The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States

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University of Chicago Press, Oct 17, 1994 - Health & Fitness - 718 pages
The Social Organization of Sexuality, a report on the nation's most comprehensive representative survey of sexual behavior in the general population to date, finally offers that basic information. Conducted by a research team centered at the University of Chicago, the National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS) was designed to determine the incidence and prevalence of sexual practices and to place them in their social contexts. Based on personal interviews with a probability sample of 3,432 American women and men between the ages of 18 and 59, undertaken by the National Opinion Research Center, this study explores the extent to which sexual conduct and general attitudes toward sexuality are influenced by gender, age, marital status, and other demographic characteristics. The results of this survey both allow us to better understand how sexual behavior is organized in American society, and offer significant implications for policymakers struggling with many of the nation's crucial health problems. In exploring the rate of new partner formation, for example, the researchers discovered that about 80% of American adults had only one or no sexual partner in the past year. By concentrating AIDS awareness information on the 20% of the population that had two or more partners. AIDS strategists would be better able to target and persuade this segment of the population to modify their sexual behavior. Other topics covered by the survey include early sexual experiences, masturbation, contraception and fertility, abortion, sexual abuse, coercion, sexual health, satisfaction, and sexual dysfunction. A wide variety of sexual practices and preferences are also explored in the questionnaire, including specific questions on homosexual desire, identity, and behavior, the appeal of various sexual practices, and their frequency and incorporation into sexual lives.
 

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Based on the National Health and Social Life Survey, a 1992 nationwide survey of 3432 American men and women between the ages of 18 and 59, this is one of two books reporting on the findings. This ... Read full review

Contents

Theoretical Background
3
Explaining Sexual Content
5
Sexual Decision Making
8
The Sexual Dyad
16
15 Interrelations among the Theories
24
16 Master Statuses and Master Relationships as Social Signals
30
The Study Design
35
21 Major Issues in Designing a Study of Sexuality in the Age of AIDS
42
91 First Vaginal Intercourse and Youthful Heterosexuality
322
92 ForcedCoerced Sex in Adulthood
333
93 Adult and Adolescent Sexual Contacts with Children
339
94 Conclusion
347
Part III
349
Sex Health and Happiness
351
102 Sexual Correlates of Happiness and Health
357
103 Sexual Satisfaction
363

22 On Privacy Confidentiality and Security
71
Part II
75
Sexual Practices and Profiles of Sexual Expression
77
31 Sexual Practices
80
32 Sexual Techniques with OppositeGender Partners
96
33 Sexual Relationships and Contextual Action
121
34 Profiles of Sexual Expression
133
35 Conclusion
145
Appendix 31A Construction of the Religion Variable for Protestant Respondents
146
The Social Organization of Subjective Sexual Preferences
148
The Number of Partners
172
51 The Number of Partners over Specific Time Intervak
175
52 The Cumulative Number of Partners by Age and Time Period
194
53 The Number of Sex Partners before during and following First Union
203
54 Multivariate Analysis of the Number of Partners
216
Construction of the Variable PART12 Number of Partners in the Last Twelve Months
221
Construction of the Variable PART18 Number of Partners since Age Eighteen
222
Sexual Networks
225
61 Master Statuses and the Partnering Process
228
62 Social Networks and the Partnering Process
233
63 Homophily among Noncohabitational Partnerships
243
64 The Consequences of Specific Partnering Strategies
254
65 The Structure of BetweenGroup Contact
262
66 Conclusion
266
Epidemiological Implications of Sexual Networks
269
Homosexuality
283
81 Prior Research on the Prevalence of Homosexuality
286
82 The Myth of 10 Percent and the Kinsey Research
287
83 Dimensions of Homosexuality
290
84 Measurement and Prevalence of SameGender Behavior Desire and Identity
292
85 The Interrelation of SameGender Sexual Behavior Desire and Identity
298
86 The Relation of Master Statuses and SameGender Sexuality
302
87 Conclusion
320
Formative Sexual Experiences
321
104 Sexual Dysfunction
368
105 Conclusion
374
Sexually Transmitted Infections
376
111 Lifetime and Annual Rates of STIs
378
112 Risky Partners and Risky Practices
391
113 The Sexual Behavior of Those Infected with STIs
422
114 Reactions to the Risk of Infection
427
The Logistic
440
Sex and Fertility
442
121 The Pattern of Fertility
443
122 Fertility Control
448
123 The Outcome of Conceptions
455
124 Age at Birth of the First Child
465
125 Conclusion
473
Sex Cohabitation and Marriage
475
131 Age of Entry into a First Marriage or Cohabitation
476
132 The Choice of a Marriage or a Cohabitational Union
491
133 The Stability of Partnerships
496
134 Conclusion
508
Normative Orientations toward Sexuality
509
141 Different Normative Orientations
510
142 The Distribution of Orientations within Master Status Groups
518
143 Normative Orientations and Sexual Behavior
529
144 Normative Orientations and Sexual Preferences
536
145 Conclusion
537
Epilogue
541
Sampling Procedures and Data Quality
549
Comparisons of the NHSLS with Other Data Sets
571
The NHSLS Questionnaire
606
References
679
Author Index
707
Subject Index
712
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About the author (1994)

Edward O. Laumann is the George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago.

John H. Gagnon is the Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, at the State University of New York, Stony Brook.

Robert T. Michael is the Eliakim Hastings Moore Distinguished Service Professor and dean of the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago.

Stuart Michaels was the project manager of the NHSLS suvey and is currently adjunct clinical professor in the Department of Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Paris XI, France.

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