Bad Sex: Truth, Pleasure, and an Unfinished Revolution

Plume. Aug. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780593182765. $28. SOC SCI
For people burned out by everything from political assaults against gendered and sexual bodies to online dating and reality television, Aronowitz’s title will surely elicit a laugh, a sigh, and a sense of recognition. The subtitle, though, is what takes the book from the personal to the polemical—the text delivers as much of the promised truth, pleasure, and revolution as it does depictions of what is bad about the current state of sex. Her chapter titles (which include clever nods to current practices related to status, desire, and the changing guises of patriarchal power structures) do not provide a linear trajectory but help readers move from “bad sex” to “good sex,” with the extensive analysis of historical information, rhetorical tricks, gendered traps, and much more. For some, Aronowitz’s prose style may feel too conversational. The danger of this is that it may also feel antiquated before the subjects she covers are socially addressed and no longer in need of a compendium like this.
VERDICT Aronowitz’s chatty tone and corpuscular language explodes myths in ways that will help readers clearly recognize the lies they’ve been fed. Highly recommended.
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