Episode 19: "Challenges and Solutions for Today’s Modern, Dynamic Women" with Dr. Herb Goldberg
Alissa interviews Psychologist and author Dr. Herb Goldberg on “Challenges and Solutions for Today’s Modern, Dynamic Women”
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This is Part Two of two-part program.
Alissa Kriteman: Welcome to Just For Women: Dating, Relationships, and Sex. I’m your host, Alissa Kriteman. This show is dedicated to bringing you the most insightful information available today from today’s top experts, to help you be the most dynamic, empowered woman you can be. Today I’m excited to welcome back Dr. Herb Goldberg. Dr. Goldberg is a renowned psychologist and author of many amazing book, primarily What Neb Still Don’t Know About Women and What Men Really Want. And he’s dedicated his life to helping men and women really understand each other, understand the mechanics of relationship, who we are as individuals, and how we can be more effective in love. Dr. Goldberg did an interview with me for our Summer of Love series, and we talked a lot about what has gotten better with man-woman relationships and what has really actually gotten worse. Today we’re going to go a little bit deeper with some of the concepts that we talked about in our last interview, namely a woman’s potential power in relationship, but let me first tell you a little bit about Dr. Goldberg. He’s the author of eight books. He’s a passionate men’s advocate and Professor of Psychology at California State University in Los Angeles, where he teaches classes in psychology, psychotherapy, and human sexuality. He’s appeared on numerous talk shows and has been featured in publications such as The LA Times, Houston Chronicle, USA Today, Men’s Health, and Psychology Today. He’s been a regular guest on CNN News, The Charlie Rose Show, and hundreds of radio interviews. He’s also written many articles for publications such as Cosmo, Glamour, Men’s Health, Mademoiselle, Psychology Today, Vogue, Woman’s Day, Ladies Home Journal, New Woman, McCall’s [laughs], Harper’s Bazaar, and Women’s Digest.
Herb Goldberg: From the time men are little boys they’re just externalized, so they’re just focused on achievement; they’re focused on ‘doing’, so to speak. They’re focused on competing. They’re focused on proving themselves. But there’s a big empty space there when it comes to their personal selves… Women have the exact opposite, that actually undermines not only their relationships with men, but it undermines their mothering experience as well. It’s what I call “fusion craving”. Fusion craving is a kind of a bottomless need for closeness, meaning it can never be fulfilled; it can never be satisfied. It’s sort of the psychological equivalent, the polar opposite of men’s need for distance, men’s need for space… I’ve seen that in very powerful middle-aged women who are very successful in their careers and very dynamic women. But they’re completely incapable when they’re in an intimate relationship. They’re completely incapable of identifying their anger, dealing with conflict overtly, setting clear boundaries, being very clear about what they want and what they don’t want… The reality of men is very difficult for women, so they have a tendency to need to romanticize. When they meet a man, they need to feel that he’s different from all other men, because there’s a part of them that has learned that men are dangerous, that men will take advantage of you, that men are hurtful, and so they tend to want to romanticize whatever man that they are into and put him on some kind of a pedestal, make him different than all other men. And then of course, he’s going to fall off that pedestal…
Alissa Kriteman: Dr. Goldberg, welcome back to the show.
Herb Goldberg: Okay, thank you for having me.
Alissa Kriteman: Let’s get right into it. Let’s talk a little bit about where we left off with a woman’s potential power in a relationship, understanding what we are missing, that can help us be more effective in our relationships with men.
Herb Goldberg: Right. As I mentioned to you last time, most men have a huge vacuum in their lives when it comes to their personal lives, and they’re kind of really at loose ends and they get very profoundly lonely when they’re without a central woman in their life. They don’t get nourished the way women do. Women get nourished by their support system, and they get nourished by family, they get nourished by their own children. There’s a lot of ways women nourish their personal needs, but that’s not true for men. From the time men are little boys they’re just externalized, so they’re just focused on achievement; they’re focused on ‘doing’, so to speak. They’re focused on competing. They’re focused on proving themselves. But there’s a big empty space there when it comes to their personal selves, their deep feelings, and just having central people in their life, somebody to talk to, somebody to be there with them. And so when they attach to a woman, when they make any kind of a commitment to a woman, or when they even get involved with a woman who’s really interested in them and really knows how to hear them and make them feel safe and allow them to open up, they tend to bond. And they really crave that. And once they get that, because men don’t have really great relationship skills, once they feel safe and connected in a relationship, they tend to stay there. They don’t want to go out and start all over again. So women have a tremendous amount of power, but they dissipate that power, unfortunately, in a lot of different ways.
Alissa Kriteman: And we dissipate it because we don’t understand fundamentally who men are, at their core, and who they are groomed to be. Because what you said is they’re groomed to compete, to produce results, be not in touch with their emotions, and those are the biggest frustrating factors for women.
Herb Goldberg: Right, but they also… women give away their power, lose their power, because of the unconscious, I would say, equivalent of men’s tendency to be disconnected and to fear intimacy. Women have the exact opposite, that actually undermines not only their relationships with men, but it undermines their mothering experience as well. It’s what I call “fusion craving”. Fusion craving is a kind of a bottomless need for closeness, meaning it can never be fulfilled; it can never be satisfied. It’s sort of the psychological equivalent, the polar opposite of men’s need for distance, men’s need for space, which is also, if men aren’t aware of that part of themselves, that tends to grow and be bottomless as well. And it’s the central reason why men are often so alienated and lonely, and drive away their children, drive away anybody who’s close to them, because of the fact that they tend to be so difficult to bond with, so difficult to get close to. Well women have the opposite bottomless direction, which is fusion craving, and that fusion craving tends to cause in women a sense of being discontented, particularly with their relationships with men, so…
Alissa Kriteman: Wait a minute. So fusion craving, to get a little more clear here, is women are displacing their need for intimacy onto their children.
Herb Goldberg: Right, but to back up, a lot of what we think of as gender, masculinity and femininity, are unconscious states of what I call internalization and externalization, and being externalized, and they have a whole set of defense mechanisms that promote that. And women have a whole set of defense mechanisms that promote their internalization, which also contributes to their tendency to have a fragile attachment to the outside world. That’s why a lot of women, when they get into positions of power and control get very uncomfortable, and many often walk away from it. They get very… it makes them really anxious, I would say. So they have this tendency to have this bottomless need for intimacy, reassurance, closeness, that they then expect to be fulfilled by men who really have no capacity for filling it. So the woman is really not able to see who the man is accurately. Then she projects this need onto him, he fails at fulfilling it, he has to fail at fulfilling it; everybody actually fails at fulfilling it, but the man certainly does because he’s not focused that way at all, so women have a tendency to move that fusion craving onto other objects. Very often that turns out to be their own children, or that may turn out to be some kind of an intense focus on a guru, or some religious experience. Or in everyday life it could be soap operas, it could be food; the fusion craving can be redirected in a lot of different ways, but the point is that women need to recognize that this is a problem.
Alissa Kriteman: Right.
Herb Goldberg: This is a problem that contaminates and undermines, contaminates their relationship, and it also undermines them and it’s really the source of a lot of their own depression. It’s a source of a lot their own feeling of not being ever really satisfied. They need to understand where that’s coming from. And they need to understand that it’s almost an addictive craving that can’t be fulfilled, and that they have to acknowledge. And it’s difficult to acknowledge it because it comes coded under the heading of ‘being loving’, and ‘being caring’, and ‘being close’, and our society tends to applaud all of those things and it doesn’t push women to look deeper into what this is really all about.
Alissa Kriteman: So what is at the root of this fusion craving? Because it sounds like even if our lover, our partner, our husband gave us this intimacy that we were looking for, it sounds like you’re saying we still wouldn’t be satisfied.
Herb Goldberg: Exactly. Exactly.
Alissa Kriteman: So what do we do?
Herb Goldberg: Well first off, the root of the craving is in the… I describe it in the book What Men Still Don’t Know About Women, Relationships and Love, the root of that craving are a set of defense mechanisms that are built into femininity. The opposite defense mechanisms are built into masculinity. And those defense mechanisms involve the repression of things like aggression, assertion, autonomy, sexuality, meaning very early in life, being feminine means you don’t get angry; it means you avoid conflict; it means you’re not too aggressive; it means you’re not direct. It means that you’re not too overt with your sexuality. So a lot of those things, the aggression, the assertion, the autonomy, the sexuality and so on, gets blocked. It gets defended against. It’s there, but it’s under a layer of defense mechanisms, that whenever it gets triggered alarm bells go off, and women back off from it. They’re not able to comfortably express it. And I’ve seen that in very powerful middle-aged women who are very successful in their careers and very dynamic women. But they’re completely incapable when they’re in an intimate relationship. They’re completely incapable of identifying their anger, dealing with conflict overtly, setting clear boundaries, being very clear about what they want and what they don’t want. All of that’s blocked, even though they may be doing it in the business world extremely well, and certainly have the capacity for it. So they have these defense mechanisms, these internalized defense mechanisms that have to be worked through. And that’s hard work. That’s really almost therapy work because in order to do that, you have to break through barriers of anxiety. It’s the same thing that men do. When men internalize, a lot of alarm bells go off too, because they immediately feel like they’re losing their manhood. When they become more internalized, more focused on their inner self, their more vulnerable self, the alarm bells go off that tell them, “You’re not going to be a man anymore,” or “You’re going to be… you’re making yourself vulnerable. You shouldn’t be trusting; you shouldn’t be opening yourself up. It’s damaging your image. You’re going to lose people’s respect. You’re going to lose your status and your power and your position.” So there’s an immediate retreat form that. Women have the opposite struggle.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, it’s amazing. You know, we all desire this intimacy and closeness and bonding, and it’s sad; it’s almost laughable, really, when you look at the deeper core of what’s going on, is that we are not supported, taught, nurtured to do the things, take the steps, practice the habits that would cause intimacy to happen between men and women.
Herb Goldberg: Exactly, and not only that, but to a certain extent we’re disoriented. We’re “driven crazy” by these expectations, the mirage of these expectations that cannot be fulfilled, but we don’t see how that lack of fulfillment is built into our deeper dynamic, so then we tend to feel that we’ve failed. We have to tendency to feel like there’s something damaging about us, and that everybody else is succeeding in experiencing this elusive experience of deep connection and love, and fulfilling relationship, and that somehow we’re not and therefore there’s something wrong with us because our marriage doesn’t feel good or isn’t working. And so it kind of drives you crazy, makes you feel like you’re really damaged, and it’s certainly an element in creating depression.
Alissa Kriteman: Right. Well it sounds like we’re taking the first steps here, which is why I love having you on the show, is because you’re really increasing the awareness for people, that “you’re not crazy. Yeah, you are disoriented, because your whole life you’ve been trying to go after this level of achievement that we weren’t fostered to develop.
Herb Goldberg: Right, and that we have certain defense mechanisms built in that undermine that quest. Same thing for men. Men have a real struggle, and I write about that in the new book, which is they really do try to, let’s say, be really good fathers and have really great relationships with their kids. They often do try to have a friendship support network, and they fail at it. And they don’t understand why they fail at it. And the reason they fail at it is because of these deeper defense mechanisms, which actually create their reality. This is what creates how other people experience them. And so there’s a big gap between what I call ‘intention and impact’. Men and women often have really good intentions. Men really want to have close relationships; they want to be loving. And women really do want to be strong and separate, maintain a strong identity of their own, but the deeper defense mechanisms undermine them. And what women and children very often experience when they’re with a man is that he’s very difficult to talk to, that he’s very distractible, that he’s sort of full of himself, that he’s closed off, that it’s really hard to get close to him, that he lectures instead of listens. And what men experience when they’re with a woman is her tendency to be overly dependent, to not give clear messages, to overreact to conflict to use her sexuality in a kind of a manipulative way or to be bottomless in her needs, and impossible to satisfy because she always seems frustrated by the man’s inability, or his so-called disability. So men experience the reality of fusion craving and these defense mechanisms in women and that’s what impacts them and causes their reactions. And likewise women experience men’s impact, so men may have great intentions, but if they’re not in touch with their process elements those intentions will not be fulfilled.
Alissa Kriteman: That’s a great concept on both parts because if we can sit down with our partner and talk about, “This was the impact on me; can I check into your intention?” Just that dialog alone would start to unwind…
Herb Goldberg: Oh yeah, and it’s also the beginning of a lot of tragedies, because I think men spend years and years trying to foster their close relationships with their children. They spend years and years often trying to develop friendships, or trying to have a really loving relationship with a woman, and then to all of a sudden find out that all of their good intentions have led to naught, and that in fact their kids are not bonded to them, that their kids do not really feel close to them, and that the friends that they’ve been seeking to nurture are really not there, or that the woman that they thought they gave everything to is full of anger towards them, and really has a sense of having been injured by the man. It’s a shock.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah.
Herb Goldberg: And it’s a shock that many men experience, where they really think they’re putting out their best, and we see that in some of the high-profile divorce cases, where these fathers are obviously doing all of the wrong things and they don’t know it, because on an intention level they’re certainly well-intentioned. They certainly do want to create the loving relationship, but their impact, the way they’re experienced, what they actually… their ‘vibe’, so to speak, a term from the ‘summer of love’, their vibe is alienating, and it’s your vibe that creates the reality, it’s not your intention. Intentions don’t create reality.
Alissa Kriteman: Right, it’s really the action, and then they’re not addressed anyhow.
Herb Goldberg: It’s the impact they have.
Alissa Kriteman: It’s a real spot that men are in! We are going to have to take a break. This is really amazing stuff. Thank you so much. We’re talking with Herb Goldberg. I’m your host, Alissa Kriteman. You’re listening to Just For Women: Dating, Relationships and Sex. We’re going to take a break to support our sponsors and we’ll be right back.
Alissa Kriteman: Welcome back to Just For Women: Dating, Relationships and Sex. I’m your host, Alissa Kriteman. We’re talking with Dr. Herb Goldberg, renowned psychologist and author, a man who’s dedicated his life to helping men and women understand their differences, and what we can do to have more love, intimacy and amazing relationships in our life. So Dr. Goldberg, we were talking about many amazing topics in our last segment, ‘intention versus impact’, ‘how women lose their power in relationship’, how we can be powerful in relationship. Now I want to talk about something you touched upon, which is a woman’s sexuality. Or really just men’s and women’s sexuality in general. And let’s talk about that a little bit, because I think there’s a lot of confusion around what sex is, how men and women use their sexuality to unconsciously get what they want in relationship, and I want to hear what you have to say about that.
Herb Goldberg: Well there’s so… it’s such a fertile topic; sexuality is such a fertile topic in terms of really understanding what goes on between men and women. I think that the fundamental thing both men and women need to know before anything else is the roots of a lot of their conditioning. I think women get lots and lots of very negative messages about sexuality when they’re little girls. And some of that is very direct, and some of it is more subtle. But the message that they get about men is that men are sexually exploitative, and basically that’s all that most men really want, is sex. And I think they pick up very early in life these tendencies for men to objectify women sexually, meaning when a man is interested in a woman, very often his mind goes towards sex, so what this creates in women is a sort of defensive layer, a self-protective layer, rightfully so, around men. And I think men have the opposite issue, which is they have a strong tendency to objectify women sexually, but to really not even understand how to relate to them. They don’t know, understand, how to be intimate. And their own sensual capacity is very limited, so from the time of being a little boy, the whole business of kissing or hugging is anathema to many boys; it’s considered unmasculine. So if you want to hug and kiss a little boy, or particularly as he starts to grow a little older and he’s seven or eight or nine, he recoils from it. It’s almost like he’s embarrassed by it, he’s ashamed of it, so any kind of prolonged touching or affection… So both men and women have a disability, just to begin with. A lot of the hot sex that goes on in romantic relationships at the beginning is really not about sex at all. It’s really about projecting onto the other person, to see them as some kind of a rescuer, to fulfill certain other kinds of needs that we have, and so that triggers a very intense sexual response. But it’s really… it’s not really authentic sex. It’s defensive sex. It’s not really a sex that’s based on two people who have really a capacity to make a safe and caring physical connection with each other. And the reality then turns out that particularly for women, their sexual connection to a man tends to be problematic; it tends to be fragile, easily broken. It tends to be very conditional. They have to be treated in a certain kind of a way, romantically; their intimacy needs have to be satisfied. They have very large expectations, and when those expectations are not met, the tendency is for their sexuality to be shut down.
Alissa Kriteman: But it sounds like, like you were saying about conditioning, women are conditioned to shut down their sexuality. So we’re talking here about having authentic sex versus defensive sex…
Herb Goldberg: Right, very good.
Alissa Kriteman: …yet men are groomed to not kiss and hug and all of that. So, that’s what a woman wants; men aren’t naturally inclined to give that on a free-flowing basis. And then women are taught to repress their sexual…
Herb Goldberg: And to have very intense romantic expectations about their relationship with a man. Part of that is related to the fact that the reality of men is very difficult for women, so they have a tendency to need to romanticize. When they meet a man, they need to feel that he’s different from all other men, because there’s a part of them that has learned that men are dangerous, that men will take advantage of you, that men are hurtful, and so they tend to want to romanticize whatever man that they are into and put him on some kind of a pedestal, make him different than all other men. And then of course, he’s going to fall off that pedestal, and then she’s going to recoil from him sexually.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, exactly. He’ll fail because he was never that person in the first place, and we want to romanticize this because, you’re saying we have grown up with these negative perceptions of who men are.
Herb Goldberg: Right. And when sexuality isn’t authentic, it tends to be fragile.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah.
Herb Goldberg: In other words, if your sexuality is driven by other kinds of needs, when those needs get jarred, your sexuality disappears. The same is true for men. Men’s sexuality is basically defensive and inauthentic as well, and very few men can actually handle the reality of closeness with a woman.
Alissa Kriteman: Why?
Herb Goldberg: Because they don’t know how to relate intimately to her. They don’t know how to really talk to her. They don’t know how to express themselves on a real personal level, so they tend to objectify women, which means their sexuality is based on their need to keep the woman as some kind of a fantasy, some kind of an elusive challenge. And when they actually have to deal with a real person, who has real needs, and who expresses those needs directly, it tends to interfere with their tendency to fantasize. And that’s why a lot of women know that men very often need porno, or late at night they’ll go over to their computer and dial in on some sex website or something, when actually they have a woman upstairs in the bed, who would love to have sex with them. But unfortunately, when a woman becomes a real person, for most men it transforms the man’s sexual interest in her. So it’s a struggle on both sides. It’s a struggle for men to relate to women as people, and it’s a struggle for women to overcome their resistances and their dears of men, and to really relate to the man as he really is, and not as a romantic fantasy.
Alissa Kriteman: Right. What are men doing to learn how to get closer to women and be more affective?
Herb Goldberg: That’s a very good question, and I think the first thing most men need to do, which they really don’t know because women tend to accommodate them, is most men are not in touch with their limitations and their disabilities until it’s too late, and women have a tendency not to tell a man at the beginning, because they’re afraid they’re going to lose the man. So they don’t really… they’re not really authentic with the man in bed. Because they feel that men have fragile egos, or they want to please the man, or they don’t want to be abandoned. So they give a man what he wants or tell him what he wants to hear, and so the real challenge is for there to be a sufficiently trusting and loving relationship, so then the woman can tell a man honestly what it is like to make love to him, and what she needs, and to really kind of join him in the development of that. And likewise men have to do the same thing, but they also have to acknowledge their own disabilities. They have to acknowledge their own tendencies to want to fantasize, their own tendencies to want to escape real relationships, and create sexual fantasies, which isn’t real sex at all. It’s a way of distancing and alienating your partner.
Alissa Kriteman: It sounds like what we need, A Number One, is to lose our egos so we can just really be open to the other person’s needs, and then be present with this other person. It almost gets into, almost like a Buddhist kind of thing, but really I’m always searching for solutions for men and women to help create greater intimacy. And if yes, we can understand we both have handicaps on both of our sides, with our emotions, with our expectations, great, but now what can we do? Here we are in the bedroom, looking at each other. He’s freaked out because he’s afraid of intimacy. She’s freaked out because she’s afraid to say, “I’d like you to touch me here,” and you know, it’s like, what’s happening here?
Herb Goldberg: Exactly. Well, that’s where romance creates a problem, because romance creates such intense expectations and a tendency to want to avoid negatives and conflict, and to want to keep everything loving and nice. Real relationships, and I made this point in one of my previous books, but real relationships have to be ragged at the beginning. The reality of relationships is that men and women, because of their polarized defense mechanisms really, or their different ways of experiencing reality and their different issues, the beginning of a real relationship is going to be a real struggle. It’s going to be a ragged, “Come here… go away… I love you… I can’t stand you… you scare me… I need you…” a whole host of very confused messages, and there has to be a lot of tolerance for this back-and-forth kind of a thing, and for the growth process.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah, I can see most people walking away when things get rough. It’s just so much easier to walk away.
Herb Goldberg: Exactly. And in order for things to improve in bed, you have to… they can’t just explode into great sex. You sort of have to work your way into it slowly and in a healthy relationship sex gets better and better.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah.
Herb Goldberg: And in an unhealthy relationship sex is great immediately, and then starts to go downhill.
Alissa Kriteman: [laughs] We have got to wrap up here, but I do want to ask you one more question. And here it is: Why can’t men handle a sexually empowered woman?
Herb Goldberg: Well because, I think a sexually empowered woman is a real woman. A sexually empowered woman is a woman in touch with her sexuality, and she’s not a pleaser, she’s not a culminator, she’s not a fantasy, and that hits right into the blind spot of a lot of men who, even though they don’t know it, most men have a lot of fear around sex. What they’re interested in and what turns them on is fantasy, but the reality of sex, which is a fully-grown woman, who is very much in touch with her body and her needs, and who doesn’t play the game of seduction and manipulation, but who’s just a friend who enjoys the sexual experience, men have difficulty with that. And a sexually empowered woman, therefore, hits into the blind spot of men.
Alissa Kriteman: It’s kind of sad, you know, as women become more and more empowered to ask for what they want, and I’ve done many interviews on this show with sex and intimacy coaches really teaching women and men how to ask for what they want in the bedroom, but… and that’s why I wanted to ask you that question, because I want women to know that it’s okay to go for your sexual expression. It’s okay to continue to develop yourself as a sexual being and really work to bring your partner up with you.
Herb Goldberg: Exactly. And don’t be disappointed, because you know a lot of women think, “Boy, if I get in touch with my sexuality, and I’m really expressive of my sexuality, I’m going to have great sex with my man.” And then when that doesn’t happen, when they find that instead it actually… he tends to become threatened by it, to not take that personally, and to not see that as a rejection, but rather to see that as part of his struggle. And if she doesn’t over-react to it, and stays focused on getting her own needs met rather than on the man’s response or the man’s performance, just focus on the man as a person, the fact that she likes the guy and wants to be close to him, and is willing to take responsibility to a certain extent for her own orgasm and such, she can help to bring that relationship sexually into a better place.
Alissa Kriteman: How can a woman be responsible for her own orgasm without alienating her partner?
Herb Goldberg: Well I think, for example, a lot of men would be relieved if a woman didn’t expect the man to sort of make the orgasm possible. Women can do that in a lot of different ways. They can certainly do that by knowing their own bodies, and knowing how to have sex with a man in a way that satisfies them almost regardless what the man does.
Alissa Kriteman: So if a woman is with a man who is threatened by her ability to produce an orgasm either on her own or with him, what’s going on there?
Herb Goldberg: Well certainly I don’t believe that the woman should be faking orgasm.
Alissa Kriteman: No, no, I’m talking about she knows how to give herself an orgasm, but clearly women don’t want to sit around masturbating all the time. That’s, you know, we like having sex with men.
Herb Goldberg: All right.
Alissa Kriteman: So, but many times, I can see men… like you said, they get threatened. They have fear around sex.
Herb Goldberg: Right.
Alissa Kriteman: So, should we just leave? I would think there’s got to be some dialog happening with the man…
Herb Goldberg: Oh no, you don’t leave at all. What you do is you go into a ‘no-pressure’ kind of a situation, where you just focus on being with the man physically, and just slow it way down. And when you slow it way down, you may start to bring it back up. Once a man feels that you’re not there expecting him to have a powerful instant erection that’s maintained for a long time, and that he knows exactly how to touch you and exactly what to do, once a man feels free of that kind of an expectation, his sexuality can start to emerge. But you may have to watch him sort of… and that may be a shock to realize that the man is no more authentically sexual than most women are, and that he really has to develop an authentic sexuality, and he has to learn how to feel safe and comfortable with his own body, and to trust his penis, so to speak, and to not have an adversarial relationship with his penis, where he sees himself being undermined somehow because he can’t maintain an erection or something, and then he starts to feel like there’s something wrong with his equipment, and starts to get panicky and that kind of a thing. So it’s almost a childlike state. So women need to accept that reality, that men’s sexuality generally is not a genuine sexuality, and he has to learn how to be sexual just in the same way that women have to learn how to be sexual.
Alissa Kriteman: What is going on with a man if he cannot maintain an erection? What are some of the things that might be going on for him?
Herb Goldberg: Well I think probably the number one thing is when the reality of the relationship, either because… either for unhealthy reasons, because the woman has gotten too smothering or dependent, or for healthy reasons, meaning that the woman is just being genuinely and authentically sexual. She’s no longer being a fantasy. He can no longer control the situation. He has to deal with a real person with real needs. And he no longer has a challenge. Remember, most men are groomed to see sex as a challenge. They see sex as scoring. They see sex as overcoming a woman’s resistance, getting her into bed, so to speak, seducing her into bed, seeing how quickly they can get her into bed. So a lot of their sexuality is contingent upon maintaining a challenge. When that challenge is not present, when the woman is just there, fully sexual, with her own needs out front, she’s not a fantasy, and she doesn’t give them a lot of resistance, a lot of the triggers for his sexuality disappear. And all of a sudden, his genuine underlying fears of intimacy start to emerge and then the penis won’t respond.
Alissa Kriteman: Interesting. Because he’s actually, I mean it could be, one of the things you’re saying is the challenge is gone, and he really now has to deal with is own deep vulnerabilities, and that will affect his erection.
Herb Goldberg: And his own deep lack of real sexuality.
Alissa Kriteman: Wow!
Herb Goldberg: Because his sexuality was fantasy-ridden and was disconnected from any sensuality, because part of real sexuality is closeness. It’s prolonged physical connection. It involves communication. It involves just being comfortable with another person’s body and with your own body.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah.
Herb Goldberg: And most men are not. It’s just a matter of fact. What they’re into are hot sex erections, a hot fantasy body, kinky experiences, that kind of thing. But that is defensive sex. That’s not real sex.
Alissa Kriteman: Humph. We’ve got to go [laughs]. But I feel like I could talk to you all day.
Herb Goldberg: Well, there’s an awful lot to be talked about.
Alissa Kriteman: We might have to have you back again! Really, thank you. Thanks you so much for really being a part of helping women feel all right with being more sexually expressed women, more empowered women. That is really what my show is all about. And thank you for the work that you’ve done, the incredible work that you’ve done to help us understand who we are as individuals and how we’re unconsciously sabotaging ourselves and our relationships.
Herb Goldberg: Well I appreciate that, because this has been my lifelong work, really. And in my private practice as well, I’ve worked with many, many people on these issues. I know how difficult these issues are, and I know what my struggle has always been, which is to communicate a lot of these things in an accessible and meaningful way, so that people really get it, and understand where things are coming from, because I think getting the map correct is really important.
Alissa Kriteman: Absolutely. Tell our listeners where we can find you. What’s your website?
Herb Goldberg: It’s (email) DrHerbGoldberg@aol.com, and my office is 323-225-7770. And my website is www.HerbGoldbergPhD.com.
Alissa Kriteman: Fantastic. And we can find your book there and how to contact you privately there.
Herb Goldberg: Right.
Alissa Kriteman: And also, I want people to know that Dr. Goldberg did another interview, with Dr. Lori Buckley, another host on the Personal Life Media Network, so they talk about what men really want, and a whole other variety of topics, so check out that show as well. And listeners, thank you again for tuning in to Just For Women. I’d love it, love it, love it, if you emailed me at Alissa@PersonalLifeMedia.com. Give me your comments on the show, ask me any questions, and let me know what you want to hear, who you want me to interview. And for text and transcripts of the show and other shows on Personal Life Media, please visit our website, at www.PersonalLifeMedia.com. Dr. Goldberg, thank you again for being on the show. It’s really always a pleasure to have you here.
Herb Goldberg: Thanks for the opportunity.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah. I am signing off. I’m your host, Alissa Kriteman, always in service of providing you the most insightful information to help you live your dreams, here on Just For Women: Dating, Relationships and Sex. We’ll see you next time.
Announcer: Find more great shows like this on personallifemedia.com.