Why Men Don’t Open Up and What to Do: Unexpected Lessons from My Week with Wim Hof

Vulnerability is hard for everyone. And while this struggle is universal, men have an extra layer of complexity because so many have been taught to believe that their value is in their ability to appear “strong.”

Which is why I recorded the video below (stay to the end for a special announcement).

While it’s never your job to fix or solve a man’s problems for him, this is an opportunity to be one of his greatest allies in bringing out a side of him that no one else sees.

Learn 5 Techniques to Help Him Open Up to You. Get Access to Your FREE Training…


We start this video saying, “Dedicated to my Ice Brothers… May we all thaw together.”




I recently, as many of you know from following me on Instagram or Facebook, went to Poland with a very small group of amazing men to do the Wim Hof ice retreat.




For those of you that don’t know, Wim Hof is a guy who I guess has become a kind of spiritual leader in recent times, but has been known over a longer period of time for being the Ice Man, this guy who seems to do superhuman feats of running barefoot half marathons, spending up to or close to two hours submerged in ice, the longest under-ice swim. He has done things that you or I would not do because we would die and because we don’t want to.

He has this retreat in Poland where you go and you do some of these crazy, seemingly superhuman things for yourself. I didn’t want to go on this trip. I was invited by my friend, Lewis Howes and I was so afraid of it that I decided, “If I’m this scared, it might be something interesting for me to do.” What ensued was exactly what I thought it would be, and maybe worse. We ended up jumping off of cliffs into ice-cold water. We spent up to 10 minutes in an ice bath. We trekked up the tallest mountain, the highest point in Czech Republic, in nothing but shorts and shoes, where it got up to minus 20 at the summit and the wind was whipping against our bodies.


I feel warm.

Speaker 2:

You look warm.


It was a crazy experience. But this video isn’t about the physical side of that experience. There was treasure lurking in this trip that went beyond the physical challenge. We were a group of guys going through something very, very intense together. And every single one of these guys is a high achiever in some different way. We had a renowned singer-songwriter. We had guys who had built businesses that are at a level… I consider myself to be successful in business and we had guys on this trip who have built businesses that most people, even successful entrepreneurs, wouldn’t do in 10 lifetimes. We had super athletes. NFL Super Bowl winning kicker. New York Times best sellers. We had all different types of guys that were just extraordinary high achievers and thought leaders. It was a group of guys that I think would be intimidating for almost any guy to be a part of.

To be in the company of all of these kind of surface-level winners who had so much going on in their lives and of course weren’t just winners outwardly, but had done an incredible amount of work on themselves. These are people that have gone past the point of simply collecting trophies in life and are looking for something bigger in their lives. Are looking for more meaning, are looking to be expansive in their mindset, are looking to do the emotional work. It’s like an emotionally intelligent football team. Stop drooling. That’s what it felt like.

And to be in the company of these guys was magical for this reason: Over the course of these five days, we opened up to each other in the most extraordinary ways. And because we were already afraid of what was going on and what we were up to, that opened us up too, and we were there for something more than just the physical.

We sat around and did breathing exercises, and between those breathing exercises, we actually talked about our vulnerabilities, our fears, our insecurities. People talked about stories of bullying from childhood that had stuck with them. Some people talked about how they weren’t proud of themselves. Some of them talked about how they doubted themselves and felt like they were in the company of all these confident people and they themselves were filled with so much doubt. Extraordinary, given that every single one of these people was a high achiever. There wasn’t one person in the group that you could point to that you could say, “Oh, there’s a reason that person should doubt themselves.”

To be honest, the whole thing reminded me of my love for men. And granted, after spending 10 years resident in a swirling vortex of estrogen, a boy’s sleepover was probably needed for me. To be around guys and to see them in that light. When guys so often get such a bad rap. When I spend time with guys in that capacity, you see the complexity of men. You see what’s going on beneath the surface. All the things that they don’t talk about or feel they can’t talk about, that come out when they feel like they’re in an environment that’s safe. This was so powerful when we were there that Wim Hof, the guy running the program, this superhuman tough individual, he said, “Being around you guys and watching you become vulnerable made me feel like I could be vulnerable.” He literally told us that he felt he released some of his own personal trauma by witnessing us doing the same.

You think about that. This is a guy who has to be a leader at all times for everybody. People were going up mountains with him shirtless in the snow and looking to him as the source of confidence that they’re not going to die. This is not a guy who feels, I’m sure, like he can be vulnerable all that often in those contexts. But I think that’s relevant to so many men. They may not be climbing mountains in their shorts, but they are experiencing some version of life that they feel makes it difficult for them to truly open up, for them to truly be vulnerable. And their life hasn’t necessarily rewarded that vulnerability.

It’s funny, we came out of this experience like brothers. And I feel like I can be so open with this group of individuals because of the experience we shared. And yet, we got home and within a couple of days I got sick. “No shit,” I’m sure you’re thinking… Look, whether it was sleep deprivation or the ice or whatever or just sharing bedrooms, six bunk beds at a time with the Avengers, where we didn’t get any rest. I didn’t tell the group that I got sick because I had this whole plan. I’m going to go home. I’m going to continue to do ice baths every day. I’m going to continue to do this, that whatever. And then I was really sick and it took me down for like five days and I didn’t feel I could… It’s not that I didn’t feel I could say anything, I just didn’t want to say anything. And that to me is so fascinating.

There was a text message chain where we – we have our own texting group between the boys – and there was a moment where one person at some point said, “Oh, I haven’t been doing this because I got sick.” And then all of a sudden another person said, “Oh, me too.” And then another person said, “I’m sick too.” And all of a sudden we realized half to three quarters of the group had gotten sick in the week after the program. Looking at that was like a pressure valve for me, where all of a sudden I went, “Oh my God, everyone else goes sick too.” The fact that I was still afraid to say that shows how deep these things between men run. Where you’re waiting for someone else to make the first move before you get vulnerable. And there is a reason for that, I believe. We put so much value on being strong and so many of us believe that our value is in being strong.

Men are terrified that they’re not going to be strong enough, that they’re not going to be able enough, that they’re not going to be able to provide enough, that they aren’t as capable as the next guy, that that bloke over there could beat them up if they wanted to. We are constantly bombarded with thoughts like this. I think this runs so deep, that men stoke that in each other all the time in so many different ways.

Not one week after my ice retreat, I was on a flight – or I was getting on a flight from Newark Airport in New York to LAX. And I’m sitting on this plane and the pilot starts talking about how there’s been problems with the plane and that’s why we’ve had a two-hour delay and I’m immediately nervous like, “Why are we on this plane if there’s problems with this plane?” The plane took off and 20 minutes into the air, you heard this noise… And the plane started shaking. The engine caught fire. The pilot got on the radio and said, “We have to land because we’ve had an engine malfunction.” Flight attendants sprinting up and down the plane. Terrifying. Terrifying. Sitting on this plane and felt sick with fear. Genuinely, I say this with no hint of drama, I genuinely thought, “I think we’re going to die. This is one of those situations where it seems reasonable we could die.”

The guy next to me wrote a goodbye text to his wife that when we eventually landed, he had to delete. He said, “Oh, I guess I don’t need to send this now.” That’s the state that people were in on this flight. And I got off the flight and I get back into the terminal and our airline says, “We’re arranging another flight for you to leave in an hour from another gate.” Now in my head I thought, “I’m done with flying for today. Maybe for the next month. I do not want to get on another plane. That was horrific. I don’t know. I’m still processing that that happened.” The last thing I wanted to do was get on a plane – and I’m ready to go home. I remember calling a friend of mine, a female friend of mine, and telling her what happened and her saying, “Go home. Go home, get some sleep. In the next few days you can take another flight back, but just right now, please go home and just look after yourself. Take a bath, relax. Just decompress. You’ve been through something traumatic. Go relax.”

I call a male friend of mine. This is no joke. I call a male friend of mine, I tell him what happened. He says, “Oh my God, that’s terrible,” blah, blah, blah. He empathetic, but then he says… I tell him, “There’s another plane right now. I don’t even want to get on it. I just want to go home.” He goes, “Well, yeah, I guess you could go home and be a complete pussy and not get on the next plane.” This is a true story. And even though he was half-joking, I remember an instant feeling in my stomach of, “Oh, maybe it does make me weak if I don’t get on this plane. Maybe that’s a sign of weakness that I can’t just get straight back on the horse and go for it.”

And I sat there in the terminal… This is no joke. I sat there in the terminal while we were waiting for this plane to come and arrive at the gate going, “Do I go?” Like it was this dichotomy. I mean, overly stereotypical dichotomy, but a real one nonetheless between my female friend who said, “Go home, relax, take care of yourself.” And the male friend who said, “Don’t be a pussy, get on the plane.” And I sat there going, “I don’t know what to do. If I go home…” I literally thought if I go home, I’m going to beat myself up for going home. I’m going to go home. I’m going to feel weak. I’m going to tell myself that that wasn’t… I should be stronger. I should be able to just get straight back on the plane. What’s wrong? Like I’m not going to let myself off the hook for that.

So then I thought, “I have to get on this plane because if I stay I’m now going to stay and suffer for making the decision to stay.” Luckily I was off the hook logistically because it ended up being delayed another three hours and I was like, “Screw this. I can just take a flight in the next day.” Which I did the next day and I was not going to wait on a terminal floor for three hours. But that’s the funny thing: That I needed, in order to give myself the grace of going home, I needed to be given the okay by logistics. I didn’t give it to myself. I didn’t say, “Let me just be kind to myself right now.” I said, “Oh, the plane is going to be delayed another three hours? Okay, now I can go home.” Because it wasn’t me who made the decision.

That is so much of what men feel day to day. I mean, I think it’s funny when women talk about like, “You don’t know what we have to deal with with men.” Like women have to put up with men. Men have to put up with men. Wait, you think men are shits to you? They’re also shits to men and men who have experienced that their whole life. Ladies, it is fucking hard to deal with men. We don’t have to deal with them in the same ways that you do, I appreciate that, but there’s still… Like we were in the locker room at school when guys made our life difficult. We went through those experiences at school or at college or in a place of business where we constantly felt like we needed to be tough. We needed to be alpha, we needed to take control because otherwise we’re going to be eaten alive not by women but by other men. It’s a ton of pressure.

And I don’t believe, by the way, it just comes from men either. Because as much as women will say they want men to be vulnerable, they want men to be more sensitive, many, many men have had the experience of feeling like that’s not true based on a reaction they got to something. I’ve said things in relationships in the past where I literally have revealed a deep insecurity. I’ve revealed something that is intensely vulnerable about something I was feeling and then instantly regretted it. Instantly thought, “I wish I hadn’t said that because I can’t put that back in the box now. This person now isn’t going to unknow that about me, and even this person’s reaction to what I’m saying right now is not one that is making me feel more attractive, is not one that’s making me feel sexier. If anything, I do feel, even though she’s not saying it, I’ve slightly turned her off with that.” I’ve felt that in the past. I know many men will have felt the same way.

I remember a few years back, I was on a first date, where at the end of the date I wanted to kiss the person. And men, you know this moment. You’ve been on a date with someone, some dates you really feel it, where you’re super touchy-feely with each other and the kiss feels completely natural and it’s just this truly organic moment. And other times you’re questioning a little bit, “I don’t know for sure that she feels the same way as I do? I don’t know if she’s as attracted as I am?” And so you feel a little tentative.

I remember being in the car at the end of this date and saying to this woman, or asking rather, “Can I kiss you?” And she immediately began laughing in my face. She said, “Oh my God, I can’t believe you just said that.” And then she looked at me and she went, “Never say that to a woman. Never say that. Oh my God. Just do it if you want to. You’re asking? That’s so…” And she just kept laughing and laughing. Now a younger me or less confident me would have looked at that situation and thought, “Oh my God, I should have just leaned in and kissed her. What was I thinking? Why did I ask? I’m such an idiot.” Luckily, I was at a stage in my life where I could look at that situation and go, “Ah, this is not a very kind person. This is not someone that I actually would want to go on a second date with.” That’s a red flag immediately. But it does show just how confusing the world can be for guys sometimes.

And this is a real point of confusion for men. Ladies, please let it be known, in that situation the message that could be received by so many guys is, “You should have just kissed me. You should have just leaned in and taken charge. That would have been the sexy thing to do. You asking me if it’s okay to kiss me is weak and not attractive and not fun and not spontaneous and not romantic.” And of course this is backed up by God-knows-how-many TV shows and movies and books, you name it. All picturing the guy who just takes control and goes for what he wants and doesn’t have a moment’s hesitation. This is a confusing state of play for men.

I believe that if more men were in rooms like the one I was in in Poland, around other strong men, and they saw examples of truly strong men, men that they look up to, men that they admire opening up, that they themselves would be humbled and it would take all of the pressure of them being strong away because they’d know they can open up. In fact, it’s more than they don’t have to be strong, it’s that opening up and revealing those things about themselves is strong. That is a form of strength. They would see that example and it would give them permission to do the same. Frankly, I don’t think that there are many places that men can do that. How many places can men go to truly open up, not just to women but to other men? I mean, no woman was required in that space in Poland for this group of men to open up to each other. Men could do it for each other. And this is the responsibility we have to take on guys. And by guys, I mean men. We have to create more spaces for each other to actually open up and to talk and to release that pressure valve because this is serious.

I watch guys bottle this stuff up. I watch them not talk about these things, the demons they have, these fears they have, these insecurities they have, and it frightens me. You see the number of guys who go out and kill themselves because they’re not talking, they’re not releasing that trauma, that energy. They’ve got no pressure valve.

What comes to mind when you think about men opening up? It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous. All right, so it’s like the easiest route to going to a group of guys and opening up is to become an alcoholic. That’s where you’re going to go to actually be able to talk. That’s where it’s socially acceptable to be able to talk and open up. But where’s the space for everybody else? I don’t have the exact answer to that right now. This is something that I’m processing and thinking about more this year because I think it’s so needed. It’s so needed. Whether guys go find their retreat to do, whether guys find a space where they can come together with like-minded friends, or whether they just are brave enough to do it around the women that they’re around, they have to start doing it.

Men, you have to start talking more. You have to start opening up more because all the good stuff in life is on the other side of that bravery. On the other side of opening up in those ways. And I’m passionate about this right now. I’m passionate about it because I believe it will make men’s lives better and I’m passionate about it because it’s going to make women’s lives better, if men can learn to do this.

Women, let me make this clear. This is not your job to fix this. It’s not your job to play therapists to men. It’s not your job to take everything I’m saying right now and to use it to go and be this therapist figure with every man in your life. That’s not what I’m saying. I want you to be an ally. I want you to be strong enough to hold that space for men to be vulnerable, but it’s our job as men to actually step into that space.

In the interest of being practical for you women who are watching, one of the things that I did want to do for you is at least create a template for what holding that space looks like. If you have men in your life, whether it’s your brother, whether it’s your boyfriend, whether it’s your husband, your father, or your son, what does it look like to be an ally for someone who deep down is desperate to release that pressure valve, is desperate to open up more, is desperate to show you more of who they are, but he’s terrified of doing it, consciously or unconsciously? I put something together and I’ve detailed five very specific things that you can do to create that environment. And my promise to you, ladies, is that in knowing just these five things, you’re going to have the tools to be the kind of person that men open themselves up to, that men truly show themselves around. My hope is that I’ll get, as a result of this, far less women saying to me, “My guy just won’t open up. He just won’t talk to me.”

I do believe that there are certain men that, no matter what you do, they have their own stuff going on that they need to resolve. And if they don’t take responsibility for resolving it, eventually you have to leave and find someone who will open up. So I’m not suggesting that over the long-term you stay with someone who won’t open up to you, but I do think that there are things that can be done to facilitate that process. And that’s what I’ve put together in this training, which is free by the way. I’m not charging for it, but I am opening it up to my mailing list. So all you need to do is sign up to my mailing list to get it and I’m going to put it over at this link right here.

Once you get to that training, leave me a comment underneath that video and tell me what you think of this whole message. Men and women. I want the men to comment too. Guys, I want you to go there because I want you to see the psychology of this. And as I said, I need you to take responsibility for this. We, as guys, have got to take responsibility for us being more vulnerable. I’m here for you, my brothers, in helping you do that. We’re in it together. Go to that link now, get that training and I’ll see you there.

54 Responses to Why Men Don’t Open Up and What to Do: Unexpected Lessons from My Week with Wim Hof

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  1. Steohanie says:

    What an amazing retreat! And plane ride! I’m glad you’re safe.

    Thank you Matthew for opening up this subject and in this video. I imagine you’ve read your fiend’s book The Masks of Masculinity… I’m also reminded of the work of Brene Brown on vulnerability.
    Thank you for going deep, for sharing on this vital subject… Thank you for your voice and your contribution.
    The only way to truly connect, for both men and women, is to be vulnerable. Courageous. I know I need to step out from behind the walls of my ´Fortress of Solitude’… !

  2. Betty says:

    Matthew… Thank goodness that you and the rest of the passengers on the plane landed safely! I’m so glad you are OK. So many people would have been heartbroken if anything happened to you (including me). You had a special Angel watching over you and the rest of the passengers on that scary day.
    If someone thinks what you have revealed makes you a weaker person or thinks any less of you, then they do not deserve you, or your friendship. Opening up about your true feelings is about the “real you” and what truly matters. What doesn’t matter is someone who thinks any less of you because you talk openly.
    Matthew… You are quite the adventurer! The thought of jumping into ICE COLD water sends shivers all over me. I’m sure it was an eye-opening experience. I’d choose a nice, refreshing and relaxing boating expedition in much warmer waters… doesn’t it sound good to you? There is nothing like a relaxing boat ride out on the lake or ocean (So calming and relaxing). I give you credit for taking on such a challenging experience.
    I LOVE the beautiful background scenery with the golden & green foliage (that you have chosen for this video). The light shines through the trees just enough to present a soft, warm glow. The earth-tone pillows on the black leather couch and you wearing the green-button down shirt adds more warmth and it compliments this scene to make it… picture-perfect. Love it, nice touch… and very appealing (the trees, the glow, and you sitting attractively on the couch wearing the green shirt). It all looks perfectly together.
    Matthew and crew… be careful out there with this COVID-19 virus, especially being around so many people. Stay safe. Hugs!

  3. Candy says:

    He’s a fraud.

  4. Ashley says:

    Good Luck running new Male Help Seminars too.
    You’ve identified a weakness in the market. It is Real, It needs a fresh approach.
    Go where you are needed. Go with what feels right.
    Or you will end up calling your own self a Pussy for not trying it now.

    Oh, have I jumped ahead???

  5. Laurie says:

    Matt, I could listen to you talk and share your stories and advice for hours. This video was incredible. Great content!

  6. Niki Skourtopoulou says:

    Thank you, Matthew, for this amazing video! You are a true feminist. You already know that patriarchy is bad for both women and men. When are you coming to Greece? I would love to meet you and see you sharing your great thoughts and advices with us!

  7. Catherine says:

    This video moves me a lot. I am a French( in advance forgive my English) 36 years old woman and since a very yong age I felt this wound in men mind/soul. I felt it in my father, in my male friends and boyfriends. It became really painful to be witness of that constant tension in male mind (this is how I feel it, it is not necessarily the truth) when I go out with an older man who is sensitive and connected to his feminine energy. For him the weight of the myth of virility and the archetype of The Man was a cross to bear. Consequently, being himself and being himself around other men was/is difficult. Observing this tension about is masculinity was mirroring my interrogations and search ( personal, spiritual search) about what is femininity for me as a woman born in 1983, independant, free, lawyer… So, last year, for his 50 birthday, I offer him a retreat in south of France, in the wood, with a group of men. He returned from this journey with deep joy, and consciousness. He told me that it was the most previous gift he ever had. He has made the same conclusions has you Matthew and these few days in the wood were game changing for him, for his life and therefore, for our relationship. Men do need to gather in order to reconnect to their true and healthy manhood, to redefine virility and be true to themself.
    I never post any comment but because I witness the before/after of the wood gathering of my boyfriend, as a woman and a partner in relationship, I must say that this kind of experience is not only necessary but it could be life saving for men (literally save life).
    I hope that a lot of men will find this path and that women connected to their femininity will guide/inspire the men they love (fathers/brothers/sons…) to meet themself through these kind of male retreat.
    Thank you a lot Matthew for sharing this profound and crucial experience.

  8. Lynda Abdo says:

    Love your videos. What you are describing is male bonding and this was how men in a tribe became men once they were separated from their mothers (ritual) and became part of the male hunting party which usually involved rites of courage. This is evolution. It is in your brain, and testosterone brings it out of you as a man, it is not just taught. In the wild patriarchies go back millions of years, and even lobsters have them. (Listen to Jordan Peterson, brilliant psychologist). Being vulnerable makes you a target for a stronger male. Women have trouble understanding this because we evolved in a different world. Men protected us with their greater strength, and we nurtured the non-verbal babies. It is evolution we are talking about.

  9. Karolina says:


    Great video! Before I watch the training, I just wanted to comment here.

    I think it’s doesn’t matter, men or women, people are scared to be vulnerable. Might be different fears for us, but the outcome is the same. Worth getting over those, there is nothing better in life than to have that level of connection with someone, to be truly yourself without the fear of being rejected!


    PS And by the way, asking someone if you could kiss them, on a first date, isnt weak. Its respectful :)

  10. Tara says:

    Matt, I watched this and I have questions. I hope SOMEONE can help me with this because I am literally driving myself insane with this one…

    I have been in a very odd relationship for the last year and a half. The whole thing has been complicated from the start. When we first started talking, I was married to but separated from my abusive husband. I told him the situation and he still talked to me. I am now divorced for almost 3 months. Over a year later… he has become a very close friend. We hang out, we text every day…

    This last time… he took me out for an early Valentines Day dinner because I’m not able to go out on the actual day. He brought me to an expensive restaurant, and bought me a cute little stuffed fox and chocolates. (I love foxes). He picked me up, made reservations at the restaurant, paid for everything, held doors for me… but at the end of the night he froze when I wanted him to kiss me. In the end I was literally begging him to kiss me and he just kept saying he “couldn’t”. He tells me he likes me more than a friend, he tells me he wants to kiss me. But then he says that he can’t because he is “broken” and “messed up” and he hates himself for it. What does this mean??? I am almost 100% he’s not gay. But it’s like the thought of kissing me terrifies him to his very core. (Also, not the first time this has happened…)

    I’m trying so hard to understand. I’ve been in some really “challenging” relationships In my life, but I’ve never had a guy NOT want to kiss me. Nor one give me as many crazy mixed signals as this one. The major issue is, as I’ve just recently discovered.. I’m completely
    In love with him. I haven’t felt like this for anyone in over a decade. And now my heart is breaking. This is a breakdown of the ensuing texts that filled that night of the nein küssen…

    ME: You’re breaking my heart you know

    HIM: I’m really sorry. I wish I didn’t exist so that could never happen

    ME: Why do you have to say stuff like that

    I’m just trying to understand but it’s like I’m repulsive to you or something

    But then you act like I’m not
    And I don’t understand and I hate feeling like this

    If you don’t like me like that that is totally fine! I don’t care! Just tell me

    HIM: I do like you I’m just ruined. Idk why or how to fix me.

    ME: That’s not a reason

    Everybody is screwed up, that’s life

    I want to know why kissing me is so horrible to you

    HIM: It’s not you I said that. It’s anyone.

    ME: I’m not understanding
    Just girls?

    HIM: I like girls. Just don’t deserve one or affection

    ME:that doesn’t make sense

    HIM: I’m sorry I know I suck at this. I can’t explain it.

    ME: Well clearly kissing me is awful

    HIM: I wanted to

    ME: Regardless of whatever else is going on, it’s not something you want to do

    I don’t think you do

    Or you would have

    HIM: That’s not how I work.
    But I’m sorry again. I really am tired I’m gonna go to sleep.

    PLEASE someone help me with this one!! WHAT is going on?? He is everything I’ve ever wanted, but I don’t understand what is going on here?? He gets jealous whenever I speak to, or of another guy… but he won’t even kiss me!!

  11. Tanya Lavery says:

    Very insightful Mathew, thank you. Men and women really need to come together more and find a way to understand each other better. I am also very very passionate about this subject and want to write a blog to get us understanding each other more. Thank you for the inspiration. :)

  12. maggie says:

    This is an AMAZING video – thank you!!!
    Also – i literally had a conversation yesterday with a friend about how much we LOOOVE when a guy asks if they can kiss us after a date – even when it’s obvious they can! It’s legitimately one of the CUTEST and SWEETEST things EVER! That lady is just plain WRONG! It’s the simplest sign of respect that it shows what type of person they are. I agree – it shows more about her than you! Hopefully she’s learned that since then! <3

  13. Roberta says:

    Hello Matthew,
    Thank you for making this video. Most of all, thank you in the name of so many women for choosing to show vulnerability, for taking the lead into encouraging all the men to feel safe whenever they are feeling weak.
    I feel to come forward relating a little with the moment when you said “may I kiss you?” I have been asked this question and even if I really wanted the moment, even if I felt really attracted to the guy and appreciating him as who he is, I said “no”. Just like when you, all our dear men, are feeling that you might show weakness if you are admitting vulnerability, we also have our strange point when we believe that admitting we are liking you it makes us look easy and unworthy of being cherished by you. So, please do not take it as a rejection but more as “please give me some time to feel confident enough that you will not run away once I let you know that I like you”
    Well, wishing you Matthew and everybody -strength in having the courage to be weak :)

  14. Chidimma says:

    Waow… This is beautiful and insightful. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Sharon Bohn says:

    Hey Matthew ~ I totally agree that men are not encouraged to show their vulnerability. My husband would very very seldom open up to me. I so wanted for him to just talk to me but he found it very difficult to do so. He died in June 2018; we were married 41.5 years. He was an alcoholic and his liver was hard as a rock when he died. He was a “stuffer” and very seldom expressed his feelings. We need to teach our men to be vulnerable and express their feelings. It could save their life!

  16. Marianne says:

    I keep having this conversation about consent. And you reminded me of it.

    I find it sexy and builds trust for a man to ask consent to kiss a woman. It says that they respect consent and they won’t overstep a woman’s boundaries. It’s strength. Not weakness. If a man tries to kiss me without asking my walls go up and pull away.

    My last boyfriend, who I’m still trying to get over… the first time he asked to kiss me and I said yes, he did an interesting thing. He didn’t kiss me at that moment. He waited for the right moment. He now had that permission in his pocket to use when he wanted. He was in control but with consent. That was sexy as hell!

    Please pass it on to your male audience. Seeking consent is sexy and builds trust.

  17. silversingles care says:

    Thank you for the detailed Article. Got to learn a lot of important things…

  18. Deborah says:

    I love it when I man asks if he can kiss me. I think it’s adorable and respectful. Plus what a great way to show you’re interested and see if you’re both on the same page.

  19. Sarah says:

    Thank you. Few years back I took a gender and sexuality course in Canada. Your message brings to light this very topic we discussed and how do we implement a topic?”that’s it ok to have emotions, and be vulnerable, especially in men. As a world weneed healing from all sorts of trauma. The body heals on an emotional, physical and spiritual level, one is not without the other—As my retired naturopathic friend implemented, the process of healing has orders, Our body heals from top down, inside out, first to last and we get worse before we get better.
    Thank you for shedding light on this subject that will open many, many doors for many individuals!

  20. Marta says:

    Thank you so much for being vulnerable with us and sharing personal stories and for shedding the light on the overlooked subject.

  21. Heidi Greenfield says:

    A fabulous insight into Male psychology – it’s a massive problem that so many men are unable to share their fears and worries without being ridiculed. We all, as humans, should be able to feel comfortable in expressing our emotions, hopes and fears. We are reaping as we sow with so many men feeling their only way out is to end it.
    All of us should have kinder hearts and more empathy.
    I feel honoured that my man feels comfortable expressing himself with me, and vici versa.
    As for a guy asking if he can kiss me – that speaks of respect and is such a sexy thing in my book.
    Thank you for sharing your vulnerability in the video.

  22. Irene says:

    Thank you

  23. Ellen says:

    Thank you so much!! I see this too often with guy friends of mine, and have found this very helpful!


  24. Amber says:

    Hey Matt, beautiful video. My new #1 now :) I love to find out what goes on inside a man’s brain and figure out what makes him tick.
    Btw, maybe I’m old-fashioned, but asking whether you can kiss a girl is in my book a sweet, caring and (therefore) sexy thing you can say at the end of a date.
    Would love to find out where the line is between ally and therapist though. I’ve ended things with a guy before because I had to act as a therapist every single date and it bored me after a number of times. Where and how would you draw the line, Matt?

  25. Cindy says:

    Hi Matt. Great video, just one comment regarding the “May I kiss you” situation. If a guy has to ask, it means that the vibes were uncertain. Granted, in your case she wasn’t at all delicate to laugh in your face but, there IS a middle ground between asking (horrible!) and pouncing on her: all a guy has to do is reach over and softly touch her chin or carress her cheek. If she flinches or pulls back, no harm done, there’s your answer: no kiss. If not, well, a soft kiss is probably ok. DON’T delve in and devour her mouth (and face — don’t laugh: it HAS happened). Ok, I know this wasn’t your point here but, “may-I-kiss-you” is defintely OUT!

  26. TK says:

    Everything you’ve said here is so true. I believe so many marriages, relationships, and even lives could be saved if guys had the opportunity to open up and talk about anything and everything, without fear of judgement, ridicule or being perceived as weak.
    I think if people criticise this message then they simply don’t understand. They say a problem shared is a problem halved. Talking to others may not give you the solutions, but instead can offer different experiences that can help to guide you.
    A very succinct and heartfelt message. Thank you

  27. Akmaral says:

    Thank you, Matthew! So much thank you. That video was really needed. It was just in time as I met a guy who’d so constrained, never speaks up his troubles or the pain he’s feeling. But I feel it and it makes me hurt for him as he never shares it with anyone. He’s humble and doesn’t want anybody to be burdened, I guess. And he can’t get closer to most people due to that.

  28. Tara says:

    Beautiful video Matthew. My boyfriend, on our first date, asked me if he could hold my hand, and later if he could kiss me.
    He confessed later that he cursed himself and wish he hadn’t ‘asked’ because he felt silly but I told him how much I loved it. Because I LOVED the vulnerability, the care, the sweetness. It was everything for me and confirmed that he was the right man for me.

    Never stop being vulnerable <3

  29. Reina says:

    Thank you for sharing this, it really helps!

  30. Veronica says:

    I am proud of you for sharing your two experiences in being vulnerable and sharing others reactions. It helps me understand that I need to hold more space for others when speaking to me.

    In hearing you speak about it I see now that I need to be more understanding that more than probably 95% of people in general do not know how or hurt too much to hold space for someone.

    Thank you for all you do.

  31. Carina says:

    Loved your YouTube video.
    Something stuck with me…
    I am a strong independent woman and know that I have given past partners the space to be vulnerable and what an amazing gift to have your man share something with you and cry from release, as a woman it made me feel so much more loved as a partner. Just holding him and let him cry it out!
    The flip side is that I am wanted because I am strong and independent, but eventually when I need emotional support the guy will not be there for me … why is that? Because I really need that the most since the rest I can do for myself??
    So lost …

  32. Catarina Oliveira says:

    Hello Matthew,

    Thank you for this vídeo!! I really needed it!
    I love my man, but sometimes I have to ask billions of questions to understand what is inside his head… One day I pushed him so much that he started crying and told me a bunch of things that he had inside his head… I cried with him that day… And after that I felt the most luckiest girl on earth, because I knew that what we achieved was something magical and so rare. Since that day I started to feel a lot more connected with him. And after that day I knew I wanted him to be with me forever. I knew that he was there for me and I was there for him, no matter what!

    You see, my man is my super-hero and for a super-hero it is ok to feel vulnerable sometimes, it is ok to cry, it is ok to feel sad about something and to give himself the time that he needs to recover and come back stronger! (At least this is what the avengers taught me xD)

    So Matthew, thank you for this video!! I think that is going to be a lot easier for me to help my man and my male friends to open up!!! (Maybe I do not need to ask them billions of questions anymore and help them feel great after sharing their insecurities!)

    Best regards,

    Ps. I feel a little uncomfortable with my english, so if there is any mistake let me know! I am trying to get better with that too!… Let’s just say that I am a work in progress xD

  33. Jessica Lorenzo says:

    Thank you for this video Matthew. I’m sorry you had to experience a woman that lacked tacted and maturity, but like you said, it was a red flag. Man can also be the same, lack or there of as you’ve discussed it in this amazing video.

    I had a … horrible experience with a man who shared vulnerability to me … it’s to long to text, but this video helped a lot so thank you again.

    Much love
    -Jess ❤️

  34. sylvie perez says:

    Brilliant idea

  35. Kristina says:

    Hi Matthew,

    thank you very much for finding the strenght to open up and reflect on your amazing experience. There is so much I’d like to say, but it is difficult to know where to begin with.
    I am currently on my own journey of accepting and embracing the woman I want to become. And I feel so grateful and honoured to have been given the opportunity to get to this point( you are part of that process too, by the way)
    I feel very strongly about a woman’s place in the world and her recognition, so I am really trying to find a way where I could make a difference and contribute.
    This video, however, showed me something I already new but it made very clear- HD quality: Each person (woman or man) have the right to be who they are and live the life they have been so gracefully given, the way they want. Social oppinions have put chains on both sexes and we as an entity have to fight to break free from them together.
    Thank you again for opening up and sharing. I wish my ex boyfrined could watch this video and take from it what he needs.
    I will also use your advise to tell me strong alpha eastern-european father that it is ok to open up and share, because I am afraid for him. I wish him to know freedom.

  36. Maggie says:

    That woman that laughed….not necessarily unkind. She probably was super nervous too and in stress she reacted badly…
    Sometimes we are all too much in our own heads, thinking that our actions and decisions are the main thing in
    someone else’s mind.
    It’s not true.. you have your shit, she has her own. Like it was her responsibility to react great on your shit.
    That judgment is not very kind… you can do better.
    Although truth to be told, I was not there…:) just less judgment, more understanding.

  37. Johanna Földesi says:

    Oh, God. I will so regret staying up until this late in the morning. It’s past midnight and I’ve just watched your video.

    What’s fascinating for me about your struggle to get on the other plane after the one with the engine malfunction is this:
    1. you did a whole iceman retreat (that was already heavy),
    2. during that you’ve opened up to a bunch of guys about your vulnerabilities (also not the easiest to do for anyone, man or woman, doesn’t matter).
    3. After that you got sick (which is not necessarily obvious because of the cold, but the changes that probably started in you – if there’s a big change, we get a cold or a flu, that’s how it works),
    4. you had this traumatic experience with the airplane. On top of that you have a really busy life.

    Therefore: Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but as I’m looking at the big picture (and I’m sure, there’s more on this big picture), you shouldn’t have felt bad about going home, getting some rest and such, instead of getting on the next flight to LA to begin with (Nota Bene: you becoming sick after the retreat was already a sign from your body getting overwhelmed by all the things that happened to you).
    Being kind to yourself and respecting your (body’s) boundaries – this is what you also communicate to women if I get this right – is not a weakness, it rather shows strength and incredible power.

    Also: asking permission for a first kiss is absolutely sexy and decent.

  38. Anna Szymanska says:

    Omg I think I’m a man…I feel like you at the airport all the time..

  39. Larissa says:

    Love this and many truths shared in this video.
    Ive thought and felt this stuff for a while but always kind of felt it’s a male that needs to lead this. Not to say a female can’t. But creating that male to male bond is really important.
    I’ve followed your work for a while and always enjoy your approach to life and relationships. No matter what anyone else may say continued to do what you do!
    You are appreciated and loved.
    It is about creating that safe space for men and feel it is much needed more than ever. As much as we may think we allow the space often it’s so ingrained in us to perhaps even jokingly shut someone down after they have shared something so vulnerable and intimate to them because it may make us feel uncomfortable or many other reasons. As much as females may want this, do we know how to support that is also quite an important question to perhaps reflect upon ( I am a female by the way). Through many conversations with my friends on these topics it is quite rare for a male to be valunerable but often when they are we may unconsciously be shutting them down through our responses unknowingly.
    Often when someone shares something really personal we may jump to being the fixer or giving advice, rather than simply allowing someone to express themselves. Giving space without the need to do anything or offer advice and or trying to make them feel better.
    It is said when we can sit with our own pain not needing to fix it or make ourselves feel something else, then and only then can we sit with another’s pain not needing to do anything. Again a lot of this is quite deeply ingrained in us that we may not even realise this is our natureal response or reaction. But we don’t often listen to just listen, we listen to respond. When someone shares a story of let’s say pain, many of us will share a similar story but that can be taking away from what that person just shared. We share things sometimes just to release it or to be heard.
    I would totally support more and more men’s retreats. I work at a wellness retreat and we do get some males come along and I admire the men who take themselves there to deepen the connection with themselves. It’s not easy and will be a process for both men and women. I feel for men I really do. Although I am not one I can observe the many challenges they face and making anyone feel bad or guilty for what they may have said or done isn’t going to encourage shifts. Only kindness and compassion may.
    If this calls to you I’d say you are in a great position to go with this and support not only women but now perhaps men also!! You have my full support. X

  40. cam says:

    What you have shared with this group of men remind me what my friends and brother experiemented during their training as fighters soldiers. Those group of men sharing very hard physical experiences and proximity are groups than are bounds for life with a special connection.

    Your anecdote about not saying you where sick remind me this ‘fun fact’ that during the war of Independance for the State of Israel there was an elite parachut unit that were compose exclusively by men who survive the shoah, but they actually discover this only years after because none of them wanted to mention their past to not be seen as weak …

    Yes indeed there is an all mindset to change/create in order to allow scars to be rewared.

    So… you finally come back to your first clients: men, but with a new objective I guess. Wish you all the best you deserve.

  41. Debra Lemelle says:

    Everything you say is so true it’s like you read my mind & heart and have help me so much thank you for everything God Bless You❤

  42. Kate says:

    Well, I guess we all can do it. If we allow it to happen.

    I loved the video, it made me remember how I was talking to the husband of a friend, a strong, bulky, very “manly” guy, I new from the gym (he was one of my boxing trainers). But unlike the other guys there I know he would very naturally and casually chat about his feelings, going like “I was so sad and disappointed when I was treated like this and that etc. …” And in that moment it struck me how rare it is, that guys are so open about their feelings, especially in a group situation and how much I would love to hear that more from other men.

  43. Suzanne says:

    Matthew I want to thank you sincerely for sharing this video. I’ve followed your work on and off for a number of years however I’ve never commented before but this video made me cry. I’m a big crier anyway so that’s not much to write home about :) but your videos don’t usually make me cry. They make me laugh, sometimes they make me nod or go ‘Aha!’ or honestly, sometimes they irritate me :) but this one Matthew, this one struck a cord. It contains a very important message, a message that needs to be carried out into the world by strong, masculine men like you! We women, we have our part to play, as mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives, to help create those safe spaces where men can be vulnerable but the walls are high Matthew and they are dense and we have centuries of male conditioning to contended with. Ask yourself honestly Matthew, if it hadn’t been for the 3hr delay at the airport which of your friends would you have listened to?
    As a mother of two son’s who separated from her husband thus ending a 17 year relationship I am acutely aware of the damage that the unwillingness or the inability to open up can do. I urge you to spread this message far and wide, and thank you once again for you vulnerability.

  44. Jeanne Marie Viviani says:

    Amazing, moving and affirming. Thank you Matthew. I deeply wish all men here and internalize your message. I often wondered why your focus was always on women and now the circle is becoming complete. Men and women need this message. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  45. Adriana says:

    Matthew I’m deeply touched and incredibly impressed by both of your videos. Thank you for being so brave to talk about this in such an open way. I believe our existence as humanity depends on the brave men who can take the courage to open up and be vulnerable, to show an example to other men, that we can live a completely different life if we let ourselves be those beautiful, fragile, but at the same time incredibly powerful beings, that we are, humans. And women have the same responsibility, by creating that loving and safe environment that makes this transformation possible. We are in this together, as men, women, as humanity.
    Thank you so much for spreading the word!

  46. RC says:

    Regarding asking if it’s ok to kiss someone: first, hooray for getting consent! Second, I had been “hanging out” with the man who’s now my boyfriend a few times, and I was on the fence about whether I was romantically interested in him or just wanted to be friends. One night as we were saying goodbye, he asked if I just wanted to be friends, because, he said, he was interested in me romantically — and could he kiss me? I was still on the fence but said yes, and he turned out to be an amazing kisser and I quickly realized we did have strong chemistry. I have told him several times that one thing that cemented my interest in him was that he was bold enough to ask me if he could kiss me — it showed respect for me, but it also showed that he was secure enough with himself to ask and to accept whatever answer I gave. And it suggested that he would be respectful and straightforward in other situations in the future.

  47. Lucia says:

    Brené Brown said it but its SO nice to see it from a male’s perspective too.
    I want everyone to watch this video. Is it on IGTV yet?

  48. Valerie Love says:

    I loved how you used examples of how men don’t want to reveal their vulnerabilities. Even around men. I loved the video and you just simply talking about your experience you had with all the men. Great job!!!

  49. Jas says:

    I actually prefer a man to ask first cuz it reflect humility and respect. Firstly, my immediate reaction would be to jump/startle on any physical attempt without warning..but secondly, the fact that he didn’t just lean in would mean it matters what the woman wants too. there’s a sense of entitlement i feel for someone to just lean in…assuming that it’s ok.
    I personally do find it extremely attractive, if i didn’t plan on kissing him, him asking itself will make me change my mind.

  50. Victoria says:

    It‘s a beautiful message Matt. Like always. You‘ve really touched a sentitive topic.

  51. F says:

    Hi matt . I always give my boyfriend the space to talk…I never laugh even to his dance…but unfortunately I am so strong that boy around me trying to be as strong as me! They always have that insecurity!even the strongest one of them! What should I do?

  52. Gina says:

    This was literally one of the best videos you’ve ever put out. I’ve done numerous self development workshops and wished there were the same opportunities for and by men. Evryman is one of those companies, but as you know, one is not enough. I truly believe freeing men from their own prisons is so key to the next level of society. Loved your sharing and transparency. Supporting whatever your next step is on this journey if you choose to move forward with supporting men in this way! Keep peeling away the layers of the onion – there’s so much more to go; and it gets to be real, raw, authentic, joyful and amazing pleasurable.

  53. Vicky says:

    I needed to hear this, and be reminded of this. So thank you

  54. Ama S. says:

    “Can I Kiss you?” means to me “I want to kiss you, do you want it too?” It means respect and it’s fine. If he wants to kiss me and does it, it’s not sexy, it’s aggressive on his part.

    I like men showing their vulnerability but I still didn’t find any of that kind. It’s quite frustrating.

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