Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review: Ill-Equipped For a Life of Sex by Jennifer Lehr

I admit it. The title of this book is absolutely the reason I picked the book up. It made me think of girls not too many generations back being told to lay back and think of England while their husbands took care of his business. Now they were truly ill-equipped for a life of sex. But I had to wonder how anyone in this over-exposed, tell-all world could possibly qualify as ill-equipped unless they grew up in some sort of strange puritanish cult, which Lehr clearly did not.

Lehr's memoir of her sexual life, including but not limited to her marriage and disappointing sex life with her adored husband, is brutally honest, graphic, and lays it all on the line for the reader. Lehr details the couples counseling that she and husband John attend in an effort to get to the bottom of their sexual dysfunction. Interspersed with therapy chapters, Lehr also traces her sexual history and the disappointments she suffered in bed along the way to meeting her husband.

Most people would not be so forthright about sex in general and their sex lives in particular but Lehr invites readers into her bedroom and into her head as she sorts through the myriad feelings that can either support or sabotage sexuality. Her openess occasionally induces cringing in this reader but since her husband ostensibly gave his permission for her to over-share, it was short-lived. Unfortunately there were other issues with the book that took away from any pleasure in reading it. The writing is rather puerile and language is often inserted simply for shock value and not because the cruder term suits the narrative. This makes it feel as if the text is trying to come off as fresh and current but is instead the equivalent of parents trying too hard, using language not native to them. The chapters are short and choppy, with the slight sound of a diary confession. Sadly, I've never enjoyed reading anyone's diary, not my daughter's and not even my own from back in the day. Diaries are pretty self-absorbed and narcissistic and this memoir (unintentionally) captures that feel. By the end I just didn't care if Jennifer and John had ever achieved a satisfying sex life. I just wanted out of their therapy sessions and out of their very public bedroom. Those with a prurient interest in others' sex lives and in the concept of great sex not necessarily following on love will want to read this one, all others can safely skip it.

1 comment:

  1. think I will skip this book...but I am curious, what is your favorite book of all time?


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