Read Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation by Thomas W. Laqueur Online

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At a time when almost any victimless sexual practice has its public advocates and almost every sexual act is fit for the front page, the easiest, least harmful, and most universal one is embarrassing, discomforting, and genuinely radical when openly acknowledged. Masturbation may be the last taboo. But this is not a holdover from a more benighted age. The ancient world carAt a time when almost any victimless sexual practice has its public advocates and almost every sexual act is fit for the front page, the easiest, least harmful, and most universal one is embarrassing, discomforting, and genuinely radical when openly acknowledged. Masturbation may be the last taboo. But this is not a holdover from a more benighted age. The ancient world cared little about the subject; it was a backwater of Jewish and Christian teaching about sexuality. In fact, solitary sex as a serious moral issue can be dated with a precision rare in cultural history; Laqueur identifies it with the publication of the anonymous tract Onania in about 1722. Masturbation is a creation of the Enlightenment, of some of its most important figures, and of the most profound changes it unleashed. It is modern. It worried at first not conservatives, but progressives. It was the first truly democratic sexuality that could be of ethical interest for women as much as for men, for boys and girls as much as for their elders.The book's range is vast. It begins with the prehistory of solitary sex in the Bible and ends with third-wave feminism, conceptual artists, and the Web. It explains how and why this humble and once obscure means of sexual gratification became the evil twin -- or the perfect instance -- of the great virtues of modern humanity and commercial society: individual moral autonomy and privacy, creativity and the imagination, abundance and desire....

Title : Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation
Author :
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ISBN : 9781890951337
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 504 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation Reviews

  • Emma Sea
    2018-11-25 14:44

    Review to come (heh)

  • Tristan Goding
    2018-12-19 13:49

    If you ask me, I think the act of masturbation gets far too much slack, even in our slowly progressing culture. In my opinion, playing with oneself is among the most innocent, least sexual things a creature, whether human, beast, insect, or plant, can do. I have absolutely no belief in this whole "satisfaction of the evil twin" nonsense, and labeling such an act as so seems to only be encouraging society to view it as a taboo. From what I can tell, this philosophy of mine (and many others, I would hope) does get touched upon quite a bit throughout this book, which is a relief because it tells me that I'm not crazy to be feeling this way. Do I champion this book for taking such a concept seriously? Sure. However, this book, in a godless world, wouldn't necessarily exist, let alone be over 400 pages. Mostly all it does is confirm an idea that many people, subconsciously, likely believe but don't want to say. That, to me, says that masturbation is still an enormous taboo, possibly even bigger than the concept of "sex", and I find this to be very alarming.

  • Carlos
    2018-12-04 16:43

    This has got to be one of the most peculiar books I've read and not just for its title or size. Laqueur starts with a premise that is quite unexpected for the reader that of studying the cultural change of the last three centuries through their attitude towards this taboo topic. The end product demonstrates not only Laqueur abilities as a historian to gleam such unmarked centuries-old information but also the many ways in which this topic can serve to highlight the rise of modernity.

  • Heidi Nemo
    2018-12-01 16:54

    I love Laqueur. Even sex with yourself can be a social problem and a quest for identity, it seems.

  • 6655321
    2018-12-05 18:58

    Ok, so the first thing is that while Laqueur is kinda completing one of the missing volumes of History of Sexuality (the figure of the Masturbator) while also undermining some of the thoughts that Foucault had (because tbh, Laqueur is like Boswell by other means which is not really a hard social constructionist and is maybe a little bit more genealogical in some ways because there isn't *an event* that is essentailized which isn't a slam on Foucault but more an explanation for why this book is 420 pages long). What is impressive about it is the ways in which even the book itself is a series of shaggy dog jokes about masturbation (including the *skip ahead to the good parts* bit that i swear is mimicking the tendency of porn viewership along with the constant and repetitious and just overtly masturbatory citations). But mostly like Laqueur's other work (Making Sex) the work is meticulous in its refusal to bow to an easy narrative tracing a frayed thread through a bunch of weird zigs and zags. Basically, this is a book to make you feel really weird about masturbation in like *a good and disquieting way* that compliments well with Jagose's Orgasamology and others books that are kinda in the *orbit* of queer theory but disquiet notions of sexuality in a *really good way* and thats a thing that doesn't get done enough?

  • Leandra Cate
    2018-12-10 19:54

    Laqueur's earlier book, Making Sex, was one of those rare reading moments that changed the course of my thinking and, at the time, my scholarship. Clever, insightful, different, daring, well-researched. The same things could be said of Solitary Sex but with not so devastating and complete an impact. A very enjoyable and detailed book that doesn't quite tie up its central point about masturbation (or rather anxiety about masturbation) becoming a cultural fixation as a result of the Enlightenment refiguring of the self. Not for lack of trying, though. He certainly reiterates his point often enough and proves it with a multitude of small textual moments, but overall, the argument is unconvincing. Particularly lame was his uneven treatment of pornography, which he does not discuss at all despite its obvious relationship to masturbation until he comes to his over-long discussion of the feminist/lesbian reclaiming of porn and masturbation. This makes his point seem lopsided. However, a lot of good analysis on a topic I'd never really considered in this light.

  • Tim
    2018-12-18 12:39

    Investigates how masturbation has been viewed culturally, primarily Western culture and mostly from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century. Some mention of Japan as well. Looks some at antiquity as well. Argues that masturbation was unimportant to most before the eighteenth century, that the enlightenment, and advent of free market, solitary reading and privacy coalesced to make masturbation appear much more threatening to civilization than it had before. As better theories (germ theory) and general better health and longevity improved living conditions for most, it became clear masturbation did not have the negative health effects it was claimed to. It's opponents were forced to wind down their rhetoric. Today masturbation is viewed alternately as liberating, self- enhancing, and among conservatives still askance.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-12-19 15:49

    ordered from the library ILL Nov 23read a 15 page review by stephen greenblattnybooks.com/articles/archives/2004/ap...?good discussion of the early 1700's of the quack who invented onanism and its infernal diseases with his concoctions to cure them.not so good about Freudas the chapters go by it seems that the trouble with mast was more with the fantasies than with the rubbingContents: I The Beginning 13 -- II The Spread of Masturbation from Onania to the Web 25 -- III Masturbation Before Onania 83 -- IV The Problem with Masturbation 185 -- V Why Masturbation Became a Problem 247 -- VI Solitary Sex in the Twentieth Century 359.

  • Maria
    2018-12-09 18:06

    Ένα από τα καλύτερα βιβλία που έχω διαβάσει στη ζωή μου. Ο Laqueur αποτελεί κεφάλαιο ως καθηγητής ιστορίας, πόσο μάλλον όταν διδάσκει στο ίδιο πανεπιστήμιο με την ανυπέρβλητη Butler. Αυτός είναι και ο λόγος που διάβασα το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο, καθώς υπήρχε στη βιβλιογραφία μιας δημοσίευσής της. Πρόκειται για μία ιστορική και πολιτισμική ανάλυση της αυτοϊκανοποίησης. Σκοπός του δεν είναι ούτε να σοκάρει, ούτε να προσβάλει. Στόχος του βιβλίου είναι να αναδείξει τις κοινωνικές αναπαραστάσεις των ιστορικών περιόδων μέσα από την εξερεύνηση της αυτοϊκανοποίησης και να προβάλει τα ζητήματα φύλου.Μια σπουδαία ιστορική έρευνα, με εξαιρετική προσέγγιση και μεγάλο ενδιαφέρον.

  • Lisa Schneider
    2018-12-15 15:58

    A very comprehensize history of matsturbation. Also, an interesting study about how central masutrbuation has been to the idea and formation of the modern self.

  • BHodges
    2018-11-24 18:49

    Thomas Laqueur tackles a taboo topic with candor. This book shares the same strengths and weaknesses as Laqueur's new book "The Work of the Dead": fascinating topic, meandering organization.

  • Hoyadaisy
    2018-12-07 20:40

    Fascinating!

  • Shane
    2018-11-18 13:59

    I did not read the entire book, but thought it worth listing. Any cultural-history book about masturbation will always get my approval!

  • Richa
    2018-11-20 14:43

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