Male Sexuality: A Sex-Positive Perspective
Working with boys and men in psychotherapy can be both frustrating and rewarding. Males are not socialized to verbally express a range of emotions, they typically have difficulty with feelings of intimacy, vulnerability and shame, and many times they believe they are in treatment to appease someone else. Instead of seeing therapy as a proactive and courageous step toward better mental health, entering treatment symbolically represents failure, weakness, or both. This means therapists often begin their individual or couples work with a built-in handicap.
Male sexuality is often perceived in popular culture as aggressive, selfish and out of control. Every day the media reports another salacious story of men behaving badly. And yet, adolescent males feel considerable pressure to “score,” men are anxious about their “performance” in bed, and most guys receive conflicting messages about how, when and where to express their sexual energy. This creates insecurity, shame and unrealistic expectations—both for their partners and for themselves.
This workshop will look at the life issues that create problems for men, and address through evolutionary psychology and recent brain research some of the important ways that males and females differ in regard to sexuality. We will explore the possible effects of pornography on male sexuality, and look critically at the widespread belief that men can become “addicted” to sexual behavior. This belief creates a continuing narrative that male sexuality is dangerous and unmanageable. Treatment is enhanced if we know how to help men navigate these pervasive beliefs with compassion and we can create a working relationship that does not further contribute to their shame.
Gary Gross, LMFT, has been involved professionally with the concerns of boys and men since the late 1970’s when he helped organize the first California Men’s Gathering and taught coursework on Men and Masculinity at City College of San Francisco. He obtained an M.A. in Sociology in 1976, an M.A. in Clinical Psychology in 1984, and has been in private practice since 1987. He has worked at several local non-profit agencies, matching boys with men at Big Brothers and Sisters, developing the first (and only) treatment program in Marin for male juvenile sex offenders at Family Service Agency, and running groups for abused boys through FSA’s Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Program. He specializes in working with boys, men and couples and provides consultation to groups and other professionals regarding best practices with this population.
WORKSHOP LEARNING OBJECTIVES
MARIN CAMFT CE POLICIES
MARIN CAMFT CE POLICIES
Marin County Chapter of CAMFT
PO Box 9065 San Rafael, CA 94912-9065
(415) 459 3484 www.marincamft.org
CAMFT is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family
Therapists (CAMFT Provider #56895) to sponsor continuing education for
LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEPs