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Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32, No. 1, February 2003, pp.

79–88 ( C 2003)

Book Reviews
The Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy Is as Necessary as Love and Sex. By David M. Buss. The Free Press, New York, 2000, 256 pp., $25.00. Reviewed by Michael C. Seto, Ph.D.1 This book is written for anyone interested in the psychology of jealousy, relationships, and relationship violence. It is not, however, for the faint-of-heart. Buss’ main thesis is that jealousy is a Darwinian adaptation and therefore was associated with reproductive success in the past because of the potential costs of being cuckolded (for males) or abandoned (for females) in ancestral environments. As such, jealousy may be an inherent component of romantic relationships. More proximally, Buss argues that jealousy can be understood as an emotion that motivates behavior when the fidelity or commitment of one’s partner appears to be threatened (see Frank, 1988). Jealousy can also be viewed as an indication of the value that the jealous person places on a relationship. In fact, Buss (1989) suggests that jealousy may sometimes be evoked to test a partner’s commitment. Whatever its function, jealousy is prevalent and appears cross-culturally. Briefly, the Darwinian logic is as follows: There is a fundamental sex difference in the minimal investment required for producing offspring, as outlined in Trivers’ (1972) parental investment theory. Because of the obligate costs of gestation, human females have a greater minimal investment in offspring. As a consequence, access to the security and resources provided by a committed male partner is the main constraint to female reproductive success. At the same time, males cannot be certain about the paternity of their putative offspring, whereas females can always be confident about their maternity. As a consequence, males run the risk of investing their precious time, energy, and resources on another male’s offspring rather than their own, whereas females do not run this risk. From these sex differences, one can predict that females are more affected than males by emotional infidelity, and the potential threat to their partner’s commitment, whereas males are more affected than females by the threat of sexual infidelity, and the potential
1 Law

and Mental Health Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 1001 Queen St. West, Unit 3, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6H 1H4; e-mail: michael seto@camh.net.

threat of investing in another male’s offspring. This hypothesis has been tested in research comparing males and females in the relative distress they report and /or exhibit physiologically—in terms of heart rate, skin conductance, and brow muscle tension—when either imagining their partner having sex with someone else or imagining their partner becoming emotionally close to someone else without sexual involvement: Males are relatively more upset by imagining sexual infidelity whereas females are relatively more upset by imagining emotional infidelity (e.g., Buss et al., 1999; Buss, Larsen, Westen, & Semmelroth, 1992; but see Grice & Seely, 2000; Harris, 2000). As Buss shows in this book, other empirical findings about jealousy can also be incorporated into this theoretical framework. Beyond the immediate distress that is associated with jealousy, jealousy is implicated in relationship violence. As demonstrated in important research by evolutionary psychologists Wilson and Daly (1996), women who are involved with jealous men are particularly vulnerable to violence. For example, in a large survey of more than 8,000 participants, they found that women who indicated that the description “He is jealous and doesn’t want you to talk to other men” was true of their spouses were 10 times more likely (39% vs. 4%) to have experienced serious violence in their relationship. This effect is reflected in homicide data: Women who attempt to leave their spouses are at significantly greater risk for being killed than are other married or cohabitating women (Wilson & Daly, 1993). Wilson and Daly interpret these findings as evidence that the functions of relationship violence are deterrence and control. In their view, homicides are usually unintentional and occur when the violence gets out of hand. Buss goes further and speculates that there may be an evolved matekilling module; under certain circumstances, it might have been adaptive in ancestral environments to kill one’s mate rather than end the relationship (e.g., to preserve one’s reputation). The book is organized into nine chapters. Buss writes with a very clear and engaging style and is very good at explaining the Darwinian logic underlying sex differences and the functions of jealousy in Chapters 1 through 3. Buss aptly covers spousal violence in Chapter 5, describes hypotheses and research on infidelity in Chapters 6 and 7, suggests coping strategies for dealing with jealousy in Chapter 8, and summarizes his main ideas in Chapter 9. Unfortunately, Chapter 4 is weak. In this chapter, “The 79
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2003 Plenum Publishing Corporation

D. (1993). The observation of an age-related testosterone decline during male senescence brings forward the debatable notion that a significant number of aging men may be testosterone-deficient and. Journal of Research in Personality. Edited by Christina Wang.D. with brief reference to the clinical management of pubertal disorders. 34. The functional interactions within the hypothalamic–pituitary–testicular axis have been well documented.” Buss reviews different research studies and unsuccessfully attempts to link them to his main thesis (e. 1999.. R. physiology. Trivers. Spousal homicide risk and estrangement. (1996). T. R. Schiavi. 166). New York. Kluwer Academic Publishers. termed apoptosis. he sometimes presents anecdotes and case examples as support for his ideas (e. 3. M. M. the empirical investigation of these propositions may guide us to a better understanding. but there is still no consensus on clinical criteria for determining whether an aging man is androgen-deficient and should be considered for hormonal treatment. and the safety of androgens on prostate and 2 Chemin de Roucas Troucas. Personal Relationships. However. anecdotes and case examples only demonstrate the existence of a phenomenon. have generated useful theories about human psychology as a product of evolution. 337 pp. with testable hypotheses and supportive findings. Male Reproductive Function.). and relationship violence. $189. 3. Male sexual proprietariness and violence against wives. D. C. (1972). E. 56.2 This edited volume provides an up-to-date review of information on male reproductive function and its disorders. describing the prevalence of jealousy among alcoholic men) and speculates about the potential relationships between male impotence.” REFERENCES Buss. Choe. Sexual selection and the descent of man. Passions within reason. 735–747. have accurately detected subtle cues that their mate was being unfaithful).. do not add up to scientific evidence” (p. M. 6. Less known.fr. attraction.80 Othello Syndrome. social. M. et al. M. and love. Jealousy and the nature of beliefs about infidelity: Tests of competing hypotheses about sex differences in the United States.g. Two chapters are devoted to a selective review of recent data on pubertal development. (1989). This notion has generated considerable research interest. W. 5. This occurs despite his own warning late in the book that “. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. J. of course. I believe Buss makes a good case in this book for the utility of a Darwinian approach to the study of jealousy. Book Reviews Harris. Many readers may appreciate Buss’ use of anecdotes and case examples throughout the book. & Daly. to the human problems that involve the “dangerous passion. anecdotes. that some individuals who get clinical attention for their “pathological” jealousy may.. Shackelford. and symbiotic psychopathologies. R. in fact. Campbell (Ed. Psychophysiological responses to imagined infidelity: The specific innate modular view of jealousy reconsidered. Grice. 1871– 1971 (pp. M.. informed by Darwinian ideas... is the rapidly unfolding information on cell-to-cell interactive networks within the testes and on genetically driven molecular mechanisms that control programmed germ cell death. D.. that it may be an integral part of the psychology underlying our experiences of sexual desire. 251–255. H. M. However. Chicago: Aldine. (1988). 78. K. and psychology. and that it may be directly linked to relationship violence are not easy ideas to consider. even for those of us who are not so faint-of-heart. 2–7. K. and Japan. not whether a Darwinian (or other) theory about that phenomenon is correct. M. Hasegawa. 1082–1091. Sex differences in jealousy: Evolution. Three related chapters focus on male hypogonadal conditions. important for normal development and fertility problems.. 125–150. (1992).. Westen. France. therefore. J. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Parental investment and sexual selection. R. The first four chapters focus on the physiological regulation of testicular function via endocrine mechanisms and intratesticular processes among structures within the gonads responsible for spermatogenesis and androgen production. Indeed. early exposure to infidelity. Violence and Victims.. Korea. Kirkpatrick. . A. & Daly. Frank. e-mail: schiavi@wanadoo. Psychological Science. New York: Norton.. and therefore better solutions. (2000). Investigators such as Buss. .. The contents are broad. & Semmelroth. Conflict between the sexes: Strategic interference and the evocation of anger and upset. (1999). & Seely. and spanning several areas that have generated considerable research in recent years with significant clinical. candidates for androgen supplementation. 136–179). .. Lim.00. C. empirically based. Wilson. (2000). and to hormonal and reproductive changes associated with normal aging. The evolution of sex differences in jealousy: Failure to replicate previous results. but a lot of work remains to be done. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 348–356. Larsen. D..g. Reviewed by Raul C. and well summarized. and epidemiological implications. Buss. M. L. L. In B. Although Darwinian theories are sometimes controversial and sometimes misunderstood. the risks and benefits of androgen replacement therapy. female sexual dissatisfaction.. Buss. These anecdotes and cases are often good illustrations of conclusions that Buss draws from scientific findings. Wilson. 3–16. J. 83550 Vidauban. The propositions that jealousy is not irrational. relationships.

This review will give a brief overview of the different sections within the book. and Thornton. An important part of the book is devoted to the causes. and physical agents on reproductive health.S. the more technical aspects of this book are nicely rounded out by a qualitative study that explores the meaning of childlessness in the lives of modern adults. and management of male infertility. Bentley and Mascie-Taylor have gathered information about infertility in several modern contexts. Cambridge University Press. a topic that is convincingly documented and discussed. and therapeutic considerations. and provision of important clinical information on the evaluation and management of androgen deficient disorders.3 In this edited volume.95 (paperback). The section on androgen replacement is particularly helpful by discussing the indications and methods for androgen substitution as well as the benefits and potential side effects of treatment. a topic that has attracted recent attention. Purdue University. may contribute to this area of considerable public health significance. management. The data on the balance between risks versus benefits of androgen implementation. prospective. . together with further epidemiological evidence within a multidisciplinary framework. A timely chapter focuses on the problem of androgen abuse in sport. Cambridge. each chapter deals with infertility from a different context. placebo-controlled studies on clearly defined populations and objective endpoints. nevertheless. Indiana 47906. England. Overall. $24. G. $69. diagnosis. A brief review of information on the beneficial effects of dehydroepiandrosterone on cognitive function and sexual behavior. Genetic factors play a significant role in at least some subgroups of infertile men as discussed in a technical chapter that demonstrates the considerable experimental research. environmental. reveals contradictory evidence suggesting the need for further controlled research. this volume is a solid contribution mostly written by andrology experts aimed at a biologically oriented readership interested in the field of male reproduction. and the methodological difficulties of demonstrating that the source of the steroid is pharmaceutical rather than endogenous. This chapter is inherently technical and 3 Department of Child Development and Family Studies. West Lafayette. deals with current reproductive technologies available to infertile couples. 264 pp. Reviewed by Dawn Rummins Pratt. The role of androgens on sexual behavior. Although much of this book includes technical information about human infertility and statistical analyses of fertility trends. In summary. These contexts include the technological. describes educational and testing efforts set up by sport organizations concerned with antisteroid activities. being largely inconclusive. and the focus on sexual function and behavior is rather limited. largely obscure for the noninitiated reader. physiological. M. comple- 81 mented with experimental animal research.. Male infertility appears to be a heterogeneous condition with a wide range of determinants affecting sperm production but the mediating pathogenic mechanisms remain unknown. paradigm. causal. Infertility in the Modern World: Present and Future Prospects. Dowell. This contribution shall be. The first section of this book is titled “Biomedical Perspectives on Fertility. Social and cultural aspects of reproductive behavior are not discussed. The topics bridging the gap between basic science and clinical practice are well documented by an extensive and up-to-date bibliography. or methodology. Secular trends showing decreased sperm quality and increased male reproductive abnormalities. drugs. The first chapter. They review the clinical characteristics of hypogonadism in adult men.net. and then applications for this volume will be suggested. and the cumulative result is a balanced evaluation of this topic. Safety concerns arise not only from the growing use of androgen supplementation in aging men but also from the possible use of androgenic steroids for contraception and for performance enhancement. Nicholas Mascie-Taylor. and cognitive function is considered in a relatively brief but lucid and well-referenced chapter. mood. valuable for interested students who may want to expand their knowledge and remain abreast of the rapidly expanding field of clinical andrology. Male sexual dysfunction is discussed in a broad but rather superficial section that encompasses demographic. Advances in our knowledge of basic reproductive mechanisms. Well-controlled studies on hypogonadal men have demonstrated that androgens have significant effects on sexual motivation and mood but the behavioral and cognitive action of androgens in men with normal testicular function is less clear. that is being carried out on the subject. Edited by Gillian R. Marriage and Family Therapy Program. and social spheres of infertility.95 (hardback). written by Fishel. Bentley and C. underlie the need for long-term.Book Reviews cardiovascular disease.” and it includes two chapters. areas that are frequently neglected in books more specifically focused on sexual function and dysfunction. suggest the possible deleterious effects of environmental agents such as chemical pollutants. the congenital and acquired causes of testicular failure. An equally important subject is the impact of the environment on male reproductive function. e-mail: dawnpratt@mstar2. 2000.

provides two important discussions. those that could be considered homosexual and parents. & Skakkebaek. Citing the work of Carson (1962). Explaining that some infertility is of genetic causes. Patterson and Friel can only give estimates regarding those in the population that may be considered homosexual. Then. Althogh these two chapters seemingly are very different. Patterson and Friel examine the possible statistical range within the United States that could be considered gay and lesbian parents. Bentley concludes that while there are demonstrable effects of xenoestrogens and xenobiotics on human fertility. they both question the long-term impact that culture and choices have on human fertility. and statistical analysis. Bentley discusses the effects that xenoestrogens. McAllister and Clarke give both a larger picture and an up close. Because this technology is relatively new. and the process of classifying the sexual orientation of the U. the long-term effects into other generations are unknown. (1992) study for bias. The second section of this book is titled “Environmental Influences on Fertility” and contains two chapters. and the more recent Danish study (Carlsen. to overcoming the epidemic of STDs and AIDS and the resultant infertility. The first deals with the effect of environmental pollutants on human fertility and the second discusses STD and AIDS epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa.82 thoroughly covers physical and genetic causes of human infertility for both men and women. this chapter is a very thorough overview of the current technologies available to the infertile. the currently available data. by McAllister and Clarke. Keiding. The other chapter included in the Biomedical section is by Bittles and Matson. at this time there is no conclusive evidence that shows a cause and effect relationship on sperm count. who discuss the effects of STDs and AIDS on human fertility in sub-Saharan Africa. However. personal view of this experience. Bittles and Matson provide examples of several known genetic disorders and the technology used to overcome infertility. This chapter provides a wonderful illustration of the experience of childlessness. which brought attention to the long-term effects of pollution on health. Patterson and Friel explain the challenges faced. they take data on voluntary childlessness from Britain and compare it with other Western countries. This chapter almost exclusively deals with the challenge of statistically examining sexual orientation and fertility. Bentley is careful not to discount the evidence that points to a need for further investigation of this topic The other chapter in this section on environmental influences is by Caldwell and Caldwell. sexual practices. 1992) that demonstrated dramatically lowered sperm counts. the process of determining their “voluntary” childlessness. questions of ethics are continuously posed. have on human fertility as the environment becomes polluted with these substances. By moving from statistical data and current trends to a qualitative study. In the chapter on environmental pollutants. The last chapter is about infertility and sexual orientation. and social and economic forces that contribute to this current epidemic. sampling. Throughout this chapter. explaining appropriate situations and statistical success rates. and an estimate of children who could be considered to have at least one homosexual parent. values. It is a chapter that is balanced in its investigation and. human infertility is also a very personal and meaningful experience. but it appears that a discussion of these binds are beyond the scope of this chapter. Second.” The first chapter. including the sharing of participant quotes. Caldwell and Caldwell examine social and sexual behaviors of the residents of this region. Giwercman. also provide a discussion of available technology. as questions continue to arise in our . Caldwell and Caldwell also point to programs and trends that are seemingly helping to turn the tide. They do occasionally mention that some of the assisted technologies can pose ethical challenges. These authors discuss the influence of genetics on infertility. population. Bentley underscores both the controversy and the importance of investigating this topic. Fishel et al. Citing several studies. they explain that some regions in sub-Saharan Africa have infertility rates of 45% or higher. Through her careful examination. and that technology can help overcome infertility. Perhaps the unspoken but important point of this chapter is that. the authors pose questions regarding the effects of overriding nature and possibly passing on the genetic problems that caused the initial infertility. The last section is titled “Social Perspectives on Infertility. at the same time. First. They contrast other cultures. Book Reviews However. They also point to the need for genetic counseling for couples who are using these technologies and the high physical and emotional cost of using assisted reproductive technologies. and the factors that are taken into consideration in choosing childlessness. which come from man-made products.S. it provides a balancing effect to this edited book: This chapter highlights the fact that while there are many technical and statistical facts about infertility. they report on a qualitative study that discusses men’s and women’s experiences of childlessness. They give a good discussion of the culture. demonstrating what may work and what are barriers in sub-Saharan Africa. and it gives several indications into what directions future reproductive science may take us. Using what data are currently available. Bentley examines several pollutants and cites studies that demonstrate their effects on human health. Looking at several surveys and studies. she carefully examines the Carlsen et al.

the authors make excellent use of pertinent data regarding many aspects of infertility. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. M.. it provides a good cross section of this topic. and Legacy. She or he can provide the opportunity to express what it would mean to them to have children and their feelings about a life without children. Each phase is considered in terms of two major aspects. 523–535. and social spheres. they offer a range of therapeutic perspectives and methods that are useful at various stages. First. and Margot Weinshel. this is the phase that can be either supported or hurt by the reactions of family and friends. New York. and so forth.S. overwhelming. The authors structure their discussion in a logical and comprehensive manner. It is during the Mobilization phase that couples begin to investigate the causes of their infertility. (1995). taking a cue from the chapter by McAllister and Clarke. the overall text is a very strong application of the topic of infertility in several contexts. New York: Basic Books. Most are likely to face a certain amount of anxiety with varying degrees of optimism or pessimism. 1999. N. Kirkman. Moreover. British Medical Journal. 22. M. for example. (2001). may realize from the start that they are at risk for problems with conceiving. REFERENCES Candib. Second. L. it is not common at this era to seek therapy for infertility per se. 1995). San Francisco. Mobilization. and presents an in-depth discussion of the challenges that face both clients and clinicians at all phases of infertility. E. California 94114. University of California. 305. Guilford Press. School of Medicine. and compassionate approach to the entire process of infertility. This is also a time for the therapist to help them anticipate some of the impacts of infertility and how it might affect their lives. In looking at Bentley and Mascie-Taylor’s book as a whole. For instance. because of age. the fact is that there are significant numbers of gay and lesbian who already are parents. (1992). Keiding. 4437-25th Street. The chapters included within this text are soundly written and well-articulated. E. It would be appropriate for the clinician wanting to stay current on both technology and global issues related to infertility. (1962). Early signs of strain in the couple’s relationship can emerge during Mobilization and thereafter. they cite significant differences that can exist between men and women regarding levels Couple Therapy for Infertility. 83 decision-making process for those who want a child has become increasingly complex. Despite these suggestions. The authors of this excellent book are senior members of the Infertility Project at the Ackerman Institute for the Family in New York City. Reviewed by Linda Perlin Alperstein. Scharf. taking another cue from Bittles and Mattson.. Here is where they often turn to the medical community for assessment and help. In this phase. By Ronny Diamond. And here is where there can be shock and dismay about the information they receive along with considerable strain in the relationship. Carson. e-mail: lindaalp@aol. they identify issues that beset the couple during each particular phase. this book could have been strengthened by a chapter discussing the ethical binds faced in applying reproductive technology. They delineate five distinct phases of infertility: Dawning. . they offer a well-organized. heterosexual couples. This could also have included the different experience that men and women have undergoing infertility treatments in a medical context (Candib. Carlsen. During their discussion of the Mobilization phase. Giwercman. history. this book may have been strengthened by using a lens of gender and examining the different meanings that the experience of infertility has for men and women (Kirkman. Immersion. This book would also be appropriate for a graduate-level course addressing this topic from either a medical or a psychological perspective. the 4 Department of Psychiatry. cutting across the contexts of technology. A.Book Reviews society about gays and lesbians who want to parent. the initial phase of Dawning is characterized by a nascent awareness of difficulty in becoming pregnant and a developing sense that some action might need to be taken to address the situation. On the basis of a decade of clinical experience and research. 237 pp. Nevertheless. Evidence for decreasing quality of semen during past 50 years. It is geared for work with married. For couples. M. thoughtful. Beginning with the embryonic awareness of infertility and ending with the legacy of various outcomes. Medicine and the family: A feminist perspective. the therapist can be quite helpful. $30. and expensive.00. Health Care for Women International. N. David Kezur. Constance N. Resolution. Some couples. Perhaps this book could have been strengthened by expanding two areas that were only briefly addressed. If a couple happens to enter counseling during this phase. R..4 The development of assisted reproductive technologies has created numerous procedures and possibilities for helping couples deal with infertility. Nevertheless. & Skakkebaek. as they do throughout the entire book. Thinking of something to say: Public and private narratives of infertility. Also.W. Mimi Meyers. 2001). this book is rich with case examples and clinical suggestions.. Silent spring. environment. 609–613.com.

identifying three endeavors: Ending medical treatment. the authors include sexuality in a most natural manner. networking. During the Mobilization phase. in that the child created will be genetically related to only one parent. they make appropriate recommendations for sex therapy when sexual problems are long-standing. a national self-help group that offers opportunities for sharing experiences. financially. it is an example of their continuous honesty and commitment to helping clinicians of Psychology. About the late Immersion phase. Moreover.. grief. Edited by Elisa J. or physically feasible. Culture. middle. 2001. For example. From my perspective. This book is not designed to teach specific techniques of sex therapy for infertile couples and the associated dysfunctions or “dys-feelings. Another is to help couples deal with all the personalities and procedures of the medical community. Throughout the book. It has the potential for bitter disappointments. University of Wisconsin Press. In the chapters on the Immersion phase. From beginning to end. A third task is to help couples deal with their own ideas about parenting a nongenetically related child. For instance. Madison. and increased stress on the marital relationship.84 of distress and willingness to continue with the emotional and physical pain of procedures. 161). they remind clinicians to identify other avenues of support such as friends. and Society: The Anthropology of Sexual Abstinence. mourning. and more. the authors emphasize how important it is for a therapist to be aware of his or her own biases regarding children. This phase begins with active involvement in a spectrum of medical procedures. from early on. Further. all of their wisdom. considerable physical discomfort. entrenched issues and not just temporary reactions to the stress of infertility. Reviewed by Nicole Merritt. Sobo and Sandra Bell.A. that will eventually resolve and make room once again for other activities. particularly. Bloomington. They highlight the losses of privacy and. the authors continually generate specific questions and perspectives for the clinician. Plus.” However. the book addresses specific clinical subject matter and tasks: One is to help couples manage the basic intrusiveness of dealing with infertility. albeit difficult. they are faced with an option that is more complicated than it may first appear. family. (2) a donor conceived child. $22. or (4) no child” (p. With a similar forthright approach. the therapist can help by offering perspective and reminding couples that this is a time-limited era. fun. e-mail: nprause@indiana. discussing the impact of infertility on the sexual lives of couples. the only shortcoming of this impressive book might be the failure of the authors to connect their knowledge to lesbian or gay male couples who struggle with infertility. and counseling suggestions for married. heterosexual couples are readily transferable to the stresses of infertility for all. it definitely invites couple therapists to notice and address sex-related problems. (p. the authors write the following: As couples experience more treatment failures. the couple might be so preoccupied with baby-making activities that there is little time for friendships. the authors break down issues by dividing their discussion into early. Celibacy. And more so. At middle Immersion. 131) Book Reviews address issues in a compassionate and straightforward manner. often offered by the medical profession as the next logical step in infertility treatments. . Likewise. compassion. the couple might be terribly depleted and numb. Thus. Interestingly. spontaneity. B. $55. have profound psychological implications. they address the loss of control over one’s sexual life. they caution that a therapist who has strong feelings that children and parenting are essential life experiences may tend to push couples to do more than what is emotionally. During early and middle Immersion. Indiana University. Indiana 47405-7007. 284 pp. (3) an adopted child. the book discusses the Resolution and Legacy phases. information.5 The editors’ compilation of 13 mostly cross-cultural essays on the multiple meanings and expressions of celibacy 5 Department These remarks are characteristic of the authors’ understanding of the complexities involved with infertility and the limits of the medical profession regarding psychosocial factors. and refocusing by choosing either adoption or life without children: “The ordeal of infertility has four possible outcomes: Couples will emerge with either (1) a genetically related child.00 (hardback). or career.edu. and the importance of a genetic connection.95 (paperback). And by late Immersion. Donor procedures. and late stages. The discussion of the therapist’s role during Mobilization is very practical and complete. it is important to give this issue an in-depth analysis before embarking on such a journey. the therapist who does not see having children as very important might underestimate the emotional pain and the desire to continue with difficult procedures and risk for disappointment. They also include a good discussion of Jack Annon’s PLISSIT model. or community resources such as RESOLVE. parenting.

First. sexual drive. would be central to a discussion of celibacy. and more broad abstinence practices are drawn and redrawn in each chapter. 130). which. not only regarding Catholic priests. on celibacy. Although these examples of celibacy will be less satisfying to researchers interested in quantitative evaluations of any of these practices. or gender studies students. for instance. Schlegel suggests that adolescent women. the authors consistently avoid discussion of the nature of the sexual drive. 85 The second theme in this text involves the gender roles established. including kissing. Several chapters highlight ways in which most women who choose to be celibate are denied the benefits assumed by male celibates. This denigrates the religious significance of the women’s sexual renunciation. Also. but also in societies like the Mazatecs. however. thus. it seems. the particular sexual activities regulated. implicitly or explicitly. according to Gutschow. are not immune from rumors of lesbianism (p. chastity. Each chapter introduces the particular society or institution under examination. For instance. This is particularly important if one is stipulating that women are disenfranchised because of their lower. . in practice. virginity. Khandelwal notes that brahmacharya is. as reviewed by Collins. Similarly. are culturally pressured to monitor their own celibacy in several countries ultimately to avoid unintended pregnancies by unfavorable suitors prior to any marriage. on celibacy choice and control. faces the prospective of lifelong abstinence for the reward of being spiritually saved. culture. and of Catholic priests. There appear to be three main themes in this book. Distinctions among the terms celibacy. The duration of abstinence. Given the reluctance of authors in this text to rely on quantitative data. or perceived lower. the reader is unsure how to evaluate such provocative statements. of four students who currently consider themselves celibate. an adolescent is forced into abstinence for a shorter period of time. The book is divided into three major sections. the practice. are likely to be faced with unfriendly accusations concerning their sexual orientation. sociology. nuns who violate their vows of celibacy appear more likely to be disrobed than a monk who violates his celibacy vow. however. and cultural context within which it occurs all appear to influence the label applied to. Nuns. The chapter by Qirko does offer an alternative explanation for the apparent gender disparity based on increased female altruism. the book could be appropriate for undergraduate anthropology. Bell and Sobo briefly address this issue in their introductory . The chapters in this section cover the celibacy of women with anorexia nervosa. 2000). In Schlegel’s example. this is unlikely” (p. of prison inmates. Interestingly. in Collins’ example.Book Reviews teaches by example. the narratives themselves are often thoughtprovoking. Kawanami’s chapter on women celibates in Theravada Buddhism suggests the importance of this issue but does not pursue it very far. an adolescent seeks group identification for a permanent period forbidding all potentially desire-inflaming practices. Allowing women to transcend the boundaries of family obligations in brahmacharya may pose a threat to patriarchal control according to Khandaelwal’s review. where ritual specialists who are celibate are described as “All of them are queers” (p. a lifestyle including many other practices. overlap heavily. apparently. and the interpretation of. but no one seems to more fully address how the construct of sexual desire plays into variations in the interpretation of celibacy. An adolescent Shaker. 29). A variety of social constructions of celibacy are presented using anthropological approaches to examine groups of interest. negating any requirement of previous knowledge. The third section. Kawami suggests that females are viewed as not being “tested on her sexual faculties” (p. 55). 149) because they are not renouncing the strong sexual desire that males are perceived to renounce when they vow celibacy. Both male and female celibates. The first two. although Phillimore notes that the Hindu’s brahmacharya is commonly “glossed as ‘absolute chastity’” (p. The complexities of understanding what it means to “be celibate” are clear. The suspicion that male celibates may be homosexual is prevalent. the authors present the problem of defining what abstinence means given its variable interpretations across cultures and institutions. 66). which may be limited to inhibition of vaginal intercourse. similarly. is a hodgepodge of chapters examining celibacy from perspectives perhaps more commonly covered in modern media. by the various constructions of abstinence. The chapters range from the personal observations of a Catholic priest concerning church celibacy (by Southgate) and cleanliness rituals of Maztecs (by Duke) to reviews of disturbing psychoanalytic perspectives on the common practice of anorexics to eschew sexual activities (by Lester). . Buddhist texts describe unmarried women as caught in a “vicious cycle of obsession and sexual desire” whereas the women themselves often report that they “endured sex” as a marital duty. Qirko suggests that although celibate institutions could contain individuals “who exhibit little or no interest in sex . the authors seem to generally assume that everyone experiences some level of sexual desire. both religiously and socially. This contrasts with suggestions that American women’s lower sexual desire levels (as compared to men’s) may be bound by Western feminine ideals (Baumeister. and social organization.

use celibacy in an eventcentered manner. Thus. be celibate because he/she has no sexual desire to renounce. each cultural incidence of celibacy generally might be distinguished as group-centered or event-centered. 120 pp. involves two distinct views of celibacy that recur in each chapter.D. Greenery Press. and relinquish property as a part of religious practice. Maurice. when he encountered a strongly negative view of wasting one’s gift of bearing children to God in Kikuyu society. Health Care Without Shame: A Handbook for the Sexually Diverse and Their Caregivers. in turn.. what goes into the decision to be candid about one’s sexual interests with that person. By Charles Moser. practitioners. He has also initiated the development of The American College of Sexual Medicine 6 Division of Sexual Medicine. Department of Psychiatry. Indeed. $11. Most tend to have the taste of “old wine decanted into new bottles. The stories are engaging. Southgate discusses the need for celibacy as a sign to others of one’s devotion to religion. a new book appears on a different aspect of “sex. His other credentials include an M. The theme of the book is not really sexual.6 I am always on the lookout for sex-related self-help paperback books that are short. if a bit unsatisfying for empirical investigators interested in the construct. and inexpensive— ones that I could comfortably suggest to patients/clients who have sexual concerns. Southgate noted. the “Golden Oldies” usually suffice. (2000). Gender differences in erotic plasticity: The female sex drive as socially flexible and responsive.” No self-help-type book (that I know of) addresses this topic. Reviewed by William L. brahmacharya necessitates abstinence for the gathering of power through semen retention. as Sobo and Bell also suggest. Practitioners of celibacy seem to either be practicing celibacy as a part of ritual cleanliness or spiritualism (accompanied by other acts of cleanliness and spiritualism) to set the practitioners apart from their society or the practitioners view celibacy alone as powerful and accessible to anyone within society. The third theme suggested. 347–374. the true end goal is to reach spiritual liberation (Brahma).W. has a particular “focus on sexual concerns and the medical problems of sexual minorities” (he describes himself as a “kinkpositive physician”). by definition. It clearly succeeds in raising controversial points concerning celibacy that could be engaging discussions in the classroom or over dinner at a level that is very readable. the latter from the Institute for Advanced Study in Human Sexuality in San Francisco. 1999.” as is the case for this one. and a Ph. Occasionally. for instance. REFERENCE Book Reviews Baumeister. abolish most of the traditional family structure. most of these are books about sexual relationships. asexuals may be particularly drawn to practicing “cultural” celibacy. where they suggest that an asexual person who experiences no sexual desire cannot. While. celibacy in brahmacharya is used in conjunction with other practices to set apart a group of people with a similar goal. He tells the reader that he practices in San Francisco. such as for the delivery of medical services. Thus.S. In the last chapter. Detwiller Pavilion. The subtitle describes this slim volume as “a handbook for the sexually diverse and their caregivers. 1997). “so much for the universality of the sign-value of celibacy” (p. easy-to-read. makes it particularly attractive. . The Mazatecs. Similarly. improving the quality or quantity of sexual activities. M. Whether this distinction is simply a matter of degree (being more or less restrictive) or kind is unclear. where he is now Dean of Professional Studies. Many such volumes are contenders as anyone can attest by visiting a large bookstore. The author is a well-known internist who is also a specialist in sexual medicine (Moser.D. Psychological Bulletin. The Shakers’ celibacy is also group-centered because they practice celibacy. Canada V6T 2A1. San Francisco. rather than esteem. e-mail: maurice@ interchange. British Columbia. which. 250). but also the cultural context within which it is practiced can unintentionally denigrate. Not only does the duration of celibacy and the practices that accompany celibacy affect the meaning of celibacy. and what constitutes realistic expectations of the health care system. Vancouver.” and to many experienced clinicians.95.. but this book supports his assertion that the “sign value” of celibacy is unclear cross-culturally. However. but the cleanliness may also be required over long periods. but not explicitly pursued. and has a special interest in sadomasochism. R.86 chapter.ubc. however. and managing sexual dysfunctions. 2255 Westbrook Mall. several cultures value virginity (adolescent celibacy) for its own sake in honor of the event of marriage. California. University of British Columbia. the “cleanliness” thought to be instilled by celibacy is short term. as with hunting. 126.ca. but rather the health care of those who are sexually atypical—and crucial issues are discussed such as how to find a nonjudgmental health professional. At times. This text offers a sample of the myriad ways “celibacy” is interpreted and enacted.

J. & Burzette.95 (paperback).Book Reviews and Health—an organization for physicians interested in sexual health. In B. journals. nurses. to present the most accurate. Nevada. McKirnan. the information requirements of the two groups differ so widely. an infected piercing of a sex-related body part). Hartmann. Nevada. 87 or simply in seeking ordinary medical care and contending with the pros and cons of coming out to the health professional.” Moser includes anyone who regularly operates outside the mainstream of heterosexual activity. Moser seems much more successful in conveying what he wants to say to consumers rather than health providers.” He is an ardent defender of sexual minorities and feels strongly that such people are “not getting the health care they need and deserve. transgendered individuals. the manual also says (somewhat confusingly) that “many individuals with these disorders assert that the behavior causes them no distress. because their sexual behavior makes them too fearful or ashamed to seek treatment. such individuals might carry an incorrect diagnosis. and in the first person) will likely be more inviting to patients.. reliable information presently available on 7 VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System. hospitals. M. suffer unnecessary pain or illness or injury.” That idea is debatable. Washington. caring nonjudgmental health care. Stokes. Journal of Sex Research. Reno. sociocultural review of what it means to be male. V. Reno. The section is intended “For Practitioners. condom use. Moser correctly quotes DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association.7 and Lisa Regev. & R. M. 30. The sexually diverse are. magazines. 1998.) Part II of the book consists of two chapters that have been adapted from papers in San Francisco Medicine. 202– 213. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed. Carroll & Graf.. Combining sex and medicine. Reno. Klein (Eds..” Second.” Part I of the book (nine chapters and about three quarters of the content) is a manual intended for sexually atypical individuals as they wend their way through components of the health care system—emergency rooms. (1993). directive.. celibate or sexually active.) He explains to the reader that “Fantasies or behavior which are consensual and do not cause you undue distress are not paraphilias and are not pathological. $12. 1994) in support of that proposition. clinics—and in their dealings with health care practitioners including physicians. This book is a useful addition to the collection of selfhelp books for those patients/clients who are sexually diverse. E. One wonders if it is even feasible given that. individuals who are not “vanilla” (i. Sexual behavior. Moser.). NY: Prometheus Books. First. Male Sexual Awareness: Increasing Sexual Satisfaction.D. folksy. I suspect that it will be more appealing to the former than to the latter for several reasons. Even though the audience for the book is supposed to be both patients and health care providers. Fithian. Amherst. D. J. e-mail: lregev@unr. (1994). Reviewed by Joel Schmidt. A. P. and Burzette [1993]. Bullough.” together with some cautions about their use. straight). however.). or in the argot of the group. Personal stories of “How I got into sex” (pp. most of the content is directed at “consumers” versus “practitioners. W. the writing style (informal. Nevada 89557. exhortative. DC: Author. for example. (Psychologists and psychiatrists should feel somewhat modest about their success in facilitating the coming-out process because they too may be sidestepped. and aware. (1997). and people who regularly engage in what could be interpreted as paraphilic behavior. 9 To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department of Psychology/MS 298.g. disclosure of sexuality. In this instance. those who have a same-sex sexual orientation. Self-help books are usually meant to be therapeutic. G. REFERENCE American Psychiatric Association.” Moser’s objective in writing this book is passionately stated and the same for both sets of readers: “People— gay or bi or straight.nevada. Attention is given to two particular situations: when one’s sexual behavior results in a medical problem (e. New York. and stability of sexual orientation in bisexual men. McKirnan. and other providers. Ph. The authors state two goals in writing this book: “First. and organizations). 8 Department . 307–316).8.” and includes such matters as sex history-taking suggestions and a highly valuable glossary of “sexual minority terms. Part III consists of two chapters—the conclusion and a Resource Guide (books. C. What makes this book different is that it is appropriate for all who are sexually atypical—because everyone at some time or another will encounter the health care system. of Psychology. By Barry McCarthy and Emily McCarthy. University of Nevada. kinky or vanilla. therefore.9 This text offers a comprehensive. sexual. writing one volume for both audiences is a formidable task. 292 pp.edu. University of Nevada. employed or un—deserve competent. R. S..A.. The book is therefore less therapeutic than prophylactic. When defining who is “sexually diverse. Bullough.e. Lastly. Nobody should be harmed. Stokes. (I use the word interpreted because from Moser’s perspective.

they discuss commonly held myths that serve to leave many men feeling alienated and insecure. One pitfall of their sociocultural perspective is that it can lead to some apparently oversimplistic prescriptions for relating to others. and (4) sex is about giving and receiving pleasure. According to the authors. In fact. Male Sexual Awareness is a well-written book that would benefit a wide readership. including anatomy. the authors seem to imply that male sexuality often begins with a prostitute or during a “circle jerk. This context provides the opportunity to normalize sexual attitudes and allow for exploration of alternative approaches to male sexuality. and directed masturbation exercises. . divorce. They present the most commonly recommended behavioral techniques for treating sexual dysfunctions. sexual techniques and activities. This line of discussion is particularly liberating for older male readers. Most readers will likely be left with greater acceptance of sexual imperfections and a realistic idea about improving sexual functioning. gender relations. This is not to say that the authors do not provide information on such specific techniques. 7). It is possible that readers who have not been exposed to this material previously would have difficulty envisioning such events as the traveling of sperm during ejaculation.” These activities may be somewhat foreign to many readers who did not have such experiences and serve to distract Book Reviews them from the larger message that early experiences are often rushed. The book is primarily intended for men. such as self-exploration. Although it is clear that following these guidelines would lead to successful egalitarian relationships.88 male sexuality and topics related to sexual functioning. However. First. In fact. however. The authors advocate for readers to think of themselves as sexual beings rather than performance machines. and developmental changes in sexuality. the authors repeatedly emphasize that readers should seek professional sex therapy services rather than use this text as a self-help book. homosexuality. This was nicely interwoven throughout the book and serves as a contrast to other books on sexuality that introduce this idea but spend most of the book focused on specific techniques for improving performance. their focus on cultural expectations and developmental stereotypes is so pronounced that it may serve to alienate some (especially younger) readers. sexual trauma. parenting. sensate focus. to help men integrate their sexuality with the rest of their lives in a way that enhances awareness and satisfaction” (p. such passages have a “just-do-it” quality that neglects the mechanics of relationship skill acquisition. This chapter was apparently written before Viagra was approved and distributed. the main reason for advocating for professional services is that motivation to change can be difficult to maintain without ongoing therapeutic services. the discussion of techniques plays a relatively minor role in the overall context of male sexuality from a sociocultural view. It would have been helpful to have a few more diagrams to augment the text discussing male and female internal reproductive physiology. For example. For this reason. (2) men are hindered by performance expectations. which is a notable omission for men seeking treatment options for erectile dysfunction. Second. Throughout the book. the authors suggest that women who are interested in understanding their male partners’ sexual issues and concerns may benefit as well. This text is a successful elaboration on four important points: (1) sexuality is an important component of development throughout the life span (in contrast to the common focus on the young adult years). This is a relatively minor detraction and the authors are generally quite successful in capturing a sociocultural context for sexual behavior. For example. the book contains some illustrations of sexual positions and other topics. They accomplish these goals by covering a wide range of topics. they talk about the cultural expectation that men are always interested in sexual activity as a contributor to sexual anxiety in the face of male arousal or erectile disorders. the start–stop technique. Here the authors list 10 guidelines that exemplify the “equity model” of interacting with the opposite sex. one exception is found in the “Arousal and Erection” chapter. marriage. Although the book is generally up-to-date. Two additional minor points deserve comment. who may be resigned to writing off sexual activity because of culturally sanctioned myths or who feel that having sexual feelings at their age is a sign of deviance. contraception and STDs. Perhaps the clearest example of this involves the guidelines for male–female relationships on page 67. there is no clear explanation as to how one who is lacking the skills required to implement these guidelines might develop them. Second. (3) taking responsibility for communicating about sex is important. in discussing premature ejaculation. Thus. extramarital affairs. The authors are particularly effective at providing the opportunity for men to confront some of their sexual insecurities.