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Sexuality and Its Disorders

Sexuality and Its Disorders
Development, Cases, and Treatment

472 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Sexuality and Its Disorders explores sexuality from an evolutionary perspective using powerful, real-life case studies to help readers provide effective guidance around issues relating to sexuality. Drawing on his 30 years of clinical experience and research, author Mike Abrams provides a comprehensive, evidence-based, and clinically-oriented text with cutting-edge coverage throughout. Discussions include the physical and psychological development of sexual identity; the social aspects of sexual behavior; the many expressions of sexuality; cognitive behavior treatment of sexual problems; and more. The many perspectives of sexuality are examined with interviews and commentaries from major figures in the field—including David M. Buss, Helen Fisher, C. Sue Carter of Kinsey, Todd K. Shackelford, Ken Zucker, and Gordon Gallup—who discuss such topics as the origins of sexuality, the nature of love, the role of attachment, and the treatment of sexual problems. 
Chapter 1: Overview of Sexuality
Case of Elena and Arthur

Defining Sex

The Making of Sexuality

Objectives of This Book

Interviews with Preeminent Researchers on Sexuality

Interview with David Buss, PhD

Chapter 2: The Basics of Sexuality
Sexuality and Gender

Sexual Reproduction

Sexual Reproduction and Genetic Variation

Red Queen Hypothesis

Sexual Competition

Sperm Competition

r/K Selection

Interview with J. Philippe Rushton

Sexual Dimorphism

Relationship Types


Pair Bonding


Sexual Selection


Chapter 3: History of Western Sexuality
The Nature of Historical Sex: Desirability and Debauchery

Sex in the Bible

Ancient Greece

Ancient Rome

Sexuality in the Medieval Era

Sexuality During the Renaissance

Sexuality in the Eighteenth Century


The Twentieth Century and the Sexual Revolution

Fear in Sexuality

An Interview with Dr. Joseph Ledoux

Chapter 4: Major Figures in Sex Research and Theory
Early Writings of Sexuality

Demons and Witchcraft: Early Explorations of Sexual Aberration and Mental Illness

The Renaissance and the Development of Sexology

Sex Research and the Reaction to Victorianism

Heinrich Kaan (1816-1893)

Karl-Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895)

Albert Moll (1862-1939)

Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935)

Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902)

Iwan Bloch (1872-1922)

Havelock Ellis (1859-1939)

Feminism and Early Research on Female Sexuality

Clelia Mosher (1863-1940)

Robert Latou Dickinson (1861-1950)

Katherine Bement Davis (1860-1935)

The Psychoanalytical School of Thought

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Modern Science and Human Sexuality

Paulo Mantegazza (1831-1910)

Ira Reiss (1925- )

William Masters (1915-2001) and Virginia Johnson (1925-2013)

Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956)

An Interview With Dr. Sue Carter of Kinsey Institute

Studies in Gender and Sexual Orientation

Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

John Money (1921-2006)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Albert Ellis (1913-2007)

Biological Perspectives

Gordon Gallup, Jr. (1941- )

Interview with Dr. Gordon Gallup

Chapter 5: Theories and Perspectives on Sexuality

Sexual Motivation and the Feedback Loop

Essentialism and Sexual Orientation

Humanistic Perspectives

The Decline of Humanism

Psychoanalytic Schools

Constructivist / Post-modern Perspectives of Psychoanalysis

Analytical Psychology

Constructivism and Social Relativism

Bio-Psycho-Social Point of View


Legal Approach

Social Constructionism

Evolutionary Perspectives

Developmental Theory

Evolution and Attachment Theory

Strategy-Based Theories

Interview with Dr. Todd Shackelford

Chapter 6: Sexuality Development and Developmental Psychology
Development of Gender

Interview with Gender Identity Expert Dr. Kenneth Zucker

Interview with Transgender Author and Clinician Dr. Diane Ehrensaft

The Development of Sexual Behavior

The Maturation of Sexual Behavior

Developmental Abnormalities

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

Biological Influences on Homosexuality

Chapter 7: The Psychology of Sexual Anatomy and Physiology
The External Male Sex Organs

The Internal Male Sex Organs

Hormones: Reproduction, and Sexual Development

Male Sexual Functions

The Female External Sex Organs

The Internal Female Reproductive System

Hormones and Reproduction

The Female Sexual Response

Sexual Responses in Men and Women


Chapter 8: Theories of Love and Attachment and Mating
The Evolutionary Approach to Love

Evolution, Cognition, and Motivation

Attachment Theory

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

Neurology and the Science of Love

Interview with Dr. Helen Fisher

Relationships and Commitment

Chapter 9: Dating and Mating
The Psychology of Dating

Evolutionary Perspectives on Dating/Mating Behavior

Interview with Dr. Douglas Kenrick

Mate Choice

Short-Term Mating Strategies

Case of Roderick

Long-Term Mating Strategies

Issues in Relationships

Culture and Sexual Behavior

Sexual Orientation

Agrarian and Hunter-Gatherer Societies versus Industrial Societies

Eastern versus Western

Sexual Pathologies

Current Trends in Courtship and Mating

Chapter 10: Sexual Disorders and Paraphilias
Classifying Sexual Disorders and Dysfunctions

Perspectives on Sexual Dysfunction

Prevalence and Incidence of Sexual Disorders


Case of Andy: A Paraphile Seeking Help

Dimensions of Paraphilic Sexuality

The Structure of Paraphilias

Prevalence of Paraphilias

Theories Related to Paraphilia

Theories of Masochistic Sexuality

Evolutionary Perspectives

Chapter 11: Treatment of Sexual Problems
Case of Sharon: Abuse, Masochism, and Troilism

The Nuances of Sexual Assessment

Case of Fabrice

Common Factors in Sexual Treatments

Cognitive Approach

Behavioral Approach

Treatment of Troubled Relationships


Problems with Arousal

The Case of Lorraine and Mark – Loss of Passion

Infidelity or "Cheating"

The Case of Linda and Vlad’s Marital Infidelity

Chapter 12: Sexuality and the Internet
Online Sexual Activities

Dating and Casual Encounters

Dating and Hookup Statistics



Adult Websites

Interview with Mike Stabile

Erotic Stories

Gender Differences in Online Sexual Behaviors

The Case of Arnet

Effects of Online Sexual Material


Online Sexual Predators



Instructor Site

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • Microsoft® Word test bank, is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. Highlight essential content and features.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide student interpretation. Combine cutting-edge academic journal scholarship with the topics in your course for a robust classroom experience.
  • Sample course syllabus provides suggested models for use when creating the syllabi for your courses.
  • Additional readings provide a jumping-off point for course assignments, papers, research, group work, and class discussion.
  • Audio interviews and questions
Student Study Site

The open-access Student Study Site includes the following:

  • Audio interviews
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide student interpretation. Combine cutting-edge academic journal scholarship with the topics in your course for a robust classroom experience.
  • Additional readings provide a jumping-off point for course assignments, papers, research, group work, and class discussion.

“In Sexuality and Its Disorders, Mike Abrams shares a wealth of knowledge about sexual matters gleaned from decades of observation and study. He shares fascinating facts, such as the myriad reasons why people have sex in the first place. Who knew that there are scores of reasons that go way beyond the obvious one – people do it for pleasure? Anyone who appreciates that sex is a crucial component of life, and who wonders about its scientific underpinnings, will learn a great deal from this book.”

Elizabeth F. Loftus, PhD
Distinguished Professor, University of California, Irvine

“This is a first-class text on human sexuality. Its scope is wide-ranging with historical and theoretical depth that gives readers a fabulous overview of the field. It springs to life with lively interviews conducted with today’s leading sexual scientists. And although theoretically eclectic, it uses a sophisticated evolutionary perspective to tie together the fascinating and diverse threads that make up human sexuality.”

David M. Buss
The University of Texas at Austin

“In this volume Mike Abrams has brought together great minds in this complex field. His insightful interviews, in particular, add new dimensions to our understanding of one of the world’s oldest mysteries – what is sex and what are the origins of variations in sexuality?”

C. Sue Carter
Director, The Kinsey Institute

“Mike Abrams has written a superbly comprehensive—and imminently readable—overview of historical and recent work on sexuality and disorders of sexuality. Students and instructors will find Dr. Abrams’s writing style engaging and straightforward, bringing excitement and enthusiasm to a fascinating field.”

Todd K. Shackelford, PhD
Distinguished Professor and Chair Co-Director, Evolutionary Psychology Lab

“Sex is an endlessly fascinating topic. Mike Abrams, a leading thinker on intimacy and sexuality, and treatments of these, lays out the story for us. Sexuality and Its Disorders is an engaging and informative book that should be of interest to lay people and professionals alike.”

Joseph LeDoux
Author of Anxious (Viking, 2015)

“This text fills an important but largely ignored gap by providing an accessible and comprehensive text on the psychology of sex and intimate relationships.”

Sue Becker
Teesside University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 6

Chapter 11

Michael P. Abrams

Mike Abrams, Ph.D., ABPP is a practicing psychologist with 30 years experience. He is a board certified Diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology, a Supervisor, Fellow and Diplomate of the Albert Ellis Institute. He is on the graduate psychology faculty of New York University where he has taught graduate courses in sexuality and psychotherapy.  His work on sex related issues began with his work at GMHC with people with AIDS; he was the first non-gay psychologist to volunteer to do such work in the mid 1980’s.  He spebt nearly 4 years helping, pro-bono, afflicted individuals along with their lovers and... More About Author

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