Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?

And other reflections on being human

Jesse Bering takes readers on a bold and captivating journey through some of the most taboo issues related to evolution and human behavior.

Synopsis

Why do testicles hang the way they do? Is there an adaptive function to the female orgasm? What does it feel like to want to kill yourself? Does “free will” really exist? And why is the penis shaped like that anyway?

In Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?, the research psychologist and award-winning columnist Jesse Bering features more than thirty of his most popular essays from Scientific American and Slate, as well as two new pieces, that take readers on a bold and captivating journey through some of the most taboo issues related to evolution and human behavior. Exploring the history of cannibalism, the neurology of people who are sexually attracted to animals, the evolution of human body fluids, the science of homosexuality, and serious questions about life and death, Bering astutely covers a generous expanse of our kaleidoscope of quirks and origins.

With his characteristic irreverence and trademark cheekiness, Bering leaves no topic unturned or curiosity unexamined, and he does it all with an audaciously original voice. Whether you’re interested in the psychological history behind the many facets of sexual desire or the evolutionary patterns that have dictated our current mystique and phallic physique, Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? is bound to create lively discussion and debate for years to come.

Publisher

Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Release date

July 3, 2012

Coming Soon
ISBN

9780374532925

Dimensions

5.5 × 8.2 in / 320 pages

“Anyone familiar with [Bering’s] columns knows the goofy, self-deprecatory way he has of digesting lofty concepts. This book . . . is a prime specimen.”

Newcity Lit

“Anyone interested in reading about the latest developments in sex research told with a generous dose of self-deprecating humor will enjoy this essay collection.”

Library Journal

“Bering has a well-researched, erudite response that teaches more about whatever sex-related topic is at hand than quite a few books I’ve come across. I have yet to come away from reading one of his essays or responses to reader questions and not feel considerably better informed than I was just minutes before. Be sure to also check out his latest book…”

David DiSalvo, “Six Writers Who Know More About Sex Than You Do (So Read Them)” on Forbes.com

“Jesse Bering is the Hunter S. Thompson of science writing, and he is a delight to read—funny, smart, and madly provocative.”

Paul Bloom, Professor, Yale University, and author of How Pleasure Works

“While remaining strictly true to the scientific facts of any given issue, Bering keeps readers on their toes with his signature salacious quips and stray, juicy peeks at his personal life.”

Carl Hays, Booklist

“Bering has an uncanny way with words, an incisive capacity for logical thinking, and a stunning talent for breathing new life and enthusiasm into science.”

Gordon Gallup

Translations & other editions

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