Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States

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New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year

The Social Organization of Sexuality reports the complete results of the nation's most comprehensive representative survey of sexual practices in the general adult population of the United States. This highly detailed portrait of sex in America and its social context and implications has established a new and original scientific orientation to the study of sexual behavior.

Based on interviews w/3,432 men & women/discusses effects of age, gender & marital status/extra-marital sex/etc.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Based on the National Health and Social Life Survey, a 1992 nationwide survey of 3432 American men and women between the ages of 18 and 59, this is one of two books reporting on the findings. This book is intended for professional social scientists, counselors, and health professionals, while Robert T. Michael and others' Sex in America, just published by Little, Brown, anticipates a more general audience. Beginning with the theoretical foundations, rationale for, and design of the methodology, the authors put the work in historical context as they assert its accuracy and generalizations, urging caution about interpretation and implications of their sometimes surprising findings. Though the study was designed largely to "fill significant gaps in our knowledge of sexual behavior associated with the acquisition of the AIDS virus," this book achieves a refreshingly readable examination of masturbation, sexually transmitted infections, cohabitation and marriage, fertility, and homosexuality. The text throughout is buttressed by graphs, charts, tables, diagrams, appendixes, bibliographic references, and author and subject indexes (not seen). For academic collections.-James E. Van Buskirk, San Francisco P.L.
A report on a survey of sexual behavior conducted by a research team centered at the University of Chicago, designed to determine the prevalence of sexual practices and place them in their social contexts. The results, not especially readable to the general public, offer statistics on aspects of American sexual behavior such as new partner formation, early sexual experiences, contraception and abortion, coercion, and sexual dysfunction. Includes numerous tables and graphs, and the complete survey questionnaire. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226470207
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2000
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 718
  • Sales rank: 1,096,758
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward O. Laumann is the George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago.

John H. Gagnon is the Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, at the State University of New York, Stony Brook.

Robert T. Michael is the Eliakim Hastings Moore Distinguished Service Professor and dean of the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago.

Stuart Michaels was the project manager of the NHSLS suvey and is currently adjunct clinical professor in the Department of Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Paris XI, France.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
1: Theoretical Background
2: The Study Design
3: Sexual Practices and Profiles of Sexual Expression
4: The Social Organization of Subjective Sexual Preferences
5: The Number of Partners
6: Sexual Networks
7: Epidemiological Implications of Sexual Networks
8: Homosexuality
9: Formative Sexual Experiences
10: Sex, Health, and Happiness
11: Sexually Transmitted Infections
12: Sex and Fertility
13: Sex, Cohabitation, and Marriage
14: Normative Orientations toward Sexuality
Appendix A: Sampling Procedures and Data Quality
Appendix B: Comparisons of the NHSLS with Other Data Sets
Appendix C: Text of the NHSLS Questionnaire
Author Index
Subject Index
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