2nd Edition

Sexual Deviance and Society A Sociological Examination

By Meredith G. F. Worthen Copyright 2022
    532 Pages 94 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    532 Pages 94 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In a society where sexualized media has become background noise, we are frequently discouraged from frank and open discussions about sex and offered few tools for understanding sexual behaviors and sexualities that are perceived as being out of the norm. This book encourages readers to establish new ways of thinking about stigmatized people and behaviors and to think critically about gender, sex, sexuality, and sex crimes.

    Sexual Deviance and Society uses sociological theories of crime, deviance, gender, and sexuality to construct a framework for understanding sexual deviance. This book is divided into four units:

    • Unit I, Sociology of Deviance and Sexuality, lays the foundation for understanding sex and sexuality through sociological frameworks of deviance.
    • Unit II, Sexual Deviance, provides an in-depth dialogue to its readers about the sociological constructions of sexual deviance with a critical focus on contemporary and historical conceptualizations.
    • Unit III, Deviant Sexual Acts, explores a variety of deviant sexual acts in detail, including sex in public, fetishes, and sex work.
    • Unit IV, Sex Crimes and Criminals, examines rape and sexual assault, sex crimes against children, and societal responses to sex offenders and their treatment within the criminal justice system.

    This revised second edition includes new theoretical approaches such as Norm-Centered Stigma Theory; expands into new fields of criminology such as queer criminology; more deeply discusses nonbinary people’s experiences; includes updates to the landscape of LGBTQ rights; reviews "new" forms of sexual deviance including "incels" and "revenge porn"; covers the latest developments in the #MeToo movement; and expands on the discussion of SM, including the "Fifty Shades Phenomenon." In addition, this edition reviews the ever-evolving world of sex work and camming by examining how Pornhub, OnlyFans, and exotic dancers/strip clubs have revolutionized sex work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Utilizing an integrative approach that creates a dialogue between the subjects of gender/sexuality, criminology, and deviance, this book is a key resource for students interested in developing a critical understanding of sex, sexuality, and sex crime.

    1.Introduction and Self-Care  I.Sociology of Deviance and Sexuality  2.Defining Deviance  3.Theories of Crime and Deviance  4.Social Power and Gender, Sex, and Sexuality  5.Gender and Deviance  II.Sexual Deviance  6.Defining Sexual Deviance  7.Historical Perspectives on Sexual Deviance  8.Adolescent Sexual Deviance  III. Deviant Sexual Acts  9.Sex in Public  10.Fetishes  11.Sex Work  IV.Sex Crimes and Criminals  12.Rape and Sexual Assault  13.Sex Crimes Against Children  14. Sex Offenders and Society  15.Concluding Remarks


    Meredith G. F. Worthen is a Professor of Sociology and elected faculty member of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, USA.

    "The new edition of Meredith Worthen's Sexual Deviance and Society is a triumph. It is nuanced yet foundational, empirically grounded yet theoretically sophisticated. And it is a pleasure to read. I cannot imagine any instructor teaching the subject and not adopting this book." 

    Erich Goode, Sociology Professor Emeritus, Stony Brook University

    "Meredith Worthen serves the reader with a very sophisticated analysis of one of the most complex and vibrant topics confronting society. The topics in Sexual Deviance and Society are schemed and analyzed with great insight and creativity. Students in Deviance classes will be informed by its content and more progressive in thinking about sexual deviance. Human sexual behavior is probably the most dynamic topic in sociology and Worthen takes it a step beyond. Worthen proves that deviance is alive, well, and exciting. A great text and research tool. Worthen explores all the topics and uncovers new ones with a rousing style."

    Craig J. Forsyth, Professor of Sociology, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, and Editor-in-Chief of Deviant Behavior

    "In the second edition of Sexual Deviance and Society, Worthen has built upon her successful initial effort to allow the reader to set aside preconceived heteronormative ideas about what is and is not "normal" sexual behavior. In this edition, she goes far beyond her initial work, incorporating information from rapidly changing culture into a sociological study of sexual behavior within the framework of the sociology of deviance. Worthen expands the reader’s knowledge of the theoretical explanations of the subject through the introduction of her own stigma theory, Norm-Centered Stigma Theory (NCST), as well as informative discussion of queer theory. By illustrating the on-going changing definitions of "normal" and "deviant" sexual behaviors over time and across societies, the text illustrates the often-political nature of the labeling of behaviors (an those who engage in them) as deviant. Additionally, the book reflects the expanded understanding of non-binary gender identities and the experiences of non-binary individuals. The book has been updated to reflect recent events and cultural changes, including The Me Too Movement, with information about offenders such as Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein. Replete with recent data, as well well-crafted figures and illustrations, the book is a must-have for those whose interests fall under the umbrella of the sociology of deviance."

    Susan F. Sharp, David Ross Boyd Professor of Sociology Emerita, University of Oklahoma

    "Worthen breaks down barriers between literatures that often speak in different languages: sexualities, sex crimes, and the sociology of deviance. Sexual Deviance and Society offers a unified approach to the ways in which culture, power, and norms shape our understandings of sex, sexuality, and crime. This second edition is simultaneously rich in discussions of theory, the history and social construction of sex and sexuality, and pressing social and legal issues (such as the #MeToo movement and revenge pornography). Together, this makes Sexual Deviance and Society a worthwhile resource for scholars and students in a number of disciplines. It should serve as inspiration for instructors who are hoping to cover much ground in a coherent, creative, and engaging way that students will connect to and enjoy."

    Kaitlin Boyle, Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of South Carolina