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Books, Journals, New Media
October 13, 2004

Sexual Behavior

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(14):1754-1760. doi:10.1001/jama.292.14.1754

This book is a sociological study of urban sexual partnering. The chief investigator, Edward O. Laumann, one of five coeditors, is professor of sociology at the University of Chicago. He coauthored The Social Organization of Sexuality in the United States, published in 1994, to which this book is a cousin. The other editors are also sociologists.

This study developed when the National Health and Social Life Survey, the 1992 study on sexual behavior of Americans, was stalled by a politically motivated interruption of funding. The researchers then proposed a more limited study that might more easily garner support. The result is this book. These editors used a different questionnaire to elicit information in their thousands of interviews but used the same sampling methods of the 1992 study to select their interviewees, who were aged 18 to 59 years. They collected information from community institutions representing medicine, law, religion, and community services. In interpreting their data, they arrive at interesting and sometimes troubling conclusions: urban sex is diverse and varies markedly from one neighborhood to another; the effect of community institutions on sexual behavior has diminished; and liberal access to many sexual partners decreases the likelihood of marital partnering.

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