The Myth of Sex Addiction by David J. Ley
I think there is some interesting work to be done around men's role in society, families and relationships. Around how they've changed over the past 100 years and what we want them to become. I've read some interesting articles over the years as people struggle with this, but largely they feel to me that they have an agenda I don't fully agree with or that they are written in retribution for some perceived wrong.
Growing up white, male, and middle-class you are well indoctrinated to believe that you have no right to ever feel that you might have been hard done by at some point. Or at least to keep your mouth shut about it. It was wonderful to read somebody, who is both more eloquent and educated than I am, speak about some of these instances where the world doesn't treat men very well. He struck the right balance between thoughtful and direct, and he never tries to blame anybody, he simply talks about what is.
The above was only a small part of the content of the book, but it was a recurring theme throughout. I didn't read it cover to cover, but it was an interesting browse. Some quotes that I found provocative and/or funny ...
If the message, the only message, to boys is that their sexuality is potentially harmful to girls, how will we ever raise them to be full partners in healthy relationships? — Sharon Lamb
In porn, men are invulnerable, and the women are easily orgasmic and eternally grateful.
The prerequisite for a good marriage, it seems to me, is the license to be unfaithful. — Carl Jung, in a letter to Sigmund Freud
Men do not rule society but exist within it, just as women do. Men are exploited by the culture of our society as much as women are, just in different and often fatal ways: far more men than women die as soldiers, as fire-fighters, as police officers and even truck drivers in the frozen north of Alaska. While we may have more male leaders, we also have higher rates of poverty, death, mental retardation and suicide in men.
The mistake that straight people made was imposing the monogamous expectation on men. Men were never expected to be monogamous. Men had concubines, mistresses and access to prostitutes, until everybody decided that marriage had to be egalitarian and fairsey. In the feminist revolution, rather than extending to women "the same latitude and license and pressure release valve which men had always enjoyed," we extended to men the confines women had always enjoyed. "And it's been a disaster for marriage." — Dan Savage
Girls become women through a biological process, reaching puberty and menarche, and even women who do not or cannot have children are not widely seen as "unwomanly". Women might be seen as unfeminine, but aren't seen as having lost their womanhood.
In contrast, manhood is seen as something males must achieve, through rites of passage and challenges. Vision quests, battles, going to war and losing ones virginity are actions associated with boys becoming men. Men must constantly prove their masculinity or face its loss. Real men must be made, and created, by force of will, aggression, dominance and success over others and over adversity.