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Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?: And Other Reflections on Being Human

by Steven Bergman
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Friday Jul 6, 2012
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Jesse Bering’s latest book is a compilation of his essays titled, "Why is the Penis Shaped Like That?" and is a scientific barrage of topics that most of society consider taboo as he attempts to bring these issues to the mainstream reader in an accessible manner.

Bering is a research psychologist, award-winning columnist, and scholar-in-residence at Wells College near Ithaca, New York. The thirty articles, the majority of which have been previously released in Scientific American and Slate, range in title from "What’s So ’Premature’ About Premature Ejaculation" and "An Ode to the Many Evolved Virtues of Human Semen" to analyses of zoophiles (one who is emotionally, and often sexually, attracted to a non-human animal), cannibalism, asexuality, "fag hags," and homophobia, in addition to the title piece, which Bering presents in a professional, manner that allows the reader to give mature thought to the subject in question.

If you are unaccustomed to reading such blatant evidence about traditionally "in the closet" topics, this book may be best approached slowly, and over time. Bering’s approach is upfront, but with enough humor to alleviate any concern that one is looking at textbook versions of pornographic forums.

Bering’s extremely forthcoming with his sexual orientation (gay male), which has a tendency to prevent him from giving equal personal accounts to the heterosexual subjects he addresses (i.e. "The Case of the Female Orgasm"), but he deserves credit for attempting to be fair to both the gay and straight communities in his analyses.

Lastly, Bering is thorough in referencing all the studies he researched for his book, giving anyone looking for further information on any of these topics the resources to begin such an undertaking. "Why is the Penis Shaped Like That?" is an entertaining bathroom book - best read a few articles at a sitting, but informative and knowledgeable.

Why is the Penis Shaped Like That?
Jesse Bering, PhD.
Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
$16.00

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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