In the twenty-first century, it is no longer just the battle of the sexes, but individual battles of the sexes that pose challenges to how men and women relate to each other. Battles of the Sexes helps men and women understand their own sexual nature, as well that of the opposite sex, and develop sexual empathy for each other. Leading young adult health experts Joe Malone, PhD and Sarah Harris, MS, RDN, provide insight into the mismatch both sexes endure between our rapidly changing culture and our inherited nature and the resulting battles both genders fight. Cutting-edge, yet understandable science is used to illustrate things like the effect of women’s menstrual cycles and the chemical and visual laws of attraction. Malone and Harris lay out what motivates the genders inside relationships, particularly men and their relationship with women and women and their relationship with food, in a way that encourages sexual empathy. Battles of the Sexes illuminates how couples can recognize chemical dangers to their bonds and gives singles valuable insights for dating, empowering loving, lasting, committed romance between men and women that will benefit not only individuals, but also our entire species.
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About the Author
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Major Battles of the Sexes: Junk Food & Junk Sex
"The chief purpose of education is to teach young people the right things to find pleasure in."
Shared Battles of the Sexes
Discovery of the Common Battles
From the dawn of human history, we men and women have depended on each other for our mutual success and, yes, even our mutual survival. Quite literally we would not still be here as a species if this was not so. There has had to be a certain amount of sexual empathy, sexual respect, and sexual synergy for a long time for us to be where we are today.
Yet, over the last several decades it seems there has been a growing inability in some quarters of Western society to see the strengths and talents in the other sex. Some women would agree with the phrase "women are from Earth and men are from somewhere close to Uranus." To some degree they have a point. I know as a man there are many things I have said and done that I would like to take back. On the other hand, as is the case for all humans, women aren't perfect either (except for my wife). Some men think that women are manipulative and less than honest in their relationships. I am sure there are also women out there who would like to take back some of the things they have said or done.
Whatever happened to the sentiment of 'can't we all just get along?'
Could much of this negativity come from a colossal nature-nurture-based misunderstanding between the sexes that we may now have the scientific knowledge to clear up? Specifically, could both sexes be victims of, and be struggling and battling with, ancient drives and inclinations that no longer match modern culture and that can cause damage to the other sex? Could education about the human sexual nature each of us has inherited be helpful in this regrettable situation?
We strongly believe this to be the case.
A major hope of Battles of the Sexes is to be a uniting and reconciling force between women and men. We believe that women and men are all in this thing called life together in the twenty-first century and always have been in it together. As a result, we hope to educate adults (especially young adults) on healthy relationships and in so doing raise their sexual empathy, sexual respect, and ultimately their sexual synergy in everyday friendly relationships with members of the opposite sex, and eventually within the context of romantic love relationships.
I didn't start out aiming to be an educator, and especially not one focused on such crucial matters for humankind and the human heart. My childhood career goal was to become a lawyer. After marrying early, I quickly discovered that law school and matrimony did not necessarily work well together in my life. My fallback plan was obtaining a fifth-year teaching certification.
At first, I spent my days trying to survive teaching in order to get to the best part of my day, which was coaching after-school athletics. I didn't consider myself to be a very good teacher at the time, but as the months went on I began to finally realize the potential for good that could be accomplished with these students in the seven and a half hours I had them in class each day. One of my colleagues observed the enthusiasm and passion with which I coached athletics, and suggested I try some of that in the classroom. I did, and it made a world of difference. From then on, I made coaching in the classroom my signature method. That transformation is important because along the way, I realized the importance of Plato's assertion as quoted at the beginning of this chapter and shaped my coaching style of teaching in a way that strived to teach young people the right things to find pleasure in. The well-being of my students became my passion and remains so to this day.
Discovering how to shape young people's behaviors to benefit their health has become immensely more important as society has morphed into the twenty-first century. Owing to the way that the twenty-first century environment causes both genders to go against their genetic code and biological design, there are some battles that young women and young men may have in common. In their book, Go Wild, John Ratey and Richard Manning state that rather than diseases of civilization, a more apt term would be injuries of civilization. They list the results from a study by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation showing the top twelve risk factors for disease from 187 countries around the world in 1990-2010. They are listed in order:
1. High blood pressure
4. Household air pollution
5. Low fruit consumption
7. High blood sugar
8. Low body weight
9. Air pollution
11. High salt intake
12. Low nut and seed consumption
Really, most of what we consider diseases of civilization should more properly be called the afflictions of civilization. These risk factors come from forcing humans into environmental circumstances that our genetic design was not meant to accommodate. These physical effects are equal opportunity destroyers in that they are distributed and reacted to detrimentally by most people, male and female, across our society.
A Word from Sarah: Afflictions of Civilization
It is fascinating to me that over 65 percent of the most common risk factors for diseases of civilization are directly related to the foods and beverages we consume. We are not doing nearly enough as a nation to alter our environment in a positive way to combat the increasing threat it is placing on ourselves and the generations to come. As a clinician, it kills me a little bit inside every time I hear the phrase, "I'm going to die somehow, I might as well die happy enjoying the foods that I love rather than miserable eating the healthy crap." I have heard different variations of this statement far too many times, especially during my time in long-term care. I'm not sure that people quite realize how much they are cutting their life short by making the food choices that they do every day. Not to mention, quality of life is so greatly decreased when you are so big you are unable to take care of your own basic needs.
When kids are brought up in homes that share this mentality, they are at high risk of adopting it, and the cycle of ill health continues. One person's negative attitude about healthy living can effectively cut the lives of future generations short as well. Nobody wants to cut the lives of their children and grandchildren short, but that is essentially what is done when respected adults in the family adopt the mindset that unhealthy foods do no harm. I'm reminded of Alana Thompson from "Here Comes Honey Boo" on TLC from 2014, who was raised in a family with a similar unhealthy attitude towards food. What the attitude creates is a family destined for a host of chronic diseases. The stage in our country is set for one of the most abominable cases of self-destruction the human race has seen to date.
Ratey and Manning point out that airports are one of the many venues where these afflictions of civilization are easily observed. The first obvious sign is the level of people struggling with obesity, but they ask us to go deeper and take a look at the fitness and well-being of the non-obese as well.
Do they look content and happy? Do they have sallow and sagging skin and downcast eyes?
They ask us to then think back to the same airport scene twenty years ago. Do the pictures look the same?
Most of us would have to say no; they are markedly different.
They go on to point out an even more insightful irony. They remind us that airports are where we hear incessantly the warnings of the threat of a terrorist attack and the need for constant vigilance in that direction and point out very cogently that these imagined possible damages look tame in comparison to the very real damage to the people we see struggling through the airport. They ask, "Who did this to us? Can a greater threat be imagined to our future well-being as a species than the condition of our people? Can an act of terrorism be imagined that would be more terrible to more people than the injuries we have inflicted on ourselves?"
And, come to find out, the most injurious time in our lives as far as obesity is concerned is during young adulthood.
Statistics from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey show that the largest increases in obesity happen in young adults between the ages of 18-29. Many of these young people are college students at the time. I have seen this semester after semester in my classes, and more so in the last few years. I have especially seen it in the young women that I have worked with, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that at younger ages, this problem is becoming overwhelming to many of them.
Another battle that both sexes share due to the twenty-first century environment that might not be quite so obvious, but is just as important, is the transformation to the digital society. A great deal of discretionary time is now used by young adults to stay in touch with their online social circle. Around 4,000 texts per month was the average for most 18-24- year-olds in 2012. This comes out to six or seven texts every waking hour. Long gone are the days when a person's first instinct to contact a friend involved picking up a phone and calling or meeting in person for coffee or traveling to each other's homes to visit. Around two-thirds of US millennials text their friends three times as often as they e-mail, call, or see them in person. This means that young adults are most often having only brief contact with peers that involves no eye contact, no tone of voice, and very little emotion expressed (except as emoticons). Instead of the rich conversation of the past, these texts are made up of a solitary thought — one at a time.
Susan Pinker, in The Village Effect, speaks to this area of social and emotional life and its importance — the connections all of us have with the people in our lives. She says that our recent understanding of what is important to promote our health and happiness has been focused on the tangible: food, exercise, drugs, career, and success. We have found out scientifically that tobacco, sugar, salt, trans fat, and obesity shorten our lives, while physical activity, the right diet, and medicine prolong it. Very recently, we have discovered that our relationships, the people we know and care for, are just as important to our well-being. But the type of social contact needed to have this beneficial effect is face-to-face contact.
From life's beginning and at every stage of development, close contact with people affects the way we think, the people we decide to trust, and our monetary investments. These social ties influence our sense of life satisfaction, our brain power, and our resistance to infections and chronic diseases. As new science on diet, exercise, and different types of drugs have created life-changing breakthroughs in recent decades, even newer evidence shows that positive social bonds are just as transformative.
It is clear that face-to-face social contact is diminishing in our society. This is especially true for our young adults. Some of them are digital natives and it is hard for them to envision their life without their devices. When I first started teaching college, it was common to walk across campus and make eye contact with passers-by and often say "hello." That scenario is now almost unheard of, with most staring down at their phones while walking with earbuds in. Young adults are becoming more and more isolated from face-to-face social contact. In class, I make a strong point of starting each day with what I call team builders, or relational warmups. Every class session, students (we call them "team members") have to get physically warmed up while interacting in friendly ways with other classmates. I see a major change in their ability to pull this off by the end of each semester. They have learned how to create real social bonds over the course of just thirteen weeks.
I have seen that this "teamness" or sense of "us" has a beneficial effect throughout the class and throughout their lives. Whenever they communicate with me (via email, calling, texting, etc.), they refer to their team name and often they use the Positive Identification each one gives themselves to begin class (a positive adjective that starts with the same first letter of their first name, for instance Cool Callie, Jammin' Jasmine, etc.). This is a big change for them from their typical college class experience as I believe in many classes they never even learn their professor's name, let alone their classmates'.
By the way, Sarah's Positive Identification was "Spicy Sarah"!
A Word from Sarah: One Millennial's View on Isolation
Spicy Sarah here! I remember being a bit uncomfortable at first in Coach's personal conditioning class. There was a lot of hand shaking, direct eye contact, and the entrance of smiling strangers into my personal bubble. But it didn't take much time for the discomfort of it all to wear off and turn into excitement and positive energy. This discomfort was probably due to the fact that my contact with most people was through texting, email, or instant messaging, almost always with people I already knew and was comfortable with. With a digital form of communication, you have time to think before you say something. You can conjure up the perfect response to anything with enough time, and you always appear witty, funny, and friendly.
When you're staring at a stranger face-to-face and are forced to interact on a personal level, it forces you to be on your toes. You have to think faster to communicate. This takes far more mental energy than digitally communicating. Texting is an easy "out" to the mental energy you would otherwise have to expend talking to someone directly, be it by phone or in person. If you're communicating exclusively via digital means, you quickly begin to lose the skill required to actually have those real-time conversations.
Speaking solely from personal experience, this decrease in communication skill leads to social anxiety, which leads to further isolation, which eventually breeds depression and the host of ailments that come with depression.
If you take anything from this, please understand that forcing yourself into social situations that take you out of your comfort zone and communicating with strangers or people that are different from you is a beneficial activity and should be practiced on a regular basis.
Dealt a Bad Economic Hand
Andy Preisler, millennial blogger, writes about a final area that both young adult women and men are challenged with in the twenty-first century. He says, "Baby Boomers are upset with today's young adults. They are seen by them as lazy, lacking a strong work ethic, and not saving money. They are not getting married, having children, or buying homes. On top of all of that, many are perceived as being narcissistic. Gen X-ers have noted as well that millennials have not wanted to play by the rules of the traditional levels of management in corporate America."
He counters the Baby Boomer's view by proposing that the real victims in this situation are the millennials themselves.
Despite being the most highly educated American generation (27 percent have at least Bachelor's degrees), their median annual earnings are $2,000 less on average than their similarly credentialed peers back in 1980. Young adults have less net worth than prior generations at the same age. They are being forced to access their savings for crisis management. They are not investing in 401k plans or independent investments because they were traumatized by the crash of 2008. Many young adults have exorbitant student loan debt. The average is $35,000. Paying back at the minimum rate will keep them in debt for many, many years.
The economy has not picked up to the level it was pre-2008 and there is a higher rate of unemployment and underemployment. With stagnant wages and student loan debt, it would be difficult for millennials to ever save for their retirements. They are starting at lower salaries and may not ever make up the difference over the course of their careers. They will also inherit an ever-increasing level of federal debt and may not ever get social security or Medicare when they do reach retirement. Around 50 percent believe that social security and Medicare will be gone by the time they get there — what hope do they have?
In This Together
The stats above are some of the practical and day-to-day challenges both sexes face in this twenty-first century environment. They are battles of the sexes that both genders face together. Sarah and I believe that much can be done to help young adults overcome these challenges and we hope to be a part of the solution.
We are now going to shift attention to the gender-specific battles that each sex faces as a result of the way Western society has developed in the twenty-first century. These are the challenges that each gender is most vulnerable to because they are a young man or young woman and have the hormonal and brain structure inherited from generations past.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Battles of the Sexes"
Copyright © 2019 Dr. Joe Malone and Sarah Harris.
Excerpted by permission of Morgan James Publishing.
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.
Table of Contents
Urban Dictionary Definitions,
PART I The Battles Against the Mismatch 1,
Chapter 1 Major Battles of the Sexes: Junk Food & Junk Sex,
Chapter 2 Vicious Cycles: The Antics of Aunt Flo,
Chapter 3 The Female Food Trap — Junk Food,
Chapter 4 The Testosterone Trap — Junk Sex,
PART II Human Sexual Chemistry,
Chapter 5 The Chemical Laws of Attraction — Secret Sex Signals,
Chapter 6 The Visual Laws of Attraction,
Chapter 7 The Female Sexual Mystique,
PART III The Battle Between the Sexes,
Chapter 8 The Battle Between the Sexes: Sexual Conflict,
Chapter 9 Resolving Sexual Conflict Through Sexual Empathy, Sexual Respect, and Sexual Synergy,
PART IV College Days All the Way to Marriage Ways,
Chapter 10 Romance Wreckers — An Ounce of Prevention for Her,
Chapter 11 Romance Wreckers — An Ounce of Prevention for Him,
Chapter 12 United We Stand, Romantically Ever After,
Calling for a New Sex Ed,
About the Authors,