Touch: One Element of Gender Misunderstanding

The Misunderstood Male [from the Wise County Christian Counseling Website]

Take this simple true or false quiz to see how savvy you are about men.  Questions and answers are based upon gender research and developmental studies.  Answer true or false.

__1.     Men understand women better than women understand men.

__2.     Women talk more than men.

__3.     Men need more touching than women.

__4.     Men hate to talk.

__5.     Men aren’t as in touch with their feelings as women.

__6.     Relationships aren’t as important to men as they are to women.

__7.     Work is the most important thing in a man’s life.

__8.     Men think about sex more than women do.

__9.     Men are more aggressive than women.

__10.   A man’s greatest vulnerability is money.

__11.   You connect to a man the same way you connect to a woman.

__12.   A man’s favorite words are “Honey, we need to talk.”

Just what you need, another “test”.  Tomorrow I will share the answers.  The quiz is simple and as I considered posting it, I was really interested in statement 3.  What do you really think?

As an interpersonal communication teacher, a common complaint I hear associated with physical touch is the woman who says “I don’t touch my husband because when I do, he thinks I want to get intimate.  Sometimes I just want him to hug me or hold my hand.”

Hence, what happens.

No touching whatsoever.

Here is where I bring in the old adage that “women are crock pots; men are microwaves.”  You know what I mean.  The male response to touch may be driven by testosterone and that can lead to overreaction.

Can we have a compromise?

Can men learn that touch does not always lead to intimacy?  I think so if men work at it.

Can women learn that men are capable of a warm, soothing response to touch and lose the fear of touching a male?  I think so.

Over the years, several authors have exploited the problem of male and female misunderstanding.  John Gray gave us Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus.  Deborah Tannen gave us You Just Don’t Understand.  Both books explain that men and women are very different and the differences play out in everyday life.

  1. Women will talk to build relationships; men will not.  The talk has to have some purpose and building relationships is not high on a man’s list.
  2. Women will talk longer than men to establish rapport.  That is a valuable goal.  Men will talk less and rapport building is not high on a man’s list.
  3. Men are listeners to solve problems.  Women are listeners to allow the person with a problem to solve their own problem.  Male fixing is a turnoff for many women.  All they want to do is express their troubles. They don’t want someone to run in and fix their problem.
  4. When men have problems they tend to withdraw.  Women like to explore their feeling through talk and when they speak to others, they can release some of their stress.
  5. Women tend to touch for support and sometimes intimacy.  Men tend to touch for intimacy and sometimes support.

I know God made man and God made woman.  As they say in France “vive le difference”; we would not want man and woman to be the same.

However as one who wishes there was a little more peace and understanding in the world, can’t we just try to understand each other…a little better?

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