Writing for TIME, author Stef Penney argues that the reason for the incessant explicit sex in her new book is not for triggering greater sales by titillating readers in a salacious way, but rather because she’s a feminist.
Forget about the past, when women had dignity and weren’t hopping from one partner to another with abandon; those days are gone, according to the breathless author. She notes that when she spoke to her female friends about the book, “We tumbled through a flood of questions. Why had we never talked about our sexual pleasure in explicit detail before? Why did we not achieve good, orgasmic sex until our mid-twenties, or later?”
They were positively decrepit, and goodness knows how many partners they had to plow through before they reached the sexual peak for which they pined.
Penney seems to have had her own share of difficulties; she writes of prior writing that eschewed explicitly graphic sexual scenes, “But why should achieving romantic and sexual satisfaction — one of the most difficult challenges we face as humans — be redacted or blurred?”
Ah, but the real reason for Penney’s odyssey through explicit sex is because she wants to educate her readers. After noting her “quest for knowledge and precedent,” in which she “sought out scientific research, erotic poetry and literature,” she boasts, “The more I read, the more I realized how important it would be for me to write my scenes in steamy, awkward, mutual and real graphic detail.”
I wanted to create a story that honored the sexual biographies of both partners from both points of view, that showed how they reach the point where they come together and why their relationship is the way it is. And while we’re on the subject of coming together, simultaneous orgasm was one myth I encountered over and over again in my research. ...
Penney concludes with this peroration:
We need to be able to talk, teach, learn, write and read about sex, honestly and seriously, without — or in spite of — derision and censure. Unless we share specifics, we’ll never understand one another’s experiences. You can’t support women’s empowerment without frank and open discussion of their sexuality.
And that “frank and open discussion” will sell more books.