Sexual Attitudes Through the Ages

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(8), 658–659. Reviews the book, Sin, Sickness, and Sanity: A History of Sexual Attitudes by Vern L. Bullough and Bonnie Bullough (1977). The subtitle of this book is A History of Sexual Attitudes, and, while somewhat less alliterative than the title, it is a better description of the contents. They have traced the vicissitudes of Western attitudes toward each of these subtopics more or less historically, starting usually with Greek and Roman writings. In addition, it is well; written with an absence of jargon and a literary style that is relatively easy to read. Thus, it is certainly a valuable, book for anyone with specific interests in the subject, and a highly educational one for the more general reader, who may feel that attitudes toward sexual matters are decreed by some higher, authority, and no alternatives are possible. The one question that remains in my mind has to do with the authors purpose in writing the book. “If this book has a message, it is that Western society has felt uncomfortable about its sexuality, and Western men and women have been filled with shame, anxiety, and fear about it.” Although as a reviewer I would certainly agree with this viewpoint. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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