Facing the Complexities of Women's Sexual Desire / Edition 1

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Overview

Whether they involve excess, a decrease, or complete absence, problems of sexual desire drive women to consult sex therapists, couples counselors, and other practitioners (to say nothing of self-help books and talk-show hosts). Facing the Complexities of Women’s Sexual Desire, by veteran sex therapist Vera Sonja Maass, is one of the few books to address these intimate phenomena in practical clinical detail.



-Background chapters outline the often-conflicting factors influencing women’s sexuality and sexual response, both biological (e.g., hormones, pregnancy) and sociocultural (e.g., media images, double standards)



-"The Woman in Context" section explores individual characteristics and symptoms as manifested in relationships, particularly as terms of interpersonal styles and power dynamics



-Case histories and vignettes, from a wide range of women, illustrate different aspects of desire, desire disorders, and treatment options



-Current theories and therapies relevant to problems of desire are covered in depth



-An effective cognitive-behavioral model is applied in solo, couples, group, and single-sided relationship therapy settings



Its specialized focus makes Facing the Complexities of Women’s Sexual Desire an important addition to the bookshelf of sex and marriage therapists, clinical and women’s health psychologists, and students planning to enter these areas. And Maass has kept the book free of jargon so the non-professional reader, too, can make the most of her advice.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Women are increasingly seeking help for issues surrounding their sexual desire in our changing psychosocial climate. This has come in the form of seeking therapy, discussions with physicians, and self-help books. This book explores the situations of different women and addresses issues with their sexual desires within a broader perspective of identity and relationships.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide information and case examples regarding the range of problems manifested within the context of women's sexual desire. It also aims to provide a deeper understanding of other underlying issues and approaches that can be taken with therapy to resolve these issues. The main focus is on problems during the sexual desire phase, rather than sexual dysfunction during the performance phase.
Audience: The book appears to be aimed primarily at women struggling with the nature of their sexual desire, but it also may be appropriate for couples to further explore their relationship in this area. The organization of the book seems to be geared more towards therapists, but the content is probably too simplistic for this audience. The author is a veteran sex therapist and has a few presentations, but little scientific work in this area.
Features: The history of women's sexual desire and biopsychosocial influences are covered first. Topics then progress through potential explanations for common problems involving sexual desire from a variety of perspectives (e.g., psychological, developmental, medical). Identity development and power are themes later touched upon. The book ends with a description of emerging treatment approaches. While this sounds promising, unfortunately the author has not thoroughly researched all of these approaches (e.g., EMDR) and some are more gimmicks than valid treatments. The chapter on a specific cognitive-behavioral approach is fairly superficial and does not delve into anything more than the most obvious cognitive-behavioral principles in the case examples and does not provide any information about the inner workings of this approach (e.g., case conceptualization, homework assignments).
Assessment: This book seems to be caught between appealing to professionals and the average person. It is not written with the scientific rigor that would be expected if using it as a therapeutic guide, but it also is lacking the practical nature of a self-help book. The best that can be said is that the issues are likely to be relevant to many women. Nevertheless, in its attempt to straddle popular psychology and the professional literature, the book ends up serving neither audience well.
From the Publisher
From the reviews:

"Something of riveting interest in almost every chapter.... vignettes well done and often poignant.... analysis clear and immediately accessible.... a lovely offering."

Edward Shorter, Hannah Professor of the History of Medicine, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Canada

"I need to know more about the biology of sex, especially in women, and it was that part of Facing the Complexities of Women's Sexual Desire that I found most useful. … The essence of the book is many brief descriptions of important issues, along with some longer discussions as well. The brief descriptions make this a very readable book … . Overall, this is a terrific book that is sure to tell the reader new things about women’s sexuality." (Russell Eisenman, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 52 (39), 2007)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780387331683
  • Publisher: Springer US
  • Publication date: 11/14/2006
  • Edition description: 2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Vera Sonja Maass is a psychologist in private practice as well as a consulting psychologist to the Grey Clinic, Indianapolis, Indiana. She received her Ph.D. in Counseling at University of Missouri-Kansas City and is certified in marriage and family therapy and mental health counseling.

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Table of Contents

Background and Explanations.- Influences on Women's Sexual Experiences.- Desire-Phase Problems and the Search for Explanations.- Bio-Ethological and Social-Psychological Explanations.- The Women in Context.- Searching for Sexual Identity.- Symptom Manifestation Within Relationships.- Women's Relationships to Power.- Intra-Personal Considerations Relevant to Sex Therapy.- Toward Resolution.- Developments in Sexology and Sex Therapy.- Cognitive Behavioral Factors Relevant to Treatment.- A Practical Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment Approach.- Learning From the Past—Thoughts for the Future.

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