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Paperback | $27.95 Trade | £22.95 | 504 pp. | 6 x 9 in | September 2004 | ISBN: 9781890951337
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Solitary Sex

A Cultural History of Masturbation


“A compendious and witty analysis of the subject.”—Jenny Diski, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A superb new volume ... it's a helluva ride.”—Emma Tom, Weekend Australian
“... [A] long, thoughtful meditation on privacy, solitude, the imagination and what Mr. Laqueur calls 'the morally autonomous, modern' self.”—E. Eakin, New York Times
“As a work of scholarly research... Professor Laqueur's hefty tome is without equal.”—Alexander Waugh, Sunday Telegraph (UK)
“... courageous ... the celebration of the imagination has to include a place for solitary sex.”—Stephen Greenblatt, New York Review of Books
“Deeply learned...”—Robert A. Nye , PhD, JAMA
“Enlightening.”—Patty Lamberti, Playboy
“His writing is free from embarrassment and needless jargon....”—Publishers Weekly
“[Solitary Sex ] will, it almost goes without saying, become the standard work on the subject.”—James Delingpole, The Spectator
“Laqueur argues entertainingly that 'onanism' went on to shape the way that we experience ourselves as modern, autonomous individuals.”—Heather Findlay, Girlfriends
“Laqueur is an impeccable historian of ideas ... he writes in an elegant, almost mesmerizing prose....”—Davenport-Hines, TLS
“Laqueur is persuasive. An engaging writer.”—New Yorker
“Laqueur tackles with aplomb what has been called the last taboo.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Laqueur's penetrating analysis will fascinate social historians and the intellectual public. Recommended.”—Library Journal
“... the best sort of contemporary historical scholarship, combining historical detective work and detailed explication with a long view.”—Jeffrey Weeks, Times Higher Education Supplement
“This is no cute 'n' frothy pop-cultural round-up: it's a very scholarly work....”—T. Glyde, Time Out


“Laqueur's scholarly courage—for it took courage to write this book—has reaped ample rewards: Solitary Sex is a brilliant exploration of the shadow side of the Enlightenment.”
Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard University
“That masturbation has unsettling truths to tell us about our sexuality has always seemed likely; that the history of masturbation has so much to tell us about the history of freedom and individualism—about the political paradoxes of solitude—is startling. The sheer wit and verve of Laqueur's scholarship—his marvellous possession of the facts and fantasies—makes Solitary Sex a remarkable and compelling book.”
Adam Phillips, psychoanalyst