ABOUT THIS BOOK
An Interpretation of Desire offers a bracing collection of major essays by John Gagnon, one of the leading and most inspiring figures in sexual research. Spanning his work from the 1970s, when he explored the idea that sexuality is mediated through social processes and categories—thus paving the way for Foucault—and then extending through his turn to issues of desire during the 1990s, these essays constitute an essential entrée to the study of sexuality in the twentieth century.
Gagnon may be best known as the coauthor of Sexual Conduct—a book that introduced the seminal concept of sexual scripting—and as one of the coauthors of The Social Organization of Sexuality, a foundational work that is widely considered to be the most important study of human sexual behavior since the Kinsey report. The essays collected here first trace the influence of scripting theory on Gagnon, outlining the radical departure he took from the dominant biological and psychiatric models of sex research. The volume then turns to more recent essays that consider such vexed issues as homosexuality, the theories of Sigmund Freud, HIV, hazardous sex, and the social aspects of sexually transmitted diseases.