Description: This book describes how humans developed into sexual beings and includes a brief history of evolution, origins of human sexual culture, sexual pleasure, human mate choice, and sexual orientation. This was co-published Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, Volume 18, Numbers 2/3 and 4, 2006.
Purpose: According to the editor, "the main theme of this volume is the evolution of human sexuality, or evolved human sexual psychologies. A second theme is the identification of implicit conceptual assumptions about sexual attraction and the operational definition of key terms in order to promote greater integrity of conceptual models."
Audience: The intended audience includes "sexual scientists, scholars, and students who are relatively new to evolutionary theory." The editor, a clinical psychologist at the Department of Veterans Affairs in New Orleans, has published articles and book chapters on human sexuality.
Features: This book covers origins of human sexual culture, evolution of sexual pleasure, evolutionary psychology of human mate choice, sexual strategies across sexual orientations, and evolution of plasticity in female-female desire. The chapters are fairly easy to read and provoke interesting discussion. Dr. Kauth, the editor, is an excellent author of three chapters, including the last one, "Epilogue: Implications for Conceptualizing Human Sexuality," in which he brings up a very interesting point about what other contributors said about bisexuality: "Most evolutionists who contributed to this volume abandoned the conventional concept of sexual orientation (binary, exclusive) for descriptions of sexual behaviors and sexual relationships. Sexual categories simply do not capture the complexity and variety of human sexuality."
Assessment: Because this book is written from an evolutionary psychology perspective, readers can understand how ideas of sexuality have changed through the ages. The editor and contributors are good communicators and the topics provide for stimulating discussion. The only disappointment is that the book is rather costly.