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Sex At Risk: Lifetime Number of Partners, Frequency of Intercourse, and the Low AIDS Risk of Vaginal Intercourse 

Stuart Brody

Transaction Publishers, 1997; ISBN: 1-56000-309-X (cloth), 232 pp., $39.95

Politicians, interest groups, and the mass media often answer questions about how AIDS is sexually transmitted as if heterosexual vaginal intercourse is a high-risk activity. When it comes to understanding how AIDS is transmitted, and formulating effective policy to deal with the spread of AIDS, America remains confused. What Brody calls ideological knowledge about AIDS is far more likely to filter through society than scientific knowledge. 

Sex at Risk is a comprehensive review of the scientific literature dealing with the transmission of AIDS. Like Michael Fumento's The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS, it exposes the mythology surrounding vaginal intercourse and AIDS transmission. Brody also looks deeply at reasons that fear of AIDS transmission from vaginal intercourse has spread so widely and profoundly. He addresses serious methodological problems in AIDS/HIV behavioral research, as well as tendentious political correctness that has done a disservice to science. 

Sex at Risk also comprehensively reviews the international research literature on correlates of lifetime number of sexual partners and frequency of sexual intercourse. Among topics covered are: relationships between lifetime number of sexual partners and mental health, explanations for important differences between intercourse and masturbation, the possible association of frequency with healthy functioning, and correlations between frequency and national development. 

Brody concludes by discussing what AIDS reveals about how politically correct thought impedes scientific progress, when taboo themes, regardless of their validity, cannot be pursued. Sex at Risk is factually grounded, yet controversial; Brody raises critical questions about much of what we have learned about AIDS from popular and professional publications, "soft scientists," and public health campaigns. It will be of interest to medical doctors, clinicians, and those interested in the sociology and psychology of knowledge. 

Sex At Risk was favorably reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Click to read the review: (text format, 6kB).

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