Strangely, Mother Nature endowed men and women with not just different hormones, but with ones that ensure conflicting drives, needs, and skills. If this is a joke, billions of rattled couples can assure Her that it’s really not funny.
How did this happen? Survival of the species, my friend. While men tend to be testosterone dominant, estrogen, progesterone and oxytocin (the bonding hormone) tend to dominate the fair sex. Cavemen, who were supposed to provide for the family by hunting fierce game, and to protect it from said fierce game as well as from brutal enemies, got the testosterone (T). They also got a nonstop sex drive to keep the species going. Estrogen, on the other hand, gifted women with observational, emotional and communication skills that enabled them to connect with and raise their young. Their sex drive wasn’t supposed to be nonstop because if it was, who would take care of the kids? And with their oxytocin creating a profound mother-child attachment, they stuck around to make sure their offspring thrived.
Makes sense. But these same hormones play out differently between the sexes. Here are just a few of the many examples of why male/female opposites make being in relationship so challenging.
- Testosterone (T) gives men a competitive drive to win. Oxytocin (OT) gives women a drive for bonding and relationship. Hence the career vs. relationship conflict.
- T gives men a drive to be the Alpha male and to dominate. OT gives women a drive for empathy, bonding and cooperation.
- T gives men a drive to form hierarchies. OT gives women the drive to form communities. Hierarchies are not natural to them and they may not enjoy being in one.
- T encourages men to take risks. OT makes women cautious.
- T gives men a drive to enforce the rules and punish offenders. OT makes women more empathetic and forgiving. Hence women can see men as harsh, intolerant or punishing. Men can see women as naïve, weak and enabling.
See what we mean? And this is just the beginning.
We Can Help
We are acutely aware when our clients judge their mates’ behavior as flawed, as opposed to understanding and appreciating the natural differences in their programming. A part of our couples counseling always includes clarifying gender differences to achieve relationship harmony. Frank is particularly expert at coaching men. Call Judith or Frank at: 310-393-3536 to set up an appointment.
Our manual So THAT’S Why They Do That! Men, Women And Their Hormones gives you a real handle on how to navigate both your own and your partner’s mystifying hormonal weather.