Sexual Awareness

Your Guide to Healthy Couple Sexuality, 5th Edition

By Barry McCarthy, Emily McCarthy

© 2012 – Routledge

250 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415896436
pub: 2012-03-19
US Dollars$23.95
Hardback: 9781138128996
pub: 2015-08-27
US Dollars$165.00

Look Inside

About the Book

In the newest edition of this classic text, veteran authors Barry and Emily McCarthy explain how desire, pleasure, and satisfaction can enrich your relationship. As the premier book on the subject, Sexual Awareness focuses on factors that promote and subvert healthy couple sexuality. Reading this book and partaking in the psychosocial skill exercises it contains will help couples learn how to value sexuality as a positive and satisfying part of their lives. Couples at any stage of their relationship will learn how to enhance sexual awareness, communication, feelings, and function. The result will be enhanced desire and eroticism that will help couples understand themselves and each other better.


"It’s no surprise that this excellent resource is now available as a 5th edition. This thorough and methodical analysis provides a road map for couples who wish to enrich and deepen their emotional and intimate connection. " -Sexual and Relationship Therapy

"Sexual Awareness is the gold standard for couple self-help sexuality books and is now unsurpassed with this updated and revised edition. It is the best consumer book available for helping couples grow their unique sexual style of intimacy, desire, pleasure, eroticism, and satisfaction." - Michael E. Metz, PhD, psychologist and sex therapist in private practice, Minnesota, USA

"Sexual Awareness is a superb book which sensitively offers responsible and highly useful sexual information that I am pleased to recommend to patients and friends alike!" - Michael A. Perelman, PhD, Past-President , Society for Sex Therapy & Research; Clinical Professor, Weill Medical College, Cornell University; Co-Director, Human Sexuality Program, The New York Presbyterian Hospital

Sexual Awareness will speak to you whether you have healthy and satisfying sexual experiences, negative or absent desire, whether you are partnered in a long-term committed relationship, single and anxious, and regardless of your age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or culture. Barry and Emily bring their extensive experience as sex therapists, their meticulous attention to the scientific literature, and their lived experiences as husband and wife of 46 years to this edition. They hone in on the precise worries we all have about our sexuality, and offer a refreshing yet assertive stance to our misconceptions about sex. The exercises they suggest provide important detail that is often missed in the misguided approach of finding 'the quick and easy fix,' and the instructions on genital pleasuring are exciting even for the more 'sexually-seasoned' reader. From toys to timing, myths to masturbation, and eroticism to erections, this book is a must-have on the shelves of sex therapists, educators, researchers, and anyone willing to cultivate sexual awareness.” - Lori Brotto, PhD, Sex Researcher and Therapist, Department of Gynaecology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

"Now in its fifth edition since its original publication in 1975, Barry and Emily McCarthy’s Sexual Awareness is still the go-to book for couples who want to learn more about healthy sexuality. Sexual Awareness is without question an important resource for all things sexual.Whether it is explaining the importance of “afterplay,” or detailing the intercourse traps couples can fall into, the McCarthys continually submit comforting, reassuring wisdom: no person or couple is in this alone. Through open communication, as well as an open mind, couples can make sex work for them. Yes, some problems are bigger than others, but, as some might say, where there’s a will, there’s a way." - Dan Berkowitz,

Praise for the previous edition:

"No matter who reads [the Sexual Awareness series], they'll be getting the best books in the crowded sex-ed field. The McCarthys are knowledgeable, tolerant, and practical–qualities that give their efforts great authority." - Booklist

"Sexual Awareness is well-written and worthwhile…The explicit illustrations complement the text…[which] is clear, supportive and highly informative." - Journal of Sex Education and Therapy

"The McCarthys deal deftly and compassionately with serious problems…The content is substantive and free of biases…useful to a wide audience who will gain from concrete and sensible advice that will foster rewarding behavior." - Siecus Reports

Table of Contents

Introduction. Enhancing Sexual Awareness: Getting Started. Re-awakening Your Sexuality: Non-genital Pleasuring. Whole Body Touch: Genital Pleasuring. Self-exploration and Masturbation. Non-demand Pleasuring: The Key to Sexual Intimacy. Developing Your Couple Sexual Style. Bridges to Sexual Desire. Erotic Scenarios and Techniques. Pleasuring, Eroticism, and Intercourse. Sexuality and Aging. Your Sexual Voice. Couple Sexual Desire. Female Pleasure and Eroticism. Female Sexuality: Becoming Orgasmic. Dealing with Female Sexual Pain. Arousal and Erection. Learning Ejaculatory Control. Confronting Ejaculatory Inhibition. Relapse Prevention: Maintaining Resilient Couple Sexuality.

About the Authors

Barry McCarthy, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, professor of psychology, and certified sex and marital therapist. He has published extensively on couples and sexuality and has done over 300 professional workshops nationally and internationally. He is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2009 Smart Marriages Impact Award.

Emily McCarthy, having worked for years as a speech therapist, now collaborates with her husband on books that address issues faced by couples.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Counseling
PSYCHOLOGY / Human Sexuality
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Couples & Family