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Review: 'How Sex Works: Why We Look, Smell, Taste, Feel, and Act the Way We Do,' by Dr. Sharon Moalem

What's it about? Sex: its mysteries, its complications, and the evolution of what we find attractive and why we act certain ways to attract a mate. It delves into a range of topics, from how we can be attracted to someone's smell to how the female orgasm may or may not push along reproduction.

Who's it for? Those curious about sex who don't have a heavy science background and are short on time.

Who knew? One reason girls start menstruating earlier than generations past? Stress. "If young girls in our increasingly complex society experience a lot of stressors early on, their bodies take it as an indication that they have been born into stressful times," writes Moalem. Stressful times would put pressure on the species to reproduce quicker, hence earlier fertility.

Worth the read? While the book has some interesting tidbits of information about sex, it's a jumbled mess of information without a strong narrative to make it interesting. For a comprehensive guide to sex (with tongue-in-cheek tone and even drawings), you're better served by Paul Joannides' The Guide to Getting it On, which is now in its sixth edition – and a classic.

Jen A. Miller, Times correspondent

How Sex Works: Why We Look, Smell, Taste, Feel, and Act the Way We Do

Dr. Sharon Moalem

Harper, $26.99

Review: 'How Sex Works: Why We Look, Smell, Taste, Feel, and Act the Way We Do,' by Dr. Sharon Moalem 05/22/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 22, 2009 4:30am]

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