email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
269 Amazing Sex GamesA History of MarriageA Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth CenturyActionAll the WayAlways Forever MaybeAmerica UnzippedAmerica UnzippedAmerica's Sexual TransformationAmerican EugenicsAmerican GirlsAmerican HookupAn Interpretation of DesireAnarchism & SexualityAnatomy of a BoyfriendAnatomy of LoveAnthony GoicoleaAnticlimaxArt and HomosexualityArt/PornAssuming a BodyAutoportraitBachelors and BunniesBecoming OrgasmicBehind the Red DoorBest Sex Writing 2005Better Sex Through YogaBetter Sex Through YogaBetter Than EverBetween Mom and JoBeyond Diversity DayBeyond SexualityBeyond SpeechBeyond ToleranceBig Porn IncBill HensonBodies in DoubtBody ImagesBonkBoys & SexBoys Don't CryBreasts - A DocumentaryBrothelBuying SexCase Studies in Communication about SexCase Studies in Sexual DevianceCaught in the WebCelibaciesChildren and SexualityChildren and the Politics of SexualityChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChristy ReportClay's WayClinical Manual of Women's Mental HealthClose toYouClumsyCold HitCollege SexComing of Age in AmericaConfessions of the Other MotherCybersexCyborgasmDare... to Make Love with 2, 3, 4... or MoreDare... to Try BisexualityDating: Philosophy for EveryoneDeadly ButterflyDebating Same-Sex MarriageDeep GossipDeparting from DevianceDesire, Love, and IdentityDigital DiariesDilemmas of DesireDirty MindsDirty StoriesDisorders Of DesireDisorders of Sex Development:Doing ItDoing ItDoing It Down UnderDown and Dirty Sex SecretsDude, You're a FagEarly Embraces IIIEmerald City BluesEmotionally InvolvedEnjoying Guilty PleasuresErotic CapitalErotic InnocenceErotic PassionsEthics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about ChildrenEveryday PornographyEvolution and Human Sexual BehaviorExploring TranssexualismFade to BlackFagbugFaking ItFamilies Like MineFast GirlsFinal JeopardyFinding H. F.Fire on the Mountain DVDFor Lesbian ParentsFor The Bible Tells Me SoForbiddenFrictionFrom Disgust to HumanityFrom Shame to SinFuckologyGay, Straight, and the Reason WhyGender in the MirrorGender OutlawsGeography ClubGetting OffGetting RealGetting the Love You WantGirls & SexGirls Gone MildGirls Gone SkankGLBTQGoddess WorshipGoing DownGood GirlsGood PornGood Sex IllustratedGreat Answers to Difficult Questions About SexGuide To Getting It OnHandbook New Sexuality StudiesHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHard to GetHardcore from the HeartHear Us Out!HeterosyncraciesHit & MissHomosexualitiesHookedHooking UpHow Sex Became a Civil LibertyHow Sex ChangedHow Sex WorksHow To Be GayHow to Do Things with Pornography How to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Have Magnificent SexHow to Make Great Love to a ManHow to Make Great Love to a WomanHow to Make Love Like a Porn StarHow to Think More About SexHypnography for MenHypnography for WomenHysterical MenI'd Rather Eat ChocolateI'll Be Your MirrorIf Men Could TalkImpotenceIn a Queer VoiceIn Praise of the WhipIn the Mood, AgainInsatiable WivesIntense Games DVDInvestigating Young People's Sexual CulturesIt's Perfectly NormalIt's Perfectly NormalItís Your HourJane Sexes It UpJock SturgesJust Between UsKama-Sutra--The Secrets to the Art of LoveKids Gone WildLegalizing ProstitutionLegalizing ProstitutionLet's Get This StraightLets Talk about SexLetters to Penthouse Vol. 50Likely to DieLittle ChicagoLoose GirlLosing Matt ShepardLoveLove and DesireLove and SexLove JunkieLove Lust DesireLove SickLustMad for FoucaultMagical ThinkingMaking American BoysMaking Babies the Hard WayMaking Chastity SexyMaking Peace with PornMaking ScenesMale SexualityMalefemaleMaster BreastsMating in CaptivityMedicalized MasculinitiesMelancholia and MoralismMenMental Health Issues in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities MiddlesexMoney ShotMoral Panics, Sex PanicsMy Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me UpMy HeartbeatMy Horizontal LifeName All the AnimalsNatural BeautyNerveNerveNew Sex Now DVDNightswimmingNone of the AboveNormalNormalNot GayNot My ShameNot The Marrying KindNot Under My RoofNothing PinkOedipus WreckedOn Being RapedOne Hot SecondOne Hour in ParisOpenOrgasmOrgasm Inc.OrgasmologyOrgasmsOver 100 Truly Astonishing Sex TipsOverexposedPeekPeriod PiecesPervPhilosophizing About Sex Philosophy of Love, Sex, and MarriagePhilosophy of Love, Sex, and Marriage: An IntroductionPhilosophy of Sex and LovePin-up GrrrlsPINSPlease Don't Kill the FreshmanPolicing SexualityPolyamory in the 21st CenturyPornPorn NationPorn StudiesPorn UniversityPornifiedPornlandPornographyPornographyPornographyPornography, Sex, and FeminismPosition Of The Day PlaybookPray the Gay AwayPredatorsPremarital Sex in AmericaPrinciples and Practice of Sex TherapyPrivate Dicks - Men ExposedPrivate Practices DVDProblem GirlsPrudePsychopathia SexualisQueer PhilosophyRapeRape Is RapeRated X - A Journey Through PornRazmatazRecruiting Young LoveRedefining GirlyRedefining RapeRegulating SexRelax, It's Just SexRethinking Gender and Sexuality in ChildhoodRethinking RapeRunning with ScissorsSatan's Sex BookScreening SexSelling Sex ShortSexSex & Single GirlsSex (Ed)Sex and SpiritSex and the American TeenagerSex and the SoulSex and the Soul, Updated EditionSex and WarSex at DawnSex by NumbersSex DetoxSex Fiends, Perverts, and PedophilesSex in AntiquitySex in CrisisSex in the World of MythSex ObjectSex OffendersSex on the BrainSex PositionsSex Q & ASex, Family, and the Culture WarsSex, or the UnbearableSex, Therapy, and KidsSex, Time and PowerSextasySexting and Young PeopleSexual ArtSexual Boundary ViolationsSexual DevianceSexual DisordersSexual EcstasySexual EthicsSexual FluiditySexual IntelligenceSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapySexual Orientation and School PolicySexual PleasureSexual PredatorsSexual Teens, Sexual MediaSexuality in AdolescenceSexuationSexyBookShameShameShamelessShy GirlSlutWalkSmall FavorsSmutSocial Control of Sex OffendersSome Assembly RequiredSplit ScreenStir-FryStraight to JesusStrange BedfellowsStripped BareSurviving Sexual ViolenceSymptoms of Being HumanTalkTalk to Me FirstTechniques of PleasureTestosterone RexThe Anthropology of SexThe BabiesThe Better Sex Guide to the Kama SutraThe Big Book of PornThe Birth of the PillThe Blue Moon Erotic Reader IIIThe BodyThe Breast BookThe Breath of Tantric LoveThe Busy Couple's Guide to Great SexThe Case of the Female OrgasmThe Chemistry Between UsThe Clitoral TruthThe Dangerous Art of Blending InThe Education of SophieThe Emergence of SexualityThe End Of AliceThe End of SexThe Erotic EdgeThe Erotic Lives of WomenThe Essential KamasutraThe Evolution of BeautyThe Fate of GenderThe First Man-Made ManThe First TimeThe Gay Baby BoomThe Good Vibrations Guide to SexThe Happy Hook-UpThe Hite ReportThe Humble Little CondomThe Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive OrgasmThe Illustrated Story of OThe Incurable RomanticThe Love CureThe Madness of WomenThe Men They Will BecomeThe Mirror of LoveThe Miseducation of Cameron PostThe Moral Panics of SexualityThe Naked Truth About SexThe Nature of Sexual DesireThe New Erotic PhotographyThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Only Girl in the CarThe Order of the Poison OakThe Origins of SexThe Other HollywoodThe Other PlaceThe Other Side of DesireThe Perils of MasculinityThe Perversion of YouthThe PervertThe Phenomenology of Sex, Love, and IntimacyThe Philosophy of PornographyThe Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary ReadingsThe Pleasure's All MineThe Politics Of LustThe Porn TrapThe Pornographer's GriefThe Pornography IndustryThe Praeger Handbook of TranssexualityThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Purity MythThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Right to Be ParentsThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Addiction WorkbookThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Sex MythThe Shared HeartThe Sleep of ReasonThe Smart Girl's Guide to PornThe State of AffairsThe Story of SexThe SurrenderThe Ten Minute Sexual SolutionThe Tenth CircleThe Transformations of GwenThe Transformations of GwenThe Trauma MythThe Ultimate Guide to Sex and DisabilityThe Vagina MonologuesThe ValleyThe Violence of CareThe Virgin BlueThe Virginity ClubThings Tom LikesThings We Didn't Talk About When I Was a GirlThinking KinkThinking XXXToo Hot to HandleTransTransTransgender Children and YouthUltimate JudgementUltimate SexUndoing GenderUnlikelyUntangling the WebUntrue VirginVirgin NationVirgin Sex for GirlsVirgin Sex for GuysVirginity LostWhat Does Consent Really Mean?What Women WantWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhat's Happening to Tom?What's Wrong with Homosexuality?When Jeff Comes HomeWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen the Piano StopsWhere Do We Fall When We Fall in Love?Who Has What?Who's Been Sleeping in Your HeadWilhelm ReichWired for IntimacyWomen and Child Sexual AbuseWomen and MadnessWritten in the FleshYou Know Me WellZen Sex

Related Topics
Sex & Single GirlsReview - Sex & Single Girls
Straight and Queer Women on Sexuality
by Lee Damsky (Editor)
Seal Press, 2000
Review by Kari Kesler
Nov 13th 2001 (Volume 5, Issue 46)

This book invokes its title from Helen Gurley Brown's 1962 Sex and the Single Girl, an advice book (Cosmopolitan magazine style) for the newly sexually liberated female of the time. Much has changed since 1962, and women today navigate a wholly different sexual landscape. While possibilities abound, so do conflicting expectations regarding women and sexuality. Lee Damsky points out in her introduction that Brown's concept of "the single girl," warped and reductionist as it was in the 60's, makes even less sense today. Attempting to understand what single girls are up to these days, Damsky warns that "the last thing we need is another advice book. But with so many possibilities and so few role models, I couldn't help being curious about what other women are doing with their sex lives these days." The purpose of this collection is explore the sexuality of Gen X women, understanding all the while that sexuality and sexual expression are not separate from the rest of women's lives. The sexual decisions we make (and don't make) say a lot about who we are and how we understand the world we live in.

Sex and Single Girls is a feminist collection of 44 essays from straight and queer women telling their own stories of sexual experiences, identities and desires. This collection explores how these varied women currently understand their own sexuality and the sexuality of others. Contributors come from a variety of backgrounds and sexual/gender orientations: all flavors of queer and straight, a variety of class, racial and cultural backgrounds, able-bodied and disabled women. Contributors also represent a broad variety of sexual experiences; from Black Artemis, a thirty year-old virgin, writing about the joys of solo sex with sex toys in "Armed and Satisfied", to Meg Daly's "The Allure of the One-Night Stand," in which she writes about the one-night stand as "a sort of enigmatic lover in itself . . . [that] I would court for years to come." Contributors write about solo sex, group sex, vanilla sex, BDSM sex, sex drives, sexual relationships, sex ed - the list could go on and on.

Although some of these essays are pretty steamy, and graphic details are rarely held back, this is not an erotica collection. This book is at turns hilarious, tender, and sad, but never disappointing. I found myself wanting to send essays to friends of mine, and this book will definitely make into more than a few of my buddies stockings this holiday season. It reminds me of discussions I have had over the years with friends, as we talk sex and relationships. However, this book brings me insights from so many wonderful women I have not had the pleasure of counting among my friends. Many of the themes that emerge are familiar to me. As a Gen X girl myself, I understand the struggle to define and defend sexual autonomy in a sex-saturated culture. Like many of the writers, I too grew up on a diet of pornography, with sophisticated knowledge of sexual techniques and jargon years before I learned about my own sexual desires. This "information age" of sexuality has forced us to become more discerning, but has also left us much room to explore. This collection helps put a frame of reference on these experiences, and asserts female sexuality as the many-faceted, many-splendored thing it is.

Let me give you a brief sampling of some of my favorites from this collection. Probably my favorite essay is "Seductions of a Bordertown Boy," in which Karleen Pendleton-Jiménez recounts her experiences of living in an ambiguously gendered body as a Latina butch lesbian. This essay ends with the retelling of a (metaphorical?) sexual encounter between the writer and - you're not going to believe this - President Clinton. Our writer tops Clinton, as he explains that "he no longer had sexual relations with heterosexual women, or men, or anyone else besides butch dykes. That [this] sexuality defied any regulation definition of sexual relations thought up by any legal or government system." This is good stuff. Ironic, hilarious, and very smart, this essay is an excellent examination of the complicated power dynamics that accompany sex. In fact, the link between sex and power is a theme that runs through many of the essays, with each author offering up a slightly different take on the subject.

Adrien-Alice Hansel, in "The Long Walk Home," explores the power of self-definition and community regulation. Raised in a working class environment with her relatives, Hansel's mother struggled to paste a middle-class veneer onto their lives, often with disastrous results. Hansel never spoke in her childhood world of her lesbian desires and activities, since desire, and especially lesbian desire, was a taboo subject. "I wasn't victimized or ashamed," she says, "I was invisible." Later, as she entered the lesbian community, she found no place to speak of her working class background. Hansel laments that "The queer community has bred as much complacency as comfort, much like the farmland of my youth . . . The world I have entered denies the world I am from." This theme of duality and integration is also echoed in many of these essays. Contributors discuss the many communities they belong to in which they can express the many sides of themselves, but find few, if any spaces in which to be their whole self.

Magdalen takes a more humorous and applied approach to this problem in "Confusion is Sex," when she wonders "why's it so damned difficult to find someone you're sexually compatible with? And if you should find him or her, what are the chances that your non-sexual lives, traits and preferences will match up to any reasonable degree?" As she ponders the possible reasons for this all too common disjuncture between "Real Life" and "Sex Life" she forms a few hypotheses. My personal favorite: "It could be caused by a secret potion, dumped into the water by local freebie newspapers to ensure the ongoing popularity of their personal ads."

The women we hear from in these pages relate varied tales of coming into their own sexual power, and of having it taken from them. We hear of rape, childhood sexual abuse, and sexual harassment in more than a few of these essays. It is unfortunate but true that we cannot talk about women's sexuality without discussing women's sexual victimization. But their stories, bold and unflinching, show us the resiliency and cleverness of women as they take control of their sexuality and their lives.

Women take this control in many ways - by shunning stereotypes, interrogating their own desire, reclaiming sexual scripts and stereotypes, and never making assumptions. Simplistic understandings of gender, sexuality, feminism and desire are blown apart inside the covers of this book. Sex and Single Girls is wholly unpredictable and immensely satisfying. I recommend it without reservation to anyone looking for a more real picture of sexuality in all its wonderful forms.

© 2001 Kari Kesler

Kari Kesler recently completed her Master's degree in Women's Studies at Texas Woman's University. She has published work on feminism and sexuality in Jane Sexes it Up, and her research interests include sexuality, lesbian and queer studies, and Latina culture. She now resides in Seattle, Washington and works for a sexual assault resource center.


Welcome to Metapsychology.

Note that Metapsychology will be moving to a new server in January 2020. We will not put up new reviews during the transition. We thank you for your support and look forward to coming back with a revised format.

We feature over 8300 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!

Join our Google Group!

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716