- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Aug. 4 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1451685785
- ISBN-13: 978-1451685787
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 259 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #313,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality Paperback – Aug 4 2015
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“Hills argues persuasively that when our value is tied to sexual desirability and performance, we live with a new kind of shame…The Sex Myth provides a clarifying framework for understanding new versions of old contradictions…Hills makes a smart argument against that strain of neo- or anti-feminism that would have women rebel against objectification by objectifying ourselves.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Rachel Hills has written a bracing and brave interrogation of contemporary assumptions about sex – how and with whom and why we have it, and what it means if we don't. Here is a fresh voice and a welcome perspective, cutting through attitudes that are supposed to be progressive and liberating, but can too often oppress and stifle us just as effectively as older taboos.” (Rebecca Traister author of Big Girls Don’t Cry)
“A thoroughly engaging new book…one filled with as many “aha!” moments as this one, is going to be enough for plenty to pick it up. If you’re interested in beauty and physical appearance on top of that, The Sex Myth has even greater wealth. Hills skillfully lays out the ways that sex has become entwined with people’s images, including how we use appearance to give a managed vision of sexuality.” (The New Inquiry)
“Based on interviews, research, and her own observations, Rachel Hills proposes, in The Sex Myth, cutting edge ideas about – and smart solutions for – the gulf between the lofty and often warped ways our current culture depicts and views sex and the way modern sex actually is. A pragmatic, refreshing, and interesting look at and discussion of the way we live and love today.” (Cathi Hanauer author of Gone and editor of The Bitch in the House)
“Rachel Hills intelligently and ably dissects the myth that to be satisfied and sexually relevant we must diligently exercise (and enjoy!) the freedoms of our supposed sexual liberation. Through the stories of real men and women, she lays bare the truth that despite its advertised “empowerment” and “adventure” this new prescription is no different than those past: by imposing a narrow definition of sexual relevance, it implies that most of us are not measuring up. The Sex Myth offers an inclusive alternate definition of sexual freedom, in which we are at liberty to enjoy whatever pleases us. Rachel Hills is bound to find a place on the shelf alongside Ariel Levy, Naomi Wolf, and Jennifer Baumgardner.” (Melissa Febos author of Whip Smart)
“Hills adroitly reveals how sex functions individually and collectively in identity formation.” (Bustle)
“Pretty much everything you think you know about sex – from magazines extolling mind-blowing orgasms in positions only Cirque de Soleil can accomplish, to sit-coms' nudge-nudge allusions, or fifty shades of any color – is wrong, says Rachel Hills. And thank goodness, too! The gap between these media-spooned fantasies and our actual sex lives is enormous, and is designed to leave most of us feeling like sexual losers – which keep us consuming more fantasies. In a book that is both assured and reassuring, Hills reminds us that there are as many sexualities as there are people, and that most of us find sex fun, intimate, communicative, and pleasurable. Which means – big exhale – we're probably doing it right.” (Michael Kimmel, PhD author of Manhood in America)
“Feminist and journalist Rachel Hills spent seven years researching the limits of our cultural understanding of sex. In what may bring huge relief to readers, the resulting book, The Sex Myth, proves through scientific and anecdotal evidence (Hills conducted almost a thousand interviews around the Western world) that when it comes to sex, there is no normal…Part of the beauty of The Sex Myth is that it unearths interviewees who, unlike in the single story, are experiencing a dry patch…Hills’ work is important; as well as giving us the language to deconstruct enforced sexual norms, she allows us to discover the sex lives of hundreds of different people. And in this, The Sex Myth dismantles the single story.” (Kill Your Darlings)
"Hills, a feminist, goes directly to where many feminist writers don't—right into the hearts, rather than the hormones, of men." (Mother Jones)
“Rachel Hills thinks complexly about a subject we all too often simplify and helps us better understand the true diversity of sexual experience. We can never understand sex fully if we mythologize and misunderstand either its pleasures or its perils. She’s helped me think in new ways about the intricacies of cultural representations of sex and eroticism as we’re living them right now.” (Carol Queen, PhD co-founder, Center for Sex & Culture (sexandculture.org))
About the Author
Rachel Hills is an Australian journalist living in New York City. Her work has been published widely both in print and online, in publications including Vogue, NYMag.com, Cosmopolitan, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, and many others. Her blog, Musings of an Inappropriate Woman (RachelHills.Tumblr.com), has more than 100,000 subscribers spanning the globe. The Sex Myth is her first book.See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The center of her argument is that our culture attaches an enormous amount of meaning to sex and that a person's sex life serves as a proxy for how attractive, interesting or valuable a person is in the rest of their life. Or, as Rachel Hills puts it, "There is a sense that sex is uniquely revealing: that if someone has a certain type of sex, they must be a certain corresponding type of person." Her interviews include people from the United States, Australia and the U.K. who all feel that their sex lives don't match with who they are, or how they think of themselves.
Hills argues that sex doesn't deserve nearly this much weight and emphasis and that the reality is that sex isn't nearly as life-affirming as most people believe without question. I don't think Amazon will let me post a link to it, but if you're still not sure about buying the book, watch her TED talk entitled "Is Sex Necessary?". Search for that on YouTube and you'll find it. In that 9 minutes, she expertly lays out much of her argument.
In the end, the message of the book is hopeful and inclusive. You are not broken and you never were. It doesn't matter if you're a virgin at 25 or 35. That doesn't mean you're unattractive or unlovable....it just is. Another book which I feel is a good companion is Sara Eckel's It's Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You're Single. Her emphasis is on romantic relationships, not sex, but there is quite a bit of overlap, particularly regarding the pressure to be "coupled up" by a certain age.
My only negative remark is that the extensive questionnaire at the end of the book, along with the cited sources, means that you finish the content well before you'd think. I read this on my Kindle, and the book was done at 65%. I imagine that the print version would be the same.