What does it mean to be a real man?

Q: What does it mean to be a real man?

A: It sure seems like there’s a checklist of things that make a man—from athletic achievements to how far you’ve gone sexually. And it might leave you feeling like, “You’re really a man when you’ve ______.” I know I’ve felt that way at different times in the past.

In high school, some of my coaches and fellow athletes implied or said outright that sexual prowess and accomplishments on the playing field were crucial aspects of manhood. In college, an evening hook-up which didn’t, shall we say, come to fruition, ended with me doubting everything, from my potential as a relationship partner to my manhood itself. I was also mentoring a teen and was disappointed that I didn’t seem to be making any progress with him at all. Not only was I failing at being a man in the most common ways people think of manhood, but I also couldn’t even express the qualities of a deeper or more spiritual concept of manhood by being an effective mentor and model for this teen.

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