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Sexual Attitudes: Myths and Realities Hardcover – April 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Sex is a topic American adults assume they know everything about. To explain the genesis of the myths and realities of modern sexual customs and ethics, two internationally known University of California sexologists (coeditors of Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia, Garland, 1994, and many other titles) turn their attention to the historical and cultural backgrounds-from the ancient Greeks and Romans through early and medieval Christian, Islamic, Chinese, and Indian cultural strains. Topics of discussion include prostitutes, pornography, obscenity, masturbation, transexualism, transvestitism, menstruation, abortion, sex labeling, nudity, and more. The discussion of each topic is presented in as unbiased a fashion as possible, although an unintentional Western skew is evident. Based as much in sociology as psychology, each thoroughly researched chapter ends with a three- to four-page bibliography of resources consulted. Larger public libraries may want this book, which is accessible to the informed public library patron; academic libraries should also purchase.
Scott Johnson, Meridian Community Coll. Lib., Miss.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 281 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (April 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879759496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879759490
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,598,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By John L Murphy TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Bulloughs have written a long shelf of studies on sexuality, and this collection of essays surveys efficiently and concisely various aspects of their field. Chapters ask "Why the Hostility to Sex?" and place blame with the Platonic and Christian strictures favoring the soul over the body, and spirit over the flesh. This survey makes powerfully and poignantly the case that Western attitudes have been tainted and crippled regarding the body. Alternative Views offers Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, and Chinese attitudes that all remind Europeans how comparatively narrow and guilt-ridden are what we often perceive as "natural" and "ordinary" perceptions towards sexuality. Each chapter sets out its findings with calm clarity and rational analysis, backed up by primary sources and a scholarly detachment combined with a humanistic acceptance of our diversity in our sexual desires and their satisfaction. Some material has been repeated in other publications by these prolific authors; this is a minor caveat, but I do want to warn that if you have read other material by these authors, that the entries here may lack freshness. However, the Bulloughs, leading scholars in this field, write calmly, learnedly, and persuasively.

With the third chapter, the classification popularized by early Christian thinkers such as Augustine takes the '"Unnatural" Sex' restrictions against nature that limited effectively any expression of sexual activity into that of the "missionary position" for purposes of procreation, and this even limited severely and largely reluctantly by many theologians. This makes for instructive if depressing reading, considering the long shadow cast over fifteen centuries since of repressed erotic and libidinal activity by most of the Western world.
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