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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

One of our bestselling and most respected cultural critics, Naomi Wolf, acclaimed author of The Beauty Myth and The End of America, brings us an astonishing work of cutting-edge science and cultural history that radically reframes how we understand the vagina—and, consequently, how we understand women.

A “New Biography,” Vagina is at once serious, provocative, and immensely entertaining—a radical and endlessly fascinating exploration of the gateway to female consciousness from a remarkable writer and thinker at the forefront of the new feminism.

--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Quatrième de couverture

An astonishing work of cutting–edge science and cultural history from one of our most respected cultural critics and thinkers, Naomi Wolf, author of the modern classic The Beauty Myth

When an unexpected medical crisis sends Naomi Wolf on a journey to tease out the intersections between sexuality and creativity, she discovers—much to her own astonishment—an increasing body of scientific evidence that documents new insights about female sexual response. These breakthrough discoveries show that the vagina, clitoris, and labia—the female sexual centers—are not "merely flesh," but directly affect the female brain, and that the female brain directly affects, in newly documented ways, the vagina and female sexual centers. The vagina thus has a fundamental relationship to female consciousness itself. Utterly enthralling and totally fascinating, Vagina draws on this set of insights about "the mind-vagina connection" to reveal new information about what women really need, on many different levels, and considers what sexual relationships—and a woman's relationship to her self, as well as to her own desire and pleasure—transformed by these insights, may look like.

A brilliant and nuanced synthesis of physiology, history, and cultural criticism, Vagina explores the physical, political, and spiritual implications for women—and for society as a whole—in this startling series of new scientific breakthroughs from a writer whose conviction and keen intelligence have propelled her works to the tops of bestseller lists, and firmly into the realm of modern classics.

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Amazon.com: 142 commentaires
84 internautes sur 96 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
No cliché, this is a MUST read! 19 mars 2013
Par Paige Ellen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I've read some reviews of this book on Amazon that were written by men who are, it is obvious, deathly afraid of the requirements of the art of intimacy. Some tend to focus on and take personally, one small experiential part of the book, as if it were an affront to be taken personaly as an insult. I find such criticisms indicate a man who is insecure, threatened and afraid of women and their own feminine side. However, NW is quite clear about what kind of touch and behavior by or from men or other women, and the effect those behaviors are likely to have on target or witness of these acts. She goes into what some have called too much detail. Believe me, she could have been FAR more specific and detailed should she have so chosen. One point she does make unequivocally clear from the start is that this book is written about WOMEN, the woman's body, and the effect that those (described in delicious or frightening detail) behaviors and touches are likely have on women. She makes it clear, by saying so, that in certain areas she is writing about women and their over-all situation and that it may well be that men need their own book, their own research about how their bodies work.
However, this is a great book and it is an important book. I think it is required reading for anyone with a vagina and/or has a relationship with someone who does. This book's importance is NOT in its description of just what a man or woman can do to truly open up and deepen what I will call a "vaginally populated relationship" (it's a clumsy phrase but I like it so I am keeping it.)This book's importance is the scientific evidence regarding female and male interactions. I'm sixty three and I thought I was pretty well informed. I admit that throughout my life I have been curious and attentive enough to take my time as a member of a relationship, including sexual ones, to find out what is helpful and what isn't. I knew that there was a lot that I "knew" through experience without ever giving much thought of the "why?" of it. What NW has done in this beautiful, challenging and rewarding book is to gather together in one place scientific proof, evidence, of HOW a woman's body works and that is exciting. It is exciting in that it demonstrates that what a lot of lunk-headed men think is malarky is, in fact, true. This evidence does several things for the reader. S/he becomes very well-informed about the very specific, I mean cellular level specifics, of how the female body works in relation to others from the time in utero on.. She describes very complicated research in an exciting, clear, beautiful and easily understood way.I admit, I was already a person who thought, "if Naomi Wolf is talking/writing about this, I want to hear/read it." So sue me, I think she is one of the most important progressive people writing today. Her humanity is, perhaps, her greatest strength. It guides her and gives her safe ground from which to ask sometimes very difficult questions in a most non-threatening way. She is also willing to be surprised, to let assumptions be replaced by proof, even when she may not like what the proof shows.
What this book shows is that Naomi Wolf has given our living generations a beautiful book about the anatomy, physiology, neuro-biological, neuro-physiological, psychosociological and cultural aspects of human relational experience. What I find so very exciting is she brings to the reader's attention how experience and behavior have an effect, sometimes a lasting effect, (right down to the cellular level) upon the female body and psyche. I do not believe I have the skill to coherently say how exciting this is to me. We certainly have known for a long time how the body works in some very obvious situations, such as danger eliciting the "fight or flight" attitude in a person. We know that obvious danger dumps huge amounts of adrenalin and testosterone from certain glands and into the bloodstream. What Ms Wolf does is make aware to the reader the visible, neurobiological changes that are occurring all the time. She shows the evidence of how the body changes even ever so subtly, but with profound effects upon the body and the ensuing behavior, in the day-to-day unfolding of a woman's life. It is, frankly, excitingly informative and will give any reader pause to reflect upon their own lives and their own relationships. This book takes the reader into the microscopic substrates of any vaginally involved relationship.I have neither the time nor the patience, nor the skill, quite frankly, to convey all of what Naomi Wolf has presented in this beautiful book. The irony is that were she never in an accident that involved her spine and pelvic nerve and were she not self-reflective and curious enough to seeks answers as to why something in her sex-life, something that was subtle, yet profound to her, had changed. Thanks to her curiosity the world of readers and of those who believe that relationships, to be fully realized require work and attention, owes her a debt of gratitude. I do believe everyone from mid-teens to late adulthood can and will benefit from reading this book. You have my thanks, Naomi, and my ever-deepening respect.CAVEAT: if you are male, you require a healthy ego and sense of trust and security in yourself to read this book and to HEAR it. Self-involved, selfish, thin-skinned and/or narcissistic men are likely to take much of the evidence Ms Wolf presents as some sort of personal indictment. It is not. It is important useful INFORMATION about REALITY. It may will challenge your pre-conceived notions about yourself in relationship to women and may seem threatening to you. Take a breath, relax, and read on. It's not about you, it's about things from the woman's side (or is it?). Highest recommendation.
80 internautes sur 96 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
yes, she overstates her case, BUT 27 octobre 2012
Par Dale Thomas - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
most authors, even good scientists overstate their case these days. It seems to me like she struck a raw nerve with certain people and she's getting slammed, not just critically reviewed. Wolf is a journalist, not a scientist and she makes a typical layman's mistakes when looking at scientific data. she consulted scientists and clinicians whom she trusted, looked at the facts they gave her, and drew some conclusions based on those facts. She has constructed a convincing and plausible theory based on the information she was given. Her mistake was to promote a good theory as fact, rather than as speculation for further research. In my view (I'm a psychotherapist with an MS in psychology), she draws logical conclusions from her data, but, as most non-scientists do, she forgets that even logically consistant propositions still need to be proven true. I would guess that many of hers will be, if anybody cares enough to do the work. Assuming her conclusions are true, they have important consequences for many women and their partners as well.

Theories aside, the information she presents is vital in it's own right, and needs to be more widely disseminated. She presents compelling evidence from multiple sources on how trauma to the vagina impacts the brain far more than other kinds of non-sexual trauma do. She presents good evidence that this is because of the extensive neural connections between the vagina and the brain, with each one gives feedback to, and influencing the functioning of, the other.
Her personal, clinical and anecdotal evidence of the wide reaching negative effects of a disrupted connection between vagina(actually, genitals as a whole) and brain on women's moods, motivation and creaivity is also compelling, although, again, it needs to be backed up by more hard science, not stated as a proven fact.

Much of the book is about what can be done to improve the brain-vagina connection so women can benefit from it. This includes a chapter on what types of conditions and stimulation women need to fully take advantage of orgasms and the positive effects they can have on the brain. A lot of it is stuff I read in "marriage manuals" back in the 60's about what turns women on, but I guess the message hasn't gotten across to men of Naomi Wolf's generation and younger. More's the pity.

Read it with an open mind, look at it as theory, and see what resonates with you. I found a lot that was valuable, including her concept of the Goddess Array (I'm male).
24 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
My Orgasm,My Soul 17 mars 2013
Par Adam Corson-Finnerty - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
When I was in my early 20s, I had two friends who were on a quest to achieve the ultimate Reichian orgasm. A "Reichian" orgasm wasn't just any orgasm. It was a full-on, loss of control, mutual orgasm that tapped into the cosmic orgone coursing through the universe. That is, according to the gospel of Freud's disciple, Wilhelm Reich.

I don't know if they ever achieved that goal, but for them it was all-consuming.

Now along comes Naomi Wolf's Vagina, and a new generation of women and men may go in search of her well-described and tantalizing "ultimate" orgasm. I wish them luck. It could be a lot of fun.

Though "fun" is not a word that Wolf herself would use. A "Wolfian" orgasm is much more than fun. It is bliss itself. She terms it the "high orgasm" and describes it as "that kind of orgasm that most intensely induces the most complete possible trance state and that most involves all the body systems, so that afterward the woman feels the most replete...."

Like Reich, Wolf asserts that the high orgasm links the female to the transcendent, and thus has a spiritual dimension. Unlike Reich, Wolf has the benefit of 75 years of scientific sexual research, including modern brain research in which willing participants are wired and scanned while experiencing an orgasm.

The "vagina" in Vagina is not just the vagina. Technically, the vagina is the introitus, the vaginal opening. But Wolf expands it to mean "the entire female sex organ, from labia to clitoris, to introitus to mouth of the cervix." Soon she adds other sexually sensitive areas, including the perineum, the anal area, and the G Spot (which, if you don't know, is the back of the clitoris). Citing modern physiological studies, she says that vast arrays of nerves are connected from these areas to the brain, and that each woman's "neural pathways" may be unique.

Hence Lesson Number One: all women are different when it comes to sexual stimulation and arousal, and it is the wise man (or wise partner) who takes the time to discover what unique combinations of physical and psychological attention will produce High Orgasm. She calls this combinatory approach the "Goddess Array."

Men are dogs, so perhaps our simple wiring only requires thoughtless sex. But women are not so simple. Women's "wiring" is far more complex, and to achieve High Orgasm they require a sense of safety and trust, and loving attentiveness, in order to relax their defenses and allow themselves to become caught up in the waves of pleasure that a full orgasm requires. Therefore, women who go along with pornography, women who treat themselves like objects and their partners like objects, women who say they just want a roll in the hay: these women are destroying their own potential for self-realization and empowerment. At least this is what Naomi Wolf believes, and one suspects that she is right about women; and that despite our doggy nature, we men are also among the lost.

And what have we lost? Simply the chance for transcendence. The chance to unleash the power of the vagina and bring in a better world. A world where women are fully actualized. We lose the "Divine Feminine;" we lose "the Goddess."

Wolf links her concept of the Goddess to ancient spiritual wisdom contained in the Tao and Tantric Yoga. Specifically, wisdom about women's sexuality and the gateway that Hindus term the yoni, and which can be translated as "sacred space," or "divine passage." Some of her more interesting chapters follow the Tantric tradition right into the current day, with vignettes about modern Tantric healers, Tantric workshops, and Tantric transformations.

The vagina. For millions of years, every human life had to pass through this gateway, and even if our primitive ancestors did not exactly understand the role that insertion and ejaculation played, they certainly understood that babies came out of this opening. Therefore as civilization emerged from hunter-gatherer and pastoralist tribes, and as oral tradition became concretized in writing, one can find some justification for the idea that the divine feminine preceded the divine masculine--that the Goddess in her many forms came before the Gods, and well before the concept of a single, all-powerful, male God.

Wolf accepts this thesis, citing the author Rosalind Miles, whose The Women's History of the World asserts that "...as humankind emerged from the darkness of prehistory, God was a woman." But all this was lost as male-centered religion fought to dominate the stage. Particularly in the cultural "West," the Judeo-Christian-Islamist juggernaut destroyed our culture's conception of the divine feminine, destroyed the worship of women's primal power. This masculinized religiosity maligned, degraded, and shackled women's sexuality, and all but eliminated women's sense of self-esteem along with the knowledge of women's true power. This was, Wolf asserts, "Our species' original sin...." [My emphasis]

I think this is a fairy tale. Or, perhaps more neutrally, a modern myth based upon ancient myths. The modern myth posits a golden era, in which God was a woman and women had power. If true, this might be heartening to modern feminists as they struggle for women's rights. All we need to do is go "back to the future." Instead, I believe that male dominance has always been the hallmark of organized human society, and that the oppression of women is the most pernicious and long-lasting injustice of civilized humankind. In that sense, Wolf and I agree. It may not be the original sin, but it belongs on the small list of curses that have plagued our life on the planet, including physical violence and murder.

So, Back to the future or Forward to the future? Perhaps it doesn't much matter. If the myth of an egalitarian Golden Era strengthens our determination to fight for equality in this era, then this is obviously a source of strength. God knows, there is still a mighty struggle ahead. Or should one say, Goddess knows?
107 internautes sur 151 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Good message, but many of the scientific claims are not true 11 octobre 2012
Par Tevis Fen-Kortiay - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Naomi Wolf's new book embodies deep problems with pop science publishers and their relationship with the media: her work brings in the bucks, so Ecco Press (HarperCollins) publishes what they refer to in their marketing blurb as "rigorous science" without bothering to double-check her claims with any neuroscientists. The media largely takes Wolf's statements at face value, understandably assuming that no major publisher would gamble their reputation by putting this stuff into print without at least a cursory round of fact-checking. But the "science" in this book is largely misleading or just wrong.

To learn the details, Google for these articles:
- Neuroscientists take aim at Naomi Wolf's theory of the "conscious vagina"
- Naomi Wolf's "Vagina" is full of bad science about the brain
- Pride and Prejudice, by Zoë Heller (The New York Review of Books)
- Feminist Dopamine, Conscious Vaginas, and the Goddess Array
- Of Mice and Women: Animal Models of Desire, Dread, and Despair
- Upstairs, Downstairs; `Vagina: A New Biography,' by Naomi Wolf (The New York Times)

Wolf leapt to fame with her 1991 book The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women, which argued that culture's idea of female beauty is entirely socially constructed, primarily by men, in order to keep women down. Following publication, research by Devendra Singh and others confirm that both men and women from a broad spectrum of cultures (even those who don't have magazines or television) uniformly agree that they find women with a waist-to-hip ratio of between 0.6-0.8 the most attractive -- which makes sense biologically, given that a 0.7 ratio appears to indicate optimum physical health and fertility. So while Wolf makes some valid points about the cultural disenfranchisement of women, her central thesis is provably wrong. Wolf also claimed in 'Beauty Myth' that 150,000 women were dying every year from anorexia nervosa, when the real number is closer to 100. Her book gives voice to the genuine frustration many women feel at being judged primarily by their appearance, and so quickly found an appreciative readership; unfortunately the popularity of Wolf's basic message has resulted in a glossing-over of the reality that she often supports her arguments with claims that simply aren't true.

Naomi Wolf is pretty and charismatic, so she plays well on camera, but her shaky claims give the opponents of feminism a too-easy lever to trick impressionable young people into dismissing feminism and feminists entirely. I am strongly pro equal rights for women, I agree that women's sexuality has been swept under the rug (so to speak) for too long, but publishing an edifice of arguments built on a foundation of claims that simply aren't true may not be the wisest path towards a real solution.

I get that some readers find value in the basic message of this book even though many of the technical claims are misleading or incorrect, and I'm all for finding emotional sustenance where you can get it -- if reading this improves your life, great! In the future, though, I hope Wolf takes her hard-won position as a leading voice of feminism seriously enough to check her facts before committing them to print.
43 internautes sur 60 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Timely and Informative 1 octobre 2012
Par Ken Ellis - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I was thumbing through Naomi Wolf's newest book "Vagina: a New Biography" at a friend's house and started reading it. As a man, this is not the type of book I would normally be interested in. However, I found it quite interesting. The word Vagina has raised so much drama recently in the news and in government. The book provides a both a scientific background and fascinating historical perspective of how the vagina has been viewed at various times in history (revered to taboo) and how we got to point we are at today where simply saying the word vagina in public is controversial. I learned much from the book and as man; I think it helps me to better understand women and their perspective on the world.
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