Boys & Sex – Peggy Orenstein

Review From User :

This should absolutely be required reading for anyone who has ever been a boy, raised a boy, wants to raise a boy, works with boys or knows boys. I realize that basically means everyone so yeah, everyone should read this book.
Through interviews with dozens of young boys and young men, Orenstein recounts in painstaking and sometimes graphic detail the world that young boys are growing up in and the world that they are learning how to navigate. She writes about toxic masculinity, sexual assault and rape, the Me Too movement and so much more all through the lens of how it is affecting the world that young boys are growing up in. She writes about how so many boys still see themselves as one of the good guys even though many of them have committed sexual assault against women they know. It was interesting to read this part because we so often don't get to hear that side of the story. And I liked that she brought up the concept of restorative justice and the ways in which those situations can be made right.
I appreciated that Orenstein's scope wasn't just focused on straight, white boys. She manages to bring in the perspectives of young men of color as well as the perspectives of non straight boys, including a few transgender youth. I was grateful that she took this approach to the material as too often a book like this could easily become all about the straight white male gaze which does a real disservice to all.
I grew up a boy. I grew up around other boys. And yet, I still found myself somewhat surprised by what was revealed in the pages of this book. It is not that Orenstein reveals anything particularly ground breaking. It is more that she reveals all the ways that society and parents continue to let down and disappoint young boys. Sadly, we still don't have it right and our young men continue to suffer because of that. Eye opening, fascinating and a complete page turner. Content Warning: there is talk about sexual assault, rape and sex in this book so fair warning if you find those subjects triggering at all.


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