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Book Forum: Sexuality   |    
Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment
Am J Psychiatry 1999;156:656-656.
View Author and Article Information
Jenkintown, Pa.

edited by D. Richard Laws, William O’Donohue. New York, Guilford Publications, 1997, 514 pp., $60.00.

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The editors of this beautifully edited compendium of sexually deviate conditions describe their book as "a handbook in the truest sense of that word." Indeed, this is a reference text for those clinicians, researchers, and practitioners requiring up-to-date information on the theory and psychopathology of sexually deviant conditions as well as methods of assessment and treatment of these disorders.

The editors have assembled the finest authors in the field to contribute to this collection of treatises on various forms of sexual deviance. The contributors are well-known to those who are familiar with this literature.

The editors are to be congratulated for compiling well-written, high-quality chapters that are uniform. The book also follows, as closely as possible, the DSM-IV guidelines for mental disorders as well as definitions of deviance.

The book is composed of several chapters on various forms of sexual deviance, including exhibitionism, fetishism, frotteurism, pedophilia, sexual sadism and masochism, voyeurism, rape, and transvestic fetishism. What is significant about the book is the separation of each of those conditions into a chapter on psychopathology and theory and a separate chapter on assessment and treatment. That distinction is helpful to the researcher and clinician who requires information about a patient or a condition that is being researched.

In addition to these traditional conditions, which are well presented in dual chapters, the editors also include a chapter on paraphilias not otherwise specified, which includes a number of lesser known deviations. Most of the authors come from clinical and psychological orientations rather than medical backgrounds. Therefore, the editors have included a chapter on medical models of sexual deviance written by psychiatrists to complement the traditional psychodynamic etiologies of sexual deviance. The chapter on medical interventions in sexual deviance includes various medical models for treatment of serious conditions of sexual deviance. These treatment modalities include sexual castration and antiandrogens.

Finally, there is a chapter on sexual deviance in females. The editors point out that most sexual deviants are males and that most victims are females. In order to present a complete picture, the condition in females is also discussed and analyzed with respect to theory as well as assessment and treatment. The final chapter is on future directions and leads the reader to various forms of treatment that are being studied for future use.

I found this book to be an excellent guide for those in need of current information on sexual deviance, both for theory as well as for treatment. This is a book that puts it all together in one volume.




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