About the Author
Ross Benes has worked for Esquire and Deadspin, where he wrote about pop culture, sports, and sex. He has also been published in The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Salon, Business Insider, Crain’s Detroit Business, and Quartz. He’s a roaming Nebraskan.
Title by the Author
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Non-fiction: General 70,000 Words.
A gripping exploration of the relationship between sex and our society, with a foreword by bestselling author A.J. Jacobs.
Why do political leaders become entangled in so many sex scandals? How did the U.S. military inadvertently help make San Francisco a mecca of gay culture? And what was the original purpose of vibrators? Find out the answers to all these questions and more as journalist Ross Benes delves into the complicated relationship between everyday human life—including religion, politics, and technology—and our sexuality.
Drawing on history, psychology, sociology, and more, The Sex Effect combines innovative research and analysis with captivating anecdotes to reveal just how much sex shapes our society—and what it means for us as humans as we continue to struggle with the wide-ranging effects our sexuality has on the world around us.
“A witty discussion of the indirect role sex plays across political, economic, religious, and cultural landscapes…a probing, multifacted commentary on the social science of sex and society…a book marinated in provocative assertions that are certain to instigate debate and productive discussion.” —Kirkus
“The Sex Effect is an entertaining and well-researched exploration of the unintended consequences of our sexual misapprehensions and mythologies. Benes reminds us at every turn how persistent and pervasive is the parallax between what’s true about human sexuality, and what we insist on believing about it.” –Rachel Maines, Author of The Technology of Orgasm
“In this fascinating work, buttressed with massive research from impeccable sources, Benes shows how sex and the perception of sex affect so many aspects of cultures from why we eat corn flakes to the economic influence of gay communities and more.” –Richard Kimbrough, Author of History Mysteries
“A thought-provoking read on a subject that would otherwise seem to have been overworked already.” –Daniel Halperin, Co-author of Tinderbox, former senior HIV prevention advisor at USAID, former faculty member of Harvard School of Public Health
“Ross Benes’ smart and enjoyable book takes us on a fascinating odyssey through the hidden ways that humanity’s endless struggle with sex influences the entirely unsexual aspects of our daily lives. The secret history of Graham crackers, the rise of pelvic massages by sheepish doctors, the story of military-sanctioned brothels, all are narrated with wit and unexpected insight.” –Ogi Ogas, Co-author of A Billion Wicked Thoughts
“Benes winnows out many surprising motivations behind familiar products, and also shows how, for everyone from cereal makers to pharmaceutical companies, sometimes the best-laid plans lead to marvelous tangential results. Conversational, approachable, and credible, Benes delivers story after story that will surprise you and challenge your assumptions: Once you have read this book, I doubt you will ever eat a weasel again.” –Patchen Barss, Author of The Erotic Engine
“Benes has combined history, epidemiology, anthropology, neuroscience and whatever it takes to produce a well-written, engaging, clever, highly informative book. The Sex Effect is a welcome respite from the usual partisan bickering and moralizing that this subject usually evokes.” –Edward C. Green, former Director of the Harvard AIDS Prevention Project
“The topic of sex elicits intense moral and political sentiments, so it’s especially important to approach it in a clear-headed way. This book does an excellent job with that – the only preaching you’ll find here is in favor of a more rational understanding of sex. Far more wide-ranging than most books about sex, it surveys the diverse and counterintuitive ways in which sex impacts society. Engaging and honest, you’ll be surprised by how much you learn.” –Michael Price, Brunel University psychology professor and Psychology Today contributor
“This is a no nonsense, honest, factual and clearly exposed dialogue about human sexuality. The social constructs and interesting historical developments that shape attitudes toward masturbation, homosexuality, religious influences and scandals all come under intelligent consideration. The text is infused with sociological and psychological wisdom without ever being dogmatic and certainly never boring.” –Richard Sipe, Author of A Secret World and Sex, Priests, and Power
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