Journalist Krasnow (The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes to Stay Married, 2011, etc.) shares the skinny on women's sex lives.
The author chronicles her interviews with more than 150 subjects, mostly women, in an effort to explore the role of sex in their lives today. They range in age from 30-somethings adults to women nearing 90. These days, with marriage and raising a family often postponed until the 30s, the romance of dating is becoming obsolete. Single 20-somethings are increasingly embracing the casual hookup culture found on college campuses. The romantic intimacies of marriage yield to the stress of the early stages of parenting, frequently exacerbated by postpartum depression and exhaustion. Some of the author’s interviewees report being gratified by the new sexual norms, which allow them to initiate sexual encounters even though these are not always satisfying. However, Dr. Justin Garcia, an assistant professor of Gender Studies at Indiana University, warns that hookups frequently involve alcohol and drugs and can leave women vulnerable to assault. Krasnow discusses how to deal with other strains on intimacy, including later-life problems such as divorce or death, the search for a new partner, or a man who is addicted to sex with the assistance of Viagra. “There is no gold standard sexual relationship to which women must aspire toward,” writes the author. “[W]ho we love and how we love is ultimately the definition of our humanity.” Still, the author devotes much of the book to the joys of uninhibited, exploratory sex with or without romantic frills. The erotic overtones in the interviews and the author's own commentary are intended to encourage anything-goes sexual exploration—accepting the inevitable failures and treasuring the carnal highs.
A nuanced, revelatory account of the role of sexual freedom in modern intimacy.