Our Meg-John Barker has just published a new book. The Psychology of Sex is part of the first wave of Routledge’s exciting new Psychology of Everything series. In fact MJ’s book was the first one of the series that was written, setting the tone for many of the rest which cover topics as diverse as addiction, fashion, grief, and gardening.
The Psychology of Sex goes beyond the conventional question of what we can learn about sex from psychological research and theory, and also asks how the discipline of psychology has shaped our understanding – and experience – of sex. Particularly it focuses on how we’ve come to our current cultural understandings of ‘normal’ sex and sexuality, and the impact this has on those of us who are both inside – and outside – of that version of that ‘norm’. The book also tackles current themes such as sex addiction, pornography, and consent in the wake of #metoo.
There are 11 books in this series, each little more than 100 pages long. But the aim is a bold one – to ‘make you look at everything in a new way’, by debunking ‘the myths and pseudo-science surrounding some of life’s biggest questions’. With each offering written by an expert in the field, research-based knowledge is compared with popular wisdom, and a focus is the potential of psychology to enrich our understanding of humanity and modern life.
So, how to review 11 books in one go… with one magpie eye for shiny myths, and the other on whether I really do end up looking at ‘everything’ in a new way.
(3) Sex, by Meg-John Barker, is a bang-up-to-date reminder of how our views of ‘normal’ and ‘proper’ sex have been shaped by the cultural and personal assumptions of a surprisingly small number of individuals, often psychologists. An update to sociologist Gayle Rubin’s charmed circle, illustrating the sex hierarchy perpetuated by psychology, medicine, laws, religions and mass media, was a useful visual prompt to critically engage with the topic. Read more…