Quick Read: “Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?” by Jesse Bering

Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?…and Other Reflections on Being 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. 

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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