America’s Sexual Transformation by Gary F. Kelly is a comfortable dialogue of the evolution of sexuality in America, engaging the reader in both the author’s experiences and research while exploring cross-sections through different generations. Kelly approaches sexuality holistically, describing the various cultural, scientific, and historical influences that have shaped and changed our understanding of sexuality, gender, and sex research.
What I find most refreshing about this book is the way Kelly writes with a warm, friendly character, contrasting with some of the starker, more clinical literature that exists today. As a young adult, I deeply appreciate his chapter on the Millennial generation, since much research and documentaries focus more on our flaws; Kelly instead describes how our strengths and shortcomings came to be, how they have colored our world, and why our generation’s sexuality is uniquely different because of them (even down to our cultural dislike of body hair).
I recommend this book to anyone interested in the field of human sexuality because of its warm, yet frank, discussion of sexuality, which balances research and experience well. But I think young professionals should read it in particular, in order to better understand the inner-machinations of the different generations’ perspectives and to give us better context on the sexual revolution that preceded us. As a whole, this book fills in a lot of the gaps in our sexual education and historical understanding of American sexuality.
Ian SerVaas is a first year graduate student at the University of Indianapolis, studying clinical psychology. He has worked as a senior research assistant for the Kinsey Institute’s research satellite in Indianapolis for two years. His senior research thesis was written on the influence of religiosity on sexuality, the abstract of which was published in the SSSS newsletter.