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Now updated with groundbreaking research, this award-winning classic examines the construction of sexual identity in biology, society, and history.

Why do some people prefer heterosexual love while others fancy the same sex? Is sexual identity biologically determined or a product of convention? In this brilliant and provocative book, the acclaimed author of Myths of Gender argues that even the most fundamental knowledge about sex is shaped by the culture in which scientific knowledge is produced.

Drawing on astonishing real-life cases and a probing analysis of centuries of scientific research, Fausto-Sterling demonstrates how scientists have historically politicized the body. In lively and impassioned prose, she breaks down three key dualisms — sex/gender, nature/nurture, and real/constructed — and asserts that individuals born as mixtures of male and female exist as one of five natural human variants and, as such, should not be forced to compromise their differences to fit a flawed societal definition of normality.

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"There is nobody I trust more to guide me on the topic of sex and gender than Anne Fausto-Sterling. She is unequivocally brilliant. As masterful, fresh, and vital as it has always been, this new edition of Sexing the Body should be required reading for everyone, especially now."
Angela Saini, author of Superior and Inferior
"A fascinating and essential book, at once vigorous, erudite, amiable, and sly."—Natalie Angier
"Boldly eschewing binary conceits, Sexing the Body remains a groundbreaking appraisal of the broad spectrum of human experience. Anne Fausto-Sterling's fluency with both biological science and social theory still dazzles. And we now inhabit a world this perceptive book helped us to apprehend. It remains a work of enduring power and impact. A bona fide classic."—Alondra Nelson, author of The Social Life of DNA
"There is nobody I trust more to guide me on the topic of sex and gender than Anne Fausto-Sterling. She is unequivocally brilliant. As masterful, fresh, and vital as it has always been, this new edition of Sexing the Body should be required reading for everyone, especially now."—Angela Saini, author of Superior and Inferior
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