An Introduction To David Deida

A guy who actually seems to know a few things about relationships...

"You can live in fear...
or you can dance with her."
- David Deida

"Practice intimacy
right now,
in the present."
- David Deida

While your valiant and faithful LiveReal Agents
have been bravely exploring the vast and treacherous terrains of modern relationships and sexuality, all for the service of our loyal fans...

- we've come across a really interesting guy named David Deida. Amid all the messy, bizarre, complex confusion of modern relationships, David Deida is a guy who definitely seems to have some pretty darn interesting things to say, that might shed some light and provide some real understanding of some of the problems facing men and women, guys and girls, (or those folks, as Deida might say it, with "masculine" essences and those with "feminine" essences) in these modern times.

What follows is a brief and incomplete introduction to a tiny crumb from a small fraction of Deida's work. By all accounts, he is much better in his books, tapes, or especially in person than he probably seems here. So if any of this seems interesting . . . well, as some wise person probably once said, "Go There." In other words, we strongly recommend using this as a springboard to check out Deida's actual work.

"We must see that we are afraid of the thing we most desire,
and so we live a mediocre life,
never bringing to consummation
the primary impulse of our heart."
- David Deida "

"The Masculine and the Feminine"

"Give all your love. I mean all your love. Why not?
What do you think you can gain by holding back?"
- David Deida

Nowadays, for anyone trying to make sense of relationships in modern times, one of the most gut-wrenching difficult tasks is to find solid ground to start with. When talking relationships, one groups' initial fundamental assumptions are another groups' heresy.

Knowingly treading in some dangerous waters, Deida first establishes some basic fundamentals, common ground, or "the basics," because nowadays, there's really a great deal of confusion about fundamentals.

So, Deida starts with the basics: What is the essence of being a man, or "masculinity"? What is the essence of being a woman, or "femininity"? And how do they interact?

Term Clarification: Deida talks more about a persons' "sexual essence" than their actual physical gender. To be accurate, he does not use the term "men" or "guys" as much as he uses "those with a masculine sexual essence" (because to be accurate, the two, strictly speaking, don't always go together) . . . and similarly, he doesn't say "women" or "girls" as much as he says "those with a feminine sexual essence," for the same reason.

To clarify, in general, guys have a "masculine sexual essence," girls have a "feminine sexual essence" . . . but not always. A persons' "sexual essence" is more an inner, psychological quality or character essence than it is pure physical gender.

(Confusing? Yeeesss, exactly. Welcome to the modern relationship scene.)

For our purposes here, we are going to use the less accurate but easier-to-type terms: instead of "those with a masculine sexual essence," we're going to revive an old-fashioned, controversy-generating, grammatically-less-precise terms: "men" - and for "those with a feminine sexual essence," we're going to use the controversial term "women." Not trying to step on anyone's toes, this language is used purely for the dual purposes of simplicity and laziness, and also to keep us from collapsing in a raging fit of carpel tunnel syndrome.

Understanding the Differences

To take a brief but necessary detour: any person even touching the tip of their toe in the pool of modern relationships, is sure to make one group or another angry. (Nowadays, it's tough to do anything without making a lot of people angry, aside from maybe, not existing.)

Further, talks about "guys" and "girls" in "general" terms typically makes certain types of people a little hysterical. Complaints along these lines stem from the generalization that "All generalizations are wrong," as if generalizations themselves are the root of all evil, not the intent behind it, and as an alternative, you are supposed to do something like run down and list every member of the world, individually. Generalizations, in general, are a necessary part of life. Not always, and there are exceptions.

Still, to belabor the point, it suggests the possibility that some individuals have certain traits in common is often considered by some, in itself, an offensive, mortal, sin, and anything short of proclaiming that every individual is nothing but an absolutely special "beautiful and unique snowflake," then you're Hitler. Addressing a person's membership in a group who shares certain traits with others is not meant to insult the dignity of individuals, but is sometimes done in an effort to understand, and is often not done to undercut someone's dignity, but to better know how to support it.


That said, one reason for bringing up the whole matter of "sexual essence" is that guys and girls are in a sense, apples and oranges.

- Well, OK, not exactly...but the point is, there are definite fundamental differences between masculinity and femininity, and these fundamental differences are built in to the game - meaning, the way guys and girls relate, and the problems that inevitably arise as a result.

"...the point in intimacy
is not simply to make the best decision,
but to make the best decision while maintaining
the force of masculine/feminine polarity
that attracted you together to begin with.
If that polarity begins to diminish,
conflicts will begin to increase.
When that polarity disappears, attraction disappears,
and the life of the intimacy disappears with it."
- David Deida

Understanding Men

"...Those women, they're going to go home
and dream of a good man."
- David Deida

Can women ever really, reeeally understand men?

Deida's message does address many of the fundamental questions women have along these lines.

For example:

* Why are some guys jerks?

* Why do some guys' ideas of "happiness" normally consist of a six pack and a football game?

* Why does it seem that a man's job is more important to him than an intimate relationship?

* Why do men seem so insensitive?

* Why are men afraid of women?

* Why do many men avoid committing, even when they are totally in love?

Question: If men were actually, in real life, such outstanding, world-shaking, perfect lovers, why are more romance novels sold than any other category, combined? Doesn't this speak to some kind of unfulfilled potential that we could perhaps,
one day, realize?

In certain aspects, in the tradition of "telling it like it is," Deida is definitely not afraid to say it straight.

"If your lover is like most men,
his heart and genitals are not connected."
David Deida"

Yet, he also draws in-depth descriptions of real masculinity, positive, intact manhood, and elaborates on the nature of it, how it is formed and becomes more or less attractive, and how to grow from where you're at.

After really investigating Deida's message, many guys seem to comment that, in general, what men (or "the masculine") really know and understand about women (or "the feminine") is much, much, much less than what it can be.

Or, in a slightly less poetic way, most guys simply do not know how to really treat a woman properly. No clue. But there is a lot they can learn about it.

Understanding Women

"Her ultimate desire is to feel your full consciousness,
your trustable integrity, your unshakable love,
and your confidence in your mission.
Yet she will rarely ask you directly for these things."
- David Deida

Of course, we all know that men already understand all there is to know about women.

Aha, ha . . . well, OK . . . maybe the rest of us, well, we still have a one or two more details to iron out. (An interesting phenomenon: finding out that you really, really don't know much, hardly anything at all, and realizing that you didn't even know that you didn't know much. Something like, a singer being so tone-deaf that he doesn't even know he's tone-deaf; a scary thought.)

- Anyway, one of the core messages of Deida is addressing many of the fundamental questions women have about men.

Hypothesis: Most women are less than completely and utterly satisfied with their intimate relationships.

Data Point: Why are the vast majority of divorces initiated by women?

Many men, even being aware of the fact that they aren't the world's greatest experts on the nature of women, can wind up, even with the best of intentions, mistreating the women they care about.

Deida speaks about many of the fundamental questions men have about women:

* What does a woman want?</lip

* How does a man really treat her properly?

* Why don't women say what they really mean?

* What is behind a general impression that women can often seem emotional, unpredictable, and irrational?

* What do women really want sexually?

* Why can't men seem to live with them, or without them

To delve into Deida's approach to these questions, dig into his materials.

Men and Women: What Are We Really Searching For?

So, to get into more of the meat-and-potatoes of Deida's message . . .

We all spend our lives searching for . . . something. Men, and women, in general, approach this "something" in different ways.

Women, or those with more of a "feminine" sexual essence, search for love.

"The feminine in each of us longs for deeper love
and tries to find it in intimate relationship, family, or friends."
- David Deida

When "the feminine" aspect of a woman's nature is not filled with real love from a real man, they often then move on to "man-substitutes" - they fill themselves instead with soap operas, fantasies, romance novels, food, worry, cleaning the house, conversation...

Men, or those with a "masculine" sexual essence, search fundamentally for freedom.

"The masculine in each of us struggles for greater freedom
and tries to achieve it through financial, creative, or political challenges."
- David Deida

Men's fundamental drive is the dynamic behind men's fascination with football, sports, war movies, philosophy, sex, beer, cars, and other "typical guy" pursuits: they all provide experiences, in one form or another, of "freedom."

"As a woman, you want to be filled by sex . . .
But most men want to be emptied by sex.
Your man probably treats you as a receptacle
for his tension, his frustrations, his burdens . . .
he wants you to absorb everything and leave him empty."
- David Deida

Both aspects of love and freedom are essentially a state of fulfillment, pursued and experienced in different ways. These fundamentally different strategies between men and women, when not understood, breed a swarm of inevitable misunderstandings and conflicts.

"Men prefer nothing to something.
To them, zoning out in the 'nothing' of TV is often more refreshing
than emotional conversation and sharing . . .
Women prefer something to nothing.
They prefer a shelf full of trinkets -
dried flowers, collectibles, photos, seashells -
to one that is empty.
They want to be filled by sexual love more than emptied of desire."
- David Deida

Understanding "The Way of the Superior Man"

". . . Masculine sexual essence,
is move primarily by his . . . direction in life, or mission."
- David Deida

What many women rarely understand about men is that men (or those who are "masculine"), by nature, fundamentally thirst for freedom, which men pursue through their "mission," a more in-depth term for "job."

"'I want out of here!' This is the essential Masculine plea.
When the Masculine is in a bad mood, He wants out.
He feels constrained, weary, trapped and burdened
by life, responsibilities and relationships.
He seeks freedom from all this 'stuff' of life. He wants out."

- and Deida continues . . .

"For a man with a strong Masculine sexual essence, life is not simply a given fact. Rather, it is a problem to be solved or an art to be mastered. It is a struggle. Therefore, when such a person feels burned out, tired and weary, His first desire is for release. He wants to get out of this "place" that requires so much work. He wants to be released from the burdens of life and relationship, for example, through beer, TV, philosophy or meditation.

"In an intimate relationship, this tendency to want 'out' can be misunderstood. For instance, a woman with a more Feminine sexual essence is tending to either doubt love or enjoy love. So when her partner wants out, she immediately assumes that he doesn't love her, and that is why he wants out. But very often, he does love her. He is just feeling trapped by the constraints of life, and so he is reacting to the feeling of being burdened by wanting out. He wants to feel release - not necessarily an end to his intimate relationship."

In addition, men (or the "Masculine") like pushing "the edge." Men thrive on competition and come alive when challenged, when pushing through limits, when conditions demand their absolute best. They find a type of purity in this.

"Most men have not grounded themselves in the freedom of Being. If they had, the howling winds of the Feminine might swirl around them, but they would simply stand strong, already full, unafraid of loss or gain, and therefore free of the Feminine's push and pull . . . When a man is rested in his true Being, he may be deeply involved in an intimate relationship, but it is not essential to his happiness."

"There is only one way for a man to give a woman what she truly wants, and that is through his strength of loving when he is not compromised by fear."

Understanding the Way of the Superior Woman

"The essential Feminine principle is that of opening to love..."
- David Deida

What some men rarely understand about women is that women (or those who are "feminine"), by nature, fundamentally thirst for love and connection, from their relationships.

"Whereas women are most turned on by a man's depth of presence,
men are most turned on by a woman's radiance and energy:
how she moves, moans, smiles, and opens in love."
- David Deida

To men, the feminine represents "life" in all it's passion and danger: they are irresistibly attracted to it, rejuvenated by it, enlivened by it, yet fearful of it, and in very real danger of losing themselves in it.

"The energy that moves life
is the force of the Feminine. She is unstoppable..."
- David Deida

In addition, women (or the "Feminine") want to be able to relax into her feminine and shine her natural radiance with the trust that she is grounded in certainty.

"The feminine in all her forms is the ultimate inspiration...she is the motive power of life...
The feminine form is incomparable beauty, to man and woman alike.
All of nature is summarized in her body, her moods, her energy...
However, if we don't understand who she really is, we will only fear and desire her.
We will hurt her, negate her, exploit her, run from her.
All men and women are either lusting for her or turning from her, in every moment,
unless they are at one in love..."
- David Deida

"She is...yearning for a way to release the love in Her heart...
Her whole life is about opening and loving:
giving love and receiving love.
Her primary suffering and Her primary joy are in love relationships,
usually with an intimate partner, but also with Her children,
Her friends or with God."
- David Deida

The Evolution of Relationship Roles

Any teaching dealing with modern relationships really must address the highly charged issue of feminism, it's message, and its effects on modern intimate relationships. Deida, in the opinion of these LiveReal Agents, is one of those who seems to handle the situation well: the core teaching (similar, say, to Masters, Long, and others) explains a position that is beyond both "patriarchy" (male-dominated) and "matriarchy" (female-dominated) to, as the saying goes, much more of a "win-win."

"The second-stage woman stands whole . . . she is no longer needy of men . . . The words 'surrender' and 'sacrifice' raise their hackles, second-stage women and men alike. The second stage is all about personal power, self-authenticity and making one's stand as an individual: worthy, strong and not dependent. The second-stage woman and man speak loudly: I follow no doctrine, I am my own woman/man/person."

Here is a grossly incomplete and oversimplified look at Deida's description of the growth and evolution of the different relationship modes of modern times:

Stage One, the 1950's Patriarchy
Men bring home bacon, women are all (from a more feminist perspective) dissatisfied housewives. "Co-dependence" is everywhere.

Stage Two, circa 1970's Matriarchy and Confusion
Everything gets scrambled, men are half-men, half-women, women are half-women, half-men, both are each, neither, both, and everything else. It's "independence," power-balance, or dependence on something inside yourself.

Stage Three, 21st Century, Beyond Patriarchy and Matriarchy
Neither Stage One nor Stage Two, this is a stage of essentially real men being real men, and real women being real women; where both men and women become who they really are. From another, Stephen Coveyesque perspective, it's beyond dependence, beyond independence, to "interdependence" and beyond.

Of course, some folks are either "stuck" in a "1950's mode" of Stage One (our phrase, not Deida's) or a 1970's mode of Stage Two. The more "evolved" mode of "Stage Three" relationship requires work and effort.

Sexuality and Spirituality

Another area that Deida addresses - which could be described as his "specialty" - is the relationship between sexuality and spirituality.

"Women or God,
that's the traditional choice for so-called spiritual men, you see.
But it is a completely unnecessary choice."
- David Deida

The debate is a heated area of controversy that has raged for centuries: in order to be spiritual, must one give up sexuality? In order to enjoy sexuality, must a person give up spirituality?

"Ours isn't a world of angel wings and white spires.
Maybe when you die and go to the other side, you'll flit around as golden light.
But that's not how love shines in this human realm . . . This is the red realm.
And the only way beyond it is to feel through it - by loving as it."
- David Deida

Spirituality is approached in different ways, according to more masculine or feminine styles. Men, for example, find spiritual connection outside of life - through meditation on emptiness, or a vision quest, for example. Women, on the other hand, find connection within life - through love, celebration, fullness.

"The feminine grows spiritually
by learning to live as love
rather than by hoping for it.
The masculine grows spiritually
by learning to live as freedom
rather than by struggling for it."
- David Deida

"The Feminine is in life and wants to move with the energies of life.
The Masculine is transcendental to life, and wants to be free of life,
outside of it, watching it perhaps but not caught up..."
- David Deida

Many argue that sexuality, if approached properly, has the potential for being of being not just temporary physical pleasure, but in fact, an actual spiritual experience.

"Most people haven't the slightest idea . . .
They go about their lives as if it were all heading somewhere magnificent.
They don't know that it's just one scene after another,
all equally - eerily - dissatisfying.
Other people get a glimpse..."
- David Deida

Regardless of one's orientation and convictions, Deida has some interesting, original, and compelling arguments to make in the matter.

What to Do About It

The overall "solution" to the dilemmas facing men and women today?

Well, to start broadly, successful relationships and intimacy does not magically appear out of thin air, and is not simply a matter of finding the perfect "other."

Deida points out that the ability to love openly, with strength and compassion, does not come "naturally" (although it is "natural), but through an ongoing process of learning to love openly - loving as if we've never been hurt - which takes work - day by day, moment by moment.

Deida describes specific, concrete practices to enhance your experience and understanding in relationships, to enhance deep sexual union and emotional communion beyond the ordinary, mundane level of relationship. For example, to name a few:

1. Learn about the nature of masculinity (to understand men)

2. Learn the nature of femininity (to understand women)

3. How the masculine and feminine relate to each other properly

4. Learn "how to open your heart."

5. Concrete, specific physical/emotional exercises to "practice opening," to "practice intimacy."

"We must see that we are afraid of the thing we most desire,
and so we live a mediocre life, never bringing to consummation
the primary impulse of our heart."
- David Deida

In other words, instead of searching for love or freedom through various (and typically unsuccessful) avenues, Deida describes a process of "opening" yourself fully, now, having already found what you were searching for. Rather than searching for love, it is a practice of radiating it; rather than searching for freedom, it is a practice of living "freedom," concretely, here, now.

How do we do that? Well, he goes into much more depth in his materials. But in essence, the practice become a process of finding real "love" first, or finding real "freedom" - and then both men and women will be able to get together and relate properly, and not out of need, fear, or loneliness.

"No man can be fulfilled unless he has ceased searching for release
and is founded in the present relaxation of true Being.
No woman can be fulfilled
unless she has ceased searching for a way to fill herself
and is founded in the present relaxation of radiant love."
- David Deida

Reactions To Deida's Work

Deida seems to be making a good deal of progress, and has gotten a lot of praise thus far for his work:

"Finally, a guide for the noncastrated male. This book (The Way Of the Superior Man) will offend and infuriate some, inspire and test others, but challenge virtually everybody. I found it wise, insightful, occasionally brilliant, and always resourceful."
- Ken Wilber

"At last! A book that explains the heart and soul of a woman to men. As a woman, I've never felt so understood and validated."
- Marci Shimoff

"David Deida practically and skillfully brings the ancient knowledge of integrating sex and spirit to the modern couple."
- Harold Bloomfield, M.D.

And that
is a brief introduction
to David Deida.

Critic's Corner

Nobody says much of anything worthwhile without getting a bit of criticism, whether it's from disagreement, miscommunication, or general misunderstanding.

At LiveReal, part of our job lies in being at the meeting point of many different (and often, not-seeing-eye-to-eye) perspectives. In addition, we welcome feedback, complaints, criticism, rebuttals, and overall, good-clean-healthy healthy dialogue.

So, here are some of the criticisms hears about Deida's work, along with responses.

Some criticize Deida for speaking in "generalities" about men and women, masculine and feminine.

- Because, well, speaking generally, "generalities" are "bad." (And by "bad," it means not just impolite, but not allowed.)

In defense of Deida, speaking in generalities does not have to be taken as an insult to one's dignity, especially if the effort is really an intent to better understand another. Yet, as many people typically do, they simply criticize ("All generalizations are bad!") without offering any alternative. And are we allowed to say that saying "all generalizations are bad" is a generalization itself?

Some criticize Deida, essentially, for not being "politically correct."
Well, without opening this can of wooly snakes, life is not politically correct. And life is what Deida is trying to talk about.

Many critics argue that spirituality and sexuality are incompatible, period. The more spiritual you are, the less sexual; the more sexual, the less spiritual - end of story.

Well, regarding this age-old debate, Deida is not in this camp, and addresses this argument in his materials.

Many today argue that modern America is already on sex-overload. We don't need more discussion about sex, we're already drowning in it. Victorian morality is long gone; welcome to teenage pregnancies, out-of-wedlock births, and 50+% divorce rates, etc...

This may well be true; at the same time, we're not going to find our way out of certain dilemmas unless we confront and talk about them directly. Further, some say that America is so consumed with the quantity of sex and because they lack any real quality to it; therefore, the "solution" isn't less quantity, but more "quality."

Some say that the way most folks actually use something like "Finding God In Sex" involves about 99.4% "sex" and .06% "God." Well, maybe so. But maybe that's actually an improvement from .03%?

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