Books by Naomi B. McCormick

Released: Nov. 1, 1994

This academic exploration of female sexuality is marred by a facile categorization of feminists. Sexologist McCormick (Psychology/State Univ. of New York, Plattsburgh; Changing Boundaries: Gender Roles and Sexual Behavior, not reviewed) simplistically defines feminists as either ``Liberal'' or ``Radical.'' She constructs the former as focused on women's sexual pleasure and the latter as concerned with protecting girls and women from sexual abuse and exploitation. Placing her work as outside the typical model of sex research centered on white, middle-class heterosexual women, McCormick seeks to widen her readers' conception of female sexuality with her discussion of seduction, intimacy, lesbians and bisexuals, female sex-trade workers, pornography, and models of pleasure and fulfillment. She challenges the popular belief that sex should have orgasm as its goal, asserting that it denies many women their sexuality, especially those who are paralyzed or otherwise disabled. In the context of her research, McCormick encourages us to move beyond the ``dehumanizing [equation of] sexuality with genital juxtapositions and intercourse'' and to view sexuality as ``a whole body and whole mind experience.'' She is at her strongest in her explorations of women sex-trade workers, sexual victimization, and pornography; she advocates the legalization of prostitution and the creation of erotic material that affirms women's sexuality. Unfortunately, McCormick has a tendency to idealize women as more sentimental, affectionate, and desirous of intimacy than men. She sees female sexuality as almost spiritual, which leads her to make some extravagant generalizations. She suggests, for instance, that lesbians value intimacy more than sex, that loving lesbian relationships work better than gay or straight relationships, and while she lists the dangers faced by female participants in the sex-trade industry, she tends to glamorize their agency. A flawed but sometimes astute analysis of power and sexual relations. Read full book review >