Getting It, Having It, Keeping It Up
Getting It, Having It, Keeping It Up:
Straight Men’s Sexuality in Public and Private
by Beth Montemurro
Scholars and social critics are looking at gender and sexuality, as well as masculinity, in new ways and with more attention to the way cultural ideologies affect men’s and women’s lives. With the rise of an online “incel” (involuntarily celibate) community and the perpetration of acts of violence in their name, as well as increased awareness about the complexities of sexual interaction brought to the fore by the #metoo movement, it has become critical to discuss how men’s sexuality and masculinity are related, as well as the way men feel about the messages they get about being a man.
Prior research on masculinity and masculine sexuality has examined the experiences of adolescent boys. But what happens to boys as they become men and as many move away from homo-social environments into sexual relationships? What happens when they no longer have a crowd of peers to posture or perform for? How do their sexual experiences and sexual selves change? How do they prove their masculinity in a society that demands it when they are no longer surrounded by peers? And how do they cultivate sexual selves and sexual self-confidence in a culture that expects them to always already be knowledgeable, desiring sexual subjects?
In Getting It, Having It, Keeping It Up, Beth Montemurro explores the cultivation of heterosexual men’s sexual selves. Based on detailed, in-depth interviews with a large, diverse group of heterosexual men between the ages of 20 and 68, she investigates how getting sex, having sex, and keeping up their sex lives matters to men. Ultimately, Montemurro uncovers the tension between public, cultural narratives about hetero-masculinity and men’s private, sexual selves and their intimate experiences.