Elliott: I tend to “love” attractive guys more than ugly ones. I sort of play this unspoken game where I try to manipulate them to love me.
Bradley: How do you go about that?
Elliott: I guess I just persuade them to see me as lovable. I cater myself to their interests. I’m so messed up.
Bradley: Oh I get it. I’m messed up too!
Elliott: If I can convince him to love me, then I’ll be able to absorb his masculinity into me — and then I’ll be whole. But that never happens because I can get awesome attractive guys to love me, I mean really love me, deeper than my father ever did and yet I still feel empty and I usually go to porn immediately after to try and fill in the missing pieces.
Bradley: That makes sense. I get it.
Elliott: Why do I feel the need to go to porn if I am already being loved? It’s almost as if . . . if that man doesn’t love me sexually, then he doesn’t love me fully?
Bradley: Makes total sense.
Elliott: But then if I do have sex with them, I will feel even more empty. So something has to give.
Bradley: I get it.
Elliott: So what’s the piece that needs to change? What’s the cause? The root? I think I have to stop seeing the fulfillment of my need as something outside of me — that other men possess my wholeness.
Bradley: But they do in a sense.
Bradley: “Absorb his masculinity.” I find that interesting. And it’s true, in part.
Elliott: I need to be a full man.
Bradley: We have to be taught masculinity. Other godly men awaken it in us. They show us the way. But as we mature, sexual desires are needs that also have to be met. Sex is like an “absorption” of some sort. It’s an exchange, too.
Elliott: Interesting. Like straight men use sex to affirm their masculinity, too. They brag about having sex with women.
Bradley: Yea, they do. It’s a fleeting affirmation. So some do it again and again because they themselves haven’t been taught. Well, the media taught them.
Elliott: Exactly. So the problem isn’t our sexual deviancy — both for us the SSA men and also the heterosexual men. The problem is no one knows what manhood and masculinity really are. So, we are all searching for it with our sexuality — we are all just broken men.
Bradley: We need our elders — our sages. As John Eldredge talks about.
Elliott: Okay, so how do we get older men to model and teach us godly masculinity?
Bradley: So, the second you’re born as a male, you have everything you need to become a man. It’s in you. Like a well. But the water must be drawn out. Who can we go to but other men who have grown into their masculinity to help draw it out of us? You are looking to the right people for the right thing. What are you looking for them to give you? True masculinity is what? Accepting the man that you are and walking in that body?
Elliott: Good questions. Do I have to convince men to draw it out of me? Or should they want to do it?
Bradley: Why should a child have to convince his or her parents that they need help?
Elliott: So it’s the father’s role to teach masculinity. But what if he was never taught?
Bradley: Then we have a nation of orphans. A fatherless nation. Which is what we have . . .
Elliott: And it keeps perpetuating itself. Expounding the problem with each generation.
Bradley: So who will step up?
Elliott: Can someone step up if they haven’t been taught? Can they teach it? We may just have to model after Yahshua (Jesus), David, Moses, and father Abraham.
Bradley: There has got to be a biblical path to masculinity. But what is masculinity? What are we searching for?
Elliott: I don’t know. Belonging. Wholeness. Assurance.
Bradley: I want to be sure of myself. I can’t belong if I don’t first accept myself. I’ll always find reasons why I can’t belong if I hate myself.
Elliott: But the self-hate comes from the feeling that we don’t already possess manhood. Right?
Bradley: What a circle! Oh I’m not prepared to go this deep.
Elliott: It feels like a loop that there’s no way out of.
Bradley: There is a way out, man. But remember, manhood is a concept that develops later in life but our feelings of inadequacy are rooted in earlier, more formative years.
Elliott: In boyhood. But it’s all still . . . malehood.
Bradley: Yea, but we don’t know it. We don’t say, “Hey Dad, I want you to teach me about masculinity and what it means to be a man. I don’t feel like a ‘man.'” We don’t know — our fathers do. So, they would ideally take us fishing or on a long walk and talk to us.
Elliott: But so often instead of helping us, they shame us.
Bradley: That’s how their fathers taught them. Or more often, they just make up rules . . . like my dad did.
Elliott: Usually based off media stereotypes.
Bradley: Yes. This is where the church, I believe, needs to step in.
Elliott: Like spiritual fathers?
Bradley: Think of The Lord of the Rings.
Elliott: We need our Gandalf. But where does one find a wizard?
Bradley: The wizard found them.
Elliott: Exactly! I think the father is supposed to pursue the son — first. Yahshua called the disciples and told them to follow him.
Bradley: Yup yup yup!
Elliott: So we send out our smoke signal and wait for the spiritual elders to come lead us through the forest.
Bradley: It’s not that hard to find us, though.
Elliott: Perhaps no one is looking?
Bradley: Nope. They have their retirement funds and just bought that sports car. They don’t want more responsibilities on their plate. That’s not completely true; I shouldn’t have said that. There are some. They’re out there.
Elliott: Malachi 4:6 says,
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers; otherwise I will come and strike the land with complete destruction.
Elliott: The fathers turn to the children first. So who will teach us?
Bradley: I agree. El Ro’i (the God who sees) can teach us. Or send someone to teach us.
Elliott: So beautiful. Heart Emoji.
Bradley: Heart Emoji.
Did your father or some other male figure “teach” you masculinity, or are you still looking to be taught? What are your thoughts on this concept of learning masculinity?