walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_What You Really Really Want_, Jaclyn Friedman (kindle)

A couple weeks ago, I decided to try out some of the MSNBC weekend political shows. Some of these have hosts that I've enjoyed watching guest host on evening MSNBC news wrap up/political shows. During the Melissa Harris-Perry show, there was a really excellent segment on Porn in America with Tristan Taormino (who, I swear by the great goddess who loves us all, people really do refer to as the anal sex lady -- and not just punditry. Friends of mine.) and Jaclyn Friedman. The host was doing the segment because of the last few months worth of war on women slut shaming (notably, the pasty guy being apparently very confused about how birth control pills work and thinking that if the public purse was paying for the pills, it had a right to video of the sexxoring, too).

Anyway. Great discussion. I was not familiar with either of the women who were talking, but I liked them both. A lot. So I picked up Friedman's book on the kindle. Friedman is writing to an audience probably somewhat younger than me (say, college aged, but inclusive enough to applicable to nearly anyone who identifies as a woman), and definitely is aiming the book at someone who is trying to figure out what they want and how to get it. If this book had existed in the late 1990s, I would have probably stalked Friedman and tried to get her to date me. Alas, I wrote my own and it's really not nearly as good, altho mine was also not aimed exclusively at women or focused primarily on sex. Friedman concluded, as I did, that getting to a point where you know what you want and have ways to get it with sex is a lot like/involves a lot of doing the same things in other relationships. Otherwise, the approaches she uses are very unlike mine, in that she includes quizzes and writing exercises.

And that is where we parted company. The book assumes you are trying to figure out what you want and develop better ways to get it. Been there. Doing that. Wearing the uniform. Also, as implausible as this will sound, I am not a big fan of The Writing Exercise. (Shocking, I know. Please. Enjoy laughing at how un-self-aware I am. Watch me roll my eyes at you.)

There are many, many, many wonderful things about this books. It is amazingly inclusive (uses cis-gendered!). It covers many difficult topics (rape and other sexual violence, class/religion/etc. background). It does a really nice job on describing and developing boundaries -- and why that's really important and useful. But the single best thing it does throughout is be crystal clear: this book doesn't get you more prospects, more dates, more sex, more whatever. What it does is ensure that your prospects/dates/sexual activities and relationships are much more likely to be with people who are compatible and healthy for you (and you for them) and generally more enjoyable because you're better at knowing and communicating -- gently -- what you really really want.

So while I definitely did not use the book as directed, I nevertheless believe it is a tremendously awesome book in every way (well, almost every way), and recommend it to all women and, heck, most men.
Tags: book review, non-fiction, sexuality

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