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This is an excellent article and really makes clearer some of the things I've been ruminating about for the last 6-12 months.

Growing up, I internalized a lot of messages about what it meant to 'be a man', and it limited just how much I was willing to use my emotional strengths and personal values in certain situations. I was more expressive and satisfied with my romantic behavior as a teenager, but as a young adult who lost his first girlfriend and stopped believing, I thought I had to conform to societal norms, and started running with the crowd.

I had a lot of casual sex and generally unfulfilling relationships that went nowhere. But every time it was over, I felt a little more empty inside. I felt like what I wanted was something different, free of social conditioning and meaningful. Eventually, a course in feminism during my psychology studies changed my life, and coupled with therapy, I came to a place where I was able to accept myself as a human being who deserves love, rather than playing the role of the ideal masculine and adventurous lover that the world tells me I ought to be.

As a result, I find myself dating a lot less frequently, and by choice. I am no longer interested in romance for the sake of getting my jollies off or filling a void inside me with another's adoration. Like men, lots of women are conditioned into acting out historical dating scripts that not only dictate behavior and influence expectations, but also prescribe unequal power and dominance. If that's what works for others, fine, but I want no part of it.

It wasn't easy to get to this place, but now that I'm there, I can honestly say I have a better relationship with myself than I ever did before, and my connections to women, whether romantic or platonic, are of higher quality. I see relationships and sex in a whole new way that, and know that my next relationship will be more satisfying for me and her. Until then, I'm more than happy to be single and uphold respect for myself and others, even if that makes me an uptight male feminist.