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Masculinity & Sex

  •  “The Man Box” refers to a narrow definition of masculinity as tough, aggressive, or fearless. When boys are told not to cry or feel, there are lasting negative effects on their health and relationships. Research by the Harvard School of Public Health found that those who suppress their emotions are one-third more likely to die prematurely than people who regularly express what they are feeling. These “Man Box” stereotypes also impact assumptions about masculinity and sexuality.

  • The average erect penis is about 5.16 inches and the average circumference is 4.59 inches. The average length of a flaccid penis is 3.61 inches, and the average circumference is 3.66 inches. Yet, according to researchers at the University of Kentucky, 45% of men surveyed wished they had a larger penis.

  • Sexologist Carol Queen, Phd explains that orgasm and ejaculation are two separate things, even though they usually occur together.

  • A study published by the Journal of Sexual and Relationship Therapy found that 17 to 25% of men have faked having an orgasm. Among heterosexual undergraduate men, research found that 18% reported a history of insertive anal intercourse, 15% said they’d received analingus,

  • According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, out of 20,500 claims made by members of the military, 7,500 men reported unwanted sexual contact in 2018. The majority of victims were harassed by a higher-ranking servicemember in their chain of command. Furthermore, 75% of victims did not report the crime; nearly 1 in 3 victims did not report what happened because they were afraid the process would be unfair or that nothing would be done.

Sources: A Call to Men, The Kinsey Institute, and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center

VIDEO: Tony Porter Helping Men Break Out of the "Man Box"

Assigned Video

Small-Group Discussion 

 Break-out Groups on Zoom

Question: What did you learn from Tony Porter’s suggestions that help you understand or respond to masculinity, gender politics, and relationships today?


How does the concept of The Man Box relate to normative assumptions about masculinity and sexual activity? Do you think this is changing? If so, how so — and to what extent?


Respond: To prepare, come to the small-group chat with one question to pose to the group. This question should engage the key issues about masculinity and sex that are raised in this segment. Connect with your classmates and engage with their comments and/or questions. Collect the responses in bullet-point format.

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