Author: Roger R. Hock, PhD
: Pearson – 663 pages
Book Review by
: Sonu Chandiram

An interesting beginning to this unique book is a timeline of human sexual history that spans about a century and a half, from 1846 to 2011.

Photos relating to some of the milestones are provided in this history depicted on the inside front cover and first page: Alfred Kinsey and his associates, sometime around the publication of his book Sexual Behavior and the Human Male in 1948; the cover of the first issue of Playboy magazine in 1953; Drs. William Masters and Virginia Johnson, authors of Human Sexual Response in 1966; Louise Brown, the first ‘test-tube baby’ in 1978; the first female condom, approved in 1993;  first pregnant transgender man who gave birth to baby girl in 2008; and two homosexuals kissing, as New York becomes the sixth (and largest) state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2011.

As in most books on human behavior, more than just data, facts and figures are presented. In this one, the author provides the seven “guiding principles” that have influenced his teaching and writing:

  1. Personal Choice and Responsibility
  2. Real-Life Relevancy
  3. Physical and Emotional Health and Wellness
  4. Authoritative Information
  5. Critical Analysis of Research and Information About Sexuality
  6. Awareness of and Respect for Sexual Diversity
  7. Comfort With and Acceptance of Your Own Sexuality

The coverage of topics in this book is extensive. These are the titles of its chapters:

  • Studying Human Sexuality
  • Sexual Anatomy
  • The Physiology of Human Sexual Responding
  • Love, Intimacy, and Sexual Communication
  • Contraception: Planning and Preventing Pregnancy
  • Sexual Behaviors: Experiencing Sexual Pleasure
  • Sexual Problems and Solutions
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections and Diseases
  • Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth
  • Gender: Expectations, Roles, and Behaviors
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Sexual Development Throughout Life
  • Sexual Aggression and Violence: Rape, Child Sexual Abuse, and Sexual Harassment
  • Paraphilias: Atypical Sexual Behaviors
  • The Sexual Marketplace: Prostitution and Pornography

Numerous features are used in this book to present information that can be more easily grasped and remembered. Attractive, colorful icons and titles help the reader focus attention on the subject matter. Some of these features used throughout the chapters are:

  • Since You Asked
  • Focus on Your Feelings
  • Self-Discovery
  • Your Sexual Philosophy
  • In Touch with Your Sexual Health
  • Sexuality, Ethics, and the Law
  • Sexuality and Culture
  • Historical Perspectives
  • Evaluating Sexual Research
  • Have You Considered?

Visuals used are plentiful and varied: charts, diagrams, drawings, figures, photos, sketches, and tables are some of the tools utilized to present material.

A Summary at the end of each chapter presents the topics covered. Short paragraphs with bullet points help the reader retain the main points discussed in the chapter.

At the end of the book, the following useful sections are provided to enhance retention of material: a Glossary with important terms and definitions; a long list of References for further exploration and study on various subjects; a Credits list; a Name Index; and a Subject Index.

Few textbooks are out there on human sexuality. This is one of those rare ones that is not only broad and comprehensive, but also provides depth of understanding and insight on various issues by a very knowledgeable teacher and writer in the person of Dr. Roger Hock.

Roger R. Hock, PhD is a professor of psychology and human sexuality at Mendocino College in northern California. He received his MA in Psychology from San Diego State University and his PhD in Psychology from University of California at San Diego. He is also the author of Forty Studies that Changed Psychology: Explorations into the History of Psychological Research (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009) and coauthor of It’s My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence (Routledge, 2006).

Roger has been teaching psychology for over 25 years and human sexuality for nearly 20 years. Human Sexuality is his favorite class to teach and is consistently one of the most popular among students. He believes that Human Sexuality is an essential course for college students because the topics covered are fundamental to our lives and our identities as humans. He has been known to “declare” that, if he had the power to do so, he would make the human sexuality course a requirement for all undergraduate college and university students.

Why? Because the material in this course touches everyone, in countless ways, throughout their lives. But, more importantly, most students, upon entering college as adults, lack a correct and current understanding of at least some, if not many, key issues that comprise the complexities of humans as sexual beings. Sex education in grades K-12 is frequently incomplete, inadequate, and even misleading, and not all parents are willing or able to impart the necessary and correct information to their children. Students in higher education clearly need and deserve the knowledge they acquire in this class.