This is one of those books where, in my opinion, the title does not adequately portray the content. Primary reason: Sensitivity 101 for the Heterosexual Male by Philip Nork is not just for males, or even for just heterosexual individuals. This book can be enjoyed by anyone who has an interest in understanding his or her sexual partner.
The book is really a coming of age story about a boy. It is the personal story of Philip Nork, as he saw his life. A sensitive young man who found pleasure in understanding the feelings of others and working to fully respond to their needs and wishes.
And wound up, for a time, becoming a gigolo...
When a young boy has strong women in their young lives, especially if the father has deserted the family, it is quite easy to see his mother as a "hero," a woman to be admired. But it is also possible, by "becoming the man" of the family at the age of eight, there are thoughts that arise, perhaps never discussed. Certainly a young boy may come to think that it is his fault that a divorce occurs.
Philip's grandmother also made sure religion was part of their lives and Sundays were spent learning about what God "wanted us to do, how he wanted us to behave, and what was right or wrong." Of course, as a young boy, Philip was quick to realize that as a priest, he would never marry, never have sex, and never have kids. Sadly, later, that same priest was removed from the church for various offenses. Philip saw this as another man failing his role in his life.
Philip fortunately connected with his great-grandmother, calling her Nana and she was perhaps the first person he was really able to talk to. She discussed religion with him and told him that treating people with respect was best. She was the first person who explained that he should try to be sincere and make people feel special, especially the girls.
And when he met his first girl friend, Jenna, he began to confirm the points that would define Philip as a man, so much so that he started to create a list! In addition to the first one learned from Nana, he was able to add that he now knew that girls remember and cherish small things.
As is often the case, as Philip was meeting females in his life, an older girl first seduced him. Interestingly, throughout his childhood and teen life, it was his sensitivity and caring nature that drew girls to him and when sex became involved, it was those lessons that he learned along the way that created the man he became. Indeed, he was only in his late teens when he was suggested to and accepted by a female pimp to serve women who were much older, one of whom turned out to be a friend of his own mother!
No, this book does not advocate an early sexual life for men. It is a true story that just might be the story that other boys have lived or will live in the future. The list is not how to find girls...the list is one that will help anybody to relate to other people. In a world where sexuality is so blatant, this book allows a boy, a teen, to learn both mistakes and how to make right choices as decisions are made about how they will relate to girls.
If I had a son, I would want him to read Sensitivity 101 for the Heterosexual Male by Philip Nork, albeit with a little more mature and early guidance as well! Appreciation to the author must be given for his willingness to share this intimate, very personal story...
G. A. Bixler