Hurts So Good: The Science and Culture of Pain on Purpose


Product Details

$28.00  $26.04
Publish Date
5.9 X 9.3 X 1.0 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

Leigh Cowart is a researcher and journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Magazine, Buzzfeed News, Hazlitt, Longreads, Vice, and other outlets. Before becoming a journalist, Cowart was immersed in academia, doing research on subjects like sexual dimorphism in leaf-nosed bats, and resource allocation in flowers. They live in Asheville, NC.


"Informative explanations of the neurobiology of pain and pleasure, and plenty of personal reflection on the author's own relationship to masochism. Queasy readers need not apply...Cowart's raw study offers insight."--Publishers Weekly
"Is understanding pain--and specifically why people seek out pain--the key to understanding ourselves? Before I read Hurts So Good I wouldn't have thought so, but now I'm convinced. I found myself wondering why this book didn't exist before; and the answer is, because Leigh Cowart had to be the one to do it. This is a deeply-researched, blazingly-written tour de force that unlocks so much of human desire, compulsion, damage, and grace. If there's such a thing as the Great American Popular Science Book, you're looking at it."
--Jess Zimmerman, author of Women and Other Monsters
"A thorough examination of a widely-shared human experience. Cowart blends memoir with research and observation deftly, and boldly shares the gritty details of her own sensation-seeking body. Relevant to anyone seeking to understand their own relationship with physicality. A must-read for those of us who find ourselves trying to explain so many complex things about our relationships to pain."
--Stoya, writer and pornographer
"Hurts So Good is a high wire act during which Cowart weaves together the science of enduring pain for pleasure with their own personal, maniacally visceral experiences. The latter scenes are written so vividly--blood, guts, excrement, swollen and frozen bodies--that, at times, Cowart seems to be daring the reader not to finish. But finish you should, because there's no better exploration of masochism's appeal."--Elon Green, author of Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust and Murder in Queer New York
"Cowart has endless compassion for humans trying to find meaning and purpose while trapped in our fallible meat sacks. Hurts So Good is funny, explicit, and oddly wholesome."--Caitlin Doughty, author of the New York Times bestseller Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
"It's testament to Leigh Cowart's skill and charm that a book about pain should feel so joyful, that a deeply taboo subject should get such a bright and vivid airing, and that experiences that should induce winces instead trigger laughs and moments of deep profundity. Hurts So Good is a book of wonderful paradoxes--a rich, hilarious, and endlessly fascinating look at a world that most of us know but few of us understand."
--Ed Yong, Pulitzer Prize-winner and author of I Contain Multitudes