Season 3

Dan Savage: what straight couples can learn from same sex couples


The love, sex and relationship guru and host of the Savage Lovecast gives us his thoughts and tips!

Note: this episode is very Not Safe For Work – download now and save for later if that’s relevant!

Also, co-host Jonathan Freeman is leaving us and signs off!

Finally, The Gender Knot is on hiatus until 15th October. We’ll be back with a new season then.

Guest: Dan Savage, sex and relationship advice columnist and Savage Lovecast host

Men and commitment issues: fact or fiction?


It’s a big cliché that men are scared to commit, don’t want to be tied down, are always ‘hitting the road’ and leaving promising relationships with women. 

Today’s guest thinks this is a simply not true and actually leads to us all suffering and having worse relationships. We dive into the nuances. 

Note: The Gender Knot will be back in early October - we are taking a break during September but will be back in a few weeks. Write to us in the meantime! 

Guest: Dan Carroll, co-host of the podcast Fine and Dandy with Dan and Andy 

The roots of male shame

Why is shame such an issue for men despite the privileges men still have in almost all societies? Is privilege itself part of the problem, and what can be done to tackle this issue? Women are also being vocal about their experiences due to toxic masculinity and also male shame. Where does this leave men as they try to grapple with their own experiences?

Guest: Rob Kandell, coach and consultant, host of the podcast Tuff Love, co-founder of One Taste


Women and pay: How can women negotiate for better pay?

Gillian Orr

Gillian Orr

In April, a report by the UK governments and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission showed that 80% of large companies still paid male employees more than the women. In the US, in 2017 women still earnt just 82% of men’s salaries, according to data by the Pew Research Center. 

There are structural changes that still need to take place, how do men and women approach pay negotiations differently? How receptive are bosses to women asking for more money, and what are the best ways women can negotiate to be paid more? 


Gillian Orr, journalist and content director, Refinery29

Caroline Elliot, Managing Partner of the Quattrain training partnership and former producer, editor and board member at BBC radio

Men's groups: potential problems?

German Villegas

German Villegas

Therapy is important, and men’s groups can’t be a substitute for therapy says today’s guest. We recently looked at men’s groups and had some interesting feedback. Despite all the positives we hear, that can be problems which are worth knowing about.

We speak to someone who actually runs men’s groups and also works helping teenagers develop healthy relationships. We delve into the potential problems and how to best utilize men’s groups.

Guest: German Villegas, host of the Modern Manhood podcast, teacher, educator, man-at-large at Next Gen Men

Guest episode: Ministry of Ideas - White Balance

Jonathan is stuck in the library in DC, and Nas and Sam and Jonny in London are all swamped, so we decided to play you an episode of one of our favourite podcasts while we work on more Gender Knot material for you for next week onwards.

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Ministry of Ideas is a podcast about the ideas that shape our world, and is from Harvard Divinity School. Their episode ‘White Balance’ looks at how understanding race in American also requires understanding its relationship to class. It’s a compelling and deeply moving episode and features the poet and writer Dr Joshua Bennett, and the author of the book ‘White Trash’, Nancy Isenberg.

We’ll be back next week and have episodes coming up on men’s groups (a follow up), how women can negotiate for better pay, and male shame.

Guest podcast episode: Ministry of Ideas podcast from Harvard Divinity School, episode: White Balance, hosted by Zachary Davis

Men’s groups: can they provide the support that men need?

Co-producer Jonny Blackwell

Co-producer Jonny Blackwell

‘Transformative’ is a word we’ve heard from so many men who’ve benefitted from men’s groups. It’s a topic that’s comes up on this podcast a lot. Why are so many men getting together with other men to talk about their lives and experiences? How do these groups work and what do they talk about in them? And can they provide men with the support that they need?


Kenny Mammarella D’Cruz (The Man Whisperer), men’s group founder and personal development consultant

Chad Howsefitness and lifestyle blogger and host of the ‘Man Up with Chad Howse’ podcast

Anonymous member of a men’s group

Rowan Andrews, men’s group coach and facilitator and a business coach

Esther Perel: What’s next for men and how women can helpEsther Perel: What’s next for men and how women can help

Friends and love: what role can friends play in our love lives?

Erica Berger

Erica Berger

This week’s guest emailed 700 friends asking to be set up on a date, and followed up with everyone a year later detailing what happened. The most interesting part of her results are that the people she knew the least were the ones who set her up with someone.

Our friends know us best, yet why do we under utilize them in our search for fulfilling romantic relationships? Should friends set each other up more? And why is it likelier that people we know less well are the ones who may actually introduce us to someone who could change our lives?

Guest: Erica Berger, journalist, host of the TBD podcast

Male Shame part 1: What role do women play?

Rob Kandell

Rob Kandell

Male Shame lies at the root of so many problematic dynamics between men and women, whether on an individual or a society-wide scale. The problem is many men have a very limited space where they can explore their shame, if they even have that space at all. 

How can women play a role in this and what’s the best way to make a man aware of the consequences of his shame based behaviour? A coach and consultant helps us figure this out.

Guest: Rob Kandell, coach and consultant, host of the podcast Tuff Love, co-founder of One Taste

Women in business: what should they keep doing?

Speaking more forcefully, being more assertive (or even aggressive), over-confidence and being unrealistic about outcomes; these are just some of the ways in which women in technology are told to approach investors if they are to raise money. But is this advice fair or even accurate?

Why is it harder for women in tech to raise investment money, what needs to be done to change things around, and what advice to women get which doesn’t work and is even damaging? A tech investor tells us more.    


Jonathan Sposato, investor, author of “Better Together: 8 ways working with women leads to extraordinary products and profits”

Jonathan Sposato

Jonathan Sposato

More women are cheating. Why?

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Dr Tammy Nelson

We got a curious email from the folks at Ashley Madison recently – that’s the dating website for people looking for discreet encounters, such as affairs. They’ve seen a rise in the number of women signing up, and there’s evidence showing that more women are cheating on their spouses – or perhaps women are now more open or honest about their affairs.  We delve into why this is happening. 

We speak to a woman who has had an extra-marital affair to find out her reasons for the affair and her experience of it, and sex therapist Dr Tammy Nelson tells us about the wider social reasons for women seeking extra-marital affairs. 


‘Mary’, woman who had an extra-marital affair using the site Ashley Madison

Dr Tammy Nelson, psychotherapist and sexuality expert, author of the book ‘The New Monogamy; redefining your relationship after infidelity’  

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Ambitious women: why are some men scared of them?

Mark Pagan

In season 2 we explored why we’re scared of ambitious women, and talked to our co-producer Sam and a teacher about the roots of this problem. It was an episode which really resonated with so many women who listen to this show and a dilemma we just had to revisit.

Mark Pagan has talked about his mixed attitudes to dating ambitious women on his own podcast Other Men Need Help. Mark finds ambitious women attractive but is also threatened by them, this being a dynamic which isn’t all that rare, and one we delve into more with him, trying to figure out the personal and wider social reasons behind this paradox.


Mark Pagan, host of the podcast Other Men Need Help. Their podcast episode Manual Men is mentioned in this conversation.

Esther Perel: What's Next For Men and How Women Can Help


This is the century where men need to rethink their identities at home and at work, says world renowned therapist Esther Perel, and that things will only change for women once men do this. We hear about her experiences working with couples and the unique challenges men face when trying to navigate their inner lives, and she advises us on how men and women can better communicate with each other.


Esther Perel, therapist, author of ‘Mating in Captivity’ and ‘The State of Affairs’, host of the podcast Where Should We Begin?


#MeToo comebacks? Charlie Rose, we’re done!

Stephanie Butnick

Stephanie Butnick

Stephanie Butnick of the Unorthodox podcast and Tablet Magazine joins us to kick of season 3 where we ask if the men accused of sexual assault and harassment under the #MeToo movement can make comebacks. 

Note: There are rumours that Charlie Rose may have a show where he interviews other accused men, that Mario Batali will be opening more restaurants and that Louis CK may be making a comeback, along with rumours about many others too. Is now the right time for a comeback, and should they even comeback at all? 


Stephanie Butnick, one of the hosts of the Unorthodox podcast and deputy editor of Tablet Magazine