What Men Want. What Women Don’t Know: Q & A with Dr. Brandy Engler
Sex Psychologist, Dr. Brandy Engler, opened a sex therapy practice for women and quickly found herself with a full list of clients: predominantly men. From bankers to brokers, her journey into the erotic minds of men inspired her to share her insights with the world in her book, “The Men on My Couch.” In an exclusive LadyLUX interview, we go beyond the book to discuss what it is that men really want and what women don’t know.
LadyLUX: What inspired you to write “The Men on My Couch?”
Brandy Engler: I got really excited in working with men and what I was learning in sitting with them. You’d think they are coming in with all this bad behavior like cheating on the girlfriends or compulsively looking at pornography and when taken at face value it does sound like really bad behavior. I personally had some of those reactions at first but I had to go through the process of actually listening and understanding them. What I found underneath was that they were searching to find better ways to connect to women and be better at loving. Deep down they want the same things we do. They want monogamy and commitment and to have romantic love. A lot of them get misguided along the way just as women do in our own ways. It’s a beautiful thing to have men come in for psychotherapy and want to discuss emotions and want to grow and heal. It made me excited to watch them make decisions to better themselves and it inspired me to write a story about it.
LL: What is the most common issue men want to discuss on your couch?
BE: The most common issue men want to talk about is young men with erectile dysfunction and why that’s happening. As women become more powerful in the eyes of men and as we are becoming their equals. They hold us in high regard and become more anxious about pleasing us and making us happy. They get nervous and body conscious just like we do.
LL: What are the motivations behind the modern man’s sexual behavior?
BE: What they express sexually are often a lot of nonsexual emotions […] They get the message that it’s not ok to be emotional, but it is ok to be sexual, so they end up expressing a lot of emotional needs sexually. Anything from “I need to feel more powerful, secure, desired, need more attention,” etc. They look to sex as the one sole thing to meet every need and it causes them to attach more significance to sex than they should. This causes what looks like a really high sex drive and often times they don’t understand it. Often times it’s not that they’re super horny, but that there is a neediness that requires attention.
LL: Tell us about a revelation you had regarding your ideas about love and sex since starting your practice.
BE: The first chapter of my book features a womanizer type of guy that came to me saying, “I wanna know if I’m capable of love. I want to get married one day but I’m constantly cheating on my girlfriend and I’m wondering if I’m even capable of love.” I thought to myself, “Is this something I can answer? Do I know what the answer to this is? No, probably not.” In fact, I was in this crazy love affair of my own and thought, “Is this relationship that I’m in love?” This sets the tone for the rest of the book with the end of the book coming to a conclusion. I go from a place of having an immature and fantasy-based idea of what love was to a more mature way of loving. Working with these guys and some of the repugnant behavior, I began to find a place in myself with more understanding, patience, tolerance and compassion. It helped me have better insight into what I was doing in my own relationship when I was tricking myself into thinking I had love when I didn’t.
LL: Tell us something women don’t know about men?
BE: Women believe that men can easily separate sex and love and that’s actually not really true. Many believe you’re supposed to separate it – sex is impersonal; it’s a conquest. In some ways they are tormented by this social stigma because it keeps them away from the truth of who they are and their own loving beings. Women are often confused how men initiate sex and what they are asking for during sex. We’re quick to say guys just want to use me or they think I’m just a sex object, most of which isn’t true about their intentions. They’re often concerned about looking too soft.
LL: If you could sum it up in a couple sentences, what do men really want?
BE: They want a woman who is uninhibited, into sex and into him. The way men perceive women is that they are unresponsive or don’t initiate sex. They have to entertain, perform, etc. and they see us sexually as more passive and judgmental. They want us to be more active, erotic and initiate more leadership. When men find women like that they get super excited about it.
LL: What advice do you have for women in relationships looking to please their man?
BE: The more she tries to tap into her own sexual energy and express that openly and assertively, the more they like it. They actually want to see a woman who is passionate and alive with her own drive. They can see right through women who are being mechanical and doing what I call “duty sex.” They’ll accept it, but in their mind they don’t like it and are not satisfied.
LL: What is the cultural shift you are seeing in your practice of men in their late 20s to early 30s?
BE: Men wanting the right to talk about their needs and emotions and wanting to be romantic, loving and soft. Challenging old ideas of masculinity. It comes at an interesting time when women are really into “50 Shades of Grey” and I’m seeing men’s reactions to that book. A lot of them are saying, “I don’t want to be like Christian Grey, that’s not me.” It’s this aggressive macho role they feel they are supposed to be in but it’s not their true self. Interesting how this clashes with ideas that women have about men.
LL: Do you have any tips on how to have more meaningful sex?
BE: Be less focused on yourself and more focused on why you are having sex with that person. Appreciate the love or lust you feel for that person. Use the admiration you have for his body or his personality and work yourself up into appreciating that. Don’t focus on yourself and what you look like, your insecurities, etc. You can touch someone without really feeling them; it can be cold and mechanical or really warm and full of passion. It’s hard for people to stay present in sex, but the more they can work on staying present in their body and the interaction with the person the more people report that they are having better sex.
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