Episode 67: Ken Solin: What Men Talk About When Women Aren’t Around

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For over 16 years, Ken Solin, author of “The Key To The Men’s Room,” has worked with men to help them process their issues. In a conversation by and about men, Ken and I talk about men’s pride and pain, hopes and fears, failures and triumphs, in the service of learning how to be better men. Listen in as we talk about men’s anger, both misplaced and justified. We discuss the “be-a-man training” that leaves men feeling separate from each other, isolated and alone, with emotions we can not easily articulate. Ken is a passionate advocate for men and the power of supporting each other to heal our “father wounds”, to discover and speak our deepest truths, to become better partners, better parents, better men. And don’t miss Ken’s exercise for men to try at home.

Transcript

Chip August: Welcome to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I'm your host, Chip August and on today's show we're going to be talking to Ken Solin. Ken is the author of a terrific new book called, “The Key to the Mens Room: What Men Talk About When Women Aren't Around”. We're going to be talking about men's groups and what men talk about when it's just men in the room. For over sixteen years, Ken Solin has been an author and a lecturer and he has worked with men to help them process their men related, gender specific issues. Ken enjoyed a successful twenty-five year career as an entrepreneur, he financed high tech companies and wineries. He has raised two sons as a single father and he lives in California with his wife.

Ken Solin: I realized that the stiff upper lip, you know the John Wayne approach to life really wasn't working and it probably never had. When I think about how boys are raised when they get physically hurt, or even emotionally hurt, if their dog dies, or whatever it is, what they always got was, “Act like a man” which meant to suck it up so like most men, I sucked it up. It turns out that the nine guys who I started the group with were also guys that spent their lifetime sucking it up so the notion of ever talking about any pain, especially emotional pain was completely *inethma* to all of us. It's about being willing to be vulnerable. One of the guys said to me, because I had been angry or something, he said, “Aren't you tired of being a tough guy?” and I responded, I said, “What do you mean tough guy?”, and I realized I was still that kid from Boston on the street, you know looking for somebody to jump on me, looking to have to duke it out just to get down the road and I realized it wasn't going to work for me and he asked me, “Do you know what vulnerability is?” and the truth is I have no idea, so it got explained to me and I started to open my heart and be willing to trust guys not to trounce me and in truth, no one ever did.

Ken Solin: I think the first thing any woman should ask a man is does he have any men friends, really intimate friends, not, not guys he plays basketball with on Saturday morning but, but men he can really talk about his life with. Does he know any of those kind of men. If the answers no, there is something that's wrong and you're going to end up being his whole world uh, so unless you want to take on the responsibility of being a mans entire social life, then you don't want to be around somebody like that. That's, I think that's the most important question. Whether a mans done some work on himself emotional work, that's also a very good question. Doesn't have to be in therapy. Has he read any books, has he ever been in a group, a mens group. I think those are the two most important questions to ask.

Chip August: Welcome to Sex, Love and Intimacy Ken Solin. 

Ken Solin: Thank you. Thanks very much for having me.
Chip August: I always like to have my authors, when I can, start by reading something from the book, uh I did read the book, um liked it and we talked a little before the interview and would you be willing to set this up and read a little from your book?

Ken Solin: Of course. The portion I'm going to read is from the very first meeting. The first time that nine of us got together in a room together, uh and the heading is uh The Meeting Begins. It was 6pm, the time we had designated to begin. Since I brought everyone together, I led off. “It's good to see that everyone showed up. I think we each ought to say a few words about why we're here and what we hope to accomplish in this group.” The first confrontation, but before anybody could speak, Ed, the bearded professor stood up with a solemn, purposeful demeanor that left little doubt about his intention. “I think I ought to be the groups leader since I was a Psychology professor for twenty five years. That puts me way ahead of anybody else here.” What the hell are you talking about?”, I chimed in angrily.  “Where'd you get the idea we need a leader? I envisioned all of us being equals here and I don't think I ever suggested otherwise. Our mutual friend, Carl, told me you might be interested in joining and I'm sure I never told him we were looking for a leader, either. I think you need to sit down and let everyone introduce himself. You're pissing me off already.”  Coming off the streets of Boston and from a turbulent home, I wasn't shy and the idea that this guy whom I didn't even know was hijacking the group infuriated me. I was ready for battle and wasn't the least bit impressed by Ed's credentials, which I felt had little bearing on the work we'd hoped to do together. After all, this wasn't going to be a book club or an academic exercise. I felt like Ed was trying to blow smoke up our collective asses with his academic credentials and I was blowing it right back. I also realized that Ed might be vying for power, I was already, unfortunately displaying the gigantic chip that had been stubbornly glued onto my shoulder since boyhood. I knew that I could have expressed my displeasure without jumping down Ed's throat and I realized that I was going to have to find a better way to deal with these men or risk losing their respect. My temper had always gotten me into trouble and maybe this was the place to finally deal with it.

Chip August: Wow. I feel like I was at the meeting. (laughs) I feel like, so it's a great place to start. Um. Is that why you started a mens group, because, I don't know, cause you had this temper, because you had this chip on your shoulder and because nothing else had worked, I mean why, why'd you do this?

Ken Solin: Uh, that was part of the reason, but the probably the bigger reason was uh about a month before, I'd been to a Robert Bly day in San Francisco, uh with a friend of mine, actually, and there were about five hundred men in the room and I'd never been in the Army or anything military and I'd never been in a room with that many men and I was terrified and all my childhood fears about men and trust came up and I started talking to a lot of exercises during the day and I started talking to a lot of the men in that room and I realized they had the same problems I had, they had the same issues in fact, that I had and I realized I wasn't going to work my issues out listening to Robert Bly for a day but when I left, and they had mentioned mens groups briefly, so when I left, I told my friend, “Let's start a group. Let's start our own group. Let's start working on this” because I realized I'd never gotten the lessons of the rites of passage and I thought it was time for me to teach it to myself or have other guys teach it to me.

Chip August: So I get that it's sort of like it was your um corrective be a man training. That, you know, the ways we learn to be a man when we were boys suddenly were in your face and you were looking for a new way to be a man. Is that?

Ken Solin: Yeah, I realized that the stiff upper lip, you know the John Wayne approach to life really wasn't working and it probably never had. When I think about how boys are raised when they get physically hurt, or even emotionally hurt, if their dog dies, or whatever it is, what they always got was, “Act like a man” which meant to suck it up and so like most men, I sucked it up. It turns out that the nine guys who I started the group with were also guys that spent their lifetime sucking it up so the notion of ever talking about any pain, especially emotional pain, was just completely *inethma* to all of us.

Chip August: So I want to say as a man, I have that moment of. “Oh my God, I'm going to get in a room with a bunch of guys and what are we going to become whiners and we're gonna, you know wimp out and cry on each others shoulders”, I mean, you know like I wanna be a man (laughs)  and, and I get how big a act of trust it is even to admit that maybe I do want to cry.

Ken Solin: Yeah, and I think we had a hard time getting started in that first meeting. Everybody was debating about what we should talk about and finally somebody said, “Well, we all had fathers, well most of us at least had fathers. That's probably a good place to begin because I think that a few of us, if any, had decent relationships with our fathers.

Chip August: So, in the book right in the early part, you write about your confusion about yourself, and your behavior, so what was confusing you about your behavior?

Ken Solin: Uh, I was angry all the time and expressed my anger in relationships with women and expressed it with men in terms of not trusting in them and not really wanting to be open. Uh, I knew something was wrong because I, I did meet men who weren't like that and I couldn't really understand what my issue was. It took a while to uh--in fact as soon as I started talking about my relationship with my father—which was turbulent and violent and pretty awful, I realized that I had a huge trust issue with men and that's what had always kept me from having intimate relationships with men. I was, was really terrified of men and also I had no trust whatsoever in their ability to be my friend.

Chip August: And, and I think at a deeper level, not even an awareness that you lacked the trust.

Ken Solin: No, I never really thought of it that way. I would meet men in social circumstances and and keep it surface, um, nobody ever really tried to get any deeper with me and that could have been because it was obvious to them that I wasn't somebody who was going to get deep in return.

Chip August: Ken, if you had one message that you wanted to say to men about their pain about what it is to be a man, what would you tell them?

Ken Solin: I would tell them it's time to get out of pain. I would tell them that they've been carrying around this pain and its been affecting their lives in a negative way, probably as long as they've been alive and it's time for them to get together with other men and unload that pain.

Chip August: I wonder a little about seeking out other men with this rather than just going to a therapist. I mean why not just  hire a counselor and say, “Look, I have an issue trusting men.”

Ken Solin: Actually I'd, I'd been in therapy uh so it wasn't that I'd never done any self exploration. It was more about wanting to be learn how to relate to other men. That's not something I think most people in therapy would probably talk about. And also, I'm not so sure how plugged in to manhood most therapists are. I think some are very obviously plugged into it but I think a lot of therapists have the same issues about other men that the nine of us did.

Chip August: Yeah, yeah, so rather that pathologize, rather than see it as this is a sickness, I get you just looked at other guys who shared that experience and tried to write a new experience.

Ken Solin: Exactly. I really didn't know. I only knew one of the other men and the way groups start is you know somebody and you pick him and then he knows somebody else and they know two other people and really that's how it started, the whole group came together I think in about a week or ten days at the most. It didn't take very long um everybody knew somebody but we didn't know one another so nobody knew anybody's history and nobody knew what kind of people they were getting with the first night.

Chip August: So um in your book, you talk a little bit about that uh that men deny their manhood, that was a phrase you used, I, I and then you said something about that they're unhappy and stuck in abhorrent behavior. Can you talk a little bit about how you see men denying their manhood?

Ken Solin: Oh, I think that because most men have a very false idea of what..about what being a man is uh because most men think it is to be a stiff upper lip sort of fellow and uh uh to cover for other men, to cover your own inadequacies or sense of inadequacies, uh unfortunately I think that there's not very many role models, and certainly the movie industry doesn't help that either, ah..they tend to glamorize uh the bad boys, the loners, the lone wolves and that's, to me at least, that's the worst thing you can teach young people is that  sort of being the bad boy, lone wolf is somehow going to get them anyplace.

Chip August: Yeah, it's sort of the westerns that I grew up on and probably you grew up on where, you know the the closest relationship that our hero has is the relationship with his hose (laughs) you know and you just, you just really can't imagine Roy Rogers or John Wayne, you know hugging his sidekick and saying, “You know, I really having a hard time with my anger today”.

Ken Solin: It's interesting you mention John Wayne because I, I remember watching a documentary about John Wayne on PBS a couple of years ago. His yup and nope sort of thing didn't work for him in his own life either, his personal life was a disaster. He had alcohol problems, he had multiple wives, he didn't have any particularly close male friends, so sucking it up didn't work for John Wayne.

Chip August: Well, there's a thought for us all, right, “Oh my God, if it didn't work for him, no wonder it's not working for me”. We want to pause for a moment and give a chance for our sponsors to support us and for us to support our sponsors. Uh as we go to break, I just uh want to remind you of a couple of things. One is that I've got some new sponsors and listeners of the show can get some pretty deep discounts on all kinds of things, so uh please listen to the messages and also go to the episode page on http://personallifemedia.com/ where you can find offers from Audible, and offers from, I've got a new client Adam and Eve-they have over 18,000 adult products and you can get up to 50% off on things, uh all kinds of things so um please check out the episode pages, listen to the messages and uh we'll be right back. You're listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I'm Chip August. We'll be back in a moment.

Chip August: Welcome back to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I'm your host Chip August. I'm talking to Ken Solin. He's the author of a book called “The Key to the Mens Room-What Men Talk About When Women Aren't Around” and we've been talking a little bit about men and be a man training and I think I'm, I think everything we've just been talking about leads us kinda up to the whole issue about trust, so um throughout the book um really you keep coming back to how do I trust other men? How do I trust women? What does trusting men have to do with trusting women? You know and so can we talk about trust a little bit here?

Ken Solin: Sure, I think that uh quite a few men, certainly most of the men in my group had very big issues with trust, about trust with women. Also, many of them had trust issues with men. The fellows who had trust issues with men could usually trace it back to their relationships with their fathers because certainly for a young boy the first place he's going to learn about trust is from his dad. If he didn't learn it from his dad, if in fact his dad turned out to be untrustworthy—um I've seen that in many, many men including myself—then the lesson of trust was lost. It never really happened um so men can learn from other men that trust is, in fact, safe.

Chip August: And what is it I'm trusting men to do or be?

Ken Solin: Uh to have my interest at heart when I talk about myself, not to have a judgment about it, not to have an opinion about it. In our group, we try to keep it experiential. If somebody's talking about going through a painful divorce, instead of a lot of advice or opinions or here's what you did wrong, what we look for is men to share their experiences and say, “Look, I went through the same situation, here's what I did that worked and here's what I did that didn't work. That's the sort of trust that men need from other men.

Chip August: And um, it seemed to me as I read the book that it for some of those men, it took years to actually just trust enough to tell their story.

Tom Solin: Yeah, I think in the beginning some of us jumped right in and talked about our dads but I remember I was the first actually to actually talk about my, my really painful experiences with my father, and there were other fellows that followed me but it turns out that the fellow who had the worst experiences, it took him two years of listening to people and he'd obviously, he was very shy and nobody wanted to jump on him but after two years I tried to probe gently and said, “Gee, don't you think it's time you shared your experiences about your father with us? You should feel safe by now but if you don't then we could talk about that.” and he immediately went into the story about his dad which was you know every time you think you had the worst experience, trust me, there's somebody who had a worse one and his was worse.

Chip August: This uh, this issue I call it the father wound, and I notice a lot of men have it, not all, I'm pleased to report there are men who actually have great relationships with their dads and you know, but a lot of us, it's a wound, you know, it's the thing we didn't get, it's the somehow the respect we wanted or the modeling that we didn't see or the from this hunger. Um, it seems to me that it's not really intuitive but until I heal that father wound it's really hard for me to actually be a grounded man with men or with women.

Ken Solin: Oh, I think that's absolutely true. I, I know that my ability uh to uh to have men friends really only began after I started doing this work and and I have to say that I've developed wonderful relationships in the group and outside the group with most of the guys in the group that I never, ever would have been capable of otherwise so that's absolutely true.

Chip August: And it seems like the healing itself is just the act of talking of just being self revealing.

Ken Solin: Self revealing, that's exactly the term. It's about being willing uh to uh to be vulnerable. I remember at a meeting once, one of the guys said to me I had been angry or something, he said, “Aren't you tired of being a tough guy?” and I responded, I said, “What do you mean tough guy?”, and I realized I was still that kid from Boston on the street, you know looking for somebody to jump on me, looking to have to duke it out just to get down the road and I realized it wasn't going to work for me and he asked me, “Do you know what vulnerability is?” and the truth is I have no idea, I didn't even have a dictionary definition in my mind and so it got explained to me and I started to at that specific meeting, I started to open my heart and be willing to trust guys not to trounce me and in truth, no one ever did.

Chip August: So, that word vulnerability, I'm, I, I had a therapist once who said to me, you know, started talking to me about vulnerability and I had that same moment of I'm not sure I'm not sure I know what that word means, you know, I think I know what it means to be weak, I think I know what it means to feel afraid, I think I know what it means to feel sad, but I'm not sure I knew what that meant. When you talk about vulnerability, what did you discover? What does it mean to be a strong man but also be vulnerable?

Ken Solin: To feel comfortable enough about yourself and about your feelings about yourself as a man, to offer the parts of you that may not be so stellar, that may not be so manly in terms of how people define that, to show who you really are, to be willing to show people, “Look, I'm not perfect. I'm certainly not the role model for every guy in America, but I'm on the way. I'm on the, I'm on the path. I'm not afraid to talk to you about who I really am.” This isn't something I don't suggest that men go up to strangers in the street and do. It has to be in a situation where there's some understanding that what's said stays there and so on.

Chip August: And um, it seems to me that a, a piece of the vulnerability that you all acquired had something to do with also learning something about boundaries.

Ken Solin: Oh very much about boundaries. Uh, you know I think that a lot of relationships do suffer because there are no boundaries, that in fact, even in my own marriage--which I think is fairly enlightened—you know we really work at it, there's times that I have to say to my wife, “You know this is not some place I want to go with you. This is really out of bounds. This is between me and the guys in the group or between me and my son, whatever it is.” I think that everything in a marriage, everything in a relationship is not open to scrutiny.

Chip August: So, to, I'm starting to get a picture here, you know like there was a moment when uh when we started when I'm sort of getting this picture of a bunch of guys who just wanted somebody to whine with and what I begin to hear here is it's men trying to learn how to be men with other men. Trying to learn how to trust each other, trying to learn how to set boundaries in their life with each other. Um, I have to say that a lot of the book, it feels like you guys kind of tread on each others boundaries. There's some pretty angry pushing into peoples lives. Is it sort of like you have to go past a boundary to know where it is?

Ken Solin: I think in, in our group, I think the boundaries have been somewhat suspended. You can't rea, I don't believe that men can really do the work together if there are boundaries. We had a fellow in the beginning who ended up dropping out, and every time he made a comment about his life, and he talked about it, and often it was dysfunctional with women, um, he would hear from guys about, “Hey, you know that doesn't sound right, that even sounds like misogyny”, and he'd get very upset and he'd say, “Well, that sounds like abuse”, and we'd say, “No, we're here to do the work together”, so he started coming to meetings and said “I have something I want to talk about but I don't want any feedback.” We said, “Gee, you know that's not what this is about. We're trying to help each other become better, if you just want to come and talk, then you're better off joining a book club. This is not a book club”, so yeah, I think sometimes you have to suspend boundaries in a group, especially if you know if it's obvious somebody's just hiding out. Uh, there is no hiding out in a mens group and there shouldn't be.

Chip August: So I also noticed as I read that um, a lot of anger got expressed. Can you talk about men and anger a little bit?

Ken Solin: Oh, I think that sadly there's an enormous amount of  angry men. I know even in my group there were more than I was prepared to deal with. I was an angry man, I think women always want to know what male anger is about. I can tell you that when a man explodes with his partner in a relationship, it's almost never about her, or anything she ever said. Men get triggered. Their old stuff, stuff that may have been in, that they may, stuff that they've stuffed, literally stuffed down in their psyches for ten, twenty, thirty, in my book, there's a guy who has stuff there for forty years. They stuff that pain instead of dealing with it because that's how they grew up thinking they were supposed to deal with it and every time somebody says something that even remotely triggers it, they explode, and I know I always did, so I had a terrible temper and I finally traced it back to where it started and, and most of the guys in the group were able to do the same and I would say that none of us are particularly angry men anymore.

Chip August: Well, that's a relief. Um, we're going to pause again for a break, give a chance for our sponsors to support us and us to support the sponsors. Um, if you like what you're listening to and you like the show. The way the show grows is by you sending a link to the show to your friends or perhaps going on the episode pages and one of the transcripts and maybe pulling out a line that touched you and send it to a friend and say, “Hey, I, I heard this guy talk about men and I thought this was really profound”, and that's the way we grow and I would really appreciate your support getting the show to more and more and more people. I think the things you listen to matter to you and I think they'll matter to others, so please help me grow the show by sending this to your friends and other people in your life and please listen to these messages and we'll be right back.

Chip August: Welcome back to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I'm your host, Chip August. We're talking to Ken Solin. I'm talking about his book, “The Key to the Mens Room: What Men Talk About When Women Aren't Around”, and we've just been talking about men and how men can teach men to be better men and I, I, I kind of wonder what do you hope men will learn from reading your book?

Ken Solin: Oh, I think the biggest lesson men can learn is that men can help other men heal. In fact, I, I really believe that it's only other men that can help men heal. Uh, mens issues are very specific, uh to the gender and I think the notion that a woman can heal a man certainly they could help in some ways but for men to truly heal their deep male wounds, especially father wounds, they need to talk with other men.

Chip August: And is that why you wrote the book?

Ken Solin: Well, actually I wrote the book for women, uh, because the best way to reach men is through women. What I wanted to show women was what is possible. I think about women dating, and having no idea what to ask in terms of  men and their backgrounds and there are some things I think are important to know so um, it's for women to show them what's possible, and to show them not everybody gets it either. There's fellows in the group who never got it. Some left, some stayed but still didn't get it. It isn't the panacea. A mens group isn't necessarily going to be an enormous success for everybody but at least women can see what is possible when men get together and do the work.

Chip August: OK, so that intrigued me, what questions should a woman ask a man?

Ken Solin: I think the first thing any woman should ask a man is does he have any men friends, really intimate friends, not guys he plays basketball with on Saturday morning, but, but men he can really talk about his life with. Does he know any of those kind of men. If the answer is no, there is something that's wrong and you're going to end up being his whole world. Unless you want to end up taking on the responsibility of being a mans entire social life, then you don't want to be around somebody like that. That's, I think that's the most important question. Whether a mans done some work on himself emotional work, that's also, I think, a very good question. Doesn't have to be in therapy. Has he read any books, has he ever been in a group, a mens group. I think those are the two most important questions to ask.

Chip August: OK, so you said that and I had this moment of, yeah so she asks him do you have any intimate friends and he thinks about the guy he plays golf with every Saturday, or you know the guys he plays racquetball with every Thursday afternoon, “Yeah, they're my intimate friends, I, you know, we talk about sports and we talk about who we're going to vote for and we argue”. Um, can, are men, isn't it that kind of a hard question for a guy to answer?
Ken Solin: Uh, it's only a hard question for a guy to answer if he doesn't have intimate male friends (laugh). Uh, I think if a guy starts talking about golf and basketball buddies, you gotta, a woman should probe a little deeper and ask, “No, when your life if falling apart, when you got fired or laid off or, or, you're, you're something really awful happened to you, who did you call? Who did you turn to?” That's the way to determine if he has intimate male friends or not.

Chip August: I have to say you started this interview, we talked a little bit about Robert Bly, some people don't know who Robert Bly was but he was very, very big in the mens movement, particularly in the 70s and 80s, he helped a lot of men touch into some deep, profound truths about how to be the men they wanted to be. He's actually a poet, (laughs) and an author. Um, but Robert Bly once said something that I thought was really, really profound. He said, “You know, to really be fully seated in your manhood, you need a younger man that you can be a mentor to, that you can be a teacher to, that you can be there for, and you need an older man who can be that mentor for you.” And somewhere in life, you move through those three positions. You know, you start out only having mentors and then somewhere in the middle, you have a mentor and you are a mentor and somewhere towards the end, you become a mentor, and I think that's the other question I'd would invite women to ask their dates, you know? Like, who mentors you and who do you mentor? 

Ken Solin: That's a really good point, uh, I remember twenty-five years ago there was a French fellow, actually, who was almost twenty-five years older than I was and he sort of took me under my wing, he was I was an angry young guy and he taught me how to mountain bike, and we use to go riding together but then we'd go back to his house and, and I started going to his house every afternoon actually, after work and we'd have a glass of wine and just talk and all of a sudden I realized it was possible to love other men. You know for a man to really love other men and to really trust him, he was probably the biggest male influence in my life and I sort of stumbled onto him. I wish I'd known him years before but I did meet him through other people who became very good friends.

Chip August: Yeah, I'm very fortunate that the time I most needed it, I met Stan Dale, who's the guy who developed the Human Awareness Institute, which I work for, you all know, and for whom I run workshops. Um, anyway, we are coming to the end of our time together. This has been a terrific interview. I want to know if people want to read your book or they want to get in touch with you, how do they find you?

Ken Solin: Uh, there's a couple of places they could do that. One is I have a website, it's www.kensolin.com which will take you to my book, as well. Um, my book with be available on Amazon in about 2½ weeks, so you'll be able to buy it online and hopefully it'll be in bookstores shortly after that.

Chip August: One of the things about the immediacy of an interview is you don't quite know when people will listen to the interview and it hangs around for a long time, so 2½ weeks would be what month and what year?

Ken Solin: Um (laughs), sometime around mid November 2008.

Chip August: Thank you very much. (laughs) Sorry, it's just we forget, you know people sometimes find this interview a year, two, three, four years from when we made it. Um, ah, I ah, also want listeners to know as always, we will put Ken's links on my episode pages, http://personallifemedia.com, so um, come to http://personallifemedia.com, look for Sex, Love and Intimacy. You'll find Ken's links uh, you'll find Ken's bio, and also a transcript of the show. Um, also if you want to give me advice, if you want to give me follow up or uh criticism or comments about the show, you can send me email at  [email protected]  that's all one word, personal life media dot com. I read all the email I get and often my listeners suggest guests and it's very nice. It helps me, it helps you, you get to hear from people that you really appreciate. Um, we're coming to the end of the show, I always like to ask my guests, do you have an an exercise, something that men or men and women could do that would improve the love, intimacy and sexuality in their lives?

Ken Solin: Yes, I do and I think that for men, they can tell their partners, “Listen, I want to unload something that's been in my heart for a long time and I never had a chance to talk about with you, or I was sort of fearful about talking with you about this issue and all I want is your promise that if I do discuss it with you, I can trust you never to bring it up in a negative way, never to use it against me, uh, because that would shut me down, but I really do want to have an open heart with you so let me share my, let me share one of my painful lifes experiences with you so you'll understand why I have the attitude I have about some of the issues in our relationship.” And I would ask women to hold that sacred because otherwise, you'll shut them down forever.

Chip August: I, I, I'd coach a woman as you listen, uh, my experience is that for men, when women be quiet, and stay quiet in those kinds of conversations, often the place the man starts isn't where he ends up, and that your, your willingness to just be present in those feelings has him continue to talk and continue to talk. So, women please don't try to fix, don't try to correct, don't offer any advice, and really just hanging out in the silence often will get you the very kind of connection you want and I want to say that women, I think it's a great exercise for you to do with your men, so to sit and talk about a painful moment in your life and men, the exact same advice (laughs) you know, like if you're not, if you don't understand, ask a question, but if you're just trying to fix or trying to make it better or trying to lead, see if you can just shut up (laughs) and really hear what your partner wants you to hear and feel the feelings that come with it. Ken, you have been a terrific guest. I really appreciate uh, I really appreciate you coming and being on the show. I want to say to those of you listening, it's a good book. It's a easy read, it's a, you really feel like you get to know the members of that support group. The name of the book is “The Key to the Mens Room: What Men Talk About When Women Aren't Around”. We didn't mention, but it is worth mentioning that at the end of each chapter, Ken has a psychologist, woman, kind of draw some points for women to notice about what just transpired in that chapter and all of that, I think, adds a lot of depth. Thanks for being on the show.

Ken Solin: Thanks for having me, Chip.

Chip August: And that brings us to the end of another episode of “Sex, Love and Intimacy”. Thank you for listening and I hope you'll join me again next time.