From Out of the Binders co-founder Lux Alptraum, a controversial look at women, sex, and lying -- why myths about women's deceit persist, how they came to be, and ultimately why we must trust women
When we talk about sex, we talk about women as mysterious, deceptive, and - above all - untrustworthy. Women lie about orgasms. Women lie about being virgins. Women lie about who got them pregnant, about whether they were raped, about how many people they've had sex with and what sort of experiences they've had - the list goes on and on. Over and over we're reminded that, on dates, in relationships, and especially in the bedroom, women just aren't telling the truth. But where does this assumption come from? Are women actually lying about sex, or does society just think we are?
In Faking It, Lux Alptraum tackles the topic of seemingly dishonest women; investigating whether women actually lie, and what social situations might encourage deceptions both great and small. Using her experience as a sex educator and former CEO of Fleshbot (the foremost blog on sexuality), first-hand interviews with sexuality experts and everyday women, Alptraum raises important questions: are lying women all that common - or is the idea of the dishonest woman a symptom of male paranoia? Are women trying to please men, or just avoid their anger? And what affect does all this dishonesty - whether real or imagined - have on women's self-images, social status, and safety?
Through it all, Alptraum posits that even if women are lying, we're doing it for very good reason -- to protect ourselves ("My boyfriend will be here any minute," to a creep who won't go away, for one), and in situations where society has given us no other choice.
In this unapologetic and perceptive book, sex and pornography journalist Alptraum explores the intimate deceptions that women are accused of, including faking orgasms or their virginity; whether they use birth control; and lying about sexual experience, willingness, and assault. She reasons that when faced with pressure to "play nice," endure unwanted sexual attention, be somehow innocent and experienced at the same time, and live with the prevailing cultural narrative that "women are passive recipients of sexual attention and men... set the agenda" women lie for their survival. With nods to gay and trans experience, she gleefully pokes holes in assumptions, double standards, and unreasonable expectations that affect women, among them the myth of the hymen, the fakery of "natural beauty," and claims that women want to "baby-trap" unsuspecting men (in reality, men are more likely to practice "reproductive coercion"). Most damaging, Alptraum concludes, are the belief in a standard, one-size-fits-all template for sexual experience and the treatment of female bodies as objects. She illuminates fresh connections (for example, between a pervasive but little-discussed belief that bisexuals secretly prefer men and the significance attached to traditionally defined virginity), structures her arguments elegantly, and uses graceful chapter conclusions to lead the reader smoothly to the next topic. Forthright, provocative, and studded with irony, Alptraum's incisive discussion calls for more flexibility, openness, conversation, and variety around sexual narratives and, most crucially, believing women.