Challenging everything from the mandates of the Catholic Church to the hotly debated ethics of pornography, and from the controversy surrounding gay rights to issues of gender and feminism, With Pleasure explores a new theory of human sexuality that ignites every hot topic in the public domain. What role, authors Paul Abramson and Steven Pinkerton ask, does sexual pleasure play in our lives? Is the pursuit of sexual enjoyment in our blood? Our brains? Our very nature? Regardless of the source, it can be agreed that the joys of sex are widely appreciated. Why, then, is pleasure so often overlooked in discussions of sexual behaviour, and why do cultural, historical, and religious treatises so often fail to emphasise, or outright ignore, this obvious aspect of human sexuality? Responding to these and many other questions about our most private affairs, With Pleasure provides a profoundly original challenge to the cherished truisms of human sexuality. Abramson and Pinkerton proclaim the paramount importance of pleasure, while at the same time overthrowing traditional ideas about gender, pornography, contraception, homosexuality, abortion, and much more.
Supported by rigorous research and co-written by one of the foremost authorities on sex, With Pleasure argues that human sexuality cannot be understood if its significance is limited to reproduction alone. The authors posit that in humans reproduction itself occurs as a byproduct of pleasure-not the other way around-and that it is the strong drive for pleasure that makes people overcome many obstacles-and even life-threatening dangers such as AIDS-to have sex. Ranging from discussions about the church to current debates about pornography, and from evolutionary theory to questions about the future of sex and pleasure, Abramson and Pinkerton argue persuasively that the pleasurability of sex cannot be restricted to purely reproductive behaviour. With Pleasure advances a startling and original new theory about human sexuality, one which the authors believe will replace all existing notions about sex. The book, standing in direct and deliberate opposition to traditions that try to confine sexuality to procreation, is sure to ignite a firestorm of controversy.
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(234mm x 156mm x 22mm)
Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
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US Kirkus Review »
A fresh and theoretically enticing approach to the study of human sexuality. Abramson (Psychology/UCLA), a leading authority on human sexuality, and colleague Pinkerton address the "long-standing tension between the procreative and the pleasurable aspects of sex." They see sexual pleasure as part of the evolution of the human species. That is, pleasure and the diversity of sexual activity it inspires, such as oral sex and homosexual relations, are actually advantageous to the survival of the species, since too much reproductive sex can be as dangerous as too little. They see pleasure as the motivating force behind reproductive sex, "but the impetus it provides is not specific to reproductive sex." They assert that bodies are made for pleasure, both biologically and psychologically, from hormones and pleasure centers in the brain to wide cultural variations in sexual behaviors. As must anyone discussing sex today, the authors confront and question current conceptions about AIDS: The widely accepted equation Sex = AIDS must be replaced with the equation Sex = Pleasure, they say. Although their criticisms of the anti-porn crusades are legitimate, they dismiss feminist concerns a bit too easily. By confusing human capacity for pleasure with the actuality of pleasure, they mask tremendous inequities experienced in many sexual relationships. Pornography expresses ideas mostly about nonreproductive sex, so by their logic porn must be accessible to those who desire nonreproductive alternatives. The evolutionary theory of sexual pleasure loses some punch with their predictions for the future. Envisioning a world where cybersex is the norm and sex has nothing at all to do with reproduction can be alienating and raises questions about the relationship between pleasure and human bonding. Sure to spark intense debate among those concerned with the study of human sexuality. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Paul R. Abramson
Steven D. Pinkerton recently received a doctorate in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Pinkerton has written extensively in the areas of human sexuality and AIDS prevention and is presently pursuing a broad research agenda in psychology and the behavioral sciences as a post-doctoral fellow at UCLA.