Been There, Done That: A Rousing History of Sex

Sex is one of those eternally beguiling subjects. Even once the mystery of where babies come from is dispelled, there is a nagging sense that one might be doing it wrong. For Popular Science executive editor Rachel Feltman, that insecurity festered for years under the wet blanket of a Sunday school education that further foisted shame upon pretty much all carnal acts. So, it would be fair to suggest that the wildly entertaining Been There, Done That: A Rousing History of Sex is as much an act of reclamation and redemption as it is an eye-opening stroll through a colorful evolutionary history of sexual activity.

"I'm writing this because I hope you can learn quickly what it took me far too long to learn: that today's mainstream definition of sex is deeply flawed and that this has the ability to cause us harm," Feltman writes in her introductory chapter, "Everything Weird Is Normal--Everything Normal Is Weird." Without wasting any time, she then discusses duck penises; homosexuality in the wild, wild west; "a blob with 720 sexes that displayed both fungal and animal characteristics"; and the "really stupid" yet commonly accepted calendar for clocking weeks of pregnancy.

Feltman seems to have left no stone unturned when it comes to facets of gender, intercourse, masturbation, sexually transmitted infections, birth control, performance anxiety, pornography, kinks, etc. After such a kaleidoscopic ride, Been There, Done That shines as an irreverent invitation to be enchanted by one's body, rather than ashamed; to be present in desire, rather than dislocated from it; to cast off the veil of insecurity and embrace one's whole self. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

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