You have to be a man before you can be a gentleman. –John Wayne
As a man, you should understand your sexual attraction without feeling guilty about it. Most men are very visual, and constantly notice the attractiveness of most women around them younger than about 60. Despite the ‘eyes only for me’ romance novel or movie stereotype this awareness isn’t highly affected by your relationship status or feelings for your partner.
This is a normal part of being male. You should never feel that it is wrong or objectifying that you are attracted to so many women who aren’t your partner, or that you find younger women attractive. It is ok to enjoy and be energized by the presence of attractive women. It’s part of what makes you masculine, and your partner should understand that and be attracted to your masculinity. But you should make decisions about how to act (or not to act) on your feelings in a mature way based on your goals. If you love your wife and are in a monogamous commitment, being unashamed to notice attractive women is one thing. Breaking trust by acting on that interest is another. If pursuing women is more important to you, be up front about changing or ending the relationship. If it’s not, don’t. After all, it’s actions that define who we are, and give those we care about reason to trust us.
You should also understand what you need from a woman and how that changes over time. For example, you might be a man who wants a calm and organized woman to help him with certain aspects of his life. Or you might be a man that wants a fiery and passionate woman who lives in the moment. To a certain extent you can influence what aspects of herself your partner expresses by your own actions. But all women have their own personality that gravitates towards certain ways of behaving, and no one can be everything to someone else. You need to have a mature and realistic understanding of what you are looking for.
Things may change
And you need to understand that what you want may change over time and with circumstances. You may generally prefer calmer, steadier women, but feel strongly attracted to ‘wilder’ women during a particularly boring patch at work or at home because you aren’t getting enough excitement in your life. If an exciting crisis happens at work your feelings may balance back. You don’t need to feel guilty about this – as the equilibrium changes what you need to feel balanced changes too. But you need to be honest about what’s happening to make mature decisions.
Other masculine feelings
This same principle applies to the common male desires for aggressive competition, freedom from constraints, and power over others. This can be manifested in sports, violent movies, martial arts, career ambitions – and also in aggression, confrontation, and violent sexual fantasies. Again we should not be ashamed, afraid of, or suppress these tendencies. We have to have a healthy acknowledgment of this energy and explore it in a constructive way. Ignoring or hiding from these aspects of your personality will only make sure that they are expressed in unhealthy ways.
And women need this from us too. They need to see that us embrace our masculinity in all its forms and be in control of it, not that we try to hide it because we are uncomfortable with it – that is much more worrying. Things which are suppressed can take control in harmful ways or at the wrong time. Things which are an integrated part of us are within our self-control.
Be a whole man who knows what he is and can act wisely on that knowledge.