Psychoendocrinology of Human Sexual Behavior

Psychoendocrinology of Human Sexual Behavior

Psychoendocrinology of Human Sexual Behavior

Psychoendocrinology of Human Sexual Behavior


Preface List of Figures List of Tables Part I: Introduction Hormones: What They Are and How They Work Sexual Behavior: Its Measurement, Theory, and Pathology Psychoendocrinology of Sexual Behavior: Background Part II: Psychoendocrine Relationships in Human Sexual Behavior The Beginnings: Conception and the Fetal Stage Childhood, Puberty, Adolescence Adulthood: The Male Adulthood: The Female The Dyad Aging Part III: Integration and Conclusions Sexual Disorders Role of the Central Nervous System in Psychoendocrine Relations Social Factors in Human Psychosexual Relationships Conclusion References Index About the Author


My strongest impression in reading Harold Persky's welcome addition to the series on "Sexual Medicine" is that this is the work of a scholar. Persky cites more than 350 references. the field needs an up-to-date review of the Psycho-neuro-endocrinologic aspects of sexual behavior; this volume answers that need. the scope of this work is truly astonishing.

My second reaction concerns the book's uniqueness. As the author says in Chapter 10, there are "three alternative ways of viewing sexual psychoendocrinology . . . (1) the sexual response cycle, (2) gonadal hormone metabolism, and (3) psychodynamics." Persky instead has selected a developmental or ontogenic perspective. Taking the reader through the various stages of life cycle from fetus through aging, he is able to use the stages of the developmental life cycle as anchor points for an integrative and panoramic description.

Since relatively few readers are both experts in endocrinology and sexual behavior, Persky uses the first three chapters as a kind of primer for those of us less expert in the relationships between these two fields. Thus, I think the book will be very useful to the thousands of sexologists whose knowledge of endocrinology ranges from that of the neophyte to that of the professional, and to those endocrinologists who have only a limited knowledge of sexology.

One of the difficulties with most approaches to this field is that authors, trained in a special field, tend to present data from that viewpoint; hence we are presented with a number of reductionist positions. These can be psychologic, neurologic or endocrinologic. I even have come across a number of sociologists who see all sexual phenomena in terms of social institutions, social attitudes and customs. a truly integrative approach is probably impossible to find, but Persky comes as close to it as any I have seen. For the most part, he avoids the reductionist trap. As an endocrinologist and a chemist, the data tilts in the direction of explaining behavior on the basis of biologic phenomena, but the tilt is constantly being corrected, as if the author himself has an internal servoregulatory system that lets him know if he tilts too far in one direction or another.

An intriguing example of the integration of data, one that is close to my heart since I participated with Dr. Persky in research he cites in Chapter 8 ("The Dyad"), is the description of interpersonal phenomena involving the . . .

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