Human Sexuality (book)

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Human Sexuality
Human Sexuality cover first edition.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Authors Simon LeVay
Sharon Valente
Country United States
Language English
Subject Human sexuality
Publisher W. H. Freeman and Company
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages xviii + 628
ISBN 978-0878935703
OCLC 61881148

Human Sexuality is a textbook by the neuroscientist Simon LeVay and Sharon Valente. The book received positive reviews, praising it as a well written book that covered multiple topics and issues related to sex.

Publication history[edit]

The book was first published in 2003 by W. H. Freeman and Company. Subsequent editions have been published by Sinauer Associates, with the second edition appearing in 2006, the third in 2009, and the fourth in 2012. Starting with the third edition, Valente was replaced by Janice Baldwin as a co-author.


The first edition of Human Sexuality received a positive review from the neuroscientist Marc Breedlove in the Archives of Sexual Behavior,[1] and was also reviewed by William Byne in JAMA.[2] The second edition received positive reviews from Byne in JAMA and Sari M. van Anders in the Archives of Sexual Behavior,[3][4] and the third and fourth editions received positive reviews from Sigmund Hough in Sexuality and Disability.[5][6]

Breedlove described the book as comprehensive, clearly written, well informed, free of factual errors, and sometimes very funny. He credited LeVay and Valente with discussing sex in a way that was "explicit without being judgmental", and with covering topics including neuroscience, anatomy and physiology, the evolution of sexual reproduction and behavior, sexual differentiation, cognitive sex differences, and sexual fantasy, as well as the history and politics of sex, cultural attitudes toward the topic, and controversial issues such as the use of surgery on intersex infants. He also praised the art included in the book.[1] Byne called the book "exceptional" and credited its authors with assessing "nearly every aspect of sexuality from multiple theoretical, historical, and cultural perspectives."[3]

Anders described the book as clearly written and full of "interesting facts and commentary". She considered it "exceptionally current, with up-to-date examples and content that will be relevant to students and instructors". She complimented its discussions of topics such as sexual anatomy, sexual differentiation, sexual behavior, and sexually transmitted diseases, though she noted that some topics were excluded and questioned some of the claims made. She concluded that despite these "caveats or quibbles", the book was an "extremely informative and engaging textbook".[4] Hough called the third edition of the book an "excellent college and introductory graduate textbook". He credited LeVay and Baldwin with covering many topics, and praised the illustrations included with their text, and the online resources associated with it.[5] He also praised the book's fourth edition.[6]



  1. ^ a b Breedlove 2004, pp. 169–170.
  2. ^ Byne 2003, pp. 962–963.
  3. ^ a b Byne 2006, p. 2539.
  4. ^ a b Anders 2008, pp. 349–351.
  5. ^ a b Hough 2009, pp. 179–180.
  6. ^ a b Hough 2012, pp. 375–376.