TU139: Boys and Sex, Modern Young Men and Sexuality with Peggy Orenstein

by | Dec 13, 2020 | Attachment, Emotional Intelligence, Episodes, Guest Interviews, Parenting, Relationships, Sexuality & Gender | 0 comments

Show Notes

Dive into hook up culture, locker room talk, and the modern shifts in youth sexual behavior and health. Peggy Orenstein, NYT best-selling author, unpacks her new book “Boys and Sex” with co-host Ann Kelley. In this peak behind the curtain of the experience of young male sexuality, we’ll see how boys struggle with the conflicting needs of the conquest narrative of sex and their own internal understanding of pleasure and vulnerability. Her book was written about both cis and trans men, and covers the whole spectrum of sexual orientations, backgrounds, and experiences.

Who is Peggy Orenstein?

  • New York Times Bestselling Author of “Boys and Sex” and “Girls and Sex”
  • Named one of the “40 women who changed the media business in the past 40 years” by The Columbia Journalism Review
  • Her TED Talk, “What Young Women Believe About Their Own Sexual Pleasure,” has been viewed over 4.9 million times
  • Frequent writer and contributor for The New York Times, NPR, Good Morning America, and many other talk shows

What’s to learn?

Through her research and conversations with young men Orenstein learned two major things

  1. That boys are ready and willing to have honest, blunt, and insightful dialogues about their sexuality and the way they understand sex
  2. That nobody really asked them about it before, that adults weren’t talking to them about what a full healthy sexuality looks like

The recognition of emotional and physical vulnerability in sex allows us to discover something deeply personal about ourselves, and young men and boys are often intentionally cut off from those feelings and experiences. Both through societal norms and expectations as well as pornography.

What can we do to help change the culture around sex?

Sex discussions should include more than just consent, according to Shafia Zaloom in “Sex, Teens, and Everything in Between.” Sex should be legal, ethical, and good. To help achieve that in the next generation, Orenstein outlines at the end of her book a set of the kinds of conversations you can have with your children to promote connection, compassion, and empathy in their sex lives.

Some other recommendations Orenstein has for how to shift “locker room culture”

  1. Coaches can bring in programming on sexual health and behavior
  2. Friends taking friends aside, away from the large group, and have one on one talks about their behavior
  3. Recognize that it will be a challenge but know that it isn’t impossible


Additional resources for this episode:

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