July 27, 2017

Masculine Archetypes & their Shadow Sides: The Lover, the Addict, & the Impotent Man.


Author’s note: This is a four-part series, unpacking the four different types of the masculine psyche, based on the work of Moore and Gillette. While this article uses the gender pronoun “man,” it is not exclusive to those who are male by birth, but those who identify with the masculine energy. 


Every man has the potential to achieve mature masculinity.

There are four main archetypes of mature masculinity: the King, the Magician, the Warrior, and the Lover. As with all human behavior, there is also a shadow side to those aspects.

The Lover, in his fullness, is a man who is deeply sensitive and open to the movements, ripples, and waves of being alive. He is a man who is capable of capturing the deep sense of awe and reverence of being alive. He is sensitive to both inner movement and is connected to the greater consciousness.

The Lover is a man who lives close to the core of passion; he is the student who truly falls in love with studying a language and who immerses himself in learning it. He is the man who is so deeply engaged with living that he finds magic in everything. He is like Jason Silva who wonders at the world and dives into his experiences fully.

The Lover lives his life by being a seeker and a finder of beauty, and, because he is so deeply attuned, he feels both the heights of ecstasy and the depths of sorrow. The Lover wants to be “one” with all things, and all experiences. The Lover eschews social convention and boundaries; he will be openly affectionate with others without feeling the need to sexualize or apologize for his affection.

When the Lover is out of balance, he can go one of two ways: he can become the Addict or the Impotent lover.

The Addict is a man who is unable to properly manage his desire to merge and to erect proper boundaries around his desires. He doesn’t want his sensual experiences and pursuit of beauty to be limited, and so it can overtake him. This can show up in the leaders who gather followers and use them for their own needs. This can show up in the “spiritual f*ck boys” who use women for their pleasure but disguise it as service.

The Addict can show up in the man who quite literally loses himself in his work or creative pursuits and has no firm grasp on reality. The Addicted Lover can show up in the man who pursues beauty after beauty, never fully surrendering to love. His life becomes so overly sensitized that often, he is overwhelmed and unable to find his grounding. The Addict is the man who doesn’t know his limits, or doesn’t think he should have them, and ends up losing everything in pursuit of the high.

On the other end of the spectrum, is the Impotent Lover who can’t seem to bring forth his power or potency. He sees the world in shades of grey and is likely depressed. He may be bored, listless, lifeless, and aimless. He craves something but doesn’t know what it is or have the ability to find out. He is disconnected from himself, others, nature, and humanity as a whole.

Unable to find his passion, or purpose, or motivation, he is likely to sit in his depression, lacking the ability to go forward to do anything about it. Additionally, he is likely to be stagnant in his sexual relationships. He may be involuntarily celibate or may have difficulties with his sexual performance, both of which will add to his sense of shame.

According to Moore and Gillette, a man in touch with his in tact and balanced Lover will be “strong, related, connected, alive, enthusiastic, compassionate, empathic, energized, and romantic.”

The Lover energy is what helps him connect to his spiritual energy and what helps him work to make the world a better place. The Lover is what keeps a man balanced and in touch with his and others’ humanity.

The Lover provides vitality to the other aspects of masculinity and helps them to remain balanced, and they help the Lover to remain balanced as well. The Lover allows the man to feel joy, ecstasy, and passion and will inspire him to seek the heights of life.


Author: Lisa Vallejos
Image: lil_wiz/Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson

Copy Editor:  Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Khara Jade Warren


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