We all know that there is only one thing men are after. But maybe the definition of what men really want isn’t as obvious as the first thing that comes to mind.

Brad Cooper in He's Just Not That Into You epitomizing the one thing men want

Brad Cooper in He’s Just Not That Into You epitomizing the one thing men want

Adolescence is a pretty interesting time for people. It’s the age of discovery, the age where lots of new feelings and sensations occur in people’s lives. Hormones begin to surge, and bodies begin to change. Young boys begin to notice that they don’t just view women as “pretty” or “cute” any more – there is a new level of attraction that begins to develop. Their minds start to become more active in this thought, as their sexuality is awakened and begins to develop.

This seems to happen for men at an earlier age, and is one of the most defining times in a man’s life.

And so what does a young man do with a rage of new energy and desire and hormones do but to seek advice and wisdom on just what the heck is going on in his body. What happens within the heart of a young man begins to be shaped by his education in the area of his desire.

Correctly, he is told his new desires are normal. That all men have them. That it is all part of growing up. All true. The forming of a man’s sexual identity has begun to take place.

And so society continues to encourage the man in his desires. He is taught by his peers and by society that this is one of the greatest areas of expectations he should have in his entire life. Teen comedies communicate to him that of course any pretty girl who walks in the room is open game. He is taught that the word “score” he used for playing soccer or rugby growing up now has a different meaning. It is also communicated to him that women want men who are ravenous in this area of their lives.

This desire burns within a man’s heart. And in all his relationships, he is taught that this is all part of his interfaces with the opposite sex from here and into the future.

And women are taught likewise to expect this behaviour from men. To respect the merit of “brownie points” and the actions they are able to be traded for later. That the way they dress or act can have profound influence on the attention they can attract or shun away. That you shouldn’t leave him dating you too long without getting to the bedroom because you’re denying him and you might lose him.

Cause we all know men are only ever after one thing.

But I would like to propose that it isn’t merely sex or a sexual release that men are after. There is one thing that men really want.

Men want love.

Now before you go clicking away and running off, let’s examine this for just a bit. We’ll see that indeed a man’s deepest desire, his truest need, the source of his passion, is the need to love and to be loved.

Since we’ve been on the subject. Let’s start in the bedroom.

It may sound like my little twist nullifies or makes light of a man’s sexual desire. I really hope not. But I think sex is one of the most confronting things for men because it pushes all the buttons here. Many men feel like their sex life can be lacking, and in cases where it is, marriages are often not doing well. Lots of men’s and women’s magazines talk about performance anxiety – his inability to get aroused, or perhaps even just his inability to make her enjoy the time together too. Faking orgasms, viagra, getting the movements right – all of these topics are talked about in abundance in various media.

But for the married man at the centre of the discussion, this can be an area where he feels absolutely destroyed. He feels like a failure, he feels like he is letting his wife down, he feels like he should be better than he is. Even worse if his wife makes light of the issue.

And for the single man who, for lack of better term, whether by choice or by circumstance, “isn’t getting any”, the absence of this form of expression in his life can feel him internally frustrated.

But the key aspects of men’s need to love and to be loved are here exemplified better than anywhere else, and give us some great insight into what men really want. So let’s have a look.

A man wants…

To have his strength respected

Enter reason number one why “performance anxiety” is a horrible struggle for a man. What’s the issue? He is not performing.

A man’s life is constantly gauged by metrics of performance. How many calls he’s made, how many sales have been tallied up, the number of people under his influence, the dollars in his bank account, the level of his salary, how much he can lift, his minutes in the bedroom, the value of his property. When life is constantly subject to expectations of performance, we as men start to derive our value from arbitrary metrics and runs on the board.

In ancient times, a man would have taken value in his strength in battle, his ability to hunt, the level of his provision, the number of livestock in his care, or the numbers in his platoon.

At the centre of this, his strength is questioned, weighed, and measured. And there is nothing more dire for a man than to feel like he’s useless.

What a man wants is to have his strength respected. In a world of performance, he wants to know that his performance is worthwhile. That his performance matters. That the strength that he exerts in the way that only he exerts is valued. This is exactly what love does.

To be a hero

In the same vein, men want to feel like they’re somebody’s hero.

A father who is not the hero of his children is considered by society, and himself, to have failed.

A man who is not using his contributions to further the lives of others is considered selfish and conceited.

We idolize heroic stories of fake comic book characters who discover their power and begin to use it for others. We love sharing stories of firefighters, armed forces, police, and ordinary people who have made sacrifices to further the lives of others.

Men want to be that guy. And men want to feel like they are that guy.

To feel believed in

What use is it to have heroic powers and invest in others if no one believes in you? If a wife doesn’t believe in the ability or direction of her husband, he is indeed a man dead inside. A man who is regarded as useless in his company will begin, or continue, to perform as such. A father who thinks his children don’t believe in him often shrinks back into isolation. A believer who does not know the approval of his God will not be able to operate at the level of his destiny.

There’s a reason why cheerleaders and fans are held of such high value in the realm of sports. It’s because there is unbelievably power released when men are believed in, and they are made aware of it. It is called the Home Advantage. Unfortunately a lot of men don’t feel like their home believes in them. But when home does, look out. He’ll shift into a new gear.

Love takes an ordinary man and slaps an S on his chest. And in turn this love sets him free to show this love to others – the greatest accomplishments of men have been driven by a love for his family, a love for his wife, a love for his country, a love for his calling, a love for his God.

To have someone else believe in the dream

Men are dreamers. We have goals, ideas, visions of the future being greater than it is today. And sometimes in life there are times where we all must stand alone with our dream.

I guess because men get so much value and a sense of validation out of what they do, the way they perceive their dreams is somewhat unique. And when someone else believes in what he believes, when someone else sees the future he sees, and puts their support behind it, the man is free to become himself.

 

And all of this is summed up inĀ love. Love is the quintessential thing. A woman, a friend, a family, a society, a church, a body of people, who do the above communicate and reach down to a man’s deepest need of being loved.

Men become what you say. They grow into how they’re treated.

And hey, if you were reading this because of the stuff about the bedroom, I hope you can see that all these things are just as true in this arena, but not just limited there. Sexuality often gives expression to the deepest needs and struggles of the heart.

So let us never shy away from recognizing our deepest need as men, and doing all we can to receive it in the appropriate settings. And once we have taken our fill, let us continue to pour out our lives for others.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the boxes below. There is so much to say on the topic and so many more perspectives to consider!