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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Story Of V: A Natural History Of Female Sexuality by science writer Catherine Blackledge is a methodical, meticulous discussion of female sexual organs and their role in sexual pleasure, reproduction, and myth throughout history. Black-and-white illustrations are sparsely included; the text itself is straightforwardly clinical as it describes physical biology and representations of the vagina in art and architecture in-depth. A serious and scholarly treatment of an often-overlooked portion of the human body.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I'm writing this review in response to Midwest Book Review's summary of the book as "A serious and scholarly treatment of an often-overlooked portion of the human body". It is an interesting book, but it is definitely not scholarly. The complete lack of referencing or footnotes is instead incredibly frustrating. Combined with Philip W. Bennett's identification of inaccuracies with a single source, this makes me very cautious about trusting the information in this book, let alone citing it.

There is a small section of "further reading" for each chapter, but it is hard to know if it covers all the material included in the book. One small example; on page 182 Blackledge refers to Wallis Simpson's noted control of her vaginal muscles, which she quotes as having "the ability to make a matchstick feel like a Havana cigar". I've long read coy allusions to the Duke of Windsor's sexual dysfunction, and Wallis Simpson's compensatory sexual skills, but never found any source detailing these. I was interested, therefore, to see where Blackledge found this quote, however no source is given, and the further reading section has no title specifically relating to the Duke and Duchess. Did she simply not list the source she found this quote in, or does it rather come from one of the number of broad-ranging sex advice books included in the list, such as "Sexual Secrets: The Alchemy of Ecstasy" (1979) or "Are We Having Fun Yet: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Sex' (1997)? I certainly wouldn't assume content of these was well-researched.

The lack of references means I feel my time was a bit wasted reading this. However I do like the way Blackledge includes her own subjective opinions and experiences regarding the vagina, orgasms, and sex. For a generalist reader it's a good book on a very interesting topic, just not a scholarly one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Blackledge writes from research and experience, inserting bits of her life in this work. I did the same thing! The Sacred Female It is very comprehensive, covering sexuality in many cultures throughout the ages: comparing and contrasting.
It is really humerous to me that only the European edition allows color plates in her book. US and UK have all the plates in B&W, showing how far we have to go. This book will help us get there.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because of a lifelong interest in the subject, but I did not expect it to be as good as it was. I thought it would be full of tiresome feminism like "The Vagina Monologues" but how wrong I was.
The book is fascinating and I defy anyone, male or female, to read it and not learn something, whether it's about the hyena with its enormous clitoris or the human being with her enormous clitoris (it's bigger than you ever thought!)
It's sad that I bought this in a remaindered bookshop. I don't remember it being in a real bookshop or pushed on Amazon. I suppose the subject is taboo even today.
And don't get confused by the title. It doesn't tell you much about sexuality, just the V, although sometimes she uses a more earthy word.
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on November 12, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
so much good information in this book! from historical explorations of the female figure, to cutting edge anatomy, there is something for everyone to learn. This is one of the books I recommend to all my friends to ready, male and female.
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on August 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Great book.... as fantastic info !!
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8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The author gathers a lot of interesting material, but what stunned me was her apparent severe hatred for the important and pioneering sexual research findings of Dr. Wilhelm Reich, who in fact was one of the very first of the Freudians to speak favorably about female orgasm. But he also spoke about both male and female sexual impotence, identifying a lot of sexual behavior as rooted in sex-frustration and incapacity to achieve orgasm. This idea is hated by the S&M, "anything goes" advocates of "multiple sexualities". They hate Reich's guts. But instead of the author honestly making a criticism of Reich, citing from his publications that which she disagrees with, she instead quotes from the narrative of a pornographic film by the Yugoslavian director Dusan Makavajev -- "WR Mysteries of the Organism", which is uniformly rejected and criticized by every authentic clinician and historian as a severe distortion of Reich -- claiming this was some kind of "propaganda film" MADE BY Reich. There is not a shred of fact in that claim. So are we to assume author Blackledge does her "research" by watching porno flics? And then mis-attributes what she sees to Reich??!! Merely because the director of the porno flic says so? Sloppy scholarship doesn't get any worse that that, and it may have been a delberate slander for all we know. What other falsehoods are in this book? It never should have gotten past the academic reviewers, but hey, the "new sexualities" allows anybody to claim anything, without worry of getting tagged by equally uncritical academic reviwers. This book is Not Recommended if you want a scientific discussion on sexuality. See Reich's "Function of the Orgasm" instead. It is still a light-year ahead of this nonsense. The Function of the Orgasm: Discovery of the Orgone (Discovery of the Orgone, Vol 1)
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