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Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? Paperback – 13 Aug 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (13 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780374532925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374532925
  • ASIN: 0374532923
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.2 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,444,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"If David Sedaris were an experimental psychologist, he'd be writing essays very much like these. Bering's unique blend of scientific knowledge, sense of humor, intellectual courage, and pure literary skill is immediately recognizable; no one writes quite the way Bering does. Read this book. You'll learn, laugh, and then learn some more." --Christopher Ryan, co-author of the "New York Times" bestseller "Sex at Dawn"

"Nothing sacred is spared in Jesse Bering's deft, rivetingly informative, and relentlessly hilarious new book. Bering's addictive curiosity and wry, dexterous humor make this a collection that's as funny as it is impossible to put down." --Violet Blue, award-winning author and sex educator "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

"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"

"Jesse Bering is the intellectual spawn of Helen Fisher and Oliver Sacks, and "Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?" is brainy, informative, compassionate--and hilariously naughty." --Amy Dickinson, "New York Times" bestselling author and NPR personality

"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"

"If David Sedaris were an experimental psychologist, he'd be writing essays very much like these. Bering's unique blend of scientific knowledge, sense of humor, intellectual courage, and pure literary skill is immediately recognizable; no one writes quite the way Bering does. Read this book. You'll learn, laugh, and then learn some more." --Christopher Ryan, co-author of the "New York Times" bestseller "Sex at Dawn"

"Nothing sacred is spared in Jesse Bering's deft, rivetingly informative, and relentlessly hilarious new book. Bering's addictive curiosity and wry, dexterous humor make this a collection that's as funny as it is impossible to put down." --Violet Blue, award-winning author and sex educator "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

"These entertaining essays offer a cornucopia of ideas that will reward readers with hours of conversational gambits." --"Publishers Weekly"

"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"

"Jesse Bering is the intellectual spawn of Helen Fisher and Oliver Sacks, and "Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?" is brainy, informative, compassionate--and hilariously naughty." --Amy Dickinson, "New York Times" bestselling author and NPR personality

"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"

"If David Sedaris were an experimental psychologist, he'd be writing essays very much like these. Bering's unique blend of scientific knowledge, sense of humor, intellectual courage, and pure literary skill is immediately recognizable; no one writes quite the way Bering does. Read this book. You'll learn, laugh, and then learn some more." --Christopher Ryan, co-author of the "New York Times" bestseller "Sex at Dawn"

"Nothing sacred is spared in Jesse Bering's deft, rivetingly informative, and relentlessly hilarious new book. Bering's addictive curiosity and wry, dexterous humor make this a collection that's as funny as it is impossible to put down." --Violet Blue, award-winning author and sex educator "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

"

"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 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"

"Jesse Bering is the intellectual spawn of Helen Fisher and Oliver Sacks, and "Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?" is brainy, informative, compassionate--and hilariously naughty." --Amy Dickinson, "New York Times" bestselling author and NPR personality

"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"

"If David Sedaris were an experimental psychologist, he'd be writing essays very much like these. Bering's unique blend of scientific knowledge, sense of humor, intellectual courage, and pure literary skill is immediately recognizable; no one writes quite the way Bering does. Read this book. You'll learn, laugh, and then learn some more." --Christopher Ryan, co-author of the "New York Times" bestseller "Sex at Dawn"

"Nothing sacred is spared in Jesse Bering's deft, rivetingly informative, and relentlessly hilarious new book. Bering's addictive curiosity and wry, dexterous humor make this a collection that's as funny as it is impossible to put down." --Violet Blue,

"Bering's jokes about the things that make us most squeamish invite us to share his joyful curiosity about human sexuality, to see the world through his eyes...As Bering describes it, the complex interplay between biology, psychology, and culture suggests that what makes us most human--empathy--is also what makes us the most complicated beast of all."--Bookforum
"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 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"

"Jesse Bering is the intellectual spawn of Helen Fisher and Oliver Sacks, and "Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?" is brainy, informative, compassionate--and hilariously naughty." --Amy Dickinson, "New York Times" bestselling author and NPR personality

"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"

"If David Sedaris were an experimental psychologist, he'd be writing essays very much like these. Bering's unique blend of scientific knowledge, sense of humor, intellectual courage, and pure literary skill is immediately recognizable; no one writes quite the way Bering does. Read this book. You'll le

"Excellent in its entirety, woven of Bering's rare tapestry of scientific rigor and a powerful, articulate social point of view."--"Brain Pickings"

"Bering's jokes about the things that make us most squeamish invite us to share his joyful curiosity about human sexuality, to see the world through his eyes...As Bering describes it, the complex interplay between biology, psychology, and culture suggests that what makes us most human--empathy--is also what makes us the most complicated beast of all."--Bookforum
"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 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"

"Jesse Bering is the intellectual spawn of Helen Fisher and Oliver Sacks, and "Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?" is brainy, informative, compassionate--and hilariously naughty." --Amy Dickinson, "New York Times" bestselling author and NPR personality

"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"

"If David Sedaris were an experimental psychologist, he'd be writing essays very much like these. Bering's unique blend of scientific knowledge, sense o

"An accessible, lively, thought-provoking book for anyone curious about what it means to be human." --Kirkus
"This book could fuel a score of dinner-party conversations...this is more than some scientific stocking-filler: it uses science to unsettle our most embedded assumptions. It is deeply thought-provoking." --"Sunday Times "(UK)

"Excellent in its entirety, woven of Bering's rare tapestry of scientific rigor and a powerful, articulate social point of view." --"Brain Pickings"

"Bering's jokes about the things that make us most squeamish invite us to share his joyful curiosity about human sexuality, to see the world through his eyes...As Bering describes it, the complex interplay between biology, psychology, and culture suggests that what makes us most human--empathy--is also what makes us the most complicated beast of all." --"Bookforum"
"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
""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"

"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"

"Jesse Bering is the intellectual spawn of Helen Fisher and Oliv

"This book could fuel a score of dinner-party conversations...this is more than some scientific stocking-filler: it uses science to unsettle our most embedded assumptions. It is deeply thought-provoking."
--"Sunday Times "(UK)
"Excellent in its entirety, woven of Bering's rare tapestry of scientific rigor and a powerful, articulate social point of view."
--"Brain Pickings
""You must buy [Bering's book] to be both entertained and the life and soul of cocktail parties from now 'til the end of the world."
--"Jezebel
""Bering's jokes about the things that make us most squeamish invite us to share his joyful curiosity about human sexuality, to see the world through his eyes...As Bering describes it, the complex interplay between biology, psychology, and culture suggests that what makes us most human--empathy--is also what makes us the most complicated beast of all."
--"Bookforum
""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
""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
""These entertaining essays offer a cornucopia of ideas that will reward readers with hours of conversational gambits."
--"Publishers Weekly
""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
""An accessible, lively, thought-provoking book for anyone curious about what it means to be human."
--"Kirkus
""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
""Jesse Bering is the intellectual spawn of Helen Fisher and Oliver Sacks, and "Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?" is brainy, informative, compassionate--and hilariously naughty."
--Amy Dickinson, "New York Times" bestselling author and NPR personality
"If David Sedaris were an experimental psychologist, he'd be writing essays very much like these. Bering's unique blend of scientific knowledge, sense of humor, intellectual courage, and pure literary skill is immediately recognizable; no one writes quite the way Bering does. Read this book. You'll learn, laugh, and then learn some more."
--Christopher Ryan, co-author of the "New York Times" bestseller "Sex at Dawn
""Nothing sacred is spared in Jesse Bering's deft, rivetingly informative, and relentlessly hilarious new book. Bering's addictive curiosity and wry, dexterous humor make this a collection that's as funny as it is impossible to put down."
--Violet Blue, award-winning author and sex educator
"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

This book could fuel a score of dinner-party conversations this is more than some scientific stocking-filler: it uses science to unsettle our most embedded assumptions. It is deeply thought-provoking. "Sunday Times (UK)"

Excellent in its entirety, woven of Bering's rare tapestry of scientific rigor and a powerful, articulate social point of view. "Brain Pickings"

You must buy [Bering's book] to be both entertained and the life and soul of cocktail parties from now til the end of the world. "Jezebel"

Bering's jokes about the things that make us most squeamish invite us to share his joyful curiosity about human sexuality, to see the world through his eyes...As Bering describes it, the complex interplay between biology, psychology, and culture suggests that what makes us most human--empathy--is also what makes us the most complicated beast of all. "Bookforum"

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"

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"

These entertaining essays offer a cornucopia of ideas that will reward readers with hours of conversational gambits. "Publishers Weekly"

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"

An accessible, lively, thought-provoking book for anyone curious about what it means to be human. "Kirkus"

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"

Jesse Bering is the intellectual spawn of Helen Fisher and Oliver Sacks, and "Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?" is brainy, informative, compassionate--and hilariously naughty. "Amy Dickinson, New York Times bestselling author and NPR personality"

If David Sedaris were an experimental psychologist, he'd be writing essays very much like these. Bering's unique blend of scientific knowledge, sense of humor, intellectual courage, and pure literary skill is immediately recognizable; no one writes quite the way Bering does. Read this book. You'll learn, laugh, and then learn some more. "Christopher Ryan, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Sex at Dawn"

Nothing sacred is spared in Jesse Bering's deft, rivetingly informative, and relentlessly hilarious new book. Bering's addictive curiosity and wry, dexterous humor make this a collection that's as funny as it is impossible to put down. "Violet Blue, award-winning author and sex educator"

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""

Book Description

Everything you ever wanted to know about sex but were afraid to ask. Literally. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An ideal choice for your Kindle - you might not want to be seen laughing out loud at a book with this title, as I did! Jesse Bering has a very funny take on all sorts of scientific questions, and writes into his essays his own stance as a gay man with no religious belief, so there is an immediate sense of dialogue with the reader which is very helpful. What he gives you is a stimulating introduction to some fascinating research by other people, and there are full footnotes so that interested readers can follow up the questions in more serious detail. The title essay is eye-catching, and there's certainly a lot about sexual anatomy and physiology in the book, but he tackles some other touchy topics too, such as cannibalism and suicide. What he writes about the psychology of suicide is sensitive and constructive.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've always enjoyed psychology books and this one caught my eye for obvious reasons !

As I understand it, a lot of the book is composed of articles previously printed elsewhere, but it is put together in a very readable way and only in the last couple of chapters did it seem to feel slightly dis-jointed.

Having said that I can't give you any other issues as it is a very readable book written in the authors very clever and off beat style, which sets it apart from other books of this nature. This makes the book very entertaining and great fun to read and I'm left wondering why other authors can't also lighten up a bit and write in a similar vein ! Science can be and is fun !

He approaches human sexuality from an evolutionary perspective and it's one of those books where you find yourself thinking "Oh, I hadn't thought of that" or "Well, I didn't know that" quite a lot.

The author does mention a few times he is gay but don't let that distract you as the subject matter crosses all human genres and perhaps it's his own sexuality that allows him to approach the subject in such a unique and entertaining way.

I'd recommend this to anybody who has a passing interest in their fellow human beings.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good to give as a slightly amusing present,
The content is not very weighty, but it makes sense.
Briefest possible summary..it's shaped to pump back out whatever the previous guy deposited, which is why we are designed to stop promptly, to avoid doing it to our own. And yes, they experimented to prove it.
Suggests much sperm competition back long ago, hopefully not so relevant now ?
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Format: Hardcover
Bering tells us in the introduction that he's always been interested - scientifically - in question that others have hesitated to ask (such as the title essay of this collection). This collection of essays in fact covers suicide, the psychological impact of believing in determinism (best to believe in free will), and the impacts of religious belief on human life (you are more likely to behave in line with what your religion tells you on a Sunday, or when prompted) and also covering cannibalism (adaptive in some circumstances for humans). But mostly the love lives of human beings.

Bering tells us that we are not set up altogether for monogamy, but we are certainly set up for attachment and heartbreak, and while most of what we do and what we feel can be shown to arise from evolutionary adaptedness, sometimes things have just gone wrong. Attractions to animals, feet, and asexuality all pose interesting problems for Bering's standpoint - and he enjoys rising to the challenge and finding experimental evidence to bear on the issues from a range of sources.

Bering tells us in the introduction that he is a 'very very very gay man'. And there's quite a lot about this in the book - one chapter tells us never to ask a gay man for directions, for example. Another looks at childhood precursors of adult sexual preference.

Some of this book casts a new light on human behaviour, but sometimes Bering points to a puzzle and admits simply that it hasn't been solved yet. It could perhaps have been shorter, ie just running to those pieces that reach a conclusion...but of course it's always possible to skim-read the less interesting pieces.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Series of short pieces on a range of topics, such as the eponymous penis, various other genitalia and behaviours. Clearly and entertainingly written but doesn't form any coherent whole, other than to suggest we humans are wrong about a lot of things we believe about ourselves. With such material at the tip of his tongue, I'm sure the author would be a great dinner party guest.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
a surprising book, not for the squeamish or narrow minded people though,full of humour, but also very well researched,good book...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book and apparently so did the guy laughing on the coach reading it over my shoulder! :'D Bering's books are the type that leave you asking you friends wierd questions at innappropiate times ("did you know.....?") and giggling loudly on the train. whilst I may be slightly biased due to an interest in sexual physiology, evolution and dimorphism, but this is not just a book of cleverly pulled together papers, Bering takes about his own life as a gay man and doesn't forget us ladies too. Funny, relaxed worth the read! :)
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