Danger Isn’t Sexy

Dismantling toxic masculinity from the inside out.

Toby Israel
Hello, Love


Source: Unsplash

It is 6 a.m., and I’m sipping coffee on my balcony watching the sky turn from gray to blue.

A worn poncho keeps out the morning chill. Ensconced in my own safe space in this new home, I’m reflecting on how ease-fulness in relationships similarly makes me feel good, safe, and, yes, sexy.

Danger, when it comes to intimacy, is not sexy. Or, I don’t think it should be. That’s a hard one to unlearn after a lifetime of subconsciously consuming tacit messages in popular culture that say the exact opposite — TV shows, movies, and bands peddling brooding, dark, dangerous male leads.

Little girls learn to idolize, fetishize the literal bloodthirsty vampire (hello, “Twilight”), just as boys are learning to sexualize the meek damsel in distress (we see you, “50 Shades”).

In these normalized (heteronormative) relationship dynamics, each party plays into the tired, wildly outdated fantasies of the other.

Unfortunately for those of us who like easy fixes, toxic masculinity isn’t a thing we can identify and quickly discard.

It is a complex fabric of desires, expectations, limiting beliefs, and patterns of language and thought in which we are all of us swaddled since our birth, and which we…