Gonads in History

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BonkBonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
by Mary Roach
Norton. 319 pages, $24.95

 

IN HER NEW BOOK Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Mary Roach reveals that the road to the birds and the bees wasn’t just paved with racy feathers and erotically-dripped honey. Over the years, many erroneous beliefs about erogenous zones have been held, including that the essence of life came from a man and that women had little to contribute to the system, and that impotence could be cured or caused by a witch. Masturbation was severely punished; young widows and women without partners were thought to be prone to hysteria; and a release of “she-semen” would cure feminine problems. Even Leonardo da Vinci sketched some dubious theories about “doing it.”

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