Celebrating the Highly Sensitive Man


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Sensitive men are incredibly attractive. They are path-forgers in the new paradigm of the evolved man. Strong and sensitive. Intuitive and powerful. They’re able to give and receive love without ambivalence, being “unavailable,” or commitment phobia.

Empaths Survival GuideIn my books, “The Empath’s Survival Guide” and “Emotional Freedom,” I write extensively about the power of empaths and describe strategies for how empaths can stay centered and strong in an overwhelming world. Since I’m an empath and worship sensitivity, I want to help empathic men (and women) cultivate this asset and be more comfortable with it. Empathic men often have a harder time than women because in Western culture sensitivity may be seen as a weakness or too “feminine.” This is a huge misconception. The new evolved man is skillful in balancing both the masculine and feminine in himself, embodying his full power.

Empaths are highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme and are less apt to intellectualize feelings. This is particularly challenging for men as they are often told by society while growing up, “Big boys don’t cry.” That’s why it’s so important for sensitive men to let go of stereotypes and learn to embrace their gifts. I understand how hurtful the negative messages about being “overly sensitive” can feel—also how easy it is to get overwhelmed by excessive stimuli in the world. I’ve always been hyper-attuned to other people’s moods, good and bad. Before I learned to protect my energy, I felt them lodge in my body. Crowded places amplified my empathy.

The great beauty of male empaths is that they can feel where you are coming from. Some can do this without taking on people’s feelings. However, for better or worse, others, like myself and many of my patients, can become emotional sponges for other people’s stress. This often overrides the sublime capacity to absorb positive emotions. If empaths are around peace and love, their bodies assimilate these and flourish. Negativity, though, often feels assaultive, exhausting. Thus, empaths are particularly easy marks for emotional vampires, whose fear or rage can ravage them. As a subconscious defense, empathic men may gain weight as a buffer. Plus, an empath’s sensitivity can be overwhelming in romantic relationships; many stay single since they haven’t learned to negotiate their special cohabitation needs with a partner.

A man’s empathy allows him to love more fully and be more committed in a loving relationship. But empathic men must nurture their sensitivities while also grounding themselves in their power and setting boundaries with negative people so they aren’t drained. For more relationship strategies read my blog, “Relationship Tips for Highly Sensitive People.”

Recognizing that you’re an empath is the first step in taking charge of your emotions instead of constantly drowning in them. As one empath to another, I want to legitimize your sensitivity so you don’t think you’re losing your mind. I’d had numerous patients who’ve said, “Judith, I thought there was something wrong with me. I feel like such a sissy.” Not so. Our systems are just more permeable. Also realize that the fact that you’re the only person feeling something doesn’t invalidate your perceptions. To maintain resolve in an emotionally coarse world, empaths must have enough self-knowledge to clearly articulate their needs. Staying on top of empathy will improve your self-care and relationships. Here’s a summary of this emotional type.

Upside of Being an Empathic Man

  • You’ve got a big heart, are gifted in helping others.
  • Your sensitivity makes you passionate, a great lover, and exquisitely sensual.
  • You’re intuitive about people’s thoughts and feelings.
  • You’re emotionally responsive, can relate to another’s feelings.
  • You’re in touch with your body and emotions.
  • You have a palpable sense of spirituality.
  • Downside of Being an Empathic Man

  • You’re an emotional sponge, absorbing people’s negativity.
  • You’re so sensitive to emotions, you feel like a wire without insulation.
  • You’re prone to anxiety, depression, fatigue.
  • You may feel hemmed in living in the same space with other people.
  • You may have chronic, debilitating physical symptoms.
  • You have difficulty setting boundaries with draining people, get run over by them.
  • Honestly accessing which traits are productive or not makes you freer. Of course, you want to be emotionally charitable, intuitive, and open, an empath’s assets. However, empathy won’t make you free if you walk around perpetually raw, easily fractured, or have your wildness go out in a whimper because you’re constantly having to emotionally defend yourself. For a male empath to be comfortable in his own skin it’s important to find the right mix of intellect, feeling, and grounding. Here are some exercises from my book, Emotional Freedom to help you achieve this.

    Emotional Action Step. How Empathic Men (And Women) Can Find Balance

    Practice these strategies:

  • Enlist your intellect. When you’re emotionally wrung out or suspect you’ve taken on someone’s distress, think things through to counter
    anxiety. Use both positive self-talk and logic to get grounded. Repeat this mantra: “It is not my job to take on the emotions of others.
    I can be loving without doing so.”
  • Allow quiet time to emotionally decompress. Get in the habit of taking calming mini-breaks throughout the day. Breathe in some fresh
    air. Stretch. Take a short walk around the office. These interludes will reduce the excessive stimulation of going non-stop.
  • Practice guerilla meditation. To counter emotional overload, act fast and meditate for a few minutes. Find a private place to close
    your eyes. Lower your expectations–it doesn’t have to be Shangri-La. Do two things while meditating. First, keep exhaling pent-up negative
    emotions–loneliness, worry, and more. Feel them dissipate with each breath. Second, put your hand over your heart and visualize loving-kindness
    permeating you from head to toe. These actions will quickly relax you.
  • Define and honor your empathic needs. Safeguard your sensitivities. In a calm, collected moment, make a list of your top five most
    emotionally stressful situations. Then formulate a plan for handling them so you don’t fumble in the moment. For example:
  • If someone asks too much of you, politely tell them “no.” It’s not necessary to explain why. As the saying goes, “No is a complete sentence.”
  • If your comfort level is three hours max for socializing–even if you adore the people–take your own car or have an alternate transportation
    plan so you’re not stranded.
  • If crowds are overwhelming, eat a high-protein meal beforehand (this grounds you) and sit in the far corner of, say, a theatre or party,
    not dead center.
  • If you feel nuked by perfume, nicely request that your friends refrain from wearing it around you. If you can’t avoid it, stand near a
    window or take frequent breaks to catch a breath of fresh air outdoors.
  • Carve out private space at home. Then you won’t be stricken by the feeling of too much togetherness.
  • When empathic men can learn the above skills to develop their sensitivities and ward off negativity, they will be more alive, more loving, more creative. Over time, I suggest adding to this list to pinpoint new protective strategies. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you’re on emotional overload. With pragmatic strategies to cope, empaths can feel safer, and their sensitivity talents can flourish.

    Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s book,The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People (Sounds True, 2017)



    Judith Orloff, MD is a New York Times bestselling author with the upcoming book The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Yourself, Your Relationships and the World (Foreword by the Dalai Lama). She has also written The Empath’s Survival Guide and Thriving as an Empath, which offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people. She integrates the pearls of conventional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, empathy, energy medicine, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice and online internationally. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA, TEDx U.S. and TEDx Asia. More information about Dr. Orloff’s Empathy Training Programs for businesses, The Empath Survival Guide Online Course and speaking schedule at www.drjudithorloff.com.

    Connect with Judith on  FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

    10 thoughts on “Celebrating the Highly Sensitive Man

    1. Thanks for sharing…I’m a mom of a 22 year old young man, who is highly empathic and struggles…any recommendations for a book to give him? That will speak to and for men?

      Thank you.

    2. I’m a recovered addict who finally realized what was different about me. I’m an empath, I’m overly emotional. I struggle with people. I just had an amazing relationship with a girl who dropped me so fast that it sent me spinning. My x wife lied and left me as well. I can’t seem to get to where I want to be. I want to be happy but I’m always alone and left out..

    3. Hello,

      I hope all is well and everybody is happy and healthy. 🙌

      Thank you for this message, it resonated with me on a deep, energetic level. I have recently been guided to look into extroverted empathy and it gives me chills. I feel I now have a deeper understanding of myself.

      I am young in my Spiritual journey and am just going off of my own understanding and intuition. I’m not sure what the ultimate purpose is for me posting here but I was guided to do so. If you can relate, I’m happy i could help reassure you you’re not alone. If you have any guidance or you’re further down this path than I, please let me know your input.

      Love and light to you all 🙏

    4. I know guys what you mean, and most importantly what you feel. I am there too!
      It is certainly not easy, but we should take this as God’s blessing. There is a real God’s purpose why God has intended us so.
      I feel energy even through the phone, even through social networks. I had to shut down Facebook and Instagram recently as I was overwhelmed by people’s negativity.
      We need to set healthy boundaries and protect us.
      Prayers work immensely.

      I don’t feel at all, not a bit, a girllike, because of me being highly sensitive/empath.
      Let’s cherish our difference.


    5. This information is great! I am a very emotional man! I have been that way all my life. I feel deeply for other people. I grew up in a very sick dysfunctional family! More ugly things than I care to mention but I have always been told I’m to emotional and sensitive! In high school I had lots of girl friends but no girlfriends! Lots of girls wanted to talk to me but not very many wanted to be with me. I have the last 35 years of my life working with youth and many others. For twenty of those years I ran a mission org. that hosted groups of teenagers to do mission building. Probably had at least a thousand kids come to do mission work. I’ve always had a burning passion to help troubled kids not grow up like I did. I love being around people and I feel almost compelled to help others. I am realizing after reading that I really do love my alone time in the woods or somewhere outdoors. I like the line you wrote that asks if you feel like a live wire without any insulation! I have said thousands of times “God why did you make me feel and care so much! I’m exhausted!!” Thank you!!

      1. I can totally relate, and my wife is constantly on me for flirting with other women and gay men when I’m just having, what I perceive, a normal conversation.

        My only real problem is I don’t let myself cry anymore unless it’s something truly traumatic like a very close family member passing away. So my emotional health isn’t very healthy…

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