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Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity

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The author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestsellers 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 Orenstein’s Girls & Sex broke ground, shattered taboos, and launched conversations about young women’ The author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestsellers 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 Orenstein’s Girls & Sex broke ground, shattered taboos, and launched conversations about young women’s 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 men’s experience in all its complexity, Orenstein is able to unravel the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important realities of young male sexuality in today’s 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.


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The author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestsellers 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 Orenstein’s Girls & Sex broke ground, shattered taboos, and launched conversations about young women’ The author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestsellers 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 Orenstein’s Girls & Sex broke ground, shattered taboos, and launched conversations about young women’s 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 men’s experience in all its complexity, Orenstein is able to unravel the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important realities of young male sexuality in today’s 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.

30 review for Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    "That's the problem," Rob said. "None of my friends talk about feelings. If you were hung up over a girl, they'd be like, 'Stop being a bitch.'" Very, very interesting book. I liked Boys & Sex quite a lot more than Girls & Sex, though why is a bit harder to decipher. It might be that I knew what to expect from this one— lots of anecdotes from a small(ish) sample; not really a social study with a definitive conclusion. It might be that the sample size was larger and stretched to trans boys— it "That's the problem," Rob said. "None of my friends talk about feelings. If you were hung up over a girl, they'd be like, 'Stop being a bitch.'" Very, very interesting book. I liked Boys & Sex quite a lot more than Girls & Sex, though why is a bit harder to decipher. It might be that I knew what to expect from this one— lots of anecdotes from a small(ish) sample; not really a social study with a definitive conclusion. It might be that the sample size was larger and stretched to trans boys— it felt more "with the times" than Girls & Sex, which occasionally had a dated quality to it. It might just be, simply, that this topic was more interesting to me. When I read Girls & Sex, I had already read a lot (and experienced a lot) about girls and sex. It didn’t offer anything that fresh or interesting. Girls' sexuality might be historically repressed and shamed, but I feel like these days it is men who don’t really talk about sex (or are talked to about sex). At least not in a way that is helpful. Not in a way that really considers consent, what that means, true intimacy, and their feelings about casual hook-ups (beyond male bragging). I know what many women think about sex and sexuality. I have read opinions from women from all over the world, across all cultures, races, religions and sexualities. I know so little about what men and boys think about sex, other than that they’re supposed to want a lot of it. One of the things that struck me immediately - and, by her own admission, surprised the author - was how very willing all these boys were to talk about their experiences and their feelings. The author noted that it was almost as if they had been waiting their whole lives for someone to ask them, to care how they felt. That is heartbreaking. And the problem goes so deep that this book made me equal parts miserable and hopeful. One of the major conclusions the author made early on - one that is frustrating for women like me - is how, try as we might, women are not the ones who can really make this change happen. It's going to require men to break the cycle. Fathers, male guardians and teachers, and other male role models. They need to show young boys that it's okay to be vulnerable, to talk about your feelings, to say "no" to "locker room talk". But when these adults have their own trouble expressing their emotions, how is that possible? Not only do boys consistently look to male role models for how to behave but, as Orenstein points out, asking women to shoulder the emotional burden only perpetuates the problem. Men need to talk to one another. And that's the real challenge. Women can help in some ways, though. One thing the author noted hit me as surprisingly true: These days, many parents are quick to correct false depictions of what it means to be a woman in media - “that Disney movie is fun, but that’s not what women really look like” (etc.) - but they don't do the same for boys. There is this strange assumption that it is primarily girls' views of the world that need correcting. Parents, in general, aren't telling boys that those tiny-waisted Disney girls have no space for a uterus or, perhaps more importantly, that porn is not a reflection of real sexual relationships. Or it shouldn't be. However, I did have some of the same problems with this that I did with Girls & Sex. I won't spend as much time on it, but I do dislike some of the sweeping generalised claims Orenstein makes, such as that “Young American men […] receive more messages that they should conform to rigid gender roles in the home” than “other nationalities”. This is so vague. What? All other nationalities? Surely not. I really think her books would benefit from citations in the main body of text and not just a lengthy bibliography at the back. I’m aware I’m being picky and not everyone will have this problem - in fact, some people have been irritated with me in the past for daring to have this problem - but I just think the book would be improved by better referencing and clarification. I’m still a Poli-Sci student at heart, I guess. The main conclusion to Boys & Sex is virtually the same as Girls & Sex, and it is this: Education, education, education. Require it in schools. Talk about it at home. Not just in a one-off "The Talk", but in an ongoing, open discussion of sex, intimacy, relationships, masturbation, porn, LGBTQ+ and consent. As someone who has seen the most sweet, open, accepting, self-proclaimed "feminist" of men retreat inside their own internalized masculine stereotypes when they get into a group of their peers, I did wonder while reading this how this change was realistically going to happen. I am comforted somewhat by the thought of how very far we’ve come with women in such a short space of time. Maybe what seems a terrifying uphill climb actually won’t take that long once the idea is allowed to flourish-- the idea that it’s okay for men to be vulnerable and talk about their feelings. I hope so. Our boys and girls deserve better. Warnings for depictions of rape, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, abuse and - seriously - coprophagia. Facebook | Instagram

  2. 5 out of 5

    Justin Tate

    Checked this out to see how bad society screwed me up as a kid, and to see if it’s gotten any better for the next round. Orenstein makes many surprising discoveries during her long interview process with today’s high school and college-aged guys. Some more shocking than others. Though it takes her a while to get there, the most eye-opening bits discuss the problematic cultural depiction of men. We all know women are objectified on magazine covers and in movies, but how does it feel to be a boy and Checked this out to see how bad society screwed me up as a kid, and to see if it’s gotten any better for the next round. Orenstein makes many surprising discoveries during her long interview process with today’s high school and college-aged guys. Some more shocking than others. Though it takes her a while to get there, the most eye-opening bits discuss the problematic cultural depiction of men. We all know women are objectified on magazine covers and in movies, but how does it feel to be a boy and look at the cover of Men’s Health? To watch James Bond? She paints a surprisingly clear picture of generations of lonely boys who prefer to stay at home rather than face the world without the prerequisite 24-pack abs and million dollar car. What boys see as success is as unrealistic and unhealthy as what is depicted to girls, but--as Orenstein points out--parents rarely think it necessary to talk about. What about porn? Surely that is nothing but a den of female objectification, right? Well, yes and no. This is another situation where Orenstein exposes an under-discussed problem. We think boys watch porn and see women as mere treats for their enjoyment, but often what they’re really seeing is a chiseled man with a 12 inch penis who seems to please women with superpower efficiency. Again, potentially devastating when their reality doesn’t, um, measure up. Of course we also get plenty of chapters on toxic masculinity and issues of consent. The book does an excellent job of diving into the complexities of consent, what misunderstandings young people have about it, and offers some hope for the future of sex education. The problem is that sex education in this country is still primarily about abstinance. This blows my mind and makes me sick. It made me sick back in ’05 when my sex ed class was nothing more than slideshow images of STIs and a purity pledge. Obviously there was no discussion about LGBT sex. I don’t even think they said the word “condom.” When parents and schools are still too shy to teach sex education--real sex education--what else are kids to do but learn the hard way? And so that’s what happens. Sometimes practice makes perfect, and sometimes practice scars you for life. According to many stories in this book, practice is often happening under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Parents looking for a resource to help them understand what is happening in the lives of their sons will be smart to read this book, even if not all of it applies. I do think it focuses primarily on extremes. Certainly not all boys are hopeless and depressed, or high and hooking up hourly, but some are. And the reasons why are pretty cut and dry. Sexuality is complicated, but it’s not that complicated. It’s certainly teachable. But for some reason we feel a moral objection to do so. Still!

  3. 4 out of 5

    David

    This is the book every parent wishes they could give their son, and one every son wishes they could receive. Peggy Orenstein presents a well-researched 2020 follow-up to her 2016 "Girls & Sex". The data is incredibly current and detailed on the topics of hooking up, porn, gay trans and queer, boys of color(s), consent (both ways!), and just a better understanding of what is going through the minds of boys today, and how they can become better men for tomorrow. The author remains professional thro This is the book every parent wishes they could give their son, and one every son wishes they could receive. Peggy Orenstein presents a well-researched 2020 follow-up to her 2016 "Girls & Sex". The data is incredibly current and detailed on the topics of hooking up, porn, gay trans and queer, boys of color(s), consent (both ways!), and just a better understanding of what is going through the minds of boys today, and how they can become better men for tomorrow. The author remains professional throughout the book. There is no light humor, yet it does not just bury the reader with data. The author took some serious time to interview many boys. She was surprised how well they opened up to her. They really seemed to WANT to talk about all of these topics. They were in high school and in college. Peggy admits the limitations within her data, but at least she is putting this out! There are many stories. It is great to hear the voices in the interviews learning from their conversations in real-time while talking to Peggy. Some have kept in touch to give status on things that had relationship conflicts when she first interviewed them. I wish I could copy the entire final chapter right here! A great summary and reminder to take action! I bought a hard-copy of this book after seeing a glowing review in the NY Times. I had not finished Chapter 1, when I simply gave the book to my son. He needs this right now! I then discovered an audio-book version at my local library that I have been listening to. It is extremely well read by the author, Peggy Orenstein. Her website has an extensive list of more resources: https://www.peggyorenstein.com/positi... Ch 1: Welcome to Dick School - talks about what is 'masculinity' Ch 2: Porn - not "if" they watch porn, but rather what porn is watched Ch 3: Life in a Hookup Culture - hookup has a HUGE variety of meanings Ch 4: Gay, Trans, and Queer Guys - high school can be tough; locker room talk is no excuse Ch 5: Boys of Color in a White World - black, asian Ch 6: Good Guys - get consent, right? Ch 7: Do All Guys Always Want It? - girls need to ask consent too Ch 8: Better Man - talking with parents, how to grow Ch 9: Deep Breath - fantastic summary that promotes proactive measures, not focus on damage control after-the-fact Notes: 21 pages citing each of the chapters specifics Bibliography: 17 pages, totaling over 200 cited sources Index Website: https://www.peggyorenstein.com/positi...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kimberley

    Having read Orenstein's "Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape", two things came immediately to mind about her latest venture, 1) she made sure to be a lot more inclusive in her selection of interviewees, and 2) she pulled together a lot more resources. While "Girls & Sex" was certainly a good place to start, Orenstein fell short in allowing the research to speak for itself; there was often too much of an injection of her own thoughts and opinions on the subject of how we empower Having read Orenstein's "Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape", two things came immediately to mind about her latest venture, 1) she made sure to be a lot more inclusive in her selection of interviewees, and 2) she pulled together a lot more resources. While "Girls & Sex" was certainly a good place to start, Orenstein fell short in allowing the research to speak for itself; there was often too much of an injection of her own thoughts and opinions on the subject of how we empower and/or mishandle the sexual education of young girls and women. In her defense, it had to be difficult not to personalize some of the content, being a woman and mother herself. That said, this latest entree doesn't fall short in that department. Orenstein is plenty hands-off and the book feels more put together and complete than its predecessor. The young men interviewed within come from nearly every slice of life: rich to poor, heterosexual to transgender, Black and white, academic to athletic, etc. I appreciated the attempt to be inclusive--particularly with such a small sample (100 boys and young men)--because I felt she was less focused on doing that with the women; as such the book came off stilted and failed to truly represent the challenges of Black women and girls as well as it should have. That said, I still feel the Black perspective is missing from this book. The young men she chose to interview spend less time actually obsessing over navigating the sexual landscape than they do the white one; which is to say they are cautious because they understand the possibility of trouble lurking should an encounter go wrong. I suspect their attitudes would have been more relevant had Orenstein interviewed them in a more diverse setting. The same can be said of the one trans man she chose to interview--a man who won't be hard to find given her description and his notoriety--as I wondered how different the view might have been had she interviewed both a Black and white trans from varying backgrounds. While I understand you can't hit every chord, the chords that were missed, were noticeable. Still, there is a lot of great information offered and it definitely provides a starting point for a deeper conversation.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Maja - BibliophiliaDK ✨

    THIS SHOULD BE MANDATORY FOR ANYONE WITH SONS - OR OTHER MEN IN THEIR LIVES Okay, so I don't have a son. But I do know several men. And I really feel like this book has made me understand them better. Often, when we talk about feminism and equality, we have a tendency to look a the female experience. Which is a mistake, because the male experience is just as important - and in some ways just as flawed. Learning how these young men are trying to navigate ideas of 'masculinity' and gender norms rea THIS SHOULD BE MANDATORY FOR ANYONE WITH SONS - OR OTHER MEN IN THEIR LIVES Okay, so I don't have a son. But I do know several men. And I really feel like this book has made me understand them better. Often, when we talk about feminism and equality, we have a tendency to look a the female experience. Which is a mistake, because the male experience is just as important - and in some ways just as flawed. Learning how these young men are trying to navigate ideas of 'masculinity' and gender norms really opened my eyes to some new issues.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This is not my favorite style of covering topics: lots of interviews, no analysis or research. But I knew what it was because I read the girls one. I learned a lot—mostly because I wasn’t close with any teenage boys (no brothers or best friends who talked about this stuff) so these revelations were nuts. And If I had boys (thank God I don’t))), the one thing I would definitely ban is porn.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Camelia Rose

    Peggy Orenstein interviewed 100 teens and young men between 16-20 in the US, mostly White middle class heterosexual men, but also LGBTQ+, Black and Asian men, on the topic of sex and relationships. Boys & Sex is a collection of the interviews. It is not an academic social study, although it includes results from several such studies. The book, part parenting part social commentary, is compulsively readable. Every page is informative and challenging. I want to simultaneously bang my head against Peggy Orenstein interviewed 100 teens and young men between 16-20 in the US, mostly White middle class heterosexual men, but also LGBTQ+, Black and Asian men, on the topic of sex and relationships. Boys & Sex is a collection of the interviews. It is not an academic social study, although it includes results from several such studies. The book, part parenting part social commentary, is compulsively readable. Every page is informative and challenging. I want to simultaneously bang my head against the wall and bury my head into sand, but I agree with Orenstein: today's parents have lost the luxury of being squeamish about sex and porn and the "don't-tell-so-they-don't-find-out" is a laughable myth. The book is organized by topics: 1. What American boys think about masculinity 2. Porn 3. Hookup culture 4. LBGTQ+ 5. Black and Asian men in a White world 5. Consent, sexual assault against women 6. Sexual assault against men As a feminist, I know very well the debate of "toxic masculinity", and I am aware the label "toxic masculinity" on social media sometimes can be seen broadly applied on many different things. However, I largely agree with the author's definition. The three pillars of toxic masculinity: 1. Emotion suppression 2. Disparaging of anything feminine (expressing emotions, caring for others, or arbitrary things like reading), and, I must add, equate aggression to masculinity 3. Sexual conquest (women as object and sex as conquest, and brag about it) . It goes without saying not all masculinity is toxic. Toxic masculinity hurts boys and men too. "It is no secret that today’s children are guinea pigs in a massive porn experiment". All because of the easy accessibility of explicit sexual content brought by high speed internet, mobile devices and websites like Pornhub. Men who use porn regularly are less inclined to support affirmative action for women and more inclined to objectify women, isn't it common sense? Why porn is bad? Chapter 2 answers the question in details. The tough part is to broach this topic to your kids. Boys who watch porn may develop anxiety about their bodies too. One interviewee who struggled with porn habit wished his dad had said to him: "this will screw the way you view women. It’s not real. And it is not going to help you get a girl and it will only keep you from interacting with girls in a healthy manner. " Not only boys are affected by porn, girls too. Parents take notes: be aware of the mainstream media, discuss with your sons about sexual violence, controlling behaviors, and contents that degrading and objectifying women (and men to a lesser degree). Masculinity and sexual relationship from the viewpoints of trans men (including an Asian trans man) and gay men are very refreshing. The discrimination against Asian American men is heartbreaking to read. How to educate your sons about consent, asking and giving consent? Peggy Orenstein has answers too. Consent should be both given and received. Not sure how outdated I am, but here is a word I've just learned: feminist fuck boy. Girls and women are the victims of the majority of serious sexual assaults, but according to the author, boys are equally subjected to milder forms of sexual misconducts, including verbal or emotional abuse and sexual coercion by older girls and women, or older men in the case of homosexuals. Dutch parents are much more successful than American parents in educating their children. "By normalizing teen sexuality, Dutch parents are able to exert more control over their children’s behavior. (In one study) two thirds of Dutch teens age 15-17 with a steady boy or girl friend report the person is welcome to stay in their bedrooms. Dutch parents actively discourage promiscuity in their children. Teaching sex should emerge from a loving relationship, negotiating the ground rules for those sleepovers, while admittedly cringe, provide parents opportunity to exercise influence, enforce values and emphasis the need for protection. " I don't know if I'll have the stomach for that, should the circumstance rise, but I'll bear the option in mind. The last chapter is the conclusion and advices to parents. If you don't have time to read the whole book, please do read the last chapter. The author's website has a list of extra resources: https://www.peggyorenstein.com/positi... My only complain is the coverage of minority groups is still limited. Minority cultural influences are largely missing. No discussion on how Asian boys behave in Asian communities or Black boys in Black communities.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    For my entire life I've heard, "boys are easier to raise." This book shows, through interviews with college age men, boys are not easier to parent than girls, most people just aren't parenting them. Many of your sons are engaging in a culture of homophobia, misogyny, and assault, all of which they're almost never held accountable for by their peers, parents, law enforcement, and even the author of this book at times. I personally hated reading this book for several reasons. Mainly, because, thoug For my entire life I've heard, "boys are easier to raise." This book shows, through interviews with college age men, boys are not easier to parent than girls, most people just aren't parenting them. Many of your sons are engaging in a culture of homophobia, misogyny, and assault, all of which they're almost never held accountable for by their peers, parents, law enforcement, and even the author of this book at times. I personally hated reading this book for several reasons. Mainly, because, though there were a few minorities represented, it was largely a parade of white, middle to upper class bro athletes who don't hold themselves or their peers accountable for their behavior, who never consider their sexual partners' wants or feelings and who think saying f** is a hilarious joke. These are the type of men I have avoided for most of my life and I had to be surrounded by them every time I picked up this book, which filled me with near constant disgust. I wish Orenstein had included more men like the ones I associate with, men who have, by no mistake, escaped this toxic bro culture. Their stories were largely missing from this book and could benefit the parents and young men who might read this. I also wish Orenstein had more to say about what the men she included are doing and how they and their parents and educators can do better.

  9. 4 out of 5

    MissBecka Gee

    So that was educational and a little horrifying. I think this is a really important book for anyone raising children (of any gender). It's an honest discussion with real people on real issues. Not all of them are comfortable to listen too, but most important issues are uncomfortable to talk about. I did the audio and while it was very conversational, I think a print version would be easier to use in discussions or as a reference material. So that was educational and a little horrifying. I think this is a really important book for anyone raising children (of any gender). It's an honest discussion with real people on real issues. Not all of them are comfortable to listen too, but most important issues are uncomfortable to talk about. I did the audio and while it was very conversational, I think a print version would be easier to use in discussions or as a reference material.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mariah Roze

    Everyone should read this book! It was extremely education about gender stereotypes and roles. "Peggy Orenstein’s Girls & Sex broke ground, shattered taboos, and launched conversations about young women’s 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 which equally affect how they navigate sexual and emotional relation Everyone should read this book! It was extremely education about gender stereotypes and roles. "Peggy Orenstein’s Girls & Sex broke ground, shattered taboos, and launched conversations about young women’s 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 which equally affect how they navigate sexual and emotional relationships. 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 men’s experience in all its complexity, Orenstein is able to unravel the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important realities of young male sexuality in today’s world."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cyral Neeley

    I have read a lot of objective studies that are clinical but this one is full of anger and judgement. She only interviewed 100 subjects and she found the worst of the worst to talk to. When she did interview a good guy she slammed him for not being proactive enough. It sounds like all guys are out to get drunk and then have meaningless sex. Here is the Me Too movement in all it's fury. I listened to this with a lady friend, on a drive, and she had similar feelings. The information could be helpf I have read a lot of objective studies that are clinical but this one is full of anger and judgement. She only interviewed 100 subjects and she found the worst of the worst to talk to. When she did interview a good guy she slammed him for not being proactive enough. It sounds like all guys are out to get drunk and then have meaningless sex. Here is the Me Too movement in all it's fury. I listened to this with a lady friend, on a drive, and she had similar feelings. The information could be helpful if presented in a less victriolic way.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tad

    This should absolutely be required reading for anyone who has ever been a boy, raised a boy, wants to raise a boy, works with boys or knows boys. I realize that basically means everyone so yeah, everyone should read this book. Through interviews with dozens of young boys and young men, Orenstein recounts in painstaking and sometimes graphic detail the world that young boys are growing up in and the world that they are learning how to navigate. She writes about toxic masculinity, sexual assault a This should absolutely be required reading for anyone who has ever been a boy, raised a boy, wants to raise a boy, works with boys or knows boys. I realize that basically means everyone so yeah, everyone should read this book. Through interviews with dozens of young boys and young men, Orenstein recounts in painstaking and sometimes graphic detail the world that young boys are growing up in and the world that they are learning how to navigate. She writes about toxic masculinity, sexual assault and rape, the Me Too movement and so much more all through the lens of how it is affecting the world that young boys are growing up in. She writes about how so many boys still see themselves as one of the good guys even though many of them have committed sexual assault against women they know. It was interesting to read this part because we so often don't get to hear that side of the story. And I liked that she brought up the concept of restorative justice and the ways in which those situations can be made right. I appreciated that Orenstein's scope wasn't just focused on straight, white boys. She manages to bring in the perspectives of young men of color as well as the perspectives of non straight boys, including a few transgender youth. I was grateful that she took this approach to the material as too often a book like this could easily become all about the straight white male gaze which does a real disservice to all. I grew up a boy. I grew up around other boys. And yet, I still found myself somewhat surprised by what was revealed in the pages of this book. It is not that Orenstein reveals anything particularly ground breaking. It is more that she reveals all the ways that society and parents continue to let down and disappoint young boys. Sadly, we still don't have it right and our young men continue to suffer because of that. Eye opening, fascinating and a complete page turner. Content Warning: there is talk about sexual assault, rape and sex in this book so fair warning if you find those subjects triggering at all.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    A good examination of boys' approach to intimacy. I found it particularly interesting that boys used the term 'hilarious' as a catchall to describe a range of emotions, not all of them funny or even positive. The book wasn't bad but can we retire the term "forcible rape"? I keep seeing this term in feminist literature and I find it extremely problematic. I did find that the chapter on pornography was perhaps a bit overblown and reminiscent of the sex wars in the 1980s. The fact that the author c A good examination of boys' approach to intimacy. I found it particularly interesting that boys used the term 'hilarious' as a catchall to describe a range of emotions, not all of them funny or even positive. The book wasn't bad but can we retire the term "forcible rape"? I keep seeing this term in feminist literature and I find it extremely problematic. I did find that the chapter on pornography was perhaps a bit overblown and reminiscent of the sex wars in the 1980s. The fact that the author critiques pornography SO heavily and then states, in response to people asking her for "good" (her quotation marks) porn recommendations that, "I personally think curating your boy's porn is over the line" gave me pause. Why is that over the line? If you want to be involved in helping your kids make smart media choices and if you believe that teens have a right to their own sexuality, then the author's pearl clutching here comes off as extremely out of touch. Finally, Peggy Orenstein, a white woman, suggesting that Ken Jeong might be a "yellowface minstrel" is pretty ethically dubious.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Steve Donoghue

    A sharply insightful look at a subject that's never been more controversial or important than it is right now. My full review is here: https://openlettersreview.com/posts/b... A sharply insightful look at a subject that's never been more controversial or important than it is right now. My full review is here: https://openlettersreview.com/posts/b...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Led

    I remember myself as a teen being curious about self-gratification, not even about sex yet. But for people of faith, it is taboo, worldly, a sin; a grey area to a teen who only felt natural to explore his body but was shameful about it. Your sectarian school would tell you to a tee what length to have your hair cut so you could take the exam (I still think it a pointless policy) but wouldn't as much mention in class the word 'sex' much less discuss human sexuality. My sexual curiosity as a teen I remember myself as a teen being curious about self-gratification, not even about sex yet. But for people of faith, it is taboo, worldly, a sin; a grey area to a teen who only felt natural to explore his body but was shameful about it. Your sectarian school would tell you to a tee what length to have your hair cut so you could take the exam (I still think it a pointless policy) but wouldn't as much mention in class the word 'sex' much less discuss human sexuality. My sexual curiosity as a teen for the most part had me ogling half-naked bodies in prints until one day, from my father's bookcase I happened upon this book by a urologist and from time to time, without his knowledge, I would pick it up to browse. It had all about penile power. In hindsight, my teen self should have not been embarrassed to be seen leafing through the book if only society weren't as conflicted to bring up the subject. The 'hookup culture' of American youth may not be comparable to or representative of everywhere else in the world. But what is relevant and relatable here are the concerns on sexual assault in younger people, gender sensitivity, and the worryingly loose access to pornography through the internet that impairs youth's view of what healthy and genuine sex is. Whether you're a young man to whom most chapters revolve around or now at an age closer to fathering (or mothering) one, this book has current and meaningful subjects worth tackling: masculinity, gender sensitivity, consent, sex, microagression, restorative justice. What I really liked about the pages is that it let the interviewees —the boys from whom the author substantiates themes— freely talk and share their stories, evaluate how they feel about themselves, the repercussions of their actions, and what they could do to influence others to take action. The concluding chapter addressed to guardians reinforces the message: Sex education over damage control. I believe that men do not have to abide by or even entertain 'real men' codes, implied or not, for that in itself outright excludes everybody. If anything, masculinity is openness, sensitivity, and respect.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Really interesting book on men and masculinity. So much of what she said resonated and I learned new things and language surrounding how men are oftentimes victims of sexual assault but don't realize it because of narrative surrounding assault. Toxic masculinity harms men by not teaching them to be emotive. I didn't agree with everything she said; I felt like she picked at hip hop in unfair ways (picking and choosing which Black academics she was citing when there are lots out there who feel dif Really interesting book on men and masculinity. So much of what she said resonated and I learned new things and language surrounding how men are oftentimes victims of sexual assault but don't realize it because of narrative surrounding assault. Toxic masculinity harms men by not teaching them to be emotive. I didn't agree with everything she said; I felt like she picked at hip hop in unfair ways (picking and choosing which Black academics she was citing when there are lots out there who feel differently about hip hop), and her reporting on the need to have conversations with sons felt exclusionary to those who will be raising a son without a father (two mom families or single mothers, for example). It was heartening to see a white feminist devote a chapter to men and boys of color, and gay and trans men. I'm interrogating my reaction to this book because the boys she's portraying - mostly white, straight and from upper middle class background - are the boys of my background, so while it resonated, I'm wondering what she may have missed. I agree that talking to boys about masculinity, consent and emotional intelligence is absolutely essential - and I'm wondering if it's enough to undo deeply entrenched patriarchy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Hicks

    This book is just as ridiculous if not worse than her first book on girls and sex. About 20% of this book is true. I find it hilarious that all the top-rated reviews are predominantly coming from females. If that doesn't raise some suspicions then you're ignoring the signs. The first two chapters (and sparingly through the rest of the book) she uses her political bias to deem that everything is the cause of Trump — despite him only being in office for 3 years. Beyond the first two chapters she th This book is just as ridiculous if not worse than her first book on girls and sex. About 20% of this book is true. I find it hilarious that all the top-rated reviews are predominantly coming from females. If that doesn't raise some suspicions then you're ignoring the signs. The first two chapters (and sparingly through the rest of the book) she uses her political bias to deem that everything is the cause of Trump — despite him only being in office for 3 years. Beyond the first two chapters she then uses music in general and hip hop music, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, video games, dating apps (which I agree with), movies, porn, and everything you can possibly think of that influences and makes anyone — being only men — act in bad ways. She blames it on everything except for women themselves. Women have also been proven to propagate these issues she so passionately tries to explain and write about in misleading ways. Her bias is so blatantly consumed in both of these books that after reading both of them you can tell how much she hates men. She's not providing facts from a neutral viewpoint. She once again — just like her other book — interviews a few select people from a specific gender and then applies those one-off cases to support her bias in her conclusions. Sure she tosses out a couple of studies here and there with no more information on them other than citing the headline of the studies. She literally says that on the dance floor all men walk around with hard dicks trying to grind on women while also trying to put their hands down women's pants. This is absurd and untrue. She completely ignores that men also experience a lot of these issues she's preaching about. For instance... - As of 1998, 2.78 million men in the U.S. had been victims of attempted or completed rape. - About 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. - 1 out of every 10 rape victims are male. Source for the above: RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) I do agree with a few things in the book. If there is one thing she gets 100% right it's the chapters that she discusses around greek life. I can confirm that this is correct. Not that I've participated in such events, but I went to a school that has one of the largest greek systems in college and those are absolutely pervasive issues that she describes. The issues the author tries to cover are worth discussing, but not when they have been presented in the — bias — context that this author does.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Peggy Orenstein has been my personal hero for over a decade. She's the reason I became a gender scholar. I was excited to hear about this book, but I believe she was too easy on some of these processes. I appreciated what seemed like her reluctance to join into cancel culture with some of these boys, but a boy who sexually harasses and sexually assaults his peers who are girls is not a "good boy". I don't care if he volunteers and if he loves his mom. It's hard to stand up for what you believe i Peggy Orenstein has been my personal hero for over a decade. She's the reason I became a gender scholar. I was excited to hear about this book, but I believe she was too easy on some of these processes. I appreciated what seemed like her reluctance to join into cancel culture with some of these boys, but a boy who sexually harasses and sexually assaults his peers who are girls is not a "good boy". I don't care if he volunteers and if he loves his mom. It's hard to stand up for what you believe in. It sucks to lose social capital for putting your peers and your teammates on the spot when they say shitty things about girls. But it's our job. And it's unexcusable to not expect this of the boys we're raising.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Books on Stereo

    An important, must read featuring the deconstruction of toxic masculinity as well as the construction of a new, refined framework of modern day masculinity. Truly eye-opening.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    Negotiating sexuality and relationships today is arguably more complicated than when I was teenager and as the mother of two teenage boys (and girls) I hoped Boys & Sex might provide me with some insights into areas I may have not considered as part of my discussions with them. The ‘sex talk’ has never been a single conversation in our house, it’s been the subject of casual discourse over the years as they’ve grown, often initiated as the result of news stories, gossip, or issues faced by their p Negotiating sexuality and relationships today is arguably more complicated than when I was teenager and as the mother of two teenage boys (and girls) I hoped Boys & Sex might provide me with some insights into areas I may have not considered as part of my discussions with them. The ‘sex talk’ has never been a single conversation in our house, it’s been the subject of casual discourse over the years as they’ve grown, often initiated as the result of news stories, gossip, or issues faced by their peers. We’ve talked about most of the topics explored in this book, though I’ve learnt from Orenstein via the young men that she interviews, that I can do more. Thankfully my sons are surrounded by good role models, but one of the most significant takeaways for me from the book is that my boys need the men in their life, particularly their father, to better verbalise their experience, opinions and feelings about relationships, sex and masculinity. Despite my best intentions, it will be the other men with whom they connect that will significantly shape their response to the situations raised in Boys & Sex, and my empathy is not a substitute for their shared experience. I do feel Orenstein’s sampling for her research was quite small (100 young men), and very USA-centric, which meant for me there were elements I didn’t find directly relevant. Racial issues and the experience of college/university life differs here for example, also a Personal Development, Health, and Physical Education syllabus from years K-10 is compulsory in all public schools in Australia. In general this is a medically accurate, current, and inclusive program that explores physical, social and emotional aspects of sexuality in some detail (that abstinence-only is still a feature in any modern day curriculum is absurd). That said I do prefer the anecdotal approach Orenstein has taken, as scientific methodology tends to lack urgency and nuance. I would recommend Boys & Sex to parents, and suggest it be shared and discussed with teens of both sexes, as both will benefit from the information. An extensive bibliography provides additional resources to ensure we raise “...our boys to be the men we know they can become.”

  21. 5 out of 5

    vanessa

    3.5. Personally, I liked reading Boys & Sex better than reading Girls & Sex. In Boys & Sex, Peggy Orenstein interviews more than 100 boys in the United States about gender, sex, porn, hook-up culture, and more. Nothing here was anything we didn't necessarily already know boys might think or do regarding their sexuality, but it is interesting to hear it first-hand from teens and young adults. Orenstein's biggest strength is her readability; her books are engaging and follow a narrative arc. I tho 3.5. Personally, I liked reading Boys & Sex better than reading Girls & Sex. In Boys & Sex, Peggy Orenstein interviews more than 100 boys in the United States about gender, sex, porn, hook-up culture, and more. Nothing here was anything we didn't necessarily already know boys might think or do regarding their sexuality, but it is interesting to hear it first-hand from teens and young adults. Orenstein's biggest strength is her readability; her books are engaging and follow a narrative arc. I thought it was also a plus compared to Girls & Sex that she interviewed trans boys and many more black, Asian, and Latinx boys. In general, I recommend you pick it up if you are interested in gender studies that are less about analysis and less based on scientific studies and more about the lived experience of gender.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Stacy

    *This review has been edited. 2.5 stars rounded up to 3 The 2020 nonfiction book, "Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity," by Peggy Orenstein, focuses on the harm that modern American mainstream culture has on middle-class boys and middle-class young men (including upper-middle class and upper class boys and young men). That is a worthy and noble goal. Orenstein's heart is in the right place. The limitations of this book are highly noticeable, ho *This review has been edited. 2.5 stars rounded up to 3 The 2020 nonfiction book, "Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity," by Peggy Orenstein, focuses on the harm that modern American mainstream culture has on middle-class boys and middle-class young men (including upper-middle class and upper class boys and young men). That is a worthy and noble goal. Orenstein's heart is in the right place. The limitations of this book are highly noticeable, however. My original review for this book focused on three major limitations: 1. Orenstein's acceptance and embrace that boys watch modern online pornography as part of a "natural" aspect of sexuality. Orenstein ignores any mention of the extreme dehumanization of pornography, and never mentions the psychic impact on boys when they masturbate to images of extreme dehumanization. Orenstein also fails to point out that pornography's harm is not only scarring to boys, emotionally and psychologically, but to the people who are in the films, too. 2. Orenstein avoids all mention that the people in pornography are largely from working class and impoverished backgrounds, and the fact that they are completely dehumanized in the films, which is an ugly aspect of classism in modern America. Modern pornography is an actively oppressive art form that takes a huge toll on everyone involved in creating and consuming it. The emotional, psychological, and physical toll of modern pornography is the highest on the people who are in the films, and many of those people are actually underage, and starring in films as a result of being sex trafficked. Pornography preys upon the poor and the most vulnerable members of our society: homeless children, people in poverty, and children from working class families. For "Boys & Sex" to ignore all mention of this, while at the same time promoting the consumption of this art among middle class boys and young men, illuminates a stark vein of classism that runs through this entire book. 3. In discussing the different situations that boys and young men can be raped, Orenstein avoids all mention that boys and young men can be raped by their own family members, starting as young children. While it is good that Orenstein sheds light on young men being raped by young women in high school and college, there are certainly boys who are raped before puberty in their own homes, and I wish the book would have at least mentioned this. Rape culture/porn culture/patriarchal culture harms everyone in American society, including young boys. Many of the people who star in modern pornography films are victims of incest, even as infants and toddlers. The effects of rape culture impact all children, including boys and intersex children. Personally, I found "Boys & Sex" disappointing and lacking. But this book was definitely written to target a certain type of reader: a middle-class reader who does not want to read about certain content, and Orenstein made sure to avoid certain content for that reason. I would recommend this book to any reader who wants a soft, easy introduction to the damaging effects of mainstream American culture on boys and young men. Orenstein never mentions the excellent 2015 documentary, "The Mask You Live In," and I really wish she had. It's another excellent resource for understanding the harmful effects of rape culture and hetero masculinity (i.e. the patriarchy) on boys and young men. Orenstein never mentions the sex education program "Our Whole Lives" in this book, but if you are a parent who is looking for concrete help in talking to your children about having a healthy sex life, please consider checking out OWL. The Unitarian Universalists are really ahead of the pack in America, as far as helping people of all ages embrace pleasure and love, for their own bodies as well as with their partners, and this pleasure and love is open to people of all sex identities and gender identities. I am glad that this book exists, because I know Orenstein's work can reach a mainstream audience that many other types of feminist authors cannot. "Boys & Sex" is not a book that examines the harm of patriarchy on American society as a whole. This is a book about mitigating the patriarchy's most harmful effects on middle class boys and young men. If you find yourself more interested in helping everyone in society, not just the middle class, I would suggest you seek out other titles. For those readers who are solely concerned with helping middle class boys and young men, "Boys & Sex" will be a far more rewarding and empowering read than it was for me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Farrah

    Well, much like Girls & Sex, this book is horrifying. I would in no way call it an easy read (I found myself unable to fall asleep after reading the chapter on porn and the one on drunken hookups wasn’t much better.) That said, I think this book is an important read for moms of boys to push through in order to understand what is going on and what challenges are out there. I may have wanted to stick my head in the sand instead of finishing it, but I don’t think that would have been a better optio Well, much like Girls & Sex, this book is horrifying. I would in no way call it an easy read (I found myself unable to fall asleep after reading the chapter on porn and the one on drunken hookups wasn’t much better.) That said, I think this book is an important read for moms of boys to push through in order to understand what is going on and what challenges are out there. I may have wanted to stick my head in the sand instead of finishing it, but I don’t think that would have been a better option. Some quotes that stood out to me: Re porn— “What may be of more immediate concern to guys themselves, though, is that male porn users report less satisfaction than others with their sex lives, their own performance in bed, and their female partners’ bodies—and the effect becomes apparent among those who indulge as rarely as a few times a year.” “That reduction of pleasure in partnered sex was what concerned the majority of my interviewees. Even when they felt their porn habit was at reasonable levels, more than half had, at one point or another, cut back on their use, much the way they would if they were drinking too much or smoking too much weed.” “For a small but significant group of the boys, porn use had become a compulsion, one they felt had seriously harmed them.” “What was important and consistent was that they believed porn had been damaging in ways that no adult had ever discussed with them, and that they had never previously discussed with an adult.” As another boy, a high school senior in San Francisco, put it, “I think porn affects your ability to be innocent in a sexual relationship. The whole idea of exploring sex without any preconceived ideas of what it is, you know? That natural organic process has just been f**** by porn.” “The ubiquity of internet porn in itself means parents no longer have the luxury of squeamishness; we can no longer afford to not talk honestly to our children (especially our boys) about sex. The potential risk to them and to their partners is just too great. Nor do I think it’s enough to dismiss porn as “not realistic” or “an adult fantasy”—that begs questions of what, exactly, is unrealistic about it and why its fantasies so frequently eroticize male aggression and female submission. Instead, as I said earlier, remind your son that curiosity about sex as well as masturbation are absolutely natural, but that porn’s perspective is limited and distorted, especially for someone without much (or any) real-life context. The bodies and behaviors depicted are not typical; much of its activity would not, in truth, be pleasurable, especially for women (the ones in the videos are paid to pretend to enjoy what’s happening and, by the way, most are left broke and unemployed within a few months). Porn can create false expectations; lower guys’ satisfaction in sex and with their partners; hijack teens’ sexual imaginations; eroticize gender inequality and racism.” Re binge drinking and hookup culture — “To say that hookup culture is lubricated by alcohol would be a gross understatement: it is dependent on binge-drinking to create what Wade calls the “compulsory carelessness” necessary for a hookup. Alcohol is, above all, what establishes a couple’s indifference: hooking up sober is almost by definition serious. Inebriation itself—“I was so drunk”—can even become the reason (or the excuse) for an encounter, as opposed to, say, attraction, interest, or connection.” “Students, both in high school and college, see hooking up as the first step toward a relationship, although most hookups don’t result in one. No wonder as many as 85 percent of college students report ambivalence or unhappiness with hookup culture and one in three say their intimate relationships have been “traumatic.” “The thing is,” he said, “I could never ask a random girl on a date. That would just be weird.” So, I said, it would be more appropriate to get drunk, make out with someone you don’t really know on the dance floor and maybe have intercourse with her than to, say, ask someone you like from one of your classes to go to a movie? “Yeah,” he said sheepishly.” Re talking about sex with parents— “ I love my parents,” he said. “They have taught me a lot of things. But when it comes to sex, they haven’t. Just about nothing. They haven’t guided me, and there’ve been times where I really wish they had, that they’d given me some advice. I wish that they had told me that sometimes it doesn’t work, sometimes it’s really scary. . . . Honestly, I just wish they had told me anything, because I was sort of thrown into this place where I knew literally nothing except [from] a couple of classes in school and watching porn. And I don’t know. I guess I resent them a little bit for that. . . . I mean, it’s uncomfortable to talk to your parents about sex, but it’s also one of those things that I wish they had forced me to do, because I feel like I would have been better prepared. Maybe I could have not gone into some more uncomfortable situations if they had talked to me.” Despite their apparent mortification, boys do want their parents to talk to them about physical intimacy, for someone to go beyond the classic don’ts: don’t have sex, don’t get anyone pregnant, don’t get a disease, don’t be disrespectful. They are particularly eager to have their fathers talk to them about their own experience with sex, love, even regret. But according to a 2017 national survey of three thousand high school students and young adults by the Making Caring Common Project, the large majority of boys had never had a basic conversation with their parents about how to be sure in advance that your partner wants to be—and is comfortable—having sex with you or about the importance of “being a caring and respectful sexual partner.” More than 60 percent had never heard from their parents about the importance of not having sex with “someone who is too intoxicated or impaired to make a decision about sex.” Neither parents nor teachers of most of the male students had ever told them not to catcall girls or use degrading comments such as “b****” or “hos,” even though 87 percent of the girls reported having been sexually harassed. Those ideas might seem self-evident to an adult, beyond the need for comment, but given the rates of coercion, harassment, and assault, boys are clearly not learning sexual ethics merely by osmosis. What’s more, most of those who did have such conversations with adults described them as at least somewhat influential. After nearly a decade of reporting on teenagers and sex, if I know anything for sure, it’s that parents just have to get over it. I know it’s awkward. I know it’s excruciating. I know it’s unclear how to begin. You may have never even been able to have such conversations with your own spouse or partner. I get that. But this is your chance to do better. Discomfort and embarrassment are not excuses to opt out of parenting (quick tip: talk during physical activity. Or, even better, in the car: you don’t need to look at each other, plus they can’t escape). Despite their eye-rolling, ear-plugging, and other superficial resistance, teenagers consistently say that they do want such information from parents, and that they benefit from it. I know from experience that’s true: boys often told me that our conversations had dramatic, ongoing, sometimes therapeutic impact—and I was a total stranger. So, rather than fixating on how discussing physical and emotional intimacy makes you—and your son—want to sink into the earth, consider the opportunity it creates for a closer relationship, to show him that you are genuinely there for him, to display openness, strength, and perseverance in the face of messy realities.” “Just as a single “talk” about table manners wouldn’t make your son polite, a single discussion about intimacy won’t ensure good sexual etiquette—particularly since, for parents of sons, the average length of such talks is ten minutes. Parents need to have habitual, brief, often casual conversations that increase in complexity as children grow older.” Re the importance of dads — “As for intimate relationships, dads can offer guidance on personal integrity; establishing and respecting sexual boundaries; mutuality; caring; pleasure. They may want to share their own evolution on some of these topics, including past mistakes and regrets. Let me reiterate: no need to be perfect, to have all the answers, or even to feel totally comfortable discussing the questions. As one college sophomore told me, “In high school, it would have made all the difference in the world to have my dad talk to me about this, even though my mom did a really good job. Because subconsciously, as a teen guy, she was still a woman telling me these things, and I really, really needed my dad to be like, ‘Noah, this is real.’ And because he didn’t have those kinds of conversations with me, it instilled a pattern of me not having them with my friends or my partners. And I want to be having these conversations.”

  24. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Dao

    One of the books we choose for our 2020 book club (currently three POC men), so I was definitely excited to pick this one up. I'm glad to say that Peggy Orenstein decides to address the elephant in our room, which is interviewing men who identify as queer, trans, or are POC. There are many interviews in which people from different ethnicities, sexual identities, and gender identities tackle the issue of masculinity and what it looks like to them. Oftentimes I've read books which center around a One of the books we choose for our 2020 book club (currently three POC men), so I was definitely excited to pick this one up. I'm glad to say that Peggy Orenstein decides to address the elephant in our room, which is interviewing men who identify as queer, trans, or are POC. There are many interviews in which people from different ethnicities, sexual identities, and gender identities tackle the issue of masculinity and what it looks like to them. Oftentimes I've read books which center around a white cis-male heteronormative standard as the status quo, mentioning marginalized folks as "something they don't feel comfortable or experienced talking about" or "the other". That being said, I *wish* I could give this book 5 stars, it's so close and a 4.5 to me. IMO the book is close! It misses on asexual / aromantic / bisexual men (a gray area commonly erased in today's narrative). Another thing I wish Peggy did more of was ending with different opportunities for men to improve (by no means is this her duty). There are general solutions like talking about hook-up culture when you're young, less porn, and trying to talk back to your male peers when talking about sexual encounters, but there's definitely more to go off from there. Overall the topics in this book are a great conversation starter, and I am looking forward to analyzing some of the material for our talk. If people are looking for something similar, I recommend The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks, or All About Love by bell hooks. The latter being more focused on intimacy and what that looks like, less-so on gender dynamics.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Koppelkam

    I really do respect Peggy Orenstein as a researcher, and think she’s doing important work. I didn’t find anything in here super revolutionary, but that could be because I work with teenagers every day AND grew up in the “hook up generation.” I also think Orenstein walks the line between having empathy for young men growing up in a toxic culture and excusing bad behavior. And yet - all school leaders, curriculum designers, and parents would be better for having read this. Oh! And this was far mor I really do respect Peggy Orenstein as a researcher, and think she’s doing important work. I didn’t find anything in here super revolutionary, but that could be because I work with teenagers every day AND grew up in the “hook up generation.” I also think Orenstein walks the line between having empathy for young men growing up in a toxic culture and excusing bad behavior. And yet - all school leaders, curriculum designers, and parents would be better for having read this. Oh! And this was far more intersectional than “Girls and Sex” which was much needed.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jakub Szestowicki

    Not great, not terrible

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    A must-read if you are raising a child or teen, love a child or teen or know a child or teen. And yes that is everyone. Prepare to be uncomfortable but in a necessary and important way.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Josiah

    Tough book to read. There's a lot of garbage out there in how boys often talk about and view sex. The various interviews Orenstein had with different boys were rather illuminating, though. I wish that she would have relied less on interviews and included more statistical data to form her assessments, and I would have also liked to see more of a focus on the application ("What do we do now?") instead of just the diagnosis. Her one chapter on application was helpful, though, and for what the book Tough book to read. There's a lot of garbage out there in how boys often talk about and view sex. The various interviews Orenstein had with different boys were rather illuminating, though. I wish that she would have relied less on interviews and included more statistical data to form her assessments, and I would have also liked to see more of a focus on the application ("What do we do now?") instead of just the diagnosis. Her one chapter on application was helpful, though, and for what the book was, it served its purpose. Plus, there were a few really encouraging stories in this book about boys who changed and turned away from toxic views on sex, and I really appreciated reading those anecdotes. Rating: 3.5-4 Stars (Good).

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    Look out. Peggy hits on every taboo sexual experience of boys (high school / college) and cuts no corners. This is a must read for all no matter if you identify as a boy/girl male/female, as LGTBQ+. It addresses the intersection of sexual and gender identity as well as racial identity. Parents should read this too. I realized how much what was said resonated with what I witnessed and was around in high school. As I am navigating how to be a man in our culture, I would remiss not to keep reading Look out. Peggy hits on every taboo sexual experience of boys (high school / college) and cuts no corners. This is a must read for all no matter if you identify as a boy/girl male/female, as LGTBQ+. It addresses the intersection of sexual and gender identity as well as racial identity. Parents should read this too. I realized how much what was said resonated with what I witnessed and was around in high school. As I am navigating how to be a man in our culture, I would remiss not to keep reading and talking and teaching about how to be apart of the change.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dori Gray

    Should be required reading for all parents of boys.

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