Wayne Anderson, Ph.D. is professor emeritus of Psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and has been writing a travel column and feature articles for many years for the Columbia Daily Tribune. He has three blog sites and his web site, and welcomes your visits.
When asked to review a book written by a friend and fellow journalist, one becomes a bit nervous not wanting to be too easy or too hard. This was especially true when my friend Yolanda suggested that I review The Changing Face of Sex by my friend Wayne Anderson.
Knowing Wayne’s background and his esteem position at the University of Missouri, I was more curious about the writing than the content. After all, we all know about sex and what has happened in the last century. But this turned out to be more than just the history of the sexual revolution.
The Changing Face of Sex is a memoir of the Dr. Anderson’s experiences though years of research and teaching human sexuality at the University of Missouri. This is his observations and comments as to the evolution of the American attitude concerning sex as achieved during his years teaching and counseling.
From the Victorian era of male ownership of women to the sexual revolution of the 1960’s to today’s teens and young adults attending college, Dr. Anderson attends to the history as if he were nurturing his own children. Each chapter is quietly gathered with comments, opinions and facts, including remarks from students concerning their sexuality, sex and relationships; hetero- and homosexual.
Anderson also speaks to issues that will make some uncomfortable; homosexuality and rape. It was in this section where some of the more insightful stories are told and Anderson’s relationship with sexuality seems to mature.
This section, titled “The need for therapists who don’t get all shook up” is as much a personal glimpse of a therapist coming of age as it is a look at the intimacy of the therapist/patient relationship. His discussions concerning not only the rape victim but the rapist himself is something I believe should be included in the preparation of future psychotherapists.
The other chapter I found most interesting is “Marriage and Divorce.” Again, once the reader gets to the facts, studies and comments, you will find a great deal of good information concerning the human need for personal relationships, especially the growth, leveling and death of “love.”
Is this a book for the general public? Not really, but it is a book for those who wish to understand the growth of the women’s liberation and LBGT movements. Or for those who know Anderson and his wife Carla.
Does this book have its short comings? Yes and no. Once the reader gets beyond the format of the personal memoir (of which I am also guilty in my writings), then the information is fascinating and quite revealing. More so, I believe that every parent of a teenaged child or newly minted college student needs to read – to be prepared for the fact that their kid is having sex.
I was expecting a dry, academic discourse concerning the life and times of human sexuality. What I received was an enjoyable discussion wrapped in the writer’s personal experience.