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Is Masculinity Toxic?

Thankfully, discussions about gender conformity and its influence on mental health, crime, and violence have hit the mainstream. A big part of that discussion focuses on the idea of "toxic masculinity." Is masculinity itself at the center of all of mens' problems? And are men at the center of all the world's problems? It can certainly feel that way if you spend a lot of time on Twitter... Randy Flood, author of the best article on toxic masculinity we've ever read (as well as several...



We've been producing episodes of The Man Rules podcast every week for almost 2.5 years now. It's been an honor to provide this for free to our listeners as a resource for those in recovery, and those who just want to live more conscious lives. Unfortunately, we've reached a crossroads with the show. If we can't find a source of funding to cover the show's monthly expenses, we'll have to discontinue production. Would you be willing to offer a small monthly donation to keep the podcast...


Sugar Addiction and Compulsive Overeating

When we think about addiction and recovery, we tend to think specifically about drugs--both recreational and prescription-- including alcohol. But, some people struggle with other substances and behaviors that we don't often talk about when we talk about addiction--things like compulsive shopping/spending, work addiction, video game addiction, porn addiction, and compulsive overeating, to name a few. In this episode, Andrea (producer extraordinaire of our podcast) talks vulnerably with...

What is Love?

Is love a feeling or an action? Is it a choice we make, or is the result of a magical bond with another person that is impossible to explain? Do you decide to be a loving person, or are you just born that way? If you've listened to this podcast before, you've probably guessed that the answer is "both/and." Psychiatrist Michael McGee joins Dan this week to talk about love as both a practice and a guiding principle. And, this is not mere navel-gazing, people. Dr. McGee breaks it down into a...


What Men Would Tell You...About Sex

"If it's true that men want sex 24/7, what does it mean if he won't have sex with me?" "Why won't he engage in foreplay before sex or cuddling after? There's no affection or intimacy." "Why is sex only about what he wants? Doesn't what I want matter?" If you're a woman who has asked yourself these questions about your man, you are certainly not alone. Why are these issues so common in relationships? And what can be done about it? This week, Allen Berger is back to help Dan shed...


Doing 'The Work' with Byron Katie

Look around your local gym long enough, and you're likely to see the phrase "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional," emblazoned on a bumper sticker, a T-shirt, or a bicep in the form of a tattoo. It's one thing to adopt that mantra as a way to encourage yourself to eke out one more rep or run one more minute. It's another to adopt it as an overall way of life. That's what Byron Katie specializes in. "The Work" that it takes to wake up to reality, let go of negative perceptions about...


Let's Talk About Sex

Our culture is weird about sex. We're surrounded by allusions to it constantly--in our advertisements, TV shows, movies, music, websites--but it's rare for any of those mediums to address it in a way that isn't salacious or jokey. It's rare to see any real or fictional characters in popular media talking about sex in a way that's mature and reflective. In this episode, Dan gives a short talk on what it might mean for men if we all started having more earnest conversations about sex,...


A Deep Dive with a Stay-at-Home Dad

Men's experiences as fathers are more varied than popular culture would have you believe. Although the doors are beginning to open a little wider for men who want to take on duties that were traditionally only part of Mom's domain, there is still a lot of stigma to battle. Today, in honor of Father's Month, Nate Brewer talks to Dan about his experiences as a stay-at-home Dad. He explains both how he made the decision to stay home with his kids, and how people tend to react to the...


What Men Would Tell You... About Their Fathers

When we become fathers, so many of our choices are reactions to how our fathers raised us. We often either fall in line with his expectations, or rebel against them. Either way, we aren't really making our own choices, based on who we most want to be. In this episode, Dan and Allen offer up some exercises you can do to begin to separate your own needs and desires from your father's. It's the first step toward developing more conscious fatherhood, and more conscious masculinity.


Gay Men and Their Fathers

In honor of both Father's Month and Pride Month, we're replaying this episode from 2018, featuring the late Tim Clausen. Tim interviewed more than 80 men for his book Not the Son He Expected: Gay Men Talk Candidly About Their Relationship with Their Father. The book, and Tim's interview here on the podcast, are helpful and encouraging resources for gay sons, their fathers, and for all those who love and care about them. Tim's own personal stories about his relationship with his father,...


Fathers Failing Forward

It's not easy being a dad--at least not all the time. There were no manuals. No instruction. No classes. Not really. And so, as Dan says all the time, we do it imperfectly. We try to parent consciously, but we fail. A lot. What if, as a lot of the modern-day gurus attest, that feeling wasn't a bad thing? What if it was part and parcel of success? What if we could celebrate our failures? This week, Dan talks about what it's like to fail sometimes at being a father and the challenges of...


Doing It, Consciously

When you have sex (or masturbate) do you have a goal in mind? Do you approach each sexual encounter with an unconscious strategy toward the endgame? (C'MON OF COURSE YOU DO.) Cam Fraser, a certified sexologist, Yoga teacher, and pioneer of conscious sexuality, is here to explain that by taking a goal-oriented approach to sex, you might be selling yourself, and/or your partner short. Cam posits that all of our experiences are based in three relationships: our relationship with ourselves, our...


What Men Would Tell You...About Being Cool

Being "cool" is ultimately about fitting in. And, unfortunately, one of the requirements of fitting in for most men--whether their definition of "cool" leans more toward the Jock table or the Dungeons 'n Dragons table--is pretending that you have no need for emotional connection. In fact, you have no need for emotions at all. Do we even need to point out that this can seriously complicate relationships? In this episode, Dan and Allen Berger explain what women need to know about the ways in...


The Unspoken Legacy of Emotional Trauma

It was a true honor to have Claudia Black, a pioneer in the study of the impact alcoholism has on families, join us on The Man Rules podcast. Claudia has dedicated her life to looking at the impact of trauma on family systems and the generational impact of alcoholism and other addictions. In this week's episode, Dan and Claudia talk about what makes shame and trauma are so powerful and how to better recognize their impact. Claudia breaks down exactly what trauma is and provides some...


What to Do When You're Sick of It

Listeners of The Man Rules podcasts tend to be types who, in one way or another, want to live better. They want to free themselves from the limitations placed on them by society's rules for how men should behave. They want to move beyond the fears and emotional barriers that keep them disconnected from others. They want to move beyond addiction, shame, trauma, and self-doubt and live life as consciously and completely as they can. All of this takes work. A lot of work. Constant, daily,...


Daddy Download: Awesome Dads Know Their Story

Everyone told you being a Dad would be hard, right? Many probably even said, “Nothing can prepare you…” And, man, they were so right. There’s nothing we can tell you to make the transition to being a new Dad a smooth and easy one, but we can help you figure out how to be more involved, more present, and more engaged as a parent and a partner. That’s what we’re aiming to do in this series of Daddy Downloads based on Dan’s forthcoming book about fatherhood. In this episode, Dan explains why...


What is Sex For?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? You may think, "procreation, of course" but that doesn't explain why people who don't want kids have sex. If you say, "fun and pleasure," that doesn't explain why, for the most part, we still seek out sex with other humans--even in an era where we can access porn within seconds, have sex toys discretely delivered to our doorsteps in two days or less, and maybe even order ourselves a sex robot, if all we really need are no-fuss orgasms. The only...


What Men Would Tell You... About Fighting

As a kid, you probably wanted to be cool. And if you were a boy, being cool meant being tough. Being tough meant being able to fight and win. If you weren’t tough, you immediately felt inadequate. You weren’t going to be able to protect yourself, you weren’t going to be able to protect anyone else, and women were not going to be attracted to you. But, as with every Man Rule, there’s a positive side. The Fight Rule and the Protector Rule are closely related. Often the fight can inspire men...


Money Matters: Talking Finance with Marty McAlpin

Money. Everybody wants it; nobody wants to talk about it. Except Dan, of course, and his friend and financial advisor Marty McAlpin. In this episode, they give an overview of various money disorders and help us increase our financial vocabulary. In addition to helping us understand the difference between a will and living trust, Marty brings to light the shame many of us have around money, the behaviors that result from that shame, and the impact those behaviors can have on our lives and...


Why Men Fight

If you’re a man, chances are, at some point when you were a boy, a man in your family made a conscious effort to teach you how to properly throw a punch. That was a skill you would need as you grew into manhood and it was just an unquestionable fact. Boys fight. Men fight. The manliest men fight well enough to win. Dan talks today about The Man Rule that tells men they must fight--for survival, for respect, and sometimes just for the hell of it--and how that affects their self-perception...