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Human Sexuality

Fourth Edition

Simon LeVay and Janice Baldwin

Publication Date - 11 November 2011

ISBN: 9780878935703

634 pages
9.5 x 11.5 inches

In Stock

Explores the changes and challenges facing the field of human sexuality


In this textbook, Simon LeVay and Janice Baldwin aim to help students understand the diversity of human sexual expression as well as the diversity of perspectives from which sexuality can be studied. Well known for its high-quality presentation of biological aspects of sexuality, Human Sexuality, Fourth Edition, devotes rich coverage to the insights gained from cognitive science, social psychology, sociology, feminism, and cross-cultural studies, along with both moral and political discourse on sexual themes.

The fourth edition provides up-to-date coverage of all topics, ranging from gay marriage in New York to the latest developments in contraceptive technology and exciting findings on pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV. Still the leader in terms of its biological coverage, the fourth edition also has expanded coverage of many other issues, ranging from sex-therapy exercises to learning theories of gender and paraphilias.

About the Author(s)

Simon LeVay, Ph.D. is a British-born neuroscientist turned science writer and teacher. He was educated at Cambridge University and the University of Göttingen, Germany. In 1971, he moved to the United States. He has served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and has taught at Harvard, the University of California, and Stanford University. LeVay has authored over 40 scientific studies; the best of known of these is a 1991 report in Science that described a difference in brain structure between heterosexual and homosexual men. This study helped spark a wealth of new research on the biology of sexual orientation. LeVay is the author or coauthor of ten books, some in the area of human sexuality and others on a broader range of scientific topics.

Janice Baldwin, Ph.D. is a sociologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is coauthor, with her husband John Baldwin, of numerous studies and articles in the area of sexuality and sex education, as well as the textbook Behavior Principles in Everyday Life, now in its fourth edition. The Baldwins co-teach an undergraduate Human Sexuality course that is regularly voted Best Course at UCSB. They also teach an advanced seminar course on the same topic. The Baldwins have been named as Best Professors on several occasions.

Previous Publication Date(s)

December 2008
November 2005
October 2002


"Keeping up-to-date with the ageless theme of sexuality along with the bio-psycho-socio-techno changes and challenges in the field of human sexuality is no easy task. However, this text is up to the task. Discovering Human Sexuality provides a nice overview with valuable substance for the reader to gain knowledge and develop perspective. Now in its fourth edition, the text remains an excellent college and introductory graduate textbook on the topic of human sexuality. Well done!" --Sigmund Hough, Sexuality and Disability Journal

Table of Contents

    1. Sexuality: Pathways to Understanding

    *Here and throughout the book, information from the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior

    *New BOX on partible paternity ("Meet My Dads")

    *Economic approach to sexuality

    2. Sex and Evolution

    *Males and females experience different reproductive risks: data from diverse cultures

    *Consensual and coercive sex among non-human primates

    *New studies on the adaptive significance of sexual reproduction

    3. Women's Bodies

    *New BOX on genital cosmetic surgery

    *Recent debate on mammography guidelines

    *Data on pubic hair removal practices

    4. Men's Bodies

    *"Controversy" BOX on male circumcision

    *Diagrams showing neonatal circumcision technique

    *New information on constituents of semen and their function

    5. Sex Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle

    *Molecular structures of sex steroids

    *Update on steroids in sports, including Caster Semenya case

    *The six core symptoms of premenstrual syndrome

    6. Sexual Development
    View this chapter (PDF, 3.98 MB)

    *BOX: An autobiographical essay by a young person with androgen insensitivity syndrome

    *Updated description of molecular genetics of sex determination, with new figure

    *Organizational effects of sex hormones on brain at puberty

    7. Gender

    *Influence of language on gender development

    *New findings on the brains of transexual men and women

    *"Controversy" BOX: How should we treat transgender children?

    8. Attraction, Arousal, and Response
    View this chapter (PDF, 2.42 MB)

    *Body mass index and attractiveness: Cross-cultural studies

    *New research on rape fantasies

    *Rewritten BOX on beauty and culture

    9. Sexual Behavior

    *New survey data on prevalence of sexual behaviors

    *Hewletts' research on the significance of frequent sex among the Aka

    *BOX: What is "great sex?"

    10. Sexual Relationships

    *Influence of sex ratio on college sex culture

    *What speed-dating studies tell us about flirtation

    *New findings on the brain basis of falling in love

    11. Fertility, Pregnancy, and Childbirth

    *BOX: Myths of pregnancy

    *Core precepts of preconception care

    *Are home births safe? ACOG versus midwives

    12. Contraception and Abortion

    *New ACOG guidelines on IUDs

    *New emergency contraception pill

    *BOX: Does abortion traumatize women?

    13. Sexuality across the Life Span

    *"Breast ironing" in Cameroon

    *Does marriage have a future? Contrasting views

    *Great sex after 60

    14. Sexual Orientation

    *Anti-gay violence in Africa

    *Gay teens' suicidal or thriving?

    *The latest on gay marriage

    15. Atypical Sexuality

    *"Controversy" BOX: Should hebephilia be listed as a mental disorder in DSM-5?

    *Object fetishism: I married the Eiffel tower

    *Priestly sex scandal hits Philadelphia

    16. Sexual Disorders

    *Expanded description of techniques: sensate focus, Kegels, coital alignment

    *Premature ejaculation: home remedies, sex therapy, or new drugs?

    *Faked orgasms: who, when, why--and why not

    17. Sexually Transmitted Diseases

    *Gonorrhea: The good news (falling incidence) and the bad news (increasing drug resistance)

    *Evidence for herpes transmission between outbreaks

    *HIV: pre-exposure prophylaxis

    18. Sexual Assault, Harassment, and Partner Violence

    *BOX: Rape in wartime

    *More on intimate partner violence at college

    *BOX: How young men can prevent sexual violence

    19. Sex as a Commodity

    *BOX: New York City: The changing face of prostitution

    *BOX: Portland, Oregon: Juvenile prostitutes

    *"Sexting: Is it a crime?

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