As we proceed further into the 21st century, the traditional ideas of masculinity and what it means to “be a man” become less relevant. But while male attitudes towards the role of women in the workplace and at home may be changing, do those same progressive values continue when taken into the bedroom?
A new study conducted by the Shriver Report looks to examine what “masculinity” means in 2015. The results, taken from a survey of over 800 American males from various demographics, shows that most men reject the old school definition of being a man. Jeff Horwitt, Vice President of Hart Research Associates (who conducted the survey for the report), says, “Today’s man has rejected the old stereotypes of what it means to be a man, with majorities of men today dismissing showing emotion as a sign of weakness and being very comfortable with a wife or female partner working outside the home. And half of men today are very comfortable with a woman as their boss in the boardroom or other workplace settings.”
However, the ditching of traditional values disappears when it comes to sex. Men still largely want to take charge in the bedroom and derive their power from their sexual exploits. Horwitt says, “With matters of intimacy, masculinity matters and men take a more conservative, traditional approach. More than 7 in 10 (73%) agree that the more masculine they feel the more sexual confidence they have. And younger men (18-34 year-olds - 80%) and those with an income of more than $75,000 (81%) are more likely to feel this way. And just 39% of men say that they are very comfortable being physically affectionate in a public setting with their partner.”
Now we know why Don Draper is such a popular television character. Men still admire the ability to walk into a bar and pickup any woman they want. And could their reluctance for PDA result from not wanting to look weak or sappy to others?
In almost every other aspect of life, the report suggests men can let go of antiquated notions of masculinity. About two-thirds are comfortable with a partner or spouse earning a living outside of the home, and half are ok with being out-earned by their spouse or reporting to a female boss. And yet the correlation between masculinity and sexual adventures persists.
To see the rest of the survey results about masculinity, the rest of the study is available here.
Joseph Misulonas is an editorial assistant for Playboy.com. He finds there’s a direct correlation to how manly he feels by the number of button-down shirts he owns. He can be found on Twitter at @jmisulonas.