Georgia O’Keeffe’s work became increasingly revolutionary at the same time that she began a highly erotic relationship with photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Gertrude Stein also experienced a great leap forward in her work, both in its experimentation and its sensuality, following her relationship with Alice B. Toklas. And for Edith Wharton, Emma Goldman and Kate Chopin, periods of great creativity and daring in their lives and work all coincided with periods of sexual awakening.

Could a profound connection between a woman’s brain and her experience of her vagina affect her greater sense of creativity—even her consciousness? In her provocative and important new book, VAGINA: A New Biography (Publication date: September 11, 2012; $27.99; 384 pages), bestselling author of The Beauty Myth Naomi Wolf argues that this connection is not only real—and long-overlooked—but that it is fundamental to a woman’s sense of self.

Spurred by the experience of an unexpected medical crisis – an injured pelvic nerve that temporarily affected her own physical sensation – Wolf set out to uncover why and how the brain and vagina are really best understood as “one system.” Understanding the brain-vagina connection, she learned, is not merely a key to more transformative sex for women – it is a key to female self-actualization, and thus to female power, creativity and confidence.

Examining the science behind the sex, Wolf explores in fascinating detail the biology of female arousal and its complexities as she draws on cutting-edge neurobiological research and studies to elucidate the brain-vagina connection. From considerations of the work of great women artists, to interviews with leading scientists and psychologists, as well as with individual women, from her own reporting on the mass sexual violence in Sierra Leone to a look back at the shifting cultural history of the vagina, Wolf sets out across the world to uncover the neuroscience, physiology and anecdotal evidence that show “what women really need” in order to awaken their full potential.

Both enthralling and inspiring, VAGINA is a call-to-arms for men and women and a revelatory work that will rouse impassioned conversation.

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