Sexual Health For Men: The Complete Guide.

Author:Owens, Annette Fuglsang
Position:Book review

Sexual Health For Men: The Complete Guide By Richard F. Spark, M.D. Perseus Publishing (2000); ISBN: 0-7382-0206-1; 440 Pages, Paperback; US $20.00; CAN $29.95;

The Author

Richard F. Spark, M.D., F.A.C.E. is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Steroid Research Lab at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he continues an active research program. The author of two other books on male sexuality and fertility, he has written for The New York Times Magazine and The New Republic on health related issues and has published widely in major medical journals. A Fellow of the American College of Endocrinology and the American College of Physicians, and a member of the Endocrine Society, the Andrology Society, and the Federation of Clinical Research, he has a private practice in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.


The book contains a wealth of information related to men's sexual health, with merely a few minor shortcomings worth mentioning:

1) "Impotence" with its negative connotation suggesting weakness, is used throughout the book. The terms "erectile difficulty (ED)" or "erectile dysfunction" would have been preferable; the latter of these is only used a few times.

2) According to the book cover, Dr. Sparks' wants to address men in general and of all age groups. However, the focus is largely on heterosexual men, ignoring the homosexual population. Sex is often described as heterosexual sex between a man and his female partner, and none of the case stories or references to couples mentions homosexual men and couples.

3) As a sex therapist who helps clients focus on intimacy and pleasure without emphasizing sexual performance, some of the remarks I disagree with: "....Ideally, the duration of thrusting will be sufficient to allow the man and his partner to achieve orgasm at about the same time (page 49)." It is implied that not only should one "ideally" achieve orgasm during sexual activity, but also it is desirable to climax simultaneously. This is in direct contrast to the messages I usually extend to my clients: that it is O.K. to have sex without climaxing at all, that instead of focusing on performance and goals such as "achieving" orgasm, it is more important to simply enjoy the existing intimacy between partners, whatever form it may take. The statement "... the sexual act does not end with penetration. Ejaculation must occur (page 76)" is a strong argument and in my opinion not true.

4) References to only selected chapters are listed in the back and without numerical links in the text. This makes it impossible to identify...

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