Paul R. Abramson

Screwing around cover copy

Abramson, P.R. (2017). Screwing Around With Sex: Essays, Indictments, Anecdotes, and Asides
Joshua Tree, CA: Asylum 4 Renegades Press

I have, at times, insisted that the lives of sex researchers are pretty boring. Paul Abramson’s collection of analytical essays, Screwing Around With Sex, reveals that this is not always the case. Drawing on personal experiences and preoccupations necessitated by decades of scholarly investigation of sexuality, Abramson highlights the uneasy and sometimes painful interface of sexuality with our current moral landscape. In doing so, he elucidates the contradictions and complexities of contemporary sexuality in ways that frustrate, challenge, and inspire us to question our preconceived notions of what sexuality is – or should be. – Dr. Terri Conley, Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan

Rigorous but accessible, this tour of sexuality should be mandatory reading for us all. This work touches on current and important topics like consensual sex and preventing harm, so you cannot ignore it. – Lybi Ma, Deputy Editor, Psychology Today

The mix of effective anecdotes with the process of grappling with moral/scientific issues is very compelling. Chapter 3 (On the Precipice of Porn) reminded me of David Foster Wallace’s book Considering the Lobster and Other Essays, in particular, Wallace’s first chapter on the adult video industry. – Dr. Keith Holyoak, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, UCLA, and Editor of Psychological Review

Professor Abramson has made issues that are difficult, ancient, andcurrent accessible without oversimplifying; urgent policy changestractable; and profound experiences understandable. Over and over as you read, you think- yes, we need to act. – Dr. Gregory A. Miller, Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, UCLA

An idiosyncratic page-turner of a personal and professional journey that brought Paul Abramson to the heart of some of the most interesting issues of sexuality and sexual abuse in the late twentieth century and- through his role as a psychology professor serving as an expert witness- to the backstage of some of the nation’s most important obscenity cases. Enjoyable and illuminating. – Catherine Ross, Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law

Sex Appeal

Abramson, P.R. (2010). Sex Appeal: Six Ethical Principles for the 21st Century
New York: Oxford University Press

What a great idea…I completely agree with Abramson…I do wish that more literature on the subject resembled [his] book. – The New Yorker

very interesting…so interesting I may have to do multiple posts about it. So interesting that I was pissed when I just spilled coffee on it, because this is one book I plan to keep…[in fact] we could start a sexual revolution right here, through this blog, with help from this book. – Marie Claire

Sex Appeal is the beginning of a conversation that has been a long time coming. How can people make safe, ethical choices about sex without sacrificing the fun of it? How can these choices make our lives, and the world, a better place? Paul Abramson explores these questions and more with six key concepts that will help readers to better understand how to prevent sexual harm while safely enjoying all of the benefits sex has to offer. Sex Appeal is provocative and refreshing in its embrace of a kind of sexual freedom that is at once both joyful and thoughtful. – Dr. Ruth Westheimer (Dr. Ruth)

[Sex Appeal] is really smart, interesting and honest. – Nathan Schiller, Editor, Construction Literary Magazine

While it’s unlikely to happen, [Sex Appeal] should probably be part of the curriculum of every high school sex ed class…to a young person, the insights (or at least the lessons attached to them) could be huge. – Feminist Review

[Dr.] Abramson, an American Professor of Psychology, and one of the most famous scholars of human sexuality, remind us that the body is marching to the rhythm of the brain. – Le Regole Dell’Attrazione Magazine (Italy)

Romance in the Ivory Tower

Abramson, P.R. (2007). Romance in the Ivory Tower: The Rights and Liberty of Conscience
Cambridge: MIT Press

Make no mistake – Paul Abramson’s book is a serious and thought-provoking examination of the extent to which institutions should proscribe individual actions. Although I do not endorse all of the conclusions, I strongly recommend this book. – Lord Robert May, Oxford University

Romance in the Ivory Tower presents a compelling argument about the erosion of the rights of privacy and conscience. The debate in this book transcends the issue of personal relationships within academia and engages fundamental questions of liberty and personal choice. – Nadine Strossen, President, American Civil Liberties Union

Abramson, P.R., Pinkerton, S.D. & Huppin, M. (2003). Sexual Rights in America: The Ninth Amendment and the Pursuit of Happiness
New York: NYU Press

Sexual Rights in America: The Ninth Amendment and the Pursuit of Happiness

This frank and lucid book peels the fig leaf off various forms of legal regulation of sexuality, and argues with passion and rich historical detail that individuals should have strong autonomy over their sexual expression as long as their sexual relationships are grounded in consent. The authors’ comprehensive approach makes a considerable contribution to the literature. – Kathleen Sullivan, Dean, Stanford Law School

Abramson, P.R. & Pinkerton, S.D. (2000). A House Divided: Suspicions of Mother-Daughter Incest
New York: W.W. Norton

A House Divided: Suspicions of Mother-Daughter Incest

A riveting true story…meticulous and engaging – Publisher’s Weekly

With Pleasure

Abramson, P.R. & Pinkerton, S.D. (1995). With Pleasure: Thoughts on the Nature of Human Sexuality
New York: Oxford University Press

Stimulating, and informative, and written with ample wit. – Scientific American

A fresh and theoretically enticing approach to the study of human sexuality…Sure to spark intense debate. – Kirkus Reviews

Provocative. – Seattle Times

Abramson, P.R. & Pinkerton, S.D. (1995). (eds.) Sexual Nature/ Sexual Culture
Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Sexual Nature/Sexual Culture

this volume contains much to stimulate, inform, and amuse, in varying proportions. What more can one ask? – Journal of the History of Sexuality

if we ever expect to solve the sexuality based problems that modern societies face, we must encourage investigations of human sexual behavior. Moreover, those investigations should employ a broad range of disciplines – looking at sex from all angles, which is precisely what Sexual Nature / Sexual Culture does. – American Scientist

Highly informative…there is none other quite like it. – Choice

It is useful to find this interesting question scientifically settled once and for all. – Times Literary Supplement

Illuminating. – Gay Times

Intriguing. – Feminist Collections

this book goes a long way towards bridging the gap between nature and nurture. – New Scientist

Abramson, P.R. (1984). Sarah: A Sexual Biography
Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press

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How can so much intimate, destructive violence be part of our here and now, almost before our eyes? No novelist would dare, because fiction can neither resolve, nor even make reasonable, this material. – The Los Angeles Times

A fascinating account…A brief but memorable view of emotional survival. – Booklist

Selected Articles:

Abramson, P.R. & Rothschild, B. (1988). Sex, drugs, and matrices: Mathematical prediction of HIV infection. The Journal of Sex Research, 25, 106‑122.

Kaplan, E. H. & Abramson, P.R. (1989). So what if the program ain’t perfect? A mathematical model of AIDS education. Evaluation Review, 13, 107‑122.

Pinkerton, S.D., & Abramson, P.R. (1992). Base rates revisted: Assessment strategies for HIV/AIDS. The Journal of Sex Research, 29, 407‑424.

Pinkerton, S.D., & Abramson, P.R. (1992). Is risky sex rational? The Journal of Sex Research, 29, 490‑498.

Pinkerton, S.D. & Abramson, P.R. (1993). Evaluating the risks: A Bernoulli Process Model of HIV Infection and Risk Reduction. Evaluation Review, 17, 504‑528.

Pinkerton, S.D. & Abramson, P.R. (1993). HIV vaccines: A magic bullet in the fight against AIDS? Evaluation Review, 17, 579‑600.

Pinkerton, S.D. & Abramson, P.R. (1993). A magic bullet against AIDS? Science, 262, 162‑163.

Pinkerton, S.D. & Abramson, P.R. (1994). An alternative model of the reproductive rate of HIV infection: Formulation, evaluation, and implications for risk reduction interventions. Evaluation Review, 18, 371‑388.

Parker, T.A. & Abramson, P.R. (1995). The law hath not been dead: Protecting adults with developmental disabilities from sexual abuse and violation of their sexual freedom. Mental Retardation, 33, 257-263.

Pinkerton, S.D. & Abramson (1996). Occasional condom use and HIV risk reduction. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology, 13, 456-460.

Abramson, P.R., Cloud, M.Y. Keese, R. & Girardi, J. (1997). Proof positive: Pornography in a Day Care Center. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 9, 75-86.

Pinkerton, S.D. & Abramson, P.R. (1997). Effectiveness of condoms in preventing HIV transmission. Social Science and Medicine, 44, 1303-1312.

Pinkerton, S.D. & Abramson, P.R. (1997). Homosexuality in Japan: Legal and social constraints. In D.J. West & R. Green (Eds.) Sociolegal Control of Homosexuality: A Multi-Nation Comparison. New York: Plenum.

Abramson, P.R., Gross, T. & Abramson, A. (2012). Consenting to sex and severe mental illness: Terra Incognita and a Priest with AIDS. Sexuality and Disability, 30, 357-366.

Abramson, P.R. (2012) Amicus Curiae in support of Petitioner’s Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court in the case of Eric Leon Butt, Jr. v. Utah, 1-23.

Abramson, P.R., Boggs, R. & Mason, E. Jolie. (2013). Sex is Blind: Some preliminary theoretical implications. Sexuality and Disability, 31, 393-402.

Abramson, P.R. & Abramson, A. (2015). Smells Like Teen Spirit: The Conundrum of Kids, Sex and the Law. In Coupet, S. & Marrus, E. (Eds.) Children, Sex and the Law. New York: NYU Press

Abramson, P.R. (2019). Donner une chance à la sodomie (A Fundamental Human Right: Giving Sodomy a Chance) In Les approches queer du droit international: Des droits LGBTI à la critique transversale | (Queering International Law: from LGBT rights to a transversal critique), Société de législation comparée.

Tania Love Abramson

Shame and the Eternal Abyss

In this uniquely captivating series of drawings, paintings, and commentary, visual artist Tania Love Abramson plumbs the depths of a chronic and debilitating psychological experience she calls the Abyss- an unfathomable chasm of desolation brought on by a profound sense of shame that materialized without obstruction after having been a victim of persistent sexual abuse as a young child. Tania Love Abramson’s art is her monument to healing, advocacy and prevention.

A powerful and moving account, visual and verbal, of the ravages of childhood abuse and of the journey of one who saw her way to a life beyond shame and the eternal abyss. Compelling art and poetry.Elyn Saks, is the Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences, University of Southern California. She is a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship award recipient and the author of the award-winning autobiography The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness.

I found it so moving that you created this body of work and shared your story. – Kathe Kollwitz for Guerrilla Girls.

Spectacular, profound, visual and verbal expression of the agony of childhood sexual victimization and the lifetime of suffering it can spawn. Yet through the art, we also see transcendence.Joan Meier, J.D., Founder and Legal Director, Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project, and Professor of Clinical Law at George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C.

Thank you so much for sharing your work and your story. I salute you for having the courage and ability to create a way to help others through your art and your talks. – Jacki Apple, multimedia artist, writer and performance artist.

A mesmerizing piece of work, this unique book allows the reader to access a very subjective account of the everlasting double penalty faced by victims of sexual abuse. It also offers, almost unbeknowingly, a powerful gendered critique of victim shaming and blaming. Last but not least, it echoes our societies’ vast abysses created by the patriarchal blindness of law. Definitely a new addition to the ideal alternative reading list of critical criminal lawyers and legal scholars.Dr. Bérénice K. Schramm, legal philosopher, Cédim, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM)

I really like your book. – Richard Ross, photographer and professor of art at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

To read this book is to experience the struggle to breathe in a world that demands victims’ silence. But in the very moment one feels overwhelmed, the words and art put human resilience on full display.Meg Garvin, M.A., J.D., Executive Director of the National Crime Victim Law Institute, and Clinical Professor of Law, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon

A powerful personal story of betrayal, the lasting damage it causes, and the struggle for recovery, told primarily through the author’s haunting artwork. No one can continue to look the other way when adults abuse children (or fail to protect them) after experiencing the impact through Tania Abramson’s eloquent rendition of pain. – Catherine Ross J.D., Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C.

Tania Love Abramson’s visual-verbal poem draws us in to dark places we hide from (because she learned not to hide from hers), not a pleasant path, but because she gets so far into those places we start to realize that we can move through them. The sequence of images and narration (of her history and experience, not simply of the drawings) eventually conveys progress, progression, even though without providing deliverance. The work is an arresting combination of accessibility, honesty-with-oneself, and courage-to-face.Dr. Gregory A. Miller, Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles

Thanks for your work in this field. – Karen Finley, performance artist, poet, musician and professor of art, NYU.

Visceral, hypnotizing, corporeal, and courageous sketches of a dark world. Her voice is clear and embodied as it reverberates from the center of a spiraling chaos of shame. Respite is in the doing.Bianca Sapetto, performer and choreographer, formerly of Cirque de Soliel and Teatro Zinzanni

Courageous and artful self-inquiry from a woman with a mission, making the invisible world of despair and shame visible.Dr. Bernet Elzinga, Professor of Stress-Related Psychopathology, and co-founder of the Child Abuse and Neglect minor program, Leiden University

This is a remarkable book, well-nigh unclassifiable. In it the author opens up a fresh and demanding approach to sexual violence, pouring her wealth of experience into art. It is both helpful and hopeful!Dr. Sólveig Anna Bóasdóttir, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, the University of Iceland

Through her eye-catching art work, Tania Abramson managed to express the impact of child sexual abuse as well as chances for reprocessing. This book goes beyond words and is an opportunity for both professionals and survivors to comprehend the dynamics of shame related to sexual abuse. – Dr. Iva Bicanic, clinical psychologist at the Sexual Violence Center at the University Medical Center Utrecht, and Head of the National Psychotrauma Center, the Netherlands­­

Very powerful artwork that helps others see and understand.Dr. Lenneke Alink, Professor of Forensic Family Studies, and co-founder of the Child Abuse and Neglect minor program, Leiden University

In our culture, child sexual abuse thrives in the shadows of secrecy. This poignant, powerful, poetic expression of shame reveals an important truth: when we give voice to child sexual abuse, what other people witness is our courage. And when we are seen–truly, safely seen for the parts of ourselves that we love and the parts that hold the most pain–our shame can shift and we can see what other people see in us: bold, beautiful courage.Kerry Naughton, Executive Director of Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service, Portland, Oregon

When one speaks of abuse and neglect, there is a knowing, and, at the same time, a parallel silence of unspoken knowledge. Words, ideas, thoughts, and emotions are shadowed in references, allusions, body codes, and eye gestures. Tania’s art has the ability to convey the hard and the soft, the seen and the known. The art is communicating nuances within itself and to the audience. Words disappear, and, like the rain that mutates the marks, the messages are conveyed from one to another…where healing begins: from the inside out. – Ellen e Baird, Professor of English, Copper Mountain College, and Editor, Howl Art & Literature Magazine, Joshua Tree, California


Concern is Tania Love Abramson’s shrewdly crafted narrative, in photographs, poetic structure, and note, of the many nuances of concern. This is the first volume in a series tied loosely together by ambiguous words and experiences.

Simultaneously intense and vulnerable, Concern is reminiscent of the work of Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger.Ian Putnam, musician and artist

This is not a zine, it is an art book. Keep it up!Jacki Apple, multimedia artist, writer, and performance artist

Truth Lies

Truth Lies is the second in an ongoing series of small volumes designed to explore the ambiguity of language, its effects on the individual, and on societies more holistically. It is meant to be politically relevant, but also timeless in nature.

Scholarly Publications: 


Abramson, Paul R. & Abramson, Tania L. (2020). Should Art About Child Abuse Be Exhibited in Corridors of Health Professional Schools? The American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, 22(6),525-534.

Abramson, Paul R. & Abramson, Tania L. (2020). Visual and Narrative Comprehension of Trauma. The American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, 22(6) 535-543.

Abramson, Paul R. & Abramson, Tania Love. (2019) David Wojnarowicz and the Surge of Nuances: Modifying Aesthetic Judgment with the Influx of Knowledge. Aesthetic Investigations, 1, 146-157.

Abramson, Tania L. (2019). Unchain My Anguish: A Feminist Take on Art and Trauma. Feminist Review, 122, 189-197.

Abramson, Tania L. & Abramson, Paul R. (2019a). The UCLA Art and Trauma Course: A serendipitous journey. Studies in Art Education, 60(1), 58-62.

Abramson, Tania Love & Abramson, Paul R. (2019b). Charting New Territory: The aesthetic value of artistic visions that emanate in the aftermath of severe trauma. Contemporary Aesthetics, 17, 1-2.

Abramson, Tania L. & Abramson, Paul R. (2019c). Arkoun Vannak: A tribute to a heroic Cambodian artist. Visual Inquiry: Learning & Teaching Art, 8(1), 79-83.

Abramson, Tania Love & Abramson, Paul R. (2018). Art and Trauma: Yet Another Arthur Danto Zombie. Contemporary Aesthetics,16, 3-4.

In Progress:

Abramson, Tania L. & Abramson, Paul R. (2022) Art and Trauma. Invited chapter for the forthcoming book, Oxford Handbook of Mental Health and Contemporary Western Aesthetics, to be published by Oxford University Press.

fear care spread copy

All art featured in this website is by Tania Love Abramson

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