Sexuality Through the Life Cycle Book Report

Excerpt from Book Report :

These issues are highly politically complex, and the author makes it clear in this chapter that these issues are no less psychologically complex for the individuals that must make choices regarding them. The ability for these issues, especially that of abortion, to polarize society is quite large, and individual values and sentiments are often lost in the larger picture, it seems. Like other sexual values, the author attempts to make it clear that thoughts, attitudes, and practices of contraception and abortion can and do develop and change over time, and they form highly important parts of an individuals social and psychosexual identity in the modern world.

Chapter 12: Solitary Sex and Shared Sex

After long discussions on theory, development, and psychological as well as social issues in sexuality, this chapter delves more explicitly into actual sexual practices without losing sight of the psychology or the other factors of sexuality that influence these behaviors. The author covers the physical act of masturbation in both males and females and discusses the inner motives and drives to engage in this behavior, as well as dispelling several myths surrounding the activity (such as that only those without sexual partners are "reduced " to pleasuring themselves). He discusses other sexual practices, from vaginal intercourse to oral sex and a variety of others, with an equally descriptive and explanatory lens, outlining both the physicality and the psychology possibly at work in each of the various acts discussed, as well as the overall differences in the mind between providing sexual satisfaction for oneself, and sharing in the provision and receipt of satisfaction with another.

The author's ability to retain a highly objective and calmly explanatory style while discussing fairly explicit sexual acts is a large part of this textbook's success overall, and this is definitely demonstrated in this chapter. He makes it clear that each of the sexual acts described can be enjoyed by partners as long as sexual identities and values are permissive of the behavior, refraining from either positive or negative judgment in his descriptions but instead simply acknowledging the psychological facts or trends that have been witnessed. Some of the findings, such as the men think about and engage in sexual activity more often on average, are unsurprising but still informative.

Chapter 18: Sexual Dysfunction and Their Treatment

Before delving directly into the issue of specific sexual dysfunctions, the subject to which this chapter is primarily devoted, the author makes it clear that individuals perform different sexually, and that differences in the three stages of the human sexual cycle (desire, arousal, and orgasm) do not necessarily mean a dysfunction is in place. Different cultures, too, have different expectations and standards of sexual performance, leading to different definitions of dysfunction, and some of these standards might actually be a biological impossibility for many or most individuals -- and this can lead to sexual dysfunction in and of itself through increased psychological pressure and strain. There are a wide variety of sexual dysfunctions that can occur in men and women at any of the stages in the human sexual cycle, and there are likewise a variety of different causes for these dysfunctions; underlying factors can range from physiological issues to environmental factors, from substance abuse to purely psychological problems, and from a lack of desire to uncontrollable orgasms.

Again, the objectivity with which the author discusses these issues manages to be non-judgmental and informative without becoming overly clinical, making the issues discussed appear clearly relevant to anyone's understanding of human sexuality without causing any discomfort on the part of the reader. The clear (if uncertain) connections that the author draws between various sexual dysfunctions and their treatments -- as well as their underlying causes -- is also highly useful and easy to follow. As the final major chapter in this book, the author manages to end on as strong…

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