One of the many hats I wear, is that of being a mother to a boy and girl – 19 and 16 years old respectively. In utero, I could tell they were opposite sexes. Albeit, on observation they have similar features, gaits, expressions and the like, having been born to the same parents and nurtured in the same household – they are, in essence, physically, psychologically, emotionally, mentally and generally worlds apart – indeed, one is from Venus and the other from Mars! I often wondered, quite seriously, I might add, how men and women are supposed to be together!
And so Paul’s ‘Sexed: Hard- wired by nature…evolving by choice’ is a fascinating conversation about the essence of man. Not only does it offer me, the mother of a man/boy insight into my son’s self from birth to manhood and beyond, but the book offers my son and certainly every other man (and undoubtedly every woman) insight into his ability to either partner with his body or as Paul so aptly says ‘remain a servant to it’.
Since the beginning of time, man has an illimitable and peculiar fascination with sex, which probably starts in puberty and ends in death, which begs the question raised in the book, is man’s hardwiring for sex always able to bypass their brains’ pre-frontal cortex—the domain of their “higher thinking”—and thereby short-circuit their discernment and executive functioning with such utter predictability? More crudely put, why are men ruled by their dicks well into old age?
I suppose, the unrefined version of becoming a man, in part, is that once a boy has gone through the cataclysm, chaos and confusion of puberty and comes out the other side, ‘unscathed’ so to speak, he is of the opinion that he should go forth and multiply and if he indeed does not multiply forthwith, he will surely have most fun practicing. He is unguided and unassisted, full of energy, which can become reckless and wild. In this process, does he leave behind the innocence and purity of the human child when testosterone fills his body and speeds him towards this single focus resulting in many living unconsciously and behaving insanely, so to speak? Surely, this is too simplistic and if so, then are men simply just ‘hardwired’ or are they actually able to understand how their impulses are guided and thus be able to make a foundational shift in choosing another way of being?
In my opinion, Paul’s book should be prescribed reading not only for boys/men of whatsoever age, who are motivated to learn more about themselves and to this end gain a greater understanding of sex and self but also for women who attempt to love these boys/men of whatsoever age and to this end support the man in their life who is seeking greater self-knowledge. And the mothers who gave birth to these fascinating beings, who are on the journey of discovery with that boy, albeit all foreign, strange, weird and captivating.
A word from our readers
Dr Andrea Phillips
Dr Georg Fodor
Consultant Psychiatrist and Neurologist, Psychoanalyst
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