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A scientific understanding of contemporary love and sex, and projections into the future highlight a new book set to be released on March 15 by Oxford University Press.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Psychology Professor Emerita Elaine Hatfield, UH Mānoa History Professor Emeritus Richard L. Rapson and UH Mānoa psychology PhD graduate Jeanette Purvis wrote the book What’s Next in Love and Sex. Hatfield, one of the pioneers of love and sex research, said the work relies on contemporary scientific findings to provide an updated and relevant explanation for why we do the things we do when we’re in love, searching for love, making love or attempting to keep a faltering relationship together.

It addresses such topics as the role of social media in love and sex, the hookup generation, robots, avatars, fantasy sex, virtual pornography, interactive sex and the future, as well as the benefits and pain of love.

“Old certainties about gender roles, sexual behavior, household and child rearing responsibilities, money, monogamy rules and the like are in flux,” Hatfield and husband Rapson, said. “What was fairly clear a few decades ago is now wildly fluid, causing confusion, but also allowing—if they’re up to it—couples to create their own rules.”

Hatfield and Rapson say that it is a more difficult game to play, but can be more rewarding.

“Recognizing this necessity for individuals and couples to take nothing for granted and to sculpt their own requirements and relationships, and how to go about being the architects of their own love lives–that requires some high-level skills and is no sure thing,” Hatfield and Rapson said.

—By Marc Arakaki

Elaine Hatfield and new book
Elaine Hatfield and the new book What’s Next in Love and Sex.
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