Review of The Men on My Couch: True Stories of Sex, Love and Psychotherapy

Sometimes a book just reaches out and grabs me by the throat and demands that I listen.  The Men on My Coach by sex therapist, Dr.Brandy Engler, grabbed me and shook me to the core. One by one she allows her therapeutic sessions with these normal average guys to unfold in front of our eyes.

When Dr. Brandy Engler opened her sex therapy practice for women in Manhattan, she got a big surprise. Most of the calls were from men. They wanted to talk about womanizing, porn addiction, impotence, prostitutes—and most of all, love.

You may not like these men, the decisions that they make, or the way they live life.  Yet I believe that you will be mesmerized, as I was, by their openness and by the journey Dr. Engler takes with each man.  She allows you not only to understand the conflicts, struggles and actions of these men, but also her reactions to them.

By adding her personal responses, by taking male issues to her female friends for their feedback, and by following the maturing of her own romantic life, we encounter a level of honesty and understanding that is rare in self-help books.

As a young woman starting a sex therapist practice in New York City, she expected to help women by using her expertise in the psychological issues that cause low sexual desire. Instead she found herself inundated with men crying out for help.  As the flood of men descended upon her, she found herself in conflict.  As a woman she was often repulsed by the thinking and choices of these men.

As a professional, she had to put her feelings aside and find a way to understand and help them.   As she listened to them talk about infidelity, love, philandering, the use of prostitutes, their desire for intimacy, she found that many of her preconceived notions about men were totally inaccurate.  Men will find this book gives them a place to go to better understand some of their thinking and actions.  Women will find an understanding of men and their own responses to men that few books can offer.

You will look at the price of our commitment in America for more democracy and closeness in relationship.  As important and essential as sharing chores and speaking freely and intimately to each other is, many couples have lost track of the sense of mystery and adventure in their life and in their sexual life.  As confusing as this may seem- comfort, intimacy and safety in relationship can undermine sexual intimacy and eroticism.

Additionally, many people do not understand how passive and inauthentic we can be in our personal lives. We often act out of our beliefs about life or the roles that we think we are to play. Often we attempt to treat others like we think they want to be treated.

As well intentioned as these efforts may be, they often leave our relationships less vital and alive.  You will follow men who lack self-awareness; yet, even they sense when their partner is going through the motions rather than authentically relating to them.  The spiral of interactions and the price of the decisions that come from attempting to avoid being vulnerable comes alive across the pages.

Only when we allow ourselves to be fully seen by those closest to us are we able to be fully alive. You will come to understand the importance of reasonable risk in bringing more aliveness and a more fulfilling sexual life to each of us.

And, of course, sex is never just sex.  You will listen to stories where men are acting out life wounds in their relationships.  So often I am asked, “Why do I have to heal my wounds from the past to have a good relationship today?”  For those that don’t think they need to go back and heal, I believe that gently and gradually you may find yourself reconsidering.

Have fun and enjoy.  More aliveness awaits all of us.  Dr. Engler can help us all as we explore the adventures ahead of us if we choose to live life more fully.

Author Information

Allen Rader, LCSW – Allen is a therapist, entrepreneur and founder of ATS Wellness and Therapy: therapy and wellness strategies and occasionally writes for Indyatwork.com, a business blog for the Indianapolis community. He enjoys assisting people in transforming their lives rather than just learning to cope with the challenges of life.

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