Vulnerably sharing is one of the things that a woman wants most from a man, but it can also be one of the most difficult things for a man. A man being challenged to share his feelings is not a new subject that probably doesn’t sound that interesting. But, vulnerability is the key to creating a healthy, loving, and juicy relationship. Being vulnerable could be something as simple as a man sharing a lack of fulfillment he feels in his work or not feeling a true purpose in life. It could be feeling insecure about his financial future. But doesn’t share it with his partner for fear of being judged as weak.
Vulnerability traditionally means a place in which one can be injured. I like the image of the vulnerable places in a knight’s suit of armor (namely the neck, armpit, and even back of the thigh are the vulnerable places). In this example, vulnerabilities can mean being seriously wounded or killed, and for some men, that’s how it sometimes feels to share a hurt, pain, or shame.
In my experience, the thought of vulnerably sharing a fear or insecurity felt terrifying. Showing my emotional underbelly has felt more debilitating than the emotion itself. Expressing anger can be easy, but confiding with another in what is underneath is not just scary, but also takes serious self inquiry to figure out what the deep-seated emotions are. Usually locked away under anger is sadness. Rather than “going there,” I have ignored or hidden the sadness and confusion that could have been shared. It then becomes this secret internal burden that I must bare alone. And that ultimately will turn into shame or guilt.
There are different methods we employ to avoid our hurt and pain. One of the most common ways is to “numb oneself” with external sources like porn, alcohol, or obsessive shopping (to name a few). Another way to avoid dealing with internal issues and struggles is to “project it” outwardly. Projection is the idea in psychology in which we deny the existence of unconscious wounds or qualities. It is a defense mechanism against unwanted feelings or emotions. Projection is when we attribute those unwanted thoughts onto another person. . Projecting our pain can be done in such a subtle way that it becomes imperceptible and we are convinced what we’re saying is Truth.
Another avoidance technique is what vulnerability research Professor Brene Brown calls “stockpiling hurt.” This is where we commit to keeping everything inside a secret. We shove so much pain down internally that we become sick—something physically manifests like our back going out or getting an illness.
A man not sharing what’s inside is what many women experience as an unpleasant masculine trait. It is a topic that I have heard many women complain about as an obstacle to deepening into intimacy with their partner. And it is something that they often don’t understand because of the differences in the way we are “wired” and culturally raised.
I am here to remind you (and myself), that sharing vulnerably with our partners, wives, and girlfriends has two amazing benefits.
- It relieves stress. It unburdens the soul and is a key in personal growth.
- A man vulnerably sharing can be a big turn-on for women.
It may be a strange thought that vulnerably sharing with your woman can actually turn her on, but it can. Women respond to intimacy and connection, and this is created through deep sharing. When you express your thoughts and emotions, women experience that you are more authentic. Women know when a man is constantly hiding something; in authentic vulnerability we become more trustable and this is the foundation for deep and intimate sex.
The most important thing is to be open to the idea that being vulnerable is a powerful practice to undertake. Know that in vulnerability you are not being weak. In choosing vulnerability you are in changing outdated models of masculinity. In opening your heart and showing your emotional underbelly you become unburdened and allow for deeper connection with all the people in your life.