The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution

Date Sun, May 13 2012

The Origins of Sex

The Origins of Sex

I am so glad to be done with this book. It just.. required a lot of brain power and, as a result, I could only read it in small chunks. Luckily, it’s actually shorter than it appears. According to my Kindle Fire, it ends at around the 67% marks, which means that one third of the book is simply notes and references. I think that’s a good indicator that this book is more scholarly and highly-researched than it is flippant.

In fact, you’d have to be crazy to think that the author, Faramerz Dabhoiwala, is anything more than diligent in his work. In discussing the changing social views and mores between the seventeenth and eighteenth century, he’s done a lot of research. His arguments come across as objective and valid; although I’m not expert.

The problem is, much of this research is cited within the text. As someone who was reading simply because the evolution and revolutions of sex interest me, I found it read too much like a textbook. I was often skipping the long list of texts the author was referencing, the dates of publication or the years of birth and death that the author deemed worthy of inclusion. Indeed, it would make an excellent study guide for a college course, but reading it straight through is more of a difficult task.

Although this is a dry book, I did learn a lot. I specifically found the later chapters, which discussed prostitution and public perception, the media and the relationship between a woman’s changing rights and the views about sex. Far less interesting, to me, were the copies of art that the author used to exemplify how society was treating sex; however, I do understand how they serve as a scholarly reference.

I’m glad to be done with The Origins of Sex, but I am also glad that I did push my way through it. In fact, the end of this book was quite refreshing, as the author took the time to explain that the sexual revolution and Enlightenment were the beginning of the more recent revolution in sexual mores. Although the 1950s and ’60s have progressed much faster than the first sexual revolution, Faramerz Dabhoiwala points out that it’s merely an acceleration of changes that were already in progress.

One Response

  1. amanda August 9 2012 @ 9:03 am

    it doesnt look very interesting

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