How does sensitivity impact masculinity? Sensitive men, sensitive women, and parents raising highly sensitive boys are invited to join a discussion about living and thriving as a sensitive man in the modern world. Join us live on August 4, 2023, 1:00 pm Eastern for Masculinity and Sensitivity or catch the recording after August 14th.

What does masculinity mean in the current social landscape? We know that sensitive men, like all HSPs are emotional leaders. It has always been seen as the role of women to lead with emotions, but when sensitive men step forward, they have a crucial role in leading by example and teaching the world to redefine what it means to be masculine and sensitive.

When a sensitive man’s heart opens to you, it is a beautiful gift. – Alane Freund

Maybe you are a male-identified youth, or you love a sensitive man, or you are raising a sensitive boy. Maybe you are curious or disturbed about the experience of growing up and living a sensitive life in a less than hospitable world. Our Masculinity and Sensitivity masterclass will bring our community together for healing and solutions.

Dr. Tracy Cooper, co-producer of the first documentary film on highly sensitive men “Sensitive Men Rising” is our special guest at Alane Freund’s Are You Highly Sensitive masterclass. In our recent Community Conversation on Sensitive Men Rising (recording here) we heard from dozens of sensitive men about their experience living in a world that doesn’t understand or value who they are. Several men spoke about gender identity, describing how people have often called them feminine, or too feminine, as though they weren’t masculine enough. Some have been hurt or confused about how to live as a sensitive man in the midst of this dismissal. Some recognize the beauty and strength of dancing with both feminine and masculine attributes, making them their own.

August is Differential Susceptibility (DS) Month, and it’s no mistake that we are exploring the lives of highly sensitive men through the lens of DS. Differential Susceptibility simply means our environments and our past impact us more than those without the trait…both negatively and positively. Sensitive men and boys (and all of us) are negatively impacted by the narrow definition of socially allowed masculinity. Most sensitive people in the US (and other western cultures) know firsthand how much poor environments impact us, and highly sensitive men even more so. However, HSPs are better healers. We have more access to growth. We are literally more resilient. Thank goodness because we need to heal and create environments that honor each of our unique ways of being.

We will explore masculinity in all of its expressions. Any male-identified person is expressing masculinity–and in each person’s unique way. We don’t have to allow our society to pigeonhole masculinity. It is challenging to be different from the mainstream, especially in such a high value identity. How does society’s narrow definition of masculinity harm us all?

There have been many studies on how a narrow definition of masculinity has damaged the cultural and social experience of child development (for example: Real Boys: Rescuing our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood by William Pollack, 1998). It harms everyone, boys and girls. It has caused our culture to create a toxic system of binary gender… a system in which only one way of being masculine (or feminine) is considered acceptable. This breaks my heart.

Elaine Aron wrote in her early work about four distinct genders: highly sensitive men, men without the trait, highly sensitive women, women without the trait. What happens when we also add personality and temperament? Jacquelyn Strickland talks about the five types of people: sensitive extroverts, extroverts without the trait, sensitive introverts, introverts without the trait, and ambiverts. Then what if we layer on the 9 temperaments or the 16 categories from Myers-Briggs? Brian Torres and I often wonder about the intersection of sensitivity with LGBTQ+ identities (HSQ as Brian named LGBTQ+ HSPs) and how HSQs might be extra thoughtful about gender expression.

Is your head spinning yet? Clearly there are so many unique expressions of living in the world that we have to broaden our definitions. And we are all hurt by the experience of highly sensitive male identified people feeling they are not fully accepted humans in Western societies. What are the solutions? In this masterclass, we will brainstorm, teach, coach, support, and commune on the topic.

Wondering if you are highly sensitive?

Listen to a short talk on it.