Publication Date: 18th October 2018
Published by: Unbound
Arriving in New York with a failing relationship and a body she felt out of touch with, Stephanie Theobald set off on a 3,497 mile trip across America to re-build her orgasm from the ground up. What started as a quest for the ultimate auto-erotic experience became a fantastic voyage into her own body.
She takes us from ‘body sex’ classes with the legendary feminist Betty Dodson to an interview with the former US Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, who was fired for suggesting that masturbation should be talked about in schools. Along the way, we are immersed in a weird, countercultural America of marijuana farms and ‘ecosexual sexologists’.
Sex Drive is a memoir about desire and pleasure, merging sexuality and spirituality,
eighteenth-century porn and enlightenment philosophy. A new sexual revolution has begun – and this time round, it’s all about the women.
I’m not the most forward person when it comes to matters sexual, and I get embarrassed easily when the subject comes up, but the blurb intrigued me when this book came up for review in the Random Things blog tour group, so I agreed to review it. Thanks Anne, for getting a copy sent to me.
Firstly, I love the cover. Very bold and eye-catching.
The content is also bold, honest and not for the faint of heart. Theobald writes about sex in an amusing and energetic fashion as she travels across the US and meets a variety of ‘sexperts’ as well as her writing heroine, attends conferences and sex parties, and sleeps in a variety of dodgy motels. Through it all runs her discomfort and confusion about her relationships, one with her middle-aged, ‘gay but probably more bisexual’ long-term partner, a writer in London, with whom she has been in love for ten years, and a new lover, a chef in New York, as she tries to work out what she wants from sex. And to enjoy masturbating again after being diagnosed with vulvodynia (pain of the vulva with unknown source) in the 2000s.
It’s a different book than I would normally read, but I did enjoy it. It’s really easy to read, and to get lost in Stephanie’s adventures and thoughts; I actually read it in a couple of short sessions, which sandwiched a Saturday afternoon readathon. I think I read 200 of the 285 pages in a few hours that passed without my noticing them. The content is very frank about sex, masturbation, and porn so if you’re a bit prudish you might not enjoy this book, although it might do you some good to read it. The book is packed with information – from historical references to medical research results – so it’s educational as well as entertaining.
Stephanie Theobald is a British journalist, novelist, public speaker and broadcaster known for her playful and thoughtful work around sexuality and feminism. The Times described her as as ‘one of London’s most celebrated literary lesbians’ and she writes regularly for the Guardian , the Sunday Times and Elle UK . She is the author of four novels, most recently A Partial Indulgence (2010). She lives between London and Los Angeles.