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Sex and Society   By: (1863-1947)

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Sex and Society by William I. Thomas explores the intricate relationship between sex and society, delving deep into the dynamics that shape our understanding of sexuality. This thought-provoking book presents a comprehensive analysis of how cultural, historical, and social factors influence individual and collective attitudes towards sex.

Thomas skillfully examines his subject matter from various angles, intertwining anthropological, psychological, and sociological perspectives to shed light on the intricate complexities of human sexuality. His extensive research and wealth of knowledge in the field are evident, making this book a valuable source for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of how sexuality intersects with our social fabric.

One of the strengths of Sex and Society is its balanced approach. Thomas navigates controversial topics with tact and sensitivity, managing to provide an objective account while respecting diverse viewpoints. The author presents a wide range of historical and cross-cultural examples, allowing readers to see the extensive variations in sexual norms throughout time and across different societies.

Moreover, Thomas challenges conventional wisdom surrounding sexuality, questioning ingrained assumptions and offering fresh perspectives. He emphasizes the significance of cultural context in shaping sexual attitudes, underscoring the impact of societal norms and values on individual experiences. By doing so, he explores how our understanding of sex is deeply entwined with power dynamics, politics, and the process of socialization.

While Sex and Society is undeniably academically rigorous, it remains accessible to a non-specialist audience. Thomas employs clear and concise language, making complex concepts understandable to readers who may not have a background in sociology or anthropology. This book serves as a valuable resource for students, educators, and those seeking to broaden their knowledge in the field of sexual studies.

One aspect that could be improved upon is the book's limited focus on contemporary issues surrounding sexuality. While Thomas provides a thorough historical background and analysis, more exploration of present-day challenges and debates could have further enhanced the book's relevance and resonance with readers.

In conclusion, Sex and Society offers a stimulating and comprehensive exploration of the complex connections between sex and society. William I. Thomas masterfully examines the multifaceted factors that contribute to our societal understanding of sexuality, challenging readers to critically reflect on their preconceptions. This book is an invaluable addition to the field of sexual studies, presenting a compelling argument for the interplay between cultural forces and individual sexual experiences.

First Page:


Studies in the Social Psychology of Sex



Associate Professor of Sociology in the University of Chicago

The University of Chicago Press Chicago, Illinois

1907 Fourth Impression 1913


These studies have been published in various journals at different times. They are reprinted together because there is some demand for them, and they are not easily accessible. In preparing them for publication in the present form, some of them have been expanded and all of them have been revised.

While each study is complete in itself, the general thesis running through all of them is the same that the differences in bodily habit between men and women, particularly the greater strength, restlessness, and motor aptitude of man, and the more stationary condition of woman, have had an important influence on social forms and activities, and on the character and mind of the two sexes.

"Organic Differences in the Sexes" appeared in the American Journal of Sociology , III, 31ff., with the title, "On a Difference in the Metabolism of the Sexes;" "Sex and Primitive Social Control," ibid. , III, 754ff.; "Sex and Primitive Industry," ibid. , IV, 474ff.; "Sex and Primitive Morality," ibid. , IV, 774ff.; "The Psychology of Modesty and Clothing," ibid... Continue reading book >>

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