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Understanding Men's Passages: Discovering the New Map of Men's Lives

Gail Sheehy

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ISBN 10: 0345406907 / ISBN 13: 9780345406903
Published by Ballantine Books, 1999
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Understanding Men's Passages: Discovering ...

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: New

Edition: 1.

About this title


Her stunning bestsellers Passages and New Passages brilliantly mapped the changes we live through from youth to maturity. Now Gail Sheehy guides contemporary men through the turbulent challenges and surprising pleasures that begin at forty. As a man crosses that threshold, he is bound to ask midlife's most troubling question: Now what? Work anxieties, concerns over sexual potency, marital and family stress, issues of power, all take on new urgency as men contemplate the decades ahead. But as Gail Sheehy reveals in this major new book, midlife is precisely the period when men are most likely to reinvent themselves and become masters of their fate. In Understanding Men's Passages, Sheehy offers all men--and the women in their lives--an essential guide to self-discovery.

Hundreds of bold, imaginative men--celebrities as well as everyday heroes--share here their most intimate desires, deepest fears, and most fervent cravings for renewal. Decade by decade, Sheehy uncovers the real issues facing men today: finding new passion and purpose to invigorate the second half of their lives, dealing with "manopause," surviving job change, enjoying post-nesting zest, defeating depression, and learning what keeps a man young.

Informative and inspiring, grounded in fact and full of fascinating life stories, Understanding Men's Passages is a landmark that will take its place beside Gail Sheehy's epoch-making Passages and New Passages.


Gail Sheehy's taboo-breaking book about women's menopause, The Silent Passage, was named one of the most influential books of our time by the Library of Congress. Understanding Men's Passages is just as powerful and is certain to change the landscape of the psychology of men. Inspired by her husband's struggle with a midlife career crisis, Sheehy has compiled nearly 10 years worth of interviews and research into this book, revealing the fears and self-doubts of men over 40 who struggle with identity crises both at work and with their partners and children.

Sheehy also defines male menopause as a period in which hormones, including testosterone--and therefore potency and sex drive--drop, and men suffer from irritability and mood swings. She cites the statistics that claim more than 52 percent of men between the ages of 40 and 70 can expect some degree of impotence--which translates into at least 20 million men. "When ignored or denied, this sexual freeze extends more deeply into every aspect of a man's life than was previously thought," she writes. "It can be an underlying cause of depression, divorce, even suicide."

The men Sheehy interviewed were surprisingly candid about their situations and are glad that they've opened up a discourse. Says one man about the silence regarding sexual changes his father endured during his passage into male menopause: "The only sign of getting older probably was that earlier trip to the bathroom in the morning--which we call the six a.m. passage." In addition to covering male menopause and the latest treatments for impotence, Sheehy also includes chapters on how to handle empty-nest syndrome, job downsizing, and the strain on marriage that retirement brings about, but her main point rings clear throughout: "We need an expanded definition of manliness."

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