Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? by Jesse Bering
And Other Reflections on Being Human

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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.


About Jesse Bering

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Jesse Bering, Ph.D. is a frequent contributor to Scientific American and Slate. His writing has also appeared in New York magazine, The Guardian, and The New Republic, among others, and has been featured by NPR, Playboy Radio, and more. The author of The Belief Instinct, Bering is the former Director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at the Queen's University, Belfast, and began his career as a professor at the University of Arkansas. He lives in Ithaca, New York.
Published July 3, 2012 by Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 319 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Each essay offers a concise, illuminating overview to such queries as “how our coveted free will articulates with our genitalia,” or whether it is “really possible for an otherwise normal, healthy person to develop a genuine sexual preference for a nonhuman species.” The author also ponders wheth...

Jul 12 2012 | Read Full Review of Why Is the Penis Shaped Like ...

Publishers Weekly

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Bering, a research psychologist, columnist for ScientificAmerican.com, and contributor to Slate and NPR, gathers 30 eclectic essays from Scientific American and Slate that address numerous human activities, such as human sexuality, with an evolutionary spin.

Apr 02 2012 | Read Full Review of Why Is the Penis Shaped Like ...

The Telegraph

Working feverishly, Gallup proved that if used as a plunger, a human penis is capable of cleaning out more than 90 per cent of sperm deposited inside the vaginal canal by a previous partner, far more than any other penis design.

Jul 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Why Is the Penis Shaped Like ...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Judge postpones decision on Duquesne schools Pittsburgh firefighters declare Homewood blaze under control Missing pipe organ recovered from former St. Justin musician McKeesport solicitor Elash pleads guilty to reduced charges from crash ...

Jul 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Why Is the Penis Shaped Like ...

Book Forum

Throughout the book, Bering argues persuasively for a more open-minded view of the infinite varieties of human sexuality, and calls for a more rigorous scientific understanding of all sexual impulses, regardless of our moral objections to them.

Jun 19 2012 | Read Full Review of Why Is the Penis Shaped Like ...

Mother Jones

I don't buy the notion that couples have especially vigorous sex following a woman's infidelity so that the guy's penis can scoop out his reproductive rival's sperm.

Jul 07 2012 | Read Full Review of Why Is the Penis Shaped Like ...

Willamette Week

GO: Jesse Bering will speak at Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., on Wednesday, July 18.

Jul 11 2012 | Read Full Review of Why Is the Penis Shaped Like ...

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