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Human Sexuality

Human Sexuality
Personality and Social Psychological Perspectives

  • Craig A. Hill - Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne

August 2007 | 576 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"Although intended as a textbook, this accessible book could as well serve in an academic collection as a useful source of background material for a variety of readers." —CHOICE

"Craig Hill's new text is a welcome addition to the textbooks available for undergraduate courses on human sexuality. It goes beyond the standard topics found in many books and seriously integrates social psychological research and theory on human sexuality. This book is just the type of serious treatment of psychological aspects of human sexuality that I have been seeking for some time for my course."
—Irene Hanson Frieze, Professor of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh

Human Sexuality: Personality and Social Psychological Perspectives presents the topics typically covered in human sexuality courses, rooting the presentation in a strong psychological perspective. Author Craig Hill focuses on personality and social psychological theory to provide students with a conceptual understanding of the psychological factors involved in sexuality, and he encourages students to build upon that foundation by challenging them to think critically about the material in various ways. He also emphasizes the scientific investigation of sexuality, offering a solid review of the research literature.

Key Features

  • Focuses predominantly on the psychological aspects of sexuality: The topics covered and the organization of the book are ideally suited for instructors who wish to emphasize psychological factors involved in sexuality.
  • Stresses the symbiotic relationship between research and theory: The book provides a more accurate and complete understanding of the way in which science generates sound evidence that informs theories pertaining to sexuality and how those theories, in turn, inform further inquiry.
  • Presents real-life examples: Personal anecdotes enable students to relate concepts and information to the lives of real people and to their own lives, making the information clearer and more meaningful to them.
  • Integrates cultural diversity throughout: Race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are considered in the topics covered and the examples employed.
  • Helps develop critical thinking and analytic abilities: Analyze This: Looking at Different Perspectives; An Opportunity for Self-Reflection; and An Eye Toward Research boxes as well as end-of-chapter questions and caption questions allow students to delve further into the material, allowing them to think critically about current topics and their own lives.

Intended Audience

This is an excellent core text for both undergraduate and graduate courses on Human Sexuality particulary those offered in departments of psychology.

Supplementary Material

  • An Instructor's Resource CD provides PowerPoint presentations; chapter study material; classroom handouts; and suggestions for course projects, discussion questions, and internet exercises. Also included is a Computerized Test Bank with multiple-choice, true/false, and essay questions that allows for easy test creation
  • A Student Study Web Site provides e-flashcards, Internet exercises and resources, self quizzes, and links to SAGE journal articles and video clips. Also available is a link to the author's blog where students can respond to comments posted by the author and other students using the text. Go to to view the site.

1. The Study of Sexuality
The Need for the Scholarly Study of Sexuality

The Predominant Views Used in This Book

The Nature of Theory and Understanding in Science

Historical Factors in the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality


2. Sexuality in a Historical, Religious, and Philosophical Context
The Historical Analysis of Sexuality

The Centrality of Religion in Attitudes about Sexuality


3. The Historical Course of Sexuality
Western Civilization Prior to the 20th Century

The Great Depression (1930-1939)

World War II and the Atomic Age (1940-1949)

A Return to the Past: The New Traditionalism (1950-1959)

New Frontiers (1960-1969)

The Seventies: The Walls Come Tumbling Down (1970-1979)

The Conservative Counter-Reaction (1980 to Recent Times)

Conclusions About the Historical Course of Sexuality


4. The Scientific Study of Sexuality
Early Scientific Research on Sexuality

Collecting Scientific Information on Sexuality

Evaluating the Quality of Measurement

Methods of Collecting Data

Ethics and Scientific Research with Humans


5. The Person: Individuality and Sexuality
The Personal Meaning of Sexuality

The Personality Psychology of Sexuality


6. Gender and Sexuality
The Concepts of Sex and Gender

Aspects of Gender


7. The Sexual Self and Sexual Identity
The Social Nature of the Self

Sexual Identity


8. Sexual Motivation, Arousal, and Attraction
Sexual Motivation

Factors Affecting Attractiveness of Partners


9. Love, Intimacy, and Sexuality
Romantic Relationships

The Development of Intimate Relationships

Theoretical Views of Love and Sexuality


10. Relationships and Sexuality
The Path That Relationships Usually Follow

Sexuality Within Long-Term Committed Relationships

Sexuality Outside of Traditional Relationships


11. Ethnicity, Race, Culture, and Sexuality
The Concepts of Race and Ethnicity

Sexuality and Ethnicity


12. The Biopsychology of Sexuality
The Nervous System

The Endocrine System

Control of Sex Hormone Production by the Brain

The Role of Sex Hormones in Prenatal Development

Biological Factors Involved in Sexuality


13. Sexuality in the Early Years and Adolescence
Development During Infancy

Development During Childhood



14. Adulthood: Challenges and Decisions
Challenges of Young Adulthood

Establishing Sexual Orientation

Romantic Relationships

Establishing a Family

Midlife and Beyond


Author Biography

"Author Craig Hill has created a comprehensive text unique in its approach to the literature on sexuality and relationship status, biological factors affecting specific aspects of sexuality, and adult sexual decision-making. This text successfully communicates psychological theories and theory-guided research while maintaining its appeal to undergraduates. Moreover, the material is inclusive in its consideration of research on gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and race. Craig Hill's Human Sexuality is a vital tool to any faculty member teaching a course in human sexuality."

Gabie Smith
Elon Univeristy

"Although intended as a textbook, this accessible book could as well serve in an academic collection as a useful source of background material for a variety of readers." 


W.P. Anderson
University of Missouri

It was the best text that I found that combined gender and sexuality from a psychological perspective. I was however disappointed in the lack of recent references as it is published in 2007. My students felt the treatment of LBGTQ issues was old-fashioned harkening to the deviant days of years past. Is there a new edition on the horizon?

Dr Ann M Peiffer
Psychology Dept, Mars Hill College
February 9, 2016

I found 'Human Sexuality' to be an excellent textbook. My students have embraced the context's of it's pages which were facilitated during their module Universal Issues in Counselling: Sexuality.

Mrs Gisela Oates
Gisela Oates Faculty Office, PCI College
September 17, 2014

As not many lectures go into this matter in great depth (within the module), this is an excellent text for any student to read outside of the framework of the lectures. This is especially the case if working on essays or dissertations related to sexuality. A thorough assessment of human sexuality is given and there is a mass of research and references provided for the reader to use to their advantage and follow up.

Mr Cal Cooper
Division of Psychology, Northampton University
April 27, 2014

Hill's Human Sexuality text is comprehensive in including LGBTQI-2S, as well as race, ethnicity, religion, class, and immigration. It offers a multiplicity of psychological theories and their intersection with human sexuality. Additionally Dr. Hill provides extensive opportunity for readers to engage critically with the material as well as highlight areas of needed research.

Professor Monique LeSarre
Sch of Professional Psychology/Sch of Undergraduate Studies, California Institution of Integral Studies
August 24, 2012


Dr Sue Churchill
Psychology , Chichester University
June 7, 2012

This book is a useful and comprehensive introduction to understanding the complexity of sexuality.

Ms Sandy Nelson
Public Health and Primary Care, Thames Valley University
November 9, 2011

“Human Sexuality” offers an appealing synthesis of the social, bio- and differential psychological aspects of sex research. Its additional focus on developmental psychological ascendants, the cultural and/or religious contexts and a historical course of human sexuality makes it stand out favorably from other volumes about this topic.

Furthermore, it shouldn’t go unmentioned that “Human sexuality” is a very student-friendly and learner-oriented book that’s fun to work with, thanks to its numerous exercises, real life examples and attractive pictures. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in an overview of the different facets of sex research and the empirical knowledge researchers in this field have gathered throughout the last decades.

Ms Sara Jahnke
Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Dresden University of Technology
June 30, 2011

This book is useful for practitioners to extend their understanding of the wide and complex issues in sexual health.

Mrs Dawn Sheriff
Faculty of Health and Social Care, The UNIVERSITY OF HULL
April 1, 2011

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

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