Beyond Mars and Venus: Relationship Skills for Todays Complex World by John Gray
When you are not getting enough in your relationship, the first step is to give less to your partner and instead give more to yourself. Instead of trying to change your partner, change yourself.
By developing your ability to find happiness in your life without demanding a change from your partner, you are then free to give more and eventually get more.
improve your relationship, your first step is to find your way back to opening your heart without depending on your partner to change. Your second step is to feel, say, or do what you can to help them. By giving them what they need, they will be way more inclined to give you what you need in return. Your third step is to ask for more in small increments while giving your partner big rewards for giving more. This is your formula for success; expecting more without giving more first is a formula for failure. In addition, expecting too much too soon will also sabotage all your efforts.
I call this new requirement a man’s need for “personal success.” He needs positive feedback that lets him know he is successful in his efforts to support his family not only on a material level but emotionally as well.
To be happy and fulfilled in our relationships, we first need to be happy and fulfilled in our lives. It is unrealistic to depend on our intimate relationships as the sole source of fulfillment. When we create a life rich in friendships, family, exercise, good food, meaningful work, or service to the world, and have plenty of opportunities for fun, entertainment, education, personal growth, and spiritual devotion, then having a loving relationship can make us even happier. To experience lasting love in relationships today, you must find a baseline of happiness by fulfilling your other needs separate from your needs for an intimate relationship.
As women take on more traditional male roles that support the expression of their masculine qualities, it actually changes parts of their brains, as well as what hormones their bodies produce. Research into brain plasticity over the last decade reveals that what we do during the day changes our brains, which in turn stimulates different hormones in the body.
The greatest emotional pain we can experience in life occurs when we stop sharing our love with the people we love the most.
Throughout most of history, our separate roles felt less restrictive because they served our most important needs: to survive and be secure. But as time marched on, and as the need for separate roles has lessened, the Role Mate relationship has become too restrictive. Both men and women have felt an increasing desire to express all parts of their being without suppression, individually and in our relationships. This new requirement has shaped and defined our new needs for a Soul Mate relationship.
Our suffering comes from our own inner resistance to expressing aspects of our unique selves.
As important as it is for a woman to be able to express her male side, it is equally important for her to express her female side. To be fully happy, she must, after expressing her male side, return to her female side to achieve her proper balance; every women or man has their own unique balance of masculine and feminine qualities. If a woman’s need for balance isn’t being met, she will experience increasing stress, dissatisfaction, and a variety of expressions of emotional pain, from depression and anxiety to sleeplessness and food addictions. Without new insight to restore balance, she will attempt to cope with this pain in a way that increases her imbalance and her pain.
In this way, we often feel chemistry with a person who more fully expresses qualities that complement the qualities we ourselves more often express. Through embracing the complementary qualities in our partner, we awaken those qualities within ourselves. This helps us grow in wholeness and passion as we continue to find ways to sustain our love and to understand, accept, and appreciate our partners.
Expressing any of the twelve male qualities in the list opposite increases the male hormone testosterone in both men and women. Testosterone levels are much higher in men and therefore it is appropriately regarded as the male hormone. Expressing any of the twelve female qualities in the list above increases the female hormone estrogen in women and men. Estrogen levels are much higher in women and therefore it is appropriately regarded as the female hormone.
There are two kinds of stress: internal and external. As discussed, we are all facing new and greater external stressors. External stress, like traffic jams and deadlines or disappointments and arguments in your marriage, then creates the hormone cortisol, which produces internal stress and inhibits our ability to feel peaceful, loving, happy, or fulfilled. Throughout Beyond Mars and Venus, the word “stress” refers to our internal stress response to external stressors. By lowering our internal stress (as measured by cortisol) through stimulating gender-specific hormones, we are then better able to keep our minds and hearts open to express our unique blend of masculine and feminine characteristics and support our partners in doing the same.
By creating hormonal balance, we experience a greater freedom to express our unique selves.
To balance the increased testosterone produced during their workday, they will need more estrogen in their personal life.
We are each born with our own unique and authentic balance of male and female qualities depending on DNA and exposure to hormones in the womb. This unique balance of male and female qualities is our natural and authentic state. Some men will have more feminine qualities and some women will have more masculine qualities. With lots of love and support in childhood we are then able to express our authentic balance. However, experiencing a lack of love and support to express our authentic balance of male and female qualities can cause us to suppress particular qualities.
In our modern complex world, women move too far to their male side and men move too far to their female side, both of which increase stress.
When a man is stressed, increasing testosterone and decreasing estrogen will always lower his stress. Contrary to this, if a woman is stressed, increasing the expression of her male side and raising her testosterone will not lower her stress but actually increase it. When a modern woman is stressed, increasing activities that raise estrogen and decrease testosterone will always lower her internal stress hormones. When a woman is stressed, increasing estrogen and decreasing testosterone will always lower her stress. Contrary to this, if a man is stressed, increasing the expression of his female side and raising his estrogen will not lower his stress but actually increase it.
An adolescent girl with more male qualities will need less stimulation of her female side to sustain her healthy level of estrogen, while a girl with more female qualities will need more support. But regardless of the degree of masculine qualities, if either girl is stressed, her solution to lower her internal stress is to temporarily give more support to her female side to restore healthy estrogen levels. Likewise, if an adolescent boy is stressed, he needs to temporarily focus on expressing his male side to restore his testosterone levels, regardless of what his healthy balance is in relation to other boys. Beyond adolescence,
(Many women report reaching their sexual prime around age thirty-five.) An opposite change occurs in men. At thirty-five, a man’s testosterone levels may begin to drop. Prior to this drop, his estrogen levels have been gradually increasing and will continue to increase. (This gradual drop in testosterone is quite common in men in our society but uncommon in indigenous men.) It is at this point in life, when a man naturally makes more estrogen and a woman makes more testosterone, where we begin our new journey to blend our male and female qualities to create a higher love.
Before, during, and after menopause, if a woman is not grounded in her female side, she becomes testosterone dominant and her stress levels increase, causing dissatisfaction, unhappiness, anger, and a lack of fulfillment. Before, during, and after menopause a woman can become testosterone dominant and her
A woman with a high degree of male qualities is usually not good at receiving support or asking for help.
Other men get married, but, in their quest to please their partners, suppress their male qualities. While doing so may feel good in the moment, over time they lose their sense of aliveness and passion for their partner. On the other hand, some men refuse to expand themselves within their relationships to include their female side, and the outcome is the same: they lose the passion they felt in the beginning. To sustain passion, all of us, men and women both, must continue to grow in greater awareness and expression of our unique balance of male and female qualities.
Falling in love with your partner is similar to passionately loving a new song. At first you just can’t get enough of it and it feels like you will always love it, but if you hear that same song over and over, even though it excites every cell in your body at first, after a while it loses its impact. The passion you felt in the beginning is lost. When a song is new and different, it automatically stimulates specific brain chemicals and hormones that make you feel more alive. When a song is no longer new and different, those brain chemicals and hormones are no longer stimulated.
For passion to last, there must be a healthy polarity.
When a man listens, it helps a woman to return to her female side.
By denying our natural differences, we lose access to our automatic feelings of chemistry and attraction.
It is only by embracing our differences that we can sustain passion in our relationships.
man requires at least ten times more testosterone than a healthy woman to experience health and well-being. On the other hand, a woman requires at least ten times more estrogen than a healthy man to experience health and well-being. This striking difference is universal for all men and women.
The Big Difference Between Men and Women Men: Ten times more testosterone. Women: Ten times more estrogen.
For both men and women, cortisol and its effects prevent us from accessing our higher potential for loving. But what lowers our cortisol is different depending on our sex. For men, increasing testosterone decreases cortisol levels; for women, balancing the hormones she produces, especially estrogen and progesterone, decreases her cortisol levels.
Men tend to become aggressive when their estrogen levels surge out of balance.
For men, testosterone is crucial for regulating stress, because testosterone is what keeps their cortisol levels in check. When a man is stressed, tired, or even depressed, it’s generally because his testosterone levels are too low. If his estrogen is too high, he will be more emotional and prone to feelings of anger, defensiveness, and aggression.
Testosterone is important for the authentic expression of both a man’s male and female sides. If testosterone is too high it can suppress his access to his female side; if it is too low it can suppress his access to his male qualities.
If a man doesn’t sustain healthy testosterone, then his female side will be overexpressed in some dysfunctional manner.
When a man is facing a threat or challenge, his automatic first reaction is an increase in testosterone. However, if he loses confidence in his ability to meet that threat, then his cortisol levels increase and an enzyme called aromatase is released, causing his testosterone to convert into estrogen. From an evolutionary perspective, this increase in estrogen gives him greater access to his feelings of anger or fear, which increase his willingness to either fight or, as a last attempt to survive, flee. But with his rising testosterone converting into estrogen and activating his female side, his access to his masculine side gradually decreases. He loses his masculine quality of detachment or independence and eventually becomes overly controlling, demanding, emotional, sensitive, submissive, or needy.
The biggest problem in relationships is not whether a man feels angry but that he expresses it to his partner.
On a biological level, when he is angry, his testosterone is converting into estrogen; his male hormones are converting into female hormones. By instead learning to quiet the mind and rebuild his testosterone he can return to his male side and feel cool, calm, and collected, which then allows him to open his heart and express his love rather than anger.
Anger and defensiveness are the most common consequences of the suppression of a man’s male side and the overexpression of his female side.
When a man is angry, he tries to look powerful, which is a male quality, but in reality his female hormones are surging.
Here are a few examples of how the suppression of a man’s male qualities can lead to the dysfunctional overexpression of his female side: • When he loses the cool of his masculine side, the hot characteristic of his female side becomes overheated. He literally heats up and can turn red with rage. • When he disconnects from the independent characteristic of his masculine side, the characteristic of interdependence on his female side becomes overexpressed and he becomes needy and demanding. Nothing is good enough for him. • When he disconnects from the confidence of his male side, then the trusting nature of his feminine side becomes overexpressed. His felt needs and emotional sensitivities are converted into unrealistic expectations. When these expectations are not met, he eventually feels exaggerated feelings of hurt and injustice. He feels an out-of-proportion sense of entitlement and demand for respect that can erupt into anger. • When he disconnects from his analytical male side, the intuitive female side becomes overexpressed. Silently listening without reacting is one of the most masculine things a person can do. Now, rather than seeking to understand and validate another’s point of view through listening, he is too quick to believe his feelings are facts. Overcome by his feelings and the need to be right, he is quick to become angry and defensive. • When he disconnects from his accountable male side, which lets him own his mistakes and apologize, the responsive characteristic of his female side is overexpressed. In an attempt to quickly solve the problem, he discounts or minimizes it. He might say, “It is not a big deal” or “Don’t worry about it” or “You are just making a big deal out of nothing!” If he is still expected to apologize despite this, he will get angry and defensive.
Common Testosterone-Producing Activities Driving a car Making decisions Effort and hard work Solving problems (rather than complaining) Working on projects Being efficient Providing selfless service Making a difference Sacrificing for a noble cause Prayer, meditation, or silence Fasting Learning and developing skills Making money Taking risks Facing challenges with confidence Success Winning Competition Sports Physical exercise (like running) Physical intimacy Romance Listening Researching Joking or making light of problems with other men
With high testosterone and low estrogen, a man has less need for emotional intimacy.
When a man’s male side is overexpressed to the extreme, he will hurt, steal, and kill without remorse.
During cave time, a man temporarily disconnects from any estrogen-producing activities to rebuild his testosterone levels.
For cave-time activities to rebuild his testosterone, they must be in a stress-free context.
When a man is challenged but also stressed, he will use up his testosterone.
Generally, with twenty to thirty minutes of testosterone-stimulating activities in a relaxed, stress-free context, a man can rebuild a sufficient level of testosterone. However, if he experienced greater external stresses during his day or his estrogen levels are too high for another reason, he will need more cave time to rebuild his testosterone. In addition, a man who has more masculine qualities will require more cave time than one who has fewer masculine qualities.
What fewer people realize is that a man has to first use up the testosterone he produced previously, through work and challenge, before successfully replenishing it—if he doesn’t, he loses his ability to make more of it.
Likewise, if a man just works hard all day but doesn’t balance his work with relaxation, his body becomes depleted of testosterone. However, if he just relaxes without first using his testosterone up, his body does not make more testosterone. Both action and rest are required. In fact, over time, if he does not use up the testosterone his body produces, his body begins to shut down the production of testosterone altogether. This is often what happens when men retire and their testosterone levels suddenly drop.
This hormone assists a woman’s body in making the perfect balance of estrogen for her. The hormone is called oxytocin, and by learning to make more of it on her own through shifts in her thinking and behavior, a woman holds the key to naturally increase her estrogen levels . . . with no negative side effects.
Oxytocin lowers testosterone in men and women. For a man, this is fine if his testosterone is very high, but if it is low, oxytocin will make him sleepy or even increase his stress levels. This is why men are not as instinctively motivated to engage in oxytocin-producing activities as women are. The hormone oxytocin is associated with love, affection, trust, and safety, but it affects men and women differently! Women need oxytocin to have an orgasm, but high oxytocin in a man can decrease his libido. Research shows that when a man gets married or has children, as his oxytocin levels rise because he feels greater love for his wife and family, his testosterone levels drop along with his libido.
Oxytocin lowers a woman’s stress hormones but it cannot lower her stress on its own; it needs estrogen’s help. Oxytocin has a special relationship with estrogen. When a woman has low estrogen, oxytocin is rendered virtually powerless to lower her stress levels. But oxytocin’s stress-lowering effects become increasingly powerful as women’s estrogen levels rise. This is why it is so important for women to balance the expression of their male side at work with their female side at home.
Fortunately, oxytocin stimulation reduces her high testosterone to allow estrogen-producing activities to bring her estrogen levels back into balance.
This increased estrogen, paired with oxytocin, allows her to fully enjoy more sexual touch. However, as more women become disconnected from their female side, because their estrogen levels are low, oxytocin doesn’t lower their stress and so they don’t miss being touched.
for both men and women decrease by 30 percent around the full moon; a similar decrease happens at ovulation, and in women this increases estrogen function.
A woman’s increased emotional response is not an overreaction but an appropriate reaction that increases her intuitive intelligence.
For a man, thinking about a solution raises his testosterone and lowers his stress. If he cannot immediately do anything about the problem, his solution is then to forget it until he can do something. This is why it can be difficult at first for men to learn to listen to a woman talking about a problem.
A man wrongly assumes that if a woman is getting upset then it is because she can’t solve her problems on her own. He interprets her stronger emotional response as an urgent need for help, and then tries to give it.
First, if they are too far on their male side, they may not have enough estrogen to feel their emotions and so their reactions to external stress may not be very emotional. Second, almost all women have experienced a man becoming very emotional, particularly when he is really upset. When a man is threatened by a situation, as long as he is confident, he will not get emotional. However, when he is not confident and doesn’t know what to do, his testosterone turns to estrogen, his stress increases, and then he can become very emotional.
One of the most powerful ways a woman can increase her oxytocin is by sharing her feelings. Sharing her feelings, as long as a woman is not seeking a solution, will increase her estrogen and lower her stress. However, if she is seeking a solution or expressing her feelings to change her partner, then her testosterone will increase and her estrogen will decrease. Instead of lowering her stress, talking about her feelings will only drain her or make him feel bad.
When a woman shares feelings, positive or negative, as long as she is not doing so to seek a solution, it will increase her estrogen and lower her stress.
Women can do it all, but when they do, they don’t sleep well at night because they are so overwhelmed and stressed. The most common consequence of the suppression of a woman’s female side and the overexpression of her male side is feeling overwhelmed. We tend to think of a woman who is feeling overwhelmed as being very feminine because she is trying so hard to please everyone, but actually at those times her male hormone, testosterone, is surging.
These are ten of the most common symptoms of chronic stress in women. Quite often they unfold in the following order over time, unless she is able to find a way to return to her female side to find hormonal balance: 1. Feeling overwhelmed 2. Looping negative thoughts 3. Exhaustion 4. Difficulty sleeping 5. Resentment 6. Dissatisfaction 7. Low libido 8. Mental rigidity 9. Resistance to change 10. Depression
It is not femininity that creates weakness but the suppression of our male side.
When modern women are stressed, oxytocin lowers their stress as measured by decreasing cortisol levels.
Cuddling in bed before going to sleep helps men and women in different ways. For women, the oxytocin produced from cuddling helps to lower their stress so they can forget their problems and worries and then fall asleep. For men, the oxytocin makes them sleepy. However, for most men, too much cuddling will increase his stress, and then he can’t sleep unless he gently pulls away.
(I explore how balancing these brain chemicals through diet, cleansing, and extra nutrition can improve relationships in my book Staying Focused in a Hyper World.)
But the most powerful benefit of progesterone, similar to oxytocin, is that it lowers a woman’s stress. It calms her mind and increases her ability to appreciate who she is, what she has, and what she can do.
What most people do not know is that when they take an antidepressant, their cortisol levels double as well. We have already discussed that higher cortisol levels not only inhibit our ability to experience love, happiness, and fulfillment, but they also weaken our immune system and make us more vulnerable to things like cancer and heart disease.
At MarsVenus.com I explore a variety of all-natural solutions to assist people in healing depression without antidepressants.
Estrogen supports women in appreciating others while progesterone allows them to appreciate themselves.
The psychological effect of both hormones is similar: a woman’s ability to love, and be happy with herself and her contributions (progesterone), prevent her from being needy or too dependent on others (estrogen). On the other hand, her ability to depend on others to get what she needs (estrogen) prevents her from being too independent (progesterone).
When a woman overexpresses her male qualities and suppresses her female side, her body converts her progesterone into testosterone. The end result is not only higher stress from low
High testosterone in women uses up their progesterone.
There are many natural solutions to assist you in restoring your hormonal balance. Here are a few: • The mineral lithium orotate, combined with the cofactors calcium, magnesium, zinc, and potassium in low, nontoxic doses is sold over the counter and can help increase oxytocin. • The herb chasteberry can help increase progesterone in women and, by increasing dopamine in men, can also support testosterone production. • Short fasting protocols can help to remove hormone disruptors from the body to restore testosterone and estrogen hormone balance. • The herb tongkat ali or the super food maca can help to increase testosterone for both men and women. • Swiss-made Bravo yogurt with forty-two strains of probiotics can, if eaten over three months, help restore the gut microbiome to dramatically improve digestion and support optimal brain function. This directly lowers stress, allowing the body to make more hormones.
Oxytocin lowers a woman’s high testosterone and increases her estrogen to support the expression of her female side.
her estrogen is too high, her progesterone levels will become too low and she will become overly needy in her intimate relationships. This is often called estrogen dominance, and can cause decreased sex drive, irregular menstrual periods, bloating, breast swelling and tenderness, headaches, mood swings, irritability, and depression.
she would be making a combination of progesterone, oxytocin, and estrogen, whereas with a romantic partner, or with a doctor, stylist, or other professional, she would be primarily making oxytocin and estrogen. Receiving Support from Others 1. Talking about problems 2. Talking about relationships 3. Hugging 4. Expressing feelings and feeling heard 5. Getting her hair cut 6. Getting a pedicure 7. Getting a massage 8. Cooperating 9. Collaborating 10. Receiving compliments 11. Receiving help 12. Having plenty of time to do the things she wants to do 13. Getting extra support to take time for herself 14. Feeling safe 15. Prayer 16. Expressing gratitude 17. Going out on dates 18. Romance 19. Being touched in a nonsexual way 20. Receiving affection 21. Receiving attention to her feelings and needs 22. Receiving apologies 23. Getting flowers 24. Receiving unsolicited help or support 25. Receiving notes or greeting cards 26. Attending concerts or social or cultural events 27. Receiving reassurance 28. Feeling seen 29. Feeling respected or honored 30. Feeling loved Anticipating Support from Others 1. Asking lots of questions on a date, because she anticipates that a man will be more interested in her (note: men will actually be more interested if she asks fewer questions and talks more; see my book Mars and Venus on a Date) 2. Shopping, because she anticipates having new purchases to impress, please, or support others 3. Buying or wearing shoes or other accessories, because she anticipates receiving increased attention, status, and interest from others 4. Putting on makeup that will make her look younger and flawless, because she anticipates attracting favorable attention as well as protection from critical scrutiny 5. Getting dressed up in a way that makes her feel special and beautiful, because she anticipates she will be seen and adored 6. Wearing sexy lingerie that makes her feel more desirable, because she anticipates that her partner will be more attracted to her 7. Giving gifts, because she anticipates that others will include her and appreciate her more 8. Helping others, because she anticipates that she will be included and valued in her community and later supported if and when she needs it 9. Cooking dinner or any other nurturing activity for her partner, because she anticipates that when he comes out of his cave he will give her more attention and affection as well as do things for her that she doesn’t want to do (more about this in chapter nine) 10. Caring for her children, because she anticipates receiving extra support from her partner and unconditional love from her children
Common Examples of Ways Women Feel Rushed and Overwhelmed Resulting Change in Male/Female Qualities 1. Not enough time to depend on help from others Increased independence (male) Decreased interdependence (female) 2. Not enough time to share her feelings Increased detachment (male) Decreased emotionality (female) 3. Not enough time to support her husband and family Increased problem-solving (male) Decreased nurturing (female) 4. Not enough time to open up and ask for help Increased toughness (male) Decreased vulnerability (female) 5. Not enough time to work together with others Increased competition (male) Decreased cooperation (female) 6. Not enough time to explore her feelings before making decisions Increased analysis (male) Decreased intuition (female) 7. Not enough time to consider the feelings and needs of others Increased power (male) Decreased love (female) 8. Not enough time to relax and receive support Increased assertiveness (male) Decreased receptiveness (female) 9. Not enough time to ask for help or recognize the support she has Increased competence (male) Decreased virtue (female) 10. Not enough time to patiently depend on the support of others Increased confidence in herself (male) Decreased trust in others (female) 11. Not enough time to receive more support Increased accountability (male) Decreased responsiveness (female) 12. Not enough time for her personal life Increased goal orientation (male) Decreased relationship orientation (female)
When a woman does something that she doesn’t want to do but has to, her testosterone levels rise, her estrogen levels begin to drop, and she is unable to make oxytocin. Certainly we all have to do things we don’t want
As women work in greater numbers, workplaces are slowly becoming more supportive of women’s needs, but in the meantime a woman can most effectively manage stress at work by having a personal life outside of work that meets her oxytocin and estrogen needs.
A woman can, however, make oxytocin during her workday if she anticipates a future oxytocin- and estrogen-producing event. If she expects to return home to a personal life rich in oxytocin- and estrogen-producing activities, then her stress levels will remain lower throughout her workday.
Estrogen excites the brain and progesterone calms the brain.
Here are two lists of common progesterone-stimulating activities: Social Bonding with Others 1. Playing cards or board games 2. Sports or other team activities 3. Singing together in a group 4. Group yoga or other classes 5. Making a meal together with others 6. Spending time with a parent or family member who thinks or feels in a similar manner 7. Sharing in a women’s support group or other meetings of people who share the same experiences 8. Getting involved in a fund-raiser for her children’s school or other charity events. 9. Sitting together and sharing with friends at a party or a girls’ night out 10. Attending a concert and dancing with friends Self-Nurturing Activities 1. Going on a (healthy) diet or working out to improve her health 2. Taking time to learn a new skill 3. Reading a book she really wants to read 4. Making a new recipe she’s been meaning to try 5. Creating time to organize or clean her home 6. Taking time to journal her thoughts, emotions, and feelings 7. Practicing meditation 8. Reading books or watching TV shows or movies where she relates to the characters 9. Gardening 10. Exercising or walking in nature 11. Taking a candlelit bubble bath 12. Listening to great music and dancing alone
Particularly in the second part of her cycle, whenever a woman begins to feel resentful it is generally a sign she needs to back off from looking to her partner for more (through pair bonding) and instead take time to make more of the progesterone (through social bonding) that will be more effective at lowering her stress. While her partner can help her make estrogen and oxytocin, as we’ve seen, it is primarily up to her to make progesterone.
But unlike for men, who need testosterone to lower their stress, for women even a small surge in testosterone can increase her stress, unless it is tempered by oxytocin.
Note: The best time to plan a romantic date or get away is during the first five days after her period, but the best time to go on the date is some time during the second five days after her period.
For women during and after menopause, Me Time is most effective from a couple of days after the full moon until five days after the new moon, about eighteen days in all.
Understanding the particular hormones stimulated in each of these three phases can help a woman every day. When she spends her day in You Time during the first phase, she is often quite positive and happy. Her needs and fulfillment at work are more important than her personal needs at home. But then, in the second phase, her need for pair bonding becomes more important to remain fulfilled. During the third phase, she can certainly enjoy time spent pair bonding, but if she is stressed, then to lower her internal stress she needs more Me Time.
couples don’t pair-bond in the second phase, their connection during the third phase will be lesser.
When her stress hormones are higher, she will temporarily forget all the good things he has done for her.
As mentioned, the self-nurturing aspect of Me Time is best for rebuilding testosterone. A woman’s body makes testosterone out of progesterone. The time spent self-nurturing during Me Time rebuilds a woman’s supply of progesterone so that she can make more testosterone from that extra progesterone whenever she needs it. It is progesterone that provides a biological basis to support her libido. While oxytocin and estrogen increase her ability to respond and enjoy sex, progesterone, and the testosterone from progesterone, are what increase her desire for sexual pleasure and help her to fully enjoy sexual experiences.
Without enough oxytocin, a woman can be easily upset, but with enough oxytocin, she is more easily pleased.
Too much oxytocin in the third phase of her cycle can raise her estrogen levels too high.
Whenever a woman notices that her mind is filled with negative thoughts and feelings that keep looping in her brain, it is a warning sign that she needs to balance her hormones by shifting from You Time into Me Time.
When you are feeling more, you can’t easily suppress what you are really feeling.
By suppressing her negative emotions, a woman becomes powerless to let go of looping negative thoughts.
Because it lets her avoid feeling the buildup of negative emotions, a woman can become addicted to staying on her male side.
Avoiding her emotions also prevents her from feeling orgasmic in the bedroom with her partner. She may love him, but if she has to suppress her feelings, then she cannot fully open her heart to access her feelings of love and surrender and then have a real orgasm. She
Unless she is able to shift from You Time to Me Time, no amount of extra domestic support from her partner will lower her stress or make her happy, and the more he experiences that his domestic efforts to help her do not make her happy, the less he is willing to help. If he continues to help but doesn’t feel his efforts have increased her happiness, then his testosterone will drop, his estrogen will increase, and he will either resent her or lose his attraction to her. They will live together in a clean house with no sex! When a woman prioritizes a man’s domestic help over her emotional needs to balance her hormones, they will have a clean house and no sex!
she normally cooks dinner or does more of the housework, but occasionally needs him to do these so she can continue to be stressed out by doing other things, he will have less energy and motivation to help. But if she can clearly identify and ask for the support that will help her to feel happy, then he will be much more motivated to come out of his cave and give more. A man is always more motivated when he experiences that his efforts to support her lead to her increased happiness. For example, it is much more motivating to a man when a woman says, “Would you make dinner tonight? I am so tired I just want to relax and take a bath. It would feel so good.” Recognizing that he can do something that will contribute to her happiness motivates him. It is much less motivating when she says, “Would you make dinner tonight? I did it last night. I still have more work to do online and the house is a mess.” In this case, his help is presented as a way for her to continue to “do more” and stay overwhelmed. His natural reaction is to say, “Relax, you don’t have to work all the time. And so what if the house is a mess. We can clean it up tomorrow. Who are we trying to impress?” As a result, he is not motivated to do more.
As a woman’s stress levels increase at home, caring men who haven’t had this vital insight into our biological hormonal differences try to help out “equally” but only end up burning out, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted just like her. Because her to-do list is never ending, the more he does for her, the more things she will take on to do. Just as he needs to take Me Time, for most of the month she does, too!
A woman can create the burst of oxytocin she needs to shift from You Time to Me Time while still giving her partner the space he needs.
A man is automatically (and hormonally) more motivated to come out of his cave when he feels that he is needed and he can help his partner take the Me Time or create the We Time she needs to be happier. He is not automatically motivated to come out of his cave when his support doesn’t seem to lower her stress or help her to find her happiness. Even worse, if she is unhappy with him, his testosterone levels crash and his normal need for cave time is extended.
While women need a burst of the hormone oxytocin to shift from You Time to Me Time, men need a burst of another hormone, called vasopressin, to shift from cave time to the pair bonding of We Time. Vasopressin in men lowers their estrogen levels and increases their testosterone. This extra surge of testosterone is what motivates a man to come out of his cave and participate more in fulfilling the needs of his wife and children. Without enough vasopressin, it takes a deliberate and exhausting act of will for him to get off the couch. Vasopressin not only helps a man to transition out of his cave but also is the hormone that causes men to bond with others. It increases his sexual attraction to his partner as well as his motivation to protect her. In women, vasopressin has the opposite effect. Situations that increase her vasopressin actually decrease her interest in sex and are linked to increased anxiety and greater motivation to protect herself or become defensive. Vasopressin is the hormone in men that causes them to bond with their partner.
If, in an emergency, she provides the support he needs, her vasopressin increases and his oxytocin increases. This may feel good to each of them in the moment, but because he has less vasopressin, his attraction to her will decrease, and because she has more vasopressin and less oxytocin, her interest in sex and responding to his romantic efforts will decrease. Rather than staying in love with him, eventually she will feel like his mother rather than his romantic partner.
Unlike oxytocin, which is produced when we get or anticipate getting what we need, vasopressin is produced when we are needed or anticipate successfully fulfilling someone else’s needs. The more we are needed, the more vasopressin is increased. Likewise, the more we feel we need someone and can get the support we need, the more oxytocin is increased.
Vasopressin is most triggered when dopamine levels are high and testosterone levels are not depleted. This is why a man needs enough time in his cave to rebuild his testosterone—he needs it to be motivated for We Time.
Popular articles talking about how romantic it is for a man to do housework can be misleading. In Norway, two separate studies of nearly 10,000 couples reported that in marriages where men did as much of the housework as women, couples were more likely to get a divorce.
Men have always been motivated to make women happy. Today, they just don’t yet understand how they can help. There is so much misguided but well-intentioned pressure on men to think, react, and respond like women. This imbalance not only increases a man’s stress, but a woman’s as well. Men do not need to become more feminine. When he is stressed, to balance his male and female sides, he needs to take cave time to return to his male side instead of spending more time expressing his female side. A greater understanding of how he can be more successful in respecting and caring for a woman’s new needs increases his ability to rebuild his testosterone during cave time so that he will have more to give when he comes out. With a new understanding of the challenges women face in balancing their You Time with We Time and Me Time, and of a man’s capacity to solve this new problem, he is automatically more motivated to help. He has a bigger reason to come out of his cave. By giving her what she needs, he fulfills to a greater extent his need for We Time as well.
The dance of intimacy requires independence as well as interdependence.
Talking about feelings is a good way for a man to connect with his partner, but it is not a good way to lower his stress.
Talking about his feelings to his wife at times of stress will increase his estrogen and actually increase his stress.
After he has taken cave time to rebuild his testosterone and rebalance his hormones, it is a much better time to share his thoughts, feelings, and experiences with his partner. However, she will connect more with him when he shares more positive feelings and fewer negative emotions.
For both men and women, talking about our negative emotions and feeling heard increases estrogen and reduces testosterone.
If a man is upset and he needs a sounding board, he should first calm down and then talk about his feelings to another man, not his partner.
While modern psychology teaches that men should share their feelings, it actually weakens a man’s access to his male side if they do it in the heat of the moment. Sure, it can feel really good at the time, but it pushes a man too far to his female side and lengthens the time it will take to return to his male side.
Research with traumatic stress in the U.S. Army has demonstrated that getting men to talk about their feelings while in the combat zone is nonproductive and results in more PTSD. What has proven to work better is talking about their feelings later, when they are out of combat. Waiting until they are relaxed and safe is the most effective way to heal a deep emotional wound.
This doesn’t mean a man should ignore or suppress his negative emotions. He should just not express them to his romantic partner to find relief. Instead he should first do something to increase his testosterone levels to come back to his male side. This will dramatically lower his stress.
Sharing Feelings Can Create More Stress
Silent listening expresses our male side, while sharing feelings expresses our female side.
A woman often demonstrates her caring in two different ways that dramatically lower a man’s testosterone. The first way is by giving unsolicited advice. If he is not asking for advice then her attempts to give advice imply his way is not good enough. The second way is by worrying so much about him that she becomes stressed. This will not only lower his testosterone but also increase his estrogen, leading him to become stressed, defensive, or angry. Both unsolicited advice and excessive worry imply that she doesn’t trust him, and because trust is his primary need, her “caring” makes his testosterone levels drop further. Her caring, understanding, and respect increases his oxytocin and estrogen and not his testosterone.