When Did Man Caves Become Popular?

Over the years, there have been numerous names to describe this private area where one can go that is exclusively his and just be himself. It has been called a Manland, Mantuary, Man Space, and other numerous names. All in all, throughout history this private space has been used for the same purpose. To declutter from the stress of everyday life, sit back, relax, and have some fun time away from the complexities of everyday life. But in reality, one can’t help but wonder when man caves became so popular.

Pundits argue that man spaces or man caves became extremely popular in the mid to late 2000s. They did exist before but this boom in the 2000s has been attributed to a male ‘identity problem’ caused by the immense pressure of everyday life.

It is argued that around this time men were just trying to figure out how to belong in a strange new world. So much of their time was spent taking care of their families that they didn’t have enough time for themselves. So in response to this men began setting up rooms of their own where they could retreat and relax.

In this article we will have a look at the history of the man cave and why it is such a popular trend today. So buckle up and prepare for the ride of your life. This is sure to be an insightful read for you.

When Did Man Caves Become Popular?

Before we even get started, it’s worth mentioning that every guy knows the importance of a man cave. You may however be quite surprised to learn that they are not a new trend. They have been around for a long time. Men have always built rooms made for quiet reflection and to which they could always escape the world. They have been around for thousands of years to be quite honest.

In this article, we’re going to have a look at the history line of man caves. We will discover the earliest man caves to have been built. So stick around and read on!


It’s only logical that some of the first man caves were, of course, actual caves. These man caves date back to around 800,000 years ago. They were inhabited by the now-extinct human species Homo nohomobro. Studies reveal that the male species in these times built some small enclosures as places to go hang out (more like go bang rocks by themselves or whatever they used to do in those days!) There is also fossil evidence that indicates the males used these spaces to celebrate after successful hunts while females gathered elsewhere.

Ancient Greece

The majority of social discourse in ancient Greece took place in public squares and stadia. Despite this, a huge number of philosophers did some of their best thinking in private chambers in complete isolation. These man caves were often elaborately decorated and gave the owners a quiet oasis to think. References to these man caves even appear in some ancient Greek writings.

Medieval Times

Some medieval castles often had small rooms that were used by their resident lords as man caves. They were at times called cabinets and resembled studies or offices. They were furnished with bookshelves and art. At times, they served as treasure troves where the lord stored his most prized possessions. Only the most trusted advisers of the lord could be invited into the room.

Colonial America

As the U.S. struggled for independence, the architects of democracy used these spaces for a lot of purposes like drafting legislation and holding meetings. A majority of the founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin had “private studies” to which they could retreat and enjoy their privacy.

Early to Mid-1900s

In the early 1900s, the home was mostly considered the woman’s turf. Due to this reason, man caves became common among a majority of men. They were special confines for men to unwind from the difficulties of the world. In these times they were mostly decorated with hunting trophies. In the mid-1900s, man caves had made their way into showbiz, appearing in popular shows like Batman (1943). The popularity of man caves continued to grow throughout the century and into the late 1900s.

The late 1900s

The first known time the phrase “man cave” was published was in 1992 in a humorous guest column for the Toronto Star where the writer mentioned the name in reference to alternative room names for a standard Canadian floor plan. This popularized the idea of man caves but it wasn’t until the 21st century rolled on that man caves became extremely popular.

21st Century

By this time, a need for men to have special places to retreat to had grown to boundless proportions. This, coupled with constant media coverage is what fast-tracked the popularity of man caves. At this time, men were experiencing identity confusion following a loss of identity due to a lack of personal time. After this, man caves exploded into the scene and numerous males carved out spaces in their homes to build their own private spaces.

In 2006, DIY Networks launched “Man Caves”. This was a series in which the hosts transformed the basements of people into actual man caves.

From the late 2000s to date, the number of man caves has grown to boundless limits and a majority of men have such private spaces in their homes.

When Did the Term Man Cave Start?

It’s only natural to wonder when the first mention of the term man cave came into being. It has often been subject to quite a barrage of claims, with most people not agreeing on the first time this term was used and who coined it.

Some believe its origins were from a column in the Canadian Star in 1992 by Joanne Lovering where she comes up with joke names for rooms. She dubbed the basement “man cave” and added that “the garage is a cave of solitude…”

The phrase was plucked out for use in a 1992 book by John Gray, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex. In this book, Gray wrote a chapter about men’s need to “withdraw into the cave”.

So it’s safe to say that the origin of the term man cave was in 1992. Though there are other names like Man space, Man land, and Mantuary; Man cave remains to be the most popularly used word to describe a man’s private place of solitude.

What Is the Point of a Man Cave?

Some people may rubbish this claim, some may strongly disagree with it, but the truth of the matter is that man caves play an integral part in the life of a man. It may not seem like it, but man caves are quite beneficial. For the most part, they enable the man to relax and unwind and focus on themselves, which is something they rarely get.

Several activities are common in man caves and these include: Alone time, hanging out with friends. Watching sports, practicing hobbies, treading, writing, working out, and much more. Most men usually lose track of themselves and a man cave comes in handy to remedy this situation.

I bet you’re still wondering what the whole point of a man cave is. Let me break it down for you.

1. Identity recovery

Between their jobs and families, many men usually feel kind of lost, frustrated, and detached from who they were and have no way to get away from it all. A man cave affords them time to be alone and reflect on who they really are.

2. De-stressing

Most men have high-stress jobs and general stress of life from family work. Man caves are useful to help them have a healthy outlet for all this pent up stress.

3. Working Out

The majority of men use these man caves to work out and keep healthy. Whether it’s weight lifting or running on the treadmill, man caves enable men to stay fit.

4. Alone Time

Everyone needs some alone time to reconnect with their true self. For men, man caves enable them to carve out space and time to reconnect with their true selves without being disturbed.

5. Regulating Emotions

One thing most people don’t know is that there’s a relationship between one’s environment and one’s feelings. Women usually have a say in many households as to how the environment looks like. This is why man caves are essential. They enable a man to express their individuality in that space. This kind of environment helps them regulate their emotions and explore who they are.

When all is said and done, man caves are an essential part of men’s lives.

What Is a Woman’s Man Cave Called?

Men need their space and that’s why they have man caves. Women need their space too. Their alternative to a man cave is called a She-Shed. For women, it’s a place to relax and kickback. It’s a place they can decorate and use when in need, a sort of a home away from home.

While man caves are usually located in the house, She-Sheds are usually found in the garden. Just like man caves, they are a space for women to get-away and experience their alone time. The things you’ll find in a She-Shed are quite different from those in a man cave. But all in all, they are typically for the same purposes.

Overall, these private spaces are essential for the well-being of a person. Most people might not agree, but I think we can accept just how fundamental they are following the discussion in this article!

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