Sexual Nature, Sexual Culture / Edition 1

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Overview

In this multidisciplinary study of human sexuality, an international team of scholars looks at the influences of nature and nurture, biology and culture, and sex and gender in the sexual experiences of humans and other primates.

Using as its center the idea that sexual pleasure is the primary motivational force behind human sexuality and that reproduction is simply a byproduct of the pleasurability of sex, this book examines sexuality at the individual, societal, and cultural levels. Beginning with a look at the evolution of sexuality in humans and other primates, the essays in the first section examine the sexual ingenuity of primates, the dominant theories of sexual behavior, the differences in male and female sexual interest and behavior, and the role of physical attractiveness in mate selection. The focus then shifts to biological approaches to sexuality, especially the genetic and hormonal origins of sexual orientation, gender, and pleasure.

The essays go on to look at the role of pleasure in different cultures. Included are essays on love among the tribespeople of the Brazilian rain forest and the regulation of adolescent sexuality in India. Finally, several contributors look at the methodological issues in the study of human sexuality, paying particular attention to the problems with research that relies on people's memories of their sexual experiences.

The contributors are Angela Pattatucci, Dean Hamer, David Greenberg, Frans de Waal, Mary McDonald Pavelka, Kim Wallen, Donald Symons, Heino Meyer-Bahlburg, Jean D. Wilson, Donald Tuzin, Lawrence Cohen, Thomas Gregor, Lenore Manderson, Robert C. Bailey, Alice Schlegel, Edward H. Kaplan, Richard Berk, Paul R. Abramson, Paul Okami, and Stephen D. Pinkerton.

Spanning the chasm of the nature versus nurture debate, Sexual Nature/Sexual Culture is a look at human sexuality as a complex interaction of genetic potentials and cultural influences. This book will be of interest to a wide range of readers--from scholars and students in psychology, anthropology, sociology, and history to clinicians, researchers, and others seeking to understand the many dimensions of sexuality.

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What People Are Saying

Paul Robinson
The primary achievement of this book is that it brings together in one place a series of perspectives that remain utterly separate. The intellectual assumption and the languages of the scientific and humanistic communities that study sexuality are widely different; yet the experience of being able to confront them, more or less simultaneously, is profoundly illuminating.
—(Paul Robinson, author of The Modernization of Sex)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction: Nature, Nurture, and In-Between 1
2 Sexual Nature: What Can We Learn from a Cross-Species Perspective? 17
3 Sex as an Alternative to Aggression in the Bonobo 37
4 The Evolution of Female Sexual Desire 57
5 Beauty Is in the Adaptations of the Beholder: The Evolutionary Psychology of Human Female Sexual Attractiveness 80
6 Sex Hormones and Sexual Behavior 121
7 Psychoneuroendocrinology and Sexual Pleasure: The Aspect of Sexual Orientation 135
8 The Genetics of Sexual Orientation: From Fruit Flies to Humans 154
9 The Cultural Management of Adolescent Sexuality 177
10 Sexuality, Infertility, and Sexually Transmitted Disease among Farmers and Foragers in Central Africa 195
11 The Pleasures of Homosexuality 223
12 Discourse, Intercourse, and the Excluded Middle: Anthropology and the Problem of Sexual Experience 257
13 The Pleasures of Castration: The Postoperative Status of Hijras, Jankhas, and Academics 276
14 The Pursuit of Pleasure and the Sale of Sex 305
15 Sexuality and the Experience of Love 330
16 Model-Based Representations of Human Sexual Behavior 353
17 Sexual Activities as Told in Surveys 371
Appendix: Theorizing Sexuality 387
Contributors 398
Index 399
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