cover of book

The Domesticated Penis: How Womanhood Has Shaped Manhood
by Loretta A. Cormier and Sharyn R. Jones
University of Alabama Press, 2015
eISBN: 978-0-8173-8850-8 | Cloth: 978-0-8173-1874-1 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5891-4
Library of Congress Classification GT498.P45C67 2015
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.31

The Domesticated Penis challenges long-held assumptions that, in the development of Homo sapiens, form follows function alone. In this fascinating exploration, Loretta A. Cormier and Sharyn R. Jones explain the critical contribution that conscious female selection has made to the attributes of the modern male phallus.

Synthesizing a wealth of robust scholarship from the fields of archaeology, cultural anthropology, evolutionary theory, and primatology, the authors successfully dismantle the orthodox view that each part of the human anatomy has followed a vector of development along which only changes and mutations that increased functional utility were retained and extended. Their research animates our understanding of human morphology with insights about how choices early females made shaped the male reproductive anatomy.

In crisp and droll prose, Cormier's and Jones’s rigorous scholarship incorporates engaging examples and lore about the human phallus in a variety of foraging, agrarian, and contemporary cultures. By detailing how female selection in mating led directly to a matrix of anatomical attributes in the male, their findings illuminate how the penis also acquired a matrix of attributes of the imagination and mythical powers—powers to be assuaged, channeled, or deployed for building productive societies.

These analyses offer a highly persuasive alternative to moribund biological and behavioral assumptions about prehistoric alpha males as well as the distortions such assumptions give rise to in contemporary popular culture. In this anthropological tour de force, Cormier and Jones transcend reductive gender stereotypes and bring to our concepts of evolutional biomechanics an invigorating new balance and nuance.

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