Monday, November 1

Bettina Arndt: The Sex Diaries

From the back of the book:
“From the time I started working as a sex therapist back in the early 1970s, people have been talking to me about their sex lives. What I hear about most is the business of negotiating the sex supply. How do couples deal with the strain of the man wishing and hoping while all she longs for is the bliss of uninterrupted sleep?”
Bettina Arndt recruited ninety-eight couples to keep diaries, revealing their intimate negotiations over sex. Who feels like having sex? Who doesn’t? And how do couples cope if one person wants it more than the other? She draws on her thirty-five years of experience as a sex therapist and psychologist to provide a provocative analysis that challenges our basic assumptions about sex. With her characteristic humour and insight, Bettina Arndt proposes a new approach to how couples can enjoy regular sex-and sustain loving relationships.
I was attracted to this book by a combination of a voyeuristic streak and the title of the first chapter, “Fifty thrusts and don’t jiggle my book”. The humour implied by that title wasn’t forthcoming but this sociological study presents a combination of statistical analysis and case studies in a light and accessible way that avoids becoming frivolous.
The diary extracts from study participants were a fascinating inclusion and quite eye-opening. Stories of mismatched sex drives abound, but it was the recording of sexual negotiations that took place (or didn’t) that I found most interesting.
Though the research focussed on predominantly straight couples there was a brief look at the differences between homosexual and lesbian sexual behaviour as well.
This is not a how-to book for anyone hoping to improve their sex life, neither is it an attempt to legitimise titillating erotica. What it is, is an interesting and objective report about the sexual behaviour of the ‘average’ Australian adult.-Lynn.

No comments: