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With Pleasure: Thoughts on the Nature of Human Sexuality [Paperback]

Paul R. Abramson , Steven D. Pinkerton
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 26, 2002 0195146093 978-0195146097 Rev Sub
Challenging everything from the mandates of the Catholic Church to the hotly debated ethics of pornography, and from the controversy surrounding gay rights to issues of gender and feminism, With Pleasure explores a new theory of human sexuality that ignites every hot topic in the public domain. What role, authors Paul Abramson and Steven Pinkerton ask, does sexual pleasure play in our lives? Is the pursuit of sexual enjoyment in our blood? Our brains? Our very nature? Regardless of the source, it can be agreed that the joys of sex are widely appreciated. Why, then, is pleasure so often overlooked in discussions of sexual behavior, and why do cultural, historical, and religious treatises so often fail to emphasize, or outright ignore, this obvious aspect of human sexuality?
Responding to these and many other questions about our most private affairs, With Pleasure provides a profoundly original challenge to the cherished truisms of human sexuality. Abramson and Pinkerton proclaim the paramount importance of pleasure, while at the same time overthrowing traditional ideas about gender, pornography, contraception, homosexuality, abortion, and much more. Supported by rigorous research, With Pleasure argues that human sexuality cannot be understood if its significance is limited to reproduction alone. The authors posit that in humans reproduction itself occurs as a byproduct of pleasure--not the other way around--and that it is the strong drive for pleasure that makes people overcome many obstacles--and even life-threatening dangers such as AIDS--to have sex. Ranging from discussions about the church to current debates about pornography, and from evolutionary theory to questions about the future of sex and pleasure, Abramson and Pinkerton argue persuasively that the pleasurability of sex cannot be restricted to purely reproductive behavior.

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Stimulating and informative and written with ample wit... The authors' central argument is that sex is for pleasure, not procreation, because it is usually pleasure that provides the motivating force for human sexual activity."--Scientific American


"Stimulating and informative and written with ample wit.... The authors' central argument is that sex is for pleasure, not procreation, because it is usually pleasure that provides the motivating force for human sexual activity."--Scientific American


"A fresh and theoretically enticing approach to the study of human sexuality....Sure to spark intense debate among those concerned with the study of human sexuality."--Kirkus Reviews


"Abramson and Pinkerton amass an array of evidence that sexuality in all of its myriad manifestations is inherently pleasurable. Moreover, they argue that sex-as-pleasure is primary over sex-as-reproduction as the evolutionary and psychological motivator for seeking sexual outlets. Furthermore, they insist that embracing all consensual, adult sexuality will make sex safer and perpetuate the species but with increased pleasure. Thus, With Pleasure is a scholarly, provocative, and brave book that will both evoke discomfort in the sexual puritan and instill hope in the sexual liberal as it increases the tolerance of all to the celebration of sexual pleasure."--Donald L. Mosher, Professor of Psychology, University of Connecticut


"With Pleasure is a thought-provoking, insightful examination that takes pleasure out of the closet and challenges us to rethink commonly-held assumptions about the nature of sexuality. It is a welcome addition to my library that I predict will drive public discussion and future academic research."--Angela Pattatucci, Associate Investigator, National Institutes of Health


"Stimulating and informative and written with ample wit.... The authors' central argument is that sex is for pleasure, not procreation, because it is usually pleasure that provides the motivating force for human sexual activity."--Scientific American


"A fresh and theoretically enticing approach to the study of human sexuality....Sure to spark intense debate among those concerned with the study of human sexuality."--Kirkus Reviews


"Abramson and Pinkerton amass an array of evidence that sexuality in all of its myriad manifestations is inherently pleasurable. Moreover, they argue that sex-as-pleasure is primary over sex-as-reproduction as the evolutionary and psychological motivator for seeking sexual outlets. Furthermore, they insist that embracing all consensual, adult sexuality will make sex safer and perpetuate the species but with increased pleasure. Thus, With Pleasure is a scholarly, provocative, and brave book that will both evoke discomfort in the sexual puritan and instill hope in the sexual liberal as it increases the tolerance of all to the celebration of sexual pleasure."--Donald L. Mosher, Professor of Psychology, University of Connecticut


"With Pleasure is a thought-provoking, insightful examination that takes pleasure out of the closet and challenges us to rethink commonly-held assumptions about the nature of sexuality. It is a welcome addition to my library that I predict will drive public discussion and future academic research."--Angela Pattatucci, Associate Investigator, National Institutes of Health


"A great book for a society in which puritans from the left and right tell us that sex without reproduction is unnatural and wrong. This view fails to take into account the behavior of some of our closest animal relatives. With Pleasure successfully broadens the view of the role of sex in society by presenting a more informed picture of nature."--Frans de Waal, author of Chimpanzee Politics and Peacemaking among Primates


"Sex Appeal flows in an intuitive series of ideas and expresses thoughts that may be obvious, but seem to be seldom practice. The six logical principles regarding sex for our era outlined in Paul Abramson's book are not only interesting, but vital to a peaceful existence."--As reviewed on the blog, Feminist Review


About the Author

Paul R. Abramson is one of the world's most eminent scientists in the field of human sexuality. He is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles and a former editor of the Journal of Sex Research. He has been a technical advisor to the World Health Organization's Global Program on A.I.D.S. and is the author of six books, including Sexual Nature, Sexual Culture and Sarah: A Sexual Biography. Steven D. Pinkerton recently received a doctorate in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Pinkerton has written extensively in the areas of human sexuality and A.I.D.S. prevention and is presently pursuing a broad research agenda in psychology and the behavioral sciences as a post-doctoral fellow at U.C.L.A. .

Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Rev Sub edition (September 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195146093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195146097
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #885,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing book September 23, 2004
By Emberek
Format:Hardcover
This is an intriguing book, provocative in its content and noteworthy in its presentation. In terms of presentation, the book is not just social science or behavioral science but has something of the flavor of a legal brief. That is, the authors are concerned not only to expand a reader's conception of human sexuality but to argue that such an expanded conception is a good thing. They militate against narrow views of human sexuality by bringing in evidence from primate behavior and from human societies that are outside the mainstream. The central argument of the book is that sex, as the authors have observed it in its various forms, does not have as its primary end procreation but is an act done, well, "with pleasure" and therefore has procreation as its byproduct. And then the authors take off their empirical behavioral-science hats and go into advocacy mode: since sex is observed to be done "with pleasure," everybody therefore should see sex as primarily about pleasure and not procreation. And the authors go from observational mode to advocacy mode quite seamlessly, "with pleasure," I should say. The authors don't have to go out of their way to provoke; some of the information presented here is so eye-widening as to be provocative in its own right. The book is overall quite entertaining, and I recommend it to open-minded readers wishing to be entertained and as well to more conservative readers willing to be open-minded, at least for the duration of the reading of the book.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Professors Abramson and Pinkerton have done an admirable job analyzing human sexuality from a modern (i.e., multi-disciplinary) perspective. Their thoughtful presentation demonstrates great moral and intellectual courage. Consequently, I predict their book will be kindly received by thoughtful individuals well into the future. A hearty thanks to the authors for having written this ground-breaking book!
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book March 15, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Very informational and educational. Easy to read and not dull as expected.
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