Today is a special episode with Karen Brody. She’s the author of Open Her: Activate Seven Masculine Powers to Arouse Your Woman’s Love and Desire. We’re going to talk about masculinity, relationships, love, and how to connect with women better. How do you connect with your partners, how to connect on dates, everything?
Karen shares client stories as well—how these men have been able to repair their marriages that were hand balanced, that weren’t doing well. Karen is a relationship expert and coach who actually came to me by way of recommendation of one of our previous authors, Lorenzo Gomez. He loves Karen’s book and he basically convinced me that I had to interview her, and I’m so glad I did.
Without further ado, let’s talk with Karen Brody.
Karen Brody: I started doing my coaching for men about 15 years ago, and at that time, I was really inspired with a lot of ideas about what I could teach men about women. I thought if I could get really excited about women and who they are and what they want, I could make some real changes in the relationships between men and women.
What I started to notice in the first six months of coaching is I had a lot of failures. I didn’t want to tell my colleagues and friends about this but the truth was, the guys I was working with weren’t having a lot of success. One day, there was a client who I was working with who got really upset.
He said to me, “You know, I could do all the things you’re telling me to do, I could be the man you’re telling me to be, but ultimately, I think it’s not really going to matter because I’m just not going to be good enough for her.”
A lightbulb went off for me in that moment, and I knew. This is probably what’s happening for so many other guys that I’m working with. I decided to work with that theory and test it and see—is what guys need is to feel first empowered? I started working on that premise, and I started being this mirror for men to see themselves in a positive light.
“I started talking about the power of masculinity and the beauty of it.”
For me, having my own issues with men, it was tremendously healing. Then I started to see the results really take hold. I started to see these men feel like “Hey, I could be proud to be a man, proud to be masculine” and then the things I was teaching them about, how to be present with a woman, how to see her, how to celebrate her, all of the things that I talk about in my book, started to actually take place.
Charlie Hoehn: Wow, okay. After you started doing that, I’d imagine you start helping your clients get significantly better results?
Karen Brody: I did. Once men trusted me, that was the big thing. To come to a process oriented therapist, counselor, coach, whatever you might call yourself is intimidating for a lot of men, especially because it happens on the emotional level, and they don’t feel like they’re in a territory they can navigate very well.
When I would start by empowering men, they started to feel they could trust me and then they were open to hearing what I had to say.
Prior to that, it would be like “I know, I have to do all these things for women.” Once I really got that and it worked, then I knew I had this magic formula. I mean, not only did it work on men but it worked on me.
It helped me heal whatever judgments I had about men by seeing men in a whole new light. That’s when I knew I have to write a book about this. I really have something that actually functions to help men feel better and do better with women.
What Makes Open Her Different
Charlie Hoehn: Tell me, what makes Open Her unique from all those other books that aren’t very good?
Karen Brody: Well, I think what makes it unique is that it first empowers men, it invites men to take a look at their masculinity in a new way and it invites men to celebrate being men. I can’t speak for all of these self-help books out there, but I can tell you that, if the approach is here are all the things you need to do for the woman that you love, men are exhausted by that.
They just feel like, “I can’t ever get it right, I’m operating in the dark, I don’t know how to make this woman happy. Now I have this whole list of things that I need to achieve in order to be successful with her.”
In a way, I was trying to mask that by inspiring men to do good for women. When I had to take that step back and really look at who men were, I started to see men are hurting, men are also confused. They often times don’t have the roadmap, they don’t know what to do with women.
“That leaves them feeling somewhat inadequate.”
Then, when they’re faced with a book that’s 10 chapters on all the things you need to do to make things better, they just don’t have the energy and they often want to give up. I love inspiring men and celebrating men, because ultimately, they want to do better for women and they want to do that deeper, dance in love with the woman that they care about.
How to Get Present
Charlie Hoehn: You talk about being fully present and truly seeing the woman as somebody who thinks they’re doing that. What am I possibly missing?
Karen Brody: One of the basic things that I teach men that I think is the most difficult for them to get is how to see a woman as a woman. I had the same problem when I started coaching men. I wasn’t really seeing men as men, I was seeing men as inferior women. My clients, when I get to know them, will often admit that that’s how they see their lives as somehow inadequate as masculine beings. Learning how to see a woman as a woman.
Charlie Hoehn: Why do they see them that way?
Karen Brody: Because they look through the masculine lens. I think as much as men try to embrace women and women try to embrace men, we still look at the other sex as opposite, somehow different, weird, right? If they were to do things the way we do them, they would be more superior like we are.
I think as much as men want to see women as women, it’s women that are really challenging for them and they’re challenged by the differences. One of the things I teach men to do is to actually see her as a feminine being who is very different than you emotionally and sexually and who actually wants something from you that you have. Not something that you don’t have but something that you actually embody.
When men start to understand that, it’s like “Wow, I don’t have to change. I don’t have to jump through hundred hoops. The gifts that I have within me as a man just being who I am are what she’s actually craving.”
When she’s complaining, when she’s not pulling on your cord and all of those things, what she’s actually saying is, “Give me what I’ve wanted to get from you, give me the masculine gifts that you have within you.”
That’s what I talk about through seven archetypes are the gifts that each of these types can bring. When men get that, they’re like, “My god, I already have what she wants within me, I just need to activate that and share that with her.”
Charlie Hoehn: Tell me about the archetypes. I know there’s the artist, what are all of them?
Karen Brody: Okay, there’s the artist, there’s the poet, the director, the warrior, the sage, the dark knight, and the lover. The two that men seem to identify with the most or most want to know more about are the director and the dark knight.
When they reach out to me for coaching, they say, “Tell me more about how I can be more of that director?”
I tell this story in the book that is one of the stories that is echoed back to me most by the people who read it. It’s interesting, because when I told this story, I thought, does this really fit? It’s a story of this gay friend of mine and who would go out like every couple of weeks, we go out to dinner, go to a show, or something like that. The struggle I would feel with him because he could not make a decision. The guy has no directionality, but I love him, right?
I would not date him—he’s gay, but no directionality whatsoever. If we go to a restaurant, he would ask the waiter, “What do you think I should order?” and then the waiter would say, “Well, try this or that” and he say, “Well, I don’t know, let me think about it,” and then he ask someone else, then he would ask me.
He wouldn’t cross the street without checking in with somebody.
After a few hours with him, what I talk about in the story is I would feel kind of tired and drained, and I didn’t know what it was at the time, when our friendship was new. But as I started to do this writing, it was like yeah, when you’re having to act in a directional way for a man consistently, it can be really exhausting for you as a woman.
You know, we can do it. I have a really strong directional side as a coach, as a writer and yet, if I’m in a partnership with a man and he’s not directional, that feels really exhausting to me.
A lot of men, they’ve lost it because they feel like, “I didn’t get it right with her, whatever I suggest, she doesn’t like it.” Men start to retreat. When they’re saying, “I want more of that,” what they’re saying to me is, “I used to be that guy, how can you help me reactivate him?”
Charlie Hoehn: Wow, Karen, I got to tell you, this is deeply resonating for me and I’m going to share a very quick story, hopefully my wife doesn’t give me a hard time for this. We’ve been married for a few years now, we’ve been together for over three years, and just recently, within the last couple of weeks, we went on a date.
I’m used to helping clients pick option A or B or AB or C, you know? I make things simple for them, that’s just my operating mode. On dates and stuff, sometimes I’ll find myself doing it with my wife. She finally confessed to me, she’s like, “You know, I don’t like having options. I just want to be taken through the experience and to not have to think so much.”
That was so freeing to hear actually, because it does create more work for me to ask, “Would you rather do A or B?”
Here I was, thinking I was doing her a favor, and she didn’t want it that way at all. I hear you on this, this is great.
Karen Brody: I love the conclusion of the story because, I thought what you were going to say was she would resist your leadership. Very few women admit, like your wife has admitted that they actually don’t want a lot of choices. But it’s true, we want to feel light and playful with our men, so the less we have to decide things, the better.
There’s a risk in saying that, because some men who are not in their power might think, “Oh you’re not a very powerful person” and that’s not it at all. It’s more that the feminine essence in us is most alive when we’re not having to direct in relationship to a man.
Now, if you’re with a group of women, it’s different. I would act very directional in a group of women. I tend to take over and lead.
Then a lot of my clients will say, you know, “I tried that with my wife, she resists my leadership, she is against anything I want to do.” That typically happens when over time, you haven’t been sensitive to what really works for her or you offer the lead now and then and she doesn’t trust it.
Because most of the time, you turn it over to her. She’s lost respect that you actually can be a man who can take her somewhere and do it flawlessly—well, flawlessly is strong. Do it well.
The Dark Knight and the Sage
Charlie Hoehn: Okay, that’s a good overview of the director. Talk to me about some of these other archetypes. The dark knight, let’s go to him.
Karen Brody: The dark knight is all about freedom. The dark knight is unleashed in the sense that he doesn’t operate on other people’s approval. Naturally, the reason so many men want that is they feel tied to so many things in their lives. Maybe it’s the company they work for, maybe it’s their family, their wife.
They feel like they’re not able to operate from their own sense of what works for them and what their heart most deeply desires.
The dark knight represents the free, wild, motorcycle guy that women are just instinctually turned on by and they don’t even know why.
“We lose it with this guy.”
Because he’s his own agency, he answers to no one. Sexually, he can be the most potent archetype because he knows who he is and where he’s headed. I think a lot of men want his confidence sexually, to take a woman where he wants to take her, because one of the things he knows instinctually is that a woman wants to be opened.
A lot of men don’t get this, so what they do is they seek sexual permission. They’re always asking, “May I come in.” What the dark knight knows is, she wants to be taken, she wants to be opened into a place that she can’t get to on her own, and he somehow knows this instinctually.
It’s all about freedom with the dark knight. He’s always looking to, “How do I take my life to the next edge? How do I take my relationship and my sexual experience to the next edge?” Because he’s unpredictable and wild, he is able to maintain the attention of a woman.
Now, of course that has to be balanced off of the other archetypes like the sage. The sage brings integrity and trust. If the dark knight only has that sexy edge, that doesn’t feel safe to a woman. She needs to have it balanced off, feeling like he provides a safe space for her.
Who Needs Open Her
Charlie Hoehn: Karen, I’m curious, is this book, did you have in mind men who are starting to date or people who have been in long term relationships, or all of the above?
Karen Brody: I knew that it would appeal more to married men because married men are more invested in what they’re doing, but I also knew that if single men got the principles of what women really wanted that it would make a huge difference in how they approached women and dated them.
Charlie Hoehn: With the people that you work with, what is their mindset typically? Are they in a good place or do you have to do some healing first in order to get them to come into their own?
Karen Brody: I’ll say something first about these pick up guys, because I have worked with a few of them. They don’t come to me often but occasionally they do and they feel battered by that whole experience and what happens is you’re right, they are still angry and they feel like “I went through this essentially what feels to me like brainwashing in order to become more appealing to women” and what they ultimately discovered is that while once in a while they had success.
Because the principles for how to pick up women actually work at the sexual level. They really do. It’s just like if a naked woman walks into a room you’re going to feel turned on even if you don’t want to be turned on by her—the same thing happens with some of the pickup techniques. The guy’s coming across as extremely confident, and he is directing you in a way that you’ve always craved and he’s bringing some of that dark knight energy.
You’re physically turned onto him, and you might sleep with him, but then most of those guys beyond that don’t know what to do with the woman. They certainly don’t know how to negotiate her at the emotional level or how to deal with any sexual resistance that might come up. Then they feel lost and angry and, “I keep knocking at this door and it won’t open.”
“So the men who come to me, typically, are married.”
Although a small percentage are single. The way they’re feeling is that, “I used to be this really powerful guy in my relationship. My woman used to respond to me in all of these positive ways, she used to smile when I came home, she wanted me sexually, and now, I’m just a thing in our lives. You know, I don’t get her attention, I am not a priority. She’s often saying no to me where it concerns lovemaking.”
For many of them, they haven’t had sex with their wives in years.
And they’re deeply hurt and they are wondering, “Can I do this for the rest of my life?”
So when they come to me, what they want is to understand the lay of the land, like, “Why is this happening? Why has she lost interest in me? How do I reclaim my power and start to negotiate her in ways that will again turn her on and get her excited about me?”
Charlie Hoehn: Your book has been out for four years now—what have been some of the testimonials you’ve heard. Some of the people who’ve used this book to make a change in their life?
Karen Brody: I would say that across the board there had been, I don’t know, many, many clients who felt like they took on all of the blame. So when things aren’t going well in their relationships and because of a lot of the self-help books out there that you were referring to, they were feeling like it is something I’m doing wrong and many of them carried that feeling around for years. So when they came to me they were really depressed and across the board, with so many of those, many experience being able to see what was theirs and what was their partner’s very clearly.
And being able to see the ways in which they gave their power away, how to then behave in ways that are actually powerful and that affected their woman in the right ways at the right level and to feel like they finally got a base of understanding for what works and what doesn’t work where so many of them were just living in the dark like, “Well yeah, you bring flowers, you say nice things, you try to be good in bed?”
Charlie Hoehn: Jewelry and flowers and chocolate right? Yeah.
Karen Brody: Yeah. You try to turn around sexually and just hope it works, and then when it doesn’t and she’s giving this negative feedback, a lot of men were just so confused. So just giving them that base was huge.
If you want an extreme story, I think of this one guy I worked with. We can just call him John, who was really, really challenging for me. He had zero masculinity you know? I felt extremely masculine in relationship to him.
So he had been marginalized by his wife for 15 years, even his daughters disrespected him, made fun of him in the house. He just came to think this was completely normal. So when he came to me for coaching I think what he thought was going to happen is I would just say, “Oh you know bring the flowers, sit down and have conversations with her” all the various things that other people offer.
I think first of all, we have to really get him to feel emotionally the anger that he had buried around being emasculated on so many levels on his life. He had just completely numbed himself out too. So one of the things I wanted him to do is to be able to just get angry and feel that angry and start to feel what he actually wanted.
“He could not ever think about what he wanted.”
It didn’t matter how many different ways I would ask him, because he had learned not to want anything. So I taught him how to feel what he was feeling, how to learn how to speak up and ask for what he wanted in a way that was masculine and directive and commanding.
Over time, it took about nine months. He was able to get his wife to go out on dates with him, get her to have meaningful conversations and ultimately, get her to be sexual with him again.
It was somewhat of a miracle, because she wouldn’t even entertain a conversation with him when we started.
Charlie Hoehn: Wow, that’s astounding.
Karen Brody: Yeah but that happens over time when a man keeps allowing the abuse because he actually teaches her, “That is okay, you can treat me like that.”
I think men are cultured to believe that they can’t feel, so they are forced to bury what they are feeling. It was critical that you express it. I think women are so often insensitive and I was the same way to how we would reject men particularly in marriages. How we just dismiss them out of hand sexually and when they come to us for affection and we don’t understand how critical this is to their sense of feeling welcome and feeling loved.
On top of that, we expect them to not express those feelings because if they do then they’re being babies, and then we exercise our full right to express our feelings at any time that we wish to.
Charlie Hoehn: I have all the respect in the world for people who want to help relationships to be better because they are not easy and they are not simple to figure out if you are doing it all on your own. You can’t even see what you are doing wrong.
Karen Brody: Exactly, you don’t have the whole picture and that’s why it helps to have that third party who sees things from altitude and they see the whole thing playing out and they can help you see yourself as a player in it and how you are contributing to it. I am amazed at how many men I work with who have been rejected for so many years and are not even angry and have a hard time expressing any feeling around that.
What’s astonishing, too, is that they stay in those marriages. I think it has a lot to do with sexual shame.
So one of my passions is to help men heal sexual shame, and when they do, they really step into a dignified, powerful sexuality that can hugely shift how the woman in their life relates to them.
If a man is coming from a place of shame even though he doesn’t have a big shame sign on his chest, she feels it and it triggers her shame and then the two of them are just in a state of not connecting sexually.
Connect with Karen Brody
Charlie Hoehn: How can listeners connect with you?
Karen Brody: Well they can go to my website, karenbrodycoaching.com, and there I have a little book that is super potent. It is about 12 pages, but it is probably one of the most important books any man who is not getting the sex he wants could ever read, because it’s based on these three hidden mistakes I discovered over this 15 years that men make with women that essentially give their power away and make them not sexy.
I like to empower men to be as sexy as they want to be, and be as powerful. A lot of guys have told me that little book changed their lives.
I suggest that, and then there’s a contact form on my site where you can get in touch with me and we can set up a consultation for coaching.
Charlie Hoehn: If you could give our listeners a challenge, maybe one thing that they can do from your book, Open Her, this week that will make a positive impact in their lives and their relationships, what would it be?
Karen Brody: It would be to own your sexuality. I want to explain what I mean by that. There is a story in my book, Open Her, that happened for me just organically. I was trying to think of how do I explain to men in the book what it means to own your sexuality, because it is not the easiest thing to write.
It was at a dog park one day in Mill Valley, California, where I used to live and I used to like to go to it. I didn’t have a dog, but I like to watch the dog people because they are really fascinating, and this guy showed up with a really disobedient dog.
So the dog wasn’t trained, he was jumping on people, jumping on women, getting mud on them, humping other dogs, it was a male dog and just running around. When the guy walked away, this core group of dog owners started talking behind his back about how he needed to get a leash on that dog to get his dog under control.
At the same time, you notice this blonde guy across the way who had this perfectly behaved dog who came on command, who sat on command and he had this women who obviously went to the park often gathering around him like, “Oh look at your dog.” I remember the dog’s name was Honey, and everyone was impressed with Honey.
All of a sudden I saw, “Oh my god this is it!” this is the metaphor that I’ve needed to how to talk to men about getting their sex under their control. In other words, owning their sexuality.
“When you don’t own it, your sexuality runs you.”
When you’re in a relationship with a woman that you care about and she feels that she feels that as pressure and she starts to wave you off and say, “All you want is sex.” It is because your sex is pulling you around. It is driving.
So when men learn to get this under control, they learn how to manage the energy, and there are many books out there on how to do that. Mantak Chia has a terrific book on it.
But to get the energy under control, they learn how to balance it and manage it and then share it with a woman in a way that it actually feels good and sexy to her rather than like that thing is out of control and you are putting a lot of pressure on me.
So a man who owns his sexuality, you will recognize him because he is relaxed and he doesn’t seem to have this urgency like, “Oh I am turned on, I’ve got to do something behind it.”
He knows how to actually be with it and play in that energy and enjoy teasing that out with a woman. So my suggestion is if you read Open Her, you are going to hear a lot about how you can own that sexuality and really make a difference in how a woman or your woman actually relates to you sexually.