FREE AND FEMALE: The Sex Life of the Contemporary Woman by Barbara Seaman

FREE AND FEMALE: The Sex Life of the Contemporary Woman

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An intelligent and generally optimistic (men are learning) discussion of various familiar and not so familiar aspects of sexual liberation (which she equates with ""giving up the masochism that, subtly passed on from mother to daughter, has so long characterized women in the Western world"") ranging from the bedroom to the office to the hospital delivery room. Supplementing the recent corpus of medical and psychiatric studies on the subject (e.g., Dr. Sherfey's The Nature and Evolution of Female Sexuality, see below) with her own survey of 103 independent and sexually active contemporary women, Ms. Seaman takes an affirmative and undogmatic look at the Big O (""a liberated orgasm is any orgasm you like, under any circumstances you find comfortable"") and provides a tongue-in-cheek sampling of ""100 Sensuous Women"" and what turns them on -- everything from ""a mustache"" to ""piercing eyes and a large aristocratic nose."" Her advice on birth control is sobering and cautionary, especially vis-a-vis side effects of the pill, and a chapter on ""How to Liberate Yourself from Your Gynecologist"" makes an intelligent and persuasive -- though hardly novel -- case against drugged, anesthetized childbirth on your back. (It was introduced in the 16th century as a ""civilized"" innovation ""for the convenience of obstetricians."") Various (male) sexual savants -- e.g., Dr. David Reuben -- are soundly rapped for dispensing misinformation on body issues and the American (not European) propensity to perform frequently unnecessary Caesareans and hysterectomies is examined with conservative good sense. A brief chapter on the children of liberated women presents recent research data which seems to show that children, especially girls, actually benefit psychologically from mother working. A forthright and judicious entry in a well-covered field.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1972
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan