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Disorders Of Desire: Sexuality And Gender In…

Disorders Of Desire: Sexuality And Gender In Modern American Sexology

by Janice Irvine

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0877228981, Paperback)

This is the first book to examine the development and impact of sexology, the scientific study of sex, in the United States. Briefly recounting its century-long history, Janice Irvine begins with the pioneering research of Alfred Kinsey and analyzes the attempt by sexual scientists to associate themselves with biomedical methodology, in order to achieve the status of respected professionals in this country. Considering the development of modern sexological research and the clinical practice of sex therapy in the context of a broader social history of sexuality and gender, Irvine reveals how the content and direction of sexual science has been shaped by concerns for professional legitimacy, cultural authority over issues of sex and gender, and the creation of a market for information and therapy. Evolving from the rigorously empirical research of Kinsey, contemporary sexology is generally associated with biomedical laboratory investigations or psychotherapy. Cautious about the possibility of public censure or the restriction of public funding, research sexologists have been careful to present themselves as staid and dispassionate scientists engaged in ideologically neutral work. The book examines the social and political changes that have created an identity crisis within modern sexology, as it has confronted formidable external challenges. In the cultural turbulence of the late 1960s, a group of sexologists, inspired by the human potential movement, introduced controversial new methods of clinical practice that involved nudity, bodywork, and sexually explicit films. At the same time, the emerging feminist and gay liberation movements rejected the conventional behaviors and gender role prescriptions privileged by biomedical experts in sexology and articulated the connection between personal and political freedom. Modern sexology now is rife with conflict. "As a field in which scientists, pornographers, feminists, transvestites, therapists, and others uneasily share the podium," Irvine comments, "sexology's recent history can be characterized as a turf war among constituents over the control of cultural definitions of sexuality and gender." "Disorders of Desire" documents how sexology has failed to transcend factionalism and remains unable to control contemporary sexual discourse. Irvine shows how its volatile debates over issues, such as the G-Spot, the research of Shere Hite, childhood gender treatment centers, and AIDS represent fundamentally different constructs of human sexuality and individual freedom. Author note: Janice M. Irvine is a sociologist in the Community Health Program at Tufts University.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:41 -0400)

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