By Thomas Laqueur
This can be a ebook concerning the making and unmaking of intercourse over the centuries. It tells the dazzling tale of intercourse within the West from the ancients to the moderns in an actual account of advancements in reproductive anatomy and body structure. we can't fail to acknowledge the gamers in Thomas Laqueur's story--the human sexual organs and pleasures, foodstuff, blood, semen, egg, sperm--but we are going to be surprised on the plots into which they've been woven by way of scientists, political activists, literary figures, and theorists of each stripe. Laqueur starts with the query of why, within the past due eighteenth century, woman's orgasm got here to be considered as beside the point to perception, and he then proceeds to retrace the dramatic adjustments in Western perspectives of sexual features over millennia. alongside the best way, "masterplots" emerge. within the one-sex tale, girl is a less than excellent model of guy, and her anatomy and body structure are construed therefore: the vagina is visible as an inside penis, the womb as a scrotum, the ovaries as testicles. The physique is therefore a illustration, now not the root, of social gender. the second one plot has a tendency to dominate post-Enlightenment considering whereas the one-sex version is firmly rooted in classical studying. The two-sex tale says that the physique determines gender variations, that girl is the other of guy with incommensurably various organs, features, and emotions. the 2 plots overlap; neither ever holds a monopoly. technology may well identify many new proof, besides, Laqueur argues, technological know-how used to be in basic terms delivering a brand new approach of conversing, a rhetoric and never a key to girl liberation or to social development. Making intercourse ends with Freud, who denied the neurological facts to insist that, as a woman turns into a lady, the locus of her sexual excitement shifts from the clitoris to the vagina; she turns into what tradition calls for regardless of, no longer due to, the physique. Turning Freud's well-known dictum round, Laqueur posits that future is anatomy. intercourse, in different phrases, is an artifice. it is a robust tale, written with verve and a prepared experience of telling aspect (be it technically rigorous or scabrously fanciful). Making intercourse will stimulate idea, no matter if argument or stunned contract, in a variety of readers.