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Surviving Male Menopause. A Guide for Women and Men Paperback – October 1, 2000
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About the Author
Jed Diamond is the author of Male Menopause, also published by Sourcebooks, and several other landmark men's issues books. A teacher of addiction studies courses at the University of California at Berkeley, Diamond has been a licensed psychotherapist for 35 years. He is a nationally recognized educator and trainer in the area of men's issues. Diamond and his wife live in northern California and conduct relationship workshops together throughout the country.
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This book describes well my experiences with the male menopause. While it is lacking regarding what to do once you recognize it, it is a great start. There is not much in the medical literature regarding this phenomenon; therefore, I cannot fault Mr. Diamond regarding this deficiency.
Well worth the money...I am trying to get my wife to read it!
Diamond created a bit of a stir with his fabulous Male Menopause.
Four years later, thanks in part to this earlier book and the
author's tireless work discussing the issue and treating many
affected individuals, the topic elicits fewer giggles and more
sympathetic nods. This followup book understandably sets out to
expand on the framework so admirably constructed in the
trailblazing initial work. In his second run at this topic,
Diamond chalks up more victories than he does losses, but the
results are not quite as superlative as in his earlier achievement.
In a certain sense, this may be inevitable. Male menopause, now
having been also addressed at book length by England's Dr. Malcolm
Carruthers, is not quite as novel a concept for us. Diamond's
vision in this book is to share a number of revealing personal
stories (gathered both from his own life and from clients), which
he interweaves with lessons to be drawn from them as well as larger
overarching themes and teachings. While going down the mountain
may be unavoidable, Diamond cheerfully assures us that there is
another mountain on the other side offering us new challenges, a
second peak about which we may never have been told and yet which
can offer us a "super-adulthood" richer than anything we
experienced on the first mountain. Male menopause takes 5-15 years
to complete; it is not, as many of us fear, the beginning of the
end, but it most assuredly is the end of the beginning.
I found Diamond's later analogy of male menopause to a second
adolescence to be a telling one, as men attempt to break away and
capture a new life, sometimes at exactly the same time that their
children are undergoing a similar process in their first
adolescence. Diamond notes that this parallel helps explain why it
is so often difficult for parents to cope with this phase in their
children's development. I loved the author's fresh allusion to
menopause as "puberty in reverse."
Ever since his initial book, the self-revelatory early masterpiece
"Inside Out," Diamond has always had a knack for disclosing
personal experiences which simultaneously impress with their
courageous vulnerability and edify with their ability to connect
with experiences from our own lives. In Surviving Male Menopause,
we are skillfully drawn into the potentially fear-provoking topic
by Diamond's own story about his displaced anger, feelings of
looming limits, and losses of abilities he had as a younger man.
The main limitation on this book's effectiveness is a simple one:
not enough time and space is allotted for each issue. Diamond
glances at many topics, but rarely delves in depth into any of the
subjects at which he has offered us a passing, tantalizing glimpse.
I was fascinated by the recent discovery of five different
testosterone-related cycles in men, but yearned for more than the
cursory half-page discussion that followed. When we do get an
extended look at an issue, as with his blending of a general
overview of rites of passage with admirably courageous revelations
of his own personal initiations into adulthood and post-menopausal
"super-adulthood," the results are little short of magical.
Transitions between Diamond's analytic discussion and excerpts from
individual stories are often less smooth than would be ideal.
Physically, these changes in voice are demarcated only by an easily
overlooked (and in any case, sometimes ambiguous) heading. All too
often I was several paragraphs into a story before I realized that
it was not the author who was speaking but one of his patients.
(Once or twice, the reverse occurred.) Sometimes husband and wife
both tell their stories, but the connection between the couple is
not highlighted in the book and must be inferred by the reader
based on shared details in the stories.
The analysis sometimes feels sketchy. At one point, a description
of Dr. Carruthers' recent presentation on the subject is disrupted
by a man's personal story and Diamond's "points of understanding"
(a term which, as it recurred many times throughout the book,
seemed to carry a surely unintended air of superiority or
pretension). More importantly, the "points of understanding" all
too frequently tend toward the telegraphic, creating an episodic
rather than integrated feeling to the discussion. One final flaw
is the tacit assumption that all men are heterosexual and have
children. Surely this regrettable limitation in the book's
relevance and potential audience could have been easily overcome.
And yet numerous pearls lie waiting to be harvested. Most men will
be spellbound by the practical discussion in the book's
introduction about testosterone replacement through injection and
patches. Many of us have heard it before, and yet we've never
heard it quite like we hear it from Diamond. We learn that men
going through menopause do sometimes suffer from "hot flashes." In
one very useful section, Diamond advises us that "male menopause is
truly a time of descending into the depth of our being," a time at
which we "often realize how much we have allowed society to program
us to fulfill roles that limit and restrict us." Diamond sees the
connection between these points and men's programming to "play
hurt." A few pages later, he very usefully summarizes a man's
anger at his spouse as his way of saying, "I'm afraid. I don't
know what to do. I need you to help me, but I'm angry that I need
your help. I hate that I'm going through this and that you see me
Finally, a book must rise or fall by what we take away from it.
For all its flaws, which prevent this from being a truly great
book, it is still a very good one. And it is a book with several
delightful fillips of wisdom: Trust "the wisdom of the penis;" if
you are having trouble getting an erection, there might be an
underlying reason to look at. (Diamond discourages men's common
"fix-it" approaches to physical issues with their body.) Men's and
women's experiences as they pass through menopause together can
unspeakably deepen their connection as well as their whole life.
To get there, however, the man must resist the (judging by the
stories in the book) often overwhelming temptation to hang onto
youth by finding a 28-year-old waittress or a 26-year-old female
graduate student with whom to play out a fated-to-fail fantasy.
It is also a book which brought tears to my eyes more than once, as
with a very moving story of a woman who stood by her man (and
herself) and helped preserve and even reinvigorate her marriage
despite her many reasons to walk away. Another heart-rending tale
was Diamond's own saga of how, decades later, the former sexual
adventurer of "Inside Out" discovered that lovemaking on the second
mountain can be even better than it was on the first. There is
more: A heartening personal saga of a survivor of a virulent strain
of male menopause, followed by the story which really hit home of
Diamond's process in taking into their house his wife's ailing
mother and overcoming the fears that brought up for him. Diamond
also discloses the role reversal created as he became more
interested in exploring his inner space while his wife's interests
exploded into the surrounding world. (Such a flip in accustomed
polarities during the second half of life, Diamond notes, is common
cross-culturally around the world.)
In the last pages of his book, Diamond alchemizes its most
problematic shortcoming into a sort of strength, providing us with
several useful tallies of advice as to coping with this tumultuous
passage, either as principal or as partner. The practical utility
cannot be denied of Diamond's annotated lists of 15 things you can
do as a woman and eight things you should not do. Similarly, the author suggests seven doorways
of male menopause, offering advice as to how a woman can help her
male partner through each portal.
Diamond ends by giving us a list of ten key issues in which a man
must engage to be successful in the second half of life, including:
move from the pressure of sexual performance to the joy of sexual
fulfillment, focus more on being and less on doing, relate to other
men as friend and allies rather than coworkers, end the battle of
the sexes with your life partner, become a mentor to young men and
women, learn what it to be a respected elder in your community, and
be a trailblazer for experiencing a life wel lives into your
seventies, eighties, nineties, and beyond. As mentor, post-
menopausal men have three roles--peacemaker, spirit guide, and
mentor, which are as critical to our culture as they are to
individual societies. It may be as hard to write a perfect book as
it is to live a perfect life, but in this imperfect yet important work, Jed
Diamond offers us some shining and undeniably precious stones from
his own experience and guides us on our own way in finding and
polishing our own. '