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The Two Most Important Issues Facing Males Today

I’ve known Michael Gurian for more than thirty years. We met
at one of the early men’s gatherings in 1990 and I’ve gotten to know him quite well
over the years. He is one of the world’s foremost gender experts and has
pioneered efforts to bring neuro-biology and brain research into homes,
schools, corporations, and public policy. He’s also a prolific writer. He is
the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-two books published in
twenty-three languages. 

After reading most of his books including The Wonder of
Boys, The Wonder of Girls, What Could He Be Thinking, and How Do I
Help Him? I thought I knew most everything there was to know about
Michael’s views on males, sex, gender, and healing. But I was wrong. In his
most recent book, The Stone Boys, he offers new insights into the
world of boys and men and shares personal experiences about his own life that I
had never known before. 

He also addresses, what I believe to be, the two most
important issues facing males today: The sexual abuse that most of us have
experienced growing up and our fear of sharing the truth about our traumatic past
with those who love us and could help us. In the introduction to The Stone
Boys author Terry Trueman says, “Michael is a sexual abuse survivor, and
the power of this story grows from his own experiences as a boy.” He also
reveals why it took Michael 40 years to write this book.

Before I can tell you about the book, I have to be honest
about how difficult it was for me to get into the book. The early scenes
reminded me of my own early life. I remembered how I was teased by older boys,
taunted, and threatened with sexual abuse. I still remember being cornered in
the boy’s bathroom in junior high school. Two of the boys grabbed me. The third
taunted me. “Hey, Diamond, you want a blow job?” I was terrified and tried to
break free and escape. “I’m going to give you a blow job,” the boy holding me
said as he unzipped his pants. “I’m going to stick my dick in your mouth and
blow out your brains.” Luckily, I was saved when the bell rang for next period
and a teacher yelled for everyone to get back to class.

I also remembered the enemas my mother insisted I needed to
cure my constipation when I was six years old and she and our neighbor Louella
holding me by the feet while my mother pushed the nozzle up my rectum. I think
my mother was genuinely trying to help with a “problem” she thought needed
attention. Louella seemed to get a sadistic pleasure from the enemas. She would
look at me in a way that chilled my bones saying, “You told that in you until I
tell you to get on the toilet and let it out. If you shit on me, I’ll kill
you.”

Since we rarely talk about male sexual abuse, it remains
hidden to most of us. From my own personal experience and talking to men over
the last fifty years as a therapist, I believe that male sexual abuse is much
more common than anyone recognizes. Yet, since we don’t talk about it, we never
confront the questions most abuse survivors have. What really happened? Was it
my fault? Does it mean there’s something wrong with me? Was what I
experienced really sexual abuse? Will I ever be normal? Would you
still want to stay with me if you knew the truth? Am I messed up for life?

In his book, The Stone Boys, Michael answers the
questions many of us have buried deep inside our psyches, afraid to even let
them come to the surface of our awareness for fear that the truth would destroy
us. But Michael’s courage, provides a beacon of light for all boys and men,
whether we’ve experienced sexual abuse or just the abuse we’ve come to accept
as normal, growing up in a world full of secrets and hidden dysfunction. 

I asked Michael why he wrote the book. “As a person in the
psychological professions—a marriage and family counselor—I have long
hypothesized that the moment we are aware of a traumatic experience in our own
lives, we have the unconscious will to write it, color, or paint it, express it
in music or in woodworking or knitting or any craft or art.”

“I agree,” I told him. “People have often asked me, why I
write so personally about my own wounds and traumas. I definitely have a need
to turn the pain into art in order for me to understand it and heal it. I know
you have focused a lot of your work on the way our brains can heal. How do you
think that works with sexual abuse?

“Our brains, I think, are driven to bring the wound into the
open,” Michael says, “to shape it, study it, judge it, put it away again, bring
it back again, do war with it, make peace with it. We want to make the wound
into gold.”

And that’s what you’ll receive when you read this powerful,
life-changing, book. It is pure gold. You might be wondering why you might want
to read a book about sexual abuse, even it is written by a well-known writer
who is an expert in men’s health? The truth is the book is really an adventure
story– one that adults and teens will enjoy reading. The main themes are about
friendship, coming of age, sexual awakening, and how we can all embrace life
and turn the traumas of growing up into the gifts of a life well-lived.

Not everyone will have the hunger and courage to read this
book. But those who do will be richly rewarded. If you are a boy or a man or if
you love and care about boys and men, I suggest you check
out Michael Gurian’s The Stone Boys
 (You may be surprised as I
was at the origin of the title). 

As always, I appreciate your questions, feedback, or sharing
of my articles. You can visit me at my
blog

This article first appeared on Jed’s
blog
.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay 



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