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

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

The Pleasure's All Mine: A History of Perverse Sex (12/15/2013)
by Julie Peakman

Publisher's Description: Handcuffs, paddles, whips—the words alone are enough to make a person blush. Even by our society’s standards, the practice of things like BDSM is still very hush-hush, considered deviant sexual behavior that must be kept hidden. But the narrow view of what is thought of as “normal” sex—a vanilla act performed by one man and one woman—is more and more contested these days. And as Julie Peakman reveals, normal never really existed; for everyone, different kinds of sex have always offered myriad pleasures, and almost all sexual behaviors have traveled between acceptance and proscription. This book examines two millennia of letters, diaries, court records, erotic books, medical texts, and more to explore the gamut of “deviant” sexual activity.

License to Wed: What Legal Marriage Means to Same-Sex Couples (12/30/2013)
by Kimberly D. Richman

Publisher's Description: This book examines the meanings of marriage for couples in the two first states to extend that right to same sex couples: California and Massachusetts. The two states provide a compelling contrast: while in California the rights that go with marriage—inheritance, custody, and so forth—were already granted to couples under the state’s domestic partnership law, those in Massachusetts did not have this same set of rights. At the same time, Massachusetts has offered civil marriage consistently since 2004; Californians, on the other hand, have experienced a much more turbulent legal path. And yet, same-sex couples in both states seek to marry for a variety of interacting, overlapping, and evolving reasons that do not vary significantly by location.

Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran (12/27/2013)
by Afsaneh Najmabadi

Publisher's Description: Since the mid-1980s, the Islamic Republic of Iran has permitted, and partially subsidized, sex reassignment surgery. Najmabadi explores the meaning of transsexuality in contemporary Iran. Combining historical and ethnographic research, she describes how, in the postrevolutionary era, the domains of law, psychology and psychiatry, Islamic jurisprudence, and biomedicine became invested in distinguishing between the acceptable "true" transsexual and other categories of identification, notably the "true" homosexual, an unacceptable category of existence in Iran. Najmabadi argues that this collaboration among medical authorities, specialized clerics, and state officials—which made transsexuality a legally tolerated, if not exactly celebrated, category of being—grew out of Iran's particular experience of Islamicized modernity. Paradoxically, state regulation has produced new spaces for non-normative living in Iran, since determining who is genuinely "trans" depends largely on the stories that people choose to tell, on the selves that they profess.

Sex, or the Unbearable (12/28/2013)
by Lauren Berlant

Publisher's Description: Sex, or the Unbearable is a dialogue between Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman, two of our leading theorists of sexuality, politics, and culture. In juxtaposing sex and the unbearable they don't propose that sex is unbearable, only that it unleashes unbearable contradictions that we nonetheless struggle to bear. In Berlant and Edelman's exchange, those terms invoke disturbances produced in encounters with others, ourselves, and the world, disturbances that tap into threats induced by fears of loss or rupture as well as by our hopes for repair.

Sex Position Coloring Book: Playtime for Couples (12/3/2013)
by Editors of Hollan Publishing

Publisher's Description: Thanks to this first-ever interactive intercourse guide, you and your lover can explore exciting new sex positions in an enjoyable, approachable and brightly colored way. Just be sure to stay inside the lines as you learn to be creative between the sheets. With 101 ready-to-color outlines of couples in real sex positions, this is the silliest yet most informative sex book a man and a woman and a box of crayons have ever shared.

Sister Wives, Surrogates and Sex Workers: Outlaws by Choice? (12/28/2013)
by Angela Campbell

Publisher's Description: Did she choose that?' Or, more normatively, 'Why would she ever choose that?' This book critiques and offers an alternative to these questions, which have traditionally framed law and policy discussions circulating around controversial genderized practices. It examines the simplicity and incompleteness of choice-based rhetoric and of presumptions that women's conduct is shaped, in an absolute way, either by choice or by coercion. This book develops an analytical framework that aims to discern the meaning and value that women may ascribe to morally ambiguous practices. An analysis of law's approach to polygamy, surrogacy and sex work, particularly in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, provides a basis for evaluating the choice-coercion binary and for contemplating alternate modes for assessing, from a law and policy standpoint, the palatability of social practices that appear pernicious to women.

Heterotypical Behaviour in Man and Animals (12/31/2013)
by M. Haug

Publisher's Description: Behaving like the other sex has been observed in a number of species of mammals, although such behaviour is generally more common in the female than the male. This study discusses why such capacity is so common in sexually differentiated animals. The contributors gather together information on the generation of heterotypical sexual behaviour and on certain forms of aggression. They provide a review of the current state of knowledge from both animal experimentation and human clinical studies, looking at the role of physiological mechanisms and experiences in such controversial topics as the genesis of homosexuality.

The Handbook of Gender, Sex and Media (12/9/2013)
by Karen Ross

Publisher's Description: This book offers original insights into the complex set of relations which exist between gender, sex, sexualities and the media, and in doing so, showcases new research at the forefront of media and communication practice and theory. Brings together a collection of new, cutting-edge research exploring a number of different facets of the broad relationship between gender and media. Moves beyond associating gender with man/woman and instead considers the relationship between the construction of gender norms, biological sex and the mediation of sex and sexuality. Offers genuinely new insights into the complicated and complex set of relations which exist between gender, sex, sexualities and the media.

Estrogen - Mystery Drug for the Brain?: The Neuroprotective Activities of the Female Sex Hormone (12/31/2013)
by Christian Behl

Publisher's Description: It is well known that estrogen is "somehow” a protective hormone for various age-related disorders. This book provides a solid knowledge of estrogen’s neuroprotective activities in the brain with a special emphasis on neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease. The focus is (1) to describe the biochemical, molecular, and cellular basis of the protective activity of estrogen and (2) to transfer this knowledge into the hospitals by discussing preventive and therapeutic approaches such as estrogen replacement therapy for post-menopausal women.

Male Infertility and Sexual Dysfunction (12/31/2013)
by Wayne J.G. Hellstrom

Publisher's Description: An analysis of all the current avenues of treatment with emphasis on multidisciplinary considerations. Select international authorities present in-depth coverage of their areas of expertise, each topic covering the background, anatomy, physiology, diagnosis, classification, and treatment.


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