I've been thinking for a long time now about what it means to be a man. I mean what it means to me. About what do I even mean by what it means to be a man? About what it might means for others and why. It's complicated. It's complicated for a few reasons. Firstly, I'm not talking about sexuality. To be clear: I am same sex attracted. I've had sexual relationships with women but predominantly my sense of who I am as a man in-the-world has been largely informed by my attraction to men and I've pursued this sometimes difficult path far more rigorously than I have a heterosexual one. But I've been trying to think beyond what it means to be a sexual being, if that's even possible, because I don't think my sexuality has (much of) a bearing on a vast majority of relationships I have. So let's scratch the sexuality side of things out of the discussion. Secondly, I don't think my gender as a cis male (ie. as a man who identifies with the biological fact of his being male and performs his gendered existence largely according to the socio-cultural norms associated with what *masculinity* means in his milieu) actually means all that much in the end because it's so contingent on cultural variables that change over time. It's also been contingent on variables that I've pursued for whatever reason(s) over the course of my life. For example, the clothes I wear now are a lot more affected than the clothes I wore even just six years ago, ie. a lot less stereotypically male or masculine. So if I'm still a man and still relatively masculine by some ultimately arbitrary standards of the notion despite subtle shifts over time, then I don't think notions of gender contribute much to the debate. So, if we rule sexuality and gender out of the discussion, what am I (or you) left with on the question of what it means to be a man? Does it even make sense to rule these things out in the first place? Am I talking shit? Tilting at windmills? What would thinking being-man without these look like? Why am I asking these questions on NoFap's forum? Why is this on my mind now that I'm quitting porn and masturbation? Perhaps what I am is given to me, more than what I make of it. Perhaps being-man is something our specific socio-cultural contexts impose on us. I look at my workplace and men and women contribute the same kinds and qualities of labour. I look at my family and aside from reproduction (which has never been something that interests me), I see the same high emotional expression from both sides of the gender/biological divide, only the guys in my family try to suppress their emotions more and those they do show tend towards the more angry side - but they feel just as deeply, nonetheless. When I'm just another anonymous person in an urban context, I might think for example of how I can cause discomfort to women by walking behind them at night (so I cross the road, of course). So being a man comes with an oppressive component, which I didn't ask for but nonetheless participate in. But what do I want my maleness to mean to me and to others and how do I live that? The more I think of it (as I type this) the less it seems to mean to me. I think I want to be a person first and foremost. An ethical person (according to ethics that I have considered and strive to pursue). Just a person. Not a man. And then there's sex, desire, porn. Nothing I have pursued in these scenarios is purely the domain of men. I've fucked and been fucked. I've pursued and been pursued, both with men and with women. I've gotten off to a huge variety of porn. Nothing about this seems specifically male or masculine, per se. Women can do all these things. Perhaps I'm tying myself into logical knots. Perhaps none of this matters, changes nothing. It's just, I was wondering about the performativity of masculinity, the seriousness with which some guys seem to perform and ultimately there seems to be nothing absolute behind any of it. Perhaps. then, it behooves us not to take ourselves too seriously. Perhaps all these words amount to very little. Your thoughts?