and what he thinks of his manhood
100 men open up their hearts, minds, souls and bathrobes in these short, perspicacious stories that every woman should read, should want to read – want to know.
What women do not know about men could fill a book – a whole fuckin’ library – and yet, too few have much inclination to want to better understand the men they love and live and sleep with. This predilection that ‘we ladies’ have toward ignorance is a curse on our relationships. Because sexual illiteracy undermines a loving relationship.
A woman’s innate, culturally embedded tendency to feel embarrassment, shame or timidness about the bare realities of a man is … well, self-destructive. Denial of your capacity to fully love, to have a sexually fulfilling life. A good one, perhaps? But not the best possible.
Well, here’s one woman, Laura Dodsworth, who is trying to rip the covers off the guilt, discomfort, indifference and open up the possibilities for women – and men – to better realize the bare realities of love, and of self.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” – and visa versa
Laura has done it again
After giving us two blockbuster books about women (Bare Reality: 100 Women, Their Breasts, Their Stories and Womanhood: The Bare Reality), Laura has pulled the scrim back on men’s bare reality – and their bare necessities. She confronts sexual illiteracy and proves not only the old adage, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ but also proves ‘a word is worth a thousand pictures.’ Her books “dare you to look,” dare you to become enlightened.
In Manhood, these deeply personal stories are everyone’s stories, everyone’s feelings, everyone’s bare reality. And they provide us with a wonderful opportunity to share, learn and grow. To become better lovers.
“Images of penises are the perfect metaphor for men’s most private selves.” – Mark Greene
This book shares. And should be shared by every man and woman in a relationship who want to be – gives a fuck about being – better lovers. In the book’s foreword, Mark Greene, editor of The Good Men Project says, “Images of penises are the perfect metaphor for men’s most private selves” and when we do look closely, literally, “we discover not only the refreshing courage of each man’s choice to be visible, but also the importance of acknowledging how vastly diverse men actually are.”
Think about it. What else could a woman hope for than to truly know the reality of her man – her men?
Just listen to what men think
We decided the best summary of the book and the “inside stories” was to randomly select a few extracts and quotes and let you peruse a cross-section of 1oo men’s reality. You won’t find so much honesty anywhere else. And buying the book could be one of the best, most loving investments in your relationship.
Laura points out that the “conversations were allowed to flow according to the individual man and his interests and experience. The conversation guide covered subjects such as: growing up, appearance, size, penile enhancement surgery, circumcision, erections, media, society, culture, gender, sexuality, relationships, pornography, occupation, health, ageing, compliments and harassment. All men were asked what they think about their penis.”
Pull up a chair ladies and enjoy these wonderfully revealing stories.
In their own words – a rare opportunity
“Being a man means being loving, caring, kind, compassionate, being there for your friends and loved ones. Being resilient when times are tough, a bit of a rock for other people if they need you to be stable, consistent. For a woman it’s also about being loving, kind, caring, compassionate… it’s similar. I like it when a woman has independent strength, and an ability to deal with her own problems, but isn’t afraid to ask for help when she needs it.” – 26 years old
“Sex and intimacy aren’t the same, but it’s hard to keep intimacy going without the sex. I have to accept some of it is my fault too. We didn’t talk about it earlier in the relationship and state what our needs were.” – 61 years old
“Penises are so linked to our psyche. Language says it all, we call a penis our ‘manhood’.” – 41 years old
“There is this shroud of mystery, a taboo, about penis and penis size. Why should there be a taboo? There is no reason for it.” – 41 years old
“I get a huge amount of pleasure out of foreplay with women, as much as making love. It’s not about the orgasm, it’s about the path to it, the intimacy, the giving and the taking. Exchanging love is what it’s about. The sensation goes after the orgasm. I love the build-up. Rather than going over the edge, my ideal is to make love for hours” – 65 years old
“It’s really hard to be a man sometimes” – 41 years old
“If I see an attractive young woman, I’ll look at her because that’s how I’m hard-wired. But I feel like there’s something happening at the moment in our society, and especially within the media, that it’s something that I’m meant to feel ashamed of, that I’m a fucking paedo. That’s the message I’m getting. It creates self-hatred for men.” – 38 years old
“I use nudity as a metaphor for honesty and transparency.” – 41 years old
“I think masculinity is really challenged in the world. You ‘must’ be masculine. Masculinity gets so twisted and condensed and toxic. Here is an aspect of femininity for me: the woman talks, because she wants to talk. They talk and talk and talk. It’s not for a reason. The reason is the talking. The man talks because he wants an answer. When making love, in my opinion, the woman wants to connect to God. She is having an act of love because she wants the man to connect her to God. The man’s job is to do that, to have the consciousness that penetrates and connects. The woman has the power, and the man is the bridge that channels that power to the source.” – 31 years old
“We accessed a divine realm when we made love” – 65 years old
“My penis is linked to quite a lot of sadness in my life … I haven’t spent much time in relationships. Not through choice, but because of insecurity, issues of trust. So my penis is linked to quite a lot of sadness in my life. What is sad about missing out on sex is missing out on love.” – 41 years old
“I found one documented story of a lad of about 17 who committed suicide because of his penis-size anxiety. But finding actual documented cases like that is incredibly tough, and I came to realise there’s been no research into the relationship between male mental health and penis-size anxiety. I think the hang-ups all come from secrecy, dating back to the mythology of Adam’s fig leaf. As soon as you believe there’s something shameful about yourself that should be hidden, you build a dark corner where all kinds of negative feelings and illnesses grow. …. She [wife] has definitely made me confront my own self-loathing. I still feel lucky just about every day that I’ve got a woman with such a smart mind on her. We’re really well matched. I’m nearly 50 now. What a waste, spending all those years hating something about myself that, no matter what, I couldn’t change. We increase our miseries through darkness, secrecy and shame. This project is really important and I’m glad that it’s happening.” – 49 years old
“Bodies are just bodies. It’s the person who matters. I think it helps in life to realise that.” – 57 years old
“Bit of a stereotype, but there are two types of women: those who get off on penetration and those who need clitoral stimulation. Size is less important for women who aren’t as into penetration. The size of women varies massively too. Massive differences. The outside of women looks very different, obviously, but the tightness varies too.” – 44 years old
“Sex is one of the most fundamental aspects of our lives. Every adult wants to do it. OK, apart from a few asexual people. It’s misanthropic to clamp down on it and make up more rules about it. Maybe we’re trying to find a balance; it’s a swing too far in one direction and it will swing back.” – 24 years old
“I was selfish. I used to cheat. I had low self-esteem so I had to keep topping it up, by cheating, have someone new look at me and make me feel attractive. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, I thought everyone did it. I objectified women to a degree. I had some success with women and it gave me a power trip.” – 31 years old
“Hard and fast porn-style sex numbs men and women; it’s the wrong direction to go in. If you aren’t healing a woman, you will leave her worse off. The most pernicious effect of porn sex is how men learn how to be with a woman. I feel for young men who have porn as their starting point. There is much for them to unlearn, and luckily I didn’t have that.” – 74 years old
“Everybody in life is dissatisfied with what they’ve got. It’s really strange at 49 to be learning to be grateful for what I have. I’m alone, but I don’t feel lonely, you know? It frightens me, but if my penis is never inside a woman again I’m alright.” – 49 years old
“If we acknowledged that sex isn’t just about gratification, there is a broader communication, I think we’d be more respectful. I think sex needs to be put back on its fucking pedestal.” – 46 years old
“So I put myself in a pecking order of men and their dicks and I believe that there is an importance to the size of my dick and that if it’s not big enough, then… I don’t know, I think it probably comes straight back to, will I be loved? So I draw this correlation between dick size and love.” – 46 years old
“I’m ironically coming back to the most intimate connection that can happen between two people, which is penetration. I am opening up now, at the age of 43, to the possibility that my cock is the vehicle for a really profound connection with another human being.” – 43 years old
“What I mean is, I’ve got fingers, I’ve got a penis, I’ve got a tongue, and I use them – I think – very well. I’ve never seen sex as all about my penis. I use my hands for everything in life, so I gravitate to using them first. The penis is there for a purpose, but I can get better results for a woman with other things. My own satisfaction is secondary, sometimes even thirdly, or fourthly… I am almost entirely motivated by my partner’s satisfaction. I can come at any point, but in a sexual situation I want to take full advantage of seeing her enjoy it. I really get off on it. The more I see her enjoy it, the more turned on I am. Maybe I want to be thought of as a better lover?” – 39 years old
“The initial sensation of entering a woman is just exquisite. It feels like the world isn’t there anymore and I feel more present; it’s the most intimate, beautiful thing. Sometimes what comes after is even more extraordinary. There is no need to fantasise with a woman. I am fully present, fully into the sensation of being there with her. Thoughts subside.”
“The penis can function on its own, but when the heart is also there it’s not just physical, it’s emotional too. There are times when it is without heart and more like a wild animal, when you just want to fuck. The penis is very much there then. Good sexual experiences have to do with trust and not having labels. When there is no burden, no ‘have to’, no routine. It’s better when it is free and in the moment and it doesn’t have conditions. Then I can relax and be myself. When the world is heavy, when I am stressed, then it doesn’t feel so good.” – 37 years old
“I like my penis, it serves me well and I really appreciate it. There was a point when I wondered if I was big enough, but it has never been a problem.” – 37 years old
“I only found out recently that penises don’t grow by some fixed ratio when going from flaccid to erect! I would have loved to have known this as a teenager. I only learnt it in my mid-20s when I overheard two female friends talking about whether some guy was a ‘shower or a grower.’ It seems obvious now, but I hadn’t worked it out for myself.” – 29 years old
“I have a big penis and that gives me quite a few advantages if I choose to take them. I have mixed feelings about having a big penis. It’s seen as a bonus. I suppose life has been easy in some ways because of that. But I’m quite conflicted because I fundamentally disagree with the idea that a large penis is better than a small one. I don’t like the effect of this perspective on penis size in people and in the world around me. Men’s personalities can be defined by believing they are too small. So in a way I like having a big penis and in another I dislike the way society perceives big penises.”
“I only found out recently that penises don’t grow by some fixed ratio when going from flaccid to erect! I would have loved to have known this as a teenager. I only learnt it in my mid-20s when I overheard two female friends talking about whether some guy was a ‘shower or a grower.’ It seems obvious now, but I hadn’t worked it out for myself.”
“My dick needs friendly, open, non-judgemental company. One-night stands are pointless. If it’s good, why wouldn’t you want five nights instead of one? Sex gets better as you know each other better.”
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