Male Sexuality Explained

Ever typed a web address into the computer you share with your husband and seen it automatically fill in a suspiciously sexy url? Do you have an ex-boyfriend who talked incessantly about a threesome with your best friend from college? Are you familiar with the phrase “male intimacy issues”? Dr. Michael Bader unpacks these situations and more in his new book, Male Sexuality: Why Women Don’t Understand It—And Men Don’t Either.The psychologist and psychoanalyst has been practicing his trade in San Francisco for 30 years. About 10 years ago he realized that therapists “were supposed to be experts about sex but it turns out that we don’t really know a whole lot.” He decided to do something about that, and published his first book, Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies, seven years ago.

“At that point a lot of men came in to consult with me either on their own volition or because they had been sent by their girlfriends. I started to see that they often didn’t understand what they were feeling and that few people in their environment understood.” So he wrote a book about it.

With chapter names like “Sexual Boredom and Infidelity,” “Lolita Fantasies and the Sexual Appeal of Youth,” the book’s mix of analysis and case studies tackles specific topics with sensitivity and without oversimplifying. YourTango spoke to Dr. Bader about fantasies, porn and why your man has trouble opening up.

YourTango: One issue you write about in the book is pornography. Why do men who are in relationships still look at porn?

It could be simply wanting to give yourself pleasure in an environment where you have utter and total control over all the conditions. But then you get men who are extremely involved in pornography and the woman asks a legitimate question, “Well isn’t this infidelity?” She has every right to feel that way, particularly if it’s conjoined with a disinterest in her. But the man is often dealing with other issues—for instance, he may be actually lonely and disconnected.

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