Sex and Self-Respect: The Quest for Personal Fulfillment

Sex and Self-Respect: The Quest for Personal Fulfillment

Sex and Self-Respect: The Quest for Personal Fulfillment

Sex and Self-Respect: The Quest for Personal Fulfillment


An exciting, in-depth approach to understanding the individual's experience in sexual love, and an exploration of the nature of the self and sexuality. It describes a wide range of violations of sexuality and resulting injuries to self-respect.


In the enduring quest for sexual love, we seek our deepest fulfillment and find our deepest pain, and in this quest we find the most profound challenge to who we are and how we feel about ourselves. I arrive at this conclusion after more than twenty-five years as a psychologist listening to the painful stories of my clients. To learn to help others I found I needed to understand sexuality and the nature of the self in a depth, breadth, and manner that I could not have imagined when I undertook the study of clinical psychology as a young man. I needed theoretical knowledge about the biology of the human organism and the psychology of personality, and I needed to understand myself; so a lot of my learning was experiential. My own being and story became the laboratory and the book. I found this to be the toughest kind of learning. In this book, I try to put into words some of what I have learned so far.

Sexuality and selfhood are the broad themes. Human sexual behavior, like other animal sexuality, is the outcome of evolution, and sex is the medium through which evolution worked to create our present form. Human sexuality is unique, however, in being profoundly influenced by culture. Many versions of masculinity and femininity emerge when human biology--our sexuality--is lived in and through culture.

A profound aspect of our being emerges out of the confluence of our biology and our culture--the self. Each self--each of us--has cognizance of our own yearnings for fulfillment and, given fortuitous circumstances, will pursue fulfillment in one of multitudinous possible ways. This quest is necessarily, inevitably, and uniquely tied to the expression, fulfillment, and fate of our sexuality.

While the fulfillment of selfhood is ineluctably linked with the fulfillment of sexuality, the two are not always identical. I view them as two poles of . . .

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