This book has two basic points:
1. Women’s sexuality is markedly different from male sexuality
2. Women’s sexuality, although likely grounded in an actual biological orientation, is highly susceptible to context and culture and is not fixed but fluid
This books traverses a wide terrain of sexuality studies in a thorough and critical manner. Although it doesn’t take a hard line position on almost anything, it presents enough material for a reader to form and informed opinion.
Several points of interest from this book include:
1. It demonstrates a substantial lack of research on women’s sexuality as compared to men’s.
2. Does a fairly critical overview of Neuroendocrine Theory. This is the study of the effects of prenatal hormonal exposure on sexuality.
3. It exposes the inadequacies of the homo/hetero/bi sexual labels. Given the changing nature of women’s sexuality and the rather rigid boundaries proposed by such categories, the author argues against their use, more or less.
4. Proceptivity refers to the hormone-driven aspect of sexuality and arousability refers to the contextual aspects of sexuality such as triggers or cues. The author suggests that fluidity is most strongly connected to arousability.
5. Something about love. Coming soon.
This book presents a rigirous overview of sexuality studies particulary in relation to women and more particularily in relation to women and same-sex relationships. Where it lacks is in the rather toned down references to cultural and historical influences and social structures that impede this topic. She does mention it at times but there is a wealth of theory and criticicms in regards to the ways in which women’s sexuality is tied to capitalism and patriarchy in a variety of forms. Perhaps this literature is too radical and the author was wise in avoiding it, but I think they would make a great pairing.