If you have experienced rejection from a woman it can leave you wondering, what happened and what went wrong, it’s easy to outsource that rejection to the woman:
‘Women are only interested in men with good looks’
‘Women want a rich guy who will look after them’
‘Women are superficial’
To point the finger at what might be happening outwards - we rarely, if ever look at what’s going on in the inside. The reality is what is bubbling for us underneath the surface when we interact with another human being can be sensed by them.
If we are feeling desperate, bitter, the victim, unheard, unworthy and not interesting enough… to name a few… those feelings that are simmering away, possibly even subconsciously, can be detected in how we speak to someone, our mannerisms and how we respond to them. It can leave the other person feeling ‘icky’. And for men, this can mean having the label ‘creepy’, ‘leaky sexual energy’ or misogynistic when possibly they don’t intend to be. And either of those can make a woman stand back and not want to interact.
What myself and a colleague who were talking about this recently came to learn is that many men are going into situations or spaces and not being true to their intentions.
What I mean by that is that they may engage in speaking to woman with the intention of trying to get something from her - sex, a date, emotional support, etc but do so without being honest and open about it. They say they want one thing, when in fact they desire something different. It could also be that the man lacks complete self-awareness and is not even aware that what they really crave is sexual touch from a woman and instead request touch that is inappropriate for the situation.
We then find ourselves in very murky water because what I often see in spaces where their are women in workshops or I hear from my coaching clients when they are at home or dating, is that there are many women who struggle to set boundaries and say ‘no’. That feel they have to justify their ‘no’ to not upset anyone. That they fear angering the man because of his reaction because they may get berated for that and called a ‘dick tease’ or there be some other coercive language used to pressure her into doing differently. I explore my own experience unpacking that in my article Dick Tease, which can be found here. Women often feel they are managing a man’s emotions and reactions - so when they can sense that a man isn’t being authentic, the safest thing to do is stay away and avoid, lest have to get in the very uncomfortable situation of ‘rejecting them’.
So how can you know if you have leaky sexual energy? How can you know if the rejection you are experiencing is because you are not being authentic to your true desires?
Here are some questions you can ask yourself…
How am I showing up when I speak to women? Am I genuinely interested or am I trying to ‘get something’ from them?
How am I engaging with women? Am I listening and watching their body language for cues of comfort/discomfort or focused on what I want from the interaction?
What do I want to get from speaking to or interacting with this woman? Am I looking to make a connection and get to know the human being in front of me or do I want something else and not being honest with myself?
How am I feeling today? Am I feeling particularly triggered? If you are experiencing low self-worth and feeling particularly rejected and unworthy of female interaction - is today a good day to make an effort to talk to that colleague/potential date?
Am I looking for external validation from this person? Do you feel that this person owes you something?
And from the last question we move onto entitlement.
Many men have grown up with the idea that if they act and behave in a particular way, or even for just being a man, that they are entitled to having or receiving specific attention from a woman. Entitlement is the idea that I must have something because I deserve it, just because I am a man or because I have given something but without expressing those specific conditions.
I want to be clear that no woman owes you access to her body, her thoughts, her time or her opinions. At all. You are welcome to invite a woman into your space to talk, or interact physically but she is under no obligation to say yes and she has every right to change her mind at any point. If you believe differently then there is likely conditioning of ‘entitlement’ in there.
How can you know if you are entitled?
If I buy a woman a drink pay for something or offer to help her, am I expecting something back in return? Or, am I giving from the pure desire to give?
Do I feel angry or upset when I don’t get what I want and how I want it? What do I do with that upset? Do I insist, persist and persuade the woman to do what I want even if I can see they aren’t comfortable with it? Maybe by making them out to be a bad person or not caring if they don’t?
These are a couple of questions to explore… are you feeling entitled?
There’s also another point I’d like to speak to about creepiness and leaky sexual energy and this is ‘objectification'. There is positive objectification and negative. Negative is when you reduce a woman to her aesthetics, it is degrading. The looks, stares and comments are sexual in nature and to a woman feel like she is being looked at or interacted with to what she can offer sexually. When a woman responds with a laugh or joke or a ‘thank you’, this does not necessarily mean she is happy with it. Many women to avoid confrontation and to manage a man’s emotions will go along with what is said even though they might feel extremely uncomfortable.
Positive objectification is when you acknowledge the whole person in front of you. Women do like to be admired and to feel sexy and desirable. It’s one of the most frequent things that come up for them in my coaching sessions with them, but how you interact with a woman around that is important. Complimenting firstly things that she can change about herself - so personality, or aspects of her physical appearance that she has control over such as clothes she wears or how she styles her hair. Absolutely do not comment on weight or attractiveness (until you get to know her and are aware that this isn’t a trigger for her). For so many women, even if they are attractive and at a ‘socially acceptable weight’ it can be uncomfortable to hear compliments about parts of themselves that they have no to little control over.
So if you are recognising some of these in yourself how to overcome this?
First of all, after reading any of these and identifying with at least one, it’s likely that you are going to feel shame. My invitation is to sit for a moment with that shame. You are not a bad person, however, you have picked up some ways of behaving along the social conditioning of being a man that aren’t supportive to having healthy relationships to others. Can you offer the shameful part of yourself love? This is a pattern you developed, but now you know it’s there, celebrate yourself for the fact you have amazing self-awareness. Now that you know this about yourself, you can choose to differently - how empowering and amazing is that?!
The invitation is then with radical honesty ask yourself what is the truth around your behaviours? What is it that you are really wanting? What is it that you are missing or a need that you feel isn’t being met that you are looking to fill?
Then figuring out what it is that you want, what is missing from your life and choosing the right situations to ask for that and be authentically open and honest about it.
Working on your self-worth. Often when we feel low on our self-worth and shameful about who we are, we can project that onto others around us and blame them for how we feel about ourselves. We are outsourcing our pain, upset and loneliness to others around us so that we don’t take responsibility of it for ourselves.
How do we respond to rejection? Can you turn the ‘no’ on its head? Instead of it being a rejection, honour the person in front of you who honours themselves and their own body enough to look after themselves. Which is essentially what they are doing. So next time you hear a ‘no’ from a woman - thank her for taking care of her boundaries. But when you say it mean it.
So why does this happen for men? That they can end up being ‘creepy’, why can men have ‘leaky sexual energy’?
Boys/men have been socially conditioned to be disconnected from their emotions. This disconnection means that they are not invited to be with their emotional experience. They feel themselves react to certain situations but don’t have the tools to be able to recognise what is happening internally and then voice it. They struggle to recognise the core needs they have and then ask for them in a vulnerable way - lest they be declared ‘less of a man’.
So, because they are unable to declare and express their needs, they have strong desires to feel seen and heard. Many boys and men feel alienated and alone and a way to get attention from others is by not being true to themselves and those around them, it can also result in ‘bad behaviour’ - attention for ‘bad behaviour’ is better than no attention. This behaviour is of course unconscious until they develop the self-awareness to recognise that it is something they are doing. This often again comes from being put in a box of how they ‘should’ behave. Some behaviours are more acceptable than others and in society, unfortunately, we continue to teach them that this behaviour is OK. For example when we dismiss a young girl’s experience of having her hair pulled by a boy as ‘that’s how boys show they like you, he must fancy you’ we are perpetuating and encouraging the bad behaviour. Instead we should be saying ‘No,, don’t do that. If you want someone’s attention then do then say their name instead and if they don’t want to talk to you they are in their rights to do so. I understand it is frustrating but we can’t make people talk to us if they don’t want to.’
How we socialise boys and young men is important.
So I encourage the men reading to understand what their emotions and feelings are. Then for those listening to men express themselves, I invite you to create safety and validate their internal experience.
Creepiness is often a sign of a little boy inside a man seeking attention and validation who is feeling alienated and lonely and who is trying to receive love and touch - in an unhealthy way.
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at email@example.com.
Other resources which are supportive around this topic are: