Synopsis: Think you know everything about penises?
Bet you don’t know what hospitals do with foreskins after they’ve been snipped away. How fortunes were made in the war against wet dreams. The one song you should never whistle at a urinal. Or the woes of working on a “hopping penis” assembly line.
The Penis Book celebrates the male member like nothing else before. So get ready to learn. Laugh. And be downright titillated, too. No matter what your relationship with the penis, The Penis Book has something for everyone.
The Penis Book, by Joseph Cohen 8.0
Joseph Cohen’s ‘The Penis Book’ is novelty item that I picked up in a second-hand bookshop at some point. I don’t remember if I got this before or after ‘The Clitourist‘ and ‘Cunt’, but I no doubt considered them companions pieces and felt that it would be a nice addition to my ever-growing collection of sex-related books.
It took me a long time to get around to it, but I’m quite pleased with ‘The Penis Book’. In fact, I thought that it was both informative and entertaining – more so than the cute but thin ‘The Clitourist’ or the dense and heavy ‘Cunt’. I mean, where else would I learn about the use of post-circumcision foreskin and find sex jokes about the Queen?
The book is a smorgasbord of Kielbasa-related matters: animal kingdom, blowjobs, circumcision, condoms, Greek art, Hounen Matsuri, jock straps, Latin terminology, masturbation, multiple orgasms, oysters, penis envy, piercings, potency, semen, size, smegma, smoking and impotence, tattoos, testicles, turn ons, urinal etiquette, and wet dreams.
It even has a short Q&A with the infamous Cynthia Plaster Caster, who immortalized so many famous penises, broaches the subject of oral sex on one’s self, covers women’s preference with respect to penis size, asks men what they would do without a penis and women what they would do if they had one. All page-turning stuff.
It’s all very well put together, too. The texts aren’t too demanding, and there are tons of pictures, artwork (some sexy, some wacky, some just curious) and a number of hilarious jokes along the way to brighten the material. Unsurprisingly, the spine was broken in its center at the gatefold set of pictures of men’s members.
I couldn’t help but wonder if I enjoyed this book more than ‘The Clitourist’ because I am a man or if it was just a question of it being a better book. My conclusion is that it is a much better book. Whereas the other one was punny and well-conceived, it covered far less material and in less detail. And it wasn’t as funny.
Then I wondered if, given that our culture tends to be phallocentric, there wasn’t just a larger wealth of material to collect and/or cull from. I can’t really answer that question, but it seems to me that ‘The Penis Book’ really explored the far reaches of its subject, whereas I can think of things the other book could have but didn’t cover.
Plus which it avoided stereotypes, even avoiding the trappings of being hetero or homocentric.
Honestly, if one wanted to have fun learning about the penis, it would be difficult to find a better guide then ‘The Penis Book’. Did I need four dozen expressions for masturbation? No. But it’s there if I’m curious. And that’s what makes the book a joy to read: it’s irreverent, but it also treats its subject with appropriate seriousness.
After all, stinky pickles are a serious matter indeed.