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Sexy Origins and Intimate Things: The Rites and Rituals of Straights, Gays, Bis, Drags, Trans, Virgins, and Others Paperback – March 1, 1998


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Conservatives complain that the contemporary world is obsessed with sex. It is true that during the past 100 years Western societies have broadened the permissible limits of openness in discussing sexuality. Yet with all of this freedom, the origins of much sexual language, folklore, and rituals are unknown. Not any more. Charles Panati's Sexy Origins and Intimate Things is a grab bag of cultural, sexual trivia that makes for compulsive reading and retelling. What are the origins of the words queer, fairy, faggot, and dyke? Who invented the bra and the corset? How did the common rituals surrounding marriage, sexual activity, circumcision, and birth come about? Which males throughout history had large penises? Well, not all of them, but Panati does manages to come up with a few surprising names. Hardly science and not really sociology, Sexy Origins and Intimate Things will fully equip you to chat your way through your next 50 dinner parties.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1st edition (March 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140271449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140271447
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,247,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Panati is a physicist, and for many years was the science editor of Newsweek. He's published 13 non-fiction books, and two novels. Most of his books are now available as ebooks in the Kindle Store. His 'Browser's Book of Beginnings' was the basis for the TV show THE START OF SOMETHING BIG, hosted by comedian Steve Allen, and written by Panati. In his early twenties, Panati was an escort for several Miss America contestants, and in September of 1965 the girl he escorted, Debbie Irene Bryant, became Miss America of 1966. Panati's most recent non-fiction is a Kindle book: ANIMALS PRAY - In Their Own Way. As a passionate animal lover, Panati has imagined what prayers animals would say to a Heavenly Being, their joys and laments. As well as what kind of Bill of Rights they'd have drawn up, and Declaration of Independence, their Golden Rule, Ten Commandments, Eight Beatitudes, and the like. He calls himself an 'editor' of the book, a confidant and complier, lending his ear as the animals themselves speak their minds.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
21%
3 star
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See all 19 customer reviews
I laughed out loud at time.
Charles hudson
The facts are broken up with humor, quotes, quirky illustrations, and interesting anecdotes.
JET
Once I read it and breezed through it I was instantly amazed by the material in the book.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Answers everything you ever wanted to know about sex..and then some!! For instance, did you know that the word "testify" is derived from the latin for testicle? Yes, it's true..before there were bibles to swear on, men swore on their testicles. Did you know that Frenchmen wore the first high heels? Women didn't wear them until the 18th century, but men liked the way they made their legs look! Ever wonder why men have nipples? Read this book...it's fun, flaky and fascinating.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JET VINE VOICE on December 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
Sexy Origins is a fascinating book that details the history and lore behind everything related to sex and sexuality...
History buffs looking for something different, trivia lovers, or readers who are interested in sexuality will love this book. It is well-written and well-researched. The facts are broken up with humor, quotes, quirky illustrations, and interesting anecdotes. Panati also does a good job of presenting opposing viewpoints objectively but modernly. As might be expected in a book like this, there are many delicate subjects that are broached, including the objectification of women and their subordination. Panati presents objective information in these instances, but sometimes also provides his (refreshingly modern) take on things to balance out the perspective the reader is presented with.
Admittedly, it is difficult to read this book continuously. I read it from cover to cover, but read it over the course of a year or so. After reading Sexy Origins, you will definitely come away with fresh perspective and insight on human sexuality.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
Two of my favourite subjects...sex and trivia. The presentation is easy to read without a lot of dry, pompous prose, and I actually learnt stuff I did not already know! I enjoyed the humour, the genuine information and the expanding of my horizons.A wonderful gift for the over 21 to under 105 man/woman/other who finds sex fascinating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 25, 1997
Format: Paperback
Origins of everything about sex: The Finger, Drag, Stilettos, Condom, Vibrator, History's First Love Poem, Peep Show, Porn, First Prostitute, First Hustler, terms like "blow job," "prick," the C-word and the F-word, At what age goes a man's penis stop growing? Why do men have nipples? The three gay Popes...etc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
Panati always puts on a good show. His funambulism is tempered and unpretentious, so when it is time to regurgitate your new-found trivia you don't have to be so modest. Fascinating.
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Format: Paperback
This book will be great for settling a bet at a party.
The amount of information is wonderful and while reading it I had plenty of "wow that's how that happened" or "so that was a myth" moments. Certainly, this will help all the readers when it comes to pub trivia.
However, some thing are overtly "sexualized" like the section that pretty much says boots exist simply as phallic symbols. In addition, the chapter on castrati was fascinating but dragged on too long. However, the biggest complaint I have is the lack of citation. The author includes a long list of suggested reading, but I would like to be able to verify the facts.
Overall though this book is fun and is good way to pass the time. It is light enough for some fun beach reading, but you can learn a few things as well.
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By A Customer on July 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
Panati's book is chock-full of intriguing, fascinating facts and anecdotes. Inside, you will find some things that will amuse you, some things that will entertain you, and some things that will shock you. I already have given this book as a present to someone on a birthday, and it is a great gift to anyone mature. I already have my own copy (of course), and it is a staple in my library. I dare anyone to pick up this book, because once you start reading, you can't stop!
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By Taylor on February 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's just as expected, if not better. It's Sacred Origins or Profound Things, applied to sex, slang, and pretty much anything "dirty".
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