Well, congrats, you made it through the first one, and by the looks of things, you may be slightly curious to see what’s coming up next in this series. In case you missed the first one, check it out here. In this article, we are going to look further inward and take a look at the male brain. Yes, ladies, contrary to popular belief, men have functioning brains. We’re also going to take a look at the hormones that course through a man’s veins. And again, just because our hormones don’t follow the course of a roller coaster in a theme park every five minutes, doesn’t mean that we men don’t have them, and not just…ahem…one hormone either. So let’s dig in. I think you’ll find this interesting.
You need to know that I’m not expert, and the way I’m going to describe the brain may cause brain damage to an actual neurologist. I find that I need to think about things and break them down in a way that I can actually understand them. Sometimes it sounds like a preschooler. Anyways, before I further digress prior to actually getting to the point, think of the brain as a big squishy pile that is divided into two halves, or hemispheres. I think I can reasonably assume that you’ve all at least seen a picture of the brain or at least have access to Google. Each hemisphere of the brain controls different motor functions, processes different emotions, etc. There is a bridge in the middle of the two hemispheres that not only acts as a physical connector between the two hemispheres, but it is a channel for communication between them. It is called the corpus callosum.
This next part is very important, so ladies pay attention. It is a crucial bit of information that will shed some light on why your man acts the way he does. The corpus callosum is smaller in men when compared to women. What does that mean? The connection between the hemispheres in women is bigger than that of men, allowing much more communication between the halves. Women are “web thinkers”, able to process larger amounts of information, multitask (except when driving…just joking!), be more in touch with their emotions. Women look for emotional, meaningful relationships where each person is validated and nurtured.
There is less communication between the hemispheres of the brains of men, and this causes them to be largely more right brained thinkers. Men are able to narrowly focus on a task to the exclusion of all other external stimuli. Ladies, have you ever tried to talk to your man when he’s in the middle of watching TV or reading, or fixing the car, or whatever, and he seemed like he was ignoring you? I can tell you, most likely he wasn’t intentionally ignoring you, he literally didn’t even hear you. I’m not saying we’ve never played that off just to ignore our ladies, but our brains allow us to narrow so intently, everything else kind of fades away. Don’t get mad, don’t start yelling, just reach out and touch our shoulder. That’ll get our attention. When I or my wife have to get the attention of one of our three boys, we sometimes have to gently turn their heads to look at us, otherwise they won’t process anything that we tell them.
The structure of the male brain gives us more spatial awareness: things like reading maps, science and math, engineering and building things are what we lean towards. We are fascinated with how things work. That doesn’t mean we’re all engineers or can diagnose your engine problems, but I guarantee there’s something out there that fascinates everyone one of us, and we can tell you absolutely everything about it. We like to focus our attention on whatever we are doing and making it work. That is how we are made. We can’t multitask as well, but we can zero in like a laser and get the job done.
Men also experience relationships differently than women. Our narrow focus gives us a “get to the point already and keep it short” kind of attitude. We want the facts, not how you feel about them. If you have ever asked a boy how his day was, you’ll most likely get a monosyllabic version of “good.” That’s it. My daughter would sit there and go on for half an hour but my boys pretty much stick to the one word diatribes. Unless something happened that excited or interested them and they focused in on it, my boys are all like that. Again, this isn’t a bad thing. It’s not wrong because it’s not what women do. It’s just the default of how men communicate. The reason for that is because speech is centered in the left side of the brain, and since there is less communication between the hemispheres, men generally do not process the nuances of speech as easily as women.
We all need to realize that we relate to each other differently and try to each “bend” a little towards the other. Men can try to do a better job of listening and sharing something meaningful, and perhaps women can, while understanding something about the male brain, not expect the same emotional connection she has with her girlfriends except in male form. Two men can go sit at the bar and talk about little except for the game, and only in two word sentences like, “nice catch”, and go home feeling like they had spent quality time. Two women would be appalled at the very thought.
Not only does the physical makeup of the brain constitute a major role in the differences between men and women, but the chemical makeup between the sexes is also quite noteworthy. I’m talking hormones here, people. I’m sure you can all guess the hormone most present in a man’s body: testosterone.
Testosterone is the chemical that not only fuels the physical aspect of sexuality, it triggers aggressiveness, perseverance, and ambition. It is found in both men and women, however, men have much more testosterone coursing throughout their veins, as in ten times the amount as women. Men seek to assert themselves with each other from a young age, testing their strength with other boys as they play wrestle. When they reach puberty, teenage males will have a sexual thought or urge just about every seven minutes, according to Dr Phil Mango. This doesn’t make them bad or dirty, these things occur unsolicited, or at the sight of a beautiful woman. Note that I’m talking body response here; men are still accountable for how they handle those situations and for restraining their imaginations and respecting women.
Another chemical that both men and women have is vasopressin. This chemical bonds a man to his wife at the moment of climax during the marital embrace. It is a powerful hormone designed to “addict” a man to his wife at the hormonal level. Vasopressin is energized by testosterone, giving the man a larger effect due to the amount of testosterone his body produces.
I will wrap things up once again for brevity’s sake. We saw how the male and female brains are wired very differently, causing distinct characteristics to either sex. Neither one is “right” or “wrong”, they are just different. Each gender has its own amazing capabilities and abilities that are directly a result of our chemical and neural makeup. This is God’s intentional design. He is the one who did all of this and pronounced it “very good.” When put together, both men and women complement each other in an awesome way that only God could design.
Tune in next time as we explore masculine development and how it is very important for boys to be raised into manhood.