Add to GoodReads

Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis

Edited by Michael Kimmel; Christine Milrod and Amanda Kennedy

Peter. Pecker. Wiener. Dick. Schlong. Penis. Whatever we choose to call it, the penis is more than just a body part. This A-to-Z encyclopedia explores the cultural meanings, interpretations, and activities associated with the penis over the centuries and across cultures.

Scholars, activists, researchers and clinicians delve into the penis in antiquity, in art, in religion, in politics, in media, in music, and in the cultural imagination. They examine the penis as a problem, a fetishized commodity, a weapon, an object of play. Penile décor and fashions—from piercings to
koteka—are treated with equal dignity. Explanation of common medical terms and not-so-common subcultural practices add to the broad scope of the book. Taken together, the Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis offers refreshing, thoughtful, and wide-ranging insight into this malleable, meaningful body part.
« less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 262Size: 7 1/4 x 10
978-0-7591-2312-0 • Hardback • September 2014 • $89.00 • (£60.00)
978-0-7591-2314-4 • eBook • September 2014 • $87.99 • (£60.00)
Michael Kimmel is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Stony Brook University where he also directs the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities. His books include Angry White Men (2012), The Guy's Guide to Feminism (2011), Guyland (2008), Men's Lives (9th edition, 2013), and Manhood in America: A Cultural History (3rd edition, 2011).He is also founder and editor of Men and Masculinities, the field's premier scholarly journal.

Christine Milrod, PhD, is a licensed psychotherapist and sexologist whose research includes transgender issues and clients of heterosexual prostitution. She practices sex therapy with emphasis on evolutionary psychology, sexual and (trans)gender identities, and socially constructed gender roles. She has published and edited social science journal articles, and translated fiction, subtitles and sociological writings from Swedish to English.

Amanda Kennedy, MA, is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Stony Brook University. Her research and teaching interests include race, gender, sexualities, and embodiment; her research is guided by poststructuralist and postcolonial feminism.
Preface and Acknowledgments
Alphabetical List of Entries
About the Editors and Contributors
This rather unique addition to men and masculinity studies examines how the penis has been culturally defined and historically interpreted. The editors have compiled more than 150 contributions from scholars, researchers, activists, and clinicians from all over the world that pay particular attention to the socially constructed meanings attached to this organ across time and space. Taken as a whole, the work addresses what the editors describe as the 'many facets of the penis'—analyzed from artistic, medical, musical, literary, psychological, sexual, historical, religious, and sociological perspectives. Each entry offers a useful selection of sources for further reading, thereby enabling readers to poke around further and fill any gaps in their understanding. The encyclopedia also includes many photos, drawings, and other images—illustrations that provide greater clarification, given that some bibliographic references may seem obscure to some lay readers. Overall, an educational and (more important) enjoyable read, suitable for most library collections. Summing Up: Recommended. All general, academic, and professional audiences.

Adding these books to your library collection may bring a blush to the cataloger’s face, but, all joking aside, here are two volumes that place the two most formidable of body parts, the breast and the penis, in a cultural context. Neither book looks to exhaust its subject but to consider each organ’s role in art, history, medicine, literature, and society.Entries run the gamut of physiology to fashion, fetish to film, La Leche League to locker rooms. The majority of entries in each book are thoughtful, well-researched articles on a specific topic and the significance of the breast or penis to the topic. All are signed and come with see also references and a list of additional resources for further reading. Both books have browsable tables of contents instead of indexes. The volume on the penis contains more medical articles and includes entries on the vagina. Sample entries include Bris, Circle jerk, Plaster casters, and Spanish fly. Some entries in the breast volume feel like filler articles that don’t advance or relate to the subject at all (see Barbie dolls or Red light districts—the latter references breasts only very briefly). There are a few black-and-white photographs and illustrations in each volume—it’s useful to note that the graphic for Penis piercing is a line drawing, not a photograph. Both books treat their subjects seriously and with respect and are suitable reference works for most high-school and public libraries.

Readers of [Playboy] magazine may be forgiven for thinking they know a thing or two about body parts. But with [this] new volume . . . [The] publisher shows there's always more to discover. . . .[W]e're not ashamed to admit we learned quite a bit.

The book begins with a wonderful introduction by the editors that purports the encyclopedia to be presented in a Saussurean spirit of signifier/signified structuralism. The cover says it all: a clever trick that presents a penis-and-testicles motif that can also be seen as a torso and thighs. Indeed, this volume is replete with examples of the penis in the visual arts, literature, science, technology, medicine, archaeology, behavior, psychology, and more. The introduction is perhaps one of the most valuable readings in the book, as it reviews the multitudinous ways in which the penis can be imagined, manifested, symbolized, used, empowered, effeminized, and exploited. It is here that the reader is introduced to the many versions of the 'cultural penis,' as a primer for what is in store in the pages that follow. . . .I [found] a great deal of value in [the] topics.
Savage Minds

The book covers every conceivable area in which the penis plays a role, including myths (see Herm/Herma and Old Norse religion) legends (see papal testicles), religious texts (the Bible, the Kama Sutra), and cult practices (see Shunga, the Japanese word for art, and chi kung, an advanced form of qi gong 'that is focused on strengthening the internal organs and increasing sexual energy'). . . .[M]ost readers are sure to learn something new, and do so quickly, as no entry is longer than a couple of pages. And because it’s an encyclopedia, you can cherry-pick to your heart’s content.
Gay and Lesbian Review

Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis (CEP) should be an intriguing read for both the general public and scholars dedicated to the study of men and men’s issues. . . .For the lay reader, the sheer entertainment value...will be worth the time spent. . . .For those less interested in entertainment...the Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis (CEP) can be a valuable resource. . . .The greatest strength of the CEP lies in its breadth. A reader unfamiliar with the surge in literature relating to men’s issues and masculinity in recent decades may be surprised by the many relevant references to the penis across disciplines. . . .All told, I found the CEP a largely interesting, informative, and at times provocative resource. I am pleased to have read it and...would encourage others interested in gender studies to do the same.
New Male Studies

[A] number of sections...impressively cover both the cultural/sociological and scientific terrains, and may be of greatest interest for an audience focused on both sociocultural and scientific factors. . . .those interested in the intersections between sociological accounts of masculinity and the arts (literary references abound in many of the entries) will likely read this book with keen interest. . . .[T]his book may best be recommended as a reference tool for those most interested in cultural studies and masculinity.
Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy

I must say that this is an utterly engrossing and fascinating read. . . .The book is written in a nice easy style which means that the editors have done their work excellently. . . .[I]t should appear in academic libraries of sociology, psychology, anthropology, art and others.
Reference Reviews

This encyclopedia offers an excellent look at the many representations and associations of the penis, and hones in on its impact on our culture, our history, our health, and more. With its wealth of scholarly contributors, the encyclopedia presents over 150 alphabetical entries covering a wide-range of historical and current penis topics. . . .The large contingent of contributors, hailing from many areas of academia, lends the encyclopedia a broad perspective. The book’s systematic yet scholarly approach to this fascinating and provocative subject will help engage casual readers and researchers alike.
American Reference Books Annual

[T]he Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis is a fascinating and welcome addition to a long and ever-growing bibliography devoted to the penis. . . . [T]he penis is funny and writing about it, like writing about many body parts, often elicits a range of playful responses. This humor, however, never detracts nor distracts from the seriousness of the subject. . . . [T]he editors are, of course, to be commended for putting together such a lively, entertaining, and eminently well-researched volume. This volume should be included in research libraries as it allows the student and researcher access to ‘snippets’ of information that can lead to additional resources. Nearly every entry includes a list of resources for additional sources on the given topic.
Men and Masculinities

An excellent volume; I was honestly surprised at how much I learned. Most encyclopedias are, frankly, boring—but this one was a page-turner! With its depth of research, clarity of writing, cross-cultural and historical perspectives, as well as the lovely photos and illustrations, this is really an incredible resource. Controversial subjects like the entry on circumcision are fair, inclusive, and insulting to no one. Esoteric entries—like the one on the penis-decorated houses of Bhutan—were fascinating and very well researched. The overall quality of the entries is fantastic. Bravo to the editors and contributors!
Dr. Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology, University of Washington; author of The Normal Bar

Everything you ever wanted to know about the penis but were afraid to—or didn’t even know you should!—ask. This ambitious collection of research-based insights takes readers on a revealing, multidisciplinary tour of a much-mythologized organ. Beyond biology, each entry uncovers aspects of the 'cultural penis' and concludes with signposts to inspire curious readers’ continued quests for deeper understanding.
Adina Nack, California Lutheran University

Have you ever wondered why those buildings are phallus-shaped or why that dildo is curved? Or what Peyronie’s disease and priapism are? The Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis packs trivia and pop culture with social science and history in one provocative and educational volume.
Rebecca F. Plante, Ithaca College

This fascinating book traverses history, media, and culture to investigate the experiences and meanings attached to penises—providing all the information you could want to know about this curious body part! Written in accessible language and including numerous tasteful images, it draws the reader into the world of codpieces, dildos, dick jokes and even penis knitwear. Helpful follow-up readings round out the encyclopedia for the truly curious.
Chris Brickell, Otago University

Clear writing and an approachable tone characterize all the entries, from the mundane to the titillating.

Each entry is followed by Further Reading; See Also entries connect related subjects across the book.

The wide-ranging entries are written by experts from an array of disciplines including anthropology, literature, folklore, theology, history, media, sexology, sociology, philosophy, medicine, and more.

Art and Artists
Body Electric
Erectile Dysfunction
Locker Rooms
Slang and Invectives