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ABC of Sexual Health (3rd edition)
  1. Shamela de Silva
  1. Consultant in Genitourinary Medicine and HIV, West Middlesex Hospital, London, UK;

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Kevan R Wylie (ed.). Chichester, UK: John Wiley, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1-118-66569-5. Price: £25.99. Pages: 144 (paperback)

From its title, I had anticipated a biomedical mechanistic emphasis to this book, with content focusing on sexually transmitted infections (which are not specifically included). Instead I found a much broader approach with, for example, very readable chapters on sexuality, psychosexual medicine and disorders. As such, the book seems to be aimed at those with a wider interest in sexual health, both allied health professionals and those in general practice, but as a genitourinary physician I found it interesting to consider sexual health again in a more holistic context.

Several chapters manage to distil subjects much more effectively than I have previously seen. There is a short resume of embryology, which I found considerably less confusing than I recall from medical school. Similarly the chapters on anatomy and physiology were very clear. A chapter (in four pages) on the investigation and management of endocrine disorders affecting sexuality was something that I have not previously seen in a concise ‘ABC guide’ format, and yet it still managed to be easy to understand without being overly abbreviated. The subsequent chapters usefully summarise investigations for those with sexual health problems according to condition (e.g. problems of sexual desire, erectile dysfunction).

An overview of psychiatric conditions and the basics of their classification are given, along with more detailed clinical scenarios. There is therefore some overlap in the chapters addressing these areas, but this is unlikely to be problematic to the reader; each chapter is in itself complete and so may be read alone without difficulty. Chapters include problems of sexual desire in men, sexual desire and arousal in women, erectile dysfunction, ejaculation and orgasm in the male, orgasm in the female, and sexual pain. Again, I have not seen these subjects covered well in such a concise format. Ageing, paraphilia, impulsive and compulsive behaviours, forensic sexology, ethnic and cultural aspects, sexual orientation, gender dysphoria and transgender health, psychosexual therapy and bibliotherapy/internet-based programmes for sexual problems are covered in brief chapters before an upbeat final chapter on sexual pleasure.

I think the book will be of interest to clinicians and allied health professionals working in all aspects of sexual health, and those in general practice. The earlier chapters will also be useful for medical students.

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