One of O Magazine’s Must-Read Books for June 2013
A provocative and personal meditation on sex, power, and female desire
Today’s women, we’re told, have more options in exercising their desire than ever before in history. And yet the way we talk about desire is virtually as constrained as it was for the Victorians. There’s an essential paradox at the heart of female sexuality: What we demand in our public lives is often in direct contrast to what we crave in our intimate lives.
In the tradition of Susan Sontag and Virginia Woolf, Katherine Angel has forged a path through cliché, convention, and secrecy, and the result is Unmastered, a searching and idiosyncratic account of her studies in sex as an academic and of her experiences of sex as a woman.
Unmastered isn’t merely personal confession; it is also a powerful reckoning with our contradictory and deeply entrenched notions of sexuality. Angel embraces the highly charged oppositions—dominance versus submission, liberation versus dependence—and probes the porousness between masculine and feminine, thought and sensation, self and culture, power and pliancy, always reveling in the elusiveness of easy answers.
With remarkable candor, Angel reflects on the history of her encounters and beliefs, and shows how our lives are shaped by the words we use and the stories we tell. The result is a revelatory book that examines and then explodes our most deeply rooted assumptions. Lyrical, brave, and sometimes disarmingly funny, Unmastered will start a thousand debates.