The Bonnie and Vern L. Bullough Book Award is given annually for the most distinguished book written for the professional sexological community published during the previous year. The purpose of the award is to encourage and recognize outstanding scholarship in the field of sexology.

Publication Year: The publication must have appeared in 2018.  

Submission Deadline: Nominations must be received by June 1, 2019.  

Award Winner: The award winner will be notified Fall, 2019. The award winner will be announced at the 2019 SSSS Annual Meeting, and the lead author will receive a plaque and $500.   

The Bonnie and Vern L. Bullough Book Award Criteria:   

  • This award is given annually for the most distinguished book written for the professional sexological community published during the previous year.
  • The book must be an original work, that is not a new edition or an anthology from multiple authors.
  • The primary audience for the book must be professionals working in the field of sexology, from any disciplinary perspective.

The Bonnie and Vern L. Bullough Book Award Submission:

  • The author, his/her/their publisher, and/or any individual acting with the author’s consent should submit one copy of the work, accompanied by a cover letter indicating the book is being submitted for consideration for The Bonnie and Vern L. Bullough Book Award. 
  • An administrative non-refundable fee of $20.00 must be enclosed for each book nominated (check payable to SSSS).
  • Copies of reviews and publicity material should be submitted with the book, when possible.
  • The book, cover letter, fee, and reviews and publicity material (if applicable), should be mailed to:

The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality

881 Third Street – Suite B5

Whitehall, PA 18018


2007 – The Science of Orgasm, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006 by Barry Komisaruk, Carlos Beyer-Flores, & Beverly Whipple. This unique book offers a thorough compilation of what modern science, from biomechanics to neurochemistry, knows about the secrets of orgasm. The three coauthors—neuroscientist Komisaruk, endocrinologist Beyers-Flores and sexuality researcher Whipple (coauthor of The G-Spot and Other Discoveries About Human Sexuality)—begin with a short overview of the role of hormones and the nervous system, as well as how the body changes during orgasm. Later chapters go into greater detail, describing the connection between the brain and genitals, and how various factors, from aging and physical condition to drugs, disorders and diseases, affect sexual response and orgasm.

2008 – Impotence: A cultural History, by Angus McLaren, (University of Chicago Press, 2007). McLaren shows how the concept of male sexual potency has changed; once seen mainly as a function of siring children, it is now regarded as an important component of a healthy emotional state. McLaren offers a dynamic survey of masculinity, perceptions of impotence, and the never-ending search for help with male sexual dysfunction. He starts with the Greek and Roman view of male potency, then moves to the understanding of impotence during the early Christian era, the Age of Reason, the 19th century, the Freudian era, and the rise of modem medical research as exemplified by the famous Kinsey and Masters and Johnson studies.

2009 – Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality, University of Chicago Press, 2008, by Regina Kunzel. Sex is usually assumed to be a closely guarded secret of prison life. But it has long been the subject of intense scrutiny by both prison administrators and reformers—as well as a source of fascination and anxiety for the American public. Historically, sex behind bars has evoked radically different responses from professionals and the public alike. In Criminal Intimacy, Regina Kunzel tracks these varying interpretations and reveals their foundational influence on modern thinking about sexuality and identity.

2010 – Erotic City: Sexual Revolution and the Making of Modern San Francisco, Oxford University Press, 2009, by Josh Sides. Since the 1960s, San Francisco has been America’s capital of sexual libertinism and a potent symbol in its culture wars. In this highly original book, Josh Sides explains how this happened, unearthing long-forgotten stories of the city’s sexual revolutionaries, as well as the legions of longtime San Franciscans who tried to protect their vision of a moral metropolis.

2011 – N/A

2012 – Gay, Straight, and The Reason Why:  The Science of Sexual Orientation, Oxford University Press, 2011, by Simon Levay.  “The book offers an excellent review of scientific research on the causes and correlates of sexual orientation.  It provides a clear and comprehensive summary of recent studies of sexual orientation.”

2013 – Intersexuality and the Law: Why Sex Matters, NYU Press January, 2012, by Julie A. Greenberg. “A careful, concise, and accessible analysis of legal issues that bear on the lives of those born with atypical sex anatomies, and an essential guide for those who choose gender reassignment as adults. This will be an invaluable source not only for all those—children and adults with intersex conditions, transsexuals, and their advocates—who have a stake in these matters, but it will also be essential reading for those in the humanities and social sciences reckoning with the harms experienced by those whose bodies transgress sex and gender norms.”-Ellen Feder,author of Family Bonds: Genealogies of Race and Gender.

2014 – Sex and the Citadel:  Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World, Pantheon March, 2013 by Shereen El Feki.  Sex and the Citadel is full of dismal and upsetting stories of inhumanity and ignorance. It will appall, sadden and anger Western readers…. But, she dares to hope, it also augurs the rights to sexual privacy and liberty of erotic choices.

2015 – The Classification of Sex:  Alfred Kinsey and the Organization of Knowledge, University of Pittsburgh Press July, 2014 by Donna J. Drucker.  In The Classification of Sex, Donna J. Drucker presents an original analysis of Kinsey’s scientific career in order to uncover the roots of his research methods. She describes how his enduring interest as an entomologist and biologist in the compilation and organization of mass data sets structured each of his classification projects.

2016 – The Boundaries of Desire:  Bad Laws, Good Sex, and Changing Identities, Counterpoint Press 2015 by Eric Berkowitz.  Combining meticulous research and lively storytelling, The Boundaries of Desire traces the fast-moving bloodsport of sex laws over the past century, and challenges many of our most cherished notions about family, power, gender, and identity.

2017 – Not Straight, Not White, Black Gay Men from the March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis, by Kevin Mumford, University of North Carolina Press, 2016. This compelling book recounts the history of black gay men from the 1950s to the 1990s, tracing how the major movements of the times—from civil rights to black power to gay liberation to AIDS activism—helped shape the cultural stigmas that surrounded race and homosexuality. In locating the rise of black gay identities in historical context, Kevin Mumford explores how activists, performers, and writers rebutted negative stereotypes and refused sexual objectification. Examining the lives of both famous and little-known black gay activists—from James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin to Joseph Beam.