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“Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Boy” Answers Critical Questions

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In an era when young men often feel “entitled” in sexual matters and sexual assaults on college campuses are rising, Dr. Andrew Smiler tries in his new book, Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Boy, to aim straight talk to young teenage boys. He tries to establish personal responsibility early in a boy’s development.

He felt that no one was talking directly to teen boys about relationships, sex in a technological age and what puberty and adolescence means in the 21st century.

“There was no other book that I found that was written specifically for teenage boys,” Dr. Smiler says. Therefore, I targeted a specific audience.”

Dr. Smiler is a licensed therapist and an expert on boys, men and masculinity. He has been featured in the New York Times and has written for the Huffington Post, Shriver Report, Everyday Feminism and the Good Men Project (featuring issues of sexually abused men.)
He is the associate editor for the Journal of Psychology of Men and Masculinity and served as President of the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity.

He has targeted this new book for 13 to 16 year old boys and has sprinkled the book with humor cartoon-like illustrations. The book does not read like a textbook. Instead, it is designed for readers to skip around in the book and read sections they have particular interests in or questions about.

The first 13 pages of the book are “Frequently Asked Question” and their answers. Then the book is divided into three sections: Relationships, Pleasure and Sexual Behavior, and Puberty and Adolescence.

The book is contemporary and talks, in depth, about sexting and sexual roles and orientation. It also talks about sexual realities, the fluidity of sexuality and discusses sexual stereotyping.

The text specifically addresses issues of “consent” and what constitutes consent. It also discusses “withdrawal of consent.”

Dr. Smiler’s text also highlights the problem of sexual abuse of boys. He notes that some studies say as many as 1 in 4 males are sexually assaulted at some point in life and other studies say 1 in 6 are abused prior to age 18. He talks frankly to boys who might be potential victims or who already have been victimized.

A review of the book states: “Written for teen boys, Dating and Sex provides them with the knowledge they need to understand dating, relationships, and sex. If goes beyond basic descriptions of biological processes with a progressive, practical approach they relies on secular ethics and emphasizes sexual health and personal responsibility. The book addresses common questions about what’s typical, provides a framework for dating and sex that fits their values and identity, and helps boys identify what feels right for them in a variety of common situations.”

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