The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution

3.91 avg rating
( 94 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780674022461: The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Why women evolved to have orgasms - when most of their primate relatives don't - is a persistent mystery among evolutionary biologists. In pursuing this mystery, Elisabeth Lloyd arrives at another: how could anything as inadequate as the evolutionary explanations of the female orgasm have passed muster as science? A judicious and revealing look at all twenty-one evolutionary accounts of the trait of human female orgasm, Lloyd's book is at the same time a case study of how certain biases steer science astray.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

"The Case of the Female Orgasm" is of particular interest because it offers a fairly accessible account of competing scientific theories, how they are presented (and accepted), and what evidence they are based on. The data on female orgasm is shockingly flimsy, and Lloyd nicely shows how even carefully conceived experiments (such as for testing the upsuck theories) present a host of problems. Far more troubling, however, is what the scientists do with that data, often using it as they see fit--or simply incorrectly using it...This is an important book, and highly recommended to all scientific practitioners (who might be reminded of the bias that can so easily creep into their work) as well as those who interested in everything from scientific methodology to the role of science in society.

ÝLloyd's¨ study of evolution and orgasm offers the most thorough and serious treatment of the subject to date--and strongly rejects the claim that orgasm in women serves an evolutionary purpose. Lloyd has scrutinized 21 evolutionary accounts of female orgasm and makes a convincing case for the single account that treats orgasm as a happy accident, a byproduct of the role that male orgasm plays in reproduction and the sharing of early embryonic tissue by the male and female genitalia. The other 20 theories she dismisses as illogical or incompatible with data on women's sexuality. This time the press has it right. Lloyd's analysis is worth all the attention. -- Amanda Schaffer "Slate.com" (05/26/2005)

In this closely argued study, ÝLloyd¨ shows how the leading evolutionary accounts of the human female orgasm are based on two flawed assumptions: that the female orgasm evolved because it contributed to reproductive success ('adaptationism'), and that female sexuality is like male sexuality ('androcentrism'). This is an important book that casts light on the biases that can prejudice science.

Lloyd summarizes dozens of evolutionary accounts of the female orgasm--and knocks them all down. Like [Stephen Jay] Gould, she thinks the female orgasm is purposeless; which is not to say pleasureless. And she extends the charge of bias, charging that too many scientists take the male-centered view that the female orgasm is closely linked to heterosexual intercourse and reproduction.--Christopher Shea"Boston Globe" (04/24/2005)

[Lloyd's] study of evolution and orgasm offers the most thorough and serious treatment of the subject to date--and strongly rejects the claim that orgasm in women serves an evolutionary purpose. Lloyd has scrutinized 21 evolutionary accounts of female orgasm and makes a convincing case for the single account that treats orgasm as a happy accident, a byproduct of the role that male orgasm plays in reproduction and the sharing of early embryonic tissue by the male and female genitalia. The other 20 theories she dismisses as illogical or incompatible with data on women's sexuality. This time the press has it right. Lloyd's analysis is worth all the attention.--Amanda Schaffer"Slate.com" (05/26/2005)

Lloyd's book is penetrating and tantalizing, even intensely satisfying...Her findings about the scientific process really are something to scream about.--Alison Motluk"Toronto Globe and Mail" (05/28/2005)

The conclusion, Lloyd argues, must surely be that the female orgasm has no biological function. Rather, it's on a par with the male nipple--an accident of shared developmental pathways in the early embryo. Because women need nipples to suckle their babies, men end up with rudimentary versions too. They may not give milk, but like the female's they have erotic sensibilities. As for genitalia, because men need ejaculatory penises, women end up with clitorises capable of similar sexual pleasures. Lloyd reckons that biases in evolutionary thinking have blinkered generations of mostly male biologists. It is time to give up the adaptationist's fallacy and face facts. The late Stephen Jay Gould, who encouraged Lloyd's long-standing investigation, must be cheering from above.--Gail Vines"New Scientist" (05/14/2005)

Okay, you have to be a science nerd to read this, a Stephen Gould fan, but what's here is [fascinating]. Really, the most radical book about how female orgasm has been so sensationally misunderstood and manipulated. Lloyd doesn't draw political conclusions--but you sure will.--Susie Bright "susiebright.blogs.com "

Lloyd asks whether female orgasm is really related to reproductive success. The search for an answer reads like a mystery story and involves the critical examination of 18 theories developed on the premise that the human female orgasm is an evolutionary adaptation. The author invalidates each of these theories by an examination of their assumptions and, in many cases, the frailty of their supporting data...With its 355 references, this book is a study of the power of a careful analysis of data to show the weaknesses of certain theories.--W. P. Anderson"Choice" (09/01/2005)

Lloyd is a philosopher of science interested inevolutionary biology, and she provides a measured scholarly evaluation of both the adaptive and nonadaptive explanations for human female orgasm...Her meticulously researched book examines 21 explanations for the evolution of female orgasm...The book becomes about much more than an aspect of human sexuality. It is an examination of how evolutionary biologists think, and how their system of gathering andevaluating knowledge can falter. Her reasoned approach is refreshingly free of jargon in a field that sometimes seems abstruse for its own sake; even if one does not agree with Lloyd's conclusion, the book provides a blueprint of how to critically evaluate scientific arguments.--Marlene Zuk "Perspectives in Biology and Medicine "

About the Author:

Elisabeth A. Lloyd is Arnold and Maxine Tanis Chair of History and Philosophy of Science and Professor of Biology, Indiana University.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780674017061: The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0674017064 ISBN 13:  9780674017061
Publisher: Harvard University Press, 2005
Hardcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Elisabeth A. Lloyd
Published by Harvard University Press
ISBN 10: 0674022467 ISBN 13: 9780674022461
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard University Press. Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory # 0674022467

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
15.18
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.76
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

Elisabeth A. Lloyd
Published by HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States (2006)
ISBN 10: 0674022467 ISBN 13: 9780674022461
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Why women evolved to have orgasms--when most of their primate relatives don't--is a persistent mystery among evolutionary biologists. In pursuing this mystery, Elisabeth Lloyd arrives at another: How could anything as inadequate as the evolutionary explanations of the female orgasm have passed muster as science? A judicious and revealing look at all twenty evolutionary accounts of the trait of human female orgasm, Lloyd's book is at the same time a case study of how certain biases steer science astray. Over the past fifteen years, the effect of sexist or male-centered approaches to science has been hotly debated. Drawing especially on data from nonhuman primates and human sexology over eighty years, Lloyd shows what damage such bias does in the study of female orgasm. She also exposes a second pernicious form of bias that permeates the literature on female orgasms: a bias toward adaptationism. Here Lloyd's critique comes alive, demonstrating how most of the evolutionary accounts either are in conflict with, or lack, certain types of evidence necessary to make their cases--how they simply assume that female orgasm must exist because it helped females in the past reproduce. As she weighs the evidence, Lloyd takes on nearly everyone who has written on the subject: evolutionists, animal behaviorists, and feminists alike. Her clearly and cogently written book is at once a convincing case study of bias in science and a sweeping summary and analysis of what is known about the evolution of the intriguing trait of female orgasm. Seller Inventory # AAH9780674022461

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
19.37
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

Elisabeth A. Lloyd
Published by HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States (2006)
ISBN 10: 0674022467 ISBN 13: 9780674022461
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Why women evolved to have orgasms--when most of their primate relatives don't--is a persistent mystery among evolutionary biologists. In pursuing this mystery, Elisabeth Lloyd arrives at another: How could anything as inadequate as the evolutionary explanations of the female orgasm have passed muster as science? A judicious and revealing look at all twenty evolutionary accounts of the trait of human female orgasm, Lloyd's book is at the same time a case study of how certain biases steer science astray. Over the past fifteen years, the effect of sexist or male-centered approaches to science has been hotly debated. Drawing especially on data from nonhuman primates and human sexology over eighty years, Lloyd shows what damage such bias does in the study of female orgasm. She also exposes a second pernicious form of bias that permeates the literature on female orgasms: a bias toward adaptationism. Here Lloyd's critique comes alive, demonstrating how most of the evolutionary accounts either are in conflict with, or lack, certain types of evidence necessary to make their cases--how they simply assume that female orgasm must exist because it helped females in the past reproduce. As she weighs the evidence, Lloyd takes on nearly everyone who has written on the subject: evolutionists, animal behaviorists, and feminists alike. Her clearly and cogently written book is at once a convincing case study of bias in science and a sweeping summary and analysis of what is known about the evolution of the intriguing trait of female orgasm. Seller Inventory # AAH9780674022461

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
20.10
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

Elisabeth A. Lloyd
Published by Harvard Univ Press
ISBN 10: 0674022467 ISBN 13: 9780674022461
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard Univ Press. Condition: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW Softcover A Brand New Quality Book from a Full-Time Veteran Owned Bookshop in business since 1992!. Seller Inventory # 3604866

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
22.89
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

Elisabeth A. Lloyd
Published by HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States (2006)
ISBN 10: 0674022467 ISBN 13: 9780674022461
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Why women evolved to have orgasms--when most of their primate relatives don't--is a persistent mystery among evolutionary biologists. In pursuing this mystery, Elisabeth Lloyd arrives at another: How could anything as inadequate as the evolutionary explanations of the female orgasm have passed muster as science? A judicious and revealing look at all twenty evolutionary accounts of the trait of human female orgasm, Lloyd's book is at the same time a case study of how certain biases steer science astray. Over the past fifteen years, the effect of sexist or male-centered approaches to science has been hotly debated. Drawing especially on data from nonhuman primates and human sexology over eighty years, Lloyd shows what damage such bias does in the study of female orgasm. She also exposes a second pernicious form of bias that permeates the literature on female orgasms: a bias toward adaptationism. Here Lloyd's critique comes alive, demonstrating how most of the evolutionary accounts either are in conflict with, or lack, certain types of evidence necessary to make their cases--how they simply assume that female orgasm must exist because it helped females in the past reproduce. As she weighs the evidence, Lloyd takes on nearly everyone who has written on the subject: evolutionists, animal behaviorists, and feminists alike. Her clearly and cogently written book is at once a convincing case study of bias in science and a sweeping summary and analysis of what is known about the evolution of the intriguing trait of female orgasm. Seller Inventory # BTE9780674022461

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
23.33
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

6.

Elisabeth A. Lloyd
ISBN 10: 0674022467 ISBN 13: 9780674022461
New Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
Speedy Hen LLC
(Sunrise, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # ST0674022467. Seller Inventory # ST0674022467

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
24.77
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

7.

Elisabeth A Lloyd (author)
Published by Harvard University Press 2006-10-31, Cambridge, Mass. |London (2006)
ISBN 10: 0674022467 ISBN 13: 9780674022461
New paperback Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
Blackwell's
(Oxford, OX, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard University Press 2006-10-31, Cambridge, Mass. |London, 2006. paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 9780674022461

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
17.99
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 7.50
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

8.

Elisabeth A. Lloyd
Published by Harvard University Press
ISBN 10: 0674022467 ISBN 13: 9780674022461
New Paperback Quantity Available: 13
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard University Press. Paperback. Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Seller Inventory # B9780674022461

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
19.95
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 6.94
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

9.

Elisabeth A. Lloyd
Published by Harvard University Press (2006)
ISBN 10: 0674022467 ISBN 13: 9780674022461
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard University Press, 2006. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0674022467

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
24.48
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.06
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

10.

LLOYD
ISBN 10: 0674022467 ISBN 13: 9780674022461
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Herb Tandree Philosophy Books
(Stroud, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2006. Paperback. Condition: NEW. 9780674022461 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. For all enquiries, please contact Herb Tandree Philosophy Books directly - customer service is our primary goal. Seller Inventory # HTANDREE0809215

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
19.90
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 8
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book