Webinar: “How to Develop Positive Masculine Sexuality”
Presenter: Dr. Shaun Miller
Air Date: Feb. 17, 2021
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Masculinity, particularly masculine sexuality, has been a charged topic in our culture over the last couple of years. We seem to have a clear vision of what toxic masculinity looks like. There are celebrities and politicians galore who exemplify this type of masculinity. But what do positive masculinity and positive male sexuality look like? Our vision of positive masculinity and male sexuality is less clear.
In this webinar, Dr. Shaun Miller brings us what he calls a loose blueprint for what a positive vision of male sexuality looks like. As Dr. Shaun points out, we know what men should avoid, but “what do they need to develop, foster, cultivate?” Dr. Shaun brings us some answers in this webinar.
Dr. Shaun is a researcher, teacher, and writer. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy. Some of his main research interests are sex education, consent, masculinity, pleasure, and ethics. One of his favorite classes to teach at the university level is The Philosophy of Sex and Love. Also, he is a coffee connoisseur. You can keep up with him on Instagram at @coffeeandresearch. If anyone can offer us a blueprint for positive male sexuality, it’s Dr. Shaun. How do we deconstruct the condemnation of masculinity and reformulate masculinity in a positive light? He’s here to help us get the conversation started.
The Origins of Masculine Sexuality Beliefs
As sex coaches, we know it is essential to be aware of our beliefs about masculine sexuality and where they come from. In this webinar, Dr. Shaun briefly takes us through the historical models of ideal masculinity rooted in patriarchy, misogyny, and heteronormativity.
The history of male masculinity models is fascinating, and it provides the background information for us to understand how we got to where we are now. It is no wonder we are stuck on a negative conceptualization of male masculinity regarded, as Dr. Shaun describes, as “toxic, aggression, dominance, and inconsistent with gender equality.”
Unlearn Limiting & Negative Narratives
To move beyond a negative conceptualization of masculinity, Dr. Shaun suggests we start to unlearn the limiting narratives centering heteronormativity and white ideals. Doing this allows us to expand and include various forms of masculinity into our conceptualization of masculine sexuality. When we remain limited to what Dr. Shaun calls hegemonic masculine narratives, men are compelled to follow hegemonic scripts. There is a further explanation of hegemonic masculinity in the webinar.
Dr. Shaun explains the hegemonic scripts many men follow directs them to, among other things, “boast about sex, be stoic, and suppress emotions.” As sex coaches, we know imbalances and blocks can occur when one of the MEBES™ wheel dimensions is restricted. In this case, it’s emotion. We understand suppressed emotions and stoicism may lead to sexual issues for our clients. So, what is the alternative for them?
Cultivate Caring to Develop Positive Masculine Sexuality
Dr. Shaun presents an alternative conceptualization of positive masculinity based, in part, on fostering a caring character. The vision of positive masculine sexuality does not demonize hegemonic masculinity or the men who follow the hegemonic script. Rather, the new vision promotes care and frees men to integrate the dimension of emotion, go deeper into communication, and seek increased pleasure for all involved in the sexual experience.
When it comes to positive male sexuality, Dr. Shaun says caring means to act in a caring way and to feel care. He goes on to explain: To act in a caring way means to “appreciate the other person’s situation from their perspective and want to help them based on their perspective.” And to feel care is to “know the other person’s values and desires and want to uphold those goals, or at least be open to fulfilling them.”
In the webinar, Dr. Shaun fills in the details of what caring looks like in male sexuality and answers some of the questions about positive male sexuality. For example, he suggests it is possible to foster a virtue of care in both long-term relationships and short-term encounters like one-night stands and casual hookups. He reminds us the virtues associated with caring—generosity, kindness, and even trust—can be shown to varying degrees in any encounter.
In Dr. Shaun’s words:
“Developing care is a way to feel appropriate emotions rather than just being emotionless. To see someone sexually unfulfilled and to feel nothing—that’s to lack care. So, I think having a good sexual character means not only to respect consent and promote other people’s sexual pleasure but to want to do so.”
Sex Coaches Can Endorse This New Vision
As sex coaches, we have the knowledge, skills, and position to endorse a new vision of positive male sexuality. We likely have clients of all genders who may benefit from a model that puts male sexuality in a positive light. We can take a permission-giving stance and invite them to dismantle the old visions of masculine sexuality if it no longer works for them. We can guide them to recreate male sexuality that integrates all dimensions of sexuality and encourages men to act in a caring way and to feel care.