I've taught human sexuality courses in colleges and universities for more than a decade. Teaching a course on this subject obviously poses a number of unique challenges, but one of the biggest for me was finding the right textbook. Don't get me wrong--there are a ton of fantastic sex books out there written by superstars in the field; however, none of them offered the perspective that I take in my class. As someone working in a psychology department, I want a book that emphasizes psychological research and theory, as opposed to one that largely dwells on the clinical and biological side of things. My students want this too. In fact, for the first several years I taught this class, my end-of-semester evaluations had a lot of comments along the lines of “great class, but where’s the psychology?” Given that I couldn’t find a book that met my needs and the needs of my students, I decided to write my own, which I titled The Psychology of Human Sexuality.
The first edition was published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2014, and the second edition will be released on December 8, 2017. Let me tell you a little bit about the book and what's new in the revised edition.
In a nutshell, The Psychology of Human Sexuality offers a comprehensive overview of human sexual behavior from a biopsychosocial perspective. What this means is that while I put psychology front and center throughout, I also acknowledge and consider biological, evolutionary, and socio-cultural factors that influence our sexual attitudes and behaviors.
The Psychology of Human Sexuality addresses a wide range of topics, from gender identity and sexual orientation to variations in sexual behavior to sex difficulties and sex therapy to sex work and pornography. This book offers more in-depth coverage of relationships than comparable sexuality texts, featuring separate chapters that deal with attraction and relationship processes.
I wrote this book in the style of my blog, meaning that it is designed to be highly accessible to students. My goal was not only to create a book that students would learn a lot from, but that they would actually want to read. I also took great care in my writing, using language that is respectful and inclusive of a diverse audience.
The Psychology of Human Sexuality was designed for undergraduate courses on human sexuality taught by instructors who desire a textbook that is thoroughly grounded in psychological research and theory. However, this text will also serve as a useful resource for scholars, as well as anyone else who just wants to know more about the psychology of sex.
What's new in the second edition? Here are a few of the highlights. As you'll see, this isn't a token update, but rather a substantive revision:
- The single biggest change is the inclusion of a brand new chapter on lifespan sexual development, which focuses on how sexuality develops early in life and how it changes in older age. I felt that the developmental aspect of our sex lives wasn't addressed in enough detail in the first edition, so I made sure to highlight it in the second.
- Cutting-edge research has been incorporated throughout the book. The new edition covers the latest preventative tools and treatments for sexually transmitted infections (like PrEP), plus new developments and directions in the treatment of sexual difficulties. I have also included the latest scientific findings on the origins of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the role of hormones in sexual behavior.
- This edition offers expanded coverage of multiple topics that students of sex are likely to be curious about, including asexuality, consensually non-monogamous relationships, and group sex.
- More cross-cultural research and examples have been added in each chapter to further highlight the vast diversity that exists in sexual attitudes and behaviors. More information on sexuality and disability has been added as well (e.g., how sensory impairments affect sexual arousal, how disability affects sexual development in adolescence).
I'm also thrilled to announce that there is no price increase for the second edition--in fact, the list price is actually slightly lower than it was for the first edition! It's a great value, especially for instructors who are concerned about textbook costs.
Praise for the first edition of The Psychology of Human Sexuality:
Lehmiller has written an impressive, up-to-date coverage of human sexuality. Well-researched and beautifully written, it surveys the vast and tangled realm of human sexual behavior with gentle respect and insight. Everyone will learn something new from this book and come away impressed with a new appreciation of this vital domain of human social life.
—Roy Baumeister, Francis Eppes Professor of Psychology at Florida State University and author of The Cultural Animal: Human Nature, Meaning, and Social Life
Going both wide and deep, Lehmiller has produced a singular feat of scholarship that will not only get students and teachers talking about sex, but will inspire conversations about human sexuality that are informed, accurate, lively and respectful"
—Ian Kerner, sexuality counselor and NY Times best-selling author of She Comes First
The Psychology of Human Sexuality is a comprehensive, progressive, and in-depth research-based examination of human sexuality, covering both depth and breadth of contemporary issues in human sexuality. It would be an ideal text for a course for psychology students looking to gain a broad understanding of the field of human sexuality.
—Professor Kristen P. Mark, Director of Sexual Health Promotion Lab, University of Kentucky, USA