Show highlights include:
- Why the unconscious “nice guy strategy” repulses women and makes you bitter (3:47)
- How bending over backwards for women to try to find love is a recipe for loneliness (7:01)
- The “Luke Bible verse secret” for becoming more sexually attractive to women (that works even if you aren’t religious) (8:48)
- The weird way studying Nietzsche and Kant helps you attract more women into your life (9:44)
- How shaming your sexual desires puts attracting women into your life on “expert mode” (18:18)
- Why being laid back and stress free makes you sexier than Ryan Reynolds (25:33)
- How to embrace your inner “bad boy” side (without sacrificing your moral values that make you a good man) (30:15)
- The trick to being assertive without coming across as an arrogant jerk (32:02)
- The counterintuitive way that growing up with radical feminists heightens your toxic masculinity (and how to liberate your masculinity in a healthy way) (35:22)
For more about David Tian, go here: https://www.davidtianphd.com/about/
Listen to the episode on your favorite podcast platform:
Note: Scroll Below for Transcription
Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I’m David Tian, your host.
In this episode, we’ll be getting into what a sexually-attractive good man is like and how you can become that, how any nice guy can become that, so that he can become naturally attractive to women without compromising his moral principles.
In the last episode, we covered the origins of the nice-guy strategy. We explored how the nice-guy strategy flows out of a pleaser strategy, and, specifically, a pleaser-fixer type of strategy –
- That this is a result of a parentified childhood, where there was enmeshment with the parent figure or parent figures in a pattern of boundary violations, where the parent is violating the child’s boundary by making the child feel responsible for the parent’s feelings and emotional state; [01:12.1]
- That this led to toxic shame and that, as a result of the toxic shame, a kind of coping mechanism was to kind of shut down the emotions or awareness of one’s emotions and stick with the coping strategy that worked to get the child’s needs met, which was a kind of fixer mentality or a fixer strategy.
- Then, in adulthood, that gets translated into a nice guy strategy, and then when it comes to dating, the nice guy strategy doesn’t work because it doesn’t generate sexual attraction.
I looked at the key questions of whose love did you crave the most growing up, and the sequence of questions that are very important, it’s kind of cheat codes to figuring all of this out and especially the family of origin issues, so I highly recommend you go back to the last episode if you missed it and go through that because there’s a lot of detail in that. Then we ended with sexual shame as a component of the nice-guy strategy overall. [02:09.8]
That was the last episode. In this episode, we’re looking at, specifically, the “what” of what does it look like to be a good man and still be sexually attractive, or even more, to be sexually attractive as a result of being a good man, and even more than that, not just despite being good, but as a part of being good?
Why is this important? Because I know a lot of my followers, a lot of our listeners here, a lot of people who write into me want to attract women in an ethical way, and this is part of why they have defaulted to a nice guy strategy, other than the fact, which is the much more important factor, that this is how they have learned unconsciously now, and it has become an unconscious strategy to get love or get attention and approval and affection, that then naturally this would get carried over into the dating context, but also because they care about being moral and they don’t see any other way. [03:09.0]
There’s a big problem here because there are a lot of guys who start off as nice guys, in other words, well-meaning guys who were parentified children growing up, so this is the main way that they’ve learned how to get attention and the love and the connection that they or that we all need growing up.
These are fundamental human needs. There’s nothing to be ashamed about. These are needs that we all have, but that for a nice guy were met in ways that are unhealthy in the long-term and became maladaptive. The ways that they had settled on getting these needs met became maladaptive and adulthood.
Then nice guys starting out, realizing over and over that their nice-guy strategy is not getting them what they want, attraction from the women that they want attraction from, so they’re nice to these women, hoping that, and this is largely unconscious for nice guys who haven’t learned what we’ve been covering here in these episodes, this unconscious strategy to get the woman to like them. [04:08.7]
But it backfires because that’s a different pathway. Guilting a woman into liking you or pitying you is not going to lead to sexual attraction. Then they become bitter and resentful when all of this work that they’ve put into it has been going into the wrong bucket or down the wrong channel, down the wrong road, and they don’t realize that. They don’t see it any other way. They don’t see the right road. They don’t see the other pathways to getting sexual attraction.
Then they just give up. They get really bitter and angry as a result that all the hard work they’re putting into it is not paying off and then they end up becoming fodder for incel subcultures or MGTOW or Red Pill, and that’s fed by this kind of negative energy of anger and resentment and a lot of pain from being hurt over and over, and basically just not understanding how to get their needs met in healthy ways. [05:04.3]
Okay, so you don’t want that for your life. You don’t want to go down the road of this bitterness and anger and resentment, and a kind of self-destructive energy and having your life fueled by a kind of hate. It doesn’t feel nice, actually. Even if you succeed, even if the incel succeeds in starting … I don’t know, what do they call that? A revolution or something like that, right?
They or even the MGTOW end up succeeding in sacrificing his relationships—because basically that’s what they give up, on relationship, so they sacrifice love and connection in any deep sense and they just settle for short-term, just basically orgasms, just basically sex—and they’re sacrificing all of that in the hopes that women will see their social protest and then take pity on them like, Okay, we’ll change our ways because you all, all of you men in MGTOW, have checked out. That’s not going to happen. That’s not happening. That has not happened through all of history and women won’t generally even notice that you have exited yourself out of competition there, out of a being chosen, because they weren’t really looking at you anyway. [06:11.3]
Then the Red Pill is this sort of angry way of dealing with it, of getting revenge, getting even, and you can see if you were to enter inside the psychology of those movements that there’s no room for happiness and fulfillment and peace and contentment, and more importantly, love, and I don’t want that for you. I don’t want you to go down that dark road. Some people who have already been down that dark road will maybe be angry. I don’t know why they’re listening to this, but maybe there’s hope for you, because if you’re listening to this and you’ve gone down that road, there must be a part of you that’s saying this isn’t all there is. We don’t have to give in to this darkness. There is another way.
Before I get into the five points I’ve got for today on the “what”, I just want to remind us of the myths, the nice-guy myth, first of all, that bending over backwards for her will generate sexual attraction from her. That’s just a total myth. That doesn’t work. There are different pathways, love and sexual attraction, and I’ve made whole other video seminars and episodes about that, so I’m just going to leave that there if it’s not obvious to you. [07:20.3]
If it’s not obvious to you yet and you just still think that maybe they could, that sort of guilting a woman by doing lots of favors for her will generate sexual desire in her, then go ahead and try it out and then come back to this. I don’t think there needs to be that much proof for it. You can just go and try it.
Then pointing out the false dichotomy that feeds the nice guy’s strategy, which is that there’s no other choice—that is either you being nice in the way of being nice isn’t really the issue. It’s when the nice guy is being nice in order to trigger reciprocation on the other party. They’re being nice with this underlying motive—or being an arrogant, shallow airhead. Those aren’t the only choices. This is a false dichotomy. [08:04.3]
Instead, the correct contrast that I brought out in the last episode is being good versus being nice. Good versus nice. Morally good versus merely nice. Okay, so it’s really important to keep that in mind as we proceed here.
Now we get into the five points that I want to share to illustrate for you the “what”, what it’s like to be a good man and still be sexually attractive, so that you’re not an arrogant, shallow airhead, and you’re not also someone who’s nice merely to or mostly to generate or trigger reciprocation, or that in order for you to feel good about being nice, it needs to result in the other person being nice back to you.
I know actually many nice guys are religious conservatives or have a religious background. This reminded me of a Bible verse from Luke, which is, let’s see if I can remember this. (Luke 6:32–36) “If you are kind only to someone who is kind to you, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners are kind to people who are kind to them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?” [09:11.5]
Now, you may not be Christian or you may not have a Christian background. You can find a similar idea in pretty much every major religion and it just makes sense. This is just baked into also moral philosophy, ethics, the history of ethics, so this is just obvious. If you are kind only because you want others to be kind to you, there is no merit in that. This is not morally good per se. Everyone does that. Even evil people do that.
The first point out of five is to get clear on what your moral values actually are, to get clear on what your theory of good is, what constitutes goodness for you. One of the things that you’ll come across as you do more thinking in ethical theory or moral philosophy is that this notion of niceness that is built into the nice-guy strategy is devoid of moral merit. [10:08.0]
Then you’ve got to have something to take its place. What is your moral system? I’m not going to point out or work out a whole theory for you here in this half-hour podcast, but I have made three other episodes in this podcast before, Episodes 4, 5 and 6, that dive deep into moral value, so at least you have the beginnings of or kind of a guide to get you started on thinking about the type of moral values that are necessary for a successful long-term relationship.
If, in fact, a long-term relationship is what you want, then it’s important to know what values are necessary to make that work. I covered that in Episodes 4, 5 and 6 of the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I referenced those. I also have made many seminar videos on values, virtues, and vices, and all of that moral philosophy. I’m planning to do a lot more in the future, hopefully, maybe writing a book about it down the road. It’s years down the road, so there’s a lot to say about this. [11:09.7]
But I’m just going to point out, it’s important that you work out your moral values and you could start with an ethics class. I don’t know if you need to take a whole class or how helpful a particular class would be, but that’s how I started off in university, studying moral philosophy starting with Aristotle, Kant, Hume, Nietzsche and so on, and also studying in the Asian tradition. I would especially point out to you the importance of studying Confucianism and Daoism.
This might turn people off right at the beginning, “I have to study stuff.” Yeah, it helps to do that. I am an intellectual person. I have many intellectual parts that enjoy reading and studying and philosophizing. If you don’t, then you’re going to be at a disadvantage here and this is one of the reasons why you’re not able to find happiness and you’re not able to be very rooted in who you are, so that you’re just kissing ass to women finding out, What is she like? Oh, I’ll be like that, and then wishy-washy, going here to there just based on what she wants and then you have not rooted, not grounded. [12:07.8]
Don’t be surprised when women and people don’t respect you, because you’re just a chameleon or you haven’t figured out what you stand for, so that’s important. This is part of what university is supposed to be giving you, those four years. This is kind of a luxury.
Of course, when you’re 18, you don’t realize it’s a luxury. You think it’s an onerous task to study for exams and things like that. As you get older and you might have heard this, if you’re a young person still in university, you might have heard older people tell you that it’s a luxury, what you get to experience there, but it really is. This is supposed to be the time when you get to do nothing but think about the meaning of life and philosophize, and you have the freedom to read Nietzsche, Kant and so forth.
You’re going to have to carve out that time when you have a job off company hours, generally speaking. You will not be paid to read Kant, unless you become a professor like I did because I loved that luxury, that time, so much that it would be great to get paid to be doing research and writing. It’s kind of self-indulgent in a way. I don’t think most academics realize just how self-indulgent their lives and careers are and how much they’re dependent on the good graces of the taxpayer. [13:14.8]
But if you’re an adult now and you need to do the ethical theory now as an adult, there are a lot of resources online. You can start with the philosophy. I’ve found that when I’ve suggested this to people, what the nice guy or the average person is going into this research project of figuring out their values is thinks moral philosophy is like just a list of commandments, like they’re looking for the new Ten Commandments or something that, thou shall not steal.
That’s not a good way to approach ethics. You start from first principles and work your way up. You could go the other direction of “here’s some moral commandments” and then looking for the moral principles to undergird them, but it’s not going to be probably the way you think it is, which is just injunctions of “do this, don’t do that,” because that’s not philosophy. That’s just really like obeying codes, moral codes, and that’s not very sophisticated. [14:08.2]
Thinking about, what is the meaning of life? What are the greater principles? Why do we exist? Why be good at all? Starting from there, there are a lot of books on this. There’s an encyclopedia of philosophy. I’ll just start you there. Maybe I will include and put together a reading list for those who are interested. If you’re interested, put it in the comments or write to me and email me, let me know that that’s something you’re interested in. I don’t want to bore people who are more interested in the dating stuff.
Anyway, the first point, values. By the way, I go into a step-by-step process to guide you into discovering your own, first discovering your current set of values, because it’s not that you have no values at all. You have a system, a moral value system. If you haven’t thought about it, you just don’t know what it is, but you’ve already imbibed one.
You’ve maybe adopted one that was just foisted on you in the background, and it might come from your teachers, your parents, or what you would perceive your society to say, and you just adopted it as a child unquestioningly, and now, as an adult, you’re still operating with that and it’s uncritical because you haven’t criticized it. You haven’t looked at it and evaluated it with a critical eye. [15:13.2]
It’s important to realize that you have a value system. We start with that in my course, “Invincible”. There is a process that I guide you through that you unearth your current value system and then you get to look at it. Is this what you want to actually be guiding your life? Then through a process of questioning there and coming out of your unconscious again, what actually are the values that you’ll want to adopt to live the life you want to live? There’s a process for that and that’s in my course, “Invincible”.
I also touch on values and needs in my other big courses like “Rock Solid Relationships”, especially now because you have to think about your wife or your girlfriend or your spouse’s values, your partner’s values, as well as your own. You’ve got to get to know those. You’ve got to be able to suss those out of her and, ideally, before you get into a relationship with her, in case there’s a big value clash and you’ve got to get that out on the table. [16:07.5]
It’s not that that’s a done deal, but it is a big deal, so it’s important that you know what her values are. If you don’t even know what your own values are, there’s no way you’re going to figure it out, what her values are, so now you have a double task and we cover that in “Rock Solid Relationships”. It’s also in “Freedom U” and “Lifestyle Mastery”.
If you want to go through a guided process on figuring out your values and figuring out what values would work best for the life that you want to live with the priorities that you have and the kind of meaning in your life that you ascribe to it, then take my courses, “Invincible”, “Rock Solid Relationships”, “Freedom U”, “Life Style Mastery”. Those will all help you with that. They’ll guide you through that process. You can also join the “Platinum Partnership” to get access to all of them.
Okay, so that’s the first point out of five. Get clear on your moral values. Otherwise you have no ground to stand on. Just as an aside, the Red Pill, MGTOW and incel guys are criticizing other people, constantly attacking others, and I’m just going to try to generally point out to them, they have no ground to stand on because they’re not clear on their set of moral values. What makes their position more meritorious than this other position? [17:14.5]
They’ve got to get clear on that and I think just in the process of getting clear on their ethical theory on what constitutes goodness, it will present to them why their position is indefensible as well. Anyway, just get them started on that. What is the place of empathy, compassion, etc.? Okay, so values. Okay, that’s the first point. I can’t emphasize how important the first point is. I just want to point that out.
The second is, what is it like when a good man is also sexually attractive? A good man is also sexually comfortable. That’s the second point. The first one is that he’s a man of values and he understands what his moral values are, and he tries to follow them as closely as possible, and when he deviates from them, he apologizes and makes amends if he can. [18:03.7]
The second point is that he’s comfortable with his sexuality, right, and he understands that sex and sexuality is a healthy biological need. It’s a normal biological need. It’s a biological need and urge that, when we get shot full of testosterone, we, as men, get horny. When we go through puberty, we start to get these urges. This is normal. This is natural. This is a good thing. This is how we propagate as a species, sex.
Sex itself is not a dirty, evil, sinful act, okay? There’s a lot of that residual sexual shame, even in those who are not religious, because it’s just in your society because many of our societies have the vestiges of a kind of judgmental religion that shames the sexual act for all kinds of other reasons that I don’t want to get into right now. But it’s just important to notice that there is sexual shame. [18:56.5]
I had a clear break in my late-twenties, early-thirties from being an evangelical Christian to not being an evangelical Christian and I made that break with a lot of philosophical arguments. I presented papers to the Society of Christian Philosophy at multiple conferences on my arguments for why I had problems with the conservative Christian faith and I didn’t get any good answers.
As a result, eventually it became obvious to me that—and I’m not forcing this on anyone else. You don’t have to leave the faith or anything, leave the Christian faith or anything like that to be a good man who is also sexually attractive. I’m just saying, for me, intellectually, my intellectual parts were so strong that—once I gave intellectual assent to the fact that all of that old baggage of sexual shame from conservative Christianity wasn’t true, it comes from a place that’s false. It was relatively easy to just jettison that. When I felt any kind of sexual shame, I would just realize, Oh, that’s not true, and then I’ll just leave it alone. [19:59.4]
Just like if I think that the Earth is flat, but I know intellectually that it’s not, whenever I look out onto the Earth and I see the flatness of it and I say, Oh, I’m tempted to think maybe, oh, the Earth is flat, I just know that I understand why I think it’s flat. If I were to look at it from a distance, from a proper perspective, I would see that it’s round. I don’t let myself get sucked into the old views and it was relatively easy for me to jettison that.
However, I still needed help from a therapeutic perspective with sexual shame because I had young parts that were sexually ashamed that I had kind of neglected that I’d kind of just run roughshod over while developing my persona, which I’ll cover in the next episode of how you can do that, developing my persona of being sexually comfortable, where there were young parts in me, inner-child parts in me that were not sexually comfortable because they were shamed and were scolded by Mom whenever there was a nude scene that came up in a video that we were watching as a family because we watched a lot of action movies. [21:01.2]
It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t know this was going to come up in the video or in the movie, but I was the one that was scolded and told to leave the room, go back, grounded and punished by going back to my room. We weren’t able to watch the movie, that sort of thing, and that boy who felt like sex was something that was forbidden, taboo, even, not even just the sexual act, but just being naked and having lustful thoughts from the vestige of Christianity was sinful, and I was able to let go of that.
Here’s something interesting. You can still be a conservative Christian and be sexually comfortable within the limits of what your religion allows. I tease my evangelical Christian friends. I still have a lot of friends from way back then, some of whom are in the ministry, and I tease them, “You guys should have a sex shop for Christians,” because within marriage you have to be able to get it up. You’ve got to consummate the marriage.
This is a good thing within evangelical Christianity, right? You’ve got to propagate the species. In order for the male to be able to physically do that, he’s got to think lustful thoughts. Oh, now lustful thoughts are okay within the conditions of the marriage, as obviously the Song of Solomon shows, so there is a context in which you can have lustful thoughts about your wife or husband. [22:15.2]
In that context, why wouldn’t you bring in other aides? You wouldn’t have movies depicting other people having sex, but you could have sex toys, you could have other kinds of things. Anyway, it’s sort of like there is room for sexuality and I’m sure there’s somebody out there who does that sort of thing. I don’t know how much traction they’d be getting in the community, considering how much sexual shame there is in conservative, especially Christianity, but there is a place for it.
Now, in other religions, I’m not sure how much there is. You’d have to figure that out for yourself. I’m not going to speak for other religions. I’m just going to point out that I was able to surmount a lot of the detrimental effects of sexual shame through pure intellectualizing and realizing just intellectually that sex is a biological need and urge, and it there are many ways in which it is a healthy expression of a natural urge. [23:11.2]
It becomes unhealthy when there is not consent or maybe in a casual sex context and that you’re not practicing safe sex. Other than those cases, sex and just having sex and sexuality, exploring sex and lustful thoughts, so to speak, those are required generally to get it up to actually consummate the sexual act, those are all healthy biological urges and there’s absolutely no reason for there to be sexual shame. When you do feel that, you can understand why because of your society’s vestiges of religious shame and all of that, and then you can dismiss it.
Now, then I mentioned the therapeutic processes that I underwent later on several years into being sexually comfortable where I had kind of run roughshod over or had just kind of ignored these inner child parts that were still holding that sexual shame. [24:07.2]
I was, luckily enough, able to work with my therapist to help unburden those parts and now there’s very little urgency around getting late, and this was several years ago, so there was a lot of freedom and liberation there where there wasn’t the kind of urgency that a teenager might have, but instead being comfortable with sexual expression and sexuality and having no neediness or anxiety around it.
That’s the second point that I want to make that the “what” of a good man who is sexually attractive is that, he’s not only a man who is living according to his values, but also he’s sexually comfortable and is not judgmentalizing or moralizing around sex. [24:48.6]
Okay, so that’s the first point that the nice guy is a kind of pleaser and this is something that gets set very early on around six months to 36 months of our lives, the first six to 36 months. It might even be earlier, but we don’t have very much research on earlier than that.
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Three more points relatively quickly here because these are character traits. The third point is that he’s easy going that he’s not giving into the fears or stress that often the pleaser is more thinking in terms of stress. I’ve noticed that a lot of nice guys are actually really uptight. They’re walking around with a lot of worries and concerns, and you can still be a good man and get clear on your values. [25:54.8]
As you get clear on your values, you notice that a lot of things—and it really depends on your value system because you can have a value system that leads to evil. You can break down Hitler’s value system and there’s value system there, so I don’t want to just say, if you have a value system, you’re going to be easygoing, but a well-thought out value system, almost all good value systems—will lead to the realization that most things in life are not deal breakers. They’re actually not that important.
Most of these decisions that you think are end-all-and-be-all decisions are actually not that way at all, and as you think through your values, you realize that, okay, things aren’t that bad. Okay, if, for instance, they decriminalized marijuana and my conservative Christian family is very anti-drugs for other reasons—but part of it is that it’s part of the ecosystem of the whole no drinking, no sex, no lustful thoughts, basically no hedonism and pleasure, and part of that is this fear of drugs, even just something as mild as marijuana—that, okay, I don’t know what that would be like if it were to be decriminalized, though, I can– [27:09.3]
When it happened, this was a few years ago, because Canada, I think, was the first country to actually fully decriminalize it, and when it happened, I was like, Okay, let’s see what happens here, because part of it is my default as an attractive person is to be easy going and laid back, “Let’s see what’s going to happen here,” and when you get down to it, almost all of those fears that these nice guys are carrying around can be traced back to a fear of death.
You might think that’s reasonable to be afraid of death and, I would say, no, it’s actually not. You just haven’t done your philosophy far enough and I’ve done a four-video series on the denial of death and how almost all of our neurotic patterns are a result of an extreme fear of death and dealing with that. Coming to terms with it creates a lot of neurotic patterns.
This goes beyond the scope of this particular episode. I’m trying to keep it down to half an hour, but I’ve done other videos. Like I said, I’ve done a four-video series. I realized that that went over the heads of most of the listeners, so in some future point, I might dive deeper into values and into death. I don’t know how far afield I can go in this into philosophy before I lose a lot of listeners. [28:17.7]
I’m just going to put it out there. Being easy going is really sexy and you can be easy going, laid back, and realizing that most things that you are worrying and stressing about aren’t that big of a deal. You can let all of this other shit slide if you get clear on what are the most important values. Alleviating unnecessary suffering, prioritizing love, things like that, getting clear on what is the good will help you to relax actually, because you realize that most of the things you’re stressing about—like getting that promotion at work, or what will people think of me, right?—none of that actually matters with just a cursory diving into a moral philosophy of values.
Then, if your intellectual parts are strong enough, then they will be able to take you to the point where the therapeutic work can just take over, but you can already up to that point claim back for yourself a lot of freedom, sexual freedom, emotional freedom, and have that kind of easygoing nature. [29:15.8]
I’ll show you how to do that. I’ll share with you a process that I underwent for how to do that in the next episode, but I just want to point out the “what”, easygoing, being laid back. It’s really important to being sexually attractive as a man and a lot of nice guys are not because they’re just full of fear, because they feel like if they don’t check all of those boxes, then Mommy or Daddy or the parent figure, there will be negative consequences for that, even though, in the here and now, it’s not true, but because there it’s easy to trigger them for these fears and they regress to an earlier childhood mentality or mindset or certain neuro pathways that they’re lost in that fear unconsciously and not even realizing it. That’s the third point, being easygoing. [29:58.0]
The fourth is being adventurous. This is sort of like the more active part of this easygoing mindset. Easygoing is sort of like, yeah, just let it slide, man, just laid back more, not freaking out or stressed about a lot of things, taking the bigger perspective.
Adventurous. Being adventurous is taking that extra step, being a little bit more of a risk-taker, and this is something you can do even if you are, or maybe especially if you’re a good man, because where the edges of that risk are, where healthy risk is. It’s important to realize that bad boys who might be more risk-taking, they might be the type that might have tattoos, might ride motorcycles, doing things that are more dangerous than the average, and it’s not morally bad to take slightly more risks. It’s not morally bad to be adventurous, but it gets lumped in there with a sort of uptight approach to light that nice guys generally tend to have. [31:00.3]
If you want to be more sexually attractive and still be a good man, it’s important to work in there and figure out clearly, where is the room of your comfort zone for adventure? And to widen that threshold of comfort with being more adventurous, engaging in activities or behaviors that are a little bit more on the wild side, a little bit more adventurous, get clear on where that is according to your moral values.
Now, you might adopt a moral value system that says that anything that is fun as sinful, while I challenge you on that moral value system, where are you getting this definition of good and how does it hold up? Are you just getting it from a Bible or something like that, or are you actually thinking through it from first principles? Because I think that would be very difficult to defend that fun is, in some way, evil or bad. Get clear on where that line is for you and see if you can enlarge that threshold for risk, for adventure, and you’ll find that you become a lot sexier as a man. [32:02.8]
Then, finally, the fifth point is assertiveness. A lot of nice guys have a lot of trouble with assertiveness because problems with assertiveness are rooted in toxic shame. They’re not rooted in not knowing what to say because always the problem with most guys is it’s very basic like, Da-da-da. I think it’s just what to say, but obviously, no, it’s a lot deeper than that.
The problem with not knowing what to say, I mean, you know the language that you’re going to speak, so it’s not like you don’t know what the words. It’s getting, the emotional courage and the right mental state to be able to say it without having to bank a lot of emotion.
I think nice guys, when they have to be assertive or when they feel like they have to be assertive, get really angry or nervous and anxious, and they channel that anxiety into a kind of anger and then they overcorrect way too much and they come off angry, and that’s, to them, assertive. Then they feel like when they’re assertive, they’re being aggressive and like a jerk, and like all of the guys that they didn’t like growing up, the popular guys or whatever, and then they think, Oh, if you’re assertive, you know what? You’re arrogant. [33:10.5]
No, that’s not true. Being assertive is simply holding your boundaries and you don’t even have to have any emotion around that. In fact, you can be assertive while feeling sorry for the other person because that that person either hasn’t been taught proper boundaries, hasn’t been taught manners, or maybe is dealing with so much pain that they’re violating other people’s boundaries as a result of their own, trying to deal with their own pain. So, you can still hold the line without all this anger, without any anger, and it’s simply just stating where your boundaries lie.
This is so important in a relationship, and as a man developing your masculinity, I’ve devoted an entire five-hour module to this in the course “Rock Solid Relationships”. If you want to dive deeper into assertiveness, uprooting the toxic shame that is at the base of it, and then allowing you, once you’re undoing and able to undo the toxic shame, then being assertive is just a natural outflow of who you are because you’re naturally going to be aware of your boundaries and you have no anxiety around that. [34:15.5]
If that’s what you’d like to get more into, the course, “Rock Solid Relationships”, has an entire module devoted just to assertiveness. Then, remember, there is a five-module sequence on toxic shame in which the assertiveness module is embedded.
Okay, so that’s the fifth point. Just as a recap –
- The first point is getting clear on your values. It’s important, if you want to be a good person to know what good means, okay, you’ve got to have well-thought out clarity around your values.
- The second is that as a good man who is sexually attractive that you are comfortable with your sexuality. You’re sexually comfortable that you see sex as a healthy biological urge or need.
- Then the third point is that you’re easygoing and laid back about everything that is not a non-negotiable life or death thing. [35:03.0]
- The fourth is that you’re adventurous, that you’re leaning into adventure and risk.
- The fifth is that you’re assertive and that you’re comfortable with being assertive and that you’ve undone a lot, if not all, of the toxic shame around being assertive in your relationship with other people in social settings.
Okay, so quick story about how this can work is a client named Andrew that I’ve worked with, who was raised in a pretty toxic family and family background, just like a social setting, where it was a lot of radical feminism and he was raised by his mother and aunts, and he had all these sisters.
He was the only male in that family unit and in his extended family in that city. He was constantly being fed this message that being masculine was bad and shameful, and that the masculine urges are evil in some way and that they need to be curbed and controlled, and he grew up with this into his twenties. [36:07.6]
He found me in his early-twenties, and when we started working together, he was incredibly stilted and awkward around people and always second-guessing his words and even the way he dressed and his mannerisms. As we worked together through a therapeutic process and eventually got that kind of financial independence, which allowed him to move out of the town that he grew up in and out of that toxic environment, then he was able to travel the world and we did a round-the-world trip.
I think he put aside six months to do this. I was able to do it between, I think, in his sort of gap year between starting his career and ending university, or I think he was in grad school, finishing that and then before he took up his position, doing this round-the-world trip.
Then, eventually, he liked it so much that he changed his career and became a digital nomad. Andrew, through his travels and through this kind of liberation from that toxic family environment and societal environment there, because he was traveling, he was discovering all of these different value systems, and all of these people in all of these different countries and cities around the world had very different ways of viewing the world and they were all okay. [37:17.6]
And he went to places that were more sexually liberal, and so he enjoyed that, that they were more sexually open. They were nonjudgmental about sexuality and that was a refreshing for him, having been raised in a very puritan environment, and seeing that the whole society didn’t crumble as a result, that, in fact, they were more joyful and they were happier as a result of being comfortable with or more comfortable with her sexuality. Not that these places were devoid of sexual shame, but that they were more open and more comfortable with sexuality and sexual expression than where he grew up.
Then, finding that, because he was forced to travel on a shoestring budget, really, that he was able to or all of those fears and stresses that came with him being this uptight nice guy he had to let go of because it was just dealing with the stresses of travel. This was pre-COVID. [38:03.7]
He developed a kind of easy going and he was going to countries where there was more of a laid-back mentality around things where everyone wasn’t on time for everything and they were more enjoying life in the moment. They were able to be more mindful and present in the moment instead of stressed out about getting to places on time and, Oh, what if all of the negative consequences of not obeying certain laws?
Jaywalking wasn’t such a big deal as it was when he was afraid to even cross the road where he grew up because his family told them that it was too dangerous. The road was too dangerous. Even when he was 16 years old, he felt stressed, and I understood that because I kind of grew up with that sort of mentality as well, being afraid of taking the subway as a 16-year-old for me, as an example. [38:51.0]
Then he was able to, because he was traveling as a solo traveler, that is in itself already kind of adventurous, but then being surrounded by other backpackers and that backpacker culture being generally more adventurous, and just months of that just sort of then bringing it out of him those parts of himself that were already more easygoing and adventurous and sexually comfortable that that became a way of filling out his personality, so that these parts now felt more accepted and more liberated, and he felt more integrated and whole and happy as a result, of course, and then realizing the tremendous power that comes from that kind of freedom.
Okay, make sure that you don’t swing the other ways. This is where I’m thinking about another client of mine that was much longer earlier in my career that was coming out of a very sexually-repressive society and family structure and family setting, and teaching them about being easygoing and sexually open and adventurous, because he didn’t do that first thing. He didn’t get clear on what his values were. He went the whole other way and it was like anything goes, and I kind of understand that swing and kind of have to over-correct a little bit, but he went way over that there was no morality. [40:04.8]
Then he ended up staying with that, and after years of thinking, there’s no morality, there’s no good or evil, there’s no such thing—these are all concepts. These don’t make sense. They’re all relative—that it ends up becoming just dog eat dog. It’s like a red in tooth and claw—I’ve talked a lot about fully embracing that type of view of the world, and of good and evil and good and bad—that he became quite toxic in himself. It was sort of acidic, eating him from the inside out. If there’s no good, then there’s no love, and there’s no room for compassion and there’s no room for empathy, and it’s just get what you can and so it’s just acquisitiveness, and that’s not the right way either.
That very first point of getting clear on what your values are, what is good for you? What is the bad for you? How are you defining good and evil? What constitutes right and wrong? And I would start you with the bigger question of what is good and that’s different from what is right. Start with what is good. Focus on that first, and then it’ll become easier to figure out what is right. [41:02.4]
He didn’t figure out any of that. He just went all in into a kind of nihilism and this kind of nihilism ate him up from the inside. I want to warn you about skipping that first step of getting clear on what your values are.
Again, I’ve covered and devoted Episodes 4, 5 and 6, to values in the context of a long-term relationship, but I also have courses that guide you step by step through thinking about unearthing your current value system, because it’s important to know where you’re starting from, and getting that self-awareness. Then, from your unconscious as well, getting clear on what your values would need to be in order to find and create the life that you want.
In the next episode, I’ll be covering the “how”. How do you arrive at this type of personality or this character? How can I become more sexually comfortable, become more easy-going, become more adventurous and assertive, and get clear on my values? How do I do that? I’ll cover that in the next episode. Come back for the next episode for that. [41:57.4]
Thank you so much for following along so far. Thank you so much for all of your engagement. It would mean a lot to me if you were to share this episode and this podcast with anyone you think would benefit from it, as well as leaving a rating on Apple Podcasts. That always helps. Thanks so much for all your engagement. Thanks so much for listening.
All right, so I’ll see you in the next episode, David Tian, signing out.
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