Sexuality: New Perspectives

Sexuality: New Perspectives

Sexuality: New Perspectives

Sexuality: New Perspectives

Synopsis

This volume brings together a variety of views of and approaches to some of the central issues currently under scrutiny in the area of human sexuality. These articles by clinicians and academicians focus on topics such as gender identity, sexual orientation, AIDs, sleep psychology, and ethics. The collection is divided into four sections, covering female sexual issues; gender identity and psychotherapy; medical and psychological aspects of sexual behavior; and attitudes, values, and ethics.

Excerpt

This volume is a collection of articles by clinicians and nonclinical academicians on diverse aspects of sexual behavior. Its goal is to direct attention toward important areas rather than to provide the all-inclusive coverage of a textbook. In its emphasis on variety, the volume is similar to a symposium or conference at which professionals with different specialized perspectives discuss topics under a common umbrella. This feature of Sexuality:
New Perspectives
highlights a quality of the behavioral sciences that is both stimulating and troublesome. Scholars from different disciplines often discuss behavior in such different ways that any general agreement about potentially controversial issues is surprising. The interdisciplinary nature of the field of human sexuality warrants emphasis. One has only to contrast the backgrounds of Sigmund Freud (a psychiatrist), Alfred Kinsey (an entomologist), and William Masters (a gynecologist) to realize that when behavioral scientists discuss sex they ofen do so from knowledge perspectives that differ widely.

The editors of this volume are clinicians. The selection of chapters was particularly influenced by the experience of one of us (Richard C. Friedman) in the preparation of the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatry (DSM-III) and another (Zira DeFries) with the academic communities of Barnard College and Columbia University.

The DSM-III attempted to summarize the state of psychiatry in 1980. The selection on psychosexual disorders was particularly challenging because the approach was so radically different from that of the previous edition, DSM-II. As we worked on revising the Diagnostic Manual, it became clear that the problems with which the psychosexual disorders group struggled, although obviously different in content from those of other groups (e.g., affective disorders, schizophrenia), were astonishingly similar. The similarities stemmed from key features of the state of the clinical behavioral sciences in 1980, which remain just as true today. First, facts about huge areas of behavior were hard to come . . .

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