Books

The Centerfold Syndrome is a candid analysis that shows how boys are brought up to both depend on and yet fear the perceived power they think women hold over them and, most importantly, how this prevents true emotional intimacy between men and women. Learn from their inspiring and instructive stories.

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Men and Sex Are the stereotypes true? Are men obsessed with sex, attracted solely to a woman’s physical appearance, incapable of forming deep emotional bonds? Are men content to experience the physical release of intercourse without any underlying commitment to their partners? Are these and other traits that typify male sexuality hardwired—genetically programmed, immutable qualities that men and women must live with no matter how destructive they may be? In Men and Sex, Ronald Levant, Gary Brooks, and a team of leading researchers and practitioners challenge the evolutionary and genetic explanations of male sexuality from the perspective of the new psychology of men. Although many of their findings confirm the above stereotypes, these researchers argue strongly that men’s tendency toward nonrelational sexuality—although it may be normative—is not natural, not genetic, not a product of evolution; it is closely linked to the traumatic socialization of boys, in which displays of emotion are discouraged and emotional intimacy is equated with the loss of autonomy. The book begins with an examination of non-relational sexuality—the tendency to experience sex primarily as lust without any requirements for relational intimacy or emotional attachment. The central mechanism of nonrelational sexuality, the focus on physical attributes and the objectification of women—”the Centerfold Syndrome”—is linked to a spectrum of problems associated with nonrelational sexuality: appearance obsession in women, repetitive infidelity and Don Juanism, sex as a commodity, sexual harassment and rape, and the perpetration of sexual abuse. Variations of these problems are explored in chapters that examine nonrelational sex across the life span, in African-American men, and among gay men. Meticulously researched, persuasively argued, and vividly supported with stories of actual cases that are as revealing as they are moving, Men and Sex offers a firm foundation for mental health professionals and social scientists who want to encourage change on the personal as well as cultural levels. It is both a springboard for researchers who seek new avenues of investigation into male sexuality and a powerful introduction to the subject for students at the graduate and senior undergraduate levels.

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A New Psychology of Men Inspired by feminist scholars who revolutionized our understanding of women’s gender roles, the contributors to this pioneering book describe how men’s proscribed roles are neither biological nor social givens, but rather psychological and social constructions. Questioning the traditional norms of the male role (such as the emphasis on aggression, competition, status, and emotional stoicism), they show how some male problems (such as violence, homophobia, devaluation of women, detached fathering, and neglect of health needs) are unfortunate by-products of the current process by which males are socialized. By synthesizing the latest research, clinical experience, and major theoretical perspectives on men and by figuring in cultural, class, and sexual orientation differences, the authors brilliantly illuminate the many variations of male behavior. This book will be a valuable resource not just for students of gender psychology in any discipline but also for clinicians and researchers who need to account for the relationship between men’s behavior and the contradictory and inconsistent gender roles imposed on men. This new understanding of men’s psychology is sure to enhance the work of clinical professionals-including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, and psychiatric nurses-in helping men reconstruct a sense of masculinity along healthier and more socially just lines.

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Based on the most recent brain research, Nurture the Nature features the Ten Tips for Nurturing the Nature of Your Baby, self-tests, checklists, and many other tools for you to help your kids get exactly the kind of support they need, from infants to adolescents.

While offering positive ideas for nurturing your child, Gurian also shows how to avoid the stress, pressures, and excessive competition of what he identifies as social trends parenting. Most parents know instinctively that their child is unique and has special potential, weaknesses, and strengths. No child is a blank slate. Gurian calls on parents to turn away from one-size-fits-all approaches and instead support the individual core nature of a child with effective and customized loving care.

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In Raising Cain, Dan Kindlon, PhD, and Michael Thompson, PhD, two of the country’s leading child psychologists, share what they have learned in more than thirty-five years of combined experience working with boys and their families. They reveal a nation of boys who are hurting–sad, afraid, angry, and silent. Kindlon and Thompson set out to answer this basic, crucial question: What do boys need that they’re not getting? They illuminate the forces that threaten our boys, teaching them to believe that “cool” equals macho strength and stoicism. Cutting through outdated theories of “mother blame,” “boy biology,” and “testosterone,” the authors shed light on the destructive emotional training our boys receive–the emotional miseducation of boys.

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Real Boys Based on William Pollack’s groundbreaking research at Harvard Medical School over two decades, Real Boys explores why many boys are sad, lonely, and confused although they may appear tough, cheerful, and confident. Pollack challenges conventional expectations about manhood and masculinity that encourage parents to treat boys as little men, raising them through a toughening process that drives their true emotions underground. Only when we understand what boys are really like, says Pollack, can we help them develop more self-confidence and the emotional savvy they need to deal with issues such as depression, love and sexuality, drugs and alcohol, divorce, and violence.

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In the thoughtful and provocative The Wonder of Boys: What Parents, Mentors, and Educators Can Do to Shape Boys into Exceptional Men, therapist and educator Michael Gurian takes a close look at modern boyhood. Gurian asserts that the biological and neurological differences between boys and girls need to be accounted for and nourished in order to raise healthy, happy boys. In discussing boy culture–and the roles of competition, aggression, and physical risk taking–the author concludes, “It’s not boy culture that’s inherently flawed; it’s the way we manage it.” If the natural, testosterone-based impulses of boys are squelched or ignored, Gurian posits, such biological truths may find their way to the surface in other, more negative behaviors. He suggests that boys do best when they are part of a “tribe,” three families that include: a birth or adoptive family; an extended family of friends, teachers, peers, and mentors; and the “family” of outside culture, media, religious institutions, and community figures. The Wonder of Boys offers advice on how to understand and build strong father/son and mother/son relationships, stresses the importance of healthy discipline, and suggests methods of teaching boys about sex, relationships, and spirituality. Parents and teachers of boys will find this book to be an insightful read. –Ericka Lutz

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