Sexual Polarity, Part 1

One question I often get asked is “What do you mean when you say sexual polarity?” The simple answer is sexual polarity is the force of attraction between the masculine and the feminine. While this concept seems basic enough, it is painfully obvious when we look at the state of relations between men and women today that it is not fully understood. This is a social tragedy, since as a man understanding the concept of sexual polarity is essential to igniting and maintaining attraction and passion in your intimate interactions.

Few have explicated sexual polarity more eloquently than David Deida in his masterpiece work “Way of the Superior Man.” (I recommend this book to all of my clients as it captures the essence of managing masculinity in the world better than anything I have ever read). Deida explains polarity as:

“Sexual attraction is based upon sexual polarity, which is the force of passion that arcs between the masculine and feminine poles thus creating the flow of sexual feeling. It is this force of attraction that is the dynamism that often disappears in the modern relationship. If you want real passion you need a ravisher and a ravishee, otherwise you just have two buddies who rub genitals in bed…..The love may still be strong, the friendship may still be strong, but the sexual polarity fades unless in moments of intimacy one partner is willing to play the masculine pole and one partner is willing to play the feminine. You have to animate the masculine and the feminine differences if you want to play in the field of sexual passion.”  

Just as with electromagnetic polarity, sexual polarity by definition requires two polar entities to create the energy between them: the masculine and the feminine. Men and women alike all carry both masculine and feminine psychological traits, though the ratio of these traits varies greatly among different people. This ratio of masculine vs. feminine traits Deida describes as a person’s “sexual essence,” and it is the foundation of their true sexual core. What exactly are these masculine and feminine traits? Most of us know them instinctively, though we can’t always put them into words. While there are many, the primary core traits are the very same personality characteristics we ascribe to someone as being masculine or feminine:

Core Masculine Traits

Sense of mission leading to freedom


Living on the edge


Growth from challenge

Definitive and decisive

Core Feminine Traits

The search for love and intimacy


Deep, radiant beauty


Growth from support and praise

Ambiguous and unpredictable

Sexual essence, although closely related to gender, is technically mutually exclusive from it. There are plenty of men who have a higher percentage of feminine traits than masculine ones, and many women have more masculine traits than feminine ones. Most gays and lesbians understand this independence of sexual essence and gender clearly. In gay and lesbian couples the polarities of sexual essence often exist as clearly as in heterosexual couples. Despite this exclusivity, most of us still have the psychological traits that fall on the same side of our gender. The bottom line is that you need the two poles to create the passionate energy and sexuality in any relationship.

Note: As an example of this exclusivity, a lesbian friend of mine once confided with me some problems she was having with her partner, stating “I just can’t understand women!” The dynamic of the relationship was that she had more of the masculine essence and her partner the feminine and it was clear to me that their relationship had become depolarized. I offered her a few strategies for reestablishing the polarity with her partner, and even went as far as to recommend Deida’s book to her. A month later she thanked me for helping her manage her relationship, saying to me “it’s all so clear now!”

The way I visualize sexual essence is with the analogy of the balance knob on a stereo. If you turn the knob all the way to the left, all the sound comes from the left channel and none from the right. As you move the knob from the left to the right, the right channel becomes progressively louder until eventually only that channel is heard and the left channel is completely absent. If you place the knob exactly in the center then you get an even balance between both channels. Your sexual essence can be measured the exact same way. On one polar end of the scale there is the masculine, and on the opposite pole is the feminine. (See diagram below.) Everyone’s sexual essence lies somewhere between these two poles. Some people’s psychological traits are 80% masculine and thus 20% feminine, while others may be 20% masculine and 80% feminine. There are also people that lie right in the middle of the scale at 50% masculine and 50% feminine. They have balanced or neutral sexual essences and are often described as androgynous. These people are not as interested in passionate intimacy and would rather have a stable loving friendship rather than the emotional tug-o-war of more sexually polarized partnerships. Still, these people are in the minority as most people have either a dominant masculine or feminine essence.

Your sexual essence alone does not create sexual polarity, but knowing where you sit on the scale is an important part of understanding your attraction to others. As we know, sexual polarity requires two entities to create the energy between them, and it is the polarization between two people’s sexual essences on this scale that does just that and sparks the flames of sexual attraction. The greater the polarization, the greater the attraction and passion. In fact, you are most attracted to those whose sexual essences are the equal opposite pole on the scale: your sexual reciprocal. If you are a man with a masculine essence that is at 70%, you will find yourself most attracted to women whose essences sit right around 70% on the feminine side of the scale. On the flip side, if you are a man with an essence that is 70% feminine and only 30% masculine, you will be attracted to women with sexual essences that are 70% masculine and 30% feminine. This is the reason you find highly feminine women in relationships with ultra masculine, perhaps even dangerous or violent men. It is also the reason why you will see people who are more balanced, perhaps even androgynous be attracted to people much like themselves. Just like the Taoist symbol of the Yin-Yang, there is balance between the two opposing forces of the masculine and the feminine, interconnected, interdependent, and each having part of the other within it. Complimentary opposites thus become a greater system than the sum of their parts when they are properly interacting together.

In part two of this article I will discuss how to apply the principle of sexual polarity to your intimate relationships and interactions. Until then, take some time to think about where exactly your sexual essence fits on the masculine/feminine scale. Are you mostly masculine, mostly feminine, or balanced? Then look back on your past relationships. Which ones were the most passionate? Where did those people fit on the scale? Were they your ideal sexual reciprocals?  Do you find yourself consistently attracted to people with similar sexual essences? Where does your image of your ideal partner fit on the scale? In knowing all this you will be able to filter out those people that, although they may intrigue you, eventually will not fully satisfy your core sexual desires. Ultimately this will bring you closer to the people that do.


Other articles you may enjoy:

Sexual Polarity, Part 2

Take the lead…it’s your job!

Don’t Put Her First

One Comment on “Sexual Polarity, Part 1”

  1. I’m a woman and I’ve just come across the concept off neutral essence lately and it all makes so much sense! I always knew I was never a feminine dominant but then I never felt masculine dominant either. I just knew I could be either or as my mood or situation required. It’s also true that I love men who are best friends. Like things are genuinely equal between us. All this stuff about men and women having differrnt strengths and stuff used to do my head in. I just didn’t relate to it at all. Same with all the relationships represented in our media. In fact after seeing most people’s relationships in real (most were polarised) I was like maybe I’m just not meant to be in a relationship maybe I’m just meant to have friends. But it makes so much sense now that I am super highly attracted to not masculine or feminine men but both especially those become my best friends.

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