My Dating and Relationship Story
“Sexuality is the #1 super-power” — Dieter Duhm
“Sex is dirty. Save it for someone you love” — Esther Perel
This is a book for men who want to win with women. Men who want to combine their love and desire for women, with their passion to excel in life; and from there, to live their lives as the fullest possible expression of their gifts and of their love for the world.
I wrote this first chapter to give you enough of a context for what you will learn here, of what is available to you through the attitudes and practices that I will be describing, that you will continue reading. I want this for you, because I think it could change your life, plus make at least one woman very happy. I would also love for you to join one of our affordable online courses for men and women. In the course you will and learn the skills of vulnerable leadership; and then you will go out on virtual “practice dates”. Vulnerable leadership is the first skill you will need to acquire to win with the opposite sex — regardless of your polarity.
Let me begin with my own story.
Like many men, I have been fascinated — obsessed, really — with women for my entire life. I have always thought of the problem of sexual relationships as a fractal (i.e., a fully representative part-within-a-whole) of all the larger problems of life: the search for happiness and success, friendship and community, personal power and self-actualization. Meaning that: to master the art of sexual relationships, which in my frame is the art of making women happy, will result in mastery of the other dimensions as well. The opposite being true as well, presumably: that as we self-actualize, we become better at making women happy. So where to begin: do we men directly take on the problem of self-actualization and personal power, or do we start by trying to win the love of women?
My strategy has been to begin with women, even though conventional wisdom would challenge that (“You can lose a lot of money by chasing women, but you won’t lose any women by chasing money” — Chris Rock). This strategy is actually unwise, and to be honest, I did not actually choose it, rather it chose me. And yet looking back now, at 30+ years of my own developmental work, it seems to me now, that my original idea was correct. It does seem to me now that all of the most important experiences of my life, the experiences that were ultimately most transformational and numinous, have been directly related to the women I have loved and who have loved me, however briefly. And so, paradoxically (since I have had way more than my share of romantic disasters, and I don’t have anything concrete to show for it), these experiences made me who I am. And since I am, for the most part, quite happy about where I am in my life these days, you could say that my strategy, my unconscious choice, has been successful. I think, perhaps, that I got lucky. My goal here, is to save you from the 30 years of romantic disasters that I created in order to learn the things which I am about to tell you.
All men are born clueless about women’s relational and sexual reality, and many men remain so their entire lives (the women aren’t any better, incidentally, concerning their understanding of men’s relational and sexual reality, another important problem which men have to solve if they wish to deeply connect with women). Our parents typically did not teach us about the relational reality of the opposite sex, because they did not know; and the culture is of very little help as well. The culture actually shames us, men and women both, for having sexual desires (for real??? As if we have any choice over our sexual desires), as in demanding that we relegate these conversations to the bedroom and the therapy office, which further compounds the problem by making it very difficult to have intelligent dialogue around sexual and relational needs.
For sure, there are a lot of books on dating and relationship, but very few of them get to the core issues or deal with the problem in anything but the most superficial way. The core issue is that the problem is both personal and political; the reason, perhaps, that Mother Theresa declared the United States “the loneliest country in the world”. The political side of this, has to do with men and women’s internalized oppression under patriarchy (sexual shame and the objectification of men and women both), and (perhaps) the rise of Feminism and the alienation and hyper-individualism of post-modern culture. Some feminists and gender-neutrality activists would have us believe that gender differences are entirely the result of social conditioning; and thus, by extension, that men have the power to un-condition themselves and from there become more like women, and that this would entirely solve the problem. And post-modern culture would have us believe that we are islands, that all problems are individual problems, which we can solve by ourselves (and only by ourselves), through new and improved attitudes and thought-forms for instance. Both of these beliefs are wishful fantasies. First, men have evolved as they are over millions of years, and they will never become like women. And secondly, the only way we can solve this problem of the relations between the sexes, and indeed all other important social problems, is to create community and enter into conversations with the various stakeholders (that would be women, in this case). Feminism has done much good in beginning the process of educating men about women’s emotional and sexual reality within patriarchy; and yet feminism has spectacularly failed to make women happy in relationship. Why is that? You will find some clues in the Appendix to this book, the article What Women Want: Towards a New Psychology of Love, Sex and Gender Relations.
However, this book is not intended as a political pamphlet. I have written it to present, in as directly and concisely a manner as possible, an actionable path for men to win with their women. I speak to the political side of this problem, only to help you lay off your guilt-trip and shame-trip in the event that you have not been as successful with women as you would like to be. You are in good company, brother! Welcome to the club, the billions of lonely, horny, clueless and often angry men and women of the world. Relations between the sexes is the #1 pain-point of the Western world. Despite the fact, as you will learn in this book, that winning with the opposite sex is actually not rocket-science. For sure, it is an “infinite game”, as stated above, meaning that it is something that you will be working on for the rest of your life. However, you will likely find that even a few baby steps in the direction I am suggesting, will give huge dividends in relating more lovingly and more effectively to the opposite sex.
Anyway. Enough with sexual politics, for now. Back to my story.
I was at least as lonely, horny and clueless as the average guy, until the age of 43. At that point my first big break in life occurred. I met my now ex-wife Rebekah, and was introduced to the teaching of the late Victor Baranco (1934-2002), through his organization that is still in existence, which is called the Lafayette Morehouse. Baranco was a 20th century man/woman and sexual genius. It is said that he could make a woman come (orgasm) from across the room. These days, he is mostly known through his students, his most famous being Nicole Daedone, founder of the One Taste movement and creator of Orgasmic Meditation. Nicole, for all her alleged faults, has put women’s sexual pleasure back on center-stage, where it belongs. Baranco himself had no interest in becoming famous and wrote almost nothing. He was mostly interested in making women happy.
Beginning in 2004, Rebekah and I started taking courses with the Lafayette Morehouse. I learned an attitude towards women that almost immediately began to shift everything in my life. It has to do with men offering themselves in service to women, responding to women’s needs and desires, using men’s natural aptitude and skills of production and assertion, in support of feminine goals and feminine values, which are essentially pleasure and love. I learned that this can create a naturalness, a flow, and an ease in relationship, that ultimately almost everyone prefers, in addition to some great sex. It’s not that easy to do, because you should never do anything for a woman that does not give you joy or satisfaction in some way. You must take care of women and support them within the constraints of your value system and of your purpose, and the women must play their side of the game too for it to work. Women are often just as uneducated and unconscious as men are, about what would actually make them happy in relationship. They typically have a great number of false beliefs about relationship and about men, Hollywood-style fantasies or worse, and they also carry a lot of fear, hurt and anger from patriarchy and from the clueless men who preceded you in their lives, beginning with their fathers. More about this later. Suffice to say, that for me this first discovery of what is actually possible between men and women was a game-changer.
With the benefit of these teachings, Rebekah and I started manifesting miracles together. I started a business that ultimately led to a passive income stream which has funded my last 5 years of full-time writing and community explorations. We created an intentional community in Philadelphia, which we designed as an “experimental community of love in action” and ran very successfully for 3 years. Those were the happiest years of my life up to that point, despite overwhelming obstacles both financial and relational. I was still quite selfish and arrogant in those days, which is where men usually start in relationship to women. I did not yet fully understand the structures of empathy and of emotional communication, which are foundational to all relationships, sexual or not; and also I did not yet know or practice vulnerable leadership.
My marriage failed in 2013, and Rebekah and I went our separate ways. But from there my “daemon,” my passion to discover the truth about women and what really makes them tick, got fully unleashed. From 2013 to now (2018) I read every book I could find on the subject of man/woman relationships and sexuality, and was able to create a pretty good summary of these teachings in my first book, entitled As Lovers Do: Sexual and Romantic Partnership as a Path of Transformation (2015). As Lovers Do lays out the philosophical foundations of the man/woman game, as per my understanding of it, which is Victor Baranco’s teaching enriched by other teachers that include David Deida, Mark Manson, Alison Armstrong, Dieter Duhm and others.These teachings relate to a concept called “Sexual Polarity”, of which David Deida is the most articulate and famous exponent, even though Baranco’s ideas are at least as profound and generally more actionable with most women.
As Lovers Do presents a compelling philosophical system for playing the man/woman game, but something was still missing for me, and that was a full understanding of emotional communication and vulnerable leadership. I discovered the practice of Circling (an outgrowth of the Authentic Relating movement) in 2016 and started Circling as much as I could — which was a lot, as there are two online platforms for Circling offering many events per day. Ultimately what I realized is that there are two primary factors that will determine a man’s attractiveness to women and success with them (that is, once the fundamental sexual polarity model is understood and adopted): first is a man’s degree of investment in himself, which can take various expressions such as self-care, self-esteem, non-reactivity, his being on-purpose in the world, etc; and secondly the quality of vulnerable leadership that he brings to the people around him. The opportunity provided to a man by mastering those two dimensions, is to start showing up as a powerful contribution to all the people in his life, including women, which will make him an irresistible attraction magnet. Ask any woman what makes a man attractive, and she will tell you exactly what I am saying to you here. She will tell you that what makes a man attractive is his showing up for her emotionally, and his being on his purpose. “Showing up emotionally” is another word for vulnerable leadership. It has to do with emotional self-awareness, emotional awareness of the other, and willingness to articulate that, to “speak truth with care, and care with truth“. “Being on purpose” is the inevitable outcome of a man’s investment in himself, meaning an investment in his own development.
The opportunity provided by this attitude and way of life is to start “crushing life”, or maybe “fucking the world“, meaning to powerfully engage the world in pleasure and in purpose. And the good news for men is that these skills can be acquired. Usually this takes some time, some reflection and discernment, and much feeling-work with yourself and with your brothers, women-friends, and dates, such as in the groups that I and my associates run. But not always. Sometimes the impact is immediate, as it can happen through a simple change in attitude, making you immediately much more attractive to women — even if you spent the previous night on a park bench. Ultimately, that is what this book is about: learning to “fuck the world”, and to do it with humility and with presence and with love.
And the further good news for men here, is that from this place of power, you will be much less anxious about attracting and pleasing women in order to make them want you. You will be drawn to and accept women based on how much they let you in, or how receptive they are to you (this is called “choose the one who chooses you” — Deida). If you are anything like me, you may never entirely lose your desire to persuade attractive women to go out with you and have sex with you; but you will learn to surrender that desire to what the woman in front of you actually wants, as per your best discernment and felt-response to her. Ironically, by giving up your natural masculine desire to fuck anything that moves, you will attract WAY more quality women, and your relationships with women will become much easier (and note here I am NOT saying that your relationships will become “easy” or free from trouble, that would be another wishful fantasy. It’s just that you will start finding the “work” of loving women enjoyable, most of the time). Your self-esteem will no longer be on the chopping block of every pretty woman who crosses your path, depending on whether she approves of you or not. You may even eventually learn to be grateful to those women who reject you, grateful for all the time and grief they saved you by immediately stopping you in your tracks, in your attempts to love them. They are not interested in your love. So move on to the next one. This is called “polarization” (Mark Manson). We will get into this later.
As I write this (December 2018), I am still mostly single, meaning that I have not yet found “the one”. For sure I have gotten quite a bit of enjoyable female attention since I realized all this and then brought these ideas to online dating (this happened quite recently, September 2018). But my singleness is much less painful to me than it was before, because I am on my purpose and I am investing in myself, and this has already brought me VERY interesting results. I will not pretend that I am fully happy being (mostly) single, there is a part of me that deeply desires more female companionship and sexual expression, and feels sad and frustrated that it is so hard for me to find a relationship such as I am seeking, what I call “a full-time partnership for fun, love and transformation”. But I am Okay. My point is, that I am not a relationship guru. I carry my own self-esteem issues and blind spots into relationship, this is inevitable. Even so, I will suggest to you that if I, a semi-Asperger disembodied intellectual, and not much to look at frankly, and no longer young; if I can get dates, both online and in my circles, and start to engage women in very interesting conversations, many of which have sexual content; if I can do that, it is more than likely you can too. And it will save you a great deal of time and grief, to learn truths that took me 30+ years to acquire, truths that very few men know and for which there is really not much written.
I hope that this is beginning to make sense to you. It will make more sense, hopefully, as you continue reading. But regardless of how much you are “getting it” at this early stage, I want you to remember your humanity. I want you to practice self-compassion. It is not easy wanting a good woman, a heartful, soulful, exciting sexual connection, in a world full of fearful, angry, shut-down and unconscious women. But you must start the journey, if that is your heart’s desire. It will likely be a bumpy ride, but if you persist, you WILL succeed. Your mood may rise and fall according to your “success of the day”. And that’s okay. Because learning to make women happy and win with them, and to do it in integrity and love, may be the most exciting journey of your life. A journey that will never end, it will just keep on amplifying and getting better the older you get. You may eventually get to the point, where you are living into a miracle every day of your life, a miracle of love. And not just with your partner, but with everyone you meet.
It is also quite possible, and maybe likely, that you will start getting SOME results immediately with women by practicing these ideas. Because here is the final piece in this chapter: online dating is a complete game-changer in 21st century romance and seduction. The reasons for this should be obvious, but I will state them nonetheless. First, you have access to a wider pool of women than ever before in human history (50 million people have tried online dating in the US alone). Second, you will be able to very quickly get a sense of their character, intelligence and physical attributes by reading their profiles. You may discover things in their profiles, for instance, that would take you weeks or months to find out, if you had met them at your work-place; plus their posting a profile is a declaration of their potential availability. And third, you can confirm your initial assessment of their character and intelligence in a 15 minute video chat, before you invest hours of your time and dollars. By increasing the flow of women through your life, it is inevitable that you will find the ones that match you. You just have to do the work, the inner work and the outer work, and not give up.
Let me illustrate how this works, because this might help to “bring home” some of the lessons I am giving you here.
Many women will resist video-chat first dates. There are several possible reasons for this. It may be caused by their polarity (they want to feel you, and they imagine they can’t do this on video chat). It may be caused by their social conditioning (they want you to invest in them, give them an experience and entertain them and spend money on them, before they have done anything at all for you other than accept to go on a date with you. This is an example of female entitlement). They also might worry that you will be inappropriate and try and sex-chat them, or that you will secretly record the video and publish it (this is in part a reflection of the tragedy of women’s sexual reality under patriarchy, and in part pure paranoia). And finally, they may be insecure about their physical appearance, which is another aspect of their social conditioning.
So here is how I deal with this problem of women resisting video-chat. First, I say in my profile that I prefer to do first dates via video chat. This is not entirely accurate, as the truth is that I will rarely, if ever, go out with a new woman who won’t video chat. However, I soften the message because I do not want to occur as controlling, even though I am. This is called aligning yourself with women’s relational and sexual reality (more about this later, in the chapter about writing your profile). So: when they reply to me and say they want to see me in person rather than video chat, I tell them that I only do first dates via video, and that I would be happy to say why and to understand their concerns around that. I start a negotiation in which I am trying to understand them; and I assert myself with love, meaning I don’t make them wrong for their preference to see me in person.
But if that negotiation does not succeed, I usually politely drop them. Why? Because remember, you do need to try and support women, respond to them and take care of them, but only within your “terms” or value system. It is outside my value system to spend 2 hours with a woman I have never spoken to, and maybe spend money on her, unless I sense a really good chance that I will like her, and that she will grant me a second date, or at least become a friend. And I won’t talk to her on the phone either, because I get at least three times the kind of information I need from video, such as non-verbal cues and how she looks, which is important to me and to all men (there are a few other options, which is first a phone date and then a video date, or else meeting them someplace that I would be going anyway, perhaps with friends. But I will only do this if I sense a receptivity to me and my needs in the email negotiation). I also have a fear that she will bust my balls on our first date, which has happened (I am not saying I did not deserve it). In any case, my insistence on video-chatting first dates is called a “hard term”, something which both men and women need to be aware of. Men who wish to be successful in relationship need to distinguish, articulate and then lovingly (non-judgmentally) enforce their “terms”. There is more on this topic in my first book, As Lovers Do, but we will cover some of that in this book as well.
But let’s return to online dating, and why it is such a game-changer development. You may get lucky and start to immediately generate quality women leads, provided your profile and photos are good, and your profile is aligned with women’s relational reality. And especially if you follow the general strategy that I am presenting, always video-chat first dates and don’t waste time on women who are not a match for you. You may get lucky and start to get results immediately. And the more results you get, the more your confidence will increase, and from there it’s possible your dating life will start to snow-ball.
My point is this: you don’t need to have a studly body or movie-star good looks, be a millionaire entrepreneur, be an expert in emotional communication and vulnerable leadership, or combine the wit of Stephen Colbert and Woody Allen, to start to attract women. HOWEVER — and this is very important and the final lesson in this chapter — you will always attract women at your own level of development, and no higher. You will always manifest the perfect woman to teach you something and to kick your ass into your next higher stage of development, even if the interaction lasts 10 seconds. This is what women do, and mostly unconsciously (more on this on What Women Want, in the section entitled “Sexual Polarity for Men”). To fully understand this idea, is to forgive the women for occasionally showing up as total bitches. As such, it is very important, even as you date, to continue your investments in yourself and continue your study and growth in vulnerable leadership.
And this truth is, fundamentally, why my improbable strategy, as told earlier (to start by focusing on winning the love of women) actually succeeded. I was an emotional idiot when I began, but I let myself be impacted by the women who accepted me, and eventually I transformed. I was honest enough and humble enough to realize my limitations and then to compensate for them, by developing myself. This strategy did, however, take 30 years to succeed. My desire for you, is that you could do the same thing much faster.
This is the 30,000 foot view of the model and strategy that you will learn in this book. Please keep on reading, and we’ll take things step-by-step.
1. Internalized Oppression is a concept in developmental psychology, in which an oppressed group comes to use against itself the methods of the oppressor, i.e. to believe and assume the false identity that the oppressive group projects on them. The concept is normally used in social justice theory in reference to specific oppressed groups (i.e. women, people of color etc), however to the extent that many of us have taken on the Western cultural belief that emotional and sexual needs are shameful and therefore can only be expressed in a very limited set of situations, we are all victims of internalized oppression.
For more information on this, read As Lovers Do Chapter 7.