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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 311-312
Comprehensive Textbook of Sexual Medicine (Second Edition)

Department of Psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

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Date of Web Publication12-Sep-2014

How to cite this article:
Avasthi A, Varshney M. Comprehensive Textbook of Sexual Medicine (Second Edition). Indian J Psychiatry 2014;56:311-2

How to cite this URL:
Avasthi A, Varshney M. Comprehensive Textbook of Sexual Medicine (Second Edition). Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2014 [cited 2022 Dec 1];56:311-2. Available from:

Edited by: Nilamadhab Kar, Gopal Chandra Kar

Edition: Second Edition

Publisher: Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers, India

Published in: 2014

Pages: 652, Price: 945/-

Sexuality is an integral part of gender identity, orientation, self-image, overall functioning and well-being. However, the subject of sex has always remained a sensitive topic, and continues to be a taboo in many cultures. This often results in keeping secret the sexual behavior and problems of patients, even when it is the reason for distress. Moreover, many clinicians also shy away from evaluating, identifying or managing the sexual disorders and distress of their patients. Even current education system in the country does not give enough importance to the field of sexual health and hygiene and doesn't equip the students with adequate skills to deal with them. Sexual dysfunctions are present in all cultures and ethnicities around the world. Sexual problems have an especially high prevalence among patients with psychiatric syndromes. Therefore, there is always been a need for a clinical textbook compiling the available guidance on management of sexual disorders. Comprehensive textbook of sexual medicine (second edition) is one of the few comprehensive books to address the management and treatment of sexual dysfunctions and disorders. Using a conceptual model that incorporates biological, psychological, and cultural interventions as its guiding principle, the book explores and evaluates the various aspects of sexual disorders and dysfunctions; with co-morbid psychiatric disorders; problems associated with various medications; and sexual disorders in specific patient populations.

The authors claim that current edition contains thoroughly revised chapters to take into account the recent advances and changes in the practice of sexual medicine. The book rolls out in 11 sections containing 45 chapters and the content flows from the basics of sexuality to sexual practices and dysfunctions to more specialized and currently relevant topics. Written by 72 contributing clinical specialists from around the country and the world, the text combines conceptual shifts within the field of human sexuality with the latest research findings. There are interesting topics like "sexual misconceptions," "contemporary media and sexuality," "sexual abuse" and "medico-legal aspects of sexual offences." Having contributors from different parts of the world, adds an international flavor to the text book.

The first section, named "basics of sexuality" having six chapters covers general areas relevant to the clinical understanding of human sexuality within the framework of biology relevant to sexual medicine. This section also comprises chapters on psychosexual development and its linkage to human sexuality in adult life. The section on "beauty of the human body: Its meaning and purpose" is a unique addition which deals with various aspects of the evolutionary concept of beauty and its relevance to human sexuality. The evolutionary concept, which is described with available animal research in the field, is rarely found in other text books of a similar nature. The discussion on cultural variations of beauty and influences of media on the same is comprehensive in its approach and merits special mention. In this regard the text book does sensitize the reader to culture specific taboos and subtle to obvious differences in fantasy, creative expressions of sexual material and acceptable behaviors in various cultures and societies.

The second, third and fourth part of the book outlines the sexual methods and major sexual dysfunctions and disorders, including male erectile disorder, female arousal disorder, premature ejaculation, and paraphilias. The book addresses the management of sexual issues in a unique patient population that is often neglected in other textbooks, that is, children and adolescents. The text then moves to discuss various sexual methods and positions for sexual gratification along with a graphical depiction of common ones. Henceforth, the chapter on "sexuality in the Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana" has been adopted from the original publication from Indian Journal of Psychiatry. This ancient wisdom of "Vatsyayana" shines brightly when compared to other ideas prevalent in the Greeco-Roman and the Judaeo-Christian religions, despite antedating them by centuries. The information in the chapter highlights the historical origin of the text on sexuality from India, and the notions expressed in it are accurate and pertinent to date. After discussing the various forms of sexual dysfunctions, the book also contains a chapter on sexual addiction that explains the separate conceptual validity of the topic and especially pertinent to promote further research in the post Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder-5 era. Moving from sexual dysfunctions to disorders of sexual preferences, the book proposes a fourfold approach to address the healthcare agenda for LGB communities and emphasizes the need of individual based care instead of being disease specific.

The book also contains a separate section for special populations including pregnancy and postpartum, elderly and patients with medical and psychiatric co-morbidities. Various causes of sexual dysfunction in these groups along with specific available managements for such cases in comprehensive tables summarizing each are the high points of this section. Furthermore, the next section discusses the etiology, evaluation and management of sexual dysfunctions caused by psychotropic agents and highlights the fact that there is a huge void in terms of evidence based appropriate strategies for dealing with them. Alongside, the book also gives a detailed discussion of clinical evaluation of persons with sexual disability along with the importance and basics of sex education. This section discusses the various sex education strategies being followed in different parts of the world and also touches upon evidence in favor of these. This chapter maintains the fact that a flexible approach tailored to area specific needs should be used in taking this forward.

Moreover, the book also gives surface information about the topics like infertility, contraception, abortion and sexually transmitted infections making it a useful adjunct to clinicians. The topics like sexual abuse, harassment and rape, which are present in the book as separate chapters, are relevant and necessary for the contemporary knowledge and awareness. A separate chapter on sexual misconceptions and their management is worth a place, given that they arise from inadequate information, low awareness and taboos present in the society. The chapter on medico-legal aspect gives information about various legislative bills and acts, along with the most recent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences act. The authors could have added a few examples to make the text more illustrative.

In the very end, the book moves to topics like "research in India" and "history of sexual medicine." As apparent, the placement of the history chapter could have been better. The chapter on Indian research does miss out important research on the fields of "drug induced sexual dysfunction" and some recent research published from India could have been upgraded in the current edition.

Overall, the strengths of the book include the fact that it attempts to be exhaustive in its approach. Many of its contributors are national and international authorities in the field. However, some more credible researchers could have been included. The book is a compendium of information on the subject. The book also emphasizes the role of psychological mode of treatment as human sexuality is not only a biological event, but also a psycho-socio-behavioral entity and greatly influenced by various factors in these spheres. Nevertheless, more critical analysis reveals that a detailed evaluation of research from India would have been helpful for the readers of the book in both India and abroad. The book takes a comprehensive approach, yet one tends to feel the lack of critical analysis of various sections being dealt in the book, especially the contemporary topics of interest like sexual abuse, media, and sexuality and the various available laws on sexuality. These would have added a unique dimension to the present text book. In addition, restructuring and proper placement of various sections and chapters is highly called for.

Restoration of sexual function can improve the quality of life for many individuals with and without psychiatric disorders, making recognition and treatment of sexual problems of utmost importance to any general psychiatric practice. As a unique text of its kind, comprehensive textbook of sexual medicine (second edition) provides a concise, clinically-oriented biopsychosocial guide to the understanding and management of sexual dysfunction, sex related practices and misconceptions along with relevant knowledge of medico-legal aspects of sexual medicine. Thus, makes it appropriate for all psychiatric, clinical, and educational settings.

Correspondence Address:
Ajit Avasthi
Department of Psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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