A new year, a new manosphere motif.
First it was cold showers, then black coffee and rare steaks. Now the current fad among the gentlemen on Twitter seems to be semen retention.
The idea going around is that “holding it in” isn’t simply good from a health standpoint (there are a lot of nutrients in ejaculate) — but that it’s important for energy cultivation and power.
So while the modern world tells men it’s healthy to “release” when you feel horny, in truth the horniness is a GOOD thing and you should learn to deal with it.
Jokes aside, I agree with this wholeheartedly. And while I am no dogmatic on the subject, the above is age-old wisdom and hard to deny. Hold off for a few weeks on “cumming” and you will feel the difference. You will feel unstoppable; you will feel like a man.
But the question is — why?
I will cut to the chase:
Horniness is simply sexual energy moving through your body. The more energy you hold in your body, the more tension you feel.
And masculinity is at it’s core about tension control.
Understand, men are considered unmasculine today for a very simple reason:
Modern men struggle to handle tension.
They collapse under it; they are weak when faced with it. And this weakness is reflected in every category of their experience:
- physical (carrying weight, persevering through exhaustion)
- mental (solving difficult problems under stress, learning new skills)
- emotional (processing feelings, holding space for others)
- spiritual (trusting in outcome regardless of what you’re facing)
It’s why the average man today is physically soft and/or frail, lazy and unable to think under pressure, emotionally volatile, and in need of constant reassurance from authority figures.
These men avoid tension at all costs. They spew it out sexually in porn, or numb it away with drugs or video games. They avoid the real world, and real risk. They are neurotic minds detached from their body, and from any higher purpose.
Is it any wonder women are frustrated with them?
But let’s be honest: the men reading already know all of this. They know “soft times make soft men” — and that when men are given endless “comfort,” they tend to depolarize into their feminine… especially when they’ve lacked the masculine modeling to show them a different way.
What they need is the correct modeling to tap into that masculinity.
And unfortunately, while the manosphere does its best — elevating some productive behaviors, while shaming other destructive ones — it often misses the essence of this. Its “masculine” displays trend more towards the macho — guys showing off how amazing they look, the girls they get, the money they make.
There is an adolescence to this masculinity; their desperation for validation seeps through and distorts it. And so young men are left mimicking this pageantry — using the right buzzwords and following the approved habits — rather than tapping into their own masculine core.
They are left idolizing others, rather than pursuing their edge.
Which is a shame. Because it’s only on the edge where tension is found.
And it’s only under tension that the normal man learns to become great.
Masculinity and Tension
How much tension can you hold? The answer to this question should change throughout your journey as a man, and as you press further into your edge.
David Deida was the first to popularize this concept in the modern era. He emphasized that in order to tap into his masculinity a man should always strive to be on his edge: not before it, where he becomes complacent — nor after it, where he becomes overwhelmed.
This makes intuitive sense. But why?
Going from from edge to edge is your body and mind learning to manage greater and greater levels of tension. As you overcome these challenges, your tension threshold and thus your masculine “charge” will increase.
Exploring this tension is a rite of passage for young men. Energy rages in their bodies, and compels them to wield it. The recklessness present in young men of spirit is nature trying to make these men understand tension — and understand themselves as a man through it. It is the arena where masculine energy is distilled.
But sadly, it is a fleeting experience for most men. By 30 some are ruined by their choices — nature accounts for these casualties — and much of the rest have “cashed out,” fleeing the arena entirely. These men risk just enough to get the girl and the stable job, and then retire from the “strenuous life” as Theodore Roosevelt would call it — the life of masculinity.
These men leave their edge.
Yet as a man you do not have to accept this common fate, and I would argue you shouldn’t. Great men are always men who continued to dare when they didn’t have to. They won, but rather than take their winnings, put them all in once again.
These men continued to seek new edges even when the prior one had receded. They pushed on through their lives until fate took them or their very bodies gave out on them — only retiring in the service of memoirs, to regale their trials and victories to future generations.
Finding Your Edge
Should you choose to accept this way of life, your question is not if you should find your edge, but what your edge is.
How do you find it?
Finding *an* edge is simple. We have an endless number of them. An edge is wherever there is risk or uncertainty and potential for expansion.
Fear or incompetence are great emotional indicators of an edge; it reveals an area of lower consciousness that can be alchemized. Conversely, an edge disappears when an act becomes easy and predictable. If you find yourself in these mental states, your edge may be receding — stagnation looms. It may be time to up the stakes and play a different game.
And yet not all edges are created equal. Some edges are distractions, others are destiny.
Self-improvement is often a good example of the former. It challenges us, but how?
Cleaning up your diet, hitting the gym, learning new skills — there is nothing wrong with these things. Indeed, they are good things. But they are not what a man is called to do; they are merely healthy fundamentals. They make the machine run smoothly. Yet what the purpose of the machine is to begin with?
This question offends many in the manosphere because it feels like an indictment of their ethos. But are basic self-sufficiency and self-care really the limits of your masculine gifts to the world? Unless your calling is mastery in one of these domains, at a certain point you must look beyond them.
Self-improvement is the bootcamp; your purpose is the battlefield. And you know it’s your purpose because it should demand everything from you, even if it doesn’t take it. A man on his true edge is a man playing perpetual casino royale. It’s all chips in until he decides to retire, or the game retires him.
You can learn and lift and grow all you want but until there is personal risk involved, you are only “playing” at being a man. The ultimate form of masculinity involves a dance with death — the further removed from this, the less the tension, and the less distilled your version of it.
My purpose in this writing is not to encourage some mad fatalism within the young men striving to prove themselves; striving for meaning. This impulse has been hijacked by old, sclerotic men throughout history, funneling the youth into pointless wars.
It is simply to remind them that tension is not a bad thing — it is life force itself, pulsing through your body. But it is only present when there is a corresponding risk of defeat.
The problem with men today is they are afraid of this tension. Even the ones who claim to be leaders in the “field of masculinity” — how many of them are leaning into the great fight we face today? Or how many of them merely acknowledge the problems, but tell you to focus on yourself — “get laid, get paid?”
These men must ask themselves — is this really your edge? It might be — it depends where you are at as a man. Perhaps you still need to deal with the fundamentals. But consider at what point you are focused on these things because they are less risky, not more.
Remember: it is not what you do or achieve, it is what *you feel* when doing something that defines your edge.
And it is as true with great tasks as it is with women.
Your Edge With Women
If you are a man who has struggled with women, it is certain at some point your edge will take you to dating.
There’s a good reason for this. Approaching a beautiful woman is risking a type of death. Will she accept you, or reject you?
Your identity as a man is forged by your results in this courtship process, which is why few men can justify skipping it. It is an essential male initiation; one that’s been brutally inhibited in the modern era. I guide men through it as a coach precisely because so many need it.
But as with many things, men get trapped in this after some initial successes.
It is one thing to focus on dating when you are stricken with fear of beautiful women. Overcoming this, and learning to meet and attract the girls you’ve always wanted is an edge — and a worthy one.
Yet at some point the man who continues seducing strange women in endless routine is no longer courageous, but a coward. He is running from something, and the conquest of women is but an escape; a pretty lie he tells himself.
What exactly is he afraid of?
He is afraid of love.
Now, of course there are some exceptions to this. Perhaps his objective is not so much the affections of women, but the craft. He enjoys the intricacies and differences of each woman, but even more the subtle lessons in getting them to bloom. He is a master artist and scientist, enthusiastically devoting his life to this study.
But if we are honest, these casanovas are rare — and even rarer are ones who pursue this life with the right intentions.
Most guys get into game because a woman hurt them or never gave them what they wanted. They spend their life trying to remedy this with different women, but rather than accept victory when they learn to “get the girl,” they continue mindlessly in their emotional loop. They play games to hedge against intimacy, and sever ties when a woman gets too close.
These men are afraid of taking the next step on their journey: facing a deeper vulnerability with a woman.
They can take the hits “in field” and chalk it up to the game. That girl doesn’t really know them. But what if they fall for a girl — what if they get close — and she leaves again? If they open themselves up, what sort of damage can she do?
People indulge in casual sex not because it is fulfilling but because it is validating. It provides the ego boost of sexual conquest and the sensation of another body without emotional risk. It my even provide a distraction to justify the day-to-day of life. But it does not provide the real intimacy a person craves.
As a man you may need to go through this to understand it, but once you do — and especially once you are able to attract women consistently — you are no longer on a path of growth when you linger in it.
You are off your edge, and you are stagnating.
Your real edge will demand you leave this all behind. It will demand you go where the real risk remains: in the process of baring your soul to another woman.
(READ: PSA for Tomi Lahren – And Everybody Else)
The manosphere is split on this topic in many ways because the most vocal of both sides are talking past each other. They have black-and-white perspectives of what a relationship is meant to be.
For instance, many “trads” push the idea of life-long commitment but many seem to talk of this naively. “Just get married to a god-fearing woman, raise a family and all will be well.”
Unfortunately, no: usually it will not. Assuming the couple even stays together — and that’s a big if — the passion and connection between both partners wanes with this mindset. Children see this staleness, and degeneracy becomes an easy sell to the next generation. What exactly do you think happened in the 60s?
Many PUAs for their part use these relationships as straw men to argue against. “Why commit to a girl and have less sex and feel bored / deal with drama, when you can have a new exciting girl every week?”
But we all know this glamorous lifestyle — assuming a man even gets to that level of ability — is not all that it appears. You can close yourself off as much as you’d like, but at some point you will catch feelings. Whether she ends it or you, moving “onto the next one” eventually becomes less an excitement and more an addiction — a requirement to numb the pain.
Perhaps relationships would be considered differently to this group — and more genuinely rewarding to the other — if they were viewed less as a grave or a finish line and more of a challenge.
If they were viewed as an edge.
Unfortunately men are afraid of the changes a woman can affect on them. There is an implicit awareness in a man that if he falls for a woman, he will be forced to face something within himself he’s been avoiding.
He knows an engaged and intimate relationship can tear his soul apart, and might break him utterly. He knows at the very least he will never be the same after loving her.
He knows he will be transformed.
This transformation is alchemy. And it can only happen when the masculine allows itself to get close to the feminine. The closer it gets, the more it is transformed — and vice-versa.
This alchemy — not sex, not companionship, not even kids — is the true offering of a committed relationship to the masculine. It is a psychological frontier. And yet another edge for a man, should he be brave enough to explore it.
Every man’s journey is his own. It is not up to me or another to tell you what you should do, or when you should do it. Our next edge is for us, and we move onto it if and when we are ready. It is a soul-choice.
But we need to remember while our edges might be different — our calling as men is to live on them, and to master the tension they provide.
That is the essence of being a man.
Risking the unknown. Conquering it. And then risking the unknown once more.
No one can do this for you.
But if you want guidance on your own journey — if you want help finding your new edge, and navigating it…
Apply here: www.patstedman.com/application