Quick Read: "Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?" by Jesse Bering
A collection of quirky essays gets to the heart of what makes us human.
By Jesse Bering
FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX
I don't buy the notion that couples have especially vigorous sex following a woman's infidelity so that the guy's penis can scoop out his reproductive rival's sperm. Then again, author-psychologist Jesse Bering predicted I wouldn't. But even skeptics of evolutionary psychology will find much to appreciate in this collection of Bering's Scientific American and Slate essays on human behavior. With a frank, funny, and open-minded approach, he asks burning questions: Why do we grow pubic hair? Can a person have a genuine sexual preference for animals? If nothing else, they make great cocktail-party icebreakers: "So, did you know semen might have antidepressant qualities?"
This review originally appeared in our July/August issue of Mother Jones.