5 Stages of Masculine & Feminine Gender Development

5 Stages of Masculine & Feminine Gender Development


We often think of being more of a “man” or being more “feminine” in terms societal stereotypes, but what if your gender development also depended on how you related to the opposite gender in the world and inside you? To be more specific, consider the Gender Development based on the way a male related to females, whether as mommy, as sex object, as wife, as his inspiration to better himself or as equal partner was also a marker of a male’s gender development. And of course a similar but opposite dynamic of Gender Development would apply to a woman in the way she related to males, beginning as alien outsider, as daddy, as her hero, as independent beings, and ultimately as equal partners. Author Martin Ucik, thoroughly outlines these stages of Gender Development (for heterosexual relationships) based upon the degree to which a person has integrated the opposite gender with inside of herself or himself (which incorporates the anima/animus complex proposed by Carl Jung). This does not advocate gender neutrality or loss of sexual polarity, but rather the integration of the previously disowned “opposite gender” which can actually help people be more centered in their natural gender essence and create more conscious sexual polarity. The essence of this brilliant 5 stage Gender Development model is summarized next and described in more detail below that.



  1. Women as mother: He needs a mommy to take care of him.
  2. Women as sex object: He wants her to make him feel good.
  3. Women as wife: He wants her loyalty and support.
  4. Women as guide to healing and awakening: He grows through her need for independence.
  5. Women as equal partner: He values and meets her as an opposite and equal partner.



  1. Men as alien outsiders: She fears, hates, and “desires” him.
  2. Men as father, God, or king: She wants his approval.
  3. Men as hero: She wants to look up to him and to have him take care of her.
  4. Men as independent beings: She wants her independence from a partner.
  5. Men as equal partners: She wants and meets him as an equal and opposite partner.



1. Women as Mother as the projected image of mother

-mama’s boy; needs mommy to care for him; provider of nourishment, security, love

-prey for exploitation & control by her; limited sexual desire or impotence

TRANSITION: healing mother wounds, “growing up”, embracing masculinity


2. Women as Sex Object he desires her to make him feel good

-sees all women as sex objects; uses women as objects for personal pleasure and does not respect

-female anima represents the collective sexual image rather than a unique human being: Porn Star, Playboy Playmate, etc.-repeated sex adventures or sex addiction

TRANSITION: learning respect for women


3. Women as Wife he wants her loyalty & support as wife

-man is ready to care for wife & devoted to family

-want her to be supportive, understanding, caring, faithful wife, available sex partner, and mother

-sexuality usually integrated into relationship rather than autonomous driving force

-can differentiate between love (partnership) & lust (sex object) which allows possible creatin of lasting partnership

TRANSITION: beginning inner exploration


4. Women as inspiration to Development & Awakeningshe is a guide to his inner life

-he seeks other sources of aliveness, passion, joy, purpose, peace, love

-quest for purpose & spirituality: “who am I” “why am I here” “what should I do” “what is meaning of life”

-liberating process of awakening to authenticity, purpose, passions, love capacity (independent of a woman)

-commitment phobic, avoid intimacy with women, serial monogamy

TRANSITION: awareness of purpose and autonomous identity


5. Women as Equal Partnerhe meets her as an opposite & equal partner

-he has found his own purposeful identity that does not rely on her love, inspiration, approval

-he shows empathy, care, support when she is unhappy but doesn’t feel responsibility, insecurity, or shame

-feels confident, secure, comfortable to express his masculine sexual essence while he embraces his feminine aspect; allows him to invite differing views from partner without denigrating or feeling threatened

-accepts that conflicts & ambivalence are inherent to human relationships though resolution contributes to ongoing healing, personal growth, and spiritual realization

-he neither clings nor pushes away but opens to fully embrace her at all levels of his being when together while staying content and fulfilled when apart




1. Men as Alien Outsidershe fears-hates-loves him (denies & suppressed animus as alien inside & outside herself)

-she trusts females & distrusts, hates, fears men countered by strange curiosity she cannot differentiate

-seduce & withhold syndrome: she seduces then when he gets close she withdraws, then she approaches to ask for more when he becomes distant

-domain is household, family, female oriented work (can seem confident in that domain) but leaves anything outside of that to men & more mature women

TRANSITION: heal previous male transgressions; often there was a childhood abuse or abandonment by a man


2. Men as Father/God/Kingshe wants his approval: her self-esteem directly linked to response from men

-needs to be seen as most attractive female; monitors her value by internalized judgment & thru externalized male reflection

-personality split:

  1. imitates male behavior to be liked by them (success, tomboy, wit, teasing, competing challenging)
  2. presents as sexually seductive femme fatale to be desired (beautiful appearance, graceful charm)

-gravitates toward men she perceives as more attractive, intelligent, successful than she could be

-effort to live up to men: dietary restriction, intense exercise, adaptive intellectual interests, new talents, or sexual availability as the perfect mate

-depression when beauty & sexual attractiveness wane; isolation from intimacy; psychosomatic illness

TRANSITION: needs support to find worth, passions, & identity independent of male approval


3. Men as Heroshe wants him to take care of her

-views man as protector & provider w/ strength, courage & ability: he can meet her needs, cherish her, marry her

-he is her ideal often unrealistic image of knight in shining armor who fulfills expectations for good looks, intelligence, reputation, financial stability, generosity, loyalty, kindness, care, integrity, faithfulness, etc.

-she bargains with appearance, health, fitness, & male notions of success (career, education, social justice)

-she may function well in a competitive male world, share responsibilities, contribute as an equal

-she wants to marry up to fulfill expectations for social status; her devotion & self-sacrificing support his success can lead to feelings of resentment for denying her own potential

TRANSITION: may enter an inward journey once become aware of her transitory physical attractiveness, ability to succeed with men, and limitations of finding acceptance in male world


4. Men as Independent Beingsshe wants her independence & feminine authority

-makes an active choice for her self-interest & self-fulfillment independent of partner/husband

-can break from conventional roles of caring mother, show tough love, or feel fulfilled outside partnership with a man

-realization she has constructed her own experiences in relation to men & now wants her own identity

-stops trying to be perfect in all things to please partner (who was her heroic father figure)

-she becomes emotionally free from his approval & support having discovered her own worthiness & foundation: may feel free from evaluation & needs of men for first time in her life

-challenges men, cares less about male needs, seeks financial independence, refuses responsibility for relationship sustenance

-financial independence (career success, divorcing well, alimony, generous lovers, parental support, Social Security benefits

-highly independent, impossible to please, commitment phobic

-complains about a lack of good men: can become men-hating diehard singles, “friends with benefits”, or serial monogamists

-can look down upon women at stages 2 or 3 as still dependent on a man & don’t understand stage 5 women

-can still feel deeper fear of abandonment or diminishment of skill as well as secret longing for stability & support of partnership during times of stress, fatigue, loneliness, or desire for sex that leads to ambivalence

TRANSITION: realize attempt to go it alone is limited; we are always in relation; we have human needs (economic, physical, sexual, emotional)

MALE Note: nothing you can do: care for self emotionally, protect assets, support her with love & compassion in her transition


5. Men as Equal Partnersshe wants him as an opposite & equal partner

-having fully claimed her own authority after transcending animus complex, no longer sees men as foreign, superior, inferior, or independent

-realization balanced personality develops in a self-other conception, never thru discovery of independent self

-desires synergy (spiritual, material, sexual, emotional, mental, physical, etc.) created when met by opposite & equal man

-accepts that conflicts & ambivalence are inherent to human relationships though resolution contributes to ongoing healing, personal growth, & spiritual realization



Summarized with permission from author Martin Ucik (www.ucik.com). For more information see his book Integral Relationships pages 58-66 which is more like a comprehensive relationship manual (highly recommended reading).






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