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Challenging Casanova: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male

ISBN: 978-1-118-07266-0
288 pages
November 2012, Jossey-Bass
Challenging Casanova: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male (1118072669) cover image
Changing perceptions about male sexuality

In his groundbreaking new book, noted expert on teenage and adult masculine behavior Andrew Smiler debunks the myth that teenage boys and young men are barely able to control their sex drives, which may lead to destructive hyper-sexuality, unwanted pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases. Dr. Smiler helps us recognize that the majority of boys and men do not fit this stereotype and that boys’ sexual development is multi-faceted. He also shows how this shift in attitude could help create young men who are more mature, and have better relationships with partners and friends.

  • Explains how the Casanova Complex has developed over time and how it can hurt young males
  • Provides the latest research on male sexuality, including information from the author’s own studies.
  • Offers guidance for parents and counselors of boys who want to help them develop lasting and meaningful relationships, as well as for the parents of girls who are dating.

This book dismantles the stereotype of boys as driven only by an obsession with having intercourse with multiple partners, and calls for deeper growth and understanding of modern masculinity.

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Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

Part I: Approaches to Boys’ Sexual Development 9

1. The Casanova Complex and Its Inaccuracies 11

2. Sexual Behavior During Adolescence 31

3. The Importance of Romantic Relationships 51

Part II: Why We Believe in Casanova 69

4. Evolution, Biology, and Casanova 71

5. Masculinity, Peers, and Identity 86

6. How the Media Promote Casanova 102

7. Appearance and the Casanova Complex 123

Part III: Challenging Casanova 137

8. Non-Casanova Approaches to Dating and Sexuality 139

9. Sexual Knowledge and Values 156

10. Intimacy 175

11. Challenging the Casanova Culture 191

Resources 205

Notes 211

References 229

About the Author 259

Index 261

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Andrew P. Smiler has been featured in the New York Times and USA Today for his groundbreaking research in teenage and adult sexual behavior and ideas about masculinity. Dr. Smiler was a front-line family therapist and counselor to young men, has been an assistant professor of psychology at SUNY Oswego, and is now a visiting professor at Wake Forest University. He has also published more than a dozen papers in the Journal of Adolescence, Journal of Sex Research , and elsewhere.

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November 27, 2012
Challenging Casanova: Masculinity in the 21st Century

CHALLENGING CASANOVA

Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male

Most people believe that men only have one thing on their mind: sex, namely, how often they can get it and with how many different women.  This perception has become a staple of modern comedies, from “Porky’s” to “American Pie” to “Superbad,” and it’s what psychologist Andrew P. Smiler calls the “Casanova stereotype.”

In his new book the CHALLENGING CASANOVA: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male (Jossey-Bass; 9781118072660; December 2012; available in ebook format) Smiler argues that this perception is false.  He dismantles the stereotype of boys as driven only by an obsession with having intercourse with multiple partners and calls for deeper growth and understanding of modern masculinity.

He says that society’s expectations of men are a, “self-fulfilling prophecy,” contributing to the idea that men are emotionally incapable of connecting with their partners.   The result of these societal stereotypes is that men aren’t expected to achieve any type of deep emotional intimacy with their partners and that they are just physically driven.

Smiler says, “What most guys seek, and this seems to be regardless of sexual orientation or age, is people whose company they enjoy. People who appreciate them for who they are.   They want someone who’s honest, who’s not going to tell your secrets and who’s loyal.” 

CHALLENGING CASANOVA dares us to consider what might happen if we forgot everything we thought we knew about young men and began to accept the truth that men are largely interested in relationships, not endless one-night stands.  It is the much-needed antidote to perceptions of male sexuality and is a must-read for all parents, teachers and all those who care about tomorrow’s young men and women. 

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