Healthy Male Sexuality---Research and Clinical Perspectives on Influencing Factors

CE Credit: 2

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Length: 110 minutes

***No slides made available by presenters***

Session offered by Division 51.

Although dominant discourses regarding male sexuality tend to view it as relatively uncomplicated, straightforward, and biologically inevitable, a newer perspective considers male sexuality (and male sexual socialization) to be deeply problematic and frequently damaging or traumatic. When the marketing of sex (i.e., pornography, internet chatrooms, prostitution) is viewed exclusively as a battle between feminist perspectives and "freedom of artistic expression' (or civil liberties), a critical audience is not being heard from - those who are convinced that these activities are not "harmless fun" but profoundly destructive to men's lives as well as to their loved ones.

But what are the origins of this problematic sexuality? One of the oldest (and perhaps least helpful) controversies in the area of sexology, is the debating about the root origins of men’s sexual behavior. Essentialist perspectives, whether rooted in testosterone theories, neurobiology, or evolutionary psychology, provide an implicit message that men’s sexuality is so deeply ingrained in their physiology or evolutionary heritage, that very little can be done to alter what are viewed as inherent male-female sex differences regarding sexual desire and behavior. But, even if there is any truth to essentialist perspectives, these perspectives lead us nowhere in terms of hope for change within the next several centuries. As a result, it seems imperative that look at more salubrious models– those that approach male sexuality from a perspective that understands the social construction of masculinity.

In this symposium, one presenter will report on qualitative research results related to the Centerfold Syndrome (Brooks, 1995) and its origins. A second presenter will report his findings from research on the effects of popular music lyrics on young men’s relational and sexual attitudes. A third presenter will report on her research and her clinical experiences regarding decade shifts in female heterosexual exclusivity and the clinical implications for women and men. A discussant will critique the presentations and offer suggestions for new research and more informed clinical interventions.

Learning Objective 1
Identify four major factors influencing the development of healthy male sexuality.

Learning Objective 2
Identify four major factors influencing the development of healthy male sexuality.

Presenters: Gary R. Brooks, PhD (Chair); Andrew Smiler, PhD; Judith F. Logue, PhD; William B. Elder, MS