Most helpful critical review
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An interesting book but it needs some hard science in it....
on 10 August 2014
I found this book interesting and amusing in places. However, as someone with a scientific background, I found it frustrating because much of the content is at the level of description - rather like nineteenth century books by explorers, botanists and zoologists describing what they saw in the world. Modern science has used the theory of evolution and molecular biology to make sense of the natural world and this is more or less missing from this book. It would be harsh to say that this book is 'psychobabble' but I found it strange that Dr Bering didn't, for example, discuss the possible origins of his own homosexuality and speculate on whether other paraphilias might have similar origins. A lot of work by Dean Hamer, Simon Le Vay and many others has suggested that variations in gene sequences, and levels of hormones in the maternal blood during gestation, etc. etc. have produced changes in regions of the brain (e.g. in the sexually dimorphic nucleus) that result in the observed variation in sexual preferences and behaviour. (Possibly by epigenetic mechanisms?) I agree with Bering that sexual behaviour should be judged by whether or not it is harmful rather than by religious prejudice or by the fashion of the day, but until we understand the origin of sexual behaviour it will not be possible to prevent (or possibly reverse?) sexual activities generally agreed to be harmful.