Be a Modern Knight: Protecting Your Lady in the 21st Century

by Brett & Kate McKay on August 12, 2008 · 116 comments

in Dating, Marriage, Relationships & Family

Although the gender lines in this modern age have become increasingly blurred, there is one male/female disparity that even the most ardent feminist cannot deny: men are physically stronger than women. As such, they have from the inception of the human race been called upon to be the community’s warriors, knights, and soldiers. Fending off would-be attackers and predators, these men took seriously the charge to protect and keep safe the women and children.

Of course these days, the danger of marauding enemies or ferocious beasts has all but waned. Sure, a man must be ready to protect his home should a villain invade it or protect his lady in a street fight. But the days of men universally being both citizen and solider have passed. Yet a man’s role in protecting the women in his life has not ceased. While men are no longer called to be warriors against physical attack, we now have the duty to protect our women from emotional harm, to keep safe the hearts and esteem of the ladies in our lives.

Newsflash: Men Like Women with Curves; Women Still Think Their Butts Look Too Big

I recently came across this interesting study (warning: nude ladies covering their lady parts with their hands) which showed that while women believe a thin figure is the female ideal, men actually prefer a more curvy lady. What was even more interesting is that this story made the front page of Digg, and while Digg users are known for their terribly disparaging and caustic comments, the vast majority agreed with the results. So what does such a story show us? First, men like women with curves. Second, women don’t believe this. Third, contrary to popular belief, men are not to blame for this disconnect. The blame lies instead with the media and the catty expectations of a woman’s female peers.

While men may not be at fault for women’s skewed body image problem, we can be part of the solution; we can support the women in our lives and help them feel better about themselves. I have been rather dismayed at the number of my female friends and family who on the surface appear confident and attractive, but inwardly are pained with acute insecurities. Even beautiful women often feel ugly, fat, and unattractive. True, some men also battle insecurities, but by and large we often feel fairly comfortable about ourselves. Just take a look at the beach at the shirtless men, their huge guts hanging over their Speedo, strolling along without a care in the world.

Let me be clear about something-at the end of the day, a man cannot make a woman feel good about herself; a woman’s self-esteem is under her control and something only she can fix and heal. But it would be most naive to not admit that we are all-men and women alike-influenced by those around us. To your lady, you are the most important and influential person in her life. And you must be valiant in protecting her heart and spirit.

Being a modern knight for your lady

Be generous with your compliments. Whenever your lady is looking luminous, let her know. I often fall into the trap of looking at my wife, thinking about how beautiful she is, but then not vocalizing that thought. I figure she already knows how pretty I think she is, so there is no need to repeat it. But I have come to realize that she can never hear it enough. Insecurities never completely go away, and my frequent and sincere compliments can buoy her up each day. Whenever your lady is experiencing self-doubt, be there with an earnest and encouraging word for her.

Don’t blatantly ogle other women. It’s natural for a man to look at other attractive women and women should understand this. But men should try to keep this impulse under control. If you’re at dinner with your lady and she sees you ogling some model-esque woman, even though she knows it’s a natural impulse, the message is still going to register as, “He wishes I looked more like that.” Feeling that you only have eyes for her will make your lady feel confident and secure.

Guard against harmful media sources. Women will admit that advertisements make them feel insecure, yet they keep on reading Cosmo and other trash that make them feel like crap. Try to steer your lady away from tabloidy rubbish. Buy her a subscription to a magazine that doesn’t set the standard of female beauty artificially high.

When magazines and television do present some fake, plastic surgery constructed stick of a woman as the female ideal, you may be thinking, “Yuck, she’s so gross,” but your lady may be thinking, “I wish I looked like that.” Interrupt these thoughts by vocalizing your distaste for women who look like they are strung out on heroin or are the result of a science experiment gone awry.

Quit watching porn. When you turn to porn to get aroused, you send this message to your lady: “You are cute, but when I really want to get excited I need to look at women with cantaloupe sized breasts” Your lady, and her alone, should do if for you. And she should know that in her heart.

Steer her away from negative friends. When a woman gets all gussied up, she’s not doing it just for you. She also wants to impress other women. And who can blame her when so many women are super judgmental and critical of their female peers. Steer your lady away from negative friends who obsess about their appearance, make comments about your lady’s appearance, and generally make your lady feel insecure.

{ 115 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Frank August 12, 2008 at 10:14 pm

I guess your chances of encountering marauding enemies depends largely on where you live. Many years ago, while living in a particularly bad LA neighborhood, I found myself in the unfortunate circumstance of having to defend my young wife from two muggers. If I had been alone, I would have simply ran off as fast as my legs could carry me. Instead, I had to square off against them with a knife in my hand. Luckily, one of them had the smarts to pull his drug-crazed pal away just as he was charging me and they took off in search of easier prey. I really didn’t want to kill them, but I would have done so without hesitation to protect my lady. Times aren’t really all that different in this “modern age”.

2 The Real Mr. Funk August 12, 2008 at 11:24 pm

Quit watching porn?

Worst. Advice. Ever.

I thought this web site was about manliness? Man the [edited] up! If you like to watch people [edited] watch people [edited] And don’t pretend you don’t like porn, or promise to stop watching it. Because if you like watching porn, you’re not going to give it up for a prudish woman any more than you can pray-the-gay-away at bible camp. And if you’ve been lying about it, you’ll only hurt your girl when she eventually finds your stash. And she will. They do. Always.

Harden the [edited] up:

“Honey I like porn. If you like porn, we can watch it together. If not, I’ll watch it alone. It doesn’t mean you’re not enough for me, I just like watching porn. I know you’ll understand, because you’re a stable human-being with a function ego who knows her self-worth”.

3 Hrafn August 13, 2008 at 12:22 am

I am really happy to see the author make a stand against pornography. Seriously, I can’t consider a person looking at porn even half a man. It is disgusting and unacceptable for a man with even a bit of dignity.

Keep up the good work!

4 Thomas August 13, 2008 at 12:29 am

I think you misunderstand Mr. Funk.
This post was about helping your lady feel good about herself. Sure I like porn too and I want to watch it too from time to time but if my girlfriend had a real problem with it and it made her feel insecure about herself I would stop doing it. Surely porn can’t be more important to you than the happiness of your girlfriend or wife. If so, then you fail at being the man and knight that your lady deserves.

5 James August 13, 2008 at 12:53 am

“I know you’ll understand, because you’re a stable human-being with a function ego who knows her self-worth”

I’m sorry, but have you ever met an actual woman?

6 Ross August 13, 2008 at 1:19 am

Honestly, my fiancée can beat me up, so I doubt she needs much protecting.

As far as the mental and emotional support, it seems like that should come from both sides of the relationship. Just as a woman should want a man rather than a boy, I want a woman rather than a girl. I would refuse to get in a relationship with a female who lacks fundamental independence.

Regarding pornography, it seems to me that serious disagreements about it may indicate a deeper cultural incompatibility between two people. Agreement on sexual issues are quite important for the success of a relationship.

Personally, my fiancée and I have used pornography when distance intervenes, when moods do not align, or when one person is awake and the other asleep. It makes the whole processes of solo sexual relief easier, more enjoyable, and generally more efficient. I would be unlikely to get involved with a person who had severe issues with pornography.

7 Martin August 13, 2008 at 1:22 am

“Sure I like porn too and I want to watch it too from time to time but if my girlfriend had a real problem with it and it made her feel insecure about herself I would stop doing it.”

This should be a real flag-raiser. SOs that feel insecure because of a simple thing as this usually have worse mental instabilities that might reveal themselves only after months and years. Instabilities that could, and often do, lead to a life lived completely after the rules of a woman that gradually changes from beloved to psychic vampire.

Nothing wrong with making your SO feel good. This, however, must not lead to self-abandonment. A real man should not ashamed of what he likes just because it is deemed inappropriate by his peers or his SO has mental problems.

8 Mark August 13, 2008 at 4:06 am

Thanks for writing this article. Obviously every woman is different, but often even those women who act all dependent and make mention of despising the idea of a man to protect them, really do want that on some level, weather it be physical or emotional.

I am not getting into the whole porn debate, except to say that I do agree with the article.

I do agree that chances of of physical protection may be less for some, but it is a reality for all. You never know where someone desperate and violent may be these days, and it is the man’s responsibility to protect others.

9 neil simpson August 13, 2008 at 4:29 am

With this post, you have stepped across from ethics, living your life according to principle and dived to morals, living accordance with populist standards.

A small amount of research would have told you what it is to be a knight, living according to simple principles, protecting the weak, telling the truth, believing in honour, among other right livign principles.

I am so disappointed with where this blog is going. Being a man is not about keeping your woman happy, it is about being what you stand for.

My partner can do whatever she likes and I will support her in it because she is an adult and can make her own mind up.

It is not for me to determine what is good for her, that is patronising and small minded.

Worrying about how other people are developing takes ones mind of the important question….”How can I be more impeccable?” and encourages you to be the worst of all things….a hypocrite.

Who is guarding the media sources we are open to…and how do we know they are harmful without us reading them…and who protects us?

“Attend the beam in thine own eye before the mote in they neighbours”.

Wise words indeed.

10 Annie August 13, 2008 at 4:34 am

This woman is happy for her husband to watch porn when the mood strikes. Yes, I have just as many insecurities about my appearance as the next gal, but both of us understand that porn is fantasy. It’s a world where the men and the women are both unrealistically endowed (and the women really enjoy doing all those things, no really, they do). Like any fantasy, it’s a nice little daydream to liven up reality from time to time.

As long as both partners understand that, I don’t see that watching porn has to be a no-no for a woman’s self-esteem.

But I will agree that a woman can never hear her partner say she’s beautiful too often. Really, it’s amazing how far that goes — it’s a mood booster and strengthens her confidence in the relationship.

11 Sky August 13, 2008 at 5:08 am

To the commenters:

The idea that real men use porn is a myth that absolutely needs debunking. There’s a great new book on the subject, called “Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity” by Robert Jensen that every reader of this blog should check out.

To Brett and Kay:

Your post has so many strengths, but I don’t like that you’re encouraging a sort of “father-knows-best” attitude. Women don’t need to be “steered” by their men–what are we, cattle? Forget about being overprotective and directive. A willingness to engage in honest, open conversations, to strive always for good communication, is the marker of man who’s truly confident in his relationship.

12 Granata August 13, 2008 at 5:12 am

Great point about being generous with your compliments. My wife recently lost a ton of weight and she looks great and I’ve told her so. But even after losing the weight, tanning, putting on make-up, etc, she still wants to hear that she looks good and I, like you, assume that she just knows it. I’d imagine that, even if she knows she looks nice, that she would want to hear it from someone she wants to look nice for.

Porn is bad. I’ve seen it do a lot more damage than good.

On the subject of ethics vs. morals. I’m reminded of this quote from Mark Twain (a man), “It is curious – curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.â€?

13 guerriere, warrior woman August 13, 2008 at 5:33 am

Ok, as a woman, I think the “no porn” thing is bad advice. Women LOVE porn, they just usually READ it. What do you think romance and erotica novels are?!? It’s all “blooming cores” and “wet heat”, and well, you’d be shocked by the MALE standard in these things. If you think women have a lot to live up to… Ha! Every man in these books is 6’6″, ripped with muscles, and a head full of thick flowing hair. I think that’s more impossible to achieve than breast implants and a crash diet!

My advice would be to watch BETTER porn. There is a lot of really good alternaporn out there, not done in the fake LA-style bimbo porn. I find Hungarians are really good at putting realistic women (and men) in porn; real boobs, intense eye contact, reeeaallly hot. But they still look good so you’re turned on by it. No one wants to see anything TOO real. Good lighting and camera filters can be a godsend ;-)

14 A Different Ross August 13, 2008 at 5:59 am

Just to be clear, the survey respondents at FabulousMag.Co.UK clearly think that “curvy” means just “great boobs”, not “great boobs” AND “love handles, muffin tops and big bottoms” as the writers do. The best indicator is the responses to the best-celebrity-body question: both groups overwhelming approved of thin-and-breasty Kelly Brook, Myleene Klass, and Gisele Bündchen, and resoundingly rejected thin-and-boyish Kate Moss and anything-but-thin Beth Ditto.

Nice to see, though, that the average British man thinks the average British woman is a dress size smaller than she is, since women seem to want to drop a two sizes. In other words, he thinks she’s closer to their shared ideal than she is, and after all, this is ALL about what happens in the mind.

15 kat August 13, 2008 at 6:01 am

Great post, and great idea to reinterpret the notion of “protecting” the females in your life in something other than a macho kind of way.

I would also add – maybe even more important than protecting wives or girlfriends from unrealistic physical ideals of femininity is protecting DAUGHTERS, who likely have a less developed ability to be critical about what the media presents them with. Teach them to do so. Model it for them, and for sons as well.

16 Michael August 13, 2008 at 6:11 am

You had me at “warning: nude ladies”

17 Adam August 13, 2008 at 6:22 am

If you’re willing to give up your porn habit because it makes your wife or girlfriend uncomfortable then by all means go ahead and do it. But you should consider the things that are important to you. If you’re partner has a problem with you seeing porn, and you really do enjoy it, that could be indicative of a deeper problem. Maybe she’s not as sexual as you are. This isn’t something to immediately end a relationship over but it’s an important thing to consider.

As to all the people that believe porn is destroying our culture or anything like that, I could not disagree more. Sure there are some people out there with addictions to porn or who’s lives have been destroyed by porn. But that’s true of almost anything. Ask yourself these questions:

Is masturbation wrong? Is it really so different if you use your own imagination or some images flashing by on screen? Where do we draw the line? What if you’re aroused by classical art? What about written erotica? Is it healthier to actively fantasize about your partners friend or watch a video of a complete stranger? If porn is unacceptable for men are sex toys unacceptable for women?

No matter how sexual your relationship is, there will almost always be a need in some people for self-release. I think some self-release is perfectly healthy and anything you use to help you is equally healthy as long as you don’t abuse it.

18 Hayden Tompkins August 13, 2008 at 6:25 am

I do appreciate what you are trying to get across, however…

“men are physically stronger than women.”

I have always been just about as strong as the average man. My husband is about 10% stronger in his upper body, but NO ONE can compete with my legs. I pity the fool who comes near my thighs uninvited.

As anyone in martial arts can tell you, it isn’t always the more strength that ‘wins’.

19 Brett August 13, 2008 at 6:53 am

“As anyone in martial arts can tell you, it isn’t always the more strength that ‘wins’”

@Hayden-If that’s true, why don’t marital arts tournaments pit men against women?

20 Hayden Tompkins August 13, 2008 at 7:04 am

Now that I think about it, make that 20% stronger. It may only be about 10% but he has more ‘strength stamina’ in his arms than I do.

21 Tara August 13, 2008 at 7:07 am

I just wanted to add my two-cents worth as a female. When I read this article, my first response was actually, “aww, I love it!”

I think what we need to understand is the spirit of what the authors are saying. I think they are discussing the importance of mutual respect (correct me if I’m wrong). All of these behaviours represent respect for the woman in the relationship. I think that we as women have similar responsibilities to our men, but this site is called “The Art of Manliness”, not “The Art of Femininity” or whatever else. I think the advice about steering your partner away from negative friends is truly good advice. As much as I would want to keep my man clear of women who tear him down or men who get him flaming drunk every night (or similar), he would want to steer me away from women or men who criticize me or tear me down. In a lot of ways, women especially can use the help to avoid negative influences from friends. We tend to feel more obligation to spend time with people, whether we enjoy the time spent or not, so having our partner there to say, “Oh, actually hun, could I talk to you about something?” or “I really want you to meet so-and-so” or in other ways giving us an out can be helpful. It can’t become an issue of control (ie, him deciding that he gets to choose who I talk to), but having that support is something I would certainly appreciate.

As for the porn issue, I completely agree with the article. I think it is unhealthy for a relationship, the same way that daydreaming about a coworker (or similar) is unhealthy. Maybe nothing will ever happen, but it makes you more and more curious about this unknown entity and less and less curious/interested in the known person who is sharing your life.

Thanks for the article!

22 Madison August 13, 2008 at 7:08 am

I am a woman, and I think a pretty “liberated,” independent woman, and while its not the kind of thing I would admit to friends, the truth is that I do like feeling protected by a man. I like the feeling that my guy is keeping me safe from physical and emotional harm, that when I am with him, nothing bad can happen. It’s not the kind of thing women will admit in public these days, but I think most of us still feel that way.

23 Jaye August 13, 2008 at 7:08 am

I’ve been only reading this site for a while, and there have been a number of insightful articles, but honestly this article as well as a few others have been in my opinion, showing a serious quality drop regarding the topic matter. I just cannot participate in this anymore.

24 Hayden Tompkins August 13, 2008 at 7:09 am

“@Hayden-If that’s true, why don’t marital arts tournaments pit men against women?”

Brett, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

I was comparing brute strength to the use of someone’s force against them in martial arts tactics, not martial arts against martial arts. This is absolutely ridiculous just because you feel you need to prove a point.

And, by the way, as someone who has been the ‘victim’ of an attempted mugging – I STOPPED THAT ATTACKER THROUGH SHEER FORCE OF WILL AND A LITTLE BIT OF CRAZY. IT NEVER CAME TO BLOWS.

You are fast losing my respect.

25 Brett August 13, 2008 at 7:10 am

@Jaye- Later!

26 Brett August 13, 2008 at 7:12 am

@Tara-

Bravo, you nailed it 100%. Relationships are most definitely about mutual respect and of course women will try to steer their men to be their best, just as men will try to steer their women to be their best.
Thanks for stopping by Tara-it’s so refreshing when readers are astute enough to really “get it.”

27 R. Lane Berg August 13, 2008 at 7:13 am

Nice article, brother.

28 Brett August 13, 2008 at 7:16 am

@Hayden-

I’m not sure why you’re upset here. You made the claim that you are as strong as the average man, so if that is true, the question naturally follows as to why men and women do not compete against each other in things like athletics.

29 Hayden Tompkins August 13, 2008 at 7:26 am

Because your response had nothing to do with discussing ‘my’ strength, it was discussing the point I made regarding martial arts…

“As anyone in martial arts can tell you, it isn’t always the more strength that ‘wins’.”

Which, by the way, is still true!

As for me being as strong as the average man, it isn’t the ‘average man’ that competes in sports competitions. You are talking about the everyday man ‘protecting’ the everyday woman.

Your response was, frankly, insulting and misleading as to the core issue of the point.

30 Will August 13, 2008 at 7:51 am

@Tara: So maybe somebody should make “The Art of Femininity” web site! Any takers? :)

@Brett: thanks for the article, and sorry you’re running afoul of so much offensitivity. (Or not. You can handle it.)

When I was engaged, we went to a workshop, and we were asked to introduce each other and say something we liked about the other. She said, “He won’t let me get down on myself.”

It hurts me a little to say I do, sometimes. Sometimes I just don’t *know* that she’s getting down on herself; she doesn’t say, and I find out later. Sometimes I’m too hands-off, and it occurs to me later to say, “No! I don’t like hearing people say bad things about my honey, even if it’s my honey saying it!” This blog entry inspires me to remember.

31 abby August 13, 2008 at 7:56 am

First of all, not all girlfriends are squicked out by their boyfriends watching porn. As guerrier so aptly noted, women often read porn (also known as Erotica when it’s well-written); in fact, many straight young women eschew the traditional (read: crappy) romance novel in favor of reading and/or writing unpublished works, such as erotic fanfiction. The porn industry needs changes in how workers are treated and in the variety of representation of women (as also stated by guerrier), but on a personal level I guess I feel like I can’t really expect my boyfriend to give up his porn if I’m not willing to give up my erotica.

As for the other things, it’s not very healthy to expect a boyfriend or husband to solve (or even alleviate) the self-esteem and empowerment issues for any girl. “Guarding” her against media influences and so-called “negative” friendships implies that she’s somehow incapable of navigating her social reality. She was navigating that reality long before she met you. Standing up and speaking out *with* her against cultural norms and practices that discourage a healthy balance of power and mutual respect is a far better way to support your girlfriend.

You are very right about one thing: there’s no such thing as too much when it comes to telling your girlfriend that you think she’s beautiful and sexy. Hearing that never gets old!

32 cory huff August 13, 2008 at 8:38 am

How funny. I did a post a lot like this a few months ago. I even used the same picture – or one by the same artist.

I’m anti-porn. I’m a guy. I know, I know. Get over it guys. There’s no way to justify porn use. It has no positive effects whatsoever, and there is plenty of research out there to suggest that porn is extremely harmful.

Men need to protect their women, wives and daughters. Women have every right to feel strong and powerful and empowered, but the fact remains that men (generally speaking) are stronger and faster – unless they don’t want to be protected.

I think, however, that most women appreciate a man who will take care of them while still appreciating their strengths.

Hayden, you need to calm down just a bit. I have immense respect for you and your writing, but you and Brett are both talking past each other.

33 Adam August 13, 2008 at 9:00 am

@Brett

“As anyone in martial arts can tell you, it isn’t always the more strength that ‘wins’â€?

@Hayden-If that’s true, why don’t marital arts tournaments pit men against women?

Well the biggest issue here is that martial arts tournaments are an artificial means of recreating a fight. In a fight there are no rules. You can use techniques designed to actually damage as opposed to just dominate. If a street thug attacked you there wouldn’t be a judge to disqualify you for attacking sensitive areas and there are absolutely no gloves or protective gear to protect his face (or anything else) when you slam a punch into it.
Contests and tournaments restrict what you can do so that all you have left are muscles. But when it’s life and death there are no rules.
And trust me, as a martial artist I can say it’s a lot more complex than just “kick him in the nuts!”

34 Josh August 13, 2008 at 9:04 am

Sexuality is not primarily about pleasure. It is about loving intimacy between spouses and about making babies. Further, in our imperfect world love often means self-sacrifice. A knight understood that (I don’t mean to over-romanticize the virtue of the middle ages). Love is a complete and vulnerable gift of self to the other, and sexuality is the most complete physical example of this.
Annie was right about porn being fantasy. However, it’s a selfish and warped fantasy. It is a blatant objectification of other persons, and it focuses on one’s individual sexual impulses as an urge to be satisfied instead of a call to give of themselves completely to another. It is the fantasy of a young child that would eat candy for every meal to the detriment of his own good simply because it’s what feels good at that moment. It’s the fantasy of a juvenile, just discovering the changes in his body and not yet knowing what they’re for.
I don’t mean to attack individuals, but porn is pathetic. We’re not made to get off by peeping into others’ intimate moments (visually or literarily). Man up and learn how to love a woman by making a sacrifice. It’s not about repression, it’s about growing up and learning what we’re made for instead of treating our sexuality as a toy. If your woman has the good sense to have a problem with your warped and selfish fantasy, don’t make it her problem of not being “sexual” enough, whatever that means. All porn does is diminish sexuality and make it selfish. When this has occurred, even the moments of intimacy with another will only be mutual exploitation. If you doubt this is the standard of sexuality in our times, you need only look to the issues surrounding it – contraception, abortion, IVF, eugenics, etc. How much will we manipulate and objectify other persons for our own pleasure?

35 Mike August 13, 2008 at 9:11 am

Well said Adam.

36 Adam August 13, 2008 at 9:13 am

@Josh
I know you said you don’t mean to attack individuals, but that’s really all you’re doing there.
“Sexuality is not primarily about pleasure. It is about loving intimacy between spouses and about making babies.”
This is either a deeply religious view or a somewhat naive view that we should not stray from our evolutionary imperative.
If your statement is religiously motivated than I would encourage you to keep in mind that people have many different views on religion. Indeed some sects of Buddhism advocate sex as a form of meditation. And some people simply aren’t religious.
But regardless, if your behavior is not harming yourself or anybody else, I don’t see why you feel the need to judge it. If your partner doesn’t share your sexual appetite and it really frustrates you than that is more than enough reason to not be in a relationship with that person. If nothing else, it’s probably indicative that there are other things in your relationship that frustrate you.
Self-sacrifice is all well and good, but if you completely deny the things you want you’re going to cause yourself some serious psychological damage. Would you deny yourself food when you were hungry?

37 Mike August 13, 2008 at 9:16 am

Josh,

What were we “made” for? And by whom?

38 Pat August 13, 2008 at 9:28 am

Josh – spot on and well said !! thank you !

Pat

39 TheInfamousGdub August 13, 2008 at 9:51 am

After reading the comments I have decided about 90% of this blog’s readers are filthy porn addicts. ;)

40 Josh August 13, 2008 at 10:05 am

Adam – I’m sorry if you viewed my post as aggressive. I’ve known too many guys that struggled with addictions for this not to be personal. That said, I have no intention of calling out any individuals here.
To your question about being hungry, refer back to my post. I’m not advocating repression. That is unhealthy. My response is that pornography has no “nutrition” (to use your analogy) and is in fact harmful. I’m calling men to expand their tastes beyond twinkies. This isn’t repression. It’s a call to sanity(i.e. health)
To your comment about naivete or religious opinions, I’ll leave it to your judgment which side is distorted in a world that separates intercourse from unity and reproduction. It seems like a natural connection to me.
Mike – We were made for love (i.e. intimacy and self-gift, not just pleasure) . I of course have an opinion for “by whom” also, but I’ll leave that out of this discussion.
Thanks for your comments, guys.

41 Motorokr August 13, 2008 at 10:10 am

well this is awesome advice. Each one, yeah even the porn. Most women find it disgusting, others may not. it goes on a person to person basis, just know your woman and know what makes her happy, and do them. I think the problem is, we men get comfortable quickly and stop doing those little things that won our women over. Just saying.

42 Madden August 13, 2008 at 11:34 am

I just read through every post on this comment box. I’ve been reading this site for only about a month but have checked out many of the articles and many of the comments at the bottom of these articles as well. It appears to ignorant old me that the inevitable cyber-bickering sessions that sprout up in the comment boxes are often simply missing a key observation. Many of the readers and many of the authors have different views of manliness stemming from different world views.

Based on this the comment regarding porn was totally consistent with the articles title, “Becoming a 21st century Knight.”

Chivalry was something that was never rooted in a secular world view. Knights existed in a faith filled Europe. Not all knights lived the the virtues that this faith implied, but they still had the ideal to strive for or fall from. Never the less this knighthood would have had fundamental issues with the Darwinian, secular, atheistic views of many of the comments.

I’m not judging the previous comments of others but simply saying that the effort of this article was to be a modern day knight and this would necessitate fidelity to ones vows. This fidelity in the Judeo-Christian world has always included acts both mental and physical.

…why do i feel like i just placed my head on a chopping block…

43 Bob Dobolina August 13, 2008 at 11:59 am

That porn line is bad advice. You have to be true to yourself or it comes back at you twice as hard. Watch porn if you want. Don’t do it if you don’t want to. But, for heaven’s sake, don’t stop because your wife doesn’t like it. What if she didn’t like football or some other sport you like? Would you quit watching that, too?

44 Luke August 13, 2008 at 12:36 pm

A great article in general, and a shame that the entirety of the discussion revolves around a short blurb about pornography.

My fiance’s appearance is a source of constant insecurity to her. Between the acne and the 20 lbs of jiggle, she is convinced that I find her unattractive. Nevermind that I’ve turned down offers from women of a more “appealing” persuasion for her, or that I constantly bombard her with affection and tell her how beautiful she is. This insecurity is closely tied to the general desire to better oneself, which is admirable, but in this case gone horribly wrong. You can not win this battle simply by convincing her she is good enough already. Instead, remark on improvements she has made in other non-physique areas. She can focus on improving herself in other healthier ways.

Also, a side-note, every man WILL at some point be called upon to physically protect SOMEONE. It may be your lady, a friend, or strangers (if you are the sort who would willingly do so). The infrequency of the need does not permit the inability to meet the challenge when it does arise. My love and I would be in a very different place right now if the ability to draw a machete and ward off would-be rapists was lost on me.

45 Kevin (ReturnToManliness) August 13, 2008 at 12:37 pm

I agree with most of the commenters. The porn comment seemed a little out of place. If I enjoyed porn (which I do from time to time) and my wife simply hated it or did not want me doing it, I would have a great conversation with her about it and then decide for myself what was more important to me – which is always my wife.

I consider the porn comment in the article as bad advice, but to be fair, if you can tell the difference between bad advice and good advice – then you don’t need advice!

The whole “steering” thing takes the article WAY off track. I get the point, but horrible choice of words. I read that out loud to the better half and she was looking for blood. A strong, independent and interdependent woman takes great offense to this.

Both of these points could have been explained MUCH better by using the “communication” approach. Communicate with her on how you feel about porn and how you feel about negativity.

46 Chris August 13, 2008 at 1:38 pm

This article could, if I may be so bold, be entitled “Helpful tips on how to love your lady.” If you love her, you will place her satisfaction above your own. No, the relationship shouldnt be one-sided, but love is a choice. And that choice always involve self-sacrifice. So I highly disagree with these “be true to yourself” comments about watching porn; if it bothers her, dont do it. Or if you are not willing to do that, you shouldn’t be in that relationship. I agree with the other tips offered and I think that Madden said it well, in terms of the perspective of this article.

47 Chris August 13, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Kevin, well said.

48 Kate August 13, 2008 at 2:00 pm

“A strong, independent and interdependent woman takes great offense to this.”

Horrible choice of words Kevin. Far better to say “MY strong independent and interdependent woman…” for I consider myself all of those qualities and yet I also had a hand in crafting in this piece. Both husband and wife steer each other, which happens by “communicating.” What other way for steering exists for a gentleman?

49 Claire August 13, 2008 at 4:13 pm

I love this website! I am lucky cause my husband is a real man :) He steered me away from crappy tabloids and when I see a girl that look better then me he always tell me: you are the most beautiful girl in the world :)
Keep up the great work, this sick society needs more real men, and real women of course

50 Adam August 13, 2008 at 4:54 pm

@Josh:
I understand your intentions and I apologize for making the conversation a bit more confrontational. I do disagree with your contention that porn or masturbation has no “nutrition”.
Porn, at its heart, is nothing more than entertainment. It has as much value as a sitcom or a soap opera or a story or a video game. If used too much any of the above can ruin your life and make it hard for you to remember what is important. If used appropriately they are nothing more than a way of allowing your mind some time to relax from the stress of the day.
And masturbation is very little more than scratching an itch. Again, if you scratch too much, you’ll get a rash, but if you do it occasionally it can be very satisfying and not in the least bit harmful.
Yes, porn can give one a warped view of the world and this is bad. But any creative work can. Just because porn is not something we would actively discuss in public places or in certain company does not mean it should be treated or viewed any differently in terms of virtue. Just perhaps more privately.

51 Frank August 13, 2008 at 5:25 pm

Interesting thread.

About the porn, those who partake of that trash can justify it all they want, but porn exploits human beings, Would anyone except a complete scumbag want his daughter to be in porn actress? Think about it. Those people in the videos are SOMEONE’S sons and daughters. Only someone truly desperate for money–likely due to drug addiction or some other horrible circumstance–would even be in porn. It’s terribly sad when you think about it.

As for the statement “As anyone in martial arts can tell you, it isn’t always the more strength that ‘wins

52 Frank August 13, 2008 at 5:29 pm

Sorry accidentally hit enter:

As for the statement “As anyone in martial arts can tell you, it isn’t always the more strength that wins”, That’s true, BUT RARELY. If you put up a 220 lb., strong, ruthless street fighter up against a 125 lb. black belt, I’ll put my money on the thug.

The idea that a puny little runt can take on giant bullies with a little martial arts training is a myth.

53 James August 13, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Great article, Brett. I think female body image is a huge problem in today’s society, as we’ve all been warped and manipulated into envisioning some bizarre ideal that leaves us less capable seeing and loving real women. There are fourth graders in this country who think they need to be dieting because of what they see on TV, and 90 percent of girls in high school think they are overweight. Sick. This problem isn’t going away soon.

And porn doesn’t help. If one can’t see the ogling and masturbating to some stranger’s daughter is disrespectful to one’s wife and all the women in one’s life, then one has no idea what it means to love a woman, or how to regard women as whole persons, not just physical objects for sexual manipulation.

54 James August 13, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Hah, agreed, Frank. I forget who it was, but I read somewhere that one of the world’s martial arts champions a few years ago was asked who he thought would win in a fight, himself or Mike Tyson. The guy said Tyson, hands down. Speed only gets you so far, when the other guy has a punch that hits like a freight train.

55 Ian Millard August 13, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Here’s another vote against porn.
The people and activities in a porn video or picture are as fake as the creatures adorning the cover of Cosmo or Vogue.
And…
The ability to fight is a minor attribute. The smarter course is to avoid situations where violence is an acceptable or necessary option. And it is possible to stay in ‘safe’ situations, with a little planning and common sense.

And now some science.

When a woman looks in the mirror and thinks she sees flaws – weight or shape – there is a reason for it. The brain tends to reject the mirror image as being unreliable. Scientists are divided on the reason for this phenomenon, but it does exist.
However, almost all women will accept a photograph or video of themselves as being accurate. This is particularly true if the results are instant, like a digital photo being displayed or printed.
If your woman has body image issues that you think are distorted or inaccurate, take a few full body photos and show her the results. Obviously, the less clothing she wears, the better the results will be. She will probably be astounded to see what she “really” looks like.

By the way: delete any such private pictures immediately. Don’t abuse her trust.

56 Gotelc August 13, 2008 at 7:47 pm

First i find it amusing you continually referred to a woman as a “Lady” considering no woman of this century would call a man a “Lord” unless the queen of England bestowed the title upon him.

OK, i think a few of you missed the point with the porn issue. I am going to try to be as impartial as possible.

First the author was not saying anything against porn. I think all he meant was it can make some women slightly insecure. And that compacted with the rest of the messages the media send to women about being thin is horrible for self-esteem.

As with all general advice, you need to take all the extenuating circumstances into account. here are some things you should think about.

1. Is porn even an issue in your relationship?
2. How does your significant other feel about porn? You might be surprised to find some women like it as much as men do, and some men find it completely useless.
3. Why do you feel the need to view porn? Some men say it is like a substitute, for when their ‘Lady’ is unavailable.

Now for you people that immediately saw the advice about porn and jumped all over it attacking or defending as it would suit you. The author said nothing either way about the matter of porn being good or evil he only mentioned that it could be detrimental to your lady’s mental well being. I don’t think it is fair to say “I watch porn so deal with it woman” nor is it fair for a ‘Lady’ to demand her ‘Lord’ stop watching porn without so much as a discussion.

now i am going to be biased:
All you people spouting “facts” about porn perhaps you should do some research before you make assumptions about the people involved in it. not all people in porn are addicted to drugs or desperate for money. that is mostly seen in prostitutes.

57 Laurie August 13, 2008 at 9:28 pm

Wow! What a discussion.

All I know is that

1. Chuck Norris can beat up anybody

2. Chuck Norris thinks all women are beautiful

3. Chuck Norris thinks porn is bad

If Chuck Norris thinks it, so do I.

58 Wrathbone August 13, 2008 at 9:51 pm

One point from an article is pretty much the dominating argument here?…the whole porn thing.

As a single man, I know that porn is a product designed for guys like me. I can’t really see me watching it when I have a beautiful woman around me all the time, and I could never quite figure out why guys in relationships bother with it. Why settle for watching it when you got the REAL THING?

59 santa August 14, 2008 at 7:23 am

What you wrote about “a woman’s self-esteem is under her control and something only she can fix and heal,” is so very true. A girl I was involved with last year was one of the most attractive women I have ever been with. She had modeled most of her young adult life and even appeared in several music videos by well known rap artists. Physicially she was a 10. But inside she was one of the most insecure women I have ever met. Her self esteem was so bad I’d watch her look at herself in the mirror and say “I’m so ugly.” And every day, sometimes more than once a day she would ask me if I thought she was ugly, and I would always respond with “no way. You’re the most adorable, most beautiful girl ever..” After a year I could not put up with this any longer. I felt like this girl was relying on men to tell her she was beautiful, and she would find her worth in what people would say about her. I think it’s a sick disease, maybe a complex, or some kind of chemical imbalance that causes pretty girls to either think too highly of themselves or too little of themselves.

60 Sky August 14, 2008 at 8:51 pm

@Brett:

Your responses to Hayden read a bit snarkily and not so gentlemanly as one might expect. Why be so defensive?

One might argue that men and women don’t compete against each other in sports because the average man couldn’t handle being beaten by “a girl.” :) But in all seriousness, I have actually read scholarly articles on competitive sports that make some very interesting points about men and women being on par with one another, but separated for no accountable reason. And they’re often not just separated; the rules are changed (say, the size of the court, etc.) so that direct comparisons between men and women’s athletic achievements become impossible.

From the reading I’ve done, a good many female athletes strongly object to this practice and would prefer to play their sports on the same terms as men do.

I look forward to the day when we get past the separation of so many sports according to sex!

@Kate and Kevin:

Kevin is right–the word choice regarding “steering” is really out of line.

In response to his comment, Kate said, “Both husband and wife steer each other, which happens by ‘communicating.’ What other way for steering exists for a gentleman?”

It is not terribly uncommon for men to take an authoritative, man-of-the-house attitude that involves making rules and regulations. These men can be gentlemanly in all sorts of respects, but simultaneously feel that, as “gentlemen,” it is their right/duty/obligation/privilege to be “head of household.”

Of course they would “communicate” their wishes to their spouses. This doesn’t mean the communication is two-way.

And I think that’ s the heart of the problem with your use of “steering.” Steering doesn’t imply a two-way process. When I steer my car, do I have a discussion with it before turning the wheel? No.

Connotations are important here.

That said, I do overall agree with the spirit of your post. I think a little clarification would go a long ways.

61 Regina August 15, 2008 at 4:09 am

Brett and Kate, thank you for this article. From a woman’s standpoint, I think you’ve hit on the major areas in which women these days need protecting–or at least where I need protecting.

To add to the porn discussion: I have a fairly healthy self-image of myself as a woman, I’m not perfect, but I’m certainly not inadequate. Yet even I know that I don’t measure up to the sex stars in porn. If I found out my husband was watching porn, I would be devastated. His looking to porn for sexual pleasure would mean that I am not good enough for his pleasure, that I’m inadequate as his wife and as a woman. This is the same message that the media sends women everyday, and when their SO watch porn, they are sending them the same message, but it hits (most) every woman her heart when it comes from that special someone.

62 Jack August 15, 2008 at 11:56 am

It amazes me that there are so very many people who read a site about manliness, and then violently defend their own utter lack of discipline and self-control as “natural.”

Even if I fail at my own standard, at least I’m aware there is a standard to strive for. But the people in these posts would rather tear down the ideal of a relationship than admit to how far short they fall. Pathetic.

As for the competition between men and women, I find it funny that Hayden took such offense simply because Brett bantered with her like he would with a guy. Wasn’t she arguing for equality? = )

63 Matt August 16, 2008 at 7:12 am

“But in all seriousness, I have actually read scholarly articles on competitive sports that make some very interesting points about men and women being on par with one another, but separated for no accountable reason.”

Give me a break Sky. Academia likes to say a lot of things that don’t transfer over to the real world. Have you seen the performance of the women who have tried to compete with men at auto racing, golf and ice hockey (only goalies as far as I know).

You also don’t seem to be for equality when you say that women should be allowed to compete with men. As we have seen in the media, if girls are allowed to play in a boys league, that is equality. If boys are allowed to play in a girls league, that is unfair.

64 schaefer August 16, 2008 at 8:06 am

@ Brett,

In reading the comments I am amazed by how many haters and critics there are. Porn is one of the most destructive forces in the world today. Keep speaking out against it, this reader will continue to cheer you on!

I can’t believe how so many comments take one line out of your entire message and try to twist it into something you didn’t say then write a whole essay about it. The fact that men are physically stronger than women isn’t a controversial statement people, come on! Get over yourselves.

Anyway, don’t let it steer you away from your original objective in creating this blog. You are doing a great job, this blog is going in the right direction.

65 Marine2011 August 16, 2008 at 8:16 am

Well,

I would disagree with some of the beginning paragraph:

“Of course these days, the danger of marauding enemies or ferocious beasts has all but waned. Sure, a man must be ready to protect his home should a villain invade it or protect his lady in a street fight. But the days of men universally being both citizen and solider have passed. Yet a man’s role in protecting the women in his life has not ceased. While men are no longer called to be warriors against physical attack, we now have the duty to protect our women from emotional harm, to keep safe the hearts and esteem of the ladies in our lives.”

I am a Marine. I go to war to protect my wife and son. I think that sometimes people think of knights as men that only battled fabled beast and each other for fun. I believe I know what the author was trying to convey, I just wish we wouldn’t ignore our modern “knights”, as it were.

The other thing I disagree with is the part about porn. My wife and I have been going to a marriage counselor for a large part of our 8 years being married together. Every counselor, EVERYONE of them would agree that it is not the job of the man in the relationship to “make the woman feel good about herself.” If your lady has a self image problem. Guess what, she needs to work on it. You can be supportive without having to alter activities that have nothing to do with her. My wife enjoy each other immensely. We also from time to time enjoy watching porn, together and on our own. Once you make a thing taboo, then it becomes more attractive and therefore a problem. If your lady would like you to watch porn less, all she really has to do is be accepting of you and your sexual fantasies and you will be drawn to her far more than porn. It is this idea that “one woman for me, and the missionary position is all I need, thanks” that has so screwed up married sex life for so long. It’s marriage for God’s sake, have fun with it. Play games, tease each other, talk about your fantasies with each other and learn to relax. It’s SEX, not some ultimate act that God watches over with a score sheet, penciling in points for how bored you both can make each other.

P.S. Love the site, just my two cents.

66 Kate August 16, 2008 at 8:58 am

@Schaefer-Thank you.

@Matt-I have to agree with you regarding Sky’s comments. There are currently sports where women and men can compete against each other like golf (which is hardly the most physically demanding of all the sports) and yet women are not up to par (pun intended) with the men. You don’t even have to have men and women compete head to head to prove this point, simply comparing the fastest times of men and women in the same event in say swimming and track will easily make the point.

@Marine-We didn’t mean to overlook the very real existence of modern knights. We were just making the point that “the days of men universally being both citizen and solider have passed.” All men used to be called on to fight and protect their community. These days it is an elite, voluntary group. We thus simply wished to express the idea that even if you aren’t called upon to physically protect those you love, you still have the duty to emotionally protect them. Brett and I both have enormous respect and gratitude for those who serve in the military and we have done a couple posts honoring these men:

http://artofmanliness.com/2008/07/24/manly-sacrifice-of-ross-c-mcginnis-michael-monsoor/
http://artofmanliness.com/2008/03/25/what-happened-to-wartime-sacrifice/

Regarding your point on:
“Every counselor, EVERYONE of them would agree that it is not the job of the man in the relationship to “make the woman feel good about herself.” If your lady has a self image problem. Guess what, she needs to work on it.”

We agree with this and tried to make that clear in the post:
“Let me be clear about something-at the end of the day, a man cannot make a woman feel good about herself; a woman’s self-esteem is under her control and something only she can fix and heal.”

A man can’t “make” his woman feel good about herself, but he can certainly help along the process.

At any rate, I appreciate your comments. Thanks for reading.

67 Virilitas August 16, 2008 at 11:11 am

Thanks for yet another thought-provoking article!

68 Kevin (ReturnToManliness) August 16, 2008 at 11:11 am

@Kate – good point using “MY” vs “A”, but doesn’t your article do that all over the place? Not everyone is the same – which drives the discussion, of course.

Husband and wife are there to help each other, support each other, and yes, provide guidance to each other. I think this is what you meant. Steering implies a parenting function. My wife hates anything remotely close to this and says it is like manipulation. Of course, this is not what your article meant, but some may perceive it this way.

In any event, like Cory said, let’s not talk past each other. The article is a good one and it did what it was supposed to do – develop the discussion in a way that helps and entertains. The “steering” word is only semantics…I like the point it was trying to make.

69 Timo August 17, 2008 at 5:34 am

Probably another point that could be added:
Sometimes people lack the capacity to help themselves. A man should protect their lady from self-destructive habits (drugs, alcohol, money, gossip, plastic surgery, etc.)

70 Beowulf87 August 17, 2008 at 1:39 pm

First I just have to say: FANTASTIC article. Really, it was beautiful.

It’s such a great thing that you stand up for true manly values in these days of feminists and cowards. (Seriously, I’m sick of cowardly men. They’re all around me, but I’m sick of them. Be a real man! Defend the ladies and quit with the hook-ups!)

I am a Bible-believing Christian and this site is quite close to my values most of the time. I know AoM is not overtly religious, but I also can find it interesting to see something from the “secular” side that supports some real truth for a change.

About pornography: I heartily agree with you. I firmly believe it is wrong morally (sexual sin is nothing less than a scourge), but besides that, I agree with your reasons of being against it.

Bravo, good man, bravo!

Spencer

71 Beowulf87 August 17, 2008 at 1:48 pm

P.S. Oh, and I should also say, although times have changed, I do agree with the very first comment by Frank.

Spencer

72 Erica_Court August 17, 2008 at 2:20 pm

@Laurie: Chuck Norris can make a woman orgasm by pointing at her and saying “Boo-Ya!” ;D

And I think… after reading all these damn ridiculous comments… most people lost the point of this article, everyone is so focused on the porn issue. I don’t mind it, I don’t mind if my boyfriend watches it when I’m not around… but really, if you value a video of people screwing more than you value being with an actual person… somethings just… wrong with you. o_O

73 evan mathews August 17, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Well, there is one difficult thing to accomplish what this article says. Finding a real lady. My experience has been ladies are in short supply in this day and age. Crass women, yes. Ladies, no.

74 IonJames August 17, 2008 at 10:44 pm

What do you think romance and erotica novels are?!?
-with the added fun of usualy having story lines involving a woman in a boring relationship being sexually swept off her feet by another man …

75 The Truth August 19, 2008 at 5:48 am

Basically, just figure out what works for you and your partner and use it. The only thing the heated discussion shows is that every relationship is different and you just have to strive for a balance that is suitable to both you, your partner, and your relationship. Don’t bring in religion, morals, and ethics; thats just quicksand.

76 The Truth August 19, 2008 at 5:54 am

But then again, the article is about how to be a 21st century knight, so it was necessary for the writer to express his opinion. Just don’t take his advice to the letter, though most of it is good; each individual’s situations is different.

77 Jessica August 19, 2008 at 9:46 am

OH MY GOODNESS, PEOPLE.
I cannot believe how many people are anti-porn. I have always been of the opinion that masturbation is a healthy way to explore one’s sexuality, and porn is a tool with which one can do that exploration. I am a female who loves watching porn, reading erotica and pleasuring myself, either alone or with my boyfriend.
Even if I didn’t enjoy watching porn myself, why would I deny my boyfriend his right to explore his own sexuality through masturbating to porn? I’m secure enough in our relationship not to be intimidated by some girl in a video. It’s not like he’s actually sleeping with the girl.
Outside of actually having sex with another person, I believe people in a committed relationship should be able to do whatever they want to get off–whether it’s watching porn, going to a strip club or even flirting with another person. I suppose it helps that my boyfriend and I completely trust, respect and love one another, but I don’t get jealous when he looks at another woman. He’s only human, and I know that no matter what, he’ll be coming home with me at the end of the night. Besides, I check out other men just as much as he checks out other women!
Despite being pro-porn and not minding if my boyfriend looks at other ladies, I tend to agree with this article. Most women are incredibly insecure in their looks, and having a partner who insists that they are undeniably gorgeous just the way they are is crucial to having a healthy relationship.

78 Laura August 19, 2008 at 11:04 am

I guess as a woman this article irked me a bit. Except for the first point (who doesn’t like to hear that they are beautiful?) I think its a bit skewed. As a woman if need a man to constantly steer me away from negatives in life, doesn’t that make me is a sense unable to be self-sufficient? As an individual YOU are responsible for making the best decisions you can in life. If you are incapable of veering away from harmful influences, what good is it going to do for somebody else to do it for you? Unless you accept yourself for who you are, no amount of persuassion from others will keep you from repeating your mistakes. My boyfriend could do his best to keep me from harm, but it isn’t going to stop me from feeling the way I do about myself unless I ALONE wanted to stop feeling that way.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the gestures, and certainly you would want to do your best to keep somebody you love from self-loathing, but the way this article is written makes it sound like this will be a quick cure-all for self-esteem issues.

Regarding the porn issue, I could care less what your stance on porn is, just don’t go about calling those who watch it and enjoy it “filthy,” “dirty,” or “immoral.” You don’t know me personally nor do you have any clue as to where my morals lie. I don’t see any pro-porn people on here accusing you of being prude, because there is just no way to fully understand your views without personally knowing you. I find porn to be an erotic release, enjoyable fodder to one’s sex life. Never has it had any destructive effects on me or my boyfriend, if anything it gets our creative juices flowing. If you are unable to seperate “real life” from “fantasy” then porn should be the least of your worries. The entire entertainment business is a means for one to escape reality and if done in moderation, I see no harm.

79 Tim August 19, 2008 at 11:41 am

I think it’s telling that Brett only responds to the arguments he can easily take down. The stronger and more nuanced responses seem to get a mental, “this person doesn’t ‘get it.’”

I get it, Brett, but I feel like you’re missing out on a lot of what existence has to offer by shutting down your ability to experience or consider anything outside of your two-person world. I believe in a supportive, loving relationship, but you have to be wary of getting stuck in a positive feedback loop, where you start to justify and believe in things only because you have this person so close to you backing you up. I recommend watching William Friedkin’s “Bug.” I’d be interested to see how you integrate the message of that film into your pastiche of manliness.

80 Lani August 19, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Jessica – I COMPLETELY agree with you. Part of the problem I see with modern relationships these days is that any sort of deviation from placing your partner at the center of your world is considered a form of “cheating” or “disrespect.” I have absolutely no problems with my boyfriend checking out other women, as I am not so delusional to think that I am the most attractive woman on this planet. Women who force their men to have only eyes for them are setting themselves up for dissapointment and placing unrealistic ideals on their men. Sexual repression is not healthy (this does not include being unfaithful, just to be clear). Trust me ladies, you will drive your men insane do you force them to only think about you. Think about it, you always want something more when you know that it is taboo. I know I would feel so trapped did my boyfriend prevent me from having sexual thoughts about other men or get mad at me for complimenting the features of another man.

The main points to keep in mind are respect and self control. I LOVE my boyfriend, he is my world, but come on, it is completely unreasonable of me to expect him to never admire another female’s form. Does that make me insecure? Hell no! He is with ME, he respects me for more than a nice rack and tight ass, thats the difference between me and the other girl. She is merely sexual eye candy whereas I am the whole package. Trust is key in a relationship, and honestly I view women who don’t allow their men to “browse” as not have complete trust in them.

Regarding the porn, who cares? I had a good chuckle at all the people claiming porn ruins lives. If providing ideas for future sex-capades and foddering sexual fantasies is considered “destroying lives” then sign me up! Like Laura said, people have been using entertainment as a healthy way to escape reality for decades! If you are threatened by your boyfriend/husband watching porn, then honey you have some serious issues with seperating fantasy from reality.

81 Becky August 19, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Wow…the porn thing…Well, I wouldn’t say that it has out-and-out ruined my relationship…but it has had a marked negative impact. I’m a woman who always considered herself fairly secure…I’ve never liked everything about my physical appearance, but I was okay with it. Then I met a great guy and while it didn’t bother me initially that he watched porn, but after a long time of being together, I thought he would gradually phase it out as I was more available (we were long-distance to start off)…and he didn’t. And I became less and less secure and hated my body more and more. Eventually, he started to understand that the porn upset me and told me he quit…and didn’t… He’s not a real addict, but he has lied to me and hidden it from me. A lot. In fact, I’m still pretty convinced he’s looking and deleting the browser history. Porn, and his lies to cover it up, have absolutely destroyed my trust in him. So yeah, porn can destroy people’s lives.

And I’m not sure who said it, but I don’t think all porn actresses are crack addicts and dirt poor. A great many of them, however, were sexually abused as children or as young women. It upsets me deeply that people get off on the damage done to these women. I’m not saying by any means that anyone who watches pornography is a sexual predator or anything remotely like that, but by and large, girls who are treated well and raised in a healthy way do not grow up to star in porn.

82 Becky August 19, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that the porn has actually made him much worse in bed. He would say the opposite, but he is often a very selfish lover because he has been influenced by the way women act in porn. If they love it, I must love it too!

83 Jesse August 19, 2008 at 2:56 pm

I agree wholeheartedly, again, except for the p0rn. However, I would point out the second paragraph under “Guard against harmfull media sources” when addressing this issue. In my experience, the women in the average p0rn are no more attractive than the models that look like drug addicts. They are, by and large, gross looking. It’s the act of seeing something graphicly portraid that in the real world only happens only behind closed doors which excites most men. It’s also a myth that men don’t fantasize, that they require visual stimulation. I personally take a brief glance at the TV screen for inspiration, then close my eyes and change the scene to fit my fantasy. (For example, cutting out the girl with the plastic breasts and substituting someone with curves and who actually moves a little. Usually, my girl.) The p0rn is just there to give me new ideas, and as a sort of soundtrack.

The point is, in my experience most men think of p0rn this way. They laugh and joke to each other about how weird the girl looks. Most women I’ve talked to about it seem to agree. So watch a little p0rn together, people, and recognize that neither of you sees it as some kind of ideal. Men don’t want a plastic slut any more than women want Ron Jeremy. However, it can be a source of ideas to spice up your own sex life, and can go a long way towards breaking down some of those inhibitions we all have.

Anyway, good article. I hope I treat my girl like this. She is truly a beautiful woman :)

84 Jessica August 19, 2008 at 3:03 pm

@Becky: It sounds like you should find a partner who doesn’t enjoy porn. Then you can feel secure, and he doesn’t have to beat himself over the head (pun not intended) trying to stifle his desires. Good sexual chemistry is vital to a good relationship, and the fact that you have to forbid your partner from doing things he would be doing if he wasn’t with you is probably a good indicator that you shouldn’t be together.
Just sayin’.

85 Augustus August 19, 2008 at 8:22 pm

Instead of watching pr0n to see cantaloupe-sized breasts, find a real woman with them.

86 DoomRater August 20, 2008 at 8:37 pm

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am laughing heartily at the folks who are complaining about giving up their porn. True, I’ve yet to really kick the crap out of my own habits of doing so, but nothing says “I wish you were like that” more than pornography!

I’m sure it’s nice if you know someone who will enjoy your porn with you, but frankly? Anything you should be willing to watch should be something you’d rather do with your partner.

87 Katie August 21, 2008 at 10:58 am

@ doomRater

“but nothing says “I wish you were like thatâ€? more than pornography!”

I dunno, I’d think that actually pointing at a girl on the street and saying “I wish you were more like that” would say it more than pornography. Sorry, just had to be a shit disturber :-)

The point with the pornography that I think people are missing is that there is a big difference between watching porn instead of being with your significant other and watching porn with them, or while they are away. I watch porn with my bf all the time, we both enjoy it. I let my bf watch porn while I’m at work or if I’m not in the mood, what do I care? I would however be upset did he choose to jack it to porn when I am available and willing. There-in lies the difference. Not to toot my own horn either but I’m a lot better looking than most girls in porn, so I hardly become defensive or assume my boyfriend prefers them to me. Personally I watch porn for the visual sexual stimulation, not to check out the ladies and compare them to myself. Most of the time I don’t even look at their faces nor does any sort of physical beauty register in my mind, I’m into it for the sex!

88 Rob August 21, 2008 at 8:07 pm

-Hayden-

Here is an interesting article in today’s New York Times that you might want to check out:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/22/sports/olympics/22women.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Some particularly noteworthy excerpts:

“Women are slower than men in running, in swimming, in cycling. Whether it is a 100-meter race on the track or a marathon, a 200-meter butterfly swim or a 10-kilometer marathon swim, the pattern holds.”

“And even though some scientists once predicted that women would eventually close the gender gap in elite performances — it was proposed that all they needed was more experience, better training and stronger coaching — that idea is now largely discredited, at least for Olympic events.”

“Testosterone, Levine said, gives men what he calls a bigger and better-fueled engine. Their skeletal muscles, which do the work during exercise, are bigger. And their hearts, which provide fuel for the work, are bigger, too.”

“Testosterone also changes the makeup of muscles. Women, with their lower testosterone levels, end up with a smaller proportion of Type 2 muscle fibers, which are used to generate speed and power and strength.”

89 Baniz September 6, 2008 at 12:32 am

I think if we could find a way to stop thinking about love we’ll all be happier!

90 thedude September 22, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Hrafn – Thanks for your thoughts. Now how about making us some sammiches!

91 Brucifer October 22, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Considering that I prefer the company of strong women who often are such as competitive kickboxers, rollergirls and ex-military …. I’ve found that a modern Gentleman should kindly offer to hold the lady’s coat and purse …. while she herself chastises any encountered miscreants…. into a pulp. It should also be noted that a woman who has just punched-out a guy often gets very aggressively amorous, following such an episode. Not a bad thing, surely.

92 A Woman November 17, 2008 at 2:56 pm

@The Real Mr. Funk
Porn WILL ruin your relationship or marriage. It’s a counterfeit substitute for the real thing and will contaminate the bond you have with your wife/girlfriend. It’s a tough habit to kick, but – shouldn’t that be an indicator of how contaminating it is?

Please do be a real man and stop watching pornography.

93 AmericanGothicMiss December 12, 2008 at 1:46 am

@The Real Mr. Funk

you are really unrefined, to say the least. do you actually believe any woman who respects herself and has dignity would ever stay around you for long? you mention ego…as if you even comprehend what ego really is about. your ego is out of control screaming like a brat with a dirty diaper. actually, I don’t want to waste another minute with this reply, but I thought you should know that yes, I understand you need porn. because that’s all you get.

94 Jen January 8, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Well-intentioned but somewhat patronizing.

95 B March 21, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Wow. This post seems to have brought some blood up in a few gents. Regarding pornography: This is a form of entertainment and one men frequently use to masturbate. Truly if you’re going to be in a stable relationship, it goes without saying that you should both communicate. If you’re with a woman who doesn’t like porn and doesn’t like you looking at it but you do, the relationship won’t work. In all relationships, there are ebbs and flows to attraction affection etc., not to mention it could be posed that porn has the same utility to a man as does a vibrator to a woman.

96 George June 24, 2009 at 6:29 pm

First of all, I wouldn’t want to see any of my female friends or relatives degraded by appearing in a porn video.
Secondly, yes, I’ve seen porn, and there was a time I thought I really enjoyed it. Once you get into a really loving, committed relationship though, porn’s true colors show through. Where that special girl makes you feel happy and healthy, porn leaves a void and a greasy feeling of guilt.
Overall, it’s so much more fulfilling to spend the time you would’ve spent on porn talking to or being with your girl.

97 Emily Fine August 16, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Though I am a woman, I love every single article I read on this site. The whole men stronger than women thing is relatively true in regards to upper body strength, no doubt, though a lot of women have strong legs as some have mentioned. However, that doesn’t matter and is not the focus of the article. The article is about being a gentleman, part of that is defending women if in a physical altercation (though I’d very quickly kick the ass of someone who was trying to hurt my guy, if I was in trouble, I know he’d do the same.)

The whole of this article is pretty damn awesome. I think the porn thing is a little too much of blanket statement (as I watch more porn than my mate does) but some people have their standards and respecting their feelings is an important part of relationships in general. Again, the porn part isn’t the focus of the article and people should relax and remember that these general rules of thumb will always have their exceptions and shouldn’t be taken as insults to a persons character.

Keep writing these awesome articles, my boyfriend and I love them and wholly agree!

98 Vinny October 15, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Geez, are is this article about parenting? Or perhaps from the ’50s?

Guard against harmful media sources? Steer her away from negative friends?
That’s right up there with intimating she can’t make her own decisions. It’s true that media and peers can send a lot of negative messages about a woman’s body. How about instead discussing any concerns you may have openly with your lady.

Actions I’d call Knightly:
Ensure your lady has free time to enjoy her hobbies – surprise her by doing the dishes or cooking or laundry so she can watch TV, go out with friends, or garden (whatever it is she likes)

Offer your lady resources/support on financial planning so that she never has to depend on anyone to pay the rent or buy food.

Support your lady learning self defense – women face a lot of violence, some of it physical, and knowing she can protect herself is a huge confidence builder.

Call out your friends when they say something demeaning about women – I hear ladies love this.

As for pornography, choose pornography you and your Lady both enjoy – if she wants to watch it should be enjoyable for her too.

99 Bill in Detroit December 10, 2009 at 5:40 pm

@Marine2011

My wife is not a clinging vine … she has a healthy sense of self … but when I bark at her, she is hurt. When I give her a genuine compliment, she shines. When someone says something foul about me, especially if untrue, she bristles in my defense and never, ever, takes prisoners. I don’t stand alone and neither does she. We are married. And I am the last person she would have to defend herself, even verbally, against.

As a member of the military, you know full well the value of propaganda … words. If a well-oiled propaganda machine can make it obvious that facing a Marine is fatal, then a lot more of the enemy (and a lot fewer Marines) will die. You, sir, stake your life on this relationship between words and actions. How, then, can you claim that your wifes feelings are independent of your words?

One of the questions you should ask your next marriage counselor (why would you need one if you were in a healthy marriage?) is when their last divorce became final. That is one divorcing profession!

You wouldn’t take tips on assault tactics from me because, quite frankly, I 4F’d long ago. So, clearly, I haven’t clue one about such things. So why take marital lessons from someone who couldn’t keep their own marriage together?

I’ve been married 4 times and divorced 3. Currently, I’ve been married a tad over 9 years. So take it from an old soldier (with the scars to prove it) that words count. She is NOT 100% responsible for her feelings. If that were true, what would she need YOU for?

100 John January 13, 2010 at 5:42 pm

This must have been written by a woman. A woman who has established a platonic ideal for both sexes that few in reality could satisfy. Seriously? SERIOUSLY!?!?!?

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