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The Origin of the World: Science and Fiction of the Vagina [Paperback]

Jelto Drenth

Price: CDN$ 27.66 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Dec 1 2008
The Origin of the World is a revealing, intimate, and ultimately liberating study of female sexuality at its heart: the vagina. Working from the assumption that sex is pleasurable and fulfilling insofar as its participants fully understand how it works, sexologist Jelto Drenth gives readers a guided tour of the complex, challenging, and often misunderstood "origin of the world."

Drenth describes the workings of the vagina in simple language, enriching his description throughout the book with the imagery, mythology, lore, and history that has surrounded the vagina since the Middle Ages. The Origin of the World moves from basic physiognomic facts to the realms of anthropology, art history, science fiction, and feminist literature-all in the service of mapping the dark continent. Drenth's journey takes him from Renaissance woodcuts to vibrators, clitoridectomies to "virginity checks," fears of the vagina (the vagina dentata) to its celebration. Part medical exposition covering the function of female genitalia from orgasm to pregnancy and part cultural history discussing contemporary and historical views of such aspects of the feminine as pubic hair, Freud's theories of coitus, and slang terms for the vagina, The Origin of the World is encyclopedic in its breadth, fascinating in its content, and familiar in its subject.

This lightly written exploration can be seen as both an owner's manual and a guide for the perplexed. Women and men alike will benefit from its entertaining erudition and from its fundamental mission of demystifying sex and sexuality in the service of greater understanding and, from that understanding, greater pleasure.
“Drenth’s tale is mostly more cheerful than cautionary, with fascinating accounts of the physiology of vaginal response, thoughtful readings of literature, films, and works of art, and a surprising range of trivia. The erudite book displays a brisk and slightly demented sense of humor.”—Village Voice
 

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Review

I admit I opened this book with trepidation: a book on the vagina by a man? However, I found it an engrossing read: amusing, frightening, and informative in turns. Drenth has provided an excellent basic resource for thinking about women's genitalia as more than flesh and function and as more than representation. British Medical Journal Straddling the genres of popular science, literary criticism, how-to, and cultural studies, this 289-page tome is packed with fascinating facts and provocative analysis, all delivered in a quirky, thoughtful voice. Bitch (Feminist Response to Pop Culture) This is an important, well-written book, which deserves to become a classic. De Volksrant The Origin of the World makes infectious reading NRC Handelsblad The book reads like a novel one can't put down. It is extremely well written, lucid and stimulating. Psychologie Magazine

About the Author

Jelto Drenth is a sexologist at the Rutgers Foundation in Groningen, the Netherlands.

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