How Does Toxic Masculinity Harm Men?

What is toxic masculinity? Before we even define the term, we need to know more about the second word than the first, more incendiary one.

Masculinity can have lots of different meanings across individuals, families, cultures and societies. Merriam Webster says that masculinity is “the quality or nature of the male sex the quality, state, or degree of being masculine or manly”. 

In 2023, NPR reported on the “man box ,” a concept popularized by educator and activist Paul Kivel and the Oakland Men’s Project  in the 1980s, along with a 2017 study  of young men’s perceptions of masculinity in the U.S., U.K. and Mexico. The “man box” refers to the strict expectations boys learn they must adopt in their behavior, aspirations, and perspective to be considered a “real man.”

While many of these qualities are not harmful, they change when masculinity takes a darker turn. According to WebMD , “Toxic masculinity is an attitude or set of social guidelines stereotypically associated with manliness that often have a negative impact on men, women, and society in general.”

Why would something considered to be “manly” be an issue for men themselves? Dr. Sanchari Sinha Dutta, Ph.D. says that toxic masculinity, for men, can lead to:

  • Intentionally delaying professional care when experiencing injury or illness
  • Psychological distress that isn’t treated due to refusal to seek out support
  • More embarrassment about symptoms that might be indicative of serious disease

As it relates to sexual health, many men who experience various types of sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction , premature ejaculation or low sex drive , feel too ashamed or embarrassed to discuss these issues with a doctor or significant other. Men with ED, for example, often believe they’re the only ones with this problem, despite the fact that nearly 40% of men will experience ED by age 40. More often than not, sexual issues require medical intervention and when left untreated, can result in more serious physical problems, such as cardiovascular disease.

Overall, toxic masculinity adds up to whole host of health, interpersonal and societal problems. How can we combat the negative messages that tell boys and men this behavior is acceptable? There are several activists and movements currently leading this charge, thankfully. And as the American Psychological Association reminds us, “ Changing the norms of male behavior ultimately lies with men challenging outdated, restrictive norms and encouraging other men to reflect on what it really means to be a good man in our modern world”.

If you’re experiencing any kind of sexual dysfunction, contact us. You don’t have to suffer through it or discreetly search the internet for treatments. Our team of experts specialize in treating all types of sexual dysfunction and we can treat you too, even if you’ve been unsuccessful elsewhere.

The post How Does Toxic Masculinity Harm Men? appeared first on Treating Low-T, Erectile Dysfunction & Peyronie’s | Sexual Health Experts .

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