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Today's Big Idea: Super Sex

The Big Idea for Saturday, August 11, 2012

Let's talk about sex. Ahem. As humans, we're pretty terrible at that. Jesse Bering is a notable exception. Paul Bloom has called Bering "the Hunter S. Thompson of science writing," and you don't need to look much further than the title of Bering's book to see why. It is called Why is the Penis Shaped Like That? And Other Reflections on Being Human

If you suspect Bering has an appetite for the salacious, you guessed right. And yet, while the subjects Bering chooses to write about are by their very definition sensational, he argues that "often the most titillating topics are uniquely able to raise deeper philosophical questions and to bring much more substantial issues to the surface."

After reading his book, we agree. Today we welcome Bering to Big Think and are pleased to present him along with other experts who have fundamentally challenged the way we think and talk about human sexuality. 

Let's list a few of them. Dan Savage is a gay sex columnist who is the architect of the "It Get's Better" campaign who has devoted his career to helping gay and straight people alike grapple with their biological hangups. Savage introduced his readers, including us, to writers such as Christopher Ryan, whose book Sex at Dawn caught our interest and resulted in one of Big Think's most popular videos of 2011, How to Make Love Like a Caveman.

Some of the conclusions these thinkers have come to -- the rejection of monogamy, for instance -- are deeply controversial. But these ideas are more than just the stuff of controversy. They represents a broad approach for our discourse on sexuality, one that is daring and driven by intellectual curiosity. 

So what is Super Sex? Bering provides the best definition: “I found myself...gravitating increasingly toward the world of science, a world in which nothing was sacred, no question too absurd or off-limits...” 

Perspectives

  1. 1 Masturbation: "An Evolutionary Magic Trick"
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 Penises, Primates and the study of Human Sexuality: A Q&A with Jesse Bering
    Kayt Sukel World in Mind
  3. 3 How to Make Love Like a Caveman
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  4. 4 Braingasm: How Porn "Shuts Down" Women's Brains
    Megan Erickson Think Tank
 

Today's Big Idea: Super Sex

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