Boy standing on rock in creek/stream

A country boy discovers his feminine side

In Love, Sex and Sexuality by Tom Lee ChristenLeave a Comment

What are masculinity and femininity anyway? How do we define these terms beyond simply our gender?

 

Something I often think about is balancing masculine and feminine.

I’m a cis-gendered heterosexual white Aussie guy who grew up in a country town so it’s taken me quite a while to wrap my head around this sort of stuff, but I find that the more I learn about it the freer I feel to be myself. In many ways I am quite masculine, but there are certainly some ways in which I am more feminine.

What are masculinity and femininity anyway? How do we define these terms beyond simply our gender?

Being friends with some LGBTIQA people has taught me that gender roles, along with sexuality, really are more of a social construct rather than a fixed biological reality. As time goes on, it seems to me that our concepts of what is masculine and feminine are shifting, becoming less fixed and more fluid.

How this new perspective plays out in my day-to-day

People who know more about this than I do tell me that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, yin energy (which is feminine in nature) is considered passive, whereas yang is more active. Yin is also about what is hidden or concealed, whereas yang is what is open or revealed. Yin energy, to me, moves inward from the outside; where yang is moving outward from within.

Living a balanced life, for me, involves balancing my yang and yin. It comes up in every part of my day.

Waking up – do I spring out of bed as soon as I wake up, go for a run and have a cold shower? Or do I hit the snooze button and snuggle in with a book for a few hours?

When I meditate, do I focus my attention inward and scan my body for feelings, as I learned on Vipassana retreats? Or, do I focus outwards, visualising spiritual deities or gurus or focus on my goals and what I want to manifest?

I do yoga and Qi Gong in the mornings. Do I bust out some Hatha or Ashtanga, doing strong dynamic moves? Or do I relax into some Yin Yoga, holding gentle stretches for long periods? In a similar way, Qi Gong can be done as explosive, sudden movements or with soft, flowing gestures.

I lift weights and do bodyweight exercises most days, which is a fairly yang activity, but even that can be done in a more dynamic or a more static way. (Often what works for me is to put on some heavy metal and pretend I’m a weightlifting robot. Yeah, I’m fairly in touch with my feminine side, but at the end of the day I’m still a dude.)

When I look at social media, I can read other people’s posts or I can write my own content. Both are outwardly focused, but to me reading feels more receptive, and writing is more active. Many people say that receptivity is a component of feminine and being active is more masculine.

I’ve gone through periods of being very lazy, hibernating and “vegging out” most of the day. I find that a day or two of relaxing is okay and can be quite rejuvenating, especially if the rest of my life is quite busy, but too many days in a row like this and I become stagnant and start feeling depressed and flat.

On the other hand, I’ve also gone through periods of overworking. Being addicted to work (also known as workaholism) can be a real problem and can lead to serious health issues. I found after a few years of working late hours every day at my job I burned out and went a bit crazy.

What about you?

When it comes to masculinity and femininity, in much of society, there’s an expectation that men should be masculine and women should be feminine. Even in some more ‘spiritual’ circles (Tantra people, I’m looking at you!), this attitude is prevalent. Reading a bit too much David Deida can lead to a terrible condition known as Deidaism that I myself have suffered from at times. This may lead a man to feel like a failure if he isn’t outcome oriented, task focused, and 100% disciplined every second of every day. And a woman may feel that if she isn’t totally relaxed and flowing in every moment, she isn’t ‘being in her feminine’ enough.

Obviously I’m being facetious, and the Deida perspective certainly has value for a lot of people. I feel that what is more important is to find our own balance of masculine and feminine rather than some dogmatic idea of how we should be, based on our gender.

In what ways do you consider yourself masculine? Where do you think that you are feminine? Are there places in your life that you could use more masculine energy? And are there areas that you could be more feminine?

About the Author
Tom Lee Christen

Tom Lee Christen

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Tom is a musician and writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Tom started working as part of the LivingNow team in October 2016. He loves music, his daughter and his friends, and is delighted to be part of making the world better for all of them. 

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