The Essential Handbook of Women's Sexuality
by Donna Castañeda, Editor
January 2013, 719pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
2 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-39709-7
$131, £98, 110€, A188
eBook Available: 978-0-313-39710-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Sexual desire, expression, and satisfaction are important to women personally. But beyond that, women’s sexualities are central to the politics and economies of societies worldwide, some of which go to great lengths to control, regulate, and restrict women’s bodies, sexual knowledge, and sexual expression. Clearly a better understanding of this compelling and complex subject is in order.

This cutting-edge two-volume set with contributions by distinguished and internationally recognized scholars provides a comprehensive picture of contemporary issues in the field of women's sexuality, emphasizing women's diversity and international perspectives.

The multifaceted field of women’s sexuality has expanded as a field of inquiry over the last 25 years to encompass a wide range of new perspectives, theories, topics, findings, and controversies. The chapters in this work review and question the utility of standard sexuality frameworks, addressing purely biological models, heteronormative definitions of sexuality, and others; and provide new insights and approaches to understanding women’s sexuality. The intersectional and contextual nature of women’s sexuality and how it is inextricably connected to women’s relational, social, economic, and cultural contexts is highlighted.

The Essential Handbook of Women’s Sexuality includes in-depth coverage of a wide range of women’s sexuality topics, including sexual desire and satisfaction; sexuality in relationships; development across the lifespan; sexuality concerns in diverse countries; pornography; lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women; women from diverse backgrounds; health and sexuality; reconceptualizations of women’s sexual problems; trauma, rape, and intimate partner violence; and mental health and therapy. These volumes can serve as a resource for students, researchers, and anyone seeking a greater understanding of women’s sexuality.


  • Vignettes and real-life stories to illustrate concerns, questions, findings, research, and concepts
  • In-depth coverage of a wide spectrum of sexuality topics among women, including sexual desire and satisfaction; sexuality concerns in diverse countries; pornography; lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women; trauma, rape, and intimate partner violence; and mental health and therapy
  • Contributions from 63 distinguished scholars who are experts in their fields
  • Extensive bibliography with each chapter
Donna Castañeda, PhD, is professor of psychology at San Diego State University Imperial Valley, Calexico, CA. She is a contributor to Praeger's Teen Violence, Feminism and Women's Rights Worldwide, The Psychology of Women at Work, Psychology of Women, and the Praeger Guide to the Psychology of Gender. An associate editor for the journal Sex Roles, Castañeda is a regular writer and/or reviewer for numerous professional journals. Her scholarly work focuses on gender, close relationships, health, and sexuality.


"'This work is 'essential,' in part, because it is the only handbook on this important and perennial women's studies topic. Each of the two volumes in the set addresses several topical areas that illustrate the complexity of women's sexuality and the contextual nature of that experience."—Feminist Collections, September 1, 2013

"This scholarly work is solidly based on research, and each chapter is heavily referenced. The book captures the tremendous expansion of research on women's issues over the past 30 years. This is an excellent resource for anyone seeking a broad understanding of women's sexuality. The range of topics ensures that even the most knowledgeable expert will discover new information. Summing Up: Highly recommended."—Choice, July 1, 2013
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