Half Of Men Feel Pressure To Act Manly

LONDON — “You can act like a man!” may be a classic quote by fictional mobster Vito Corleone, but what does it actually mean? It turns out that men are still trying to figure it out. In fact, a new survey reveals that 50 percent of men feel pressure to stick to traditional notions of masculinity.

The poll of 2,000 British men, half who are sexually active, examined the pressures men face to conform to specific masculine ideals, with 80 percent acknowledging societal expectations for male behavior.

A significant portion of men feel burdened by the need to possess certain skills, such as being “handy” around the house (49%), behaving in a particular manner in social settings (48%), or maintaining a certain body type (41%). This pressure not only challenges their authenticity but also leaves 29 percent of respondents yearning to more freely express their feminine aspects.

Commissioned by LELO and carried out by OnePoll, the survey also highlights the cumulative effect of these pressures, with the average man grappling with insecurity over 900 times a year. Misunderstandings around romantic relationships (31%), sense of humor (29%), financial acumen (28%), and sexual needs (28%) contribute significantly to this sense of insecurity.

In intimate scenarios, 39 percent of men feel the need to project a “manly” persona, equating to dominance or control (49%) and physical strength (40%).

Couple fighting, man sad, upset, stressed

“In a world where societal expectations often dictate how men should behave, particularly in the bedroom, it’s disheartening to see that half of men feel pressured to conform to traditional ideals of masculinity,” says Luka Matutinović, chief marketing officer at LELO, in a statement. “Men should feel free to explore their true selves without the burden of conformity, especially regarding intimacy.”

The survey also reveals that 62 percent of men feel constrained from discussing certain topics, deemed too sensitive or taboo, such as emotional vulnerability (50%), sexual experiences (45%), and mental health (39%). This restriction not only impoverishes men’s friendships, making them superficial due to difficulties in sharing feelings (37%) and discussing sexual lives (31%), but also fosters a culture of silence and stigma, particularly around masturbation, a topic 50 percent of men find stigmatized.

Despite these challenges, there’s a growing desire among men to dismantle these taboos, with many expressing a wish to openly discuss their emotions (41%), mental health (29%), and sexual lives (28%) without judgment.

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 men who are sexually active or are interested in being sexually active was commissioned by LELO between Feb. 1 and Feb. 5, 2024. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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