Why, oh why does the Editor of this otherwise impeccable journal persist in sending me such huge and indigestible books to review? Surely, somewhere, there is a slim volume of sonnets, or a brief biography, that I could cover for the same much-needed postal-order and miniature of malt? As it is, it has taken me since February to wade through the present work, which is why, just as you thought it was safe to clamber back into the cot for a damn good bunk-up, you have got to read still more about the wretched ‘discoveries’ of American sexologist Shere Hite.
The third book of her trilogy about sexual attitudes and private life in modern America, Hite’s latest Report reveals very little of any interest to anyone, and is hardly liable to have any bishops kicking holes in their stained-glass windows. It is about as enthralling as a Care Bears video. Describing itself as ‘the first major report on women since the assimilation of the women’s movement into our culture’, the book identifies the vision of a revolutionary new social contract appearing on the horizon: ‘Like a star, twinkling with light and motion, it is radiating out waves of energy of all around it, particles of light and illumination.’ Well I never!
In a nutshell, the gist of it all is that women are dissatisfied with interpersonal relationships. To be absolutely precise – because you can’t drop such a bombshell of news without some sort of statistic – a staggering 98% of those who responded to Hite’s scientifically composed questionnaire confessed they