Text and photo: Maria Chesnokova
Initially, I was interested in this book (editor's note: full title – “Pretense. Why women lie about sex, and what is the truth behind it”) by the very formulation of the question. Sex is a very taboo topic. And where there is taboo, there is shame, contempt and other negative emotions, which people try with all their might to avoid, and therefore resort to lies. Women lying about sex and sexuality are nothing new. But instead of condemning and denouncing women, the author comes from the other side and asks the question: what makes women lie about sex?
In her research, Lux Alptraum brings to light and logically substantiates what is intuitively understandable for every woman. We are lying - about the first experience, the number of partners, satisfaction and orgasms, preferences and fantasies. We do not resort to lies because we like to deceive partners, and not even in order to get any benefit. Usually women are reproached for this: they say, your deceitful and greedy nature will do anything to get married / get rich / become famous. And this is a stumbling block - women are required to simply stop lying, and when we cannot, they explain this by the fact that it is so inherent in us. (Can you already hear the Inquisition and the screams of “the offspring of Satan”?)
The author shows that, in fact, usually women lie not for the sake of wealth or fame, but to protect themselves from unwanted consequences. We are lying that we have a husband or a boyfriend, so as not to get acquainted with an annoying taxi driver who does not understand: “How is it, a woman just might not want to get to know him?” We are lying that we got an orgasm because we don’t want to offend our partner or we don’t want to continue, but we don’t know how to refuse. We are lying about the first experience, because we risk hearing “I mean, you are no longer a virgin?” or “You mean, are you still a virgin?” We lie that we do not drink oral contraceptives, so as not to persuade a partner to use a condom or because the husband wants a child, and we do not. Lying is often a survival tool to avoid psychological and physical abuse. Not the most efficient, strictly speaking, but well studied and reliable. Learned from childhood.
You expect from this book to understand that we (as a society) still have many problems in the field of sex and sexuality, but in the end, you come to the conclusion that everything is much more serious. It's not just about sex. And it turns out that women lie because lying is more socially acceptable than what women actually want to say. Often, those around us take the truth for a lie because it is more profitable for them, and also because from childhood we learn the attitude “all women are liars”. They are not ready to hear the truth and react to it in such a way that they no longer want to tell the truth. On the other hand, those around them are also not fools, and from time to time female lies are still revealed, confirming the stereotype about women who lie. Vicious circle.
This is a research book, not a textbook or instructions for use. Therefore, the author of the book does not give the keys to solving the problem (except for the overthrow of the patriarchal system and its attitudes, of course). But it seems to me that this is a great book to initiate a conversation with a partner or partner on this topic and reduce the number of lies in the world. In addition, the book contains a lot of stories from the lives of different women, so this is just a fascinating reading! If you yourself cannot articulate exactly why you are lying to your partner, others or yourself about sex, then this book will help you understand the reasons. And this is already a big step towards solving the problem.
“Even if a growing up girl is assured that“ yes ”means“ yes ”and“ no ”means“ no, ”she sees women around her hesitate, refuse, meaning“ maybe, ”or open the door for the stubborn instead of confidently denying intimacy.”
“In a sense, lies become a weapon in the struggle for power. As a short-term practice, it can be quite successful. <...> However, one lie is superimposed on another, grows like a snowball, and it soon becomes clear that it is no longer possible to live like this.”
“Lies are usually thought out and logically structured. Women lie out of self-preservation. They pretend because society does not accept their truth. Truth carries risk, and a socially acceptable lie is the best way to adapt to circumstances.”
“When the only way to get what you need is lies, you have to resort to it for lack of better.”
“Surprising fact: 25% of the men surveyed admitted that at least once in their life they imitated an orgasm.”
“A certain concept of sexuality dominates in our collective consciousness. In this coordinate system, the male genital organ is endowed with absolute, almost magical power. Even a short-term contact with him forever turns a person's life. A man who touches another man's penis immediately becomes homosexual, regardless of how many women he has had in his entire life. A woman who has slept with a man at least once becomes marked – forever "marked" by him.”
“While society and circumstances keep a woman silent about how she is trying to protect herself, men trumpet everywhere, how they are being deceived. They arrange "traps", they lie about protection. Announcing this, they risk nothing: no one will accuse them of depravity, weak-willedness, and narrow-mindedness.”
“Over the years, I have interacted with many women for whom the loss of virginity was not a one-time turning point. It is a process that consisted of a series of different episodes.”
“Filters in social networks are needed not so much to change the appearance and tighten it up to the existing canons of beauty. And not in order to attract followers and increase profile views. They are needed primarily for the sake of a sense of security.”