Sexual Deviance and Society : A sociological examination book cover
1st Edition

Sexual Deviance and Society
A sociological examination

ISBN 9781138819078
Published June 22, 2016 by Routledge
456 Pages 83 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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 peoples 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.

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

Table of Contents

1. Introduction and Self-Care

Unit 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 (Meredith G. F. Worthen and Danielle Dirks)

Unit II: Sexual Deviance

6. Defining Sexual Deviance

7. Historical Perspectives on Sexual Deviance

8. Adolescent Sexual Deviance (Amanda E. Fehlbaum)

Unit III: Deviant Sexual Acts

9. Sex in Public

10. Fetishes

11. Sex Work (Chauntelle A. Tibbals)

Unit IV: Sex Crimes and Criminals

12. Rape and Sexual Assault

13. Sex Crimes Against Children (Melissa S. Jones)

14. Sex Offenders and Society

15. Concluding Remarks



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Meredith Gwynne Fair Worthen is an Associate Professor of Sociology, elected faculty member of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, and faculty affiliate of the Center for Social Justice at the University of Oklahoma, USA.


"Meredith Worthen's Sexual Deviance and Society is the sort of book I've been looking forward to for some time. The author has intelligently organized the relevant topics, and she and her colleagues have discussed and analyzed them with great insight and imagination. Every sociologist of deviance should consider adopting this volume and every one of our students will be enlightened by reading it. I loved it and so will they."

Erich Goode, Sociology Professor Emeritus, Stony Brook University


"Drawing from both sociological and criminological perspectives, Sexual Deviance and Society offers a thoughtful, nuanced, and comprehensive examination of sexual deviance. Worthen’s analysis is both theoretically grounded and empirically supported, and provides readers with a thorough understanding of the complex and ever-evolving societal attitudes toward human sexual behavior."

Amanda Burgess-Proctor, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Oakland University


"Meredith Worthen serves the reader with a very sophisticated analysis of one of the most complicated and dynamic topics facing 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 exciting topic in sociology and Meredith takes it a step beyond. Worthen proves that deviance is alive, well, and exciting. A great text and research tool. Worthen bares and explores all the topics."

Craig J. Forsyth, Professor of Sociology, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, and editor of Deviant Behavior


"This book fills an important niche in the sociological study of deviant behavior. Worthen has structured the book to allow the reader to set aside preconceived heteronormative ideas about what is and is not "normal" sexual behavior, framed in both historical and theoretical frameworks, focusing on the social construction of defining acts or individuals as deviant. She gently challenges the reader to understand the differences between statistical deviance and the often politicized labeling of behaviors as deviant, focusing on the role of power structures, location and time, emphasizing the ever-evolving definitions of what is (and is not) considered deviant. Because some of the material may tap into past trauma, she incorporates suggestions for self-care in the text. Replete with well-crafted figures and illustrations, the book is ideal for a course on this topic as well as informative for any student of human sexuality. It 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, University of Oklahoma