Cloth $29.95 ISBN: 9781861892102 Published February 2004 For sale in North and South America only
Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781861894069 Published December 2008 For sale in North and South America only

The Origin of the World

Science and Fiction of the Vagina

Jelto Drenth

The Origin of the World
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Distribution by the University of Chicago Press only to customers in the USA and Canada. Customers elsewhere should visit the UK website of Reaktion Books.

Jelto Drenth

Distributed for Reaktion Books

300 pages | 70 illustrations, 16 in color, 54 halftones | 6 3/10 x 9 4/9 | © 2004
Cloth $29.95 ISBN: 9781861892102 Published February 2004 For sale in North and South America only
Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781861894069 Published December 2008 For sale in North and South America only
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.
Rachel Maines, author of The Technology of the Orgasm: Hysteria, the Vibrator and Women's Sexual Satisfaction
"A wise and sympathetic view from a knowledgable male professional who has really been listening to women. Drenth's book is full of intriguing anecdotes both personal and historical."
Lucy Ellmann | The Glasgow Herald
"Entertaining and illuminating."
Virginia Braun | BMJ Journals

"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."

Jenny Davidson | Village Voice

"A highly satisfactory collection . . . 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."

Contents
1. On Femininity
2. Searching for Words
3. The Anatomy of the Female Genitals: The Facts
4. Physiology: On the (Sexual) Function of the Genital Organs
5. Virginity
6. The Power of Freudian Ideas
7. On Reproduction
8. Women's Sex Problems
9. Clitoridectomy
10. The Physician and the Uterus
11. The Vibrator
12. The Scent of Women
13. Fear and Loathing of Femininity
14. Idealization and Worship of the Female Genitals
References
Bibliography
Acknowledgements
Photo Acknowledgements
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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