SEX AND REASON

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, Jan 1, 1994 - Law - 468 pages
26 Reviews
How much of a say do we have in our own sexuality? More than is commonly assumed, Richard Posner asserts in this intellectually sweeping and compulsively readable account of sexuality and its social control. While acknowledging that sexual drives and orientations are formed in a fundamentally biological matrix, Posner contends that they are also subject to self-interested choice constrained by perceived costs and benefits. With this approach, he explores numerous puzzles presented by sexual history. Why, for instance, are "macho" cultures generally more tolerant of sexual deviance than their otherwise more sexually liberal Anglo-Saxon counterparts? Why were women in Victorian England less free sexually than women a century earlier? Why might the AIDS epidemic have reduced the ratio of illegitimate to legitimate births? Why is marital rape increasingly criminalized? Economics provides Sex and Reason with its unifying perspective, but Posner also draws heavily on biology, law, psychology, anthropology, history, philosophy, sociology, theology, and women's studies. The scope of his analysis is broad, ranging from ancient Greece to modern Sweden, from African tribal societies to the American Catholic priesthood, from Islamic sexual regulation to the sexual jurisprudence of the U.S. Supreme Court, from polygamy and homosexuality to abortion, surrogate motherhood, and pornography. In all these areas, Posner argues, the rational choice approach can illuminate temporal and cultural variance in sexual norms and practices and point the way to enlightened reform. A widely respected judge and legal scholar, Posner seeks to dispel the clouds of ignorance, prejudice, shame, and hypocrisy that befogthe public discussion of sex. His effort is especially timely, coming as it does at a juncture when the American legal system is strained to its limits by such phenomena as the AIDS epidemic, the abortion controversy, the homosexual rights movement, battles over the federal fundin
  

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Review: Sex and Reason

User Review  - Chanel Baron - Goodreads

While this book gave an extremely thorough cost-benefit analysis in regards to all matters sex in society, it was extremely dry and difficult to read. It took me 11 months to read and I usually read ... Read full review

Review: Sex and Reason

User Review  - Goodreads

While this book gave an extremely thorough cost-benefit analysis in regards to all matters sex in society, it was extremely dry and difficult to read. It took me 11 months to read and I usually read ... Read full review

Contents

Theoretical Sexology
13
Social Constructionism with a Glance at Gender Disorders
23
Other Threads in the Multidisciplinary Tapestry
30
Autres Temps Autres Moeurs
37
The Sexual Mores of NonWestern Cultures
66
Sexuality and Law
70
The Biology of Sex
85
The Biological Basis and Character of Normal Sex
88
Sexual Radicals
237
Marriage and the Channeling of Sex
243
Regulating Nonmarital Sex
260
The Control of Pregnancy
267
Abortion
272
Homosexuality The Policy Questions
291
Sodomy Laws and Homosexual Marriage
309
Discrimination against Homosexuals with Particular Reference to Military Service
314

The Biology of Deviant Sex
98
Conclusion and Critique
108
Sex and Rationality
111
The Costs of Sex
115
Complementarity of Sexual Practices
142
The History of Sexuality from the Perspective of Economics
146
Monasticism Puritanism and Christian Sex Ethics
151
Swedish Permissiveness
161
Three Stages in the Evolution of Sexual Morality
173
Optimal Regulation of Sexuality
181
The Externalities of Sex
183
Incest and Revulsion
199
The Efficacy of Sexual Regulations
204
Designing an Optimal Punishment Scheme for Sex Crimes
211
The Political Economy of Sexual Regulation
213
Moral Theories of Sexuality
220
Christian and Liberal Theories of Sex
224
The Sexual Revolution in the Courts
324
Bowers v Hardwick and Beyond
341
Erotic Art Pornography and Nudity
351
The Social Consequences of Pornography
366
Deciding WhatIf Anythingto Punish
375
Coercive Sex
383
Sexual Abuse of Adults
384
Sexual Abuse of Children
395
Separating Reproduction from Sex
405
Artificial Insemination and the Issue of Surrogate Motherhood
420
Eugenics and Population
429
Conclusion
435
Index
443
Acknowledgments
445
Index
447
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

Richard A. Posner is Circuit Judge, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.

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