The Science of Orgasm

By Herbenick, Debby | Contemporary Sexuality, June 2007 | Go to article overview

The Science of Orgasm


Herbenick, Debby, Contemporary Sexuality


The Science of Orgasm By Barry R. Komisaruk, Carlos Beyer-Flores and Beverly Whipple. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006. $25.

In a world full of orgasm-focused books written for the sole purpose of entertainment and/or, occasionally, education, The Science of Orgasm stands out as a solid, articulate and welldocumented book. It provides an outstanding review of the current state of knowledge of anatomical and physiological issues related to male and female orgasm. After discussing various definitions of orgasm (in an introductory chapter reminiscent of that of O: The Intimate History of the Orgasm by Jonathan Margolis), the authors describe researchers' current understanding of the physiological aspects of orgasm. The fact that certain aspects lack detail is a reflection of the limitations of our current understanding of orgasm, and not the authors' lack of effort. Considerable attention is paid to orgasm and its relationship to health promotion, aging, medical conditions, drugs (prescription and recreational) and hormones - topics of great interest to many researchers and the general public. In reading the chapter on recreational drug use, I was reminded of how little we know about drug use and human sexuality in spite of their widespread use and the number of people who inquire about drugs and sex. In this instance, and others where the lack of detail reflected a lack of knowledge in the field about a topic, I wish the authors had made more explicit the need for further research and understanding.

I also felt that the title was misleading in the sense that the book portrays only a limited selection of the science of male and female orgasm. …

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