10
Oct
2016
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Book Review: Modern Sexuality – The Truth About Sex and Relationships by Michael Aaron

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I’ve been lucky enough to read some really great books recently. The latest, Modern Sexuality – The Truth About Sex and Relationships by Michael Aaron, is no exception. In fact, it surpassed my expectations. I keep struggling with what to say other than, this book is great! So let me do something a little different. I’m going to bullet point some random thoughts about the book and see if it captures things.

  • The book is divided into two main sections. The first section is what I was expecting from the book. It considers common myths about, history of, current understanding of, and society’s influence on sex and sexuality. Section two was focused on dealing with sex and sexuality in therapy. I hadn’t anticipated this section and was very impressed with both the perspective and depth of discussion.
  • I really appreciated how Aaron provided information that normalizes what so many people consider to be “weird” or “deviant.” The information demonstrates how common so many of those sexual desires and practices really are.
  • Aaron does an excellent job of demonstrating how society benefits from controlling sex and sexuality. He shows how that control, namely by narrowly defining what is and isn’t okay, is what leads to people feeling shame about their own sex and sexuality.
  • One of the best sections of the book was the debunking of 5 myths about sex and sexuality. Among those he discusses intimacy. He challenges 2 major ideas about intimacy. First, that sex must involve intimacy, and second, that intimacy has just one definition and is understood the same by everyone. I particularly like that second point. Many people identify wanting more intimacy and can’t understand why there partner won’t just give it to them. A lot of my work in the area is around helping people understand that not everyone understands intimacy in the same way or even at all.
  • The second section of the book covers what can be done to address personal issues around sex and sexuality. It is an excellent look into the process of one therapist’s work. As a therapist I particularly enjoyed it. There were sections of it where I was nodding my head vigorously, recognizing some of my own techniques. In other areas I recognized some of my techniques but framed in ways I either hadn’t put together or in an all together different way. Finally, there were some great new ideas that I look forward to incorporating into my work.
  • I particularly enjoyed Aaron’s discussion of the change process. He presents that, building upon the work of others, in a clear helpful presentation. As long as I do this work it is always helpful to remember what it takes for people to make real change.
  • Shame about sex and sexuality is the core of most sex and sexuality issues. Aaron takes it head on. He addresses how it keeps us from our authentic selves and gives a guide for how to navigate that conflict.
  • The book is excellently balanced. It deftly uses both research and and easy to understand discussion. Aaron not only discusses theory about how to address issues around sex and sexuality but also gives practical tools and approaches.

As I started reading the book I hadn’t anticipated that it would cover a range from a general understanding of sex and sexuality in our society all the way through to how to address issues related to that in therapy. Yet Aaron pulls it off in a concise, coherent, easy to understand way that is supported not only by his personal experience but by research. I think this book will appeal to therapists and non-therapists alike.

I’m incredibly pleased to be able to add this book to my bookshelf!

Note: This book is scheduled to be released on October 16, 2016.

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