Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Sex Is Not a Natural Act and Other Essays

Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Sex Is Not a Natural Act and Other Essays

Article excerpt

Tiefer, L. (1995). Sex is not a natural act and other essays. Boulder, CO: Westview, 232 pp., no price (pbk).

When is a kiss not just a kiss and a sigh not just a sigh? When reading Tiefer's analysis and critique of popular and scholarly constructions of sexuality. Tiefer devotes an entire essay to kissing, and it is well worth the cover price.

In this collection of essays, Tiefer tears apart the false universalism of familiar models of sexuality, including Master's and Johnson's sexual response cycle and DSM systems of classification. She suggests that teaching about sexuality by discussing bodily organs is as wrong-headed as teaching about music by discussing the ear. She envisions a field of sexology which is creative, liberatory, collaborative, and even spiritual, rather than mechanical.

In most of the pieces, Tiefer's style is light, irreverent, and engaging, but at the same time the content is solid. For instance, the essay entitled, "In search of the perfect penis: The medicalization of male sexuality" includes historical information on the construction of the problem of impotence, a critique of biomedical approaches to male sexual problems and their genital focus, and ideas about how to change male sexual scripts. …

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