of maybe limerence and then I come to find out that person has a boyfriend and that they are very happy in their relationship I feel like I NEED to back off because if I don’t I will put all my focus on that women instead of trying to put all my focus on a new women without a boyfriend, that I may find and like. It’s time wasted to be friends with a woman I feel a romantic love with, in a relationship in my opinion. And I think it’s the moral thing to do since what guy would want another guy romancing his girlfriend? Could I be just friends with this woman… sure I guess.. but why would I put myself through that while I know some other guy is on her mind. It’s like I am a dog on a leash, with the woman I like keeping a leash on me and keeping me at bay even though they entice me with bacon. That’s just hurting myself, and the woman I’m attracted to of course doesn’t care. Seems kind of foolish to me. I’m probably the only male here in the comments. Just thought I’d put in my thoughts, and why I do things.

    • Thanks Matt, I appreciate you offering your perspective and experience. I think it simply comes down to. is there value for you – other than only sexual/romantic value – in having a friendship with a woman? If many of us looked close enough, in some cases, perhaps not all, we might see that, “yeah. there is actually tremendous value apart from romance/sexuality to being friends with a particular woman, even if we’re attracted to her.” But that’s surely for each man to decide for himself.

      • Yes, the question is one of value, weighed against the pain and frustration of unrequited love. Like Matt said, he COULD be just friends with the woman he loves, but it takes energy away from finding someone new. When we love someone, they tend to be on our minds quite a bit, and this emotional energy is not very productive, IMHO.
        The other aspect of accepting less than you want, and being just friends, is that on some level the woman knows that she has neutered you….and I suspect that this brings with it a certain lack of respect, and a feeling that you’re rather pathetic to settle for less than you really want. In my case, I do think that this woman takes me for granted.
        I can explain it this way; with me she has high comfort but gives me low value, but with her bf she has low comfort but gives him high value. And she admits that she thinks he just wants her for sex.

        • I don’t think it’s love. It’s probably lust and infatuation.
          If you can’t control that, then move on. You wouldn’t be a real friend if you’re constantly hoping for more, anyways.

  • Great post thank you. It’s so helpful when men themselves express this information. Once a man reaches a certain age, say 50ish, is there any hope of changing that mind set and adolescent reaction? Once the mind and body have been engaged in a behavior for that long it seems like a tall order to shift gears. I know anything is possible but you know “old fig new tricks” Thoughts?

    • Yes, I do believe anyone can change their responses if they’re genuinely desiring for and ready to take action in creating new outcomes. But it takes willingness AND practice!

  • Great article on the primal instincts of men.

    But I disagree that a man should or can be just friends with a woman whom he’s sexually attracted to, especially if he is in a relationship or she is in one too.

    Finding a woman attractive is not the same as being attracted to her. It is problematic in and of itself to be having a friendship with a woman you’re sexually attracted too. How would your wife or girlfriend feel about that, knowing that you are spending time with a woman whom you not only enjoy on a personality or intellectual level but that you’re also sexually attracted ? That’s even worse than only being sexually attracted to her. That is having an emotional affair. That is considered cheating to many women and men.

    How would you feel if your girlfriend or wife whom you know wouldn’t ever sleep with another man told you that she is sexually attracted to her friend but likes his smartness and personality and humour but wouldn’t ever act on ? Would you seriously not feel insecure or mad that she hangs out with him? Wouldn’t you feel like she shouldn’t be giving attention to him and that attention is taking away from your relationship in some way?

    When you’re in a relationship and you associate with other women, especially those whom you are sexually attracted to, men instinctively compare that woman with their current girlfriend or wife. In his brain, he thinks that there are so many women out at sea. Thus, causing him to not fully appreciate the intimate companion he currently has.

    I am religiously monogamous and was so sexually faithful to this boyfriend I had, but when I told him that I was sexually attracted to this male friend of mine and that I had feelings for him because he had a good personality and was smart, my boyfriend dumped me. He didn’t even want me thinking about other men like that in my brain even though I would never touch this other guy-no hugs, kisses on cheeks, nothing.

    So it’s actually worse to be friends with a woman you’re sexually attracted to-whatever energy you spend on that hot other women is energy & focus you are taking away from your current intimate companion. No woman wants her man paying attention to a woman whom he finds sexually attracted to. That is cheating. And I have not met any guy who would approve of his woman doing that either.

    • Hi Aishah,

      Your reply was the best one on here. You pretty much summed it up. Well-said. Either way, somebody will feel hurt. I think one’s partner will be more accepting of an opposite sex friend, if there is no attraction at all. That’s the best way to have it.

    • And you’re okay with another human being literally controlling your thoughts. Thoughts that you have acknowledged you cannot control. Just wow! So profoundly thankful today to be an atheist!

  • thanks for your blog post. I just found it on a search now, several years after you posted but it’s as relevant as ever. I’m a big fan of Deida’s perspective. my question: can a man and woman who have had a highly polarized relationship with love too transition to being truly great platonic friends – and if so how? you mentioned this scenario deserves different consideration…

  • So I’m very curious Bryan. Why shouldn’t we marry someone we find physically hideous with a beautiful personality? After all, you seem to imply that polarity is nothing more than an unintelligent evolution-driven force. I’m not trying to argue with you, I’m just trying to grapple with this paradox myself.

    • To comment on your post, I married someone who lots of guys wouldn’t consider attractive at all (although maybe not hideous;) she was extremely overweight, for one, but we were a perfect match and had a good marriage for many years. She was always a great sexually. Divorced after 17 years. Point is, for me anyway, looks don’t matter. The cliche is true: someone can truly be unattractive on the outside but beautiful on the inside. Just talking from experience.

  • Everyone, dr_mack@yahoo. com helped me out when i thought my life is lost don’t know where its was going……… It all started when the father of my two kids left me and sworn never to have anything to do with me and all effort to get him back prove to be abortive and i decided to let things be the way they are cause i felt my life is lost don’t know where its going. But Dr Mack came into the picture and things turned out to be how i have ever wanted it to be……….I will forever be grateful to him for the rest of my life, Am so happy!!!!!!!!!!………………….

  • You echo my feelings exactly. Yes, we COULD continue to be just friends with a woman we’re in love with, if we’re masochists that enjoy being emasculated. I’m in this situation now and it’s very painful. When I’m around the woman I realize how much I care for her and I feel protective of her, but it’s wasted energy, like you said. The situation is castrating and hurtful because I feel like I’m not good enough and she refuses to consider me in a romantic way. She was injured recently and I rushed to her side, while her boyfriend was “out and about” she said, and I don’t think that he even called.
    I realized that I have to back off and not see her too often because it’s just too awkward and frustrating. If I had a wife or girlfriend, it would change the situation completely, but as a single lonely man, it’s nearly impossible for me to continue to be “just friends” with this woman because every moment I am with her makes me want her all the more. When I don’t see her for a while, it starts to wear off and I stop thinking about her and it’s better for my head.
    I think this article is politically correct but totally wrong.

    • “I feel like I’m not good enough and she refuses to consider me in a romantic way”

      This is all about you. Basically I hear you saying “if she won’t fuck me then she is useless to me – and I’m not willing to do the work that it takes to actually have a clean friendship with a woman even when there is sexual energy on my end.”

      If you can hear it with the care I mean… this is victim speak. Plain and simple.

      It’s the mark of a man who experiences himself as subject to the whims of the world and doesn’t know how to make his own way confidently through it.

      • “Basically I hear you saying “if she won’t fuck me then she is useless to me””

        Wow, talk about the Strawman Fallacy. Red Thomas never even implied uselessness. He said he wants to walk away because being around her is too painful.

        “and I’m not willing to do the work that it takes to actually have a clean friendship with a woman even when there is sexual energy on my end.”

        Sometimes, the result just isn’t worth the effort. In that case, the rational decision is to walk away.

        “this is victim speak.”

        Nope, it’s the “speak” of a man who’s decided to value his emotional health.

        • I totally agree, Tyrone. To say a man (or any person) has got to make a friendship work with someone they’re attracted too is complete bullshit. If you have romantic feelings for someone your friends with and those feelings aren’t returned, WALK THE FUCK AWAY!

          • You sir are stupid. You sound like a 2 year old throwing a tantrum. If you can’t have what you want you want to take your toys and go home.

    • Why are you focusing so much on this lady? You already know she doesn’t feel the same.
      Can you meet and date other women?

      Yes, if you can’t handle it walk away.

      When a man I like but he doesn’t like me back, it makes me feel somewhat rejected. But it means he’s not the guy for me, in the same way she is not the woman for you, romantically.

      We deserve to be in a romantic relationship with people who feel as strongly for us as we do for them!

      The feeling has to be mutual, otherwise they were never the right person for us. What we want is not enough.

      We need to stop feeding ourselves romantic ideas about people who are not for us.

      When we can’t control our emotions well enough, it can be a sign that we need to do inner work. Mature, work on ourselves, get emotionally healthier, expand our social circle, raise our self-esteem, get happier

      • Nina,
        Thank you for sharing insights that should be very obvious to us, but we get hung up on a person that may “checks all the boxes” of the ideal person for us. This in light of the fact this is a friendship, as CLEARLY defined at the outset, by the other person. We still may live in a dream world and waste energy and wishfully desire for something romantic to grow.

        We have two choices 1) Be mature and be thankful that we have a very good friend we have alot in common with to share meals and discuss or lives or 2) Be immature and cut all commuications and lose a good friend.

        I will continue to be a friend and continue on life’s journey as it unfolds before me.

        My story, I am a widower and after 30+ years of marriage, even after over 6 years this is still new territory.

  • I totally disagree with you, and i think your stance is a form of virtue signalling or posing. The friend zone is miserable. I’m in the friend zone currently with a woman I’m probably in love with, and it’s not a healthy situation. She has access to my resources and assistance, while her rotten bf swoops in to get sex whenever he feels the urge, and does nothing to help her.
    I’m backing off completely because it’s just too painful and it’s doing harm to my self esteem. It’s not a matter of seeing women as “sex objects” or any of that tired feminist bullcrap. It’s a matter of realizing that we only have so much time here on earth and we can’t afford to spend it catering to people who don’t want us.

    • Why does she have access to your resources? Just cut all communication NOW. Don’t call, don’t text, if you run into her ignore her. You’ll soon be over it and will be kicking yourself for all the time and energy you wasted thinking that a woman could somehow make your life better. Here’s a clue: They don’t.

  • I struggle with this. Early on in the relationship with my ex, I found he was talking inappropriately with other women. I confronted him and we worked through things, but my trust was shattered. He fully admits to struggling with his attraction to other other women, and it has been the downfall of our relationship. He insists that he should be able to have a friendship with another woman, go to lunch with them, go do fun things with them (all without me when we were dating), and it was always very difficult for me. I *know* that men and woman can be friends, as I have some male friends, he just never understood (or maybe it was more he didn’t care) why I would be so upset about it.

    • You’re upset about it because you’re stupid and think with your ovaries. You can’t help it. Just understand that men don’t want to be with your species any longer. Get some cats.

  • That’s not what he’s saying. His point is you’re going to find attractive women attractive but trying to sleep with all of them or hoping to especially when it’s explicitly counterproductive (i.e. most times) is a bad idea. Becoming aware of urges and maturely deciding which ones to act on is key.

  • Bryan, you sound like a complete cuck. Red Thomas is right – this article is music to any feminist’s ears in 2017, but it’s complete rubbish. You’re the guy who chides other guys for being ‘less evolved’ – – but in the end you’re just like every other dude trying to get laid – the only difference? you figure a self-righteous fem-friendly ruse is the better approach.

    • you are a complete dumbass. you are exactly the pathetic dude he is telling men to grow out of being. you are still stuck with your dick in your hand and obviously not a shred of respect or even legitimate liking of females so you assume it is bullshit when men describe being different than you. but guess what? instead of being cocky because you find it grand to be a shallow penis driven brain stem, why not seek a deeper level of humanity? maybe it embaresses you to hear sensitive speech or kind and genuine regard for women which you have stifled or are vacant of. Going through life seeing only pussies instead of people might seem cool and fun for you, lumping women in with your achievements and thinking you are satisfied with meaningless sex and discussing the uselessness of women otherwise. But be a better man, a better person. women are people, they can actually be best friends, awesome partners in crime, real sicere allies. youre missing out, you probably hurt people, and once you are out of the horny youthful years that get excused, you are just seen as a tyrant and a barbarian. noone likes misogynists, men who degrade women, and men who dont have room for feelings. so shut up. if you cant handle the topic, go jerk off to hustler. we wont miss your input. you are in the minority of guys who think your way here.

  • It’s even simpler than this, folks. Men can’t be friends with ANY woman. Period.

    This article should be titled “how to be unattractive to women”. Women have trained men to be mangina white knights, and then wonder why they aren’t attracted to them. They honestly don’t know; that’s how stupid they are.

    This garbage is what women say they want. But they don’t know what they want, and if they did they wouldn’t be honest or mature enough to tell you. Men: Never respond to what comes out of a woman’s mouth. Only respond to her actions.

    Or, do what millions of men have done and write women off forever. They don’t have anything to add to your life. They’re downright dangerous. Know that they will take you for everything your worth and leave you for dead without a second thought. Don’t even have sex with them; they tend to hang around if you do.

    • You sound a little bitter, lol. I get it, a woman ripped your heart out and showed it to you before tossing it in the blender. That is no reason to give up on all women. Not all women are like that.

    • Outstanding comment. This beta loser doesn’t have a clue…but it is still possible to have sex with beautiful women if you’re MAN ENOUGH to maintain boundaries, remain emotionally detached, and NEVER marry one of them.

      • Hey, Rocco
        The point of the article is that guys need to re-define masculinity to a saner, more mature definition. Not just self indulgently whine about how bad and incomprehensible women are.

  • Well written but complete disconnection from reality and a complete absence of will to explore human mind, DNA or any facet of a pre-programmed evolutionary sexuality in both sexes, thus making this whole article, bias, opinionated and garbage.

  • Read the article and all the comments. I want to say something in support of the author, that I get from Taoism. I try to practice not letting my ego get in the way of things – the part of me that defines everyone else in relationship to me and my needs. Sometimes its not the lack of contact with a taken woman that you want, but the fear that their rejection is the same thing as disrespect. That would hurt more than the lack of affection. So I try to practice not needing my ego gratified. And ladies reading this – if you DO have a friend that is a man that you think wants you sexually, go OUT OF YOUR WAY to tell him how cool he is, how smart, how interesting, how funny, how much you value what you DO have with him. Because if he thinks the friendship is a blow to his self esteem, if he feels emasculated, he is going to get angry.

    • Hi Bob … I really do not agree that women should do whatever they can to not make a male friend angry. That just occurs to me as the continuation of an old narrative that doesn’t serve anyone. I do however agree that not letting your ego get in the way – however that occurs for you – is a great practice 🙂

    • men pursue women for sex…………thats it. women get to dictate who gets in…………thats it. the rest is just idle chit chat………

  • Just found your article after a web search. Thank you for putting the wisdom you learned through your own struggles into words. I agree that it comes down to maturity and knowing what romantic, intimate love truly is. Your article helps me to order my thoughts in my friendships with three stunningly attractive women in my life, one from a mutually agreed breakup and the other two from dating relationships we decided not to start. I would not have been able to be in these types of friendships ten years ago. Possibly, similar to you, I went through many struggles and introspection to get where I am. These women now enrich my life with their perspectives and feminine energy. Thanks Bryan!

  • I have been married for 21 years. I also have three good female friends. All three could be considered attractive, and I consider them my sisters. They have significant others I know very well also. I have no attraction to them, with no fear of being in the friend zone I am free to be myself. In exchange, I am a better husband and friend for what I have learned being their friend. I know men and women can be good friends.

    That being said, why waste time being friends with someone who you want more with but can’t have? Unless they might introduce you to one of her friends and live happily ever after. If you can, fine, but I would have started looking for other options.

    • “I am a better husband and friend” … that’s definitely the ultimate point. Having good female friends – even if they’re “attractive” – can makes us even better men for the benefit of everyone around us. Love it.

      • Communication is key. Having honest discussions with my galpals was important to understand where we stood. If more people had them it would make things easier and less room for misunderstandings or miscommunication.

        However, you glossed over my point at the end. While there are people commenting here saying men and women can never be friends, some do have a point regarding being in a friend zone situation. If you want more but she doesn’t, sticking around through her multiple boyfriends is pointless when you could put that energy into finding someone for you. It’s not always being immature, it’s being smart. My friendships work because we want nothing else. One has to decide if it’s worth sticking around.

      • Bryan,
        Are you saying guys shouldn’t relieve the physical urge to have sex by masturbating, even if they skip the porn?
        And are you opposed to all premarital sex?
        Your article was unclear on these two subjects.
        Otherwise a good article.

        • Hey Roger, I’m definitely not saying any of that. I am not opposed to pre-marital sex. I am not saying men shouldn’t masturbate. I do think it’s useful for men to learn how to BE WITH and CHANNEL our sexual energy in more meaningful, skillful, enlivening ways, but I am NOT opposed to a man working with his sexual energy in any way(s) that works for him so long as he isn’t harming anyone else.

      • There are benefits as Bryan points out. Just not always the ones where you drop trou and do the horizontal mambo while Barry White plays. That separates us from the animals who only act on their impulses. My benefits from having female friends make me a better person.

  • Like one person already commented, very politically correct, but as life goes a bunch of bs! It seems you are ok with the emasculation of men.

    • David, Both males and females have much to learn from each other.
      Females need to learn how to be more solution-oriented, rational, and analytical, applying these improved skills to stressful, challenging life situations.
      Males need to realize that in some settings– non-competitive ones involving trusted loved ones and friends– it is both ok and desirable to reveal one’s vulnerable emotions without needing to hide and suppress them, as is more needed when in a competitive situation with men.
      All of this should be pretty obvious, but it isn’t to many people.
      No time like the present to start learning how to broaden one’s emotional horizons!

      • Women already are solution oriented, rational and analytical. Women’s treatment by the patriarchy differed from that of men’s. We were discouraged to embrace the traits we already have and were put in the domesticated sexy angel box. But if we acted on these values, we were less harshly punished by the patriarchy, because we did not matter. If men behaved like women, that had more repercussions. “Don’t be a pussy”. We can be more rounded humans with less strict gender roles. There are biological differences between the sexes, but they do not make as big a difference as restrictive the gender roles were and still are in many places.

  • Sorry this is sexual stereotyping of men. My best buddy in college was a female I asked out on a date. She said no. But we had so much in common we couldn’t understand the reason for not having a friendship. 20 years later, we are still are friends, and see each other every year and talk all the time on the phone even though we’re both married. It’s the best friendship I’ve ever had. I was able to understand women in ways I couldn’t have possibly done thru being in a relationship. I was able to turn off the attraction to her and focus on something else. It is possible. Stop sexually stereotyping guys. WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME!!!

    • Are you responding to the article or someone’s comment? The article clearly states some men CAN be friends with women (it’s in the title).

    • That’s all well and good, but if you’re going to bail at least let them know why so they won’t feel they’ve done something wrong and feel sad about it.

  • As a married woman who has kept up her looks – for my husband mind you – I have really struggled with other men losing self control around me and having to leave situations- which cost me friendships with women and opportunities – just to avoid these creeps. The fact that these men are married or Christian doesn’t stop them. Lack of encouragement and straight up rebuke from me doesn’t stop them. The only thing that works is for me to hightail it out of there because my husband doesn’t have time to go around kicking everyone’s rear end like a teenager. (Sidenote: my husband is an awesome mature man like you described and I am so very thankful for it). However, it is high time that the rest of the men out there start taking responsibility for themselves and stop sentencing women to fight or flight cycles with them. To say the status quo is unfair is a massive understatement. Thank you, Bryan for taking a long overdue first step in the right direction!!

  • I have a lot of women friends – some of whom I’m sexually attracted to. I’m 37 and have never had sex. I’ve also never expressed sexual interest in anyone because it has always been clear that no woman could feel that way about me. I am not angry about this and I don’t blame anyone for not being sexually attracted to me. Attraction is not a choice and it’s no one’s fault that I am unattractive from a sexual standpoint and there is nothing that can be done about this. I am happy to have friends who enjoy my company but just wish there was a woman somewhere who was attracted to me in a non-platonic way because I sense I am missing a part of life. Since I know this person doesn’t exist I don’t waste time trying to find her because doing so would be an exercise in self-delusion.

  • I’ve been ‘friends ‘ with this guy for 2 years (before I knew men don’t want to be friends- something I wish I’d known a long time ago!) He said that he’s looking for a Christian woman to marry and have a family with . I’m older and divorced and not looking to get married again , we have quite a lot of similar interests and started hanging out. Then he does a disappearing act after 6 months, get the odd text saying he misses me but don’t see him for 4 months. So I text him and we start hanging out again – this time it’s more flirty and we decide that since we’ve both been single a long time to try fwb – but and here’s the bit I need help with- when he came round for’ dinner’ nothing happened? We had made out several times before and since . I am really confused, now he doesn’t want to be friends at all . So confused- as friends we had a really good time together- was that just fake and he was playing a very weird game or is he just really immature? Don’t have many friends and really miss him but don’t want to be messed about anymore: (

  • I understand your and others’ points on how to attract a woman sexually from an intellectual perspective but have no idea how to put them into practice. They just don’t work for me – they make sense theoretically but I cannot *do* them. People say I have to just accept that I will be excruciatingly uncomfortable for a time but that I’ll be successful if I keep practicing. But *what* do I practice. Nothing *ever* works, so clearly I’m not getting it. I’ve tried coaches, counsellors and women friends as wing women – nothing. And none of them have any idea why I am never successful at getting a woman interested other than platonically. They tell me I am sexually attractive and doing all the right things, but can never explain why that never translates into anything “more” than friendships with women. The fact is, I’ve never *attracted* even one woman on that level. At this point I honestly believe I am incapable of sexually attracting any woman and have stopped trying because I’m frankly don’t need any more friends. It hurts to have to admit that I’ll never get this, but that’s where I’m at.

  • I have a lot of women friends but never anything romantic / sexual. I have never held a woman’s hand nor kissed anyone. At this point (I’m 43), it is clear that I am simply unattractive from a sexual perspective and that the most I can ever have with any woman is a platonic friendship. I lead a balanced, fulfilling life and have a successful career, but wish I could be attractive to someone in a sexual way – I feel I am missing out on a range of experiences that others have – but that I am somehow ineligible for.

    • Find something that you like and become good at it. That might make you attractive to people, including women. I am thinking of a French singer of small stature, who is really not a sex symbol, but when he sings he is attractive and I am sure he had many lady friends. Good luck.

  • The fact is, some of us have to be happy with totally platonic friendship with women – because we are literally incapable of attracting any woman sexually. I have been [sometimes intensely] attracted to many girls / women since my teens but have also always known that I am fundamentally unattractive and as such have zero chance when it comes to any woman seeing me as a sexual being. I do not have whatever it is that other guys have that makes women want them so there is no point whatsoever trying to “flirt” (whatever that is) or ask any woman out on a date. So I don’t bother.

    • Find something that you like and become good at it. That might make you attractive to people, including women. I am thinking of a French singer of small stature, who is really not a sex symbol, but when he sings he is attractive and I am sure he had many lady friends. Good luck.

  • What a stupid article! I am a man and I can be friends with a women I am attracted too….But sometimes, you can really like and appreciate a person, having an higher level of empathy than usual which makes you feel something different from a normal friendship and you just wish to develop this magic feeling to an other level.

  • 1st, Ladies unless you’re chill with guys tell you what a real woman is or how a lady is supposed to act then don’t tell men what a real man is. 2nd, can a man just be friends with a woman? 3 types of men will say yes, Homosexuals, Cucks, and liars. The real answer is no. Cause every mature man wants a mate and if he has the right mate he would never have a female friend out of respect for his mate and if he’s single then he’s not gonna waste his time with a woman who’s not interested in being his mate. “If that chick doesn’t want to know, forget her.” – Thin Lizzy

  • This is simply not true. Men cannot be “friends” with women they are sexually attracted to. The moment the guy and “hot friend” are single, the guy will go for her immediate. Get your facts straight.

  • Did you any study or experiments on this? Throughout mankind in the pass with all the society man had never been a friend of woman, human behavior show that man will slip and go all the way with a woman, so it is better for society and marriage not to be friends with the opposite sex.

  • This was written by a woman! Lol!
    It’s virtually impossible for a single man to just be friends with a woman he is sexually attracted to…and for a single man to have a conversation with that woman about her current romantic partner…no…just no…it’s not a maturity issue…it’s human nature. That man is either a beta male hanging on for a chance, or gay.
    Alpha males will make a move, if successful great, if not they move on to another attractive woman

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