Peggy Orenstein – Boys & Sex

The author of the groundbreaking New York Times best sellers Girls & Sex and Cinderella Ate My Daughter now turns her focus to the sexual lives of young men, once again offering “both an examination of sexual culture and a guide on how to improve it” (Washington Post).

Peggy Orensteins Girls & Sex broke ground, shattered taboos, and launched conversations about young womens right to pleasure and agency in sexual encounters. It also had an unexpected effect on its author: Orenstein realized that talking about girls is only half the conversation. Boys are subject to the same cultural forces as girls – steeped in the same distorted media images and binary stereotypes of female sexiness and toxic masculinity – which equally affect how they navigate sexual and emotional relationships. In Boys & Sex, Peggy Orenstein dives back into the lives of young people to once again give voice to the unspoken, revealing how young men understand and negotiate the new rules of physical and emotional intimacy.

Drawing on comprehensive interviews with young men, psychologists, academics, and experts in the field, Boys & Sex dissects so-called locker room talk; how the word “hilarious” robs boys of empathy; pornography as the new sex education; boys understanding of hookup culture and consent; and their experience as both victims and perpetrators of sexual violence. By surfacing young mens experience in all its complexity, Orenstein is able to unravel the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important realities of young male sexuality in todays world. The result is a provocative and paradigm-shifting work that offers a much-needed vision of how boys can truly move forward as better men.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

Author: Peggy Orenstein
Narrator: Peggy Orenstein
Duration: 7 hours 28 minutes
Released: 20 Jul 2001
Publisher: HarperAudio
Language: English

User Review:

availability innumerable

In Boys & Sex, researcher Peggy Orenstein explores how toxic masculinity affects the sexual behavior of American Millenial and Gen Z boys. Her basic premise is that from an early age, male children in this demographic are taught to limit their emotional vocabulary, which only gets worse as they are exposed to media stereotypes, free internet porn, lack of sexual education at home and at school, and the unfulfilling expectation or reality of hookup culture, all of which combine to negatively impact their emotional and sexual literacy.

I identified with a lot of the anecdotal research in Boys & Sex. In particular, I like how the author explains that while the definition of womanhood has expanded to include many different types of women, men are still stuck with a 1950s ideal of male empowerment which basically consists of being stoic, dominant and emotionally inaccessible at all times (think Don Draper).

While I felt at times that Peggy Orenstein relied too much on her own assumptions and inherent biases when drawing conclusions about American boys, I would recommend this book, or at least the resources inside it, to everyone. Its clearly targeted at parents with sons in high school and college but if you know any boys or young men, you will gain valuable insight into their lives and psyches from Boys & Sex. And no matter who you are, you will likely learn something about yourself too.

I really appreciate that rather than simply leaving the reader helpless to address the many factors influencing teen boys today – for example, the paywall hindering access to ethical, feminist porn and more broadly, ethical, feminist media in general – the author provides resources and tips for preventative and reformative measures. As a woman, Im aware that I am disproportionally expected to provide emotional labor to men, but I was not familiar with research showing that young boys flat out do not express their feelings to other boys or men, meaning that women such as mothers or girlfriends are often their only confidantes. The author recommends that adults, especially father figures, talk to young boys about their feelings just as we would talk to young girls about theirs.

I also really liked the authors ideas about restorative justice in cases of campus sexual assault (think the Aziz Ansari Me Too accusation), and her advice that parents should consistently emphasize the importance of sex as pleasure for everyone involved. As someone whose sexual education in school was only slightly more informative than the classic Mean Girls lines, Dont have sex. You will get pregnant and die, and If you touch each other, you will get chlamydia and die, I feel that children and teenagers would benefit immensely from sexual education that touches on emotional as well as physical well-being. It seems incredibly novel that future generations of children and teens might be taught to touch themselves and others consensually for the purpose of pleasure, without the pressure and miscommunication that hinders my generations sexuality.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone. I would have appreciated more research regarding different demographics of boys and men but I learned a lot from this book and Im sure I will consult it regularly.

The author did a good job narrating.