- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks (April 4, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781492647423
- ISBN-13: 978-1492647423
- ASIN: 149264742X
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Sex Effect: Baring Our Complicated Relationship with Sex Hardcover – April 4, 2017
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"The Sex Effect is an entertaining and well-researched exploration of the unintended consequences of our sexual misapprehensions and mythologies. Benes reminds us at every turn how persistent and pervasive is the parallax between what's true about human sexuality, and what we insist on believing about it." - Rachel Maines, author of The Technology of Orgasm
"A thought-provoking read on a subject that would otherwise seem to have been overworked already." - Daniel Halperin, co-author of Tinderbox, former senior HIV prevention advisor at USAID, former faculty member of Harvard School of Public Health
"Ross Benes' smart and enjoyable book takes us on a fascinating odyssey through the hidden ways that humanity's endless struggle with sex influences the entirely unsexual aspects of our daily lives. The secret history of Graham crackers, the rise of pelvic massages by sheepish doctors, the story of military-sanctioned brothels, all are narrated with wit and unexpected insight." - Ogi Ogas, co-author of A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire
"Benes winnows out many surprising motivations behind familiar products, and also shows how, for everyone from cereal makers to pharmaceutical companies, sometimes the best-laid plans lead to marvelous tangential results. Conversational, approachable, and credible, Benes delivers story after story that will surprise you and challenge your assumptions: Once you have read this book, I doubt you will ever eat a weasel again." - Patchen Barss, author of The Erotic Engine
"Benes has combined history, epidemiology, anthropology, neuroscience and whatever it takes to produce a well-written, engaging, clever, highly informative book. The Sex Effect is a welcome respite from the usual partisan bickering and moralizing that this subject usually evokes." - Edward C. Green, former Director of the Harvard AIDS Prevention Project
"In this fascinating work, buttressed with massive research from impeccable sources, Benes shows how sex and the perception of sex affect so many aspects of cultures from why we eat corn flakes to the economic influence of gay communities and more." - Richard Kimbrough, author of History Mysteries
"The topic of sex elicits intense moral and political sentiments, so it's especially important to approach it in a clear-headed way. This book does an excellent job with that the only preaching you'll find here is in favor of a more rational understanding of sex. Far more wide-ranging than most books about sex, it surveys the diverse and counterintuitive ways in which sex impacts society. Engaging and honest, you'll be surprised by how much you learn." - Michael Price, Brunel University psychology professor and Psychology Today contributor
"This is is a no nonsense, honest, factual and clearly exposed dialogue about human sexuality. The social constructs and interesting historical developments that shape attitudes toward masturbation, homosexuality, religious influences and scandals all come under intelligent consideration. The text is infused with sociological and psychological wisdom without ever being dogmatic and certainly never boring." - Richard Sipe, author of A Secret World: Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy and Sex, Priests, and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis
"A witty discussion of the indirect role sex plays across political, economic, religious, and cultural landscapes...a probing, multifacted commentary on the social science of sex and society...a book marinated in provocative assertions that are certain to instigate debate and productive discussion." - Kirkus
About the Author
Ross Benes is a reporter at Digiday who previously worked for Esquire and Deadspin, where he wrote about sex, sports, statistics, and pop culture. His work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, Rolling Stone, Adweek, Quartz, Mental Floss, Business Insider, Salon, and Slate. A native of Brainard, Nebraska, he splits time between his home state and New York.
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Aptly described by (another of my favorite authors) A.J. Jacobs as "Freakonomics without pants", The Sex Effect challenges society's running narrative on the nature of its relationship to sex. Whether it be monogamy, gay priests, AIDS, porn, or Cornflakes, no subject is safe from Benes's informative and often hilarious insight.
Time and time again while reading this book, I found myself thinking "no way that's true!", only to be schooled into submission by the author's 900-some cited references. It's clear that Benes must have some background in academia - his average of 3.565 (yes, I counted) citations per page puts even professional professors' papers to shame. And yet despite the academic flair, the book reads as compellingly as Clancy, Grisham or any other thriller. I quickly learned that once I started a chapter, I was in it until the end - I simply could not put this book down until I finally read a section's (sometimes shocking) conclusion.
As an intense skeptic, I am not certain that I can agree with every last bit of Benes' reasoning. I must, however, thank him for provoking the thoughts. It's not every day that our deeply-held ideas and preconceived notions get challenged on such an intimate - and well-researched - level. At the end of the day I can only thank Benes for shining a light into the dark, dank closet where we keep the taboo topic of Sex locked away from critical thought.
And if nothing else, now I have a lot more interesting things to talk about at parties.
Read this book. You won't regret it.