Men want women and women want to be wanted.
This is the main conclusion that author Hephzibah Anderson reaches in her book Chastened: The Unexpected Story of My Year Without Sex. The title of the book is a lie. Frtom what I have been able to glean from this interview with the author, there is absolutely nothing unexpected in this tired rehashing of ancient patriarchal stereotypes about female sexuality. Men want sex, while women want to feel desired and accepted, which they achieve through sex. We have heard this a million times before from every purveyor of patriarchal ideology under the sun.
As usual, instead of analyzing when and why her personal view of female sexuality became so sadly screwed up, Anderson goes where everybody who has no courage to confront their own psychological issues usually goes: blaming society. Slipping into an annoying "we" that is aimed at convincing the author that her uneasy attitude to sex is somehow prevalent, she complains of the "pressure" she feels to be sexual:
It made me realize we're under such pressure to be sexual beings all the time and constantly up for it. It gets exhausting.It's curious that other manifestations of normal human physiology (eating, sleeping, using the toilet, etc.) don't provoke the same kind of exhaustion on Anderson's part. One would think that this might lead the author to consider why this one particular area of human physiology is so problematic for her. No such luck, however. Anderson's entire project of going for a year without sex was a result of her long and losing battle to get her lover dump the woman he is engaged to. Instead of considering that maybe her unhealthy attitude to female sexuality is scaring people away from her, the author decides to take the easy path of blaming the universe for not being willing to adapt itself to her deeply ideological view of sex.
We can understand everything about Hephzibah Anderson's approach to life if we read her answer to the final question of the interview. Would she try going yet another year without sex? the journalist asks her.
"Well, no," Anderson responds. "Though I will say that the year chronicled in the book was followed by a year of writing the book, and the year of writing the book was infinitely harder and far less fun."Not having sex is this author's idea of fun. It is a lot more joyful for her than writing books. I can only imagine how painful it is to read a book that was such a drag for the author to write.
P.S. Thank you my friend Kola for sending me this curious interview and by doing so robbing me of sleep last night. :-)