Author Andrew P. Smiler: 4 Ways the Casanova Stereotype Is Incorrect
Most guys want only a few partners
Anonymous surveys of undergraduates tell us that about 25% of young men want 2 or more partners in the next 30 days; that means 75% of guys want 0 or 1 partners during that time. If all – or even most – guys are Casanovas, many more should tell us they want multiple partners in the next 30 days.
Most guys have only a few partners
In studies that ask young men to describe their sexual behavior, about 15% of guys say they had 3 or more partners in the last 12 months and only about 5% of guys say they’ve had 3 or more partners each of the last 3 years. Together, these numbers tell us few guys actually live like Casanovas.
Most guys do want relationships
According to the stereotype, guys only want sex and aren’t interested in relationships. If it’s difficult to get your son to clean his room, how difficult must it be to get him to date when he supposedly doesn’t want to? Real life says that most guys choose relationships and enjoy them. In fact, about 90% of guys will get married at least once.
Puberty is not only about sex
Puberty includes sexual development as well as other aspects of physical development like increased height and broadening of the shoulders that help distinguish men from boys. Puberty is one change among many for adolescents: changes in the way they think and understand the world, new concerns about personal identity, and a shift away from parents towards friends. Sexual development is just one part of growing up; it’s influenced by and influences each of those other changes.
From the Inside Flap
Many people believe the male sex drive is ever present and barely controlled. This image is both a centerpiece of fictionin movies like American Pie and Superbad and in the news, as in the obsession with the sex lives of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, and other public figures. It seems guys who sleep around are expected to behave that way. But what would happen if we improved and expanded our sexual expectations of young men? If we stop believing that boys and men are emotional cripples and fly-by-night Casanovas who are just out for sex, and start believing that they're full, complete human beings who have emotional and relational needs?
Challenging Casanova works to shift our thinking beyond this stereotypical perspective on male sexuality to a conception that is more complex and nuanced, one that acknowledges that most boys and young men want to have relationships and suggests that they take a variety of approaches to dating and sexuality. In this important new book, Dr. Andrew Smiler expands the discussion of boys' and young men's lives and provides all of us with a way to challenge this image. Drawing from the latest research and clinical studies on male sexuality, Smiler shows that when we put dating and sexuality in the context of other developmental changes instead of thinking about it as something separate from any other part of life, we get a very different, non-Casanova perspective on boys' sexual development. He explains how the Casanova Complex has become our "basic" understanding of young men's sexuality and shares what we can do as parents, teachers, and members of society, starting today, in order to challenge Casanova.