Book Review: The Demise of Guys

Demise of Guys cover

This research-based wake-up call is highly recommended for therapists working with male clients under 35. It criticizes boys’ increasingly pervasive virtual reality experiences and encourages real world activities as early in life as possible. It suggests that some risk-reward brain circuit changes may be lasting and incrementally damaging.

This new e-book is a fast tour of psychological issues facing boys and young men — generally age 35 and under. It offers many research-based observations about a mental health crisis facing this population which is losing its sense of direction and motivation to participate in real world activities like relationships and careers, due to brain (particularly within the nucleus accumbens and pleasure-reward circuits) and behavioral changes which are adaptations to over-use of online pornography and gaming.

The problem is that gratification is so easily accessible in virtual reality, that the hard work and inevitable complexity of real world experience is no longer considered to be worth the effort. The reward experience of online stimulation is “good enough” to dull the biological impulses for trying to form a relationship for sexual experience, or for trying to overcome obstacles for personal growth. The problem is compounded by the brain’s reward circuit need for continual novelty (which is very hard to achieve in real life) and for increasing stimulation (more dramatic, louder, bigger, more realistic) leading to “higher doses” being required to achieve the same dopamine/adrenaline surges. In addition other side effects have been researched, such as change in sleep patterns, body mass index, health issues and time allocation. In general, young men, their parents and their therapists would be well-advised to read this book and take appropriate action, as soon as possible.

From a Polarity perspective, this phenomenon can be interpreted as a “Yang deficient” (the archetype of the Wimp) phenomenon. Theoretically it is a pendulum swing away from “Yang surplus” (the archetype of the Tyrant) conditions of prior generations. In combination with the chemical feminization of modern times produced by environmental problems such as over-usage of plastics (“estrogen mimickers”) and the massive problems with medication-based therapies (see www.ssristories.com), the trend is very worrisome and deserves close attention by therapists.

It is very useful for the field of psychology to study subgroups in such depth. Clearly each population has specific factors, for example the book On Killing was a great resource for working with war veterans, and the field of prenatal psychology has blossomed in recent years with many new titles. Like these others, The Demise of Guys has a great usage of footnotes and citations, offering a clear path for further study.

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