Consider how vulnerable the penis is.

Wherever it falls upon the scale of flaccid or rigid, whatever the shape or size, it remains exterior and subject to scrutiny. It is unprotected, tender, and a source of pleasure and fascination since infancy. This is all ordinary and quite normal.

There is often much anxiety as well. How will it measure up? What is the size and shape in comparison to others? Is it satisfactory? Will it be hard at the right time? Will he be shamed or punished if it is hard at the wrong time, or for the wrong person? What if he ejaculates too quickly and then it is soft too soon? Will he be shamed or punished for that, too?

The hardness and softness of men is something quite beautiful, yet also the source of so much confusion.

They are confused.

Not all, but so very many. And not always, but so very often. You must learn to recognize the confusion when it overtakes their minds, because it is then the danger rises. In the least, your own mind becomes cluttered and unclear. In the worst, he will kill you.

There is a kind of innocence about it, and for this, retain your compassion and kindness.

And know that there is, simultaneously, a callous brutality about it. And for this, my dear girl, retain your wits and trust your gut.

You must not take it personally.

It is only cruelty in the ordinary way, accepted and fostered since before they were born.

If you recognize this then you will perhaps be saved from internalizing it yourself.

There is no salvation nor exaltation in your own self-diminishment.

You will be told otherwise.

Do not believe.

The shame of arousal and in particular the physical manifestation of sexual desire has been a tool for wounding the psyche of both men and women for millennia.

Sometimes, it is like this:

A man feels his penis fill and rise for someone — male or female, imagined or real — and he has so little power over his, and may feel helpless before the one for whom he feels desire.

You did this to me. I feel desire, I am exposed, I am ashamed. I feel emotional pain.

“You” will be any other being of any size or shape or age along the gender spectrum. “You” is always outside of himself.

When arousal is paired with shame, then it is easy to cast blame upon others for its occurrence.

Not my fault, he thinks.

Your fault, he thinks, or It’s only natural — not my fault.

Arousal paired with shame creates confusion and poisons the mind.

Arousal is quite a wonderful experience. It’s natural, of course, among humans across the gender spectrum.

Arousal is inspired by ideas, thoughts, sensations, by what one sees, smells, thinks, and hears.

The idea of arousal as “bad” or as a sign of weakness or powerlessness is something we’ve inherited from the ancients — from the Abrahamic traditions as well as the ancient Greeks. American culture was birthed from them both.

There is nothing wrong with arousal.

But notice, my darling girl, how often and how quickly men slip from the experience of arousal to justifying any behavior of theirs which follows.

This is the confusion at work.

Notice when a man is unable to simply experience arousal, how eager he is to blame or coerce or perceive you as a creature for the purpose of satisfying his pleasure.

They are so sick with the poison of shame and of hate inherited by their forbearers, they may have difficulty parsing this distinction.

Watch how quickly they become defensive, dismissive, or assume a tone of authority. These are signs of confusion at work, at the poison clouding their mind.

I love men, the hardness and softness of them. They are so beautifully human. And it isn’t easy for them either, you know, to find their path in the Confusion.

They are subject to the poison, too, without knowing it as such.

The ones who blame or shame or guilt, the ones who become defensive or who lash out with intent to hurt you, mark their behavior as a sign of their confusion. Do not believe their words and do not ingest the blame or shame or guilt. See it, and set it aside.

They will blame you for this, too.

It makes them feel powerful, and is easier than the truth.

All men are deserving of love.

Loving someone does not require you to poison or diminish yourself.

You can love someone from a distance. Love them and let them be.

Sometimes loving is leaving.

There are some truly extraordinary men in this world. You will know them. They will be aroused and at ease in their arousal. They shall not collapse into fear or pain or shame. Their willingness to feel aroused, to enjoy the feeling of desire for you, and their ability to invite you to meet them will be the source of much delight for you both.

Keep a fair distance from the ones who whinge and sulk and scowl. They are like a fruit that is either unripe and sour, or rotten within. You’ll feel ill and wretched if you eat too many. And some are so bad as to kill you.

The defensive ones, cast them aside.

The ones who hide behind their authoritative tone or condescension, leave them untouched.

But the curious ones, the kind ones. The ones who’ve not yet been turned away from their own emotions. The ones who revel in pleasure, rather than control. . . Enjoy them as you would a ripe and delicious fruit. Savor them, admire and celebrate them.

You might have the capacity and calling to be a healer. To gather those whom shame and culture have wounded. To bring them to pleasure without shame, pressure, a need to perform. To help them see clearly, so that they no longer have the desire to hurt or punish themselves and those around them.

I have been watching you, and I see the spark of interest within. I see the books you read, and the ideas you have. I see your ambition, and your desire.

But remember that you need not take on such a path. There is nothing noble therein. You might just as well choose to find those extraordinary men and celebrate them, uplift and amplify them.

Revel in each other.

Increase the pleasure in the world.