Sexy Origins and Intimate Things: The Rites and Rituals of Straights, Gays, Bis, Drags, Trans, Virgins, and Others

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9780140271447: Sexy Origins and Intimate Things: The Rites and Rituals of Straights, Gays, Bis, Drags, Trans, Virgins, and Others

Where did the word "love" come from? Has there ever been a gay pope? Who invented the condom? How did Valentine's Day originate? From the lascivious to the romantic, from the hard-core to the scientific and the scholarly, this engaging and eye-opening compendium of little known facts about sex is both informative and endlessly entertaining. Employing the same careful research and driven by the unadulterated obsession with roots that made his Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things a bestseller, author Charles Panati explores the histories of myriad unmentionable subjects--dirty words, kissing, risqu clothing, courtship, birth control, drag queens, sexual paraphernalia, wedding rituals--and brings them into the light of day where they belong. Without flinching, winking, or talking down to his audience, he offers straightforward explanations of terms and practices of widespread interest to humans yet not commonly discussed. He also helps clarify many confusing and controversial issues of human sexuality. Filled with facts and historical anecdotes that are sure to surprise even the most informed reader, this rich new collection of browsable information is as fun and provocative as its subject matter.

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Review:

Conservatives complain that the contemporary world is obsessed with sex. It is true that during the past 100 years Western societies have broadened the permissible limits of openness in discussing sexuality. Yet with all of this freedom, the origins of much sexual language, folklore, and rituals are unknown. Not any more. Charles Panati's Sexy Origins and Intimate Things is a grab bag of cultural, sexual trivia that makes for compulsive reading and retelling. What are the origins of the words queer, fairy, faggot, and dyke? Who invented the bra and the corset? How did the common rituals surrounding marriage, sexual activity, circumcision, and birth come about? Which males throughout history had large penises? Well, not all of them, but Panati does manages to come up with a few surprising names. Hardly science and not really sociology, Sexy Origins and Intimate Things will fully equip you to chat your way through your next 50 dinner parties.

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