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Vagina: A New Biography Paperback – 12 Dec 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (12 Dec. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844086895
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844086894
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 3.7 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Naomi Wolf has tried hard to look at female sexuality as it really is, not as pop culture or political correctness would like it to be . . . The science of female arousal is complex and woefully neglected, and Wolf has done us all a favour by trying to drag it into the mainstream (Jemima Lewis Mail on Sunday)

Wolf's tome could not be better timed . . . at a time when Western women's bodies have never been more highly politicised, the one person who might be able to shine a ray of light . . . has to be Wolf. Perhaps this history will do for 21st century activism what The Beauty Myth did for 1990s feminists . . . Wolf is exploring territory we haven't heard about since Germaine Greer in the 1970 (Viv Groskop Independent on Sunday)

Worth respecting, even celebrating . . . there is [here] a very intriguing thesis about love . . . If you are one of those School of Cosmo feminists who has been arguing for decades that women should be more like men sexually . . . then Wolf's take is genuinely revolutionary (Sarah Vine The Times)

Part memoir, part cultural history and part scientific journey around women's sexuality, the best elements of which illuminate how little women generally know about their own anatomy (Emma Brockes Guardian)

Writing with her signature blend of poetry and polemics, Naomi Wolf delivers a fiercely courageous portrait of female sexuality in the twenty-first century. As usual, Wolf writes what others are afraid to say. (Susan Cain, author of New York Times bestseller QUIET)

Book Description

The book that got everyone talking.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brilliant book, one that everyone should read, male and female. I found so many interesting things, definitely a book that I will read again. I have lent it to someone else who was keen to read it, and other friends and family are ordering their own copies after hearing me talking about it.
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Format: Paperback
 I love Wolf's fearlessness on this topic - she dares to present a radical new way of understanding the vagina, backed not only with new scientific insights, but also drawing upon more ancient traditions such as Tantra and Taoism. The historical context that she brings to the vagina is also really eye opening, and creates unique insight into the way our modern society views the vagina.
As a woman, what I find really powerful about this book is the speaking of what I have felt on a deep, innate level - that my vagina is more than just an organ. I love that Wolf, rather than taking a radical feminist perspective, also writes of the emotional, bonding and 'needy' aspects of the vagina as well - something that I feel helps to life the shame that so many women feel about wanting to be in partnership with someone else, particularly a man. And I deeply appreciate the scientific research that supports so many of her claims - from understanding the nuerochemical reactions that the vagina is linked to, to having a clearer picture of how trauma and environment can affect the vagina.
This book is brave, timely, powerful and validating. I laughed, cried and 'wooooowed'. We're recommending this to all of our clients - men AND women - in order spread the knowledge and encourage a deeper understanding, respect and reverance of the vagina. And to help women AND men everywhere to start having better, more profound and more fulfilling sex.
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Format: Paperback
This is a well researched, well reasoned book about the vagina. Historically and sociologically interesting, backed up by excellent medical research and interviews with experts. Naomi takes us on her personal journey where she experiences a debilitating condition which starts to affect her nervous system and hence, her sex life.
I read this book in three days flat. Eminently readable, sometimes laugh aloud funny and sometimes just so enlightening I read bits of it out to my husband. Other parts are sadly touching and others, just sad, especially the history of sexual repression against women and Naomi's theories about the use of rape in war (It's not personal, it's just a tactic). Other bits confirmed what I already knew, like why I like sniffing my husband's neck so much. :D

Do note that this book has been written from a heterosexual POV and non hetero people might find that there's not much that might apply, but I can't say that for sure. Naomi makes that clear in the opening and much of the book is based on female and male interactions with each other which are chemically driven. Saying that, I think a lot applies to female gay couples and would certainly be of interest.
This is a book that I'd hand on to my kids to read when they're old enough... late teens/early 20's. In this world of instant hook ups, porn and the fairly poor view people hold of the beauty of female sexuality, it's important to slow down, read the data and change the way we do things.

If you're an interested, vaguely intelligent woman who likes a good read and who would like to connect with your body AND your male partner more than you are, then this is for you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had never heard of the 'oceanic feeling' before I read this book, but I knew, when I read it, exactly what it meant. The fact that this feeling is reported in a book that is essentially about sex, made a lightbulb turn on in my head – no wonder I had never come across it before, my vagina is the last place I would have looked for it. Naomi describes the oceanic feeling thus:

“[the woman] is in a state of a kind of perfection, in harmony with and in connection with the world……in that state of consciousness, the inner voices that say the woman is not good enough, not beautiful enough, not pleasing enough to others are stilled…..and the sense of….a universal or divine feminine can be accessed. Major creative insights, and powerful work, can emerge after an experience of transcendence of this kind.”

Naomi has written a beautiful Ode to the Vagina in this book which she started to research whilst trying to heal a blockage in her pelvic nerve, (which she had injured years before during a fall down a flight of stairs) where, she discovered there is a mass of neurons and pathways connecting the vagina to the brain. This connection is critically important to a woman’s well being and a creates an ‘oceanic feeling’ during and after (sometimes for a long time after) sex, where she experiences moments of expansion and connection to the sublime. Naomi herself, who lost that connection through her injuries and crucially regained it again after she was healed, charts exactly how systematic violence and repression (both physically and emotionally) towards the vagina can have profound effects on woman’s sexual, emotional and creative lives.
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