International Men’s Day is celebrated annually on 19 November. With the theme, “Making a difference for men and boys,” International Men’s Day aims to highlight positive role models and raise awareness of men’s wellbeing.
In the UK, the issues International Men’s Day seek to address include the high male suicide rate, workplace deaths, men’s health and struggles faced by the most marginalised men in British society. In a world that is slowly waking up to gender equity and the discrimination faced by women, it can be difficult to discuss men’s issues. But it’s a conversation that needs to be had. According to research by the Samaritans, British men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. This year, the American Psychological Association launched its first-ever guidelines for working with men and boys, which aims to address the problems faced by this demographic. Built on 40 years of research, the guidelines show that extreme and outdated variants of masculinity cause negative outcomes in men’s physical and mental health. The masculinity conversation, then, is being had but there’s a long way to go. Hence the need for International Men’s Day.
In the spirit of providing positive role models, we reached out to three inspirational male OnlyFans creators this International Men’s Day: Dominick Nicolai, Rhys Sachett and Patrick Biedenkapp (known online as Pilot Patrick). Read on to hear their diverse thoughts on masculinity and self-care, as well as their advice to men who are struggling right now.
What does masculinity mean to you?
Dominick: To me, masculinity means having a muscular physique and a strong mindset but being a gentleman when it counts. Always being respectful and never having to put down others to make yourself feel better.
Rhys: My explanation of masculinity is going to be completely different from the next person. Who exactly determines when and where to define masculinity? Nobody but ourselves. We all will have different perceptions on the topic so there really is no right or wrong answer.
Masculinity, for me, is a social concept to which people have used to describe what a man should be and how he should act. The traditional ideology dictates that men should be strong and macho and never show emotion. I don’t completely disagree with this, but I also don’t accept that that is all a masculine character should be.
I see emotion as a strength, it builds character. Masculinity is being able to express emotion to a partner, parent or a child. Masculinity for me is all about kindness. When a person has the ability to take care of themselves and others without seeking anything in return, that for me is masculine. It is also possible for both men and women to possess masculine traits.
Patrick: Masculinity does not necessarily mean having a manly job, a muscular body or to have strength and courage. Your personal masculinity should reveal that you are satisfied with yourself. Real men also cry.
How do you practice self-care?
Patrick: I do a lot to stay mentally and physically fit. Health is the greatest asset we have, so we should not abuse it. Especially as pilot I have to take care of my body exceptionally well. Every year I receive a health check up to see if I am still capable of flying an airplane. I follow a strict fitness routine and diet also plays an important role. Another thing is allowing myself a timeout once in a while, even when I have a million things to do.
Dominick: I take care of myself by ensuring my water intake, diet and workout regimen is on point. I don’t do drugs but when I drink I ensure its not more than 1-2x a month. As well as always being sure to have a good sleep regimen.
Rhys: There are many ways that I myself take care of my own mental health. Organisation and preparation are two small acts which help me overcome any hurdles or stresses and they really do work. I am not saying that your first time trying to be organised is going to completely clear any clouds in your head that may be blocking your thought process, but it can help set out a path to help clear those brain clouds.
I use the gym as an escape. It is my personal time to better myself, ignore the outside world for 60 or 90 minutes and put a pause on any problems I have that day. I would tell my friends if they were feeling down, even if you go to the gym for 20 minutes, it is 20 more minutes than you did not do. I stand by, “The worst workout you can do, is the one you didn’t go to.’’
Do you have anything to say to men who might be struggling right now?
Dominick: Always strive to be better and take care of yourself a little bit more, clean up your diet, living space, hygiene, and wardrobe. Those changes alone will make you feel like a new man, bringing a breath of life into your world.
Rhys: I know the mental health issues that may be experiencing right now you are most likely keeping them to yourself. It is a quiet environment because you don’t ‘want to be a burden’ or ‘be annoying.’
Don’t be ashamed. There are people out there who want to listen, who love you, who care for you, who understand what you are going through.
You are precious, you are loved and you are most certainly not alone.
Patrick: If I have the feeling that everything becomes too “much” I use my special breathing technique to relax.
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the aeroplane takes off against the wind and not with it.