Women, Sex, Power, and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All


By Jaclyn Friedman

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An urgent account of sexual politics, feminism, and the rules of power in America-and a potent vision for the way forward

As a veteran feminist and agenda-setting sex educator, Jaclyn Friedman is on the frontlines of the war for equity between the sexes. In Unscrewed, Friedman brings her sharp expertise and incisive observations on the state of sexual politics to the fore, sparking a culture-wide rethink about sex, power and what we accept.
With reportage and verve, Unscrewed builds a searing investigation into the state of sexual power in America, and outlines how to make real progress toward equality. Friedman reveals that the anxiety and fear women in our country feel around issues of their sexuality are not, in fact, their fault, but instead are side effects of what she calls our “era of fauxpowerment,” wherein women have the illusion of sexual power, with no actual power to support it. Exploring the fault lines where media, religion, politics, and education impinge on our intimate lives, Unscrewed breaks down the causes and signs of fauxpowerment, then gives readers tools to take it on themselves.




YOU MAY HAVE thought that we already had a sexual revolution. You may have heard that women are free to go wild now, that we can do what we want with our bodies. You may have even heard that we’re in charge now when it comes to sex, and that it’s men who have to cater to us.

But most women don’t quite feel it. Like Leigh Anne Arthur, a South Carolina high school teacher who sent her husband a nude photo of herself for Valentine’s Day. A few weeks later, a student snuck into Arthur’s desk while she was out of the room between classes. The student opened Arthur’s cell phone, found the naked selfie, and distributed it to all of his classmates. Arthur lost her job. In doing so, she joined a long line of female teachers fired for what they did with their private sex lives on their own time.

Getting fired for being sexual would have been preferable to what happened to Janese Talton-Jackson. In the wee hours of a Friday morning in 2016, Charles McKinney made a pass at her in a Pittsburgh bar. She declined his attentions. He followed her to her car and shot her dead.

If you’re a woman, you know this story in your body. You know what that flinch of fear feels like when a man turns his sexual attention on you. You know that churning feeling in your gut urging you to let him down easy. Or the bile you swallow when you decide it might be safer not to say no at all.

At conferences, colleges, and over friends’ coffee tables, I’m struck by a common agony in what women tell me about their sex lives. They want to know—and because I’m a national expert on women’s sexuality, they think I can answer—why don’t I feel free? They’re bombarded with messages telling them that every choice they make makes them more powerful, and yet they’re constantly looking over their shoulders, guarding against a laundry list of possible consequences, measuring their sex lives against what they know or imagine about others’, and using that comparison to find themselves wanting. That’s true whether they’re college freshmen or young graduates, stay-at-home moms or power professionals.

It’s not always a job at stake, or the fear of a man with a gun. Take, for instance, my friend Louise, a twentysomething media professional and outspoken feminist, who confessed to me that she has compulsively clicked on every celebrity sex tape and nude photo leak published in the last decade—even the skeezy, immoral, stolen stuff, like Jennifer Lawrence’s photos. She clicks not because this type of porn gets her off, but because she can’t get a handle on her “reptilian curiosity” about famous women’s sex lives. “I want to know how girls that gorgeous and fun do relationships,” she wrote to me, too sheepish to admit it out loud. (For what it’s worth, Louise, I barely managed to avoid clicking on Lawrence’s photos myself, for similar reasons.)

Other women have expressed more poignant distress. I remember one college student, in particular, who came to one of my talks years ago—let’s call her Claire. Claire lit up when I said that I didn’t identify with the “sex-positive” movement, despite dedicating my career to improving the way we fuck. It’s been too long for me to reliably quote her directly, but her meaning left a permanent mark. She said that she didn’t feel welcome at sex-positive events because sex hadn’t been positive for her. What she needed more than cheerleading about butt plugs and lube—that is, the standard fare of many college sex talks—was a place where she could be real about her sexual pain and struggles. When discussing sex, she felt just as much a freak among liberals as among conservatives.

Women like Louise and Claire strike me as like Neo at the beginning of The Matrix (just the first movie, before things got terrible). They’ve got this little splinter in their minds telling them something is wrong with their sex lives. Their doubts won’t go away and are driving them crazy. Most of the books on the shelf are telling them this is somehow their fault, that they’ll feel better if they gather more self-confidence, more techniques and tips, more experience. But even most of us who’ve read all the books and tried all (or at least most of) the tips are still plagued by insecurity.

Individual solutions don’t heal our sex lives because the biggest problems we’re facing aren’t individual. They’re systemic. We don’t need a pill to make us want sex more—we need a world where straight men aren’t almost 50 percent more likely to have an orgasm with a partner than straight women are.1 We need universal access to quality sex education. We need a media ecosystem shimmering with portrayals of three-dimensional women who get to be sexual on their own terms. We need rape to be rare and swiftly punished. We need a new cultural definition of masculinity. We need a government that recognizes our autonomy over our own bodies.

We’re living in a particular moment that I like to call the era of fauxpowerment, a time when shiny pictures of individual women wielding some symbol of sexual power are used to distract us from the still mostly retrograde and misogynist status quo. “Empowerment” is an unstable illusion requiring constant upkeep. We look externally for cues on how to behave sexually because we’re not yet free to trust our own instincts—or, sometimes, even to hear them.

Fauxpowerment is the Matrix. It’s all around us, whether we’re looking right, toward abstinence-only sex ed programs and anti-choice politicians, or left, to rah-rah sex cheerleading and raunchy pop culture. It’s Kenneth Branagh selling his Cinderella reboot as “modern” because Cinderella says the word courage a lot, even though she’s just as passive as the classic animated version. It’s Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey, portrayed as “choosing her choice” while she’s stalked and abused by a controlling billionaire.

Fauxpowerment is Meghan Trainor’s hit song “Dear Future Husband.” A sample lyric: “After every fight / Just apologize / And maybe then I’ll let you try and rock my body right.” That’s fauxpowerment in a nutshell: sexism with bright colors and a funky beat. It’s like that mythical nail polish J-Law’s American Hustle character, Rosalyn, is on the hunt for—the one that smells like flowers, but with garbage. Our current sexual culture is built on the rotten foundations of a gutted, aging, unfinished sexual revolution, but it’s got a bright, candy-colored coat of paint slapped on top. From a distance, it looks like a cheery and fun place to hang out. Once we’re a little closer, we can see how treacherous it is, but most of us climb on board anyway, because we don’t see any other option.

Advertisements do some of fauxpowerment’s most enthusiastic cheerleading these days, especially when they feature “real women.” Don’t worry, these campaigns tell us: even if you don’t look like a model, you too can be ogled. More surprising are the respected, even wonky feminists contributing fauxpowered messages to the zeitgeist. Naomi Wolf recently wrote a whole book, Vagina: A New Biography, about how every straight woman needs deep, slow regular G-spot stimulation—ideally with a penis—to be truly self-actualized.

Fauxpowerment is why women are confused about sex. Fauxpowerment is why we’re unsatisfied. It’s the reason why we feel that disconnect between the sexuality we experience and the one pop culture tells us we’re experiencing, why few of us are as secure in our sex lives as we think we’re supposed to be. Every day, we’re being sold an idea of empowerment and pushed away from the actual power to support it. Telling us to value ourselves more is not the answer. We need to create a culture in which we have more actual value.

The question, of course, is how to go about doing that. Breaking free of fauxpowerment is not easy, even when it looks that way and even if we’re trying really, really hard. That Matrix analogy is no joke: it’s hard to see a system clearly when we’re trapped in it. But that’s just what I plan to do in the pages that follow—expose the way cultural forces like economics, government, technology, and the law are perpetuating the culture of women’s sexual fauxpowerment and explore how we can unscrew ourselves from this system one step at a time.

Along the way, you will meet a merry band of pioneers: sexual revolutionaries striking out in new directions, blazing imaginative trails in an effort to overthrow the misogynist messages that have shaped all of our pasts and to make it easier for each of us to figure out what we want from our sexual futures. None of these people are prophets, but each of them is asking crucial questions and providing part of the solution, too.

These stories are case studies of what’s in the way of possible. They show us that there’s no single strategy to get unscrewed, that a wild array of approaches is necessary for transforming such a complex web of systems. Most of all, they serve as invitation and example—we’re all caught in this mess together, and we’re all going to have to pitch in to free ourselves.

Some of these pioneers are leaders in their fields or visionary full-time activists. Some are ordinary citizens whose attempts to muddle through the morass of our sexual culture are instructive in how much they reveal about what we’re all up against.

Take Isabelle Cass (not her real name), for example. I met Cass years ago when she was a radical cheerleader, showing up at feminist events in saucy outfits with her squad. If she’s a little bit of a hippie—she’s currently building a career as a midwife, and her bedroom is adorned with a moon calendar and a magpie wing gifted to her by a lover—then she’s a hippie with a critical, feminist worldview who can do a perfect smoky eye while talking about her sex life.

The first time we met, I was instantly charmed by her cool-girl ease and her radical politics. I was more than a little jealous of the confidence with which she seemed to inhabit her body. But that was just me yielding to the siren call of fauxpowerment: the idea that if I could be a little more like some shiny ideal, I could be truly happy in my body and in my bed.

What I didn’t know was that, at the same time Cass was cheekily shaking her pompons at political rallies, she was making a living having sex with strangers for money, and not because she liked that work. Escorting was not a good experience for Cass. Raised in a Pentecostal household, she already held profound shame about her body and her sexuality. Escorting only exacerbated that dynamic. “It can be hard to say no in general, in sexual situations,” she told me. “And a million times more so is [that] true at work, because it’s not just a fear of ‘will this person like me,’ it’s also like it’s your livelihood and it’s your paycheck. [Clients] can hold shit over your head. What you’re doing is illegal, and they know where your apartment is that you work out of, and they could report you in a second with no consequence to them ever.”

Nevertheless, Cass had run out of borrowing power a semester shy of her college degree and was drowning in debt, with no diploma to show for it. For a long time, escorting was the only way she could find to feed herself.

While I was blaming myself for failing to live up to the glossy surface she was projecting (Maybe if I could just lose twenty pounds? Maybe if I bought whatever eyeliner she’s using?), Cass was struggling hard to create some kind of feeling of control over her sexuality and wondering, like Louise and Claire and most every woman, why she couldn’t seem to get truly free. The details of her story might seem extreme when compared with most women’s lives, but the themes all rhyme. It’s just that fauxpowerment so often pits us against each other that we fail to notice.

Cass and I recently met up so I could help her prepare for a one-afternoon stint as an “alternative” art model, a day that turned into an object lesson in how little power is afforded to even the women held up as symbols of sexual empowerment. Founded in Brooklyn and now boasting chapters in over a hundred cities around the world, Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School is an art event that replaces the classroom with bars and booze and life drawing of burlesque and other underground performers, almost all of whom are women. The idea behind the venue is cool: open life drawing to people who don’t have access to art school. Introduce visual artists to performance artists, fostering cross-arts collaboration. Celebrate the female form in all its widely varied glory. It sounds like the epitome of bohemian sex positivity. But it turned out there was little more respect here for the body and experience of the model than there is at your average seedy strip joint by the highway.

The gig started out okay. Turnout wasn’t near what Cass had been promised; maybe nine people showed up instead of the anticipated dozens, which matters when you’re getting paid in tips and a cut of the door. But the artists who were there were respectful and friendly. It was after her second costume change that things turned sour. She was looking into the middle distance, wearing next-to-nothing while leaning one hand on a stool and balancing in heels on the tiny wooden platform in the back of the room, when her face went hard.

“Eyes to the ground, gentlemen,” she said to a group of men who had just arrived, with the cool seriousness of someone who is used to being obeyed. “Drink or don’t, but don’t stare.”

Our host fluttered to her side, making soft noises of disapproval. Cass had none of it. “You don’t need to shush me,” she snapped without breaking her pose. We all fell silent while some aggro dude-rock rang raucously from the bar’s speakers.

Dr. Sketchy’s held its first session in 2005, the same year Brad left Jennifer for Angelina. Girls Gone Wild and Desperate Housewives were at their peak. It could easily have been called the Year of the Bad Girl. The culture howled that being sexually transgressive was the fast pass to power for women. Meanwhile, the federal government was spending over a hundred million dollars on abstinence-only education,2 while countless untested rape kits piled in cities across the country, abandoned for lack of funding and police departments’ mistrust of rape victims, among other reasons.3

Some of those kits have since been tested, mostly thanks to public pressure and private fund-raising. But a lot has gone downhill. In the last decade state legislatures imposed hundreds of obstacles to abortion access. Our federal government has been taken over by men who rape and beat the women in their lives, whose general attitudes toward women are essentially indistinguishable from those of men’s rights activists.4 The head of Health and Human Services openly supports the right of companies to fire women simply for using birth control. But somehow we’re supposed to be “empowered” by starlets competing to wear the least clothing possible on high-fashion red carpets. I’ve got nothing against people who show their underwear in public; I’ve done it myself more than once. But it’s a poor substitute for actual power.

Just ask Cass. The men who walked in weren’t there to draw her. They were just a few dudebros who wandered in for a drink and saw a hot chick onstage in her underwear. That changed everything for Cass, who had agreed to figure model for paying artists, not give a free show to some random guys off the street. Yet there were no modesty screens anywhere. No one was posted at the door to provide context and guidelines to people as they came in. Dr. Sketchy’s has been operating at this venue for eight years but didn’t bother to warn Cass that this might happen.

The hosts of Dr. Sketchy’s made a mistake so common it’s hard to even blame them for it: confusing a woman’s willingness to be publicly sexual with her invincibility. I could even believe it’s an honest mistake; after all, it really does take a powerful bravery to appear unapologetically sexual while female. Just ask any girl who’s shared a private naked selfie with a guy who goes on to distribute it widely. But confusing the courage to risk such outcomes with the possession of some bulletproof magic is, in practice, cruel. Strong women are not superheroes, nor should we be required to be. We still possess a complex humanity, complete with vulnerabilities, limits, and straight-up personal preferences. We’re also not always as powerful as we look.

The easy signifiers of sexual empowerment that pass for liberation these days—the kind of alt-pinup aesthetic that Dr. Sketchy’s trades in, the endless parade of female pop stars selling sexual transgression, the Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man school of “how to trick a man into marrying you” relationship advice—are not cutting it. Shifting uncomfortably there on that stage, Cass needs what we all need: a better range of economic and creative options so she has more choices in how to pay off her student loans, an empathetic community, and a culture that recognizes her as a full human being with the right to do as she pleases with her body. Not just another venue for her to be ogled.

Fauxpowerment is a quintessentially American trap. It proposes to solve a structural societal problem—that women like Cass aren’t viewed as full human beings with as much inherent value and sexual autonomy as men have—with an individualistic solution: just claim your sexuality, ladies! The freakier you get, the freer you’ll be. But we can’t pretend our way to sexual liberation. A woman saying and doing what she wants is not free if she gets punished for it. And a woman who doesn’t feel free enough to know what she wants, a woman who is just saying and doing what she thinks she should want, isn’t free either.

I don’t mean to suggest that fauxpowerment is an actual conspiracy: the evil forces of patriarchy trying to hypnotize the masses with see-through dresses and power anthems. It’s more complicated than that. When Beyoncé famously sang “If you liked it then you should’ve put a ring on it,” I doubt she thought she was reinforcing the idea that women are property for whom the best outcome is to find someone to own them forever. E. L. James wrote Fifty Shades of Grey because it was the sexual fantasy she most wanted to read, not because she wanted to give real, actual men an excuse to non-consensually tie up their real, actual girlfriends or stalk and assault women. That’s still what happened. Intentions aren’t magic. But they are important to understand if we want to shift the frame from fauxpowerment to power.

Most fauxpowerment is perpetrated at the intersection of wish fulfillment and a failure of imagination. I have no doubt that the hosts at Dr. Sketchy’s imagine that they’re providing a “safe space” for women with “alternative” sexual identities to get the recognition and adoration they deserve. But the organizers have clearly failed to imagine what the experience might be like for the women they claim to be celebrating.

“I just feel really gross and slimy,” Cass told me the morning after she modeled there. “You know that moment in the morning when you don’t remember something, and then you do? I just feel so silly and small for putting myself in a position where I did something fairly harmful and didn’t even get paid hardly at all.”

Cass agreed to model at Dr. Sketchy’s for the same reason she got into sex work. She needed the money. That’s not to say that she didn’t expect it to be better than seeing a private client. Several times she mentioned to me that she had only ever been to this (actually very straight) venue once for an LGBT event, so she had mistaken it for a gay bar. She thought she was walking into a community she identified with, a context that she knew.

It’s not hard to imagine how that would have made a difference. One of the main differences between fauxpowerment and real sexual power is whether, when we make sexual decisions, we have the support of a broader community. There’s a big difference between playacting freedom and being actually free. All kinds of people and institutions, from media, government, and churches to our parents, friends, the host of an art happening, and even some random dudes walking into a bar on a Sunday afternoon, they all have a say-so in how sexually free we are, whether we admit it or not.

That’s why fauxpowerment sells so well. Few of us know where to start the glacial work of changing the culture. In the meantime, we’re desperate for something to make us feel better about the world and our position in it, something easy and soothing that can help us through the moment.

Why We Can’t Be Complacent

Living in a fauxpowered world is frustrating, to say the least. But the stakes are actually much higher than frustration. When women are encouraged to just “free ourselves” in a world that hasn’t caught up, it can get dangerous.

Just ask Shaunna Lane, a twenty-three-year-old from Essex, England, who was struggling with hating her body when a model friend suggested she do a private nude shoot to boost her confidence. It worked in the short term: she felt so good about how she looked in the photos that she even shared them with her boyfriend. It’s when her boyfriend became her ex that things turned. She got flooded with Facebook messages from men she’d never met, some containing bold propositions, others threatening to rape her. It turned out that those “empowering” photos had been posted to a “revenge porn” site, complete with her name and social media accounts. Even after she paid a $400 extortion to have the photos removed from that site—a common practice on these sites, which make their money off such fees—they continued to circulate, popping up on the Facebook accounts of acquaintances and showing up when you searched her name on Google. Lane was terrified and too humiliated to even leave her apartment.5

Fauxpowerment doesn’t protect women from the very real consequences of sexual oppression. I’m far from the first person to point this out. In 2015, feminist thinker Leora Tanenbaum published I Am Not a Slut, an entire book detailing the ways women and girls are punished for being perceived as “sluts,” even as they try to claim the identity positively for themselves. Although her research is on point and her intentions are pure, she ultimately concludes that claiming slut as an identity is too dangerous and should be abandoned as a practice. She falls prey to the same individual-based solutions that hobble the fauxpowerment advocates and the handwringing concern-trolls of the Internet.

Tanenbaum is right that identifying as a slut is a dangerous proposition for many women, even when they choose it for themselves. I may have control over what I mean when I call myself a slut, but I can’t control how others will use that identity against me. I don’t just mean the extreme examples like Lane’s (who certainly didn’t claim the moniker, but still had it publicly attached to her name) or the constant deployment of slut in blaming women when someone else rapes them. Tanenbaum rightly identifies that the everyday shaming power of the word is enough to discourage young women from taking important steps like getting birth control and managing sexually transmitted infection prevention. But responding to that danger by limiting what girls and women can call ourselves is playing the same game as all the people who would tell women just to never take naked pictures if we don’t want to be shamed on the Internet. Telling us to narrow our sexual lives to avoid misogynist violence and shame means accepting that misogynist violence and shame are inevitable. They aren’t.

Advising us to color inside the lines of sexual oppression also paints a dangerous line between the “smart” girls who don’t make choices about their sexuality likely to draw negative attention and the “foolish” ones who heedlessly do. It’s an understandable impulse. If there are rules we can follow, we feel in control of whether or not we’ll be targeted. But it’s a trap for two reasons. First, any framework that splits women into a “smart about sex” camp and a “foolish” one is a virgin/whore dichotomy in sheep’s clothing. Monitoring some arbitrary line between the good girls and the bad ones gives quarter to those who will use those categories to blame and target women, no matter how pure our intentions. Policing women’s sexual choices also expends critical energy we could be using to make a better world for everyone. (Just because it’s corny doesn’t mean it isn’t true.)

Still, warning girls to be “smart” might be worth the risk if it actually kept anyone safe. But “good” girls who aren’t doing anything sexual in public are harmed by fauxpowerment all the time. In a case currently wending through the courts, one fifteen-year-old girl on Long Island is suing her school district after her Spanish teacher raped her. The district has successfully petitioned the court for access to her entire private Facebook history because it alleges her postings disprove her claims of emotional damage. The evidence? Pictures of her drinking with friends and happily embracing her boyfriend.

Let me spell that out for you: the argument is that individual moments in which a teen girl appeared happy prove that she suffered no emotional damage after her Spanish teacher raped her. Meanwhile, men on street corners everywhere holler at women to “smile,” and Katy Perry exhorts those who feel like they’re “already buried deep” to just “own the night like the Fourth of July.” But if you try to live up to that fauxpowerful anthem while female, pictures of you owning the night can be used to argue your rape wasn’t that big of a deal.

It’s time to stop accepting the rules and start changing them. It’s time to make a world where women feel free to say no to anal or yes to a threesome and, most importantly, to discover and explore what they genuinely want, free of threats, shame, and violence. But that’s going to take some doing.

Among other things, it’s going to take getting comfortable with what it means for women to have actual power. And it’s not necessarily going to be so sexy, especially not at first. Over burgers and drinks after Dr. Sketchy’s, Cass told me that the one thing she really loved about the experience was seeing the art it produced. “You can kind of see the progression [in the artists’ sketches],” she mused, “of me feeling kind of awkward at first and then getting a little comfortable and then getting pissed. I really like the blue one that makes me look super harsh. That’s how I felt.”

I get it, at least a little. Seeing my anger and pain validated by the culture around me has been at least as empowering an experience as seeing some aspect of my sexuality celebrated. In the darkest days after I was sexually assaulted in college, one of the few things that made me feel powerful was a song, “Me and a Gun,” a haunting first-person account of being raped in a parking lot, performed by Tori Amos. I played it over and over and over. It was all at once a repudiation of shame, an affirmation that I wasn’t alone, and a suggestion of how I might proceed from here. Real female sexual power means there’s room in the culture for all of our sexual experiences—not just the pretty ones.

“Me and a Gun” was inspired by the rape scene in Thelma and Louise,


  • "Lively, emboldening...a potent, convincing manifesto on how female sexual equality marches onward despite cultural roadblocks."—Kirkus
  • "Friedman marries theory, politics, activism, and pop culture in a way that is simultaneously conversational and polemical."—Library Journal
  • "This book should be required reading in schools across the US. Honest, sometimes painful, and brimming with empathy. It couldn't have come at a better time. Jaclyn draws you in to a world of possibility. I am hopeful reading her writing. There is so much work to do to change the systems in which we live and Jaclyn gives us practical applicable ways of doing it."

    --Tatiana Maslany, Emmy-winning star of Orphan Black
  • "Unscrewed is not just a book you should read, it's a book you'll love to read. Jaclyn Friedman's writing sings, and makes thinking about necessary and important issues a real pleasure. I can't wait to read it again."

    --Jessica Valenti, author of the New York Times-bestselling Sex Object
  • "In this visionary and necessary book, Jaclyn Friedman cuts through the hypocrisy, mixed messages and confusion about sex, women and power. Unscrewed is firmly pro-pleasure, but also bitingly critical of the same old sexism dressed up in the language of "empowerment" -- it's power, Friedman argues, that matters, and she neatly eviscerates the formal and informal barriers that keep women from accessing it. Required reading for anyone who cares not just about women and sex, but about building a better society, Unscrewed will leave you with just one question: Can Jaclyn lead the new sexual revolution and unscrew us all?"

    -Jill Filipovic, author of The H-Spot
  • "From the very first page, I realized that 'it isn't just me. Other women struggle with how to have the hot empowered sex feminists are always raving about.' I wish I'd had this book when I was 20. I'm so glad to have it now, to read, to teach to my students and share with my homegirls. Jaclyn doesn't just lay out all the problems with contemporary discourses on sex. She also shows us the way forward by profiling some of the path-breaking feminist badasses that are leading the way. It goes without saying that Jaclyn herself is one of these badasses. Every chapter reminds us in tangible ways, that these problems can be solved. We can get this right. There is hope. And the very first step is to get and read Unscrewed. "

    --Brittney Cooper, Crunk Feminist Collective co-founder and author of Eloquent Rage

  • "Gender equality has enough superficial solutions, and Unscrewed is a precise rebuke to the notion that signifying progress is enough. Jaclyn Friedman's book reminds men that it is our job to end misogyny and rape culture, and tells women not to expect anything less."

    - Jamil Smith, journalist and essayist
  • "As our society has become increasingly obsessed with the paradoxical pursuit of simultaneously controlling and liberating women sexually, there is no better expert than Jaclyn Friedman to help us dissect the complicated and surreal world we are currently living in. Sexuality has always been a tough and complicated topic for women but Jaclyn somehow always manages to make it fun and easy to talk about. You will find yourself nodding in agreement and whispering "yas" over and over as she captures the essence of every thought and feeling you've always had, but never shared. Jaclyn Friedman is the quintessential modern sex expert, at once understanding and empathetic yet honest and raw."

    -Elizabeth Plank, Senior producer and correspondent, Vox Media

  • "Friedman makes her case with warmth, understanding and hope."—BUST magazine
  • "Friedman offers a relevant and well-researched overview of the current state of feminism in the U.S."—San Francisco Book Review

On Sale
Nov 14, 2017
Page Count
288 pages
Seal Press

Jaclyn Friedman

About the Author

Jaclyn Friedman’s work has redefined the concept of “healthy sexuality” and popularized the “yes means yes” standard of sexual consent that is quickly becoming law on many U.S. campuses. She is a popular speaker, opinion writer and author of What You Really Really Want and Unscrewed.

She is also founder and the former Executive Director of Women, Action & the Media, where she led the successful #FBrape campaign to apply Facebook’s hate-speech ban to content that promotes gender-based violence. She hosts Unscrewed, a podcast exploring paths to sexual liberation, named a Best Sex Podcast by both Marie Claire and Esquire.

Learn more about this author