In this Episode
[01:57] – What’s the secret sauce to relationship success? In his answer, John illuminates some of the differences between men and women and explores how these can cause problems. He goes on to talk about his forthcoming book Beyond Mars and Venus and explains why he felt it was necessary.
[07:42] – In his last answer, John mentioned balance. Here, he discusses how to find balance, with an emphasis on behavioral changes rather than supplements, though he points out that both are necessary. He discusses the role of testosterone and how to keep those levels in balance, as well as exploring the environmental and personal factors that can lead to low testosterone.
[16:31] – John talks about how a new relationship can be an exception to general rules about comparative hormone levels. He also talks about how internet sex differs from real, in-person relationships.
[18:15] – Stephan and John discuss the concept of “fake it ‘til you make it” in the context of testosterone production and being an alpha male.
[19:31] – Body positions can help create testosterone, John tells us. He then explains that getting rid of estrogen in your body is even more important, and offers some methods to do this.
[21:01] – John walks us through what often happens in an early relationship and how the difference between men and women can lead to issues in the relationship (as well as a reduction in the man’s testosterone). He also discusses the importance of expending energy on your work, not just your relationship.
[25:52] – We hear some more behavioral things that can help men regain the masculinity that many are losing. John also explores the differences between historical anger and today’s anger, as well as how men should cope with negative feelings and defensiveness. He then talks about the importance of maintaining a certain kind of detachment.
[34:37] – John discusses the importance of being a rock. He points out that it’s okay for men to cry when big things happen, but points out that small things shouldn’t lead to fear or tears, as those reactions are results of high estrogen. He goes on to emphasize the importance of analysis in strengthening masculinity.
[41:19] – In response to what John has been saying, Stephan recommends a past Optimized Geek episode with Byron Katie.
[41:54] – John offers his own thoughts on Byron Katie’s work, and gives more advice on how to apply what he’s been saying to create better relationships. He points out the need for women to be sensitive, and explores how this leads to her having better orgasms (which are best when she’s ovulating because that’s when her estrogen levels are highest, he says).
[45:02] – John returns to the topic of nutritional supplementation.He then recommends his new book, Beyond Mars and Venus, before going on to suggest taking (small) doses of lithium.
[49:03] – John has created two different superfood shakes: one for men and one for women. He talks about what else is in his shake, and why it’s effective.
[52:43] – One of John’s daughters, Lauren Gray, offers tips for women and is featured on John’s website at marsvenus.com.
[53:17] – John discusses how bad statins are for men’s health, and talks about other prescription medications and their issues.
[56:31] – Stephan takes a moment to point out that the content in the show and these associated notes is not medical advice and you should consult with your doctor.
[57:10] – We learn more about gut health, with John recommending Bravo Super Probiotic Yogurt.
[57:46] – What is a healthy testosterone level for men? John gives his answer, then goes on to explain why women think men are babies when they’re sick, and potentially even get annoyed by it.
Hello and welcome to The Optimized Geek. I’m your host Stephan Spencer. Today, I’m so excited to have John Gray on the show with us. John is the author of the most well-known and trusted relationship book of all time, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. USA today listed his book as one of the top 10 most influential books of the last quarter century. In hardcover, it was the number one bestselling books in the 1990’s. Dr. Gray’s books are translated into approximately 45 languages in more than 100 countries and continues to be a best seller. Dr. Gray has written over 20 books. His most recent book is Beyond Mars and Venus. His Mars, Venus book series has forever changed the way men and women view their relationships. He’s appeared repeatedly on Oprah as well as The Dr. Oz Show, TODAY, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, and others, he’s profiled in TIME, Forbes, USA TODAY and PEOPLE. He’s also the subject of a three-hour special hosted by Barbara Walters. John, it’s great to have you on the show, welcome.
Thank you, it’s a real pleasure.
Let’s start with what is the secret sauce to having a successful relationship? Is it polarity? Is it surprise? Is it innovation? What is it that makes a relationship stand the test of time?
I think any good chef knows that a secret sauce has a lot of ingredients. I don’t want to oversimplify but we’ll start with some of the basics. In Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, I help people understand where we’re coming from because so much of the time we misinterpret each other. That’s a key factor and causes distress and challenge in relationships. Often, because men and women have a different hormonal system that’s wired up in our brains differently, when things are challenging or when something is stressful, our body has a reaction. That reaction, for men, he tends to become more detached as a first reaction. Then he might get emotionally upset or whatever but his first reaction is detachment. For women, their first reaction is an emotional reaction or a tendency to want to connect by asking questions, get closer. She wants to get closer, he wants to pull away. This is subtle and women notice it. They get confused and they think, “What? He doesn’t want to be close to me?” That then increases more fight of flight in her. That’s an example of her thinking, “Oh, he doesn’t love me. He doesn’t care about me. He’s not interested in what I’m saying.” Actually, he’s thinking about it. That’s one example of how we might misinterpret each other. Another one would be where we’re coming from because quite often women are talking, they’re talking to discover what they’re feeling. That’s interesting. They have a bunch of feelings. You have to sort it out. It’s like a big purse and you’re looking for something. You pull everything out and then you sort it out. She’s really in a very vulnerable place and not necessarily in a fully rational, logical place. She’s sharing feelings, reactions, and sorting them out out loud. Men think our job is to sort it out for her or fix it or solve it. That’s again a misinterpretation. When it doesn’t work, we get frustrated. Well, certainly it’s not going to work. That’s one simple example. There’s maybe hundreds of how we tend to misinterpret where we’re coming from. That’s part of my basic work with Men Are from Mars. Then, there’s the modern work I’m doing now. My new book Beyond Mars and Venus is not just where we’re coming from but where we need to go. That’s very interesting a subject. Where we need to go is relationships have changed quite a bit since I wrote Men Are from Mars. The terrain of relationships have changed. Meaning that women are no longer as interdependent with their financial security, with their jobs, with their education, with their being in the work force. That’s just a part of life now. It wasn’t as much 25 years ago. What’s happened is a new challenge has hit our relationships. That’s higher stress. Certainly, we can say higher stress is on the outside but what I see is higher stress on the inside which is when the cortisol level, the hormone cortisol increases, our capacity to appreciate our partner diminishes, our capacity to feel love lessens, our capacity to trust disappears, our capacity for patience and forgiveness lessens. These are really key words for our relationship to work. It’s not happening as much today. Part of that, what happened is women are more on their male side. They’re having trouble coming back to their female side. By female side, I mean, actually their female hormones are not being stimulated. In the workplace, it’s primarily male hormones, like testosterone, dopamine that are being stimulated. Female hormones like serotonin, estrogen and progesterone and oxytocin, those are not produced that much in the workplace but they are produced a lot at home in a loving, nurturing relationship. Those hormones are absolutely essential for women to cope with stress. When women don’t have the skills to come back to their female side, they stay stuck on their male side, the action side. That produces symptoms of overwhelm. We have this phenomenon today of women being stressed and overwhelmed. Certainly, women are doing their best to be loving but they’re severely challenged. There’s a lot we men can do to understand this process, to help women come back to their female side. There’s another challenge which is men are on their male side traditionally, we’re moving more to the female side. We’re more in touched with our feelings, more in touched with feeling what we want to do, what we don’t want to do. We’re more free in our lives. We want to follow our hearts. We want to be more loved. But in doing that, we go too far on the female side. That creates symptoms as well of lack of passion, low testosterone, lack of motivation, sometimes apathy, depression, irritability, annoyance, or simply laziness. All those things happen when men go too far to their female side. We want to find our balance, both for men and for women.
How do we find this balance? Do we take supplements? Do we go workout at the gym? How do we get more in our masculine core? How do we invite our partners or the women that we’re with to be more in their feminine core?
it’s a big topic in terms of how we’re going out of balance in terms of supplements. I have some basic solutions and some help for men but before moving there, I think I like to first look at the behavioral things we need to do. You can do supplements and that provides a foundation for change but it doesn’t create the result. The result happens when you do the behaviors. You find balance to your behaviors, to your psychology, to your relationship skills, but that doesn’t do it unless you also have the biological support. We need both. I don’t want to imply that take a pill and everything is going to be better but I do want to imply that if you take a pill, then doing the things that will make it better will actually work. Many of things I recommend don’t always work for some people because they’re just nutritionally deficient. Just taking supplements, if I gave you all the perfect supplements that I take, for example, you could have cancer because you sat in a dark room all day and had no friends. We can’t disjoint those two together so I appreciate you asking that question. The first thing is for us men is to recognize we are challenged. Some of the simple symptoms might be you get close to your partner if you’re single and then you start losing interest. It could be you’re just not into her but another one is you like her, she’s wonderful but you suddenly lose interest, sexual interest. There’s no chemistry at all and you freak out and go, “What’s going on?” What that’s about is a natural rhythm inside of men that many don’t understand. When you get close to a woman, your estrogen levels will increase and that will suppress your testosterone. Our challenge in life is to get close to women, they get close to our children, they get close to the central part of life, the feeling part of life. If we have any negativity like irritation, annoyance, lack of passion, lack of interest, you find yourself being a little petty, a little picky, you find some of the things she says suddenly start to repeat in your head. These are all signs that your estrogen levels are rising. You need to get back to your testosterone side. You mentioned one thing, you can just go to the gym and workout. The problem is that will produce symptomatic relief but also if you workout too much, that can also lower your testosterone. I had one client, he was a muscle builder and a trainer for the New Zealand Army. He just couldn’t keep it up with his girlfriend. He had another girlfriend. Have it up for a while and then couldn’t keep it up. I said, “You got to check your testosterone.” He laughed. He said, “Look at me.” He was huge. I said, “It takes a lot of testosterone to build those muscles. Maybe you got too many.” He tested it in the morning and it was empty. It was zero. He realized that he needed to not workout so much, but working out is something that will bring you back to your testosterone side but not necessarily will it always rebuild your testosterone. The key there is to not over workout but to work out and then give yourself plenty of rest because it’s during the rest period that your body rebuilds the testosterone, rebuilds the muscles and good night sleep. That’s one aspect of testosterone but it’s only a minor part of it. We’ve got a bigger issue to fight as men and that is the toxicity in our environment. That’s what’s called xenoestrogens. These are pesticides in plastics. We drink water out of plastic bottles and food and plastic containers, we’re getting toxicity, the GMOs. All that stuff is getting into our water, into our food. It’s really hard to escape it, even into the air. What’s happening is when this toxicity goes into the body, this is all new stuff, the body doesn’t know what to do with it. It doesn’t have millions of years of evolution adapting and evolving because it’s new. The body registers it. It thinks that it’s estrogen in a sense, it binds with estrogen receptor sites. What that does is it awakens the brain in a man to go, “Oh, I’ve got all this estrogen.” The body does the opposite of what you would think. When you’re a man and the body thinks it has a lot of estrogen, it actually stops making testosterone. That’s the key to this state. It’s a fail safe survival mechanism because never in history did men have too much estrogen. The body only would have too much estrogen if you were in a fight or flight situation, a dangerous fight, a tube box fighting and your realize that, “Okay, he’s going to win and if I keep fighting, I’m going to die.” At that point, when you recognize that you’re not in charge anymore, somebody else is going to be boss, then your body goes from alpha male to beta male. It literally produces an enzyme called aromatase. That aromatase gets produced whenever a man is feeling threatened and insecure. Like, “I’m threatened but I can’t solve the problem.” “I’m threatened but I have to give that power to solve the problem.” That’s a lack of confidence. Aromatase is produced converting his testosterone into estrogen. When the body has a lot of estrogen, it thinks, “Oh my gosh, you must have really been in a lot of danger and you need to be beta male. We can’t let you be alpha. It will cut your testosterone production by 50%. That’s what’s seen in apes for example. When there’s an alpha male, his testosterone will be twice as high, 100% more than the other male monkeys. When that monkey dies, another one will become alpha, become the leader of the tribe, a chief. The day he becomes chief, his testosterone level is double. A change takes place according to your status. That status of being alpha, your body makes twice the testosterone. This is amazing. Your hormones reflect our psychological state but our hormones also determine our psychological state. It’s our behavior and our interactions with others that determine our psychological state. Then our hormones go like, “Hey, if you’re a hero, we need to give you more testosterone but if you’re in danger and you can’t behave like a hero, then we’re going to give you estrogen.” That’s what goes on. As soon as we start being inundated with all this estrogen and the environment, our brain stops making as much testosterone. That is not a good thing. We have that going on a lot. As men are getting older, your average male at 50 has half the testosterone he had when he was younger. The problem with all this, it’s one of the practical things, is that every disease, every sickness for men pretty much is linked to low testosterone. Not that it’s the only thing but it’s a major factor. Everything in relationships, when men are passive and you’re kind of like your partner doesn’t excite you anymore and you find yourself being argumentative or you’re shutting down, you’re just not turned on to your partner anymore, those are all symptoms of low testosterone. Some guys will take testosterone, which I don’t recommend. One of the reasons for that, I say why take it when you can make it? But also there are dangers to taking it. If you take too much, then you get rage. The reason you get rage is whenever you got a surge of testosterone and it’s more than your body wants, it will start turning into estrogen. What actually converts it into estrogen is when you get a surge of testosterone, it increases your ambition, your desire and your motivation and then your brain comes in and says, “You can’t have that.” And it starts turning into estrogen. That’s where these fits of rage happen. That’s why it’s important for men to know that all of our anger in our relationship is actually our testosterone is going down and our estrogen is going up. Our female side is increasing. The polarity in a marriage, the polarity for sex to be there, you gotta have this polarity of male to female. A man needs basically about 10 times more testosterone than a woman for her to even be turned on to him. A man needs to be turned on to a woman, she needs to be surging at least 11 times more estrogen than he has. There’s exceptions to that because you could have this hormonal imbalance. If it’s somebody you don’t know, then the newness of the situation creates almost like a drug-like experience. It’s called “strange ass” is always going to produce massive arousal but once it’s familiar, now you’re producing all of the hormones. If it is somebody you don’t know, it’s just newness challenge stimulation happens. You don’t experience a lot of estrogen, serotonin, or oxytocin and all of those female hormones that you would normally experience if you made love to your partner. You don’t experience that if you’re having internet sex for example. That’s like taking heroin almost, you’re with someone new and different or someone who really is a fantasy. There’s nothing real about it at all except to your reptilian brain, it looks like someone would like to have sex with you. Dopamine levels shoot up because when women want to have sex with you, to the monkey brain, it’s a sign that you’re the alpha. Your testosterone levels temporarily shoot up but it’s all fantasy. It crashes down afterwards because it’s not real. The key to it is can you sustain testosterone levels in the phase of being in a real relationship. This is unique. You need a good amount of testosterone to do that but more importantly you need good relationship skills so you feel successful in a relationship and confident. The other side of it is that you need to kick these estrogens out of your body. I kind of went on there for a while.
Right. There’s a lot to that. We need to change our behaviors. When you were talking about that, I was thinking the concept of fake it till you make it. It makes sense to fake it till you make it because of the way that we’re wired. We’ll produce the testosterone because we are in a alpha male stance or acting like alpha male even if we’re not feeling it. Then eventually, the testosterone will kick in hopefully.
I actually didn’t say fake it till you make it, I’m not against that concept, I want to know what you heard. Tell me a little bit more detail of that.
I just thought about that concept of faking it till you make it because if you have an alpha male stance and I learned this through being in Neil Strauss’s secret society for years is that broadcasting certain body language can put you in an alpha male positioning. For example if you have the wider stance than all the other men in the group, or if they do have a wider stance, it would be unnatural for you to have an even wider stance. You put one leg up on a stool or on the rung of a chair or something like Captain Jack. Fake it till you make it can actually get you that confidence that you need in order to maybe produce the testosterone.
I just hadn’t covered that but you brought that forward. That’s something body positions, everyday when I’m standing in the shower, I will put my hands on my hips and stand like superman. When I counsel people, I always lean back. It’s a natural thing. I found out later that everybody says that’s what’s creates testosterone, put your elbows out and your hands behind your head, you’re just stretching out big. That bigness, it’s not even faking it. That’s just the body posture that will increase your testosterone. I will salute that completely. That’s just some small things you can do. The biology of getting rid of these estrogens in your body is really important. That’s very significant than your body just making it instead of producing surges which is what body positions will do. They will, they’ll create surges but you got to be able to keep supplying. What you can do as men is you can fast for a day at a time on lemon water or on bone soup or on your green drink, there are a lot of different ways to fast. My thing is lemon water and aloe vera. That’s really good. During that time, it’s important to take in good supplement and minerals so your body doesn’t become depleted that actually gets the zinc it needs to make the testosterone. It needs all the other alkalizing minerals necessary to keep you not only from being hungry but also to help your brain rebuild your hormones. Fasting is a real key thing. But the other thing is feeling successful in relationships. Let me take what happens to a lot of us guys is we fall in love with some woman, we really like her a lot. We get close to her. Just as we’re starting to get close, she’ll start to feel more attached. That’s exactly when we need to pull away. It’s the natural instinct to pull away. Then if she’s not aware of this dynamic, she’ll tend to become more needy at that time and want to spend more time with us at the time where we need to spend less time with her. If we stay too long, that means our estrogen is going up, our testosterone is going down and now we’re starting to create experience of pettiness, of irritation, of annoyance and creating a series of unpleasant experiences with her rather than taking the time we need to pull apart and rebuild our testosterone. Some guys, they’re more on their female sides. What happens is they get really romantic, they get really in there and they spend too much time and then they just got to get out. Then they got to the next woman and the next woman because they spend too much intimacy with one woman. Then you go to the next and spend too much. You gotta slow it down. Get in and get out. Get in and get out because when you go in, your testosterone levels are always going to start going down. Then you got to pull away for them to come up. If you pull away from someone special, you’re wanting to make a commitment, you’re wondering why can’t I ever stay with one woman. It’s basically you’re getting close and you’re feeling all this love, that’s estrogen. Your testosterone is going to start going down, now you’re going to lose interest in her sexually to some extent. The other woman on the other side of the fence is going to look really good. If this woman is good, what you need to do is understand your body, give it a chance to pull away without going and having sex with the other woman. Instead, just taking your energy away from needing sex or her for your fulfilment and put it into your work. Because see, the most important thing for men is their up level from just needing sex and intimacy with women to feel good. That’s really the reward of doing the work. The work is your work in the world. That’s what really generates your testosterone, relationship depletes it. It can keep it up. But when you’re having sex, you’re ending up with less testosterone over time. For guys who are masturbating, masturbation is a normal part of life but when you masturbate a lot, what you find is you become addicted to it. Having sex a lot with a woman is good if you’re doing that, but you can also get intimate and then you lose interest in her. The thing is to balancing these energies between intimacy in your life and your work which has nothing to do with women, has nothing to do with children, has to do with making money, has to do with making a difference in the world, has to do with building your skills, has to do with building your confidence, has to do with your own personal survival, has to do with making sure you can take care of yourself completely before you want to be responsible in a relationship to care for somebody else; there’s a lot about being a man which is testosterone. Three main qualities of testosterone are independence, detachment, and problem solving. These are things we as men have to master if we want to sustain our testosterone levels in life as we get older because you’ll see all these other men, their testosterone levels are dropping and dropping. I’m 65, mine have not dropped, mine are 25% higher than as a young man. That’s because in my work, I’m dedicated in my work but also I’m successful in my family. I have a very successful sexual relationship. When your wife is turned on to you sexually, that gives a very strong message to your brain that you’re alpha. You could even be working for somebody in your life and still feel like alpha because you’ve got your department or you’ve got your scale, you got to define, what am I? What is me? Where am I independent? From that place of independence, bring something home so to speak some money here, some love and support whatever it is you’re providing your partner. You get recognition for that. You are special, you are important. To the brain, that recognition is when a woman wants to have sex with you. When she is sexually fulfilled through you, that is a huge boost to sustaining healthy testosterone levels in guys. I’m assuming we’re talking mainly to men here.
Probably more men than women but let’s talk to both.
Okay. Let me tell you some behavioural things. Again, maybe the most important thing is to help men today find their masculinity because it’s getting lost to various degrees. They don’t even know how, they just know their testosterone levels are dropping. They know that they’re not feeling as energized and motivated and confident and successful in their relationships. A big part of it is quite naturally is that part evolution. It’s a good thing as we get in touched with our feelings. We’re more loving and we’re more caring and we’re more patient and we’re more generous and we’re more forgiving. These are all like our female side. These are good qualities. We’re also creative, we’re passionate. We’re motivated. We want to make a difference in the world; these are all qualities of our female side blending with our masculine side. That’s a good thing. The problems that come with that, and I wrote a book called Conscious Men, that would be my definition of a conscious man. He’s more conscious of his other qualities that other generations of men have not been conscious of like his feelings. However, what comes along with that is a whole new set of challenges and problems that he has to find out the solutions to and one of the biggest ones is in his marriage or his relationships, it’s feeling anger. Anger is an emotion and when you’re on your female side, your anger is greater and greater. Men, when they have a good amount of testosterone, if they lose confidence and they don’t know how to make their partners happy in a relationship, then what happens is their anger increases. When you go to your female side if you’re a man, in that negative way, you go to your female side as a loving person, women love that but if you go too far, then you become needy. Women don’t love that. But when you go to your negative emotions, they really can’t take that at all. They can’t take that. It’s not safe for them. They shut down. They begin going to their male side. Now, you’re going to your female side, they go to their male side. Think about it, when you get angry you’re scary to them. In history, when men get angry, people die. Men did not get as angry as they are today. You have to do a lot to propel a man’s anger. Then he would lose control and kill somebody or start a war. Anger was not a good thing. If you feel that’s being in touch with your feelings, it’s good to feel it but don’t talk to the person you’re angry with. If you don’t talk to your wife/girlfriend if you’re angry, as soon as you get angry you’re in defense response, you’re in fight or flight. What’s happening in fight or flight, aromatase, this enzyme is produced and starts turning men’s testosterone into estrogen and you start becoming female. You lose your power as a man and what is your power as a man? Steadfastness, centeredness, clarity, rational thought, detachment, independence, lack of neediness, lack of irritation and annoyance. Your feelings don’t get hurt. We are in touch with our female side. Our feelings can get hurt so what we have to do with those times is not go to a woman to share those feelings but we go to our self, we go to other men, we talk in a journal, we pray to God, whoever else you can process your feelings with. It’s good to feel them. It’s good to talk about them in a context where nobody is going to take offense at it. It’s good to talk about it in a context where you’re not going to act on it. But these are all irrational feelings, negativity is irrational. Don’t act on it but listen to it because there’s always a kernel of wisdom in it because deep within our heart is a need. We never want to negate our needs. Some people can’t feel their feelings. If they don’t get what they need then they say, “Screw you.” “Fuck you.” “I don’t care.” Then they become a criminal because they’re disconnected from their feelings. They can do things without feeling empathy or compassion or caring for other people. The whole idea why we don’t steal from people is that we wouldn’t want somebody to steal to us. We have a compassion for them. We have empathy for them. But when you shut down your feelings, that’s called a sociopath or a psychopath, they have no access to their feelings so they can’t really behave in a way that’s mutually supportive in a relationship and they become criminal, dangerous. We don’t want that in our lives. That’s the far extent. What we are is the more conscious male in touch with our feelings. But when you’re in touch with your feelings, you also have the new challenge of having to process that and not make decisions on the high amounts of anger and irritation or fear and anxiety that men feel when they’re too far on their female side. Bring it back. When you’re angry, stop talking. I have a phrase. This would be one takeaway. My wife and I might get a little argument and then at certain point I realized I’m getting defensive. I’m starting to say I’m a little angry and it could be just her telling me something, “You left the light on. How many times do I have to tell you you can’t leave the light on? You left this here.” Little things women say and start to get annoying. Anything is annoying to me. I’ll listen a little bit and then I’ll say, “I hear you.” When I say I hear you, she clearly gets not to say another word. If she says another word at that moment, all she’s going to get is a defensive reaction inside of me. Now, I’m going to have to be suppressing my feelings. Certainly, if I’m defensive, and this is what everybody needs to know. When you’re defensive, you can’t hear what another person has to say. All you’re going to hear is your defense to that. All you’re going to do is react to that. Blood flow can be measured in the brain when a man’s estrogen levels are rising when he’s defensive. Blood flow has stopped to the front part of his brain where he can rationally interpret another perspective, hear where somebody’s coming from. Instead, he’s going to defend reactively based upon the lowest aspect of his nature, which is not compassion and not empathetic. These are only functions you have when blood flow is going to the front part of the brain. The back part of the brain is instinctive caveman behaviors, these are monkey behaviors, these are reactive behaviors, and these are behaviors that sabotage relationships. They didn’t even get formed in human relationships. They’re just like children, like monkeys, not the children of monkeys but they have only developed that part of the brain, it’s similar to a monkey’s. We need to not lower ourselves to that but to maintain a detachment, but that doesn’t mean that just let a woman pound on us. One of the keys to understanding women is listening. It’s such a great skill. It can help women to stimulate estrogen, oxytocin and serotonin. The hormones that will nourish her soul to bring her back to the female side. When I listen to her, listening, being quiet inside of me, increases testosterone. Sharing, expressing emotion increases estrogen in women and helps bring women back to their female side. That’s how we find the balance. Most people don’t think about listening as a masculine thing, talking, arguing, making points. Certainly, when you’re solving a problem, that’s testosterone stimulating. But expressing your emotional side is not solving a problem. It doesn’t increase testosterone. In its own self, whether you’re succeeding or not, in having an effect, it’s increasing your estrogen.One of the keys to understanding women is listening. It’s such a great skill. Click To Tweet
That gets me thinking, in my relationship, when I tell Orion my fiancé that I’m going to be her rock in a particular issue or area, that gives her so much comfort and safety. That describes what you were talking about over these last minutes of putting aside my being not reactive but instead being emotional elsewhere where I’m unpacking my feelings and venting or whatever with somebody else in a safe environment and not doing that with her but instead I’m her rock and we’re going through something. I’m going to be there for her.
It’s such an important thing for men to understand and there’s a whole counter movement towards this. It’s thick in our culture which is almost like saying, “Poor men, they have to be the rock. They can’t express their feelings. They can’t cry.” I’m not saying you can’t cry. If you’re a man and your testosterone levels, if you’re securing yourself and you’re a man, you will cry when big things happen, big losses happen. Tears are a natural response. You don’t cry over little things. You don’t get scared. You don’t feel fear over little things. You might feel concerned but you’re not scared. Scared is high estrogen. Being concerned, I’m concerned for the well being. Anything I do, I drive fast. I’m concerned but I’m not scared. I’m not afraid. When you’re confident and you have healthy testosterone, you don’t experience being scared. You don’t experience being afraid. If you are experiencing that and you’re a man, then you need to practice testosterone building activities. You need to have activities where you feel very confident that you’re achieving a goal. That’s it, and every time you go to that fear place, shift attention to something where you’re confident and do those things. That’s one aspect. Two, eating too much sugar is fuel for estrogen. I remember back when I was a young guy, I had massive anxieties as a young guy. One of the simple things I learned is that before I would give a talk, I had all this anxiety. Just don’t eat sugar that day, that made a big difference. That would cut it down a lot, but the fear itself was I just didn’t really have enough confidence in what I was doing. I needed to find things that I could do, that I was confident at, and then I would do those things, the fear would go away. I would then go back to whatever it was I needed to do. It’s a matter of training yourself when you’re in your emotional side. Don’t indulge in your emotions. Go and do something. One of the things you could do is you can do analysis which is like if there’s anxiety, you can sit down and analyze yourself because analysis is a testosterone producing function in the brain. You could also do calculus problems, just get your mind doing something that you’re confident at, where you’re solving problems in an analytical, logical way. Then you’re on your male side. You rebuild your testosterone. By the way, that little analysis exercise, it’s a good one for guys to know it simply says write all this. First of all, what’s going on inside of me? I’m afraid. What am I afraid of? And then give it words even if they’re totally irrational. Give it words because that’s your analyzing an emotion and you’re giving it words. That’s a very important process. I’m afraid I’m going to fail. I’m afraid I’m not good enough. I’m afraid I’m not ready. I’m afraid people won’t like me. I’m afraid I’ll die. I’m afraid nothing will work out. I’m afraid I’m a loser. You go down the whole thing. I used to do that, identify what was associated. Now you say what am I telling myself? I’m telling myself that I should be better. I’m telling myself that I’m not good enough. I’m telling myself that people don’t like me. I’m telling myself that people will not appreciate what you have to say. You’re now able to look at what am I telling myself, because we are constantly talking to ourselves quietly. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re doing it to ourselves. We’re talking ourselves into a frenzy. When you get that you’re the one who’s talking to yourself that way, that awareness of what you’re doing frees you to stop doing something which is not productive. We have this intelligence, this ground of intelligence that if we just realize what we’re doing then it will shift it. There are so many things we automatically do because they are automatically done to us as children. We have nothing to do about it. It was automatically happening inside of our parent’s brain. We just pick up all this neurotic thinking and behavior. A lot of it is what this is society is doing. in our culture, depending on how connected we are to the culture. We get connected to the way it thinks. What it’s always saying to itself, what is it saying about others. Just to become clear about that and then go through after you made this list and challenge it. Is that really true? Do I know that to be 100% true? No. Anything to do with fear, you never know to be 100% true. Don’t know that to be 100% true. Then start looking at what’s real and true and you come back into what’s real and true. Life is never as bad as we think it should be, as we’re telling ourselves. The fact is when you come back to the moment, you’re always safe unless we’re dying. Even then when people are dying, they often feel great peace. That’s because dying itself is a journey into another outfit so to speak. We realize that at that point. That’s a whole another subject. The reality is we can process emotions logically, analytically, and it brings us back to our male side. That’s why it works. In wisdom and intelligence, it can come from that as good. Meditation is another technique to do. There are so many good techniques to strength and masculinity. We just have to be aware that most powerful is to listen to a woman without reacting. That’s why you’re going to be thinking, “Why do we have to do this?” Actually, it’s the best technique in the world.You want to lift weights in a gym to build muscle? You want to lift weights in order to build your detachment and your strength as a man? Listen to your wife talk and hold back from trying to solve things or reacting to things. Don’t beat yourself up when you hit a point. There’s always going to a point. Like within a weight, there’s going to be a weight you can’t lift. When it comes to your wife talking and nagging or complaining, I hear you, but before that you can say tell me more. Help me understand this better. What else? Get her talking as much as you can take. Then when you can’t take it very politely say I hear you. But have an agreement with her that that’s the best you can do. You don’t have to say it every time. Look, I’ve done my very best. I tried to hear everything you say. You’ve gone on that for 45 minutes or 10 minutes. I don’t like what you’re saying. You don’t have to do any of that stuff. It’s just a very nice, cordial thing because you’re doing your best. That’s all you have to do. That will be enough. She just needs to know that’s your limit.
Yeah, that’s all great stuff. It reminds me of a couple of previous episodes on this podcast where Byron Katie was one of my guests and we talked about the work and questioning your thoughts. Is it true? Can I know with absolute certainty that it’s true? How does this thought make me feel? What would life be like if this thought didn’t exist? Really powerful questions that you ask to test your thoughts, to see if they’re real and true or if perhaps they’re just disempowering and false. Listeners, be sure to check out that episode. It’s fantastic.
Her work is absolutely fantastic. That used to be my work 40 years ago. I used to do all that processing of the self. It became a foundation for so much of the work I do today. Mental strategy is one thing, behavioural strategy is even better. Along with it, because they go hand in hand. You can be in your head all your life and you’re alone but you can have better relationships if you also learn to apply this. One is I can come back to my analytical, detached, clear self. Well now, let me do that and sustain that in the presence of my partner and listen to them. Irony is you’re over here going, “But, everything she saying is irrational. That doesn’t make sense.” Her journey is to talk it out loud. Your journey is to hold it inside and analyze it. At the end you can also talk it out like for fun and for a relief and for comfort with other men. Not to dump on men but to share with your male friend. That’s also very important and the more we connect with our female side as men, we need to be connecting with other men through relationships, sharing that part of us, not with our girlfriends and our wives. We need to share with them as our love and our compassion, our empathy. We can talk about challenges in our life but never, ever over talk her problems. Guys would go, “You think that’s bad. Wait until I tell you what happened today in my life.” Never create a situation where you got more upset than a woman. You’ll lose. She’s the woman. You have no idea. She’s 10 times more sensitive than you. She needs to be 10 times more sensitive, maybe 30 times more sensitive, otherwise she’s not going to be orgasmic. You think your orgasms are anything compared to hers, that’s what makes sex great, is that women have way more sensitivity, way more feeling, way more pleasure. We get to go into that world and touch in and that’s wonderful. We get to step out of it because that’s all estrogen. Women have great sex when their estrogen levels are super high. That’s during the five days of ovulation. Her estrogen levels double. At that point, they’re 20 times higher than a man’s estrogen. He can join her in that place and it’s going to rock her world and rock his world, only because she feels safe because her estrogen levels can now double. Women can’t even get 10 times more these days. You’re spending all day doing some job and competing and rushing and urgency and bottom line and sacrifice. All those activities, they’re great activities for making money. They build testosterone but they don’t increase estrogen. She needs our help with attention, affection and understanding, planning dates. The key thing there is getting her to talk and listen. Only 10 minutes, we’re not talking a huge amount of time here. Then, I hear you. Don’t try to fix her, save her. You’re actually fixing and saving by actually giving her what she needs which is to feel her. The other side of this is back, you asked me about it earlier which is the nutritional supplementation. I’ve created a whole website to help people with that. I’ve got a free download book on supplementation for people for optimal brain function and hormone balance which they can go to my website and get a free book there or a free download of the PDF of the book. You can buy it at Amazon. It’s called Staying Focused. I got my new book coming out which is helping everybody understand women’s hormones and men’s hormones to a much greater degree and that is called Beyond Mars and Venus. There’s one thing we haven’t talked about that you asked. That’s my minerals that I recommend. The most powerful mineral to lower stress that anybody can take. It is not a drug. It’s not an herb. It’s a mineral called Lithium. The psychiatrist use it for bipolar. They use Lithium Carbonate in doses that are about 100 times greater than what I recommend. Many, many naturopathic doctors are now recommending. Instead of this toxic 100 times dose of Lithium Carbonate, which will take away symptoms of bipolar but then it has side effects. Think about it. Depression, takes away the symptoms. Can’t sleep, takes away the symptoms. It has side effects. If you take it in the healthy dose, it doesn’t have any side effects. It works wonderfully. It’s not a drug. It doesn’t change you. It just gets rid of all these looping thoughts and worries and concerns and irritations and annoyances. It’s also the ultimate neuro protector in the brain, prevents brain cells from dying. It also regenerates brain cells. You end up having more brain cells by taking this amazing substance. Buck Foundation, the major foundation here in Marin County, that talks about Alzheimer’s says it will prevent Alzheimer’s. You won’t ever hear much about it. I talk about it a lot because it’s $11 for three months supply. Nobody can make any money on it. It would put the psychiatry business out of business. I’ve been recommending it for 15 years for people. Now what I do recommend, not saying it’s a one pill does everything, it’s Lithium Orotate. It produces oxytocin to help balance hormones for women. It binds with the cannibal receptor sites which produce the anandamide in the brain which makes you feel really good. It regulates the flux of every neuron in your brain. It regulates the in and out of calcium and magnesium. You need the calcium, the flux between calcium which is excitement, dopamine, testosterone-producing with magnesium which is serotonin and estrogen-producing. This is a flux that’s going on a thousand times a second in your brain and the Lithium regulates it. Anytime you do something that feels really, really good or you eat something like sugar or drink alcohol that makes your brain feel really, really good, you’ve just depleted yourself of Lithium. Our lifestyle today with so much high carbohydrate and sugar depletes us of Lithium. It’s something that we all need to be supplementing with. It’s in our food but we need more of it if we’re stressed. You need the call factors over time and the call factors are briefly mentioned and there are in a product called super minerals for men or super minerals for women, it’s a different balance according to their hormone balance. You need to have the Calcium Orotate, the Magnesium Orotate, the Potassium Orotate and the Zinc Orotate along with the Lithium Orotate and some Chromium. These things together all sustain a healthy flux that’s going on all the time in your brain to make these brain chemicals. This is something that’s foundation, it’s basic, it’s not a one thing cures everything, but it’s for the optimal brain function along with good Amino Acids, that’s proteins. The brain needs proteins. I’ve created a wellness program which is a Super Food Shake. I’ll tell you how to make it. You can do it your own, you can get it premixed. It’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. It’s because it has stuff that you won’t find in any other shake which is called undenatured whey protein. That’s now become popular. 15 years ago, you could hardly find it. That’s unprocessed whey protein. It also has unprocessed casein protein. Nobody comes close to that. It’s five times more expensive to get the casein. Nobody can digest it, although everybody eats cheese and that’s what is in the cheese. The key to this is what I put together is the shake which has the balance of casein and whey for males and one for females because it’s different for men and women. Casein is in mother’s milk. 80% of mother’s milk, the protein is casein. It’s very important, whey protein helps make serotonin, casein helps make dopamine and build muscle mass. How do you get these proteins which are hard to digest? First, you get it in the raw state. That makes it easier to digest. If we all have healthy digestion, there would be no problem, we could get from raw milk but we don’t so you got to take the fat out of it. Now you got just the protein then you add to that, enzymes. You can go buy undenatured whey protein, try to find undenatured casein protein. Mix them together, add enzyme, a whole full spectrum enzyme dose, then add trace minerals to activate those enzymes. You put that all together, that’s what my shake has. Put that together and add water and let it sit for 45 minutes. That’s the magic here. It sits for 45 minutes and it digests itself, it actually bubbles. Then you add a bunch of ice to it, blend it up. It’s delicious. But when you add the ice, it stops the digestion process. You gotta let it sit at room temperature for 45 minutes. It cooks itself basically and it will immediately absorbed into your brain. You experience inhaling clarity when you take this shake as long as you’re also doing the super minerals. You’re getting the minerals to activate the flux. You’re getting the proteins that can then make the brain chemicals. Now, you have optimal brain function. That’s what the book is about. The Swiss people did this research on the absorption of Amino Acids and with normal protein shakes or with proteins like eggs, steak, chicken, you really only absorb about 30% of the protein. 70% has to be eliminated out of the body because it’s not processed. 80% of the energy to digest goes to eliminating it. You go, “How much benefit am I getting from eating regular proteins?” With this Super Food Shake, they found the body absorbs 92% of the protein because it’s already broken down into peptides. You get your energy from it. You don’t even need a lot of it. You can cut your calorie use way down. You lose weight on it. This is a great program. Mars Venus Wellness Solutionis what I call it, super minerals and Super Food Shake. If you have a lot of love in your life, good communication and you work hard, you’re going to be healthy and you’re going to be happy in your life.
That’s awesome. The website for downloading the book and for getting these minerals and the protein shake is marsvenus.com?
That’s correct. marsvenus.com. You’ll enjoy there. You’ll see there’s a young woman on the front page. That’s my daughter, one of my daughters, Lauren Gray. She also teaches special programs for women only. For the women listening, you can get great tips from her on how to bring out the best in men.
That’s awesome. One last question, I’m curious because when talking about minerals and supplementation, a lot of people, especially men, especially in older age are on statin drugs which my understanding is not good for testosterone but I wanted you to weigh in on that.
Absolutely terrible for testosterone, terrible for your health. Already, the FDA has to put a warning that it can cause memory loss which is another word for saying dementia. Please, you do not need these statin drugs. We talked about testosterones are hormones, estrogens are hormones. How does your body make hormones? It makes hormones out of cholesterol. You want cholesterol and you want lots of cholesterol. There’s nobody alive over 70 who doesn’t have cholesterol over 300. It’s a requirement of staying alive, higher cholesterol. They don’t report that. It’s you PN research that shows that in massive studies. Certainly, there’s people taking cholesterol, dropping drugs and they’re still alive at 70. But they’ve got dementia. They’ve got mental problems. This is not only low testosterone but this is mental problems. I do address it in the book Staying Focused, how bad these statin drugs are. The two biggest selling drugs are statin drugs and Tylenol. The ingredient in Tylenol is acetaminophen. Both of these things attack the liver. They suppress something called glutathione. Glutathione is your body’s ultimate antioxidant. It’s way more powerful than any antioxidant that you could ever eat. Imagine having a body with no antioxidant, that’s what you’re doing when you’re taking statin drugs. It’s a gradual, slow process of losing your mind as well as glutathione which is the antioxidant in your body. All of these conditions of dementia and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and so forth, all of them are linked to dramatically low glutathione levels in the body. ADD, by the way, is linked to low glutathione levels in the body. This is why we don’t want to give our children fever suppressants. We want to let the fever run themselves. The brain will regenerate itself. There’s never ever damage happened from a fever, never in recorded history. The best thing for the brain is to have a fever. The fever suppressant, acetaminophen, is probably one of the major conditions that I see that contributes to the ADHD epidemic we see in the world today and the brain problems we see, along with Lipitor for older people. These are huge problems. I even know the man who invented Lipitor. He told me he never imagined that it would be used in the way it’s used. It was invented as a remedy for a very dangerous disease of the children. As a child, they would have cholesterol levels of 800 and they would die by a heart attack by 8 years old. It was a disease that killed them, it wasn’t cholesterol. That was just a symptom of the disease. His drug would help those kids. He says it shouldn’t be used for all this reasoning. It’s just going out of control. It’s a big marketing money maker and it’s unfortunate, now it’s a big scam. There’s maybe 10 books out there by really reputable doctors talking about you should never ever use that. Just look at the cholesterol myth and you’ll find them.
Good stuff. Just by way of disclaimer, this is not medical advice. Seek the advice of your physician, etc. I’m not a lawyer, don’t play one on TV. Do not take any of this as medical advice or anything like that.
Right, this is for your education. I’m for people making informed choices and they need to have good education. If you’re a medical provider who doesn’t know anything about Lithium, find one who does. There are thousands of naturopathic doctors who now understand the power of Lithium Orotate. The only thing we left out when it comes to the big guys, when it comes to supplementation, I’ll just briefly mention it, that’s our gut health. I’m sure you’ve done some shows on microbiome and gut health. To me, the big answer has been I found a Swiss company with a product called Bravo. It’s called Bravo Yogurt. It’s a homemade yogurt that has 42 strains of probiotics that replenish the microbiome that’s getting wiped out by pesticides and antibiotics.
That’s great, that’s a good recommendation. I think we are about out of time here but one super quick question I’m dying to know is what is the healthy level for testosterone for men?
That’s such a great question. It depends upon your chest size to a great extent. If you have a very large chest and a small waist, at least when you’re young, then generally your levels are going to need to be around 700, 800. If you have a small chest size and a wider waist size relative to your chest, then your healthy level could be at 300, that’s the range. 300 to 800 is a range. What does it mean to have a healthy level? It’s for your DNA. What is the level you require for well being and homeostasis? You’ll see people with large chest sizes, they often have jobs that are more like life and death, soldiers, firemen, policemen, where they’re saving people’s lives. Emergency workers or lawyers, where they feel like they’re doing something that saves their life. That certainly boosts testosterone. Testosterone is boosted when you do something you feel you made a big difference. When you paint fences, you may not be making that big of a difference so you might see the guys who paint fences don’t have such big chest unless their dad was a great painter and got recognition for it, whatever. You’re going to be drawn to an occupation or an activity where you feel that you make a bigger difference because the bigger the difference you make, the higher the levels of testosterone you will produce. If you’re homeostasis of testosterone, if your healthy level of testosterone is higher then, you need to sustain that. You’ll be attracted to a woman, by the way, most often, who has higher estrogen levels. Estrogen gets women the ability to appreciate. Women are the master appreciators. Always complaining men don’t appreciate them, but it’s actually they’re expecting men to be as good as them. We’re just not even close to women’s capacity and ability to appreciate. That’s because their estrogen levels are higher. When your estrogen levels are higher, you feel a greater need. Rarely do I ever get sick but I just got this cough that’s going around and when I was in pain and running a fever, clearly I was on my estrogen side, that’s a healing side as well. Your body goes into this healing place. I made a comment to my wife. I said, “I just love you, love you so much. I just want you to feel my heart right now.” Because I’m on my estrogen side and this is who I am. You can just feel your emotions so much stronger when your estrogen levels are high. When men are sick, then they’re able to connect back to that very vulnerable place. As a humorous joke here, but it’s true. I hear from women all the time. They always complain about how big babies men are when they get sick. Men will be like, “What? What is she talking about?” Well she’s so used to you being very strong and self reliant and sort of impenetrable more than you can imagine. Then when you get into your female side, not only do you look very different to them but they also become very annoyed and irritated by it quite often because it forces them into their male side. When women are forced into their male side by a man on his estrogen energy, what will happen is she feels more like his mother. That happens a lot as women secretly and then eventually verbally resent that they feel like their husband’s mother and they don’t need another child. That’s often the expression of resentment that women have.
I’ve heard that before.
It’s just basically he’s just moved too far to his female energy. They need us to be on our male side more than ever in order for them to connect with their female side. If you go back to the time of the revolution in 1800’s, women are always motherly to their husbands and they felt that was the case. Sex was not as important to people then. They knew that the passion will go away so it wasn’t a big deal when the passion went away. Women felt it was their role to be like a mother to their husband. It wasn’t a big resentment because women weren’t on their male side all the time, they weren’t trying to come back to their female side. They weren’t pulled away. They were quite balanced in their female. I’m not implying we should be turning back the clock to that. In my new book Beyond Mars and Venus, it’s all about creating a soulmate relationship. A soulmate relationship is where we have new skills to provide the emotional support for our partners to be their authentic selves, and authentic self for a woman is both her male and her female side. For men, is to be both his female and male side. It has to be in balance and that’s what I’m teaching people, to keep that in balance because when it’s in balance the symptom is ecstatic sex, the symptoms is passionate work and the symptoms is a lot of good health although I have this flu thing right now. But generally, I’m full of energy and very, very vibrant and healthy but occasionally I do get sick and it’s part of natural life too I think.
It’s amazing. Thank you so much, John, for sharing all your wisdom. Listeners, I’m going to have a checklist of actions for you to take from this episode so go to The Optimized Geek website for that optimizedgeek.com. Again, visit marsvenus.com, John’s website for the free book. That’s the Staying Focused book which you can download on marsvenus.com as well as all those great supplements. Thank you, John. It was a pleasure and an honor having you on the show.
A real pleasure. Thank you, Stephan.
- @MarsVenus on Twitter
- John Gray Mars Venus on Facebook
- Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
- Beyond Mars and Venus
- Neil Strauss
- Conscious Men
- Byron Katie
- Superfood shake for men
- Superfood shake for women
- Lauren Gray
- Bravo Super Probiotic Yogurt
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
☑ Men, get your testosterone levels checked if you’re having relationship problems. When you get close to a woman, your testosterone levels will decrease.
☑ If your testosterone levels are low, work out and get exercise. Get plenty of rest and don’t exercise too much, though, as this can actually lower your testosterone.
☑ Avoid plastic cooking utensils and food containers. These contain xenoestrogens, which the body interprets as estrogens and can lead to lower testosterone production.
☑ To increase testosterone, put your hands on your hips and stand like Superman, or put your hands behind your head and lean back.
☑ To reduce estrogen, fast for a day at a time with lemon water or bone soup (and good vitamins and minerals).
☑ From time to time, take your energy away from needing sex (or your significant other) and put it into work instead. This will allow you to rebuild your testosterone levels and sexual interest.
☑ Men, if your feelings get hurt, find a way to process your feelings that doesn’t involve going to your female significant other about them.
☑ Honestly assess your sugar consumption, then commit to reducing it by a realistic amount (or eliminating it) to avoid excess estrogen.
☑ Look into taking small doses of lithium. John recommends a dose of about 1% of what is typically prescribed for mood disorders.
☑ Order a month’s supply of John’s superfood shakes and have one daily. Observe how you feel on the new regime and notice how your mental clarity improves.
About John Gray
John Gray is the author of the most well-known and trusted relationship book of all time, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. USA Today listed his book as one of the top 10 most influential books of the last quarter century. In hardcover, it was the #1 bestselling book of the 1990s. Dr. Gray’s books are translated into approximately 45 languages in more than 100 countries and continues to be a bestseller.
Dr. Gray has written over 20 books. His most recent book is Beyond Mars and Venus. His Mars/Venus book series has forever changed the way men and women view their relationships.
John helps men and women better understand and respect their differences in both personal and professional relationships. His approach combines specific communication techniques with healthy, nutritional choices that create the brain and body chemistry for lasting health, happiness and romance.