It has come up a few times lately, so it seems worth addressing:

Yes, on this blog, I tend to make suggestions for what men can do to help facilitate a particular emotional response in a woman (i.e., attraction and comfort). It is my hope that because I am a woman and have focused careful attention on this stuff for quite some time, I can be valuable as a source of emotional feedback.

It is my intention to illuminate blind spots on both sides of the gender fence — areas where I see men and women judging each other instead of understanding each other.

That said, I would like to clarify a few things:

1. My suggestions are not “rules” or “shoulds.” They are things that I have noticed create a certain emotional response in me and other women I know. But they are always negotiable. If a guy isn’t comfortable with a particular recommendation I’m making, by all means, it would thrill me to have open conversations about that. Honest communication always trumps rules in my book. In NVC terms, my suggestions are merely strategies for meeting certain emotional needs, such as trust and excitement and connection. But there are infinite strategies for meeting any given need.

2. Relationships are always a two-way street. Women need to do all they can to understand where men are coming from just as much as vice versa. We all can ask each other how we can make life more wonderful for each other.

3. Communication is a two-way street. I offer a lot of suggestions of how men can communicate more effectively with women, but communication is just as much a woman’s responsibility as a man’s. Women are more empowered if they speak up when they don’t feel good about something, and if they listen deeply when a man is upset about something. It goes both ways. It’s completely unhelpful to blame each other. Blaming (“you did this to me and next time you have to do this”) is an entirely different thing than saying “wow, I really got scared when I didn’t hear from you. It sure would better meet my need for continuity and trust if I had a sense ahead of time of when we are going to reconnect.”).

4. Conflicts are ALWAYS shared. It takes two to tango. In non-violent communication practice groups, sometimes two people in a group of ten will get into a conflict with each other. Under NVC philosophy, the GROUP owns that conflict. Similarly, when a man and woman conflict, they both need to look within to see what in themselves created that conflict.

(And what proves this point in my experience more than anything else is that if we attempt to AVOID a conflict rather than resolve it, it will INEVITABLY recur elsewhere in our life. A seeming clone of the person we are avoiding will show up somewhere else. That’s why I never solve my problems anymore by thinking, oh, I can get relief from this emotional pain by cutting this person out of my life. Doesn’t work because the conflict is inside me, even if it seems to be coming from the other person.)

5. Other people are never responsible for our feelings. I make a lot of suggestions about things guys do that feel great to me as a woman, and I hope those are helpful. With good communication, both men and women can help each other feel good. At the end of the day though, I am fully aware that my emotional reaction to any stimulus is my responsibility. And part of my responsibility is good communication — to let a man know what does and doesn’t feel good to me, and to stay connected with him until we really understand each other and find something that feels good to both of us.

This blog is all about men and women creating win/win connections.


Btw, I heard a very refreshing perspective today: a guy who actually values a woman’s sexual experience. After spending a lot of time on a men’s forum trying to open guys’ minds and dissolve the madonna/whore judgments, it feels like a huge relief to know there are guys out there who don’t judge women for their sexuality. And who even embrace it.