Book Review: Contemporary Male Sexuality: Confronting Myths and Promoting Change

By Eli Irving M.A. CSAT Candidate

I have always been interested in the concept of masculinity and the ramifications men and women face from our conceptions of it. As we learn more, concepts change, and often people are reluctant to change if it effects their perception or lifestyle critically.

            In Contemporary Male Sexuality: Confronting Myths and Promoting Change by Barry and Emily McCarthy, the authors do just what the title says. They identify and critique traditional male views regarding sex and relationships by calling those views myths. They question the efficacy of said views and demonstrate how those views place women as “second class”. This substantiates their reasoning for promoting more of a cohesive platform between both men and women. McCarthy & McCarthy call this bridge the female-male sexual equity model.

            The female-male sexual equity model is essentially a dialogue that promotes a roadmap and guidelines for change (p.11). This concept is a great solution to the conflicts that surround what sex is and isn’t for both men and women. The model challenges both men and women to dive deeper into themselves to find their own healthy sexuality. Once that is harnessed and articulated between partners, the relationship can grow, not only with emotional intimacy but also sexually (which statistically is 15-20% of relational happiness).

            One statistic at that was redundant was the 15-20% efficacy of the role sexuality plays in the well-being of relationships (p.8). I and you will never forget this statistic. Whether you agree with that statistic, is up to you. The language that McCarthy & McCarthy use is moderately blaming of men for their oppressive views. Moreover, male readers should try to not take it personal and look at it more of a critique of male sexual culture. Which without a doubt needs to be updated and challenged.

            This book could be useful for clients that are open to challenging the perception of masculinity and their own preconceived notions of intimacy and sex. For the reluctant client that does not want to challenge their perceptions, it could be difficult. However, having this in your arsenal for challenging the reluctance could be useful to promote healthy male sexuality vs the contrary.

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