Skip to main content
Shopping Cart
HomeBullough Book Award

Information on this award will be available in December 2021.
The award nomination process will be available January 1st to March 15th, 2022.

The Bonnie and Vern L. Bullough Book Award is given every other year to recognize an outstanding book that advances sexual science. The purpose of the award is to encourage and recognize outstanding scholarship in the field of sexology.

Nomination/Application Period: 
January 1, 2022 through March 15, 2022 for books published in 2019, 2020, or 2021.

This award is available every other year for books published in the prior two years, since this is the transition year, books published for the three years listed above are eligible for the 2022 award.

Nominator: Must be a SSSS member.

Nominee/Author(s): The author(s) of nominated book does not need to be a SSSS member(s).

Book Requirements: 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.  

Nomination Process:

  • The nominator must complete an online form nominating the book.
  • An author of the book will be required to complete 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 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.
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 this review, the Subcommittee will select a maximum of three books to be reviewed in their entirety.
  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.
Reviewers: To Be Announced Soon

Conditions for Accepting the Award:

  • Conference attendance and/or a book-signing session
  • 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."
Award Recipient Receives:
  • Commemorative Plaque (awarded tot he first author
  • $250 Award (awarded to the first author)
  • $500 for travel to the SSSS Annual Conference to accept the award and deliver a talk during a concurrent conference session, and/or to hold a book-signing session
    • An opportunity to present a portion of their book during a conference concurrent session, and/or
    • A table in the exhibit hall throughout the conference to sell their book. The author/publisher is responsible for staffing the table.
  • One night accommodation at the conference host hotel
  • Complimentary conference registration
    • The travel, hotel, and conference registration are limited to one author, and only for the year the award is granted.
    • If travel is not required to attend the conference, no travel or hotel payments will be provided, but complimentary conference registration will remain in place (e.g., the winner lives in the conference city or SSSS holds a virtual conference).
Questions? Contact SSSS at



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 – No award was given.

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.

2018 – No award was given.

2019 – 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.

Copyright © 2020 The Society For the Scientific Study of Sexuality, INC.