Book picks similar to
With the Hand: A Cultural History of Masturbation by Mels van Driel
Sex in History
Reay Tannahill - 1980
Reay Tannahill's scholarly, yet accessible study ranges from the earliest form of contraception (one Egyptian concoction included crocodile dung) to some latter- day misconceptions about it- like the men who joined their lovers in taking the pill 'just to be on the safe side.' It surveys all manner of sexual practice, preference and position (the acrobatic 'wheelbarrow' position, the strenuous 'hovering butterflies' position...) and draws on souces as diverse as THE ADMIRABLE DISCOURSES OF THE PLAIN GIRL, the EXHIBTION OF FEMALE FLAGELLANTS, IMPORTANT MATTERS OF THE JADE CHAMBER and THE ROMANCE OF CHASTISEMENT. Whether writing on androgyny, courtly love, flagellation or zoophilia, Turkish eunuch's Greek dildoes, Taoist sex manuals or Japanses geisha girls, Reay Tannahill is consistently enlightening and entertaining.
Virgin: The Untouched History
Hanne Blank - 2007
She tackles the reality of what we do and don't know about virginity and provides a sweeping tour of virgins in history--from virgin martyrs to Queen Elizabeth to billboards in downtown Baltimore telling young women it's not a "dirty word." Virgin proves, as well, how utterly contemporary the topic is--the butt of innumerable jokes, center of spiritual mysteries, locus of teenage angst, popular genre for pornography and nucleus around which the world's most powerful government has created an unprecedented abstinence policy. In this fascinating work, Hanne Blank shows for the first time why this is, and why everything we think we know about virginity is wrong.
A Curious History of Sex
Kate Lister - 2020
Rather, this is a drop in the ocean, a paddle in the shallow end of sex history, but I hope you will get pleasantly wet nonetheless.The act of sex has not changed since people first worked out what went where, but the ways in which society dictates how sex is culturally understood and performed have varied significantly through the ages. Humans are the only creatures that stigmatise particular sexual practices, and sex remains a deeply divisive issue around the world. Attitudes will change and grow – hopefully for the better – but sex will never be free of stigma or shame unless we acknowledge where it has come from.
Vagina: A New Biography
Naomi Wolf - 2012
Heralded by Publishers Weekly as one of the best science books of the year, it is a provocative and deeply engaging book that elucidates the ties between a woman's experience of her vagina and her sense of self; her impulses, dreams, and courage; and her role in love and in society in completely new and revelatory ways sure to provoke impassioned conversation.A brilliant and nuanced synthesis of physiology, history, and cultural criticism, Vagina: A New Biography explores the physical, political, and spiritual implications of this startling series of new scientific breakthroughs for women and for society as a whole, from a writer whose conviction and keen intelligence have propelled her works to the tops of bestseller lists, and firmly into the realms of modern classics.
Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire
Eric Berkowitz - 2012
However, that's not to say that the Sumerians, Victorians, and every civilization in between and beyond have not tried, wielding their most formidable weapon: the law. At any given point in time, some forms of sex were condoned while others were punished mercilessly. Jump forward or backward a century or two (and often far less than that), and the harmless fun of one time period becomes the gravest crime in another. Sex and Punishment tells the story of the struggle throughout the millennia to regulate the most powerful engine of human behavior.Writer and lawyer Eric Berkowitz uses flesh-and-blood cases—much flesh and even more blood—to evoke the entire sweep of Western sex law, from the savage impalement of an Ancient Mesopotamian adulteress to the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde in 1895 for "gross indecency." The cast of Sex and Punishment is as varied as the forms taken by human desire itself: royal mistresses, gay charioteers, medieval transvestites, lonely goat-lovers, prostitutes of all stripes, London rent boys. Each of them had forbidden sex, and each was judged—and justice, as Berkowitz shows, rarely had much to do with it. With the light touch of a natural storyteller, Berkowitz spins these tales and more, going behind closed doors to reveal the essential history of human desire.
Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us
Jesse Bering - 2013
Whether it’s voyeurism, exhibitionism, or your run-of-the-mill foot fetish, we all possess a suite of sexual tastes as unique as our fingerprints—and as secret as the rest of the skeletons we’ve hidden in our closets.Combining cutting-edge studies and critiques of landmark research and conclusions drawn by Sigmund Freud, Alfred Kinsey, and the DSM-5, Bering pulls the curtain back on paraphilias, arguing that sexual deviance is commonplace. Bering confronts hypocrisy, prejudice, and harm as they relate to sexuality on a global scale. Humanizing so-called deviants while at the same time asking serious questions about the differences between thought and action, he presents us with a challenge: to understand that our best hope of solving some of the most troubling problems of our age hinges entirely on the amoral study of sex.
Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History
Florence Williams - 2012
But in the modern world, the breast is changing. Breasts are getting bigger, arriving earlier, and attracting newfangled chemicals. Increasingly, the odds are stacked against us in the struggle with breast cancer, even among men. What makes breasts so mercurial—and so vulnerable?In this informative and highly entertaining account, intrepid science reporter Florence Williams sets out to uncover the latest scientific findings from the fields of anthropology, biology, and medicine. Her investigation follows the life cycle of the breast from puberty to pregnancy to menopause, taking her from a plastic surgeon’s office where she learns about the importance of cup size in Texas to the laboratory where she discovers the presence of environmental toxins in her own breast milk. The result is a fascinating exploration of where breasts came from, where they have ended up, and what we can do to save them.
The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction
Rachel P. Maines - 1998
Doctors loathed this time-consuming procedure and for centuries relied on midwives. Later, they substituted the efficiency of mechanical devices, including the electric vibrator, invented in the 1880s. In The Technology of Orgasm, Rachel Maines offers readers a stimulating, surprising, and often humorous account of hysteria and its treatment throughout the ages, focusing on the development, use, and fall into disrepute of the vibrator as a legitimate medical device.
Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference
Cordelia Fine - 2005
Even though the glass ceiling is cracked, most women stay comfortably beneath it, and everywhere we hear about vitally important “hardwired” differences between male and female brains. The neuroscience we read about in magazines, newspaper articles, books, and sometimes even scientific journals increasingly tells a tale of two brains, and the result is more often than not a validation of the status quo. Women, it seems, are just too intuitive for math, men too focused for housework.Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience and psychology, Cordelia Fine debunks the myth of hardwired differences between men’s and women’s brains, unraveling the evidence behind such claims as men’s brains aren’t wired for empathy, and women’s brains aren’t made to fix cars. She then goes one step further, offering a very different explanation of the dissimilarities between men’s and women’s behavior. Instead of a “male brain” and a “female brain,” Fine gives us a glimpse of plastic, mutable minds that are continuously influenced by cultural assumptions about gender.Delusions of Gender provides us with a much-needed corrective to the belief that men’s and women’s brains are intrinsically different--a belief that, as Fine shows with insight and humor--all too often works to the detriment of ourselves and our society.
My Secret Garden: Women's Sexual Fantasies
Nancy Friday - 1973
Women who read it were astonished to find in its pages the hidden content of their own sexual fantasies. More outspoken, graphic, and taboo-shattering than any book before its time, "My Secret Garden" quickly became the classic study of female sexuality. Today, millions of women have made Nancy Friday's groundbreaking bestseller a mainstay of feminist literature -- a liberating force that adds a sensational new dimension to their sexual fantasies and lives.
Woman: An Intimate Geography
Natalie Angier - 1999
Angier takes readers on a mesmerizing tour of female anatomy and physiology that explores everything from organs to orgasm, and delves into topics such as exercise, menopause, and the mysterious properties of breast milk.A self-proclaimed "scientific fantasia of womanhood." Woman ultimately challenges widely accepted Darwinian-based gender stereotypes. Angier shows how cultural biases have influenced research in evolutionary psychology (the study of the biological bases of behavior) and consequently led to dubious conclusions about "female nature." such as the idea that women are innately monogamous while men are natural philanderers.But Angier doesn't just point fingers; she offers optimistic alternatives and transcends feminist polemics with an enlightened subversiveness that makes for a joyful, fresh vision of womanhood. Woman is a seminal work that will endure as an essential read for anyone intersted in how biology affects who we are as women, as men, and as human beings.
Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity
Janell L. Carroll - 2004
Janell Carroll clearly conveys foundational biological and health issues, extensively cites both current and classic research, and addresses all material in a fresh and fun way; her book helps teach students what they need, and want, to know about sexuality. Her focus takes into account the social, religious, ethnic, racial, and cultural contexts of today's students. Dr. Carroll has used feedback from the first edition to add even further value to this popular title-streamlining student pedagogy and providing dynamic learning opportunities through Active Summaries at the end of chapters, a new online student tutorial, new video components, and content for Classroom Response Systems. This continues to be the text most representative of today's students, incorporating new sexual position art, a new pronunciation guide, and (for instructors) a new cross-cultural Slang Guide.
Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People
Joan Roughgarden - 2004
A distinguished evolutionary biologist, Roughgarden takes on the medical establishment, the Bible, social science—and even Darwin himself. She leads the reader through a fascinating discussion of diversity in gender and sexuality among fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals, including primates. Evolution's Rainbow explains how this diversity develops from the action of genes and hormones and how people come to differ from each other in all aspects of body and behavior. Roughgarden reconstructs primary science in light of feminist, gay, and transgender criticism and redefines our understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality. Witty, playful, and daring, this book will revolutionize our understanding of sexuality.Roughgarden argues that principal elements of Darwinian sexual selection theory are false and suggests a new theory that emphasizes social inclusion and control of access to resources and mating opportunity. She disputes a range of scientific and medical concepts, including Wilson's genetic determinism of behavior, evolutionary psychology, the existence of a gay gene, the role of parenting in determining gender identity, and Dawkins's "selfish gene" as the driver of natural selection. She dares social science to respect the agency and rationality of diverse people; shows that many cultures across the world and throughout history accommodate people we label today as lesbian, gay, and transgendered; and calls on the Christian religion to acknowledge the Bible's many passages endorsing diversity in gender and sexuality. Evolution's Rainbow concludes with bold recommendations for improving education in biology, psychology, and medicine; for democratizing genetic engineering and medical practice; and for building a public monument to affirm diversity as one of our nation's defining principles.
The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure
Tristan Taormino - 2012
This book investigates not only how feminists understand pornography, but also how feminists do porn—that is, direct, act in, produce, and consume one of the world's most lucrative and growing industries. With original contributions by Susie Bright, Candida Royalle, Betty Dodson, Nina Hartley, Buck Angel, and more, The Feminist Porn Book updates the debates of the porn wars of the 1980s, which sharply divided the women's movement, and identifies pornography as a form of expression and labor in which women and other minorities produce power and pleasure.Tristan Taormino is an award-winning author, columnist, editor, sex educator, and feminist pornographer. She is the author of seven books including The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women and Opening Up. She runs the adult film production company Smart Ass Productions and is an exclusive director for Vivid Entertainment.Celine Parreñas Shimizu is an associate professor of film and performance studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and founding editor of Camera Obscura. She is the author of Straitjacket Sexualities and the 2009 Cultural Studies Book Award winning, The Hypersexuality of Race.Mireille Miller-Young is assistant professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her forthcoming book, A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women, Sex Work, and Pornography (Duke University Press) examines African American women’s sex work in the porn industry.
The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women
Jessica Valenti - 2009
In The Purity Myth Jessica Valenti argues that the country’s intense focus on chastity is damaging to young women. Through in-depth cultural and social analysis, Valenti reveals that powerful messaging on both extremes — ranging from abstinence curriculum to Girls Gone Wild infomercials — place a young woman’s worth entirely on her sexuality. Morals are therefore linked purely to sexual behavior, rather than values like honesty, kindness, and altruism. Valenti sheds light on the value — and hypocrisy — around the notion that girls remain virgin until they’re married by putting into context the historical question of purity, modern abstinence-only education, pornography, and public punishments for those who dare to have sex. The Purity Myth presents a revolutionary argument that girls and women are overly valued for their sexuality, as well as solutions for a future without a damaging emphasis on virginity.