MENZ Issues

What Men Want – in bed

New book by Bettina Arndt

Across the world, the story is the same. Sex scandal. Media frenzy. Another prominent man caught with his pants down. So why do men take such risks for sex?

Sex therapist Bettina Arndt’s new book, What Men Want–in bed is all about why sex matters so much to men. Over 150 men kept diaries for her, talking about what it is like to live with that constant sparking sexual energy–relentless, uncontrollable, all-consuming.

Their painfully honest, confronting, often hilarious stories explain their quest for sexual adventure, their secret delights, the thrill of giving pleasure, why some men turn to pornography and men’s delight in the Viagra revolution.

With every second man over fifty dealing with erection problems, Bettina offers advice on the wondrous new treatments giving men a new lease of sexual life. Her diarists explain what it is like to pop the little blue pills, or inject their best friend, or face impotence after prostate cancer treatments. Extraordinary his-and-hers diaries reveal how partners react to this bumpy journey showing the fallout when a man seeks a new lease of sexual life when his wife just wants him to hang up his spurs.

What Men Want –in bed lifts the lid on men’s longings, frustrations, their fears and their intense joy in making love. Here are some of the intriguing stories:

Erections, or lack thereof

The heart of this new book is about erections — looking at how couples cope when the man’s sexual equipment lets him down, particularly after prostate cancer treatments.

Men write with extraordinary candour about these deeply personal experiences. They talk about their fear that their nookie days are over:
‘This is not living this is just existing.’
‘I’ve lost my best friend, even if he was a dickhead.’

They share their joys at the miraculous new erection treatments:
‘The first time was amazing. It felt like I was 20 again. This is the best thing since sliced bread but much dearer.’
‘Willy was up, ready to play for 45 minutes–oh what a feeling Toyota!’

We hear from women who are keen to see their men put out to pasture:
‘I love my husband but I believe I have earned a rest.’
‘A chemically induced penis is not my idea of pleasure. It makes me feel used.’

But also women who are devastated when their men withdraw from sexual contact:
‘I felt rejected, undesirable and unfeminine. I was a weeping mess most days.’

It isn’t easy coaxing a reluctant partner while using treatments that take time to kick in.
‘I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve popped a little blue pill only to find her fast asleep.’

Here are the stories from the coalface as men–with many of their partners –reveal all about negotiating this difficult life passage. Their revealing stories will be an inspiration to others sharing the same journey.

Bettina Arndt trained as a clinical psychologist before becoming a sex therapist and social commentator. As editor of the influential Forum magazine, she spent ten years talking about sex on television and radio. She then moved on to writing about broader social issues, working as a columnist and feature writer for leading newspapers and magazines. She is the bestselling author of Private Lives, All About Us, Taking Sides and The Sex Diaries.

Published by Melbourne University Press, 1st September 2010. Available in all good bookshops.