What is masculinity? How do you define it?
When you’re trying to define masculinity you’re bound to encounter a number of problems. Is masculinity physical? Or is it biological? Different cultures define masculinity differently; is there some sort of objective way to define masculinity?
These are all valid questions, and I think that there’s some merit to their respective answers, but in this article, I will attempt to explain masculinity using the “Four Core Spheres of Self,” a term I’ve coined that consists of:
In reality, there is a huge amount of overlap within these four categories—what improves one and defines one, may bleed into the others. For the sake of simplicity, however, I will refer to each of the four core spheres of self as being separate, individual entities.
Keep in mind, also, that a lot of men come here wanting to just “get bitches and get money,” and I completely understand that. Everyone wants to have a thriving sex life and to be well off financially, but these areas of your life are actually extensions of the four core spheres of self. And if you can’t define masculinity in each of these core four spheres, it will be difficult to accomplish much.
For instance, you won’t be able to get that many girls if your emotional side is lacking. In order to seduce women, you have to be intuitive, be able to read body language, and sense what they’re feeling. So if your emotional sphere of self is lacking, “getting bitches,” won’t even be possible.
Likewise, if you want millions of dollars, but don’t even read (aka improve your mental sphere of self), you can completely forget about it. To become wealthy, you must educate yourself.
Your career and lifestyle are a manifestation of the four core spheres of self. For example, someone who is very strong in the bodily sphere of their life, but weak in all the others, may be an athlete with a dysfunctional girlfriend, deep-seeded depression, and lack of knowledge of the world.
Someone who is very strong in the emotional and bodily spheres, is probably a player—women are drawn to his attractive body and emotional intuitiveness, but he can’t manage to keep the “intellectual” or “spiritual” girls around, because he’s not in touch with that side of himself.
Somebody who is strong in all four of these spheres would literally be a god amongst men—most people don’t even excel in just one of these core four spheres. A few excel in two, and even fewer excel in three.
If you can become aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and train yourself to excel in all four, however, your dreams will literally come true before your eyes.
There are many ways to view masculinity, as I have said before. Some, like Jack Donovan, take a more primal and tribal approach to define masculinity, while others, such as David Deida, take a much more spiritual and emotional approach. I would recommend reading these articles before we continue:
In this article, however, I will define masculinity in each of the four core spheres of self. This can also be understood quite simply in terms of embodying “yang,” if you’re a man, or embodying “yin,” if you’re a woman.
Yang is the Taoist term for all in the universe that is expansive, assertive, aggressive, destructive, outgoing, and giving. In other words, Yang is “masculine energy.” Yin is the Taoist term for all in the universe that is receptive, submissive, nurturing, passive, regenerative, and creative. In other words, Yin is “feminine energy.”
Applying this lens to the four core spheres of self will allow us to better understand how to not be just men, but to be great men. It will help us better define masculinity.
As I said before, keep in mind that there is a lot of overlap between these four categories—again, this is because in reality, you aren’t four different entities. You’re one. You’re you.
For the sake of this discussion, the mind represents the ability to interpret logical and analytical information. Men are typically stronger in this area, because they are left brain dominant.
The masculine mind has the following characteristics:
In short, this is how you define masculinity in terms of your mind: “One’s ability to think in terms of causality and objectivity.”
The mind is the simplest to understand out of all the four core spheres of self, perhaps because we’re using the mind to understand it. In other words, when I explain what “mind” is to you, you’re using your rational mind to understand it. It makes sense.
Men, on average, are stronger in this area than women. They are able to think more concisely and logically than their female counterparts. Despite this, however, most men are still absolutely piss poor in this sphere of self.
Most men drift through their whole lives without ever fully realizing the potential of their mind. A man who has fully realized the potential of his mind is one who will be able to succeed at almost anything that he does. He will be able to see the strings that control the system, the hidden “rules” of the game, and once he understands them, he’ll be able to use them to his advantage.
Fully realizing your mind means being able to think logically, which is so much harder than people think. Don’t believe me? Try getting into a rational argument with most men. Ultimately, they will resort to justifying their beliefs using one of several tactics:
This is literally how 95% of men “think,” if you can call it that.
Here is how a fully realized masculine mind approaches beliefs and problems:
Do you see the clear, concise, logical thought pattern here? This is what a masculine mind looks like. It does not float about, from random thought to random thought like a leaf in the wind, but rather it thinks clearly and concisely.
It can even think in terms of correlation, rather than causation. In other words, it can see the “general truths,” even if they’re not absolutes. For example:
Do you see the logic behind this? That is how a logical mind approaches reality.
I want to make it very clear that women are capable of thinking logically and analytically too, however men are typically stronger in this sphere of self.
That is why you typically see far more men in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These are all highly analytical, logical fields of thought. Conversely, however, most men in these fields are absolutely retarded when it comes to their emotions and being intuitive.
This is fine. That is why the sexes complete one another—women are typically more intuitive and emotional, and thus can help men get in touch with that side of themselves. Men, when they have a masculine mind, can serve as an organizing force in a woman’s life, providing her with a rock to plant herself firmly on.
Some recommended sources to improve this sphere of your life:
The flip-side of the logical, analytical left brain, is the emotional and intuitive right brain. Most men are absolutely horrible in this sphere of their life, and women typically excel at it.
However, with practice, men can learn to improve this sphere of their life. Here is what the emotional looks like in people who have fully realized this sphere of self:
Emotions are the polar opposite of the mind; where the mind interprets reality through a “logical/analytical,” frame, emotions interpret reality through a “social/intuitive,” frame.
This is where most guys fuck up when they’re trying to get girls. They try to think of all these logical reasons that they aren’t getting women. They ask questions like:
What they don’t realize, is that you can’t logically get girls. Yes, to some extent, you can use logic to learn game and understand your emotional self and others, but ultimately, if you want to be really good with women, you have to get in touch with your emotional side.
I wrote an entire article on this and how emotions apply to verbal game—most guys ask “what should I say,” but it’s more helpful to analyze the underlying emotional state that your words are coming from! Are you upbeat and congruent? Expressing your genuine self?
Rather than asking logical questions, you should be asking emotional questions:
These questions will help you with women so much more than asking logical questions. But don’t just improve your emotional side for women. Do it for yourself.
When a man is fully in touch with his emotional side, he’ll find that the benefits are incredible:
This is why women typically have larger social circles than men. It’s because they’re able to tell what others are feeling, which guides them in how to act. In other words, they have better social skills.
If you’re lacking in this sphere of self, I’d highly recommend the following:
Up until this point, there hasn’t been any deviation in whether the categories can be masculine or feminine. In other words, the sphere of mind can only be masculine, and the sphere of emotions can only be feminine, just by their very natures. This is one way to define masculinity vs. femininity (mind vs. emotions).
Logical and analytical thoughts are masculine by their very nature, and emotional/intuitive thoughts are feminine by their very nature. This all changes once we approach the body and the spirit, however. The body can be both feminine and masculine, depending on a number of factors, and so can your spirit.
Most men nowadays have both a feminine body and a feminine spirit. Their bodies are not physically strong and they’re chubby. Their spirits are passive, receptive, and take in energy from their environment.
Unfortunately, most men don’t even know this though, because they can’t define masculinity in these areas. They don’t even know what having a masculine spirit or a masculine body means due to years of social lies and programming.
These two spheres are where most men need help, particularly in the spiritual sphere. If this doesn’t make sense to you, just keep reading.
In general, a masculine body has several obvious characteristics. Men are typically more muscular, more agile, and bigger than women. Masculine bodies are built for battle, whereas feminine bodies are built for pleasure. Masculine bodies are machines designed for action; they’re utility vehicles. Feminine bodies are curvy and voluptuous—they’re sensual, luxury vehicles.
Now obviously there’s a bunch of badass warrior chicks and a bunch of weak, frail guys—but in general, there are very distinct generalities between the masculine and feminine bodies.
As a man, you must train your body for several reasons:
If you don’t exercise, you are screwing up big time. If you’re trying to get started building a masculine body, I recommend the following sources:
This is perhaps the most abstract and difficult sphere of self to understand. If we’re trying to define masculinity of spirit, we’re going to have to resort to a lot of abstractions. Most men can’t even define masculinity in terms of their spirit, let alone actually become masculine in terms of their spirit.
In fact, I would argue that you can’t really even fully realize this sphere of self until you’re in your late 20’s. Most people don’t ever realize this aspect of themselves at all.
In a nutshell, the core difference between masculine and feminine “spirit” or “energy,” is this: man goes forth, and woman receives. All of the masculine spiritual traits fall under this umbrella of going forth:
All of these have to do with “going forth,” or putting yourself into the world. This is why men typically start things. They’re the ones that plan parties, start businesses, build inventions, and do things. They go forth and change their reality to suit them.
As a contrast, feminine energy, or yin, “receives.” Feminine energy, the polar opposite of masculine energy, is receptive and passive. All of the feminine spiritual characteristics fall under this category:
Note, that wanting to be led is not the same as being treated like shit or being in an abusive relationship. Wanting to be led, which is a feminine spiritual characteristic, means that women want a strong man who will lead them confidently through life.
When women are very in touch with their femininity they don’t want to “think,” aka channel “masculine energy,” (their mind). They want to feel, aka channel feminine energy.
Women are hardwired to be attracted to men who have these characteristics. This is not speculation, this is evolutionary biology. It’s why in an ideal male/female sexual relationship, the man leads and the woman follows. The man is decisive, and he serves as a rock that grounds a woman’s changing of emotions. He is the lighthouse that serves as guidance to the tumultuous ocean that is a woman’s mind.
This is how you define masculinity on a spiritual level. You must penetrate the world with your energy, just as you must penetrate a woman’s body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
You can only do this, however, if you are a man on your purpose. Achieving spiritual masculinity is literally impossible unless you have a purpose.
It doesn’t matter what this purpose is. It could be that you want to be the best bodybuilder of all time, the greatest musician of all time, you want to start a billion dollar business, or you just want to be the absolute best human being that you could possibly be. What matters is that you have a purpose.
When you have a purpose, you must place it above all else. Women will sense this, and other men will too. Women will become madly attracted to you when they sense that you are doing something important. They will become attracted to you on a spiritual level.
The masculine spirit serves as the foundation for the prior 3 spheres.
What this means if you don’t have a strong spiritual sphere of self is that your mind, body, and emotions will be weak. If you don’t have a strong masculine purpose in life, what’s the purpose of working out? Or reading? Or improving your emotions?
You must have a strong purpose, and from this everything else will follow. If you don’t have one, then make finding one your purpose. My purpose, right now, is to share self-development lessons I’ve learned over my life, and help men improve.
Note: If you can’t define masculinity in all core four spheres off the top of your head, re-read this article because it’s about to get even more complicated.
When you have strong spirituality, aka a strong purpose, you’ll scour the world for knowledge and books that will help you accomplish your goal. You will speak and think in a very clear, logical, and concise manner, because that’s how you’re used to thinking.
Being set on achieving a goal forces you to think logically, otherwise you will fail. This is how spirituality cultivates the mental sphere. If you want to be the best bodybuilder in the world, you’re going to literally spend hours and hours researching every single different muscle in the body, reading autobiographies of the greats that came before you, and learning about all of the best steroid cycles and supplements to take.
If you want to be the best musician in the world, you’re going to scour the world for knowledge on how the greats before you did it. You’ll be searching for the best strategies to find good performance venues, how to find good agents, you’ll study music theory, etc, etc.
The difference between a woman and a man in this sphere, however, is that women are great at absorbing information. This is their feminine energy at work—they are receptive. Men, however, are better at taking action with the information, aka going forth or “masculine energy.” This is how you define masculinity in your mental sphere. It is to use information to go forth, take action, and accomplish your goals.
When you have a strong spirituality, you become convicted on your path. You cultivate “emotional toughness,” so to speak. This doesn’t mean that you don’t feel your emotions, rather it means that you dictate your own emotions. In other words, nothing fazes you, because you’re so confident and secure in yourself and your purpose. This is how you define masculinity in the emotional sphere.
Emotional masculinity means being certain. It means penetrating the world with your emotions. This is how you get girls. When you are so emotionally masculine that you can literally make her feel whatever you’re feeling, she will desperately want you. Women want a man who creates his own emotions, because their feminine energy wants to receive his emotions.
Do you see the dynamic here? Masculinity, when channeled through the emotional sphere, has to do with you creating your own emotions rather than being at the whim of the outside world. You’ll see this a lot with good pickup artists; when a guy confronts a good PUA about hitting on his girlfriend, the PUA just laughs, feels happy, and cracks jokes…and the weirdest thing happens.
The guy who was mad just a second ago, literally starts to feel his anger slip away. This is because the PUA’s emotional sphere is so masculine that it literally “penetrates” everything else around it. That’s why men who are emotionally contagious (you can’t help but feel good when you’re around them) get laid so much. They know how to channel the masculine side of their emotional sphere.
Masculinity in the bodily sphere is the physical manifestation of your other three spheres. For example, if your emotional sphere is horrible, you’ll likely eat junk food as a coping mechanism. This will make you fat. If your spiritual sphere is horrible, you’ll likely be very weak and lazy, because deep down you don’t sense that there’s any purpose to your life. If your mental sphere is horrible, you might mess around in the gym and have no clue what exercises to do.
When you’re a very masculine man, however, it manifests itself through your body. You use your knowledge to design workout routines (or research ones that others have made), and to figure out the best nutrition for your goals. You use your emotional masculinity to control your urges and go to the gym, despite feeling tired or lazy. You use your spiritual masculinity to guide your body: do you want to get as big as possible? Do you want to lean down? Do you want to just maximize time in the gym?
This is why you can tell so much about somebody based off of their body; it is the physical manifestation of their emotions, mind, and spirituality. If someone walks around aimlessly, floating about, it’s probably because they have a weak spiritual sphere. If someone walks around looking depressed or anxious, it’s because they haven’t strengthened their emotional sphere.
Do you see now why it is so important to have a purpose? Having a strong sense of purpose, aka spirituality, is something that our generation of men has been robbed of. We are starting to see the effects with millions of men who are stuck in the grips of existential angst. Some men are even driven to suicide or mass shootings, because we lack a purpose.
But, the good news is that you can cultivate your own purpose through self-discovery. Here are some tips on cultivating your spirituality:
The 1st Strategy in my eBook is meant to help you find your masculine purpose for a reason. Without it, you float through life aimlessly—when you have a STRONG sense of purpose, your feet move magically, and your life clicks into place, because you know where you’re headed.
Cultivating all of the four core spheres of self is something that anybody can do if they put in the work. It just takes time. But first, we have to be able to define masculinity in these core four spheres before we can improve them.
In summary, the four spheres are: your mind, your emotions, your body, and your spirit. Cultivating each one will lead to a very specific set of skills that can be utilized for certain activities, but ultimately they all bleed into one another.
Having a stronger emotional sphere will allow you to see things from others’ perspectives, enhancing your mind. Having a stronger mental sphere will allow you to read and comprehend more dense literature, which can increase your bodily knowledge or spiritual knowledge.
Start by choosing one weakness that you have, and cultivate it.
But you have to actually start. That’s the key. Don’t put it off until tomorrow, don’t put it off 15 minutes, don’t say you’ll “get to it later,” or that you’re tired. Start right now. Just. Fucking. Start.
In fact, why don’t you answer two questions before you go:
Jon Anthony is a dating coach, fitness expert, and self-improvement guru. He dropped out of college to start Masculine Development in 2015, and has since been self-employed, helping men across the world achieve their best lives. You can best reach him on social media, or via email for questions.