Monday, September 21, 2015

The Sex Myth, by Rachel Hills

Staff review by Chris Saliba

Based on extensive research, The Sex Myth argues that the media has distorted our perceptions of what a normal sex life is. 

In her early twenties, Australian journalist Rachel Hills felt her sex life didn’t match up with the cultural stereotypes that surrounded her. Media, advertising and television told her she should be having wild, uninhibited sex every day. Her generation was supposedly the most liberated and sexually sophisticated that had ever been. These glamorous, sex positive messages that she kept receiving, however, didn’t make Hills feel good about herself. Rather they made her feel nervy and anxious. She worried that she wasn’t normal, that she wasn’t having enough sex. This set her out on a journey to find out what actually was normal.

The result of this research is The Sex Myth. It mixes a careful reading of the academic literature around sexuality with first hand reportage. Hills interviewed some 200 people for her book. The text is liberally sprinkled with often fascinatingly personal quotes. What Hills finds is that people’s personal experience of their own sexuality differed wildly from the mythical sexuality that is pushed in the media and assumed by peer groups. Her end message is quite liberating: we should do our best to ignore the “sex myth” and stay true to ourselves. A book that will give solace and courage.

The Sex Myth, by Rachel Hills. Published by Viking. ISBN: 9780670076925 RRP: $29.99

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