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Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and Desire in the Age of Consent

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A provocative, elegantly written analysis of female desire, consent, and sexuality in the age of MeToo Women are in a bind. They are told that in the name of sexual consent and feminist empowerment, they must proclaim their desires clearly and confidently. Sex researchers tell us that women don't know what they want. And men are on hand to persuade women that what they want A provocative, elegantly written analysis of female desire, consent, and sexuality in the age of MeToo Women are in a bind. They are told that in the name of sexual consent and feminist empowerment, they must proclaim their desires clearly and confidently. Sex researchers tell us that women don't know what they want. And men are on hand to persuade women that what they want is, in fact, exactly what men want. In this environment, how can women possibly know what they want—and how can they be expected to? In this elegantly written, searching book Katherine Angel surveys medical and psychoanalytic understandings of female desire, from Freud to Kinsey to present-day science; MeToo-era debates over consent, assault, and feminism; and popular culture, TV, and film to challenge our assumptions about female desire. Why, she asks, do we expect desire to be easily understood? Why is there not space for the unsure, the tentative, the maybe, the let's just see? In contrast to the endless exhortation to know what we want, Angel proposes that sex can be a conversation, requiring insight, interaction, and mutual vulnerability—a shared collaboration into the unknown. In this crucial moment of renewed attention to violence and power, Angel urges that we remake our thinking about sex, pleasure, and autonomy without any illusions of perfect self-knowledge. Only then will we bring about Michel Foucault's sardonic promise, in 1976, that "tomorrow sex will be good again."


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A provocative, elegantly written analysis of female desire, consent, and sexuality in the age of MeToo Women are in a bind. They are told that in the name of sexual consent and feminist empowerment, they must proclaim their desires clearly and confidently. Sex researchers tell us that women don't know what they want. And men are on hand to persuade women that what they want A provocative, elegantly written analysis of female desire, consent, and sexuality in the age of MeToo Women are in a bind. They are told that in the name of sexual consent and feminist empowerment, they must proclaim their desires clearly and confidently. Sex researchers tell us that women don't know what they want. And men are on hand to persuade women that what they want is, in fact, exactly what men want. In this environment, how can women possibly know what they want—and how can they be expected to? In this elegantly written, searching book Katherine Angel surveys medical and psychoanalytic understandings of female desire, from Freud to Kinsey to present-day science; MeToo-era debates over consent, assault, and feminism; and popular culture, TV, and film to challenge our assumptions about female desire. Why, she asks, do we expect desire to be easily understood? Why is there not space for the unsure, the tentative, the maybe, the let's just see? In contrast to the endless exhortation to know what we want, Angel proposes that sex can be a conversation, requiring insight, interaction, and mutual vulnerability—a shared collaboration into the unknown. In this crucial moment of renewed attention to violence and power, Angel urges that we remake our thinking about sex, pleasure, and autonomy without any illusions of perfect self-knowledge. Only then will we bring about Michel Foucault's sardonic promise, in 1976, that "tomorrow sex will be good again."

30 review for Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and Desire in the Age of Consent

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Brilliant. Rtc after I attend a London Review Bookshop author event with Angel and Olivia Laing on Monday.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chantal Lyons

    I am not familiar with the author's work, but I admit I had expected the book to be much more in the journalistic quasi-self-help vein of books like Emily Nagoski's 'Come As You Are' and various other titles, featuring interviews with or vignettes of women and their various experiences with sex. Instead, 'Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again' is a highly academic text, the kind I might have expected to be assigned to read at university. This often does the author's vital analysis a disservice - there I am not familiar with the author's work, but I admit I had expected the book to be much more in the journalistic quasi-self-help vein of books like Emily Nagoski's 'Come As You Are' and various other titles, featuring interviews with or vignettes of women and their various experiences with sex. Instead, 'Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again' is a highly academic text, the kind I might have expected to be assigned to read at university. This often does the author's vital analysis a disservice - there were many times when the same point was reiterated repeatedly and unnecessarily, and the language was often opaque. For example: "These kinds of maximally inclusive accounts in fact push the concept of 'reasons' to the limits of intelligibility". That said, I honestly feel liberated by this book. It has torn the covers off so many social and cultural phenomena that have made me quietly uneasy without being able to articulate the reasons for this. The author's analysis was new and original to me, and yet, it instinctively spoke to me. Her prose could also - when not hung up on maintaining dry academic appearances - be astoundingly beautiful, profound, and even erotic. This is a treatise that I wish every person in the world would read. I just hope the style of writing and argument doesn't put the book's potential readership off. (With thanks to Verso Books and NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liv

    Sex Will Be Good Again by Katherine Angel Katherine Angel uses science studies and popular culture to examine female desire, consent and sexuality. It's a non-fiction piece split into four parts: On Consent, On Desire, On Arousal and On Vulnerability. Her chapter 'On Consent' was probably the most fascinating for me. Her discussions surrounding the MeToo movement and how there was almost a culture of pressure that emerged from this. A pressure that arguably was forcing individuals to share their s Sex Will Be Good Again by Katherine Angel Katherine Angel uses science studies and popular culture to examine female desire, consent and sexuality. It's a non-fiction piece split into four parts: On Consent, On Desire, On Arousal and On Vulnerability. Her chapter 'On Consent' was probably the most fascinating for me. Her discussions surrounding the MeToo movement and how there was almost a culture of pressure that emerged from this. A pressure that arguably was forcing individuals to share their stories in order to display their "feminist powers". Her exploration of "consent culture" and how it places the focus and onus on the woman to explore what she wants, to say what she wants was really quite thought-provoking for me. She talked about the difficulties of understanding our own desires can make this problematic and how consent culture can lead us into a trap of only seeing women agreeing to sex rather than desiring sex. Her arguments surrounding consent culture were very nuanced and this is only a small glimpse, and she was by no means saying consent is not important. I also really appreciated her explorations in the chapters 'On Desire' and 'On Arousal' surrounding the scientific studies and the problems with examining sex in a scientific context. Who is willing to come forward and talk about sex and their sexual desires truthfully? Who is willing to have sex for a science experiment? Who has been selected for these studies, is it just white cisegendered heterosexual men? And can sex be science or is it all just the erotic? I thought her considerations surrounding physical arousal and connections with consent, desire, and sexuality were also really interesting and something that I have not seen discussed enough. I will say the final chapter 'On Vulnerability' disappointed me a little and I felt that the whole book lacked a conclusion drawing it together. In addition to that the book read quite academically in places. I do think the book can still be accessible for people invested in the topic though. My one major complaint is the referencing in this book which is just page numbers listed at the back with no footnote references so I don't know whilst reading when there is a reference. I'm not sure if this is a new trend to try and promote these books as more accessible and less academic, but really is just a poor stylistic choice for me. Especially when the book clearly has a specific target audience and listed as non-fiction. On the subject of intersectionality, Angel acknowledges the piece is largely heteronormative and cis-gendered focused but hopes those in gay/queer relationships and trans individuals will find some resonance with the book. However, given her own experiences and identity she doesn't feel best placed to explore the more nuanced details of those relationships in this context. This isn't to say she ignores queerness for the rest of the book and she still gives some considerations to binary nature of sex studies, to attitudes towards sex and gender more broadly. She also considers how racial divisions feed into sex and sexuality and discusses elements like the oversexualisation of women of colour. Given the shortness and realms of the book I thought Angel offered insight to these subjects, but there almost certainly require full books of their own for further exploration. Overall though, Katherine Angel has a really fascinating book with a lot of nuance and thought and I really appreciated the whole reading experience. It gave me a lot to think about.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Focused and insightful book, teasing out countless strands surrounding sex, power dynamics, societal pressures, and consent in a very thoughtful and intelligent way. It reminded me in parts of What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About #MeToo: Essays on Sex, Authority and the Mess of Life, but arguably coming from a more empathetic and nuanced perspective. Very readable, well-researched, and not pretending to have any quick answers to a very messy and complex part of human life and society. Hig Focused and insightful book, teasing out countless strands surrounding sex, power dynamics, societal pressures, and consent in a very thoughtful and intelligent way. It reminded me in parts of What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About #MeToo: Essays on Sex, Authority and the Mess of Life, but arguably coming from a more empathetic and nuanced perspective. Very readable, well-researched, and not pretending to have any quick answers to a very messy and complex part of human life and society. Highly recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ariail Heath

    This is such an interesting read. When I picked it up, I wasn't really sure what I was in for. Katherine Angel does a great job of combining an immense amount of sexual literature in one spot to determine how women can take back their power in sex. Focusing on the #metoo movement, previous infamous murder trials, James Deen's Girl X, and other instances allows you to work through how different perceptions are made and how to counter them. If this is a topic you want to dive in on, I highly recomm This is such an interesting read. When I picked it up, I wasn't really sure what I was in for. Katherine Angel does a great job of combining an immense amount of sexual literature in one spot to determine how women can take back their power in sex. Focusing on the #metoo movement, previous infamous murder trials, James Deen's Girl X, and other instances allows you to work through how different perceptions are made and how to counter them. If this is a topic you want to dive in on, I highly recommend reading this. It will not only give you a great amount of information but also give you many other sources whether it be former research projects or other books. Overall this book does read more along the research paper type versus the female empowerment approach. Thank you Katherine Angel, NetGalley, and Verso Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Warwick

    Katherine Angel wrote a really great book about the complexities of desire a few years back, called Unmastered, in which she worked through the implications and the contexts of sexual arousal in a very personal and undogmatic way. Now she has expanded some of those ideas into a fuller treatise on the subjective experience of sexuality (mainly for straight women) taking into account the current narratives around consent, desire, arousal and vulnerability (her four chapter titles). I really like th Katherine Angel wrote a really great book about the complexities of desire a few years back, called Unmastered, in which she worked through the implications and the contexts of sexual arousal in a very personal and undogmatic way. Now she has expanded some of those ideas into a fuller treatise on the subjective experience of sexuality (mainly for straight women) taking into account the current narratives around consent, desire, arousal and vulnerability (her four chapter titles). I really like the way Angel talks about sex, and this felt to me (probably wrongly) as a welcome injection of Britishness into a debate dominated by voices from the US, where experiences and conversations are, I think, often different in important ways from those on my side of the Atlantic. Like I say, that's probably bullshit. But in any case her tone and her approach are much more congenial to my tastes than some other writers in this area. It is particularly nice to see some current orthodoxies critiqued from a position of (what I read as) sympathetic leftism, rather than abandoning such criticism to rightwing antifeminist spaces. Angel gets away with it because, although this represents more of a general social statement than her earlier book, she retains the same sense of exploring issues as she goes, talking them through with an open mind, rather than approaching them with pre-defined ‘truths’ that need to be defended. Typically her technique involves explaining a strand of thinking, then discussing criticisms of it, and insinuating by her tone that she finds neither very satisfactory. This is well illustrated in the first and perhaps most interesting section, on consent. Here she is sceptical about the current insistence on ‘consent culture’, but also not very impressed by the counterarguments of people like Laura Kipnis that it ‘encourages women to see themselves as essentially vulnerable to the predations of men’. Instead, Angel's problem with the debate is more foundational. Firstly, she is concerned about the ‘heavy burden’ being placed on women's speech, which now has to do the job of ensuring pleasure and resolving potential violence. Secondly, the whole thing can be a red herring, since, of course, much sex that is consented to, even affirmatively consented to, is bad: miserable, unpleasant, humiliating, one-sided. ‘Bad sex’ doesn't have to be assault in order for it to be frightening, shame-inducing, upsetting… Her discussion of these issues makes you realise just how legalistic the state of public discourse has often become: Angel is interested in having sex that is exciting and fulfilling, not sex that is merely uncriminal. With this in mind, she reaches her main point, which is that an insistence on women enthusiastically saying exactly what they want misses the fundamental truth that our desires emerge in interaction; we don't always know what we want; sometimes we discover things we didn't know we wanted; sometimes we discover what we want in the doing. This – that we don't always know and can't always say what we want – must be folded into the ethics of sex rather than swept aside as an inconvenience. To do otherwise, she says appealingly, is ‘to hold sexuality hostage to violence’. In the following sections, Angel turns her attention to recent scientific approaches to sex, in particular the much-vaunted ‘responsive desire’ model of female sexuality. (Emily Nagoski is called out here, along with many of the other usual suspects.) This, Angel says, ‘makes me nervous’, in part because, if women are encouraged to go into sex with the expectation that they might not like it until they get going, then ‘how do we tell the difference between reasonable effort in a relationship and unacceptable pressure into sex?’ This is tied, in Angel's narrative, to a more general reframing of women's sexuality as somehow more cerebral and mysterious than men's. She looks at the latest DSM psychiatry bible, noting that while men have desire, women now have ‘incentives and motivation’. ‘Women consider sex, while men want it. Women's interest in sex is less, well, sexual.’ Similarly, she is deeply sceptical of the famous experiment by Meredith Chivers which measured genital arousal while subjects were shown footage of straight sex, gay sex, lesbian sex, and sex between bonobos. Women became physiologically aroused while watched all of them, regardless of what they said they found arousing; men's arousal, on the other hand, matched what they said they were into. Angel doesn't touch on the male-female discrepancy, but she does note that genital arousal doesn't say much about ‘a subjective sense of sexual arousal’, and is irritated by the very different case of Viagra marketing, which goes out of its way to present the drug as having nothing to do with arousal but rather a matter of mere hydraulics. The implication is that ‘men are authorities on themselves, while women are not’. We should prioritize what women say, in all its complexity, rather than fetishizing what their bodies do in the name of a spurious scientism. In all of Angel's discussions, the result is a new and, I think, really productive and freeing awareness of the ambiguity, the messiness of sexuality which goes well beyond mindless orthodoxies or their furious dismissals. Her opinions are sensible and heartfelt, and will probably not gain much traction in wider debate because they are too nuanced to be reduced to a comfortable tweet or upvoted reddit comment. I always read books like this with one eye on my own reactions: do I dislike that point because it makes me defensive? Do I like that argument because it flatters me? Like any good book, there were things in here that I would argue with; it was strange, for instance, to find her claiming that men's desires ‘emerge into the world embraced, valued and protected’, which, in books where men talk about their sexual desires, is pretty much the exact opposite of what they say. But my objection to moments like this is not on the grounds of male experiences per se, which are not really within the book's purview. It is more that I see no need to introduce gender divisons where they aren't relevant to the argument, especially when, in my opinion, most of these problems will only be solved by men and women working together against the bullshit. A utopian view, perhaps – but no more utopian, I don't think, than Angel's plea to break down binary thinking and welcome ‘vulnerability, receptivity, porousness’ back into the ethics of good sex.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Surabhi Chatrapathy

    Tomorrow Sex will be Good again. This book sets out to unpack a whole spectrum of things and while I listened to the introduction I was sacred that it will largely disappoint me. But it definitely didn't! The book is written in the context of the post #metoo movement and predominantly revolves around American laws, culture and studies. But she does include examples and narratives from other parts of the world. Consent culture as she calls it, refers to the importance the notion of consent has re Tomorrow Sex will be Good again. This book sets out to unpack a whole spectrum of things and while I listened to the introduction I was sacred that it will largely disappoint me. But it definitely didn't! The book is written in the context of the post #metoo movement and predominantly revolves around American laws, culture and studies. But she does include examples and narratives from other parts of the world. Consent culture as she calls it, refers to the importance the notion of consent has recieved in the metoo era and after. The idea that clear, articulated consent is key to a consensual sexual experience. She explores how consent is deeply linked with confidence, especially for women. When sex and it's pleasures have been off limits for women for centuries, this pursuit to suddenly claim agency, express it and own it is a change that will take time. No, she isn't saying consent is not necessary, but she tugs at the threads that deem it central to a sexual experience. She illustrates the idea of sex as accepted by the American Psychological Association and what it translates to for a woman. APA says desire, arousal, orgasm are the three stages of sex. But in a global culture where desire is women is hardly heard, allowed how is this staging acceptable? And does arousal mean one desires it? In women arousal (wetness of the vagina particularly) is used as a defence in rape and molestation cases to say they were clearly interested. But she speaks of how a woman's body responds to certain stimulus sans desire as well. So how does this stratification work for women? APA then uses this theory to classify people, particularly women with a sexual disorder largely linked to a lack of desire. On the contrary phrama companies, make drugs like viagara, which clearly aids men to build desire/arousal but will market it as a mere tool that add the mechanics of an erection, but not address desire at all. She speaks of articulation of desire generally leads to slut shaming, 100% increase in vulnerablity and probably violence. Then how does expression of sexual desire play out for women really? Specially when we look at in the context of consent. She also deconstructs a number of sex researches conducted in the States post the II WW. Each of which is highly interesting to learn from. This book truly has a lot to offer. She insists on how knowing one's desire cannot be a qualifier for safety. An extremely thought provoking read!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Seren

    So I read this about a week ago, but life took over and I didn’t get the chance to review it. I absolutely loved it. I’ll be honest, I almost didn’t buy this book because of the cover’s aesthetic similarity to certain mainstream pop-feminist books. I find so much of the mainstream feminist conversation, especially in regards to sex, involves writing that focuses on girl-boss dump-him culture that glorifies individualism and largely ignores underpinning structural issues. The emphasis is always o So I read this about a week ago, but life took over and I didn’t get the chance to review it. I absolutely loved it. I’ll be honest, I almost didn’t buy this book because of the cover’s aesthetic similarity to certain mainstream pop-feminist books. I find so much of the mainstream feminist conversation, especially in regards to sex, involves writing that focuses on girl-boss dump-him culture that glorifies individualism and largely ignores underpinning structural issues. The emphasis is always on how you can change yourself, when maybe it isn’t yourself that’s the problem. Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again is about consent, specifically women’s consent and sexuality. While it of course has a lot to say about rape culture and gender-based violence, Katherine Angel is at her best when she’s criticising mainstream feminist attempts to tackle this culture with campaigns like ‘yes means yes’ and ideas of enthusiastic consent. Yes, those ideas look good on the surface and work as broad ideas, but they fall apart as soon as someone applies any kind of nuance. I think my favourite passage in the book came towards the end, where Angel writes about how actual sex is not as cut-and-dry as easy slogans make it out to be - ‘sex is not something we decide on absolutely. The decision is not static, because sex is not static, and not are people (...) sex is not an object. Sex is not something to be given and taken. Sex is an interaction, resolutely social and interpersonal’ My only real criticism of it is that it’s too short, clocking in at just over 100 pages. I would have loved to have seen Angel’s research and ideas stretched over a couple hundred more pages to really get a sense of their scope. It also focuses entirely on heterosexual relationships between cis men and women, which feels narrow but I understand why she focused on it the way she did - I’d be interested to read a queer perspective on consent and the way hetero-masculinity interacts with it, but that’s another book entirely. More than anything, I love how much this book still makes room for hope, despite all it’s about. It’s not self-help-y in the slightest, but it slips in ideas for change and a potential for a future that doesn’t seem nearly as bleak as it always looks.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Rose

    I read this as part of a "Social Issues" seminar run by a group of statewide librarians. The prompt was to read any two titles on a social issue and I found this book on the shelf of my local library, thinking it was an interesting premise on something I haven't read much about. The first thing I would say about this title is, as a librarian, it is a tough book to recommend to any patron even if I did really enjoy it and believe it to be an important topic. The issue is this book covers so much I read this as part of a "Social Issues" seminar run by a group of statewide librarians. The prompt was to read any two titles on a social issue and I found this book on the shelf of my local library, thinking it was an interesting premise on something I haven't read much about. The first thing I would say about this title is, as a librarian, it is a tough book to recommend to any patron even if I did really enjoy it and believe it to be an important topic. The issue is this book covers so much regarding women and sexual experience that it is difficult for me to recommend knowing how many of my patrons have likely suffered some type of sexual abuse in their lives. It was a hard book at times even for me, so I can imagine it would be very difficult for other women who have suffered as well. That being said I really enjoyed the book overall and liked how the author broke it down into sections on consent, arousal, etc. It made it a bit easier to read as even though this book is short, it is very dense. A great amount of research went into this which I appreciated, but after one section I was feeling so heavy I absolutely needed to take a break, so the chapter breaks were much appreciated. The author emphasizes how in our current society, there is no way for women to win when it comes to sexuality. Either we are whores for enjoying sexuality, we are abused when we do not give up sex freely, and we are told by other women often that we have to be confident and own our sexuality or we're letting misogyny win. There's no middle ground for those who just want to feel things out and take their time, and that only puts more pressure on women. It was a thought-provoking quick read and I found myself interested in other things the author had written by the time I finished! Blog / Twitter / Instagram

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    I received this as a part of the March Verso Comrade Book Club selection. Wasn't sure what to expect. Angel does a superb job explicating a centuries' worth of studies and perspectives on women's sexuality. She does this primarily to critique the current Consent Culture, wherein women (and men) are expected to know precisely what they want and how they want it at all times. Angel argues that sexuality, and just about every other form of human relations, is far more nuanced than a binary of yes a I received this as a part of the March Verso Comrade Book Club selection. Wasn't sure what to expect. Angel does a superb job explicating a centuries' worth of studies and perspectives on women's sexuality. She does this primarily to critique the current Consent Culture, wherein women (and men) are expected to know precisely what they want and how they want it at all times. Angel argues that sexuality, and just about every other form of human relations, is far more nuanced than a binary of yes and no. Instead of expecting a clear and concise 'yes' or 'no,' we need to cultivate room for a nuanced 'maybe, let's keep going, but be ready for me to say no if I get uncomfortable and respect that.' Angel shows how this leads to difficulties, in contemporary legalese, in assault courtrooms wherein judges use every 'yes' a woman uses as evidence that her 'no' wasn't 'strong' or 'convincing' enough. In other words, a woman shouldn't know what she wants in clear detail in order to be protected from violence. There should simply be no assault regardless.. obviously. Inevitably, it is hard to legislate a mindset like this, and Angel recognizes at the end that while this a necessary nuanced relational perspective, it is likely not able to take root in society anytime soon. The hope, though, is that we can all learn to find mutual pleasure in the unknown vulnerable intimate state that is sex, all while recognizing that the only static thing about it is that it is always dynamic - subjective interpersonality is its core.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    I was not expecting this to be an academic text, with quite dense language that isn't as accessible to everyone. Which is a shame, since more people could benefit from reading about topics like consent and vulnerability in sexual relationships. I sincerely hope the author has a chance to write on these topics for a broader audience in the not-too-distant future. This book has introduced me more thoroughly to social/cultural phenomena and frameworks that I had felt a certain unease about, but I n I was not expecting this to be an academic text, with quite dense language that isn't as accessible to everyone. Which is a shame, since more people could benefit from reading about topics like consent and vulnerability in sexual relationships. I sincerely hope the author has a chance to write on these topics for a broader audience in the not-too-distant future. This book has introduced me more thoroughly to social/cultural phenomena and frameworks that I had felt a certain unease about, but I never had the words to explain that unease. Especially her analysis of the #MeToo-movement - the way in which society came to expect every woman to share her story or stories, to name and shame those involved, so people could proudly proclaim just how much of a feminist they were - struck a chord with me. The chapter on the new "culture of consent" was very thought-provoking and has made me see certain things in a new light. The author argues that what we consent to isn't always what we want, since we have trouble understanding our own desires sometimes. Consent culture has trapped women into only being perceived as agreeing to sex, instead of actively desiring it. Overall, this was a fascinating and insightful book that doesn't pretend to have quick and easy questions to a messy part of life. (I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennie Seaman

    I really enjoyed reading this book. This book explores how consent culture works in this current world. It also explores the history of sex research and the development in the research in female pleasure. It explores how consent comes into interaction with someone who might not exactly know what they want. This one quote I think really encompasses the message in this book: "Women, writes sex educator Christina Tesoro, are urged to develop the capacity to say no, as well as the capacity to say a I really enjoyed reading this book. This book explores how consent culture works in this current world. It also explores the history of sex research and the development in the research in female pleasure. It explores how consent comes into interaction with someone who might not exactly know what they want. This one quote I think really encompasses the message in this book: "Women, writes sex educator Christina Tesoro, are urged to develop the capacity to say no, as well as the capacity to say a hearty yes, but they are not taught to say: 'maybe. To say, I'm not sure.'... Or to say 'touch me a little longer first. Touch me at all. Be gentle. Go slow.'" The book seems to confront the idea that feminists are strong and unafraid to say what they want. That there is no flexibility of maybe. They're all supposed to be confident. But not all women always know what they want. Some are timid or shy. This book explores the different perspectives from various writers throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. From writers who were sex-positive to writers who believe that women are liars, this book hits on all of it. This book explores the complexities of physical versus emotional desire. I really enjoyed reading this book and I look forward to more from her in the future. *eARC provided in exchange for an honest review*

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    When Katherine Angel asks "Why should women have to know themselves in order to be safe from violence?" it's an important provocative question, the spine of her argument, that seems to be absent from the public conversation. What does the language surrounding consent mean for the women (or men) who can't know themselves or their own desires and speak them in the moment? What does our understanding of vulnerability to the constantly shifting power dynamics of every social interaction (let alone t When Katherine Angel asks "Why should women have to know themselves in order to be safe from violence?" it's an important provocative question, the spine of her argument, that seems to be absent from the public conversation. What does the language surrounding consent mean for the women (or men) who can't know themselves or their own desires and speak them in the moment? What does our understanding of vulnerability to the constantly shifting power dynamics of every social interaction (let alone the interactions of sex, the most charged and risky) do to our understanding of consent? When we move past the language of consent, the confusion of our desires, the purpose and questions of arousal, and the certitude of our vulnerability surrounding all these ideas, maybe we can be free to safely tread the turbulent waters of sex with each other, or better understand the conversations we need to have, the problems we need to work through together at every moment to insure safety for women. Pulling from popular culture, journalism and science but always within a deeply researched academic framework and strong point of view, this is a compelling and important read - sometimes dense but very short. I loved this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    This was a really quick, but thought provoking read for me. I appreciate someone talking about sex/consent culture and actually mentioning the fact that "enthusiastic consent" isn't the key to avoiding sexual assault. What good is it to teach women to be more vocal about their wants/needs when we all know too well power imbalances that make women afraid to say no? In that same line of thought- what good is it to pride yourself on asking for consent if you won't actually respect their answer or l This was a really quick, but thought provoking read for me. I appreciate someone talking about sex/consent culture and actually mentioning the fact that "enthusiastic consent" isn't the key to avoiding sexual assault. What good is it to teach women to be more vocal about their wants/needs when we all know too well power imbalances that make women afraid to say no? In that same line of thought- what good is it to pride yourself on asking for consent if you won't actually respect their answer or lack thereof? I appreciate the author actually talking about how bullshit most touted "sex science" facts are. "Women have responsive sexuality and men just constantly are ready to go" hurts everyone in our society because it's just simply not true and results from bad science on sex. I also liked how the author broke down famous experiments that tried to "demystify female sexual attraction", but overlooked so many key issues with this type of research. Overall- if you feel fed up with shallow takes on consent/me too/etc then I feel you'd find this worthy of your time. The author does a good job of mentioning intersectional issues while still focusing her scope on consent/sex usually in regards to cis het people.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sonali

    This is precise and eye-opening writing. Katherine Angel takes us through how consent, sexuality, arousal and desire have been thought about in feminist, pop-culture and scientific circles over time and why those conceptions need to change. Consent is not a guarantee for great sex or even safe sex. It presumes that women possess confident self-knowledge about their desires, formulated beforehand, when desire is itself relational, changing, unsure and tentative. So while the consent rubric sets a This is precise and eye-opening writing. Katherine Angel takes us through how consent, sexuality, arousal and desire have been thought about in feminist, pop-culture and scientific circles over time and why those conceptions need to change. Consent is not a guarantee for great sex or even safe sex. It presumes that women possess confident self-knowledge about their desires, formulated beforehand, when desire is itself relational, changing, unsure and tentative. So while the consent rubric sets a minimal legal standard for sexual assault law, it is far too narrow a vision for a utopia where ‘sex will be good again’. I was relieved that Katherine is conscious of race in her analysis and it’s myriad implications for desire. It might be too much of a white feminist agenda to regard sexuality as the primary locus of women’s emancipation. Especially when black men’s sexuality has been deemed dangerous and black women have been historically hyper-sexualised. There is plenty to write here, but anyone interested in a discussion of female sexuality that is both thoughtful and mercifully free of #girlboss language should pick up this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

    A well written and interesting critique of the modern sex movement. This book evaluates the reliance upon consent that the modern sex movement has and the limitations that poses for "good sex" as well as the way that consent neglects the social nature of sex and the role that men must play in creating a masculinity that does not create violence against women. Katherine seems to be arguing for a sexual society that accepts a broad range of arousal and vulnerability in the sexuality of both genders A well written and interesting critique of the modern sex movement. This book evaluates the reliance upon consent that the modern sex movement has and the limitations that poses for "good sex" as well as the way that consent neglects the social nature of sex and the role that men must play in creating a masculinity that does not create violence against women. Katherine seems to be arguing for a sexual society that accepts a broad range of arousal and vulnerability in the sexuality of both genders that is mediated only in part by consent among other relational tools and behaviors. Ultimately, as someone not familiar with formal writings on sex culture and consent, I really enjoyed this book and thought the presentation was clear and digestible even for the uninitiated. I have always been invested in the consent movement and have tried to be an ally to the women in my life, but this book has made me much more introspective of my views and has helped me to understand, a little better, the struggle of being a modern women caught between the sex positive consent movement and the larger society that still punishes women in a myriad of ways.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    In Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again Angel explores the current state of affairs in sex, the role consent, arousal and desire play in it. It is primarily focused on heterosexual sex and the way these topics relate to women. But she also brings into question rigid gender roles, how we think of male desire in our society and how power dynamics influence sex and sexual encounters. While she doesn't disavow the importance of consent she does raise many important questions on how we as a society handle In Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again Angel explores the current state of affairs in sex, the role consent, arousal and desire play in it. It is primarily focused on heterosexual sex and the way these topics relate to women. But she also brings into question rigid gender roles, how we think of male desire in our society and how power dynamics influence sex and sexual encounters. While she doesn't disavow the importance of consent she does raise many important questions on how we as a society handle it and the pressure we put on women to always know what they want and desire. Instead she advocates for vulnerability and the ability to sometimes be unsure of what we want, of exploring together and having open discussions. If you're interested in the topics of consent, power dynamics in sex and gender roles I would pick this up. Katherine Angel definitely brought up interesting new points for me that I had never really considered or thought about before. Disclaimer: I received a free advanced reader copy on Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Thoughtful and thought provoking look at sex, desire and the experience of women and of being a woman. It challenges some concepts that are often held while not belittling them. It explicates a notion of desire and consent that are simultaneously fluid, complex and often inexplicable. The final two chapters are especially resonant. Her counter argument to the idea of broad female sexual receptivity as seen solely, or at least mainly, through physical signs of stimulation is well stated. As well, Thoughtful and thought provoking look at sex, desire and the experience of women and of being a woman. It challenges some concepts that are often held while not belittling them. It explicates a notion of desire and consent that are simultaneously fluid, complex and often inexplicable. The final two chapters are especially resonant. Her counter argument to the idea of broad female sexual receptivity as seen solely, or at least mainly, through physical signs of stimulation is well stated. As well, her picking apart of the inherent inobjectivity involved in most sexual research (constrained as it is by a conservatism in academia toward it) is welcome and elucidatory. Her final chapter does well to celebrate a mystery and sublime element to sex and desire, while not empowering those who would exploit it. Her usage of the concept of vulnerability as both the sublime and dangerous aspect of sex and her explanation of how this effects and challenges men is compelling. Short yet full of ideas. One of the better pieces on sex and desire I have read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emi Bevacqua

    This was a fascinating read, quite dense but quick. Author Katherine Angel quotes thoroughly, from a wide range of sources on the subject of female sexuality, and its associated repression, liberation, morality, criticism, double standards, risks, violence, power dynamics, safety and trust, stimuli, arousal and desire, etc. I wasn't previously aware of the philosopher Michel Foucault, from whom this title comes. I did know what confidence culture and consent culture were in a sense, but having r This was a fascinating read, quite dense but quick. Author Katherine Angel quotes thoroughly, from a wide range of sources on the subject of female sexuality, and its associated repression, liberation, morality, criticism, double standards, risks, violence, power dynamics, safety and trust, stimuli, arousal and desire, etc. I wasn't previously aware of the philosopher Michel Foucault, from whom this title comes. I did know what confidence culture and consent culture were in a sense, but having read this now I get what they're called and how they came about. There is a frustrating amount of unfairness and inanity that surrounds the issues covered, but this book stays its course entertainingly and doesn't come across as dry and didactic. I like the positive message that going forward we should make affirmative consent be about women's desire, pleasure, and enthusiasm. This book is due for release 2 March, 2021. My thanks to Edelweiss+ for the ARC.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kezia

    *3.5 stars Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again is essentially an academic study of consent, with lots of statistics and references to other studies and real cases. I really appreciated the fact that there were regular reminders that women of colour are the most negatively affected by societal attitudes towards sex and consent, as I got no time for white feminism!! Whilst an eye opening and disturbing, this book read a little bit too much like an essay for me to be truly blown away. Regardless of this, *3.5 stars Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again is essentially an academic study of consent, with lots of statistics and references to other studies and real cases. I really appreciated the fact that there were regular reminders that women of colour are the most negatively affected by societal attitudes towards sex and consent, as I got no time for white feminism!! Whilst an eye opening and disturbing, this book read a little bit too much like an essay for me to be truly blown away. Regardless of this, I still think it's incredibly important that we continue conversations around consent and the Me Too movement, and I definitely think this book does a good job of addressing some of these issues and explaining behaviours. At just over 100 pages it's a really quick and easy read, and still manages to cover a lot.

  21. 4 out of 5

    John Mihelic

    I’m a member of the Verso book club where the publisher sends you a book every month. It’s cool and I like supporting independent publishers. I have enjoyed most of the texts that I’ve chosen from the list. This one didn’t really do it for me. It’s a thin hardback I read over a couple of days and then the next day I really couldn’t articulate what I read – It wasn’t bad so I’m not mad that I read it, but it also wasn’t good, so I have warm memories of it. At best it was forgettable, and I feel bad I’m a member of the Verso book club where the publisher sends you a book every month. It’s cool and I like supporting independent publishers. I have enjoyed most of the texts that I’ve chosen from the list. This one didn’t really do it for me. It’s a thin hardback I read over a couple of days and then the next day I really couldn’t articulate what I read – It wasn’t bad so I’m not mad that I read it, but it also wasn’t good, so I have warm memories of it. At best it was forgettable, and I feel bad since I might not be the direct audience, but I do consider myself a feminist ally. So this is just my incredibly subjective opinion and your mileage may differ. Money Amis I had this book on my shelf for years and I recently picked it up because I was

  22. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    “And why should women have to know themselves in order to be safe from violence? ... It’s crucial that we create a world in which none of us are shocked by a woman’s desire or it’s assertion. But we must not think of a person’s desire as some easily identifiable object, some easily accessible part of a person which they can summon up with ease. Sex is made up of countless acts of questioning, expression, and exploration. Why should we know what we want? Why should we not expect men to proceed, wit “And why should women have to know themselves in order to be safe from violence? ... It’s crucial that we create a world in which none of us are shocked by a woman’s desire or it’s assertion. But we must not think of a person’s desire as some easily identifiable object, some easily accessible part of a person which they can summon up with ease. Sex is made up of countless acts of questioning, expression, and exploration. Why should we know what we want? Why should we not expect men to proceed, with us, in exploration?”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    Another for my "i-have-a-whole-bibliography-but-i-have-never-and-can-never-force-a-cishet-man-to-keep-up-with-my-reading-in-any-meaningful-way" feminism shelf. Articulates a lot of my vague feelings re: consent is NOT a good enough metric and sexologists are deeply suspicious creeps in that their research methods primarily seem to revolve around the truism "women are fucking liars." This is a dense, short book, and I know my own biases get in the way of understanding everything, but it was a val Another for my "i-have-a-whole-bibliography-but-i-have-never-and-can-never-force-a-cishet-man-to-keep-up-with-my-reading-in-any-meaningful-way" feminism shelf. Articulates a lot of my vague feelings re: consent is NOT a good enough metric and sexologists are deeply suspicious creeps in that their research methods primarily seem to revolve around the truism "women are fucking liars." This is a dense, short book, and I know my own biases get in the way of understanding everything, but it was a valuable listen, and I'd love to have conversations about it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shu Wen

    Angel succeeds in articulating what it means to be vulnerable and letting someone in to one's life -- it goes beyond sexual pleasure and what it means to be involved with someone. As she says right at the end of the book, identifying what sex means to one is really more about what it means to be a person and having desires: "Working our what we want is a life's work, and it has to be done over and over and over. The joy may lie in it never being done." Angel succeeds in articulating what it means to be vulnerable and letting someone in to one's life -- it goes beyond sexual pleasure and what it means to be involved with someone. As she says right at the end of the book, identifying what sex means to one is really more about what it means to be a person and having desires: "Working our what we want is a life's work, and it has to be done over and over and over. The joy may lie in it never being done."

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    This presented so many new ideas and ways of thinking for me that I can’t help but call it liberating. It’s more academic in nature, which I prefer. But it also feels very exploratory in itself at the same time, which is inviting. It feels like Angel is learning along with you almost - and exploring ideas new to her as well. Obviously I don’t know if this is true, but I liked the tone it set. Great stuff here. I practically highlighted the whole thing.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael Toy

    A clever, informative, and thought-provoking work that I would highly recommend to anyone and everyone who is sexually active. Its limits are noted on the onset as a work that focuses on a binary division and unequal power dynamic, but its strengths greatly outweigh its limits. A lot to think about and wrestle with in terms of agency, consent, power, vulnerability, and the political systems around all of us.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    This is a fascinating book about sexuality and consent. At times I was unclear what point the author was actually trying to make as the style is overly academic and unclear. Still, there are some very interesting sections and the author discusses a wide range of books, studies and ideological viewpoints. [Free ARC from NetGalley]

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ella Dawson

    Katherine Angel’s new book dives into all the challenging nuances of consent, desire and vulnerability. It’s an academic read, so I don’t recommend it for everyone, but her analysis of the usefulness of “yes means yes” frameworks gave me a lot to chew on. She also explores the concept of “bad sex” with incredibly clarity.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    More of a 3.5 star. This was unlike anything I've read before, and definitely outside of my comfort zone. I really appreciated the topics it chose to cover and the way it made me think about them, especially in the context of my own experiences. That being said, it was perhaps a little dry at times which is what made it not work completely for me. More of a 3.5 star. This was unlike anything I've read before, and definitely outside of my comfort zone. I really appreciated the topics it chose to cover and the way it made me think about them, especially in the context of my own experiences. That being said, it was perhaps a little dry at times which is what made it not work completely for me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Holstrom

    Katherine Angel’s excellent academic study Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again concerns the politics of sexual expression. Full review at Foreword Reviews. Katherine Angel’s excellent academic study Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again concerns the politics of sexual expression. Full review at Foreword Reviews.

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