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Bonnie and Vern L. Bullough Book Award

The nomination material is reviewed by the three-person Theoretical Paper/Bullough Book Award Subcommittee. The Committee Chair and members of the Subcommittee are not eligible to win the award. If a Subcommittee member would like to be considered for the award, they will be replaced during that review year. The Subcommittee will make recommendations to the Board of Directors for final approval. If a member of the Board is the author/editor of a nominated book, that Board member will abstain from the vote.


This award is given every other year (in alternate years from the Outstanding Theoretical Paper Award) to recognize an outstanding book that best advances sexual science and has a copyright in the previous two years.

Nominations will be accepted starting January 2024. Additional details are provided below.

Books published in 2022 and 2023 are eligible for the 2024 award.

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To start the nomination process, please have all information ready, including the synopsis of the book, a description of how the book advances sexual science, and a description of how the content of the book is novel, innovative, and important. See specific details below.

Once you begin the process, you can cancel your submission, but NOT save and go back to the nomination process.

You MUST complete the process in full to submit your nomination.

Partial submissions will NOT be accepted.

Thank You!

Click Here to Submit the Bullough Award Nomination

In the year the award is presented, the recipient receives:
  • Commemorative plaque (awarded to the first author)
  • $250 award (awarded to the first author)
  • $500 for travel to attend the SSSS Annual Conference to accept the award and deliver a talk during a concurrent session or hold a book-signing session*
  • One night's accommodation at the conference host hotel*
  • Complimentary conference registration*

*The travel, hotel, and conference registration are limited to one author. If travel is not required to attend the conference (e.g., the winner lives in the conference city or SSSS holds a virtual conference), travel and hotel will not be provided, but complimentary conference registration will remain in place.

Conditions on Accepting the Award

  • Attend the SSSS Annual Conference to receive the award and present a portion of the book during a concurrent session or hold a book-signing session. The book signing session would be held during the conference in the exhibit hall with the opportunity for the author(s) to sell their book.
  • The publisher agrees to include in any advertising for the book this message: "Winner of the Bonnie and Vern L. Bullough Book Award from The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality."

Nomination Period 

The nomination period is open from January 1 - March 15 every other year (in alternate years from the Outstanding Theoretical Paper Award).  

Nomination Guidelines and Process

The nominator and/or author(s) of nominated book does not need to be a SSSS member. Self-nominations are welcome.

The nominator bears responsibility for submitting the completed nomination.

Books published in 2022 and 2023 are eligible for the 2024 award.

The book must be an original work (not a new edition or an anthology of previously published material), and can be aimed at professional or lay audiences. It can be either authored or edited, but it should be strongly empirically informed.  

The nominator must complete an online form nominating the book along with
 an application questionnaire, in which they provide:

  • A synopsis of the book (no more than one page double-spaced)
  • A description of how the book advances sexual science (no more than one page double-spaced)
  • A description of how the content of the book is novel, innovative, and important (no more than one page double-spaced).


Review & Evaluation Process

Nominees for the Book Award will be evaluated in a two-step process.

  1. The Subcommittee will first review the authors' questionnaire responses. Based on the initial review, the Subcommittee will select a maximum of three books to be reviewed in its entirety. The SSSS office or Committee Chair will notify the three finalists.
  2. Finalists for the Bullough Book Award are required to send copies of the book (printed copy or electronic) to each of the three Subcommittee members for consideration. The winning book will be chosen from those finalists.

Review Criteria

Each book is evaluated on the following criteria:

  • The extent to which the book advances sexual science.
  • The extent to which the book makes a coherent, meaningful, and important contribution to professional or lay understandings of sexual science.
  • The extent to which the content of the book is novel and innovative.
  • The extent to which the book acknowledges, includes, values, and/or amplifies diverse voices and strengths in sex science.

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Bonnie and Vern L. Bullough Book Award Recipients

Transtopia in the Sinophone Pacific | Columbia University Press2022
Transtopia in the Sinophone Pacific
by Howard Chiang
Columbia University Press, 2021

As a broad category of identity, “transgender” has given life to a vibrant field of academic research since the 1990s. Yet the Western origins of the field have tended to limit its cross-cultural scope. Howard Chiang proposes a new paradigm for doing transgender history in which geopolitics assumes central importance. Defined as the antidote to transphobia, transtopia challenges a minoritarian view of transgender experience and makes room for the variability of transness on a historical continuum.

After Eunuchs: Science, Medicine, and the Transformation of Sex in Modern China by Howard Chiang | Goodreads2019
After Eunuchs: Science, Medicine, and the Transformation of Sex in Modern China
by Howard Chiang
Columbia University Press, 2018
For much of Chinese history, the eunuch stood out as an exceptional figure at the margins of gender categories. Amid the disintegration of the Qing Empire, men and women in China began to understand their differences in the language of modern science. In After Eunuchs, Howard Chiang traces the genealogy of sexual knowledge from the demise of eunuchism to the emergence of transsexuality, showing the centrality of new epistemic structures to the formation of Chinese modernity.

Not Straight, Not White | Kevin Mumford | University of North Carolina Press2017
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.

The Boundaries of Desire by Eric Berkowitz: 9781619027466 | Books2016
The Boundaries of Desire:  Bad Laws, Good Sex, and Changing Identities
by Eric Berkowitz
Counterpoint Press, 2015

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.

The classification of sex : Alfred Kinsey and the organization of knowledge (eBook, 2014) []2015
The Classification of Sex:  Alfred Kinsey and the Organization of Knowledge
by Donna J. Drucker
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014
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. Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World eBook : Feki, Shereen El: Kindle Store2014
Sex and the Citadel:  Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World
by Shereen El Feki
Pantheon, 2013

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.

Intersexuality and the Law: Why Sex Matters: Greenberg, Julie A.: 9780814731895: Books2013
Intersexuality and the Law: Why Sex Matters
by Julie A. Greenberg
NYU Press, 2012

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.

Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation: 9780190297374: Medicine & Health Science Books @ Amazon.com2012
Gay, Straight, and The Reason Why:  The Science of Sexual Orientation
by Simon Levay
Oxford University Press, 2011

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. Erotic City: Sexual Revolutions and the Making of Modern San Francisco: 9780199874064: Sides, Josh: Books2010
Erotic City: Sexual Revolution and the Making of Modern San Francisco
by Josh Sides
Oxford University Press, 2009

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.

Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality: Kunzel, Regina: 9780226462271: Books2009
Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality
by Regina Kunzel
University of Chicago Press, 2008

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.

Impotence: A Cultural History: McLaren, Angus: 9780226500768: Books: Amazon.com2008
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. The Science of Orgasm eBook : Komisaruk, Barry R., Beyer-Flores, Carlos, Whipple, Beverly: Books2007
The Science of Orgasm
by Barry Komisaruk, Carlos Beyer-Flores, & Beverly Whipple
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006

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.

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