Friendly FYI: this site uses affiliate links. If you buy something, we might earn a small commission. Without your support, this site wouldn't be possible. Thank you! For more information, visit our Disclaimer Page.
Hey friends! It’s your dad-of-four here to chat about a topic that doesn’t get discussed enough – why do men cry less than women, or does it just seem that way? I know, I know, it’s not the manliest thing to talk about crying, but stick with me here. This is an important conversation to have in today’s society if we want to break down those old school gender stereotypes.
As the loving father to three daughters and a son, I’ve seen firsthand how society’s expectations can influence how we express emotion. My little girls seem so free with their feelings – laughing, crying, and everything in between. But even from a young age, I noticed my son felt the need to hold back his tears.
Well today we’re diving into the complex reasons why men cry less. And yes, like the sage Mr. Rogers once said, it’s okay for guys to cry – let it out! I’ll also share some tips for fellas wanting to get more in touch with their emotional side. Grab the tissues and let’s get started!
Why Do Men Cry Less?
Table of Contents
There’s no doubt about it based on numerous studies – women cry a heck of a lot more than men. Most guys, myself included, can go months without shedding a single tear. In one survey, women said they cried 3.5 times a month on average, compared to just once a month for men. And the gap seems to start early, even before those hormones kick in.
But why do men cry less? Well as a dad raising kids in the 21st century, I see it comes down to 3 key factors:
Cultural and Societal Norms
Let’s be honest, society has some effed up notions about maleness and masculinity. Ever since we’re young boys, it’s ingrained that big boys don’t cry. That whole “boys don’t cry” thing is a stereotype we’ve gotta break! Emotional stoicism and physical toughness gets equated with manliness. Showing vulnerability or weeping in front of others can make guys feel weak.
This expectation shows up in subtle ways too. Like how we comfort boys who are sad or hurt by saying “Shake it off!” or “Be tough!” But with girls we’re more likely to just let them cry it out. The message comes across loud and clear – it’s not okay for men to cry – and make no mistake, I’ve been there and have used the same language, so don’t think I’m picking on you.
Gender Role Expectations
Some experts argue evolution and biology play a role in the crying gap between guys and gals. The male tear ducts might literally be different. Plus men’s brains may be wired to experience less sadness thanks to hormones like testosterone.
But the science isn’t conclusive. Social conditioning probably reinforces biological differences that may exist. In reality, men have just as many emotions as women, but we bottle them up because we’re taught it’s not manly to show feelings.
Different Coping Mechanisms
Finally, men may simply cope with sadness, grief, or stress in other ways that don’t involve crying. Guys tend to distract themselves with stuff like sports, hobbies, working out, etc. So they vent emotions physically rather than crying. Sometimes we avoid processing vulnerable feelings at all by escaping into guy stuff like playing videogames or building models like Playz Visible V8 Engine Kit (guilty as charged!)
Is It Okay for Men to Cry?
Alright, we’ve explored the factors behind why men cry less. But fellas, we’ve gotta challenge old notions about masculinity. Is it okay for men to cry and have a good cry now and then? It’s actually really good for you! Here’s a few benefits according to science:
- Relieves stress. Emotional tears release oxytocin and endogenous opioids, which have calming effects. No wonder you feel better after a good cry!
- Eases anxiety and depression. Tears contain stress hormones and other chemicals that get flushed out of your body when you weep.
- Strengthens relationships. Crying in front of loved ones can build intimacy and trust by revealing your vulnerable side.
- Improves communication. Guys, when you hold back tears, you often hold back what you really think and feel. Letting that out helps you express yourself.
- Promotes self-reflection. Having a cathartic cry session helps process sad or traumatic events so you can heal and grow.
Of course it’s about balance – no need to be sobbing 24/7. But embracing your emotions enough to weep every once in a while is fantastic for your mental health. So go ahead fellas, grab a tub of ice cream and have yourself a cry night to let it all out, even if it’s not over a breakup!
How Often Do Men Cry?
Alright we’ve covered why men cry less than women and why it’s okay for men to cry and tear up now and then. But do guys ever turn on the waterworks? How often do men cry? Are there certain circumstances that tend to trigger men’s tears more easily? Let’s look at some exceptions to the whole “men don’t cry” notion:
- Movies. Even the manliest of dudes may shed a tear or two watching emotional flicks like The Notebook, Marley and Me, or classics like Old Yeller. Don’t feel bad fellas, Hollywood tearjerkers are designed to make you weep!
- Death of loved ones. Grieving the loss of a significant person in your life is one time that most men will understandably cry. Gut-wrenching goodbye tears are healthy and normal when coping with death. Looking at old photos together in an album like this Handmade Scrapbook can help process the emotions.
- Saying goodbye. Even less permanent separations like saying farewell to someone departing on a long trip or moving away can trigger some misty eyes for men. Bon voyage buddy, I’ll miss ya!
- Extreme joy. Overwhelming bliss during significant happy life events – like your wedding day or birth of a child – may open the floodgates for men. These tears of joy come from a place of deep fulfillment.
- Empathetic crying. Seeing a close friend or family member weep openly can stir up men’s tears too. We catch the vibe and express solidarity in the form of empathetic crying.
- Natural human behavior. Bottom line friends, crying is natural and biological – men are fundamentally just as prone to crying as women. As a society, we’ve put unhelpful limitations around male emotional expression. But our manly tear ducts still work just fine!
So, there are clearly times when it’s universally accepted for men to turn on the waterworks. But the key is not making apologies or excuses for our totally normal tears. Guys, own that occasional cry sesh as part of being human!
Why Can’t I Cry?
As a middle-aged dad who once bought into the whole “boys don’t cry” bunk, I’ve come to realize tears are just a natural part of the emotional expression pie, regardless of gender. But so many men struggle to get in touch with their feelings enough to cry, even when they really need to let it out.
If that sounds like you, try incorporating some of these tips into your life like I did: Give yourself permission by writing affirmations in a journal like the Lemome A5 Dotted Notebook. Remind yourself regularly that it’s okay for men to cry – it’s healthy!
- Give yourself permission. Remind yourself regularly that it’s okay for men to cry – it’s healthy! Let go of outdated notions that tears are a sign of weakness.
- Get comfortable being vulnerable. Start small by opening up about fears or failures with trusted friends. Feeling that intimacy can pave the way to crying when you need it.
- Don’t force it. Allow tears to come up naturally rather than making yourself cry. But practicing mindfulness and getting introspective can invite cathartic tears.
- Consider therapy. Speaking confidentially with a professional therapist could help you work through psychological barriers to crying as a man.
- Watch some sad movies. Immersing yourself in emotional flicks can trigger tears in a “safe” setting. And free the feelings more in real life.
- Be patient with yourself. Old habits die hard. If you still struggle to cry freely, don’t get down on yourself. Keep taking small steps forward.
Letting our manly guard down enough to express sadness, grief, stress, or sentimental joy through tears is so essential, guys. As a husband, dad, and friend, embracing my emotions enough to cry at times has made me feel more genuine, connected, and alive.
So next time you feel the tears welling up fellas, don’t hold back – let them flow freely! And remember real men do cry. Just ask this blubbering father of four here! What do you think friends – should we kill the notion that boys and men don’t cry in our society? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for following along on my ramblings about why men cry less, friends! Here are some of the key points we covered:
- Women cry significantly more than men – about 3.5 times a month on average based on surveys.
- Outdated notions of masculinity that frown upon male emotional expression are a major factor.
- Biological differences like hormones may play a small role, but social conditioning is the bigger reason why men cry less.
- Men also vent emotions in other ways like physical outlets. But bottling up feelings is unhealthy.
- Letting out a good cry periodically is great for relieving stress, bonding, and emotional health.
- Men do tend to cry at highly emotional events like deaths, weddings, movies or when empathizing.
- We need to challenge stereotypes that crying makes guys weak or feminine. Tears are healthy!
- Fellas who struggle to cry openly can try small steps like being vulnerable with friends.
As your friend, my takeaway is we’ve gotta keep dismantling those old school gender roles. Is it okay for men to cry? I believe so! Join the conversation and let me know what you think in the comments. Have a pleasant day!
As a dad myself, I’ve written some great tips for being a caring father and connecting with my kids in this article on how to be a good dad. We’ve also gotta be aware of the Peter Pan syndrome many guys fall into – refusing to grow up and shirking emotional maturity. Check out this article on that phenomenon. And for more on why men struggle to cry openly, I found this analysis insightful. Let’s keep the conversation going on dismantling outdated notions of manhood!