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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D., has helped hundreds of thousands of people from over 87 countries find happiness, success, and fulfillment in their social, professional, and love lives. His presentations – whether keynotes, seminars, or workshops – leave clients with insights into their behavior, psychology, and keys to their empowerment. His training methodologies are the result of over a decade of coaching and education of thousands of students around the world. Join him on the “DTPHD Podcast” as he explores deep questions of meaning, success, truth, love, and the good life. Subscribe now.
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HENRY CHONG is our special guest speaker on this episode. Henry is Director of Fusang Capital, a fund management company that manages the assets of multi-family offices. He is also a Director at the Portcullis Group, Asia’s biggest independent group of trust companies, providing comprehensive wealth administration to high-net-worth individuals, providing a one-stop shop for corporate, trustee, and fund administration services to individuals, family offices, philanthropies, private banks, and investment managers. Henry is a graduate of Oxford University with a B.A. (Hons) in Philosophy Politics & Economics and is a founder of the Oxford Economics Society. He also holds a M.Sc. in Behavioral Science from the London School of Economics and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSC). He will be sharing with us from his deep insights in behavioral economics, finance, health, and psychology.
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Episode 11 Show Notes
12:47 How is your gender different from your sexual energy?
17:42 The secret to creating great passion in your life
21:00 Why you’re probably getting the definition of masculinity and femininity wrong
27:48 What women want the most from their men
31:11 The huge problem you’ll encounter when you get stuck with gender roles
35:21 How to discover the dominant energy within you
39:00 Signs that determine if you are a mature or an immature masculine
43:11 Is having masculine or feminine energy a choice a person can make?
47:08 What men search for all their lives
Masculine – Feminine Polarity, Energy, & Gender Identity
Truth, love, and the good. Here we go.
David: Here we go. Welcome to the DTPHD Podcast. I’m David Tian, Ph.D., and for over the past ten years, actually 11 years, I’ve been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success, happiness, and fulfillment in life and love. And I’m joined by my good friend, Henry Chong.
Henry: Yes, hello.
David: Yes, and Henry is currently — you’re in Hong Kong.
Henry: I’m in Hong Kong, yeah.
David: Okay, so in case you don’t know who Henry is, I’ll let Henry introduce himself.
Henry: Yeah. I am Henry Chong. I am the CEO of the Fusang Group, which is a private investment office, but I’m here today to talk with you, David, about life, and love, and happiness, and many other things besides. I’m always honored to be a guest on this podcast and to talk about many interesting topics, so let’s dive in today.
David: Yeah, let’s do it. Okay, so this is a topic that we’ve been putting off for a while because it’s so big and it’s the topic of masculine and feminine energies, and related topics like toxic masculinity, the chemistry and how that’s related, whether there even is a thing as masculine-feminine, how masculine-feminine is related to male-female, lots of big topics. So, part of our hesitation to tackle it is because we try to keep these under 30 minutes, and ideally 20. So, we’ll see how we do with it. We might need to do a part two, but let’s see.
Henry: I don’t think we’ve ever done one 20 minutes.
David: Yes, that’s right. As for two of us doing it together, so let’s try this. I’m in Bangkok, in case you want to know, and we’ve gotten feedback that video is important. A lot of guys are watching this through video, so we will endeavor to create video for you despite the fact that we’re in different parts of the world and keeping the audio quality up, so here we go.
So, the polarity issue. And I think a good entrée into this, or a good segue into this is toxic masculinity. I’ve been asked a lot about this topic, to talk about the topic, for years. I’ve been doing research on, in order to talk about toxic masculinity, I have to think about feminism. So, it took me quite a while to read up on feminism. Not all of it was enjoyable reading, not much of it was, and that was another reason why I was delaying a response. But I think I feel a bit more confident about that now, to speak on that, so let’s just dive into it: toxic masculinity.
I think the problem with this term is that it’s used often to just talk about masculinity in general. Toxic masculinity is assumed to be the default masculinity. Like, masculinity is toxic, let’s get rid of it. So often what happens is, the argument in articles that use this term or books that use this term is to radically redefine masculinity in a way that is hasn’t been used before.
So, toxic masculinity is used often to describe the entirety of the history masculinity in homo sapien history. So, like masculinity throughout history has been toxic because it’s responsible for wars, and violence, and all sorts of stuff, and we need to get rid of it in order for happiness to ensue and for liberation to occur for both sexes. I don’t think that is a good way of looking at it.
I think there is a masculinity that’s toxic, just as there is a femininity that’s toxic. And there’s non-toxic masculinity. We should try to maybe think of a sexier term for it and then just trying to popularize it, but masculinity in and of itself isn’t toxic. It can become toxic.
So a good way to get into it is to think about the term ‘toxic’. I think this is interesting because something is a toxin in the system — one way it could be a toxin is if it ferments like it’s there too long and it rots. And that’s a good way of describing masculine energy in the modern world. In the 21st century, in many places in which you would be listening to this podcast, masculinity in its expressions in pre-modern times would be redundant, irrelevant, or over the top.
So one great thing that masculinity gives you in terms of reproduction and survival value is the edge in competition. So if you think about the effects of testosterone, which is really what masculinity comes down to, scientifically, versus estrogen, which is what would define femininity, increases in testosterone would give you a lot of advantages in a fight, in giving you that edge in a competition, in giving you drive and motivation to do things, as well as all of the obvious health benefits of bone strength and all the muscle tissue and all of that other stuff.
Henry: Of course, testosterone comes from overcoming challenge, very specifically. That’s why going to the gym produces testosterone.
David: Right, so the more competitions you win, the more masculine you become, and then it’s a virtuous cycle. And it becomes toxic when it’s not needed, or when it’s not expressed or when it’s not used. So imagine you have, in your system — I’ll try this analogy. I’ve never talked about it before. You are the Hulk. Let’s assume you’re the Hulk and you have this amazing superpower, but you never get to use it but you get angry a lot because you haven’t been through therapy.
So, the Hulk is getting angry. He’s having to suppress turning into the Hulk all the time. And it just drains him. And there’s the depiction by Ang Lee of this, is one of the classic Hulk movies. I think it was Edward Norton who played the Hulk. Oh, no, it was Eric Bana or something. That suppression was a major theme in that movie, just trying to keep the Hulk down, try not to get angry, just keep the breathing going, keep it.
And recently, the Thor: Ragnarok, the Hulk just walks around and he’s talking. This is like a new depiction of the Hulk. But in the old depictions, it was a lot more psychological. It was a lot more Jekyll and Hyde. That’s sort of the situation of simple masculinity. Masculinity as simply testosterone and the characteristics that testosterone would create in modern culture, contemporary culture, in a technologically-advanced culture.
There’s still tons of competition. I think that’s part of the complaint about masculinity, how Wall Street is driven by it, and that’s part of the reason why there’s the Big Depression or whatever in 2008 and all that. That’s toxic because it’s not expressed properly, so it’s rotting and festering. It’s becoming poisonous. I’ve talked a lot. I’m going to let Henry get in on that, but what I’m saying here is masculinity doesn’t have to be toxic.
Henry: Yeah. Maybe it’ll be good to take a step back and talk a bit about what we mean by masculinity and femininity to begin. I think the problem is a lot of people associate that with gender identity for starters. So if you’re men masculinity, woman femininity, I certainly don’t think they necessarily need to be. Most men in their essence, if they are living in the true essence, I think are masculine; likewise, most women are feminine, but not always.
You can certainly have men who are principally feminine and vice versa. So I think that’s the first and very important thing to think about. If you’re a woman and your principle energy is masculine, you will never truly feel fulfilled if you’re not living in that energy and vice versa. It is obviously a lot easier in society, I guess, for most people to you know, if you’re a man to masculine and a woman to be feminine, and it’s significantly more challenging if it’s the other way around.
I think if you try and, as you say, repress and stuff yourself into roles in which you are not, it’s just not you, that doesn’t work. We can talk a bit about how this has perhaps played out in different societies a bit later on. But just to say that I think that’s a very, very important distinction, understanding the difference between energy and gender. I think a lot of people conflate the two.
I would actually say that I think gay people understand that the need for that energy more than most. So if you have two men, obviously you’re the same gender, but I think — and that’s what they say about polarity. You need very clearly polarity. You need someone of a more masculine and a more feminine energy, or at least at a given point in time when they come together, one person must play each of those roles. I think that is very clear and I think that we forget about that in most society, in our relationships.
Again, we talk about the issue of polarity a bit later, but I think the single biggest issue, when it comes to this topic, that freezes people is that they believe that they should be a certain way when that is not the true essence. So, in Asia for example, where we both live, I think it is very common — and I think this is true of societies everywhere.
Tony Robbins talks about how both the masculine and the feminine, when you get stressed, you tend to flip into the other side. When men get stressed, they become more feminine in the energies and vice versa. That’s not great because you must live in your true essence, otherwise, long-term, you can never be happy. And if you are perpetually stressed as a man, for example, and you perpetually express that feminine energy, you’re not going to get very far.
I think before I ramble a lot, I should perhaps talk a bit about, what I think of, anyway, when I think of masculine and feminine energies. The classic Chinese talk about the yin and the yang, and I think that is perhaps one of the better concepts, the duality of it. I think that the problem is that, for a lot of people, even the concept, the yin and the yang gets misconstrued as good and bad, light and dark, and it’s very easy to think of one or the other, those energies as being better than the other, and they’re not.
Again, the Taos will tell you they’re just two halves of the same pole. Everything requires a balance. There’s no light without darkness. There is no heat without cold. Life is about balance, about contrasts. There is no good or bad to the yin and the yang. They’re just different. The yang — and you’re the Chinese philosopher, you know this better than I do, but the yang is the, in many cases, the masculine energy. But again, I think it’s important to separate that from the concept of even like being a man.
The masculine energy is just that energy, as you say, is the drive, is the impetus force versus the feminine energy, which is the receiving force. I think that this is obviously a big and complex topic, but understanding the nature of those energies and that, if I am, for example, a masculine man, what that means to express and to live in that energy I think is very, very important.
And a lot of times, you end up talking about gender roles. We end up talking about gender roles in society, for example, women’s rights, and I don’t think that is the same thing as masculine and feminine energies. I think that is the bit that gets lost in most discussions today.
David: Yeah. I’m really glad you took it that direction. Also, I was also getting into this dangerous territory of teaching about masculinity. I have a whole course called Masculine Mastery that itself runs five weeks. I think it gets into 15 hours of content. I think I can do a separate podcast just on masculinity and some of the immature forms of masculinity. But one really important thing to realize whenever there are very heated emotional arguments and debates is the use of terms.
People trigger each other using terms that are misconstrued often, and one of them is gender and sex and energies. You’re going with the energies, and one of the things about gender is, in the humanities, is the argument that gender is completely socially constructed. People on the right say that’s completely ridiculous, but they’re not realizing that the left is using gender differently.
Gender is often used in the sense of how you think about yourself in terms of an identity, whereas sex, what’s your sex, that’s a medical definition. If you have a penis, you are a male. That’s why I like to reserve the terms male and female for when you’re trying to highlight the biological differences. Men and women, those are such common terms, but men and women or masculine/feminine as gender identities. Those are more fluid because you could be a biological female and yet have a masculine identity.
There’s some lesbians like the butch lesbians who shave their heads, tape their boobs, and they’re really thinking like men. I haven’t done enough research on this, but I bet if you got the blood test, you’d find that their testosterone is higher than the average female and so on. That’s where those terms break apart. So, there are two sexes and there may be an infinite number of genders depending on how you want to go into the humanities to find that sort of thing.
If it’s truly socially constructed, you could just make up your own gender and be weird if no one accepts that term, but you can live in your own weird reality I suppose. And this is where it gets iffy, right? This is where you were talking about how overall, males have masculine energy as their home. And so, this is something that I think is a really great principle or a guiding assumption for life.
If you’re a coach like me, or a therapist or something, then it gets a little dangerous because it becomes prescriptive. But what we could say is this: If you are a male, very likely, you should really think about the fact that probably, your home energy is masculine; and if you’re a female, your home energy is feminine.
Henry: I think by home energy, just to clarify to everyone out there, we mean that that’s the energy that you feel most fulfilled in, not necessarily the energy in which you actually live in.
David: Right, not operational.
Henry: No. As you say, I think biological sex is one level. Gender is another level, in many ways, a socially constructive identity, gender expectations, and then you have energy, which is very fluid from moment to moment. People can flip in and out of energies.
That’s why when I talk about gay men, for example, I don’t mean to presuppose that they necessarily have fixed identities. It’s just that, in a relationship, and we can talk a little later about polarity, if you don’t have those two separate roles, or at least someone playing in those two separate energies at any given time, like a lot of relationships out there end up just being very flat.
I think the Taoists understood this very well. The yin-yang symbol which I’m sure everyone has seen has the yin and the yang sort of curving into each other. They’re not two separate things. They are two aspects of one single circle. And of course, people always forget there’s a dot in the other one. You have the yang in the dot of the ying. There’s a kind of yin in the yang, and it flows. It’s a cycle.
Like I said, I think a lot of people likewise think about energy and they still think in terms of these very rigid definitions. And as you say, there are all kinds of preconceptions and people talk about these things very differently. But talking specifically about the energies, I think you probably should give us all perhaps a better definition of the yin and yang. I’m sure you’d do much better than I do.
David: That’s a great point. The passion in a relationship comes from the degree of polarity. I have a whole free course on this called How to Make a Relationship Passionate. It’s a very descriptive title. And if you want to get into that course, it includes about an hour long explanation for why that’s the case, why passion comes from polarity and what you can do about it if you find yourself in a relationship that lacks passion. You can get that on my website, if you just go to the website. It should be on the homepage to sign up for that, DavidTianPHD.com, and you’ll see it.
But in a nutshell, and again, in the course, I go into a lot more detail about the how-tos and the step-by-steps, is the power of polarity is what creates the passion. It’s sort of like electrical currents, the plus and the minus. If it’s plus-plus, nothing is going to happen. They’re actually going to repel; if it’s minus-minus, same thing. So you need to have the plus and the minus to get the electricity going.
In Chinese, there’s the term fa dian, which is like when you look at each other and there’s electricity in the air, and that comes from polarity, that’s the idea of a complementary polarity, like a see-saw is another metaphor that I use to describe this. If one’s up and the other is down, then you’re having fun. There’s movement. If you’re equal, then it’s a really boring see-saw and nothing’s going on. You have to try to create that passion out of nowhere, and it doesn’t last, it’s not natural, because you’re basically the same.
So, a couple that is just the same, they’re both the same, and in all of their sexual energies, is what I call a situation of depolarization. It could’ve been unpolarized. I don’t know. Maybe in an arranged marriage that wasn’t well thought out. But often, it’s depolarized because just to be in a relationship, an intimate relationship, there must’ve been passion at the beginning. But over time, what happens is you become more and more alike and you want to fight less and less, generally, but that’s often not realized, but you become best friends.
You just become good friends, and the sexual chemistry is gone, the passion is gone, because the depolarization occurred. That’s the basis of it and that’s why it’s so important to think about that. There’s an episode of Black Mirror, it’s an early season, and it’s one that, in the episode, they think about the future. In the future, the sexes would be equal opportunists in the mating game. So, the computer spits out a pairing and you have to play this pairing or the police are going to come and catch you.
You have to go to the bar and meet your date that the computer set up for you. And when you both swipe on your phones, it tells you the expiry date. They show that the females are just hooking up the same as the males, because in the future, everyone’s equal in the sense that they all want to have sex and have casual sex until the computer tells them, “You are now in a relationship” and then you can be allowed to open up feelings.
What it showed in the Black Mirror episode was that the woman, who is the main character, who was basically just putting out with every single dude because that’s what they do in the future, was feeling really unfulfilled. Whereas the dudes were like, “Okay, cool. Free sex with a random stranger.” In the morning, they’re just like, “See ya” with no emotions. The computer kept hooking her up with a 48-hour fling, a 72-hour fling, another 48-hour fling.
She was basically a prostitute who wasn’t getting paid and she was really unfulfilled. In the episode, in the middle of it, she’s just like, “This sucks. I hate it but I have to do it. This is really horrible.” That’s what it happening now, when an entire society forcibly depolarizes the genders, the couples will be unfulfilled.
Henry: Maybe if you could talk a bit about how you define masculine and feminine.
David: Yes, so let’s define it. One of the great exponents of masculine-feminine energy is Tony Robbins, of all people. I think he reserves this lesson or getting deeper into masculine-feminine for his more pricey, higher-end programs, partly I think because it is more politically-sensitive or it’s less politically-correct in the current time. With that having been said, I am taking some inspiration from one of his seminars on this Date with Destiny, where I was first exposed to a very clear presentation of a masculine-feminine in terms of relationships.
It’s hard to define. I’m going to define it scientifically as far as I can, and then I’m going to define it more from a humanistic literary approach, which is what Tony Robbins takes. The scientific approach is what dominates masculinity studies in the academic, in the universities. This is why there’s so much worry about toxic masculinity. And what it doesn’t pay attention to is the psychological. So, the purely physical masculinity is any personality traits that are encouraged or developed by more testosterone in the system.
You can see how that could quickly become toxic. You get too aggressive, too assertive, and too violent, seeking out competition and challenge and so on. But at the most basic level, you can define masculinity as whatever testosterone would encourage, and you can define femininity as whatever estrogen encourages. This can lead into immature femininity and immature masculinity, and it can be the opposite: well-developed masculinity or mature masculine and mature feminine.
I want to think more about the testosterone-estrogen effects. But from a literary angle or approach, here’s some ways of talking about the feminine. I’m going to give a bunch of those. I’m going to list them out, and then I’m going to list out a bunch of ways of talking about the masculine. These are more evocative ways of thinking about what feminine-masculine are.
The feminine is open, flowing, nurturing, wild, and free. When you see a woman in her feminine energy, living in her feminine core, she’s going to be more in tune with nature, with her surroundings, with the music, letting her hair down so to speak or maybe literally, and moving to the music, and free, and wild. This is partly what historically has been meant by feminine energy or yin-yang energy.
Of course, in uptight traditional times, throughout the world, this has also been vilified as the basis of vice. In ancient Chinese history, the yin energy could be the source of naughty devilry partly because of that wild and free nature that it embodies. I’m going to go quickly though some of these. I have about ten bullet points here.
It’s directed down toward the earth. The feminine is moved primarily by the emotions. The feminine looks for life and connection. The feminine draws others in through opening of the heart to beauty and love and appreciates the aesthetic. The feminine wants to fill up with energy and attention. The feminine desires to be noticed and praised. The feminine energy lives in a world of sensation, physical connection to nature. The feminine is addicted to ways of filling her emptiness, and this could be obviously good or bad. The feminine wants to feel understood. The feminine hangs onto everything and sometimes hangs on too long.
There’s a great illustration that Tony Robbins uses about purses versus wallets. This is the idea that women naturally fill up these huge purses full of all this stuff. When you look through the purse, there’s all these old receipts and old membership cards they haven’t used in years. Whereas men like to throw shit out when they’re in the masculine. Masculine men like to have the most thin wallet system possible. There’s always some guy in the room who doesn’t even carry a wallet. He just carries his card, like naked card and some cash.
The feminine here is primarily emotion in mood and tone. Those are some evocative ways to describing the feminine, and let’s get into the masculine. I have even more bullet points to get into the masculine. The masculine is centeredness, rigidity, unwavering purpose and strength. Rigidity is such an evocative term.
The masculine is directed up towards the sky. Remember, the feminine is directed down toward the earth. By the way, these are taken in Jungian ways, in the ways of archetypes. Psychology has its history in mythology and philosophy, so directed up versus directed down. The masculine is primarily driven by direction or mission. The masculine grows in the face of death. The masculine focuses on one task at a time. The masculine looks for problems and wants to fix them. The masculine seeks release from the constraints and burdens of life. The masculine strives to break free to freedom and ecstasy.
I love the David Deida’s The Way of the Superior Man, and it returns to the theme of why men love sports. They are always about breaking barriers, putting a ball through a hoop, or taking a ball and breaking through the finish line. These are masculine energy pursuits.
The masculine wants to be empty and let go. The masculine strives to break free to freedom. The masculine responds to challenge and comes alive at the edge. The masculine loves competition to test and break through. The masculine is addicted to emptying and releasing himself into the void. The masculine wants to feel appreciated. The masculine finds it easy to let go and leave and often leaves too soon. The masculine speaks words over emotions.
These are historically ways of defining and delineating the two. Just before I forget, I want to point out that out of this comes ways of meeting feminine intimacy needs and masculine intimacy needs. Feminine intimacy needs, what a feminine woman or energy would make them flourish is feeling that you’re giving her attention. What shuts down feminine intimacy is feeling unseen, and the fix for that is giving her attention or giving the feminine the attention.
The second one, I’ll give you three. The second is what shuts down down feminine intimacy is feeling that she is not understood. Men and women should see these themes in their own lives, feeling unseen, feeling misunderstood or not understood. And the way to make somebody feel understood is by giving them your presence. I have a whole other free course on presence, the how-tos, and a detailed explanation of that. Again, go to the web page and sign up for that.
Finally, what shuts down feminine intimacy is feeling unsafe that she can’t trust you. The fix for that is giving her reassurance. What’s interesting is that what the feminine is yearning for, craving, starving for, is attention, presence, and reassurance. The very least, attention and reassurance is exactly the thing that macho men can’t be open to giving because it would make them feel unmasculine. In fact, that’s a toxic masculinity. That’s an immature masculinity.
Maybe it’s not toxic but it’s definitely immature, and that’s one of the reasons why there’s a breakdown of communication between the sexes in the modern West. Just to finish it off, the masculine, what does a masculine need? What shuts down masculine intimacy is being criticized. The fix for that is, for women, or the feminine, is if she admires or appreciates you. As a man, if you think about it, it’s pretty easy to stroke your ego and get you into a suggestive state if you start off with admiration and appreciation.
The second thing that shuts down masculine intimacy is feeling closed, if you feel closed down. The fix for that is if she is open and playful, and the weakness is in big, macho dads who are just destroyed by their little daughters when the little daughters come in, they’re playing with their little ponies or whatever, and they’re open and playful, and it just melts the big and macho dude’s heart, if he has one.
And the third is what shuts down masculine intimacy is feeling controlled. There’s this great activity in Date with Destiny, that freedom thing. He uses the Braveheart scene and it’s this clarion call for masculinity, which is the yearning for freedom, to break free, to break through and to get the autonomy. The opposite of that is feeling controlled. Even if it’s for your own good.
As a masculine man, you just don’t want to be told what to do, or as a masculine person, even masculine woman, that’s masculine energy there that you’re responding with when you don’t want to feel controlled. The fix for this is if she gives you freedom and love. So being criticized, being closed, being controlled. Women can open men up by admiring and appreciating them, by being open and playful, and by giving them freedom and love. She can only do that if she is comfortable in her feminine energy.
Henry: Absolutely. Again, the mistake a lot of people make is when they hear about masculine-feminine, they immediately think about gender roles primarily. Even worse, a lot of people will think, “Oh, well, masculine equals strong, feminine equals weak.” I think entirely fairly because historically, the social contracts in a patriarchal society have looked that way. People don’t even think, again, at all the things that we talked about, about the energies.
Everything we end up in the society where a lot of men are told, the stereotypical, toxic masculinity as you say, you need to tamp that down, whereas women are told that you need to learn to speak out and do more, and they think that therefore that means they can become more masculine. Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
These things have nothing to do with strength or weakness. You can be a very strong feminine. In fact, I think that in order to be a very strong feminine, if that is your energy, you need to be able to live within the energy. Flipping to the masculine is never going to get you there. I see a lot of women who are told that if you want to be successful, or if you want to be a modern woman, a smart, strong woman, therefore you need to follow a certain life path, which usually involves being very career-oriented.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but they explicitly or implicitly are told that you need to live a life that looks very much like a masculine life. When in fact, you can do all those same things and be a very strong, powerful woman by living deeply and richly in the feminine. All the things that you’ve just talked about, all those energies, and I think you will be stronger, more fulfilled, and more successful if you did that.
If you asked any group of men how they respond to a very masculine woman, one who is clearly not living in that energy, it’s almost like a repelling force. But when you have a very feminine woman, even in the business context, you put a very feminine woman in the board room, it’s magnetic. All guys know this. The draw of a woman who is truly living in the feminine and who has that freedom we were talking about earlier is very hard to resist.
You can have a whole group of stereotypically strong men eating out of the palm of your hand. They will do anything for you. And you talk about these energies, and the problem is that most people, again, on the condition of stress, societal expectation, or otherwise, don’t actually live in those energies. I think the adjectives that we talked about are absolutely fantastic.
The way I think about it is that, as you mentioned, David Deida talks about the masculine is about breaking through barriers in the search for freedom, the release into emptiness I think is a classical bit of a yang, the idea that as long — if I can just overcome my barrier, I will be released into that void. For the feminine energy, it’s the complete opposite. It’s about filling up. It’s about opening up and allowing yourself to be filled up.
Obviously, I don’t actually know why, it is the way it is. You can draw a biological conclusion to try to argue why it is that sort of traditional, masculine energy wants to be the penetrating force if you will, and the feminine is the receiving.
David: Pretty obvious, Henry.
Henry: But that is how it works, not in a purely physical, sexual context, but in an energy context: the pervasive masculine and the loving, receiving feminine. Again, I think it’s really worth setting this point that there is nothing good, or bad, or strong, or weak about any of these energies. They’re just different. We all need both at different times. If you can only live in one energy, that is broken as well.
But for most of us, we have one that is dominant, one that we need to spend most of our time living in. Again, it’s a gross generalization, obviously, but I would venture that most men are masculine energy by nature and most men don’t actually live there. Likewise, most women have a feminine energy by nature and most women don’t live there either. All of us get caught up in fulfilling gender roles, and we think that if a man means playing sports or a woman means going to the spa, I have been fulfilling my energy. We get caught up in that layer without actually thinking through to the deeper level, the layer of the energy.
If as a man, what you are doing is not you truly facing up to the barriers in your life and overcoming them, facing up to those challenges, you aren’t really living in your masculine. And likewise, as a woman, you can be a very successful woman, but if you don’t approach life with that sense of opening up to the world into love, I don’t think you can be truly fulfilled either.
To add onto the medical definition and the literary definition, I came across this passage a while ago which really struck me. This is talking a bit about from the masculine perspective, but I thought it was a beautiful description of the masculine and feminine, and it is.
It says if you force her, she will never open up. If you are impatient, she will sense your weakness. If you are nervous, she will be nervous, too. You cannot convince with words. You do not signify meaning with loudness, confidence with physical strength, trust with muscles. The secret is no secret. Your strength is about yourself, not her. It is the calm, precise steadiness within your inner balance, control, your decisive approach to life and its challenges, to details and the capabilities you’ll always know how to succeed with efficiency and not with brute force alone.
This inner strength will unfold in her senses, bloom in her soul, anchor her heart, and will nurture and meet her needs and allow her to love you like you’ve never been loved before, unconditionally strong and defenseless trust. I found that very powerful.
David: What’s the source of that?
Henry: I honestly can’t remember.
David: You’ve got to give that to me. I’ll make it into a quote card for Instagram or something.
Henry: I’ll look it up, but again, I think it shows how powerful it can be when we truly live in our essence and we understand that we need polarity in our lives. We need the other. There is no right or wrong. There is no single path. It’s just as wrong for everyone to try and be feminine, everyone to try and be masculine. You need each other. We are like two halves that fit perfectly into each other. Funny how that works out.
David: I think part of the debate that’s going on in the academe, confusion in the academe and resistance to think about masculine-feminine in ways of being more masculine or being more feminine, is that a lot of the time, men are in their masculine but in an immature expression of it. Now, this would then take us down a whole other hour podcast, and I’ll do another podcast on it to go more detail.
But some examples that you talk about, Henry, are the mama’s boy. That’s a very immature masculine. Or the addicted woman or lover. There’s some women who are just giving themselves over — that’s feminine. There are feminine players, there are masculine players, but those are all immature expressions of masculine-feminine energy.
Then there’s the grandstander bully versus the coward. These are both found within a masculine energy but it’s immature masculine. There’s the tyrant, the sadist, and these are when you take the masculine too far in ways, or it’s not regulated, or controlled, or within your grasp and it’s just free to go and just take you over, when the masculine energy controls you instead of you being able to use it when you want.
That’s part of the confusion because there are ways in which men and women, masculine and feminine, can relate to each other that are harmful and dangerous to each other. One of the pushbacks for the red pill, and there’s anti-women movement like the Men Go Their Own Way or something. That’s partly because of, it is response to the immature female, the immature feminine, I should say, that doesn’t know when is the right time to love versus to dance wildly and to hook up.
What’s the mature use of sexuality in feminine and masculine expressions? And that’s the problem. Let me go back to the tripartite distinction that you started off with: sex, gender, and energy. Sex, that’s pretty obvious. There shouldn’t be any debate on that, but then there is debate because people blur the categories of sex and gender.
Gender is men and women, and your gender identity could be a man, and yet your energy could be feminine, so then we get to energy. What you’re saying about the yin-yang of to be a mature person, no matter what your home energy is, you shouldn’t be there all the time. I think maybe 80-20 would be a good default just because I like 80-20. That if you’re a masculine person, that 80% of the time in most context you’re going to be masculine, and then 20% of the time you can be feminine. That’s a mature person, or 80% feminine and 20% masculine.
But there’s a home energy that you’re in. Part of the toxic masculinity worry is that there are men who want to be 100% masculine all of the time and they’re immature masculine. They become bullies, and tyrants, and rapists, or they retreat into a mama’s boy, dreamer, coward, worrier, and these are all immature masculine. The maturity, immaturity of like, “Are you psychologically developed?” is an important part. I think one of the problems is because of people’s lack of history of reading the classics, that they can’t plug into the role models of history.
They’re looking around and looking for what’s masculine look like, and they see a bully. They look at what’s a feminine role model. For a mature feminine, they see the club girl or I don’t know. I was going to say Kardashians, but I don’t know them that well; some pop media figure who is just flaunting her sexuality in ways that turn off some of the people who are asking this question. That’s the confusion.
I think once you get from sex to gender, from gender to energy, you realize that the energy is a choice. You can stay 80% of the time, you can have a default energy as a man in the masculine. But when you’re playing with your two-year-old daughter, you’re going to move into your feminine energy. And then when she falls and she needs daddy to pick her up, you’re back in your masculine.
A really great analogy that I came up with through my coaching is if you can think about, as you’re developing your masculine, let’s say you find yourself, as is the case with a lot of Singaporean males, too much in their mama’s boy or coward energy, and they want to grow into a mature masculine. But they need to know, “When do I explore the aesthetic? When do I explore being connected to nature and my environment, and being wild and free? When do I know how to do that?”
I tell them, “Imagine this, a military commander, a general on the frontlines comes back home and he’s got a little daughter. She comes running to him, and he’s telling his sergeant or whatever and he’s ending a meeting and he turns around and he’s very much in his commander mode, and then she’s like, “Daddy! Daddy!” She’s tugging daddy’s shirt, and she’s asking him can she play with her doll or something. He’s immediately into a nurturing energy, picks her up, gives her a kiss, swings her around, and he’s back into that energy to match her and to nurture her.
That’s sort of like the energy that a mature person can play with, when to be masculine, when to be feminine, when the default is, and when he is most relaxed, Or she, as a feminine woman is more relaxed. I think part of the confusion and the lack of fulfillment in life is, as you were pointing out, is the fact that many men are being told to be in the feminine energy more. The world is trying to tell them to be 50-50. Not just 50-50 masculine-feminine, but 50-50 immature masculine and immature feminine. None of that is fulfilling at all to them.
Henry: Exactly. And I think talking earlier about a term, I think we need to move from the immature masculine and feminine to the enlightened masculine and feminine, and to realize that — Again, you talk about women flaunting their sexuality. I think there are very different ways to do it. There’s a difference between sexuality and the feminine energy and power. Again, I think if a lot of women talked to a lot of men, they would very quickly be able to figure out the difference.
Raw sexuality doesn’t always turn on most men. Versus when you have a woman really truly is living in a yin, in that feminine energy, like I said, it is — You can tell because men can sense that. It’s like this pull. Someone walks into a room and you know, and vice versa. If you talk to a lot of women about what the real enlightened masculine feels like, it’s not about the bully, the guy strutting around. But someone who is truly at his masculine core, when he walks into a room, every woman knows this is. [INAUDIBLE 00:46:28] feel it.
David: I think if you’ve been around enough, you’ve seen a person of the opposite gender or sex who is, on paper, in a photograph, perfect, like they look great. But then as soon as they start to behave, they’re just like, “Yeah, I’m really interested.” And vice versa. You’ve seen somebody who, if you just saw a photo of that person, you’d think they’re just average or whatever. But then in the way that they express themselves, and the move, and talk, and look at you, then they suddenly become much more attractive.
Henry: David Deida talks about how, I guess when you get right down do it, the masculine is the search for freedom: freedom from constraint and fear; and the woman is about the search for love. That’s why the masculine finds a feminine so compelling, someone who truly is, a woman who is free and lives with that presence, just like us, that freedom we find so absolutely compelling. That is basically what all men have been searching for all their lives.
David: Right, and at bottom, everyone actually wants love. They want the freedom so that they could love. But yes, women wanted to feel connected and feel loved. One last thing, we need to wrap up here, but one last thing. You were explaining how there’s merit to the feminine, telling a woman to woman up and a man to man up, and that in the yin-yang energy or the feminine energy isn’t bad.
So how many females think that they need to be in order to become dominant and win in the competition of the world is to be like a man, and how that’s false. If there’s a feminine power, that can disarm any man — you’re sort of seeing that because the aggressive females now are banking on, historically, how men are responding to women as — they’re looking at women as if it’s still the 1950’s.
That’s going to change soon. You can’t talk back. You can’t just argue down a woman quickly, that it looks like you’re a bully. I’m going to share this one anecdote. I was debating back in high school and university, and there was this one girl, I think she was a 4’10” blonde girl with a feminine voice. It was all male, like 80-90% dudes debating. When it’s two dudes against two dudes, it’s just all out there talking over to each other, and the referee is having to intervene. But when she’s in there in the final, I remember watching this, this guy was just bullying. In the Q&A, he wouldn’t let her answer properly.
All she did is just shut him down completely, is just raise her hand and say, “May I speak now?” And then the referee was just like, “Stop this!” He got really mad. The teacher got really mad at that student who was bullying her. And then she said, “Thank you.” She slowly but surely just tore him apart, and in the sweetest voice. It was this evisceration. She was quoting Tolstoy and all this. It was so different from all of the other very aggressive energies that were out there.
When you’re aggressive, it makes sense to be aggressive, and then there’s sort of like — it just escalates so no one wins and the whole thing just blows up. But when you add a new type of energy in there, it’s a new type of power. I thought of this other thing as you were speaking: superheroes. There are certain superheroes that are all brute force, like the Hulk.
They’re powerful if it was just the one-on-one fight. But then there are superheroes who use feminine energy. A great illustration of this that’s very current is how the Scarlett Johansson figure, Black Widow, her superhero character, they use her to turn the Hulk back into Bruce Banner.
She’s like, “The sun is low” and she calms him down. And he’s grunting and he turns from the green guy back to the human being again. That’s a great illustration and analogy, a metaphor, I should say, for how the feminine can dominate the masculine; how the masculine wants that, actually, as well. But when you’re a feminine energy and you try to be the Hulk, it’s just a disaster. You’re not going to be happy. You’re going to lose because you’re not naturally the Hulk. All of this is happening because people don’t appreciate superheroes enough.
Every superhero has its own power, you got to figure out what the role is and the place and position for that power. Even the little guys like Ant Man.
Henry: That’s the point, right? That’s what I mean. It’s not the yin or the yang, or which one should you pick, or which one is better. Again, you look at the circle; they fit perfectly into each other. I think that’s the way nature designed us. I think it’s beautiful. To the masculine, there is nothing more powerful than the feminine.
The masculine can fight, but as you say, when a true feminine comes along, she sweeps the masculine up in her way. And vice versa, I think to the feminine, there’s nothing more intoxicating than the masculine, and that’s how we were designed. It’s perfect. We fit perfectly into each other. We need each other’s energies perfectly.
David: Just like our biology.
Henry: Exactly. Our biology. Isn’t it amazing? We fit.
David: Yeah, it all starts from the biology, really. It’s explained through the biology, and the biological effects in the brain, and the brain’s effects in the way we think about psychology. And then this social constructionism is just messing up all of our natural conduits for finding fulfilment, and happiness, and love. While on that note, we went way over. I think we were partly successful in getting under the time, but we will have to take up this stuff again and go on forever on this. Thanks so much for listening. Henry, how do they get a hold of you?
Henry: You can find me on my website at HenryChong.com. You can look me up. I write a newsletter every week and you can sign up for that on my website, too.
David: Yes. You can connect with me in many places, but you can start with DavidTianPHD.com. Also, you can find the show notes for this episode at DavidTianPHD.com/dtphdpodcast. You can see those in there. Also, we have a private Facebook group, a secret Facebook group. Actually, it’s not secret. It’s a closed Facebook group. You can click the link and log into Facebook and join the group. I’ll see you in there.
Thanks so much for listening, and we will be talking to you next time.
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