BOYS & SEX by Peggy Orenstein
Kirkus Star


Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity
Email this review


Candid information on what boys really think and do when it comes to sex.

After spending more than two decades examining the lives of girls, Orenstein (Girls & Sex, 2016, etc.) realized that “if I truly wanted to help promote safer, more enjoyable, more egalitarian, more humane sexual relationships among young people, I needed to go back into their world and have the other half of the conversation.” Boys and parents of boys will thank the author for her work as she shares the complex sexual world she discovered via interviews with more than 100 young men, psychologists, and other experts. She exposes the trashy locker-room talk prevalent in athletic circles and how it is difficult for boys to speak up against such behavior for fear of losing their own place in the male world. She gives graphic, sometimes unsettling descriptions of boys and their consumption of pornography, which many use as their only source of information on what a sexual relationship should entail. Orenstein also shares numerous stories about boys realizing their inappropriate behavior with girls, and she chronicles how, even while they feel shame and regret, they may still avoid self-criticism in order to fit in with their peers. The author is inclusive in her study, portraying the experiences of a wide variety of boys, including people of color and gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. Orenstein effectively covers the issue of consent and includes stories of men who have been aggressively forced into sex by girls, and she also shows how girls can damage a boy’s reputation by sharing specific details of an unsuccessful sexual encounter. Ultimately, the author’s research opens up a welcome forum for exploring “a hunger for more guidance about growing up, hooking up, and finding love in a new era.”

A highly constructive analysis that provides many topics for exploration and discussion by parents and others who interact with boys.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-06-266697-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2019


NonfictionDON'T CALL ME PRINCESS by Peggy Orenstein
by Peggy Orenstein
NonfictionGIRLS AND SEX by Peggy Orenstein
by Peggy Orenstein
NonfictionCINDERELLA ATE MY DAUGHTER by Peggy Orenstein
by Peggy Orenstein