Understanding ... Him!

Due to popular consensus, I have decided to delve into one of the most mysterious and hotly debated topics of all time: Men! One of my male posters suggested that understating a man is no mystery -- they just want sex, and lots of it. But women know it isn't as simple as that. After all, we like sex too -- and yet we never seem to be able to communicate effectively with the men in our lives.

There might be a couple of reasons for that.

First, as much as we may not like to think so, men and women are actually very different. Our entire histories as human beings are remarkably dissimilar. In the Stone Ages, men needed to spread their seed for procreation, so sex was practically a job requirement! Women, on the other hand, needed to secure their own and their offspring's safety by having sex with the most powerful man. It did not benefit them to have sex with the whole tribe -- they only needed to have sex with the man who could get them the best chunks of food.

Even though those days are long over, women and men still follow these gender roles. Men drive around in flashy cars to show off their power and earning potential, and women emphasize their breasts and hips to accentuate their reproductive potential.

Of course, this is not to say that men are incapable of monogamy. Once men are in a committed relationship, they are no more likely to cheat than women are. Yet even in relationships, men and women view sex differently. Most women need to feel intimate with a man before they engage in sex. However, most men need to have sex with a woman before they can feel intimate. Consider this example:

A wife has been feeling ignored by her husband lately. She feels disconnected from him and, as a result, begins to be uninterested in sex -- much to the husband's confusion. Meanwhile, since they aren't having sex, he becomes disconnected as well. He ceases to be affectionate with her and even quits calling her by her pet name. The cycle continues on until neither of them even remembers how they stopped connecting in the first place!

This situation illustrates the different ways men and women need sex. For men, sex feeds intimacy, and for women, intimacy feeds sex. This is why a healthy sex life is crucial for both men and women -- without it, the relationship cannot survive.

Not only do men and women view sex differently, we also have different ties to communication. Have you ever felt like your boyfriend wasn't listening to you, or that your spouse just didn't understand? Well, it might not be his fault. A recent study done by Cambridge University found that infant girls were more likely to show empathy for other people's distress (through sympathetic looks, coos, and comforting) than male infants.

This ability to empathize and communicate is partially due to socialization. Women were taught to be good listeners, and we certainly are better at it! Men, on the other hand, are not as gifted at this form of communication. Thus, if you want to vent about a hard day, you are better off calling a good girlfriend or family member.

This isn't to completely bash men, of course. They might not be good at "venting" and sharing emotions, but they are hardwired to be problem solvers. In fact, the study found that while infant boys were less likely to make and maintain eye contact, they were more likely to study a mobile over their cribs. Men love to solve problems and feel useful -- so boost their egos by asking them about a problem at work or a situation with a friend. They are certain to be overflowing with advice!

Last but not least, it is important to state that men love the thrill of the chase. As archaic as it may sound, men like to pursue their mates. Resist the urge to call him, text him, or email him repeatedly. Allow him to contact you. As far as sneaky tricks like leaving stuff at his apartment -- men are wise to these games, and they misread these cues as desperation. Maintain your own life, your own friendships, and your own interests, and don't allow your self-worth to focus on whether or not he calls.

Hopefully, these tidbits help you understand the male brain a little more -- or at least make you realize that you are not the only one struggling with these communication breakdowns. Remember, men and women do have one very important similarity: we are all looking for acceptance, affection, and friendship. If you offer these precious gifts to people throughout your life, you will always be surrounded with love.

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