In his book How Not To Be a Boy, the comedian Robert Webb jokes that it’s not so much that masculinity is in crisis as that masculinity is a crisis. He immediately denounces this conclusion as too simplistic, but I’m tempted to agree with the original premise. Boys might be conditioned to believe that their sexuality is a fire-breathing dragon whose life force must never be tamed, but let’s be honest – that’s bullshit. It seems to me more likely that boys are fucking terrified all the time. Terrified that they won’t measure up to what they’re told men have to be, terrified that they’re not doing sex properly, terrified that they’re doing it with the wrong people, terrified that they’ll never get the girl, terrified of what it means that they don’t want to get the girl, terrified that someone might discover that they have feelings, terrified terrified terrified.

Clementine Ford on male fear.

Content warning that the full article discusses sexual assault, both in the abstract sense of what factors might contribute to it, as well as descriptions of actual instances.