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Vagina: A New Biography Hardcover – September 11, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; First Edition edition (September 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061989169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061989162
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

In sizing up the alleged boons of vaginal liberation, Wolf refuses to acknowledge the actual levers of oppression that subjugate bona fide vagina owners in this country today. This might be more forgivable if Vagina was more of an autobiography ... but Vagina is instead dressed up like a serious political tract with all sorts of utopian notions of healing the world, and the psychic wounds of all the world's women. —Natasha Vargas-Cooper

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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Naomi Wolf was born in San Francisco in 1962. She was an undergraduate at Yale University and did her graduate work at New College, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

Her essays have appeared in various publications including: The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour, Ms., Esquire, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. She also speaks widely to groups across the country.

The Beauty Myth, her first book, was an international bestseller. She followed that with Fire With Fire: The New Female Power and How It Will Change The 21st Century, published by Random House in 1993, and Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood, published in 1997. Misconceptions, released in 2001, is a powerful and passionate critique of pregnancy and birth in America.

In fall 2002, Harper Collins published a 10th anniversary commemorative edition of The Beauty Myth. In May of 2005, Ms. Wolf released The Treehouse: Eccentric Wisdom from my Father on How to Live, Love and See. The End of America, published in September 2007 by Chelsea Green, is Naomi's latest book.

Naomi Wolf is co-founder of The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, an organization devoted to training young women in ethical leadership for the 21st century. The institute teaches professional development in the arts and media, politics and law, business and entrepreneurship as well as ethical decision making.

She lives with her family in New York City.

Customer Reviews

It should be required reading for any young adult and men and women of every age!
Caroline G. Muir
I found this book to be riveting in both the personal journey of the author, and the scientific findings that I found to be rigorous and well researched.
Megan Dalla-Camina
This book also helps women understand their bodies more and goes into the subject of male domination and control of female sexuality.
Alice McLaughlin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Paige Ellen on March 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read some reviews of this book on Amazon that were written by men who are, it is obvious, deathly afraid of the requirements of the art of intimacy. Some tend to focus on and take personally, one small experiential part of the book, as if it were an affront to be taken personaly as an insult. I find such criticisms indicate a man who is insecure, threatened and afraid of women and their own feminine side. However, NW is quite clear about what kind of touch and behavior by or from men or other women, and the effect those behaviors are likely to have on target or witness of these acts. She goes into what some have called too much detail. Believe me, she could have been FAR more specific and detailed should she have so chosen. One point she does make unequivocally clear from the start is that this book is written about WOMEN, the woman's body, and the effect that those (described in delicious or frightening detail) behaviors and touches are likely have on women. She makes it clear, by saying so, that in certain areas she is writing about women and their over-all situation and that it may well be that men need their own book, their own research about how their bodies work.
However, this is a great book and it is an important book. I think it is required reading for anyone with a vagina and/or has a relationship with someone who does. This book's importance is NOT in its description of just what a man or woman can do to truly open up and deepen what I will call a "vaginally populated relationship" (it's a clumsy phrase but I like it so I am keeping it.)This book's importance is the scientific evidence regarding female and male interactions. I'm sixty three and I thought I was pretty well informed.
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72 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Dale Thomas on October 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
most authors, even good scientists overstate their case these days. It seems to me like she struck a raw nerve with certain people and she's getting slammed, not just critically reviewed. Wolf is a journalist, not a scientist and she makes a typical layman's mistakes when looking at scientific data. she consulted scientists and clinicians whom she trusted, looked at the facts they gave her, and drew some conclusions based on those facts. She has constructed a convincing and plausible theory based on the information she was given. Her mistake was to promote a good theory as fact, rather than as speculation for further research. In my view (I'm a psychotherapist with an MS in psychology), she draws logical conclusions from her data, but, as most non-scientists do, she forgets that even logically consistant propositions still need to be proven true. I would guess that many of hers will be, if anybody cares enough to do the work. Assuming her conclusions are true, they have important consequences for many women and their partners as well.

Theories aside, the information she presents is vital in it's own right, and needs to be more widely disseminated. She presents compelling evidence from multiple sources on how trauma to the vagina impacts the brain far more than other kinds of non-sexual trauma do. She presents good evidence that this is because of the extensive neural connections between the vagina and the brain, with each one gives feedback to, and influencing the functioning of, the other.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Adam Corson-Finnerty on March 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I was in my early 20s, I had two friends who were on a quest to achieve the ultimate Reichian orgasm. A "Reichian" orgasm wasn't just any orgasm. It was a full-on, loss of control, mutual orgasm that tapped into the cosmic orgone coursing through the universe. That is, according to the gospel of Freud's disciple, Wilhelm Reich.

I don't know if they ever achieved that goal, but for them it was all-consuming.

Now along comes Naomi Wolf's Vagina, and a new generation of women and men may go in search of her well-described and tantalizing "ultimate" orgasm. I wish them luck. It could be a lot of fun.

Though "fun" is not a word that Wolf herself would use. A "Wolfian" orgasm is much more than fun. It is bliss itself. She terms it the "high orgasm" and describes it as "that kind of orgasm that most intensely induces the most complete possible trance state and that most involves all the body systems, so that afterward the woman feels the most replete...."

Like Reich, Wolf asserts that the high orgasm links the female to the transcendent, and thus has a spiritual dimension. Unlike Reich, Wolf has the benefit of 75 years of scientific sexual research, including modern brain research in which willing participants are wired and scanned while experiencing an orgasm.

The "vagina" in Vagina is not just the vagina. Technically, the vagina is the introitus, the vaginal opening. But Wolf expands it to mean "the entire female sex organ, from labia to clitoris, to introitus to mouth of the cervix." Soon she adds other sexually sensitive areas, including the perineum, the anal area, and the G Spot (which, if you don't know, is the back of the clitoris).
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