The author probes her troubling relationship to sex.
As a teen, Cohen, who wrote the young-adult novel Easy (2006), indiscriminately sought the sexual attention of men and boys her age in a desperate attempt to make up for the love her parents denied her. Figuring she slept with close to 40 partners before realizing “doing so was not serving [her] well,” the author recounts in spare, incisive prose the many unfulfilling sexual exploits she enacted in a vain attempt to secure “proof of being loved.” Looking back on those moments, her bald account brings to the fore the double standard between the sexes when it comes to promiscuity. “For a man this might be a pleasant trip down memory lane, counting up his conquests,” she writes. “But for a girl, it’s a whole other story. I had let these men inside me, wanting that to make me matter to them. Wanting it to make me matter.” Cohen’s training as a psychotherapist is clearly evident. She reveals an impressive analytic prowess as she exposes the damaging self-effacement that underlies the seeming assertion involved in attracting men to her and then driving them away. Though by the memoir’s end she’s changed course and entered into a long-term relationship that meets her needs, Cohen admits: “I’ve learned at this point there’s no shot I can receive, no pill I can take, no therapy I can be a part of that will give me the resolve to do the things I need to do to be loved. It’s a choice. A simple choice. I say I want intimacy. I say I want to be loved. But really, I’m petrified. The straight truth is, I don’t know if I have it in me, and I’m scared to find out that I can’t.” Cohen’s ultimate ownership of her issues leaves as much of an impression as her openness in putting them out there.
An important look at the dynamics of female sexual power and promiscuity in general.