Why Men Fake It: The Totally Unexpected Truth About Men and Sex

Why Men Fake It: The Totally Unexpected Truth About Men and Sex

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by Abraham Morgentaler, Stephen Hoye

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What really drives men to do what they do? Why Men Fake It uses the real-life stories of Dr. Abraham Morgentaler's patients to let us in on the secrets of men and to examine the current state of male sexuality in science and medicine as well as in relationships and popular culture. In this frank and open discussion of the subject, Dr. Morgentaler will make men and

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What really drives men to do what they do? Why Men Fake It uses the real-life stories of Dr. Abraham Morgentaler's patients to let us in on the secrets of men and to examine the current state of male sexuality in science and medicine as well as in relationships and popular culture. In this frank and open discussion of the subject, Dr. Morgentaler will make men and women alike question what we think we know about gender, motivation, sexuality, relationships, and, ultimately, the definition of a "man." From the biology and science behind the "bionic penis" to the psychology behind men faking orgasms, Why Men Fake It will change the conversation about male sexual health and will introduce the world to sex and relationships from a new point of view. Dr. Morgentaler's exploration of male sexuality from the Masters and Johnson era through the introduction of Viagra, feminism, and the Internet provides the basis for his provocative and revolutionary ideas regarding men and sex-a topic that, until now, has been either sensationalized or stereotyped by the media-to give us the definitive guide to men as we've never seen them before. From these stories you will gain a surprising perspective on the minds and motivations of men: committed, caring, loving, and sometimes clumsy individuals doing their best to be great partners in their relationships.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
Medical doctor and Harvard professor Morgentaler uses real-life stories from his patients to take an insightful look at the state of male sexuality through the lenses of science, medicine, popular culture, and relationships, touching on a wide variety of topics, including premature ejaculation and the reasons men sometimes fake their orgasms. Narrator Stephen Hoye delivers a straightforward but subtle and entertaining performance. His narration is lively, his pacing steady, his enunciation clear. And Hoye relates the book’s complex, often scientific, subject matter with a personal but authoritative tone. The result is an intimate performance that is both forceful and informative—and one that will appeal to male and female listeners. A Henry Holt hardcover. (Apr.)
Library Journal - Audio
Morgenthaler (The Viagra Myth; Testosterone for Life) sets out to demonstrate that male sexual behaviors and responses are much more complex than the "wham, bam, thank you m'am" image portrayed in popular culture. Since, as the author admits, there is much missing hard data on the psychology and physiology of sex, the book is heavy on anecdotal case histories from his own clinical practice and scientifically sparse. The case histories are interesting and well written but provide insufficient support for the author's sweeping generalizations. Stephen Hoye's unobtrusive clarity perfectly complements the already engaging text. VERDICT Recommended with reservations for individuals who read popular health/medicine. ["Morgentaler's experienced perspective comes across in his writing and will appeal to a wide audience. Eye-opening and never dull, this is a book that both male and female readers interested in medicine, sexuality, gender issues, and relationships will enjoy," read the review of the Holt hc, LJ 4/1/13.—Ed.]—I. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Ames, IA
Publishers Weekly
Morgentaler, a urologist specializing in men’s sexual health and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, wonders why there isn’t a male analogue of Our Bodies, Ourselves. Men are complicated too, right? While his book doesn’t warrant the instant-classic status Our Bodies achieved in 1971, it is a good start, full of fascinating stories and useful information. Morgentaler’s investigation is organized around four themes: orgasm and its impediments (yes—some men do fake it), sex drive, erections, and, of course, penis size. The third section is the widest-ranging and most scientifically grounded (Morgentaler also wrote about a related topic in 2003’s The Viagra Myth), and it allows him an opportunity to attack the Masters and Johnson “zeitgeist of several decades ago.” Morgentaler’s case studies are relatable and often funny (some should be read discreetly in public), and they crystallize his sensitive approach to the subject matter: “sex is weird,” and “sex is not just sex.” This accessible treatment of the emotional and physical nuances of male sexuality is informative and entertaining, and will appeal to men and women alike. Agent: Bob Levine, Levine Plotkin & Menin. (Apr. 16)
From the Publisher

“Fascinating and easy to read, this groundbreaking book will certainly give all of us a lot to think about and may just inspire the same kind of sexual revolution for men that women have been enjoying for decades.” —Dish Magazine

“Profoundly interesting…groundbreaking” —CBC's Q with Jian Ghomeshi

“An enlightening new book.” —Cosmopolitan Magazine

“Harvard Professor Dr. Abraham Morgantaler, founder of a Boston clinic for male sexual and reproductive disorders, offers a glimpse behind the examination-room door at the hopes and hang-ups of his patients. His latest book, Why Men Fake It: The Totally Unexpected Truth about Men and Sex, takes the measure of manhood in the age of Viagra, Internet porn and shifting gender roles.” —Maclean's (Canada)

“I can't remember the last time a piece of important medical history made me gasp, drop my jaw and then explode into disbelieving laughter. But such was the effect of … Dr. Abraham Morgentaler's new book, ‘Why Men Fake It: The Totally Unexpected Truth About Men And Sex,'” —WBUR.org

“Morgentaler's experienced perspective comes across in his writing and will appeal to a wide audience. Eye-opening and never dull, this is a book both male and female readers interested in medicine, sexuality, gender issues, and relationships will enjoy” —Library Journal

“Knowledgeable, sophisticated. . . A fascinating and gender friendly discourse on the ups and downs of the male libido.” —Kirkus

“A tell-all exposé… Why Men Fake It is a throwback that unfolds via the anecdotal weight of a seasoned doctor's observations and his recollections of intimate details told to him by his patients. Morgentaler expertly walks us through a host of explanations for this scourge of denouement fictus. Indeed, Why Men Fake It unfolds like a present-day version of the 1950s-era women's magazine self-help column "Tell Me Doctor," only here the patients are men. Thus we learn a great deal about male biology.” —PublicBooks

“Dr. Morgentaler has done it again! In Why Men Fake It, the courageous Harvard professor takes the reader into the privacy of the examining room to learn about the taboo topic of male sexuality. A must-read for both sexes!” —Suzanne Somers, lecturer and New York Times Bestselling author of 24 books

“A pioneer in the fields of men's sexual health and low testosterone, Abe Morgentaler, MD, here takes the reader beyond the macho male image. Why Men Fake It pairs patient and partner stories, and explains the relevant history and science of sexual medicine to provide a book that is both important and fun to read.” —Irwin Goldstein, MD, Director of Sexual Medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego and Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine

“A courageous and revealing exploration of male sexuality in the 21st century. Men who read this book will understand themselves better with every page. By focusing like a laser beam on male issues that others have lacked the creativity and compassion to address, Abe Morgentaler, MD, proves that he deserves the mantle of "America's Top Doctor for Men." Why Men Fake It is a must-read for men and the women who care about them.” —Keith Ablow, MD, New York Times Bestselling Author and Fox News "Medical A Team" Member

Why Men Fake It answers questions about sex and relationships that beg to be asked but seldom are. Dr. Morgentaler's sensitive, empowering manner and his unique perspective on the male psyche in the early 21st century makes this a must-read for all men and women.” —Alan Altman, MD, Past President, International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health

“An engaging, provocative, and fun book that moved me and also made me laugh. I will never think about men, sex, and relationships the same way again.” —Sanjiv Chopra, MD, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and author of Live Better, Live Longer

“Dr Morgentaler takes us on a compelling journey into the minds of men and how they really feel about sex, love and relationships. A great read for women who want to understand their lover's struggles and secret desires in the bedroom and beyond.” —Laura Berman, LCSW, PhD author of Loving Sex: The Book of Joy and Passion

“Many novels and news stories describe "hyper-sexed" men who care only about the pleasure sex gives to them, while others address the latest treatments for male sexual problems. But most men fit neither description. Most men can have sex, and have concerns about how well they satisfy their partners. For such men-and there are many of them-this book from a physician expert in men's sexual function has much valuable information. Clearly written, with compelling personal stories that make the material come alive.” —Anthony Komaroff, MD, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

“Dr. Morgentaler, a distinguished Harvard urologist, takes us into his consulting room and exposes the deep struggles and concerns that men have regarding their sexuality. Using humor and sensitivity he reveals the interwoven physical and psychological concerns that are part and parcel of male sexual identity. Why Men Fake It is a brave, bold, and extremely well written book that teaches us about the complexity of the mind of man.” —Stanley E. Althof, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Marital and Sexual Health of South Florida, Emeritus Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Library Journal
★ 02/01/2015
Morgentaler (urology, Harvard Medical Sch.; founder, Men's Health Boston) collects clinical experiences and presents an eye-opening and sometimes hilarious look into men's sexual health, exposing the myth that only women's bodies and psychologies are complex. (LJ 4/1/13)
Kirkus Reviews
Are most men predominantly defined by penis size and sexual prowess? A seasoned sex doctor clears the air. Morgentaler (Urology/Harvard Medical School; Testosterone for Life: Recharge Your Vitality, Sex Drive, Muscle Mass, and Overall Health, 2008) believes male sexuality is a subject few people ponder and still more seem unconcerned about. Mired in misconceptions, the subjects of sex and masculinity can be heady reading material, but the author simplifies these outwardly complicated truths into a four-part study exploring orgasms, gender development (the author describes his surgery on a hermaphrodite), erectile abilities and challenges, and a quite humorous closer on the prominence of penis size. His engaging study of the intricacies and nuances of the male sex is greatly personified with pages of case studies and personal profiles. After arguing that testosterone levels do indeed impact a man's energy levels but are not the sole catalyst for determining how good a husband and father a man will be, he addresses crucial issues such as performance anxiety and male image perception. He also doesn't shy away from the knotty topics of transgenderism and asexuality. In a knowledgeable, sophisticated voice, Morgentaler notes that his clinical research has not only enlightened and improved countless men's lives, but it's enriched his own understanding of the male species. While empirical evidence shows that some men do indeed fake orgasms, there's also proof that in their quest to be "great partners," they've only acted in their "own interest in order to keep [the] relationship going." A fascinating and gender friendly discourse on the ups and downs of the male libido.

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Product Details

Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
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Unabridged CD
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6.40(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Why Men Fake It

The Totally Unexpected Truth About Men and Sex
By Abraham Morgentaler

Henry Holt and Co.

Copyright © 2013 Abraham Morgentaler
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780805094244

Part 1
Do Men Really Fake It?

1. Introduction

After almost twenty-five years of medical practice specializing in the treatment of men with sexual and reproductive problems, I thought I had heard and seen pretty much everything. But when David, a twenty-five-year-old man, walked into my office and told me that he faked orgasms with the new love of his life, Sarah, I had to make sure I’d heard him correctly. What a fantastic twist! Once I got past the immediate, practical question of how David faked it, what really interested me was why a man would do this. David’s answer was simple and touching. He was in love with Sarah and was simply trying to do what he believed was the right thing by her. That is a refrain I hear regularly from men in one form or another, yet this admirable, loving aspect of male sexuality is hidden among the detritus that passes as wisdom for what men are all about.

This book is about the fascinating, rich, nuanced, and surprising world of men and sexuality. In these pages I share the stories of David and so many other men who have come through my offices at Men’s Health Boston, seeking help for one type of “guy problem” or another. Behind those closed doors, men from all walks of life—laborers and celebrities, professors and new immigrants—have shared with me the most intimate details of their lives. Often I have been the first and only person brought into their confidence. I share these stories and my perspectives here because I have come to believe that what we think we know about men, sex, and relationships is totally incorrect. The truth is, we know next to nothing.

It’s obvious that some men behave badly, but as a culture we have focused far too much on the bad behavior of the few. Usually, the men we ridicule are public figures with lives so different from most of ours that a man would be well within his rights to say, “What does Tiger’s behavior have to do with me?”

For every man who behaves badly, I can give you ten who are dedicated and thoughtful, doing the best they know how to be a man and a solid partner. When men share their most intimate stories about sex and relationships, what I hear repeatedly is a determined effort to be for their partners what they believe their partners want them to be—responsible, reliable, strong. It is confusing to know how to be a man these days. Sexual roles may have become muddled, yet the desire among men to be “good” to one’s partner remains.

The comedian Robin Williams jokes, “Why did God give men two brains but only enough blood to run one of them at a time?” In family-friendly newspapers we find comic strips depicting men with eyes bulging out of their heads as a pretty woman walks by. These jokes about men could have been lifted unchanged from the late 1960s and 1970s when I was a teenager, even though the world of gender and sexuality is so different today, thanks to major cultural events such as women’s liberation, the advent of the birth control pill, the high prevalence of women in the workforce, and the introduction of Viagra, to name just a few. Our concepts regarding men are stuck in a time warp. How did we get to this point when women lament, “Why can’t I find a good man?” and “Men just don’t ‘get’ it”? Men, having bought into the zeitgeist, fall all over themselves trying to prove to a potential or current partner that they are different from the insensitive, overly aggressive Neanderthals that make up the rest of the male gender. A friend who lives in a house filled with women—his wife, three daughters, and two stepdaughters—has a framed poster hanging in his kitchen that always makes me chuckle: “If a man speaks in the forest and no woman hears him, is he still wrong?”

We live at a moment of history when we have more information about sex at our fingertips than any time before, yet we know so little about male sexuality. If we are so ignorant of basic information, how well can we hope to have a true and meaningful understanding of something as complex as the male psyche when it comes to sex?

A recent front-page story from the New York Times reported on a study in which young fathers in the Philippines were found to have lower testosterone levels than similarly aged men without children. A professor of anthropology at Emory University concluded that the lower testosterone in young fathers was Nature’s way of making the father behave better in a relationship: “I’m here, I’m not looking around, I’m really toning things down so I can have good relationships.” As another professor, from the University of Nevada, put it “A dad with lower testosterone is maybe a little more sensitive to cues from his child, and maybe he’s a little less sensitive to cues from a woman he meets at a restaurant.”

The conclusions drawn by these highly educated professors perpetuate the myth that a man and his behavior are directly influenced by his moment-to-moment blood concentration of testosterone. In this standard narrative, men with high testosterone are so highly sex-charged that they are likely to cheat on their partners and make poor fathers, whereas lower testosterone allows a man to become more domesticated. We see some version of this familiar story in magazines and newspapers every week. However, it is false. As a physician who has raised and lowered testosterone levels in several thousand men, I can assure you that the relatively small changes noted in this study do not impact a man’s behavior or his “nurturing capacity.” In fact, testosterone levels decline by as much as 50 percent in young men every single day from morning to evening, without causing a change in mood or behavior. Indeed, the most likely explanation for the drop in testosterone in the young fathers is sleep deprivation. Any kind of disordered sleep lowers testosterone, which explains why in this study the lowest levels of testosterone were found in fathers of newborns.

This is a perfect example of how quick we are to believe that a man’s true nature must be altered, for example, by lowering his testosterone, to become a faithful partner and nurturing father. What an insult to all the great husbands and dads out there!

It’s not easy being a man these days, and certainly not a sexual man. Seismic changes in our social landscape have fractured the era of male dominance. As the father of two capable young women, I applaud the leveling of the gender playing field. Yet it is naive to assume there has not been a cost to this relatively sudden cultural change. There are now far fewer opportunities for men to feel powerful and, well, manly.

Recently, Mara and George—both thirty-two, with two young sons—came to see me in my office. George was a building contractor, Greek, a little stocky, with a round face, a solid-looking man. George told me, “Mara doesn’t think we have sex often enough. I start my days at five am, I want to play with the kids when I get home, and then most days I collapse after dinner. Mara thinks it’s strange that I’m too tired to have sex more than once or twice a week.”

I looked toward Mara, pretty, slender, with long, dark hair. She looked very fit. “Doctor, I thought guys were supposed to always want sex. And before I had the kids, George was always ready. Now I want it, and he doesn’t. Is it me? I worked hard to get rid of the baby fat from my last pregnancy, but it doesn’t seem to matter to him. I’ve asked him whether he’s found someone else, and he says ‘No,’ but I just don’t get it.”

Alone with me during his examination, George took the opportunity to tell me more. “Doc, it’s worse than you can imagine. Mara is sure that I’m cheating. She’s been snooping through all my stuff. I feel like I constantly have to reassure her that we’re okay, that I still find her sexy, that I still love her. It’s a bad time for my business, and I’m stressed. Truthfully, some of the time we have sex, I’m doing it just to keep Mara happy.” The idea that a man would have sex with a woman for her benefit rather than his own runs counter to the traditional story line about the selfish, egotistic sexual male seeking only his own gratification. Yet there is nothing unusual about George’s story. Women have always had expectations from their men; now this expectation has shifted in new ways to the bedroom.

A young man in his midthirties, without any erection problems, asked me for a prescription for Viagra. When I asked why he wanted it, he replied, “It’s tough out there, Doc. The last woman I dated told me when she wanted sex, how she wanted it, and how many times she needed it. I’m just trying to keep up!”

It is tough out there for men. The world is changing rapidly, and the misinformation that passes as conventional wisdom about male sexuality leads many men to have anxiety, low self-esteem, and conflict within relationships.

Let’s get something straight: sex is how animals reproduce, from the smallest single-cell organism to insects, fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals. We tend to forget about the reproductive part of sex because humans have been clever enough to find ways to separate sex from reproduction via various forms of contraception. What is important to understand is that the drive for sex is not a choice, a luxury, a human invention. It is one of the most powerful drivers for all species on this planet. If tuna didn’t have a powerful sex drive, there would be no tuna. If dogs didn’t have a powerful sex drive, there would be no dogs. And if humans (male and female) didn’t have a powerful sex drive, there would be no humans. This is a biological fact.

My perspectives on sexuality were influenced greatly by my initial choice of biology as a career. In my very first class as an undergraduate at Harvard College, the Nobel Prize laureate George Wald presented the big bang theory and described the subsequent primordial soup that eventually led to organic molecules and the beginnings of life. I was hooked. For three years as an undergraduate I worked in the reptile laboratory of the brilliant biologist David Crews (now at the University of Texas at Austin), studying the effects of testosterone on the sexual behavior of male lizards. Reptiles are extremely important in evolution because they represent the common ancestor of the “higher” animals, namely birds and mammals. It is the primitive reptilian portion of our brain that drives our sexual behavior, with input from higher centers in the cortex.

It makes perfect sense that the sexual centers in human brains are deep, old in evolutionary terms, and anatomically distinct from the “thinking” part of our brain, namely the cerebral cortex, because sex has very little to do with thinking. Indeed, lust, libido, sex drive—whatever one wishes to call it—seems to be almost a form of madness. It is irrational, primal. In the throes of lust, women and men behave differently than in every other sphere of their lives. Individuals who are germ-phobic and who wouldn’t dare to touch a doorknob without first wiping it down with a cloth will, when sexually excited, throw themselves into skin-on-skin, sweat-on-sweat, full-body contact with another person, even exchanging body fluids along the way. Powerful men and women who experience rage at any perceived disrespect at work engage happily in sex play in which they are subdued, dominated, demeaned. Sex is a break in the normal fabric of our lives. One can no more reasonably separate sexual desire from normal men and women than one can separate wetness from water.

Despite our sexual nature it is unacceptable to be sexual whenever the urge arises. All human societies have found ways to bind our sexuality by rules, norms, culture. It is endlessly fascinating to me how we manage to incorporate the “madness” of our sexuality within the framework of a rational life in which we aspire to be honorable and productive. One of the consequences of the inevitable tension between primitive urges and civilized behavior has been to make sexuality into a big secret, something not practiced in public, and not spoken about.

I would argue that a key component of the women’s movement and the rise of feminism was the way that women educated themselves about their bodies and their sexuality. A landmark event in the 1970s was the publication of Our Bodies, Ourselves, a book with graphic illustrations that could be found on almost every woman’s college bookshelf; the book encouraged women to take a mirror and examine their genitalia, find their clitoris, and to experiment with masturbation so that they could experience orgasms more easily. It explained anatomy, menstruation, birth control, the whole works.

There has never been a similar book for men, at least none that gained any national attention. A book that explained, discussed, and normalized male sexual behavior. Perhaps this book can start the conversation. Certainly there is a need for such a dialogue, for the benefit of women as well as men.

What will emerge from the stories in this book is that men are complex, thoughtful, and eager to be a valued and respected partner. It will be surprising to many to learn that a man’s sense of his own masculinity is intimately related to his ability to regard himself as a successful sexual provider.

There are other challenges to overcome in the realm of male sexuality besides ignorance, particularly physical ones. The medical world was stunned when the Massachusetts Male Aging Study in 1994 revealed that 52 percent of relatively healthy men between the ages of forty and seventy reported some degree of impotence. So many men! We never knew.

Premature ejaculation affects as many as 20 percent of young men and nearly an equal number of older men. It is difficult to feel great about oneself as a lover when sex ends almost as soon as it begins. And new data show that one-third of men over the age of forty-five have abnormally low levels of testosterone, which can cause poor erections, low sex drive, and difficulty achieving an orgasm.

This book is about real men in real situations. By providing a behind-the-closed-door perspective on men, sex, and relationships, I hope that we will move out of the darkness and toward a more realistic, and kinder, view of what men are all about and how their minds work. Female readers may be happy to learn that there are good men out there. And male readers may take comfort from realizing that they are not alone. The truth is that men are so much more interesting and complex than we would ever have believed.

Copyright © 2013 by Abraham Morgentaler


Excerpted from Why Men Fake It by Abraham Morgentaler Copyright © 2013 by Abraham Morgentaler. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, MD, FACS, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Urology at Harvard Medical School and the founder of Men's Health Boston, a treatment center for male sexual and reproductive disorders. He is the author of three previous books and his work has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, The New Yorker and the WSJ among others. He researches, lectures internationally, and sees a limited number of patients via his new program, Personalized MensHealth.

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Why Men Fake It: The Totally Unexpected Truth About Men and Sex 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok, as crazy as this sounds, this book gave me hope as a woman.  Intrigued to learn about the mysterious opposite sex, I never expected this book to have me on the floor laughing as I did.  Further, I never expected to try to figure out why men fake it and end up seeing possibilities for understanding between the sexes.  Very cool.  Read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dr. Morgentaler sheds light on the complex make psyche. The book gave me a different perspective of men and what motivates and drives them sexually. I feel I have a better understanding of my husband and men in general. The book was easy to read and very light in tone. I would recommend to men and women alike. This book is topping my book club's list for next month! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dr. Morgenataler continues to enlighten us about the complexities of male sexuality and relationships. This book is written in clear terms, and each chapter is devoted to a different aspect of male sexuality. Real patient profiles help illustrate Morgentaler's points, whether about male anatomy, erectile dysfunction or testosterone deficiency. The tone is always upbeat and optimistic. The message is clear. Men have the same issues as women when it comes to sexual function and relationships. Men are not bastards. Men want to have mutually fulfilling interactions with their partners. They care. This book should be read by every man and every woman who wants to better understand how the male psyche is bolstered by his need to engage in mutually satisfying relationships. Bravo Dr. Morgentaler!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very well written and easy to read. I also didn't expect it to be as funny as it was. Finished it in 2 days and am thrilled to have new insights to the opposite sex.