What men are afraid to say about navigating the #MeToo era

“Dear Men” is a weekly show hosted by Jason Rosario, creator of media lifestyle company the Lives of Men. “Dear Men” explores how men are navigating the evolution of manhood. You can watch the full episode of “Dear Men” every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku.

Watch the full show above and clips from it below.

As men, we are grappling with a changing sociopolitical landscape brought about by the #MeToo and #TimesUp era. We are reexamining male privilege and entitlement, and in doing so we need new rules of engagement to navigate the gray areas around consent, relationships and even past transgressions. But what are those rules, and who writes them?

Men have a lot to say about what they really think about the #MeToo era — but many of them are afraid to say it. And a big reason is that they don’t know how to unpack all of the emotional conflicts. And frankly, some of it isn’t politically correct.

In this episode of “Dear Men,” we asked men what’s on their minds as they navigate the current era, and we got some honest answers.

“I think some of the reaction of the #MeToo movement almost feels ... like an attack on men,” says Frank Piazza.

“I want women to get what they’re supposed to get — trust me, believe me I want them to get that,” Ephrem Lopez, aka DJ Enuff, said of the #MeToo movement. “But does that stop me from being a man?”

And when it comes to new rules of engagement, Tunde Whitten doesn’t err on the side of “signed releases,” but says, “If you're present and sensitive to [your partner], you will know whether or not to stop or go.”

I also talked to psychotherapist Avi Klein, who says #MeToo has come up in conversations with men in therapy. He says a big piece of his work involves men not being able to identify their feelings. “What’s happening in your body? ‘Oh, my stomach’s tight,’ that’s anxiety,” he says. “It’s like, nobody ever taught them that.”

He says the idea of restorative justice — or rehabilitation through reconciliation — is helpful in framing his work with men and couples. “If this is just about what have you done legally and what’s the punishment, then you’re really missing the humanity there,” says Klein. “When I think of restorative justice, it’s ‘how do I make things right between the two of us?’”

One of my takeaways from our conversation was the importance of feeling shame if you’ve hurt someone. “It’s really important for a person who has harmed someone to feel guilty,” the therapist says. “It’s OK to feel guilty. Only sociopaths don’t feel bad. You’re on the right track if you feel bad about your actions.”

The #MeToo movement has given voice to issues women have faced for decades. We have a lot of work to do, and I hope we can do that work to heal as a community.