This is a ebook concerning the making and unmaking of intercourse over the centuries. It tells the awesome tale of intercourse within the West from the ancients to the moderns in an exact account of advancements in reproductive anatomy and body structure. we can't fail to acknowledge the avid gamers in Thomas Laqueur's story--the human sexual organs and pleasures, nutrition, blood, semen, egg, sperm--but we are going to be surprised on the plots into which they've been woven via scientists, political activists, literary figures, and theorists of each stripe.
Laqueur starts off with the query of why, within the past due eighteenth century, woman's orgasm got here to be considered as inappropriate to perception, and he then proceeds to retrace the dramatic alterations 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 for this reason: the vagina is obvious as an inside penis, the womb as a scrotum, the ovaries as testicles. The physique is therefore a illustration, now not the basis, of social gender. the second one plot has a tendency to dominate post-Enlightenment pondering whereas the one-sex version is firmly rooted in classical studying. The two-sex tale says that the physique determines gender variations, that lady is the other of guy with incommensurably varied organs, services, and emotions. the 2 plots overlap; neither ever holds a monopoly. technological know-how may possibly identify many new evidence, besides, Laqueur argues, technological know-how was once basically supplying a brand new method of talking, a rhetoric and never a key to woman liberation or to social development. Making Sex ends with Freud, who denied the neurological proof to insist that, as a lady turns into a girl, the locus of her sexual excitement shifts from the clitoris to the vagina; she turns into what tradition calls for regardless of, now not as a result of, the physique. Turning Freud's recognized dictum round, Laqueur posits that future is anatomy. intercourse, in different phrases, is an artifice.
This is a robust tale, written with verve and a willing experience of telling element (be it technically rigorous or scabrously fanciful). Making Sex will stimulate proposal, even if argument or stunned contract, in a variety of readers.