Sexual Science and the Law

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1992 - Law - 323 pages

A rape victim charges that pornography caused her attacker to become a sex offender. A lesbian mother fights for custody of her child. A transsexual pilot is fired by a commercial airline after undergoing sex change and sues for sex discrimination. A homosexual is denied employment because of sexual orientation. A woman argues that her criminal behavior should be excused because she suffers from premenstrual syndrome. The law has much to say about sexual behavior, but what it says is rarely influenced by the findings of social science research over recent decades. This book focuses for the first time on the dynamic interplay between sexual science and legal decisionmaking.

Reflecting the author's wide experience as a respected sex researcher, expert witness, and lawyer, Sexual Science and the Law provides valuable insights into some of the most controversial social and sexual topics of our time. Drawing on an exhaustive knowledge of the relevant research and citing extensively from case law and court transcripts, Richard Green demonstrates how the work of sexual science could bring about a transformation in jurisprudence, informing the courts in their deliberations on issues such as sexual privacy, homosexuality, prostitution, abortion, pornography, and sexual abuse.

In each case he considers, Green shows how the law has been shaped by social science or impoverished by reliance on conjecture and received wisdom. He examines the role of sexual science in legal controversy, its analysis of human motivation and behavior, and its use by the courts in determining the relative weight to be given the desires of the individual, the standards of society, and the power of the state in limiting sexual autonomy. Unprecedented in its portrayal of sexuality in a legal context, this scholarly but readable book will interest and educate professional and layperson alike--those lawyers, judges, sex educators, therapists, patients, and citizens who find themselves standing nonplussed at the meeting place of morality and behavior.


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Introduction 1 Fornication
Child Custody and Homosexual Parents
Homosexuality as a Fundamental Right
Homosexuals as a Suspect Class
Immigration and Homosexuality
Intergenerational Sexuality
Surgical or Chemical Castration of
SexLinked Defenses to Criminal Behavior
Sexual Science and Sexual Privacy

Sex Education

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About the author (1992)

Richard Philip Green was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 6, 1936. He received a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1961. He specialized in psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he became a professor and researcher. In 1972, he wrote a paper in The International Journal of Psychiatry questioning the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association decided to drop homosexuality from its diagnostic manual. In 1975, he founded the International Academy of Sex Research and became the first editor of its journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior, a position he held until 2002. He wrote several books including The "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development of Homosexuality. He appeared as an expert witness on behalf of gay or transgender people in more than a dozen trials. After receiving a law degree from Yale University in his 50s, Green relocated to Great Britain. He was a professor of psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College, London, and on the law and psychology faculties of Cambridge University. He died from esophageal cancer on April 6, 2019 at the age of 82.

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