Synopses & Reviews
In spite of its central importance in human relationships, the study of sexuality has been somewhat neglected by social psychologists. This reader brings together a fascinating selection of articles which examine sex as a social phenomenon: as a group of behavior patterns that people engage in together, under the influence of social pressures, and indeed as ways that people relate to each other.
The study of human sexuality has often been approached from clinical, medical, physiological, and technical perspectives, but until recently the social aspect of sexuality has been neglected. This volume presents a selected group of influential articles dealing specifically with the social aspects of sexuality. It offers an excellent introduction for students wishing to understand sex as an activity that human beings do with each other, and it complements the how-to and biological approaches that prevail in many current textbooks. Topics covered include crucial differences between male and female sexuality, losing virginity, the competing versus complementary influences of nature and culture, sexual harassment, rape and coercion, jealousy, social influences on sexual orientation, and the sexual exploits of students on spring break.
The book begins with an original chapter by the Editor. It comments on the current state of research in the social aspects of sexuality and then goes on to sketch out an integrative overview of how social processes can shape a broad variety of sexual behaviors. Following that, the key readings are presented in a series of thematic sections. Each article or pair of articles is presented with a conceptual introduction to provide its broader context, including discussion of other relevant works. After the readings there are discussion questions and suggestions for further reading. Nearly all the articles are recently published, and so the reader will quickly obtain an up-to-date acquaintance with much of the best new work on the topic. This currency also reflects the recent upsurge in interest in how social psychology has much to offer the study of sexuality.