Embargoed until the day--October 10--the press announced its overall findings, this is the popular report of the most authoritative study ever of sexual behavior in the U.S. (A companion report, The Social Organization of Sexuality
[Univ. of Chicago, $49.95, 0-226-46957-3], is addressed to social scientists, counselors, and health professionals.) Its most startling conclusion is that most Americans don't "do it" as much as the media and such previous surveys as Kinsey's have made us think. First explaining why this study accurately represents the entire U.S. population in its target age-range (18-59) and why the information gleaned from its respondents is credible, the smoothly edited text presents findings in 11 fields of inquiry: who our sex partners are, how we find them, how many of them we have, how often we have sex, how prevalent particular sexual practices and preferences are among us, how much we masturbate and use erotica and what we think of these things, how many of us have experienced homosexual feelings and behavior and how frequently, how many and what kinds of persons among us have ever contracted sexually transmitted diseases, how many and what kinds of persons among us have contracted the AIDS virus, how many have experienced forced sex, and how social attitudes correlate with the prevalences of certain kinds of sexual behavior. To say this is all fascinating is understatement, but to say it's at all scandalous is ridiculous. Instead, many will find it reassuringly commonsensical. They'll discover that their own sex lives are pretty normal and that if somebody else is making out like bandits, they're not enjoying it as much as Mr. and Mrs. John Doe. What a relief! Ray Olson
About the Author
Michael is the Eliakim Hastings Moore Distinguished Service Professor in and dean of the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago.
Edward O. Laumann is George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology, and Provost, University of Chicago.
Gina Kolata is a science reporter for "The New York Times" and the author of "Clone: The Road to Dolly "and" Sex in America." She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
John Gagnon is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology Emeritus at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of numerous works, including "Human Sexualities," "Life Designs," and "The Social Organization of Sexuality," the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.
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