Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis” as Want to Read:
Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  102 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Phallacy looks closely at some of nature's more remarkable examples of penises and the many lessons to learn from them. In tracing how we ended up positioning our nondescript penis as a pulsing, awe-inspiring shaft of all masculinity and human dominance,.

Emphasizing our human capacities for impulse control, Phallacy ultimately challenges the message that the penis makes th
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 22nd 2020 by Avery Publishing Group
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Phallacy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Phallacy

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  102 ratings  ·  28 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis
Petra-X Off having adventures
Sep 24, 2020 marked it as books-owned-but-not-read
A penis book fits together with a vagina one, so I got this book for balance as I got The Medieval Vagina yesterday. I already know quite a lot about penises (view spoiler) like barnacles have the longest penises for their size in the world, they are also prehensile and go out into the crowd of other penises looking for a vacant vagina. Nature's Nether Regions And that in bats, the more promiscuous ...more
Mrs. Europaea
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting things I never knew I wanted to know. I liked that Willingham discusses the void areas of research on female evolution because.. well... women, who cares?
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book – PHALLACY: LIFE LESSONS FROM THE ANIMAL PENIS by Emily Willingham - and I are not a natural reading match, and yet, it’s certainly turned into one of the most interesting books I’ve read this year.

This book is about putting the penis in its place. Willingham demonstrates how skewed cultural perceptions about penises equalling power is refuted in nature and that our social constructs have given rise to this fallacy. Her examples of scientific research projects where the female species
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was highkey really fascinating.
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-favorites
So interesting! I heavily annotated this one and will likely spend the next week with a horrible case of the didjaknows, which I will quickly follow up with facts about the penis that various creatures have.

Huge kudos for being inclusive in regards to the spectrum that gender exists on. I was a little worried that a book like this might distill gender into just genitalia. It absolutely worked against that line of thinking and pointed out that the science supports inclusivity of gender on a spec
Laura Ilsė
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
The book is quite hard to evaluate as it's distinguished into two parts: biological also socio-cultural.
The part dealing with biology is a real pleasure: it's written in a fun and comprehendible manner, complex, astonishing and simply weird animal copulation acts are described extraordinarily punny (like "funny" but "punny", you get it?) and at times it seriously got me laughing hysterically. This part truly packs you with super weird animal sex facts that you can tell your friends at a bar (if
Luke Spooner
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
My Review: GROSS

My Actual Review: Guys, I am not trying to be funny, this is one of the best science books I think I have ever read. Yes, there are lots of funny and weird penis (or intromittum) facts, but the author also uses that to provide a pretty good primer on evolution and gene expression. The writing is fun and accessible, but I think what really puts this book above a lot of science writing is it also places the science within a sociological context, discussing how things like gender bi
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so, yes, I picked this book up because I'm twenty-nine going on twelve, but. It was fantastic! Really informative, but interesting, while (for a book about penises) being intersectional! The only bad thing was I wish it had been longer (heh. Said the actress to the bishop.) (Told you I was twelve.) ...more
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is amazing! I love the author's snarky writing and her obvious anger and frustration towards male-dominated scientific research. It's a very refreshing insight on sexuality and biology, and incredibly eye-opening to see how little research has been done on vaginas and female genitalia in general. I loved how extensive the author's work was, as she wrote about many different species and for humans, different cultures. I really enjoyed the last chapter on penises in human culture, societ ...more
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Beware of any science writer who in all seriousness ends a paragraph with #truth.

Also, when will people realize that effective advocacy for women's rights doesn't mean or excuse misandry?

Anyway, I'd write a more thorough review about the bad writing, the belittling comments towards researchers, the obnoxious attempts at humor and wit, and the excessive and inappropriate insertion of political ideas, but honestly, the book left me too exasperated to even want to bother.

Could someone please write
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy Willingham's science writing, and this book is an example of her best work: It's insightful, accessible, entertaining (full of intriguing diversions to revisit later), and thoroughly researched. Phallacy balances a sharp critique of cultural and scientific biases with an absorbing and often very funny survey of the animal penis in all its bizarre, varied forms (web search terms helpfully provided for those who want video). Willingham frames the book with a teardown of our preoccupation w ...more
Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it
In short, the things we know about all penises (and arguably most female reproductive organs, too) are often centered from a Western, male perspective. Regardless, a fascinating look at all types of penises.
Alvaro Pérez
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
There's a good book hidden in this pages but in its current form I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to, and I really wanted to like this book.

The book it's supposed to be an examination of the penises in the animal world that can help in understanding the culture around the human penis, and while indeed there's some of that, the book feels a bit too disorganized and it's often hard to grasp the points its making.

My main issue with the book is in the way chapters are organized and divided. E
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
CW: sexual harassment of a child, attempted rape (of an adult)

Pop sci isn’t usually my genre of book, so I definitely found myself surprised at how much I enjoyed this! While the book attempted to make itself accessible for those of us who’d had only high school biology, there were still several things I needed to look up. This is not a criticism of the book at all, and I preferred looking up the terms I was unfamiliar with than having all of them spelled out multiple times in the book. Wry and
Sugarpuss O'Shea
I thought this book was going to be a book similar to Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep (which I absolutely LOVED!). But when it started with the author's tale of her grandma's gardener's inappropriate sexual advances, I knew this wasn't the book I thought it was. I may come back to it when I'm in the mood for female empowerment. In the meantime, it's on to some cephalopods. ...more
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First, there's no option for the Audible version, but that's what I 'read.' Having the author read this to me was a real treat, especially since I would never have known how to pronounce many of the species names and anatomical parts, but also because you could tell where the irony was by the tone of her voice.

Anyway...a fantastic, illuminating, and fascinating read. Just enough social commentary embedded to keep reminding me of the reason I was learning so much about the penis of a flea or a ba
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed Emily Willingham’s Phallacy, notably that she calls into immediate spotlight that a companion piece on Vaginas could not be written due to the lack of research. I appreciated Willingham’s ability to approach the issues with the bias of research interests and funding in mind. Her bright, conversational tone makes each section and chapter a delight. There is quite a bit of joy to be found in the footnotes as well (aside from an inappropriate slam against people with attention issue ...more
Mason C
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An insightful and intelligent book. I usually prefer fiction, but this book intrigued me. I'm glad to have read it; Willingham is witty and quite funny in her prose and capably explains the intricacies of the penis and the roles it plays in society and in the animal kingdom. I would recommend it strongly to anyone who has even the mildest interest in the subject matter: it is a "perspective-changing" book for sure! Looking forward re-reading it in the near future. ...more
Thomas McElrath
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A funny, provocative, and critical view of phallic phallacies. Featuring penis puns, regular puns, and more entertaining footnotes than you could shake a phallus at, this book examines the multitudinous phalluses in nature, but more importantly, examines who we talk about penises in general, making several salient and excellent points about toxic masculinity, sexuality, and our own human foibles.
Jerri Love
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Seminal stuff. Buy this book - you won't get shafted. Brilliant author and scientist takes on a hard topic and creates an interesting read that won't go over your head. Seriously, it was very interesting. Dr. Emily Willingham has written what should be the go-to book on animal di**s. I listened to the audiobook and found the author's voice pleasant and thoroughly enjoyed her wit. ...more
Courtney Llewellyn
Jan 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Fun biology stuff! But I felt like the author got a little too caught up in some details/terminology. I also thought there'd be more "life lessons" other than the main one presented. I honestly would have liked more images, too, but I'm an odd one. ...more
Eric Jackson
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Thoroughly snarky and enjoyable science. Quite a lot about the matching parts as well as dead on hits to the patriarchy.
Kenneth Bernoska
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Haha, intromitta! INTROMITTA!! 🦑
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
“Have you ever wondered how big a whale’s vagina is? It’s big.”
Nov 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cracked me up! "Of course there is a video of that"! ...more
Vicki Larson
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I didn't know what to expect when I read "Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis." I wasn't really interested in animal penises, although this book alerted me to the fact that it's a thing with highly watched YouTube videos (I have not indulged). But it was enlightening to learn that the focus on penises of all types to the exclusion of all sorts of vaginas has not only hampered our understanding of science in general, but also our understanding of female humans. And it's also been incredi ...more
Siying Dong
rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2020
rated it really liked it
Nov 22, 2020
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
  • The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling
  • B is for Burglar (Kinsey Millhone, #2)
  • The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)
  • Girls Like Me
  • The Art of Communicating
  • The F List
  • A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone, #1)
  • Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women
  • How to Argue With a Racist: What Our Genes Do (and Don't) Say About Human Difference
  • If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future
  • Always the Last to Know
  • C is for Corpse  (Kinsey Millhone, #3)
  • Dirty Charmer (The Bodyguards, #1)
  • An Accidental Death (D.C. Smith #1)
  • Pastry Love: A Baker's Journal of Favorite Recipes
  • A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (And Some Bears)
  • The Body in the Library (Miss Marple, #3)
See similar books…

Related Articles

For more than a decade, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the world-renowned astrophysicist and host of the popular radio and Emmy-nominated...
86 likes · 15 comments