The concept of masculine and feminine energy blew my mind at first. As a feminine woman who grew up, worked and lived in a predominantly masculine environment (including training at a Big Four accounting firm) observing these dynamics has helped me to live a more authentic, empowered life, understand myself better and wildly improved my relationship dynamics.
The feminine and masculine are equal but opposite sides, aspects or energies (I’ll use these interchangeably) that we all have, regardless of our gender.
We all show up somewhere on the feminine to masculine spectrum in our relationships. You could have a baseline preference to be very masculine or feminine with a partner, or sit more towards the middle. Although we culturally think of women as more feminine and men as more masculine, this is not always the case; there are masculine and feminine-dominant people of every gender and orientation. We tend to attract and be attracted to partners who show up on an equal level but opposite energy to us — regardless of our sexual preference.
Even though we each have a preferred baseline, or “core” energy (as described by leading contemporary author on masculine-feminine dynamics, David Deida) in our relationships, we can also shift into one or the other depending on the situation. As in much of nature, it’s a fluctuating, sliding scale. With practice — and sometimes after removing mental or societal blocks — we can choose to show up in either as and when required. For example, when I want to find my flow when I’m dancing, come up with creative ideas, help a friend with a relationship upset, or trust my intuition — I tap into my feminine energy. When I’m analyzing investments, planning my week or negotiating in business, and need to be decisive or directional — I use my masculine energy.
As a side note, many of us (me included) can at first find the typically gender-associated words “masculine” and “feminine” triggering or stereotypical (see this article for example). They may only be triggering as long as on some level we: associate women with being feminine and men masculine — rather than thinking that we all have both aspects, with one usually being a preference in our relationships regardless of our gender; and, are conditioned to believe that feminine qualities like being nurturing, intuitive etc. are inferior to masculine traits like being directional. If considered equally powerful but different, then connecting to mature feminine energy is a strength, not a weakness.
Individuals or collective groups can also show their masculine and feminine sides in more mature (higher-self, or love-based) or immature (egoic, or fear-based) ways, as I show examples of below.
Here are some examples of how I see mature and immature masculine and feminine energy traits showing up in myself and those around me:
When we are in our “mature masculine” we provide safety and security, using our inner and outer strength in a loving way to support those around us. We are directional and organized in our lives — sure of the business moves we need to make or where we want to take our date, for example. Our mind is clear and our focus strong; we are great at analyzing facts and figures and coming up with solutions. Mature masculine energy can be a stable, solid, directional foundation for others, particularly for those predominantly expressing their feminine energy. I like to think of it as a (masculine) mountain supporting wild (feminine) nature around it.
In our mature feminine, we hear and trust our own intuition. We read people and situations — feeling into what is right, and surrendering to things which aren’t working out (instead of trying to force them to). We are sensual and deeply connected to our bodies, as well as the environment around us; and fully feel and express our emotions. Vulnerability is seen as a strength — a tool of connection to the truth and what is right for us. We are nurturing in our strong feminine, caring for projects, people, ourselves, our relationships, plants and pets — so they can grow and flourish. I think of a lioness as a symbol of the strong mature feminine (powerful and nurturing), and see mother nature as the ultimate life-giving, nurturing feminine energy — supporting all life with food, air, water and habitat.
When we’re expressing immature masculine energy, we may want to dominate, control and conquer from a place of fear and ego — at almost any cost. We try to force things and — with the over-competitive nature of immature masculinity — when conflict arises we go into fight-or-flight rather than compassion or reason. We avoid, suppress and fear emotions in ourselves and others — dismissing vulnerability as a sign of weakness. We can become over-controlling of others, or even violent. Unfortunately this is where many of our current world leaders — perhaps out of over-confidence, dodgy motivations and short-term self-interest — seem to show up in their responses to international conflict, environmental issues or the pandemic.
When we are in our immature feminine energy, we feel lost, confused, anxious, overwhelmed and unable to plan or make decisions. We seek self esteem and solutions to our problems externally, often because we don’t know how to trust our intuition or love ourselves. Our self worth is low and, although we look there, no one else can really give us enough admiration or love to make up for it. We don’t take time — or know how — to nurture ourselves, and may put others’ needs way ahead of our own, sometimes to people-please our way to love and acceptance. We may also play the “victim” in our own lives, and attract people in their immature masculine who confirm our negative self-beliefs. Our inner voice talks down to us, we feel “not enough” and disempowered.
In our mature masculine and feminine energies, we act from a place of love and connection to ourselves, others and the world around us. In our immature energies, we act from a place of fear, perceived lack, individualism and ego. We all slip into different aspects at different times, but it’s something we can work on if we want to.
What’s more, if we can move our own energies into mature states, we are likely to attract others who are also in their mature energies and elicit an equal but opposite response in someone we are communicating with.
Choosing which energy we show up in can increase sexual polarity and attraction in our romantic relationships. We might be in our masculine energy at work, and move into our feminine when we get home to our significant other because we enjoy a more masculine partner (or vice versa). Relationship depolarization, loss of attraction (and energetic head-butting) can occur when a naturally more feminine person — who prefers a more masculine mate to them — unwittingly shows up in their masculine when dating, after being conditioned to act “tough” or competitively in masculine-dominant workplaces or from our childhood environments.
As a feminine-dominant person, I’ve also felt effeminated by partners (i.e. my energy shifted into the masculine with them) who were chronically non-directional and didn’t express their masculine side to help make relationship decisions. I’ve found it key to have a partner who is comfortable showing up in the opposite energy to how you would like to in a relationship, and also noticing if you are trying to outdo them in the area you would actually like them to take the lead in. For sexual polarity, if you are taking up the masculine or feminine side, your partner will usually show up in the opposite one.
David Deida’s book “Enlightened Sex” helped me notice that societies, cities, work cultures or countries can have more masculine (think fast-paced concrete jungle cities, like London) or feminine (for example, beautiful nature-havens like Bali) energy. In environments where one energy is suppressed or not as valued — as is currently the case with the feminine throughout much of the world — many try to survive and thrive by minimizing this aspect to fit in with a family, work or cultural life that is dominated by masculine energy.
We feel empowered and at ease when we can express ourselves as we truly are. In environments like fast-paced cities and office workplaces, however, many of us tone our feminine side down after facing harassment, bias, a lack of understanding or discrimination. We feel uncomfortable expressing our feminine traits, or are taught that masculine ones are preferable. Too often we feel like we have to show up in a “grey-suit”, unnaturally-masculine version of ourselves; to build a faux exterior and hide our feelings to avoid being seen “weak” and appease those in charge, all the while feeling deep-down like we don’t fit in. Many of us live cut off from our own inner knowing and intuition, relying on the outside world to tell us what’s right for us; while 24/7 marketing suggests we’re not good enough unless we earn more to buy more, or change ourselves to be someone we’re not.
If we learn that being in our powerful mature feminine is just as strong as the mature masculine, and to express that side of ourselves, we can balance things out and feel authentic. If we can accept, value and encourage the expression of our own and each others’ mature masculine and feminine sides, we tap into powerful strengths like empathy, intuition and compassion; and give individuals, partners, communities and the world better balance. If masculine-dominant people express their own mature feminine sides, they might find it easier to value the authentic strengths of this energy in more feminine people, and global leadership might improve as we demand more balance at every level of society.
Being able to express (and practicing showing up in) our mature feminine and masculine energies, as feels right for us and depending on the circumstances, can be a total game-changer in our lives and relationships. More awareness of how we and others show up in these energies is a first step to integrating them in the ways we want and to improve our lives.
Thanks for reading. If you have any comments or questions please comment below, or contact me here.