Dan Mahle’s Wholehearted Masculinity

We recently came across Dan Mahle’s exceptional website, “Wholehearted Masculinity.” According to Mahle, his mission is to “help men cultivate lives of passion, purpose, and connection by sharing stories, questioning cultural norms, and exploring the power of healthy vulnerability.”

A Classroom of Middle School Boys

One of the experiences Mahle describes is a workshop he was invited to attend with a class full of 7th & 8th grade boys to discuss pornography, a topic he says is “often either normalized and dismissed or relegated to the shadows of secrecy, sin and shame. Both extremes only perpetuate the harmful addictive cycles that so often underpin porn usage.”

His goal for the class was to create a safe space where the boys could have an honest and open conversation and learn to relate to their sexuality in “healthy, consenting and authentic ways.”

Mahle’s Conclusions

You must, MUST read this article exactly how Mahle wrote it. It is not a long read but he so beautifully describes this session with these young, impressionable boys who come in nervous and guarded and eventually open up. They begin encouraging one another, asking troubling and meaningful questions, and giving brilliant responses to what they have learned.

Read Mahle’s full article here.

Our Favorite Lines

I believe it is vital that we talk about pornography and sexuality in a way that is accepting and compassionate, rather than moralistic, dismissive or shaming.”

I told them that they had a powerful choice to make about if/how they chose to interact with pornography. I invited them to bring their full consciousness to the choices they make, rather than letting themselves get swept up in compulsive behaviors.”

“I encouraged them to get curious about how pornography, video games, and other isolating activities can often become coping mechanisms for our insecurities as well as our unmet emotional and relational needs.”

“We looked at how porn sex is about performance, while real sex is about intimacy. And discussed how porn often conflates sex and violence, with scenarios depicting aggressive and demeaning treatment of women”  and the impacts of this culture of sexualized violence in our communities.”

Thank you, Dan, for such a wonderful story.