Buy my book
My first book, The Sex Effect, explores indirect and hidden relationships between sex and culture. A.J. Jacobs summed up the premise best when he called it "Freakonomics without pants." You can order it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound, BAM!, and Indigo. Material from the book has appeared in Rolling Stone, Refinery29, Slate, Vice, Thought Catalog, Poynter, World Policy Journal, and Maxim. The book has also been featured in Esquire, Business Insider, Decider, Freakonomics' Tell Me Something I Don't Know, WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show, Dr. Drew Midday Live, The Chris Stigall Show, Ira Wood's The Lowdown, Pacific Standard, Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, Banner Press, Daily Nebraskan, Swagger NY, Between the Lines, and Windy City Times. Below are a description and reviews of the book.
A gripping exploration of the relationship between sex and our society, with a foreword by bestselling author A.J. Jacobs. "The Sex Effect" explores questions like: How did the U.S. military inadvertently help make San Francisco a mecca of gay culture? And what was the original purpose of vibrators? According to Kirkus, this is book is "certain to instigate debate and productive discussion."
Why do political leaders become entangled in so many sex scandals? How did the US military inadvertently help make San Francisco a mecca of gay culture? And what was the original purpose of vibrators? In this well-researched exploration of human sexuality, journalist Ross Benes bares all about the role of sex in shaping the seemingly innocuous and non-sexual aspects of our lives, from religion to politics to technology.
With hilarious wit and sharp insights, The Sex Effect draws on all aspects of the social sciences, including history, psychology, religion, economics, and sociology, combining innovative research and analyses with captivating anecdotes to reveal just how much sex affects the world around us. Featuring a foreword from best-selling author A.J. Jacobs, The Sex Effect is a gripping exploration of the ways sex influences our society, and how the world around us affects our sex lives.
A witty discussion of the indirect role sex plays across political, economic, religious, and cultural landscapes...a probing, multifacted commentary on the social science of sex and society...a book marinated in provocative assertions that are certain to instigate debate and productive discussion. - Kirkus
Ross Benes’ smart and enjoyable book takes us on a fascinating odyssey through the hidden ways that humanity's endless struggle with sex influences the entirely unsexual aspects of our daily lives. The secret history of Graham crackers, the rise of pelvic massages by sheepish doctors, the story of military-sanctioned brothels, all are narrated with wit and unexpected insight. - Ogi Ogas, co-author of "A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire"
Benes has combined history, epidemiology, anthropology, neuroscience and whatever it takes to produce a well-written, engaging, clever, highly informative book. The Sex Effect is a welcome respite from the usual partisan bickering and moralizing that this subject usually evokes. - Edward C. Green, former Director of the Harvard AIDS Prevention Project
Benes winnows out many surprising motivations behind familiar products, and also shows how, for everyone from cereal makers to pharmaceutical companies, sometimes the best-laid plans lead to marvelous tangential results. Conversational, approachable, and credible, Benes delivers story after story that will surprise you and challenge your assumptions: Once you have read this book, I doubt you will ever eat a weasel again. - Patchen Barss, author of "The Erotic Engine"
The Sex Effect is an entertaining and well-researched exploration of the unintended consequences of our sexual misapprehensions and mythologies. Benes reminds us at every turn how persistent and pervasive is the parallax between what's true about human sexuality, and what we insist on believing about it.- Rachel Maines, author of "The Technology of Orgasm"
A thought-provoking read on a subject that would otherwise seem to have been overworked already - Daniel Halperin, former senior HIV prevention advisor at USAID
This is is a no nonsense, honest, factual and clearly exposed dialogue about human sexuality. The social constructs and interesting historical developments that shape attitudes toward masturbation, homosexuality, religious influences and scandals all come under intelligent consideration. The text is infused with sociological and psychological wisdom without ever being dogmatic and certainly never boring. - Richard Sipe, author of "Sex, Priests, and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis"
The topic of sex elicits intense moral and political sentiments, so it’s especially important to approach it in a clear-headed way. This book does an excellent job with that – the only preaching you’ll find here is in favor of a more rational understanding of sex. Far more wide-ranging than most books about sex, it surveys the diverse and counter-intuitive ways in which sex impacts society. Engaging and honest, you’ll be surprised by how much you learn. - Michael Price, Brunel University psychology professor and Psychology Today contributor
In this fascinating work, buttressed with massive research from impeccable sources, Benes shows how sex and the perception of sex affect so many aspects of cultures from why we eat corn flakes to the economic influence of gay communities and more. - Richard Kimbrough, author of "History Mysteries"