I suppose my problem with vulnerability started on the playground. Sometimes when we’d roughhouse, someone would pretend to be mortally wounded, everyone would crowd around him and then he’d just jump up and laugh at us.
I did it sometimes too. It was like a running gag. Until one day, I actually did get hurt and I was actually crying. People crowded around, pretty certain that I got messed up, but what did I do? I jumped up, laughed and pretended everything was fine.
Some guys protested, saying that I should take it easy but I just limped along, promising that I was fine. Then the adrenaline kicked in and I really didn’t feel pain anymore, until recess was over and I felt it all over again.
Running away from vulnerability is apparently Manhood 101, a rite of passage, a running gag. It does more harm than good and we probably look really stupid to women and even to ourselves.
This type of behaviour doesn’t limit itself to just a playfield. It shows up in family matters, in your job and in sex/relationships.
How exactly are you going to get a date if you don’t show interest in someone? You have to be vulnerable to an extent, don’t you? You have to show that a girl’s beauty or personality compelled you to talk to her or to want to sleep with her.
But let’s say a guy is in a relationship with a girl and he sees her crying. Now, I don’t need to tell a lot of you the reaction some (or perhaps many) men have when a girl they like cries, but some of you might not know.
The guy gets hard. He’s aroused.
This could happen after an argument, a sad movie or even when the girl is happy-crying. When some men see tears, they can’t help but pop a boner. This phenomenon is called dacryphilia (or dacrylagnia) and has been categorized as an aspect of sadomasochism. Maybe it is sadomasochistic, for some. I have another idea.
People tend to be attracted to others who have a capacity for something they cannot do or do not have. For example, girls fawn over teen idols because they have a popularity and significance about them. They like them because they are popular and highly regarded. They want this for themselves, and so when they see someone with it, they desire the person, sometimes with a crazed fanaticism.
Similarly, when a girl cries, vulnerability is front and centre and because most men struggle with being vulnerable but subconsciously crave it, they want to physically merge with that source of vulnerability, i.e. have sex.
It really isn’t such a creepy thing when taken from this perspective, which is great for me because I’ve shamed myself so much for it in the past — which of course, only caused me to hide my vulnerability even more.
I always knew that I was never trying to take advantage of the girl in her exposed and honest moment. I wasn’t even thinking about sex. But then I’d get hard all of a sudden and was so ashamed of myself.
And obviously, it didn’t help that whole narrative of men being sex-crazed that I didn’t think fit me anymore than any other girl I was ever with. I mean, who doesn’t love sex? Come to think of it, most if not all signs of vulnerability from a girl are pretty arousing, but we judge ourselves when girls cry.
Nowadays, as a man who is more honest about how he feels, I don’t get as aroused by it as I did when I was younger. As a matter of fact, when it happened several days ago, I didn’t even get mad at myself. I still didn’t understand why it happened but I just let it be.
There isn’t much research on the phenomenon of dacryphilia yet, but maybe there’s something to this that isn’t shameful, but is simply a sign to a man and his inner child that you really value being real and authentic, so maybe you should be that more often.