By Thomas Laqueur
It is a ebook in regards to the making and unmaking of intercourse over the centuries. It tells the excellent tale of intercourse within the West from the ancients to the moderns in an actual account of advancements in reproductive anatomy and body structure. we won't fail to acknowledge the gamers in Thomas Laqueur's story--the human sexual organs and pleasures, nutrition, blood, semen, egg, sperm--but we'll be surprised on the plots into which they've been woven by means of scientists, political activists, literary figures, and theorists of each stripe. Laqueur starts with the query of why, within the past due eighteenth century, woman's orgasm got here to be considered as beside the point to perception, and he then proceeds to retrace the dramatic alterations in Western perspectives of sexual features over millennia. alongside the way in which, "masterplots" emerge. within the one-sex tale, lady is a less than perfect model of guy, and her anatomy and body structure are construed for that reason: the vagina is visible as an inside penis, the womb as a scrotum, the ovaries as testicles. The physique is therefore a illustration, now not the root, of social gender. the second one plot has a tendency to dominate post-Enlightenment considering whereas the one-sex version is firmly rooted in classical studying. The two-sex tale says that the physique determines gender variations, that lady is the other of guy with incommensurably diversified organs, features, and emotions. the 2 plots overlap; neither ever holds a monopoly. technological know-how might determine many new evidence, besides, Laqueur argues, technological know-how was once simply delivering a brand new means of talking, a rhetoric and never a key to lady liberation or to social development. Making intercourse ends with Freud, who denied the neurological proof to insist that, as a lady turns into a girl, the locus of her sexual excitement shifts from the clitoris to the vagina; she turns into what tradition calls for regardless of, no longer as a result of, the physique. Turning Freud's recognized dictum round, Laqueur posits that future is anatomy. intercourse, in different phrases, is an artifice. it is a strong tale, written with verve and a prepared experience of telling aspect (be it technically rigorous or scabrously fanciful). Making intercourse will stimulate idea, even if argument or stunned contract, in quite a lot of readers.
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It is a booklet concerning the making and unmaking of intercourse over the centuries. It tells the dazzling tale of intercourse within the West from the ancients to the moderns in an actual account of advancements in reproductive anatomy and body structure. we can't fail to acknowledge the gamers in Thomas Laqueur's story--the human sexual organs and pleasures, nutrients, blood, semen, egg, sperm--but we are going to be surprised on the plots into which they've been woven by way of scientists, political activists, literary figures, and theorists of each stripe.
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Additional resources for Making Sex. Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud
5 A great linguistic cloud thus obscured specific genital or reproductive anatomy and left only the outlines of spaces common to both men and women. 6 None of these topographical or lexical ambiguities would matter, however, if instead of understanding difference and sameness as matters of anatomy, the ancients regarded organs and their placement as epiphenomena of a greater world order. Then what we would regard as specifically male and female parts would not always need to have their own names, nor would the inversions Galen imagined actually have to work.
An animal is not "male DESTINY IS ANATOMY 30 or female in virtue of the whole of itself:' he insists, "but only in virtue of a certain faculty and a certain part," that is, the uterus in the female, the penis and testes in the male. The womb was the part peculiar to the female, just as the penis was distinctive of the male. 13 No slippery inversions here as in Galen. No elisions of difference or hints of one sex. "The privy part of the female is in character opposite to that of the male. 493b3-4).
44 The ejaculate, he makes absolutely explicit, was but the vehicle for the efficient cause, for the sperma, which worked its magic like an invisible streak of lightning. & experience proved, it ran out of or evaporated from the vagina; it no more entered into the catemenia, into what would become the body of the embryo, than any active agent enters into passive matter when one thing is made from two. After all, no part of the carpenter merges with the bed he crafts, nor does the swordsmith's art enter the sword he is fashioning, nor does rennet or fig juice become part of the milk they curdle into cheese.