Monday, December 15, 2008

Men Lack Confidence in Boardroom and Bedroom

[Beckham makes Brit males feel insecure]

This article from the Guardian UK reveals the results of a disturbing study - men are lacking in confidence in most areas of their lives. Most importantly, these men are feeling insecure with women, unsure of themselves, and unable to measure up to popular images of what women want, such as Sex in the City.

This is a tough time for men. The old ways of behaving are no longer adequate, and there are few guideposts for new ways to be masculine. The study reveals that many men turn to alcohol for a little liquid courage. Having been there, done that, I can promise that this approach does not work and only makes things worse in the end.

This blog exists to help explore these issues and share what other men are learning about how to masculine in a post-manly man world.

Men lack confidence in boardroom and bedroom

Males' self-image withers especially when women are around, survey finds

Men used to have the upper hand when it came to confidence in the boardroom, bedroom and the bar.

But, according to new research, men are struggling with a crisis of confidence, with almost half confessing that they feel anxious most of the time - particularly at work and especially around women.

The majority of almost 2,000 men aged 16 to 65 questioned by OnePoll, an independent market research company, admitted struggling to feel confident about their place in society. About half confessed to feeling most insecure when at work, while another 40 per cent also felt inadequate during nights out with friends.

All those questioned by the survey, commissioned by Braun Smooth Side Challenge, admitted to feeling increasingly emasculated by women and said their feelings of inadequacy soar when women are present.

Most intimately, one in four men revealed they are racked by feelings of inadequacy during sex, saying that film and television programmes like Sex and the City had made them anxious about not having enough stamina and imagination in the bedroom.

'Men are more likely than women to have fragile self-esteem, as they judge their status in society through success in a single sphere, such as their career, the size of their pay packet or the model of their car,' said David Sharpley, of the British Psychological Society. 'These are all subject to a high degree of ambiguity and risk. Because men are generally poor at introspection and communicating their emotions, this uncertainty can cause the collapse of their self-esteem.

'But then, because men tend to bottle their emotions, they instinctively fake the confidence they once felt. This exacerbates the problem many times over, because it makes it harder for men to ask for help or for others to see that they need support.'

Dr John Tomlinson, a former GP and trustee of the Sexual Dysfunction Association, said he was hearing from an 'enormous' number of 18- to 40-year-olds worried about sexual problems. 'Advertising - such as David Beckham's Armani underwear campaign - glamorises the well-toned male body, which men find daunting because they assume it is what women expect,' he said.

More than half of those questioned confessed they had no constructive male role model - instead having to resort to fictional characters such as James Bond or Indiana Jones - and that they wished their 'self-image' was stronger, and more masculine and positive.

But instead of becoming more assured with age, three in four men admitted that their lack of assurance had increased as they got older. The majority of those questioned said they felt most confident when they were between 21 and 30. Just 11 per cent of 40-year-olds and 4.6 per cent of 50-years-olds said they felt more confident now than in their youth.

Respondents also revealed being haunted by the conviction that other men are more confident than they are. Almost half of those questioned believed their boss was more self-assured than they were.

One in three men said they turn to alcohol for Dutch courage to help break the cycle. A surprising one in five had lucky charms, with a third admitting they own 'lucky' jewellery, one in four wearing auspicious socks and one in five putting their faith in lucky pants.

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