Between the sheets: top 10 most provocative books out this month

The best books on sex, sexuality, and gender (re)released this November.

Invisible: Britain's Migrant Sex Workers (11/12/2013)
by Hsiao-Hung Pai

Publisher's Description: Investigative journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai works undercover as a housekeeper in a brothel and unveils the terrible reality of the British sex trade. Workers are trapped and controlled—the lack of freedom this invisible strait of society suffers is both shocking and scandalous and at odds with the idea of a modern Britain in the twenty-first century.

God's Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis (11/01/2013)
by Thomas Hickman

Publisher's Description: Throughout history, man has revered his penis as his “most precious ornament.” From small to large, thick to thin, smooth to wrinkled, Hickman lets the history of this mystery hangout. It is a stiff subject, but we easily settle in with the likes of Bill Clinton, Michelangelo’s David, and Shakespeare as they followed their heads.

Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (11/1/2013)
By Julia Serano

Publisher's Description: As a trans woman, bisexual, and femme activist, Julia Serano has spent much of the last ten years challenging various forms of exclusion within feminist and queer/LGBTQ movements. In Excluded, she chronicles many of these instances of exclusion and argues that marginalizing others often stems from a handful of assumptions that are routinely made about gender and sexuality. These false assumptions infect theories, activism, organizations, and communities—and worse, they enable people to vigorously protest certain forms of sexism while simultaneously ignoring and even perpetuating others.

Affairs of State: The Untold History of Presidential Love, Sex, and Scandal, 1789 1900 (11/28/2013)
by Robert P. Watson

Publisher's Description: In recent years, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, and countless other politicians have made headlines for their sexual scandals. But such stories are not new. Indeed, there is a long history of misbehavior in politics, including in the nation’s highest office. Bill Clinton was not the first president to misbehave, nor was he the worst. In fact, there is a long history of presidential peccadilloes. Many presidents have been influenced and had their careers affected by the hand of a woman, sometimes that of a wife or mother, but at other times that of a mistress. But these stories are rarely told. Instead, history has tended to glorify our leaders. Such a scrubbed version of the lives of presidents, however, omits their marital woes, love lives, and sexual peccadilloes. As Robert P. Watson reveals, it is precisely these intimate and all-too-human moments that provide some of the most valuable insights into our leaders.

Sex on Show: Seeing the Erotic in Greece and Rome (11/6/2013)
by Caroline Vout

Publisher's Description: The ancient Greeks and Romans were not shy about sex. Phallic imagery, sex scenes, and the lively activities of their promiscuous gods adorned many objects, buildings, and sculptures. Drinking cups, oil-lamps, and walls were decorated with scenes of seduction; statues of erect penises served as boundary-stones and signposts; and marble satyrs and nymphs grappled in gardens. Caroline Vout examines the abundance of sexual imagery in Greek and Roman culture. Were these images intended to be shocking, humorous, or exciting? Are they about sex or love? How are we to know whether our responses to them are akin to those of the ancients? The answers to these questions provide fascinating insights into ancient attitudes toward religion, politics, sex, gender, and the body. They also reveal how the ancients saw themselves and their world, and how subsequent centuries have seen them. This book not only addresses theories of sexual practice and social history, it is also a visual history of what it meant and still means to stare sex in the face.

How to Make Love to a Woman: 69 Orgasmic Ways to Have Mind-Blowing Sex (11/1/2013)
by Xaviera Hollander

Publisher's Description: Xaviera Hollander's book The Happy Hooker has sold more than sixteen million copies worldwide and continues to captivate new readers with its humor, its zest for life, and, above all, its downright honesty. She followed the success of her book with her monthly sex advice column for Penthouse, “Call Me Madam,” which helped readers find fulfillment in bed for almost thirty years. How to Make Love to a Woman takes hard-earned knowledge and puts it to excellent use, helping couples to experience the same mind-blowing pleasure that Xaviera has received and given for years. Some of the suggestions include, “Pleasure her with her own toys,” “Practice verbal bondage,” and “Make home movies.”

The Best of the Equinox, Sex Magick: Volume III (11/1/2013)
by Aleister Crowley

Publisher's Description: Once he grasped the fundamentals of sexual magick, Aleister Crowley understood it to be the key that unlocks the secrets of the universe. He dedicated the entire second half of his life to exploring its mysteries. This volume presents the bulk of Crowley's written works on the subject and includes The Gnostic Mass, Energized Enthusiasm, Liber A'ash, Liber Chath, and Liber Stellae Rubeae.

Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome (11/6/2013)
by Sarah S. Richardson

Publisher's Description: Tracking the emergence of a new and distinctive way of thinking about sex represented by the unalterable, simple, and visually compelling binary of the X and Y chromosomes, Sex Itself examines the interaction between cultural gender norms and genetic theories of sex from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present, postgenomic age. Sarah S. Richardson uncovers how gender has helped to shape the research practices, questions asked, theories and models, and descriptive language used in sex chromosome research. From the earliest theories of chromosomal sex determination, to the mid-century hypothesis of the aggressive XYY supermale, to the debate about Y chromosome degeneration, to the recent claim that male and female genomes are more different than those of humans and chimpanzees, Richardson shows how cultural gender conceptions influence the genetic science of sex.

The Equality of the Sexes: Three Feminist Texts of the Seventeenth Century (11/15/2013)
by Desmond M. Clarke

Publisher's Description: The seventeenth century witnessed the first publications that argued for the equality of men and women. Among the most articulate and original defenders of that view were Marie le Jars de Gournay, Anna Maria van Schurman, and Francois Poulain de la Barre. Gournay published The Equality of Men and Women in Paris in 1622, while one of her Dutch correspondents, Van Schurman, published in Latin her Dissertation in support of women's education in 1641. Poulain wrote a radical Physical and Moral Discourse concerning the Equality of Both Sexes in 1673, which he also published in Paris. These three feminist tracts transformed the language and conceptual framework in which questions about women's equality or otherwise were subsequently discussed.

When Sex Changed: Birth Control Politics and Literature between the World Wars (11/1/2013)
by Layne Parish Craig

Publisher's Description: Craig analyzes the ways literary texts responded to the political, economic, sexual, and social values put forward by the birth control movements of the 1910s to the 1930s in the United States and Great Britain. Discussion of contraception and related topics (including feminism, religion, and eugenics) changed the way that writers depicted women, marriage, and family life. Tracing this shift, Craig compares disparate responses to the birth control controversy, from early skepticism by mainstream feminists, reflected in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland, to concern about the movement’s race and class implications suggested in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand, to enthusiastic speculation about contraception’s political implications, as in Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas

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