I am so tired of people pushing the whole “men are hunters” crap when it comes to relationships. It’s just not true. Even worse, this widely promoted belief is unhealthy for both men and women.

For my more religious brothers and sisters, please allow me to point out that Adam’s original job assignment was gardener, not hunter. He was assigned stewardship of the garden (not the hunting grounds) of Eden. So the idea that men do not have the capacity to nurture, and that creating and maintaining a caring, peaceful and healthy environment for others is the exclusive domain of women, is nonsense. Beyond that, to the degree that Eve is believed to be the original ancestor and prototype of all women, she was created to be a companion for Adam. Unlike the animals that populated the garden perhaps, she was not created to be hunted and captured by him. Eve was a gift from God, not a conquest of Adam.

On the other hand, being a hunter is practically synonymous with being a predator. This sets up a sinister premise: If the natural disposition of males is to be predators, that means that the natural role of females is to be prey. When predators (including sexual, emotional and financial predators) capture their prey, they are only focused on one thing: sating their appetite. Believe me, that does not mean treating the hunted with tender loving care and seeing to their health and well-being. It means devouring the prey, and once satisfied, abandoning the remains. Neither the desires nor the consent of the prey are priorities.

This is the underlying premise of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, infidelity, reckless promiscuity and other unhealthy, destructive and even deadly choices and behaviors. By rule, hunters may use any means at their disposal, ranging from deceit and subterfuge to traps and violence, to capture their prey. This is the kind of thinking that makes penis-led adult males (the polar opposite of Grown men as described in Loving In The Grown Zone, my book with co-author Zara Green) an ever-present danger to themselves and others.

The hunter/prey gender-role model is a dangerously unhealthy one for relationships. Moreover, it is a horrible way to frame how intimate relationships should be pursued and established, especially for young men and women (and yes, boys and girls) who are extremely vulnerable to images, messages and gender models of intimate romantic and sexual behavior. It reinforces and affirms that it is natural for men to view and treat women as conquests, trophies, objects to be toyed with until soiled and broken, and then discarded—and to measure their manhood accordingly.

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