The international, psychological and sociological research literature on prostitution from 1990 through 2000 is reviewed. The stage is set by scanning topics and perspectives in earlier writings. Then the research is discussed under the following headings: (a) HIV related research (HIV prevalence studies, factors in condom use, and prevention program evaluation); (b) workers' background and motivational issues (early victimization and connected factors, economic motives and connected factors); (c) work related issues (working routines, risks and stresses, and managing risk, work and identity); (d) research on clients, and (e) issues related to social and legal status. The literature is still much more about sex than it is about work. In addition, although an increasing number of authors have criticized the dominance of a deviance perspective over work perspectives on prostitution, the literature still reveals many features of stigmatization. For instance, the wrongs associated with sex work are all too often attributed to the nature of sex work itself instead of to the stigma attached to it or to specific negative circumstances. Likewise, the association between prostitution and negative features (in particular HIV and early victimization) is overwhelming, despite evidence that, for large groups of sex workers, these issues are of limited relevance. Generally, writers fail to adequately differentiate among types of sex workers. In particular, in relation to issues of health and well-being, differentiation among sex workers on the basis of specific features of their working situation (e.g., contexts, routines, relations, conditions) has hardly been studied and is recommended for the future.
This article tracks the conjunction between the social, cultural, political, and economic changes taking place on a global level and the shift in sexuality research from primarily biomedical and behavioral concerns to those of rights and social justice. Particular attention is paid to how transnational public health and human rights discourses, and social movements concerned with gender inequality and the oppression of sexual minorities, have influenced the field of sexuality research. This influence is especially clear in the emergence of the concepts of sexual health and sexual rights, which have enabled researchers to draw clear connections between highly localized phenomena and transnational systems. The importance of rights-based approaches, in particular, has supported an explicit politicization of research and the engagement of researchers in social justice causes. To illustrate the interests and approach of contemporary sexuality research, the article includes a review of recent literature on sex trafficking and same-sex marriage. These cases are used to outline the negative and positive use of rights-the former a means to control harm and the latter a means to advance freedoms. Addressing the tension between these two strategies is a core challenge for the field of sexuality research.
Researchers have frequently linked childhood sexual abuse (CSA) with some form of adult sexual disturbance. Unfortunately, research on how to treat sexual dysfunctions in women with a history of childhood sexual abuse has lagged behind. In this article, we review the literature concerning childhood sexual abuse and sexual dysfunction. In addition, we look at two theories that help explain the relationship between CSA and sexual dysfunction. Both of these theories highlight the importance of emotional experience. The contextual behavioral model described by Polusny and Follette (1995) is derived from the work of Hayes and colleagues (Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 1999) and focuses on the role of experiential avoidance in understanding the problems experienced by CSA survivors. Greenberg and colleagues' emotion theory (Greenberg & Pavio, 1998; Greenberg, Rice, & Elliott, 1993; Greenberg & Savin, 1987) is useful in highlighting the way in which early abuse experiences can impair emotional development and result in maladaptive emotional schemes contributing to sexual problems. Treatments for CSA survivors' sexual problems based on the two above theories are outlined. The question concerning the applicability of traditional sex therapy for CSA survivors versus a modified treatment is discussed and recent developments in the field of sexual functioning as well as future directions for the field are also highlighted.
As we move into the 21st century, information about sex is widespread and more accessible to the general public than ever before. This interest in sex also increases the focus on symptoms and patterns associated with sexual problems. However, the etiology of sexual dysfunction is multifaceted and poorly understood. One factor that has received growing attention is the role that early sexual abuse plays in sexual development and later sexual functioning, and how these associations differ between males and females. Despite high prevalence rates of child sexual abuse (CSA), which occurs to approximately 1 in 3 females and 1 in 10 males under the age of 18, we do not completely understand the complexities of how and to what extent CSA affects sexual functioning. Nonetheless, the research highlights the need to recognize the potentially powerful influence that abusive childhood experiences contribute to sexual health, performance, and satisfaction. We review research on the relationship between CSA and adolescent and adult sexual functioning. We use a developmental framework to guide our understanding of the effects of CSA, as well as gender and ethnic differences, on the sexual functioning of male and female survivors.
This paper has two aims: first, to review work addressing the functional significance of variation in sexuality across the women's menstrual cycle and its implications for an understanding of human sexual nature; second, to illustrate the more general use of adaptationism in sex research. Adaptationism provides a method for recognizing adaptations, traits that evolved because they bestowed reproductive advantages upon their owners. The telltale sign of adaptation is its special design for a particular function. In recent years, evolutionary psychologists have explored changes in women's sexuality and standards of male attractiveness across the menstrual cycle. Evidence provisionally supports the idea that these changes constitute special design for the function of obtaining genetic benefits through mating with men other than primary partners.
Alcohol has been implicated as having a causal role in a variety of sexual processes and outcomes. We review nonexperimental research illustrating the nature of alcohol's association with sexuality. Methodological considerations limiting causal assertions permissible with nonexperimental data are discussed. We also review findings from experiments, mostly analogue paradigms, examining the effects of alcohol on genital arousal, sexual risk taking, and sexual assault. In each case, it is observed that alcohol can exert a causal effect on one or more of the constituent responses undergirding these phenomena. We conclude that alcohol does appear to have a causal impact on many sexuality indices studied in laboratory conditions. Both alcohol expectancy and alcohol myopia models have been applied to explain these causal linkages. Expectancy models seem to account well for postdrinking sexual reactions and perceptions. Overall, myopia analyses seem to offer the most persuasive explanations of postdrinking expressions of sexual risk taking and sexual assault.
The meaning of homosexual identity as shaped by the adult life course is poorly described in the lives of gay men. In particular, the transition from young adulthood to middle age raises questions of how homosexual identity is redefined as gay men alter their participation in gay sexual culture, experience change in sexual desire and activity, and revise broader psychosocial identity as influenced by psychological and socialization processes related to aging. In addition, the HIV epidemic and historical change in social tolerance of homosexuality have shaped the experience of sexual identity among the generation of currently middle-aged gay men in the United States. A perspective that integrates sociocultural, historical, and psychosocial factors is thus needed to understand thesubjective meaning of homosexual identity as it is experienced in midlife. In this paper I have described exploratory research on the meaning of homosexual identity in the life trajectories of middle-aged men. Such meanings reflect available social and cultural pathways for change in midlife homosexual identity, as well as individual psychological attributes and idiosyncrasies of life history. These findings have heuristic value in further refinement of models of homosexual identity maintenance and support a more inclusive view of the life course that considers the effects of sexual orientation on adult identity.
This article is a review of academic research on the content and effects of sexual information in advertising (i.e., sex in advertising). In addition to covering common types of sexual content analyzed in research, inquiry on processing and emotional response effects is reviewed. Several areas for continued research are identified, especially with regard to advertisers' use of sexual outcomes as reasons for using brands and the ability of sexual information to influence brand perceptions. This review has applicability to advertising and marketing research and practice, as well as to any area that employs sexual information for persuasive purposes (e.g., safer-sex social marketing campaigns). In addition, it is hoped that sex researchers will recognize and elaborate on the role of sexual response identified in this research to further inform advertising theory and effects research.
We briefly outline the importance of statistical input into clinical trial research in the pharmaceutical industry and in interactions with regulatory agencies, with particular concentration on the role of the statistician in projects on sexual health during Phases 2 and 3 of clinical trials required in bringing new drugs to the market.
In response to some recent critiques, we (a) analyze the arguments and data presented in those commentaries, (b) integrate the findings of several metaanalytic summaries of experimental and naturalistic research, and (c) conduct statistical analyses on a large representative sample. All three steps support the existence of reliable associations between frequent pornography use and sexually aggressive behaviors, particularly for violent pornography and/or for men at high risk for sexual aggression. We suggest that the way relatively aggressive men interpret and react to the same pornography may differ from that of nonaggressive men, a perspective that helps integrate the current analyses with studies comparing rapists and nonrapists as well as with cross-cultural research.
As a result of the current STI epidemic, women are at particularly high risk. Sexual relations with men are the greatest source of risk for women in contracting HIV or other STIs. Because the male condom is still the most effective means of protection against these diseases, prevention efforts for women need to concentrate on the ability to effectively negotiate condom use. To date, research has primarily addressed the role of knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about condoms in predicting their use rather than the situation within which individuals make sexual decisions. Our first goal is to present a theoretical model focusing on the situational influences and cognitive processes occurring at the time of a woman's sexual interaction with a man. The underlying premise for this model is that sexual decision making is mediated by a series of primary and secondary appraisals during the sexual encounter. Our second goal is to discuss specific contextual influences on women's cognitions during the process leading to sexual decision making. We review the literature on the effects of alcohol consumption, relationship status, and sexual arousal on the cognitive appraisal process, as well as on sexual decision making. Finally, although our main interest is the specific situation and context, we also review the influence of background factors and experiences that are especially relevant to the cognitive appraisal process, including alcohol expectancies, sexual victimization, sexuality-related characteristics, relationship-related characteristics, and other personality traits. Examining women's cognitive processes at the time of a sexual encounter can yield information that will enhance women's power to protect themselves against HIV and other STIs.
In view of the recent phase of political opposition to sex research and intense public interest in Alfred C. Kinsey, this paper considers the impact that Kinsey's research has had on the political process in the past 50 years. Initial reactions to Kinsey's research that remain relevant today include "normal" people don't participate in sex surveys, sex surveys are intended to promote homosexuality, and asking people about their sex lives in a nonjudgmental fashion promotes immorality. Episodes of political opposition are documented, and the long-running anti-Kinsey campaign and its impact on the political process are described and discussed. Reasons why people might still oppose sex research are considered, and conclusions are reached about how sex researchers might deal with this problem.
As the study of human sexual response becomes increasingly complex to meet the demands of this interdisciplinary field, the need for appropriate analytical tools has grown as well. In this review, we attempt to familiarize sexologists with the wide range of applications of regression analysis to the study of human sexual response. To this end, a typical experiment in human sexual response is described, and the basic regression model for the experiment is provided. Then, depending on the specific question under investigation, the nature of the study variables, and the design of the study, a number of different regression models are suggested, with each describing a specific variation from the basic regression model. Sample outputs are included to enable comparisons across several different models. With this information, researchers may develop a better understanding of the use and flexibility of the regression model in handling the kinds of problems often encountered in the experimental study of human sexual response.
Ejaculation is the final stage of coitus in the mammalian male and results in the expulsion of sperm out of the urethral meatus. Two successive phases, emission and expulsion, can be distinguished during ejaculatory response. Normal anterograde ejaculation requires close coordination of sympathetic, parasympathetic, and somatic components commanding the different peripheral anatomical structures (accessory sexual glands, ducti, and striated muscles) involved in ejaculation. The efferent pathways innervating these anatomical structures drive motor outputs originating from spinal thoracolumbar and lumbosacral nuclei. These spinal ejaculatory centers, the synchronized activation of which is likely carried out by a group of spinal cells, are under the control of both peripheral sensory afferents coming from genital areas and supraspinal information arising from specific brain regions.
Sexual selection has had profound effects at the copulatory and postcopulatory levels, upon the evolution of reproductive anatomy, physiology, and patterns of mating behavior. This review deals with the effects of sexual selection upon the evolution of relative testes sizes, sperm morphology, seminal vesicular function, penile morphology, and copulatory behavior in the Order Primates. The concept of cryptic female choice is also discussed, and its potential value in understanding how co-evolution of genital morphologies may have occurred in primates and inother animals.
In all species, sexual behavior is directed by a complex interplay between steroid hormone actions in the brain that give rise to sexual arousability and experience with sexual reward that gives rise to expectations of competent sexual activity, including sexual arousal, desire, and performance. Sexual experience allows animals to form instrumental and Pavlovian associations that predict sexual outcome and thereby directs the strength of sexual responding. Although the study of animal sexual behavior by neuroendocrinologists has traditionally been concerned with mechanisms of copulatory responding, more recent use of conditioning and preference paradigms, and a focus on environmental circumstances and experience, has revealed behaviors and processes that resemble human sexual responses. In this paper, we review behavioral paradigms used with rodents and other species that are analogous or homologous to human sexual arousal, desire, reward, and inhibition. The extent to which these behavioral paradigms offer predictive validity and practicality as preclinical tools and models is discussed. Identification of common neurochemical and neuroanatomical substrates of sexual responding between animals and humans suggests that the evolution of sexual behavior has been highly conserved and indicates that animal models of human sexual response can be used successfully as preclinical tools.
Proximate and ultimate biological theories for understanding sexual behavior predict that sexual dimorphism in sexual partner preference should be ubiquitous in the animal kingdom. A review of the literature found evidence for same-sex sexual partner preference in a small number of species (female pukekos, cows, domestic rams, female Uganda kobs, female Japanese macaques). Thus, theoretical predictions concerning the development and evolution of sexual partner preference appear to hold true except for a handful of exceptional species. Why individuals in some animal species exhibit same-sex sexual partner preference remains the object of debate. At a proximate level, domestic rams that exhibit same-sex sexual partner preference have been shown to differ in certain aspects of their neurobiology and physiology from rams that do not exhibit such a preference. It remains unclear, however, as to whether these differences are produced by sex-atypical perinatal exposure to androgens and their estrogenic metabolites. At an ultimate level, numerous functional hypotheses for same-sex sexual partner preference have been tested in female Japanese macaques but have failed to receive support. Understanding why same-sex sexual partner preference evolves in some species may involve abandoning a strictly functional perspective and, instead, approaching the issue from the perspective of each species' unique evolutionary history.
Striking secondary sexual traits, such as brightly colored "sexual skin," capes of hair, beards, and other facial adornments occur in adult males of many anthropoid primate species. This review focuses upon the role of sexual selection in the evolution of these traits. A quantitative approach is used to measure sexually dimorphic characters and to compare their development in the monogamous, polygynous, and multimale-multifemale mating systems of monkeys, apes, and human beings.
Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica; referred to simply as quail in this article) readily exhibit sexual behavior and related social behaviors in captive conditions and have therefore proven valuable for studies of how early social experience can shape adult mate preference and sexual behavior. Quail have also been used in sexual conditioning studies illustrating that natural stimuli predict successful reproduction via Pavlovian processes. In addition, they have proven to be a good model to study how variation in photo-period regulates reproduction and how variation in gonadal steroid hormones controls sexual behavior. For example, studies have shown that testosterone activates male-typical behaviors after being metabolized into estrogenic and andro-genic metabolites. A critical site of action for these metabo-lites is the medial preoptic nucleus (POM), which is larger in males than in females. The enzyme aromatase converts tes-tosterone to estradiol and is enriched in the POM in a male-biased fashion. Quail studies were the fi rst to show that this enzyme is regulated both relatively slowly via genomic actions of steroids and more quickly via phosphorylation. With this base of knowledge and the recent cloning of the entire genome of the closely related chicken, quail will be valuable for future studies connecting gene expression to sexual and social behaviors.
In this article, we review a number of studies on sexual functioning after sexual assault. Among the studies discussed, three different approaches can be distinguished: the descriptive analyses of sexual functioning and sexual problems, the exploration of factors which predict sexual problems, and the study of relationships between sexual problems and other psychological problems. Although the studies vary considerably in methodology, they point to the conclusion that frequency of sexual contact decreases after sexual assault. Satisfaction and pleasure in sexual activities seem to diminish for a considerable group of victims for at least 1 year postassault. In several studies it was revealed that victims develop sexual problems that can persist for years after the assault. These include response inhibiting problems, such as fear and arousal and desire dysfunctions. Most researchers have found that factors such as a young age, a known offender, and penetration during the assault are related to sexual problems. With respect to physical violence used during the assault, the results are inconclusive. Furthermore, emotions felt during and immediately after the assault, such as anger towards self, shame, and guilt, may predict sexual problems. Avoidance of sexual contact also appears to be related to sexual problems. A loving and understanding partner seems to be a protective factor. Finally it can be concluded that sexual problems are related to other psychological problems, including posttraumatic stress symptoms and depression.
Self-reported condom use is a key variable in surveys of sexual behavior and in studies evaluating interventions to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections. This article provides a review of how male condom use has been assessed in research. We critically review a number of methodological issues, including the length of the recall period, terminology, specification of partner variables, validity and reliability of condom use, and use of newer data collection methods such as daily diaries and computer-assisted and online technologies. Assessment of condom use errors and problems, and the role of women in condom use are discussed. Finally, we offer recommendations for improving assessment of condom use in future research.
Women are being devastated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. and all over the world, most infections occurring via heterosexual activity with a primary partner. Although a number of evaluations of behavioral risk-reduction interventions for women have been reported, many suffer from methodological problems that weaken confidence in their findings. It is clear that, despite statistically significant intervention effects, many women are unable to respond to even the most effective interventions that have been tested, a fact that might be attributable to failure to change behavior with primary partners. Achieving consistent condom use with primary partners can be highly challenging for women, for a variety of reasons. In the present paper, I review the literature regarding behavioral interventions for women. I also review data supporting the feasibility of alternative strategies that may be more effective than those usually recommended for women at risk for HIV infection by their primary male partner. The literature on woman-controlled technologies, such as the female condom and vaginal microbicides, is summarized. Alternative messages for condom negotiation and "negotiated safety" are also described. Because it is relevant to negotiated safety, and at the heart of the present topic, a review of the behavioral literature regarding serodiscordant heterosexual couples is also provided.
In this article we trace the historical, cultural, political, and economic forces that led to the social construction of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). The popularity of these diagnostic labels among medical professionals, the general public, and women themselves is considered and explored, as is the damage that the labels can do to women in general, as well as those who receive a diagnosis. Suggestions are provided for psychotherapists who might work with women who present with premenstrual symptoms.
Female genital cutting has been practiced in many parts of the world but is now most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. Particularly in the last half-century, genital cutting ceremonies have attracted significant scientific and media attention. I review some of the most frequently referenced interpretations of female genital cutting and suggest that ways of explaining such practices are limited. I indicate that the study of genital cutting practices is at an impasse--with absolutists arguing that intervention to stop the procedure is required and relativists asserting that outsiders have either no right or no ability to impose such change upon others. Data from fieldwork conducted among the Sara, an ethnic group from the south of Chad, highlight the diversity in genital cutting ceremonies that is not currently represented in the literature or acknowledged in popular discourse. Some of the Sara subgroups have only recently adopted female genital cutting. Young girls have been at the forefront of this movement, and parents, village elders, and religious and traditional leaders have been vehement opponents. The usual explanatory concepts--religion, tradition, patriarchy--are not referenced in participants' descriptions of their reasons for undergoing the procedure. Strategies for approaching the study of female genital cutting are presented as ways to bring fresh perspectives to the literature and to move discussion of female genital cutting beyond the current impasse.
As the number of HIV infections in women has increased, there has been a concomitant recognition that prevention efforts to reduce sexual transmission must address the gendered context in which risk behavior occurs. This paper provides a longitudinal perspective on the emergence of the HIV epidemic in U.S. women and the parallel development of interventions to reduce risk. In the first portion of this paper, we briefly discuss the growth of the epidemic among women and how public health responses reflected the early discourse about infected women. We also address methods of protection available to women, and the emerging recognition of the importance of gender relations. In the second half of this paper, we show how gender-specificity in prevention efforts has evolved, using a framework developed by Geeta Gupta (2001) and relying on published reviews of the intervention literature in the past 10 years. Finally, we discuss in detail several recent examples. We conclude with a discussion of future directions.
Scholarly investigations into male and female sexuality over the life course have long occupied two separate "camps": One focused on the biological aspects of sexuality and one focused on the sociocultural/political aspects. This bifurcated approach has been particularly ill suited for the study of sexual desire, a topic that has been generally undertheorized by sex researchers. A modern reappraisal of gender and sexual desire is proposed that takes into coordinated account both the biological and sociocultural/political factors that produce and shape subjective sexual desires over the life course. The specific relevance of this approach for three particular topic areas, adolescent sexual maturation, same-sex sexuality, and sexual dysfunction, is addressed. Methodological approaches to the study of gender and sexuality capable of investigating how cultural and biological factors intersect to shape the subjective quality of men's and women's desires at different points in the life course and within different sociocultural and interpersonal contexts are advocated.
This article provides a comprehensive review and critique of biological research on sexual orientation published over the last decade. We cover research investigating (a) the neurohormonal theory of sexual orientation (psychoneuroendocrinology, prenatal stress, cerebral asymmetry, neuroanatomy, otoacoustic emissions, anthropometrics), (b) genetic influences, (c) fraternal birth-order effects, and (d) a putative role for developmental instability. Despite inconsistent results across both studies and traits, some support for the neurohormonal theory is garnered, but mostly in men. Genetic research using family and twin methodologies has produced consistent evidence that genes influence sexual orientation, but molecular research has not yet produced compelling evidence for specific genes. Although it has been well established that older brothers increase the odds of homosexuality in men, the route by which this occurs has not been resolved. We conclude with an examination of the limitations of biological research on sexual orientation, including measurement issues (paper and pencil, cognitive, and psychophysiological), and lack of research on women.
In many contemporary Occidental societies, bisexuality is paradoxical. Commonly conceived as a combination of heterosexuality and homosexuality, bisexuality as such became conceivable only after the popularization of the hetero/homosexual dichotomy during the late 19th and 20th centuries. Paradoxically, however, the concepts of hetero- and homosexuality, reflecting the cultural belief that an individual's feelings of sexual attraction are naturally directed toward the other sex or, alternatively, toward the same sex, simultaneously renders bisexuality--as an attraction to both genders--inconceivable. In this article, I review the historical and cultural processes that produced the paradoxical conceivability of bisexuality. I then discuss the cultural attitudes toward bisexuality that result from this paradox and show how scientific research on bisexuality has been guided by popular conceptions of, and attitudes toward, bisexuality. Finally, I review efforts to reconceptualize bisexuality for both political and scientific purposes, and summarize recent research on bisexuality using these reconceptualizations. This summary includes research on the prevalence of bisexuality, prejudice against bisexuals, patterns of bisexual behavior, and the meaning of bisexual self-identity.
Women diagnosed with complete spinal cord injury (SCI) at T10 or higher report sensations generated by vaginal-cervical mechanical self-stimulation (CSS). In this paper we review brain responses to sexual arousal and orgasm in such women, and further hypothesize that the afferent pathway for this unexpected perception is provided by the Vagus nerves, which bypass the spinal cord. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we ascertained that the region of the medulla oblongata to which the Vagus nerves project (the Nucleus of the Solitary Tract or NTS) is activated by CSS. We also used an objective measure, CSS-induced analgesia response to experimentally induced finger pain, to ascertain the functionality of this pathway. During CSS, several women experienced orgasms. Brain regions activated during orgasm included the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, amygdala, accumbens-bed nucleus of the stria terminalis-preoptic area, hippocampus, basal ganglia (especially putamen), cerebellum, and anterior cingulate, insular, parietal and frontal cortices, and lower brainstem (central gray, mesencephalic reticular formation, and NTS). We conclude that the Vagus nerves provide a spinal cord-bypass pathway for vaginal-cervical sensibility and that activation of this pathway can produce analgesia and orgasm.
This article reviews the definition and assessment of pedophilia, describes the relationship between pedophilia and sexual offenses against children, and provides an overview of our current theoretical understanding of the etiology of pedophilia. A great deal is known about the assessment of pedophilia--attributable to public and professional concerns regarding the empirical association between pedophilia and sexual offenses against children--but much remains to be learned about pedophilia, including its prevalence in the general population, cross-cultural manifestations, developmental trajectories, and causes. Recent research suggests that neurodevelopmental problems and childhood sexual abuse play a role in the etiology of pedophilia, but the mechanisms that are involved are unknown. Future directions for research on assessment methods and etiology are highlighted.
The concept of sexual health, which was developed at a 1975 conference of the World Health Organization (WHO), is currently being used to set up nationally based public health programs in various countries. I outline the history of sexuality as a public health issue since the 19th century, analyze the history of the concept of sexual health since its emergence in 1975, and make a comparative analysis of the contemporary documents dealing with sexual health generated in the U.S. and England, and by organizations such as the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The analysis of these documents gives evidence that there is no international consensus on the concept of sexual health and its implementation in public health policies. The conceptions of sexual health remain embedded in national and political contexts. Conceptions for sexual health appear to be the result of political compromises and take place in the public health culture and practice of each country. Depending on the context, these different initiatives focus either on individual responsibility or on an appropriate sexual health services organization, and sexual health may be conceived as an ideal state of well-being or as the reduction of negative consequences of sexual activity.
Oral contraceptives (OCs) provide safe, effective, and reversible contraception and are widely used by women for fertility control. Little is known about the effects of OCs on sexual functioning. This paper critically examines the published literature addressing the impact of OCs on sexual desire or libido. We reviewed 30 original research studies. In the retrospective, uncontrolled studies (n = 17), it was found that most women reported an increase in libido during OC use. In the uncontrolled, prospective studies (n = 4), it was found that most women reported little change in libido during OC use. In the prospective and cross-sectional controlled studies (n = 4), women using OCs reported both increased and decreased libido compared to non-OC users. The findings from randomized, placebo-controlled studies (n = 5) were mixed: In the most recent and well-conducted trial, a decrease in libido in OC users compared to placebo users was found. Overall, women experience positive effects, negative effects, as well as no effect on libido during OC use. Better-designed studies are needed to establish the independent, causal effects of OCs on libido.
Sexual selection, in the form of intrasexual competition and mate choice, has driven the evolution of a variety of sexual phenotypes amongst the vertebrates (Andersson, 1994). As a result, vertebrate species utilize many different approaches to acquire fertilizations. Humans and other primates show a wide range of sexual behaviors, but this range is dwarfed by the remarkable variation seen in advanced fishes. The goals of this review are (a) to acquaint the reader with the tremendous sexual diversity exhibited by fishes, (b) to demonstrate how this diversity provides unique opportunities to examine the neurobiological correlates of vertebrate sexual strategies, and (c) to highlight the parallels between the neuroendocrine correlates of the sexual strategies of fish with the mechanisms underlying sexual phenotypes in other vertebrates, showing the utility of fish studies for understanding sexual variation in general.
My purpose is to tackle the major issues concerning the relation between sexuality and conjugality in a sociohistorical and cross-cultural perspective. The starting point is a critical reading of an excerpt from Sexual Conduct (Gagnon & Simon, 1973). I address the nature of changes, over the centuries and in the last few decades, in the relationship between marriage and sexuality, focusing on the reversal of the traditional dependency of sexuality on conjugality. An important issue in marital sex research, which deserves a truly sociological approach, is how sexual activity evolves over the duration of a couple's relationship. Another major issue is that of gender and sexuality, as conjugal sex life is an ideal observation point to examine how gender relations in everyday interaction mold the sexual conduct of men and women, and what is and is not changing in gender interaction. The place and specificity of sexuality in same-sex conjugal construction are also considered.
Sexual behavior in drug users varies in association with the drug used, the drug subculture and setting, and the need to maintain the drug addiction. We review the literature on sexual behavior in drug-using subcultures, most of which centers on HIV risk reduction, and the drug-associated and economic pressures that influence sexual behavior. Most data available are on opioid (predominantly heroin) users and crack cocaine users. The recent phenomenon of the circuit party has led to investigation of the context in which drug use and sex have become the focus of large gay-oriented parties over long weekends. Sexual behavior in association with drugs in Western societies is important for its role in the spread of sexually transmissible pathogens, as well as injection-related pathogens.
Interest in human sexuality began in the 18th century, but formal and more rigorous studies focused on sexual satisfaction and sexual practices were published in the early 1900s. Alfred Kinsey's pioneering work on sexuality, in which he surveyed over 10,000 men and women age 16 and older, began in the late 1930s. In the mid-1960s, Masters and Johnson published their seminal work characterizing the sexual response cycle. Since then, numerous researchers have attempted to understand and to quantify "normal" sexual behaviors using survey techniques. We conducted a systematic review of the published literature on the prevalence of female sexual dysfunction overall and, more specifically, on sexual desire disorder, arousal difficulties, anorgasmia, and dyspareunia. The review also encompassed dysfunction related to the reproductive factors, such as pregnancy, hysterectomy, and menopause. We included sexual dysfunction comorbid with diabetes, depression, and antidepressant therapies. In total, 85 studies are summarized in this review, which spans literature from the early 1900s to the present. We performed a quality assessment of each study, defining quality based on the representativeness of the population studied and the rigor of the instruments used for assessing sexual dysfunction. Although none of the 85 studies included in the review met both standards of quality, some met one criterion and not the other. Definitions of female sexual dysfunction have been developed and refined recently, but there is an urgent need to determine measurable outcomes that can be used for future work.