Bad Sex: Truth, Pleasure, and an Unfinished Revolution

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Penguin, Aug 9, 2022 - History - 272 pages
From Teen Vogue sex and love columnist Nona Willis Aronowitz, a blend of memoir, social history, and cultural criticism that probes the true meaning of desire and sexual freedom in today’s age

At thirty-two years old, everything in Nona Willis Aronowitz's life, and in America, was in extreme disarray. Her marriage was falling apart. Her nuclear family was slipping away. Her heart and libido were suffering from overexposure. Embroiled in an era of fear, reckoning, and reimagining, her assumptions of what “sexual liberation” meant were suddenly up for debate. 

It was in that moment of personal and political sea change that Nona turned to the words of history’s sexual revolutionaries—including her late mother, early radical pro-sex feminist Ellen Willis. At a time when sex has never been more accepted and feminism has never been more mainstream, Nona asked herself: What, exactly, do I want? And are my sexual and romantic desires even possible amid the horrors and bribes of patriarchy, capitalism, and white supremacy?

Bad Sex places Nona’s intimate history alongside her family history and other stories stretching back nearly two hundred years: those of ambivalent wives and unchill sluts, Free Lovers and radical lesbians, sensitive men and woke misogynists, women who risk everything for sex, who buy sex, reject sex, have bad sex and good sex. The result is a brave, bold, and vulnerable exploration of the enduring barriers to sexual freedom. This book lays bare the triumphs and flaws of contemporary feminism and also helps shine a light on universal questions of desire.

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About the author (2022)

Nona Willis Aronowitz is the sex and love columnist for Teen Vogue. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Cut, Elle, Vice, The Washington Post, and Playboy, among many others. She is the coauthor of Girldrive: Criss-Crossing America, Redefining Feminism. She is also the editor of an award-winning anthology of her mother Ellen Willis’s rock criticism, called Out of the Vinyl Deeps, as well as a comprehensive collection of Willis's work, The Essential Ellen Willis, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.

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