This might come as a surprise, but men are probably more emotional than women.

There is a popular, and not so kind, description about men that touches on behavioural similarities to dogs. Every time I hear that insult from a woman, I’m quick to remind her that her father is a member of the male species too. Then the insults suddenly dry up. But what makes a man? That is the question we found ourselves mulling over after a friend was accused by his ex of not being a total man.

The myths around the concept of being a man remains the elephant in the room.

So much so that men experience a battle within: Should their decisions be self-determined or dictated by how masculine they will seem to others.

Do I let my missus know how much something is bothering me or will that come across as not being in control or needy?

Do I speak my mind at work or does that risk being seen as too emotional? If I take a stand on a principle that bucks the boys’ club or will I lose status? Here are some of these myths.

Men are not emotional

This might come as a surprise, but men are probably more emotional than women. How is this possible? Men don’t show emotions regularly, so they are like Victorian novels: placid on the outside, but deeply emotional within.

Convincing men to open up would encourage them to release pent-up emotions.

Sex is what matters most

Yes, sex is important to men. It is one of the ways we access our imaginations. At times it might seem like the only way we do it. But they long for real solidarity with their partner. And sex, because it makes the imagination literal, is something we rely on to achieve that bonded feeling.

Next time you see your mate’s desire for sex as chauvinistic; remember that he may be asking for proof that you and he are the team he fantasises about. Simply because a couple of women have made wrong choices and ended up with sex maniacs is not reason enough to condemn the whole lot of us.

Men hate to commit

Masculinity is an oppressive force because it demands that men appear tough, avoiding any overt displays of love and affection, which can be detrimental to a relationship.

How often have you witnessed a man shut down during a tender moment or make a joke to get away from it? While men may appear to prize freedom and independence, in their heart of hearts they truly value loyalty. In standing by her man, a woman can fill a primal absence.

A woman’s beauty is a thing to behold, and sometimes we can behold it at the wrong times.

Once he realises you have his back, he will start to show his feelings in his own way—which may not be ‘traditional’ romantic gestures, but they will be gestures nonetheless. So when you don’t get the kiss when you expected it that does not mean the man’s feelings have changed.

A woman’s looks are everything

Nope. A woman’s beauty is a thing to behold, and sometimes we can behold it at the wrong times, like when passing another woman in the streets and try to steal a glance with the memsahib around. But that’s just visual titillation.

The stimulus that matters most reaches our hearts and minds. A woman with a laser-like intelligence, reads widely, has a sharp sense of humour and a compassionate soul is like an arrow to a man’s heart.