Boys & Sex Book Summary By Peggy Orenstein

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Peggy Orenstein's Boys & Sex (2020) is a powerful and insightful look into the sex lives of young men.

Through her thoughtful research and interviews with young men, academics, psychologists, and sex educators, she provides an unprecedented and honest overview of our society's relationship to sex.

She takes readers on an eye-opening journey that delves into the experience of pleasure and pain that comes with men's views on sexuality.

With her trademark blend of insightfulness, candor, and wit, this book is sure to be a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of today's sexual landscape.

Boys & Sex Book

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

Author(s): Peggy Orenstein

Rating: 3.8/5

Reading Time: 26 Minutes

Categories: Sex & Relationships

Author Bio

If you're looking for an expert on gender and sexuality, then look no further than award-winning journalist Peggy Orenstein!

She is the New York Times best-selling author of the groundbreaking book Girls & Sex, which saw her investigate the sex lives of contemporary American girls.

Her riveting TED talk about girls' sexual pleasure also went viral.

Orenstein is passionate about providing young people with reliable information about gender and sexuality, and she does this through her books, talks, and writings.

With so much experience in these topics, we can rely on her to provide us with knowledge that helps us navigate our own sex lives.

The Changing Landscape Of Teen Male Sexuality: Snapshots From The Frontlines

Male Sexuality

What do teenage boys think and feel when it comes to sex? For many of us, the answer is difficult to get.

This is why award-winning journalist Peggy Orenstein decided to take on an ambitious project: she began talking to hundreds of adolescent American boys in order to learn about their unfiltered thoughts and feelings about a subject that has been off limits for so long.

The result? An eye-opening perspective on contemporary male sexuality and masculinity, which included explicit stories, insights, and observations about topics such as hookup culture, gender expression, sexual orientation, and even hardcore pornography.

Through her conversations with teen boys from all walks of life, Ms.

Orenstein gained a glimpse into what these young men really think about sex – without any censoring or editing.

It’s clear that we need to prioritize talking openly with teenage boys when it comes to issues surrounding sex.

After all, they are our future – not only in terms of society but also in terms of relationships and intimacy.

Only then can we hope to create healthy sexual experiences for teens today who will shape tomorrow’s relationships for the better.

The Toxic Impact Of Societal Expectations Of The “Ideal Man” On Male Mental Health

When looking at society as a whole, there is still a certain level of acceptance of traditional, “stereotypical” images of masculinity.

This is evidenced in the way boys are encouraged to behave and how they grow up being socialized – the pressure to be strong and silent while suppressing emotions.

Unfortunately, this adherence to outdated stereotypes of manhood carries with it far-reaching negative impacts on male health.

A survey conducted in 2018 found that boys who embraced stereotypical male behavior were six times more likely than average to report harassing girls or bullying other boys.

This same group of boys was also more likely to engage in risk-taking behavior, binge drinking, and depression due to their lack of emodiversity; the capacity to feel and express numerous emotions.

The process begins at home where mothers and fathers use less varied language when talking with sons about their feelings compared with daughters, pushing them towards adopting stereotypical behaviors derived from society’s traditional views on manliness early on.

At school too, studies show that by the time children reach fourteen years old most have learned that displaying emotion can make them appear weak in front of their peers.

The Problem Of Pornography: How Early Exposure Is Warping Boys’ Sexual Development

Sexual Development

Early exposure to pornography can have an effect on boys’ sense of pleasure, arousal, and sexual self-esteem.

With modern technology, websites such as PornHub are more accessible then ever before, making it easier for boys to find explicit material.

This can lead to a warped perception of sex; boys may expect the same level of pleasure or excitement that they view on sites, or worry about certain standards that exist within pornography.

Furthermore, many of the images and videos seen in porn are not reflective of what people would consider a ‘normal’ sexual encounter.

Boys may find it difficult to become aroused or be triggered by acts featured in real life which fall outside of their parameters determined from watching porn.

This can eventually lead to shame and regret due to the unrealistic expectations set by pornographic videos.

It is essential for parents and educators to open up a dialogue surrounding this issue before these experiences occur with young boys learning about their sexuality.

While there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with having access to pornography, the way it warps real life encounters makes it so we must be mindful when discussing sex with adolescents.

The Cost Of Hookup Culture: Boys Denied Emotional Intimacy And Girls At Risk Of Sexual Misconduct

In today’s hookup culture, there is an emphasis on transactional sex and a lack of emotional connection or commitment.

What this means for adolescent boys is that expressing feelings for a partner or doubts about their own sexual performance is socially discouraged.

In order to maintain a masculine image, boys must stay detached and casual when it comes to sex.

This absence of emotional intimacy has some worrying effects: Boys are more likely to treat the girls they have sex with as objects rather than human beings.

A recent survey found that while over half of the women reported reaching orgasm in their latest hookup experience, far more men (81%) reported climaxing.

This may be because boys in college often feel pressure to perform sexually with little training or experience, leading many to rely on alcohol as a pseudo-confidence boost.

Unfortunately, too much drinking impairs judgment which leads to both boys and girls making poor decisions and engaging in misconduct which can have long lasting consequences that neither party involved can fully prepare themselves for.

Hookup culture doesn’t always have to be deep or meaningful by any means, but it should be consensual and respectful on both ends – something that lacks in today’s society due to the lack of emotional intimacy allowed between partners revolving around sex.

The Need For Inclusive Sex Education To Help Lgbtqi+ Adolescents Safely Explore Their Sexuality

Sex Education

Although the acceptance of LGBTQI+ rights is growing in the United States, that doesn’t mean life is easy for queer boys.

As Orenstein saw and heard from one-on-one interviews, in rural, conservative or evangelical parts of the nation — where tolerance might be lower — gay teen boys still often feel unsafe exploring their sexuality.

This can lead to underage kids turning to apps like Grindr to explore their sexual identity, sometimes without understanding all of the risks associated with them.

Transgender boys also have difficulty when it comes to sexual exploration.

The lack of information about non-penetrative sex causes them to experience embarrassment and anxiety when looking for a sexual partner.

Additionally, the sex education system in the United States centers around heterosexuality and reproductivity which contributes to this issue.

It’s crucial that we recognize this problem and be open about it if we want all teens – no matter their identity – to feel safe while they explore themselves sexually.

We must make sure our sex education systems are as inclusive as possible so that everyone can understand not only reproduction but also how they can find pleasure safely and consentually.

It’s time for us to come together and create an environment where LGBTQI+ teens don’t feel anxious or scared while engaging in sexual exploration.

Tooled With Racist Stereotypes, Black Teen Boys Have No Room To Experiment Sexually

It’s no secret that there is an inherent double standard when it comes to the sexual conduct of white boys and black boys.

This disparity is deeply embedded within our society and is sadly reflected within college-aged students as well.

Orenstein noted during her research that many of the black boys she interviewed felt accepted in their college environment but not always for their intrinsic qualities, but for those attributes which fit neatly into a gender-conforming image of being “cool”, “confident” and sexually skilled— traits which can be perceived by their white peers as threatening.

The dangers of these racist stereotypes are far too real, with studies showing that at majority-white institutions, sexual misconduct allegations against black men occurred at a disproportionally higher rate than those made against white men.

Even more concerning was research revealing that girls were more likely to report a black boy as opposed to a white boy when it came to sexual misconduct cases— which demonstrates just how pervasive the double standard can be on matters of race.

When it comes to sexual consent, many adolescent boys are getting it wrong.

This could lead to major problems in the long run.

A survey by Confi in 2016 asked 1,200 college students what would happen if they’d danced and gone home with a stranger – 45 percent of the males expected that this would lead to sex, compared to only 30 percent of females.

Another illustration was provided by comedian Aziz Ansari after 2017’s #MeToo movement, when a woman going as “Grace” recounted an uncomfortable experience where she’d been pressured into giving consent.

It made clear that coerced consent isn’t conset at all – but did teenage boys understand?

Nicole Bedera conducted a survey of over 1,000 adolescent boys in 2015 which revealed that only 13 percent had engaged in conversation about intentions leading up to their most recent sexual encounter – and even these conversations were mainly initiated by their partners.

Furthermore, many of them tended to stretch the concept of consent beyond verbal communication, suggesting that smiles or simple physical contact would suffice.

Boys clearly didn’t understand (or weren’t taking seriously) the long-term implications of wasting such an important lesson.

Breaking The Silence: Acknowledging Boys’ Vulnerability To Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault

It is rarely discussed, but boys can be sexually vulnerable too.

While there are certainly more instances of men being the aggressors when it comes to sexual assault, this isn’t always the case.

According to a 2017 study of students at Columbia University, 22 percent of those surveyed reported having experienced a form of sexual assault.

Of that statistic, 80 percent were female, meaning that 20 percent were male.

The types of assaults reported by male victims included experiencing unwanted advances and inappropriate contact such as groping, as well as penetrative assault in cases where they had been verbally goaded into engaging or were physically incapacitated to do so.

In 60 percent of these cases, the assaulter was female.

However, unfortunately due to toxic gender norms which suggest men always want sex, regardless of context, these acts are not taken seriously and many survivors are met with congratulations rather than sympathy often by their peers.

This disparity is abundantly clear in the case of statutory rape cases where if an adult male has a relationship with an underage girl he is seen as perverse while if it is a female adult then it is viewed as ‘lucky boy’ by many people in society.

Parents And Educators Must Talk Openly And Regularly With Boys About Sex To Help Them Become Good Men

It’s essential that parents and educators have meaningful conversations with boys about sex.

Boys need to be able to talk openly and honestly about sex, consent, respect, gender socialization, expression, orientation, and more.

This is the key in helping today’s boys grow up into healthy men who don’t perpetuate a culture of misogyny or aggression.

Parents must emphasise their support for whatever their sons choose when it comes to matters of sexual expression and decision-making by creating a safe environment for discussion.

This isn’t just one conversation – it needs to be an ongoing dialogue where parents continuously discuss sex with their boys – discussing topics such as being comfortable talking about wants and needs before engaging in any physical act, understanding how consent works in different scenarios, etc..

This way, boys are equipped with knowledge of what healthy consensual relationships look like.

If all this discussing sex sounds awkward at first – that’s normal!

All parties involved may need to work on overcoming the social conditioning of repressing emotions when it comes to discussing this topic.

But if parents are willing to model honest and open conversations around these important issues, it will set an example that carries a long way with our modern youth.

Wrap Up

The Boys & Sex Book gives readers an insightful look into the modern teen sexual culture.

It provides tangible advice to help teenage boys navigate this complicated terrain, such as having an in-person discussion about online pornography, and encouraging them to explore masturbation without pornography.

The key takeaway from this book is that in order to overcome toxic masculinity, adolescent boys need to develop emotional openness and cultivate vulnerability.

Furthermore, they need a better understanding of what real life sex looks like outside of the explicit scenes often seen in online pornography.

Ultimately, this book hopes to arm teen boys with the knowledge and confidence required for safer, more fulfilling sexual experiences down the line.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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