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Three women, three stories and deep entanglements of

 love, desire, sex and the need to be something to somebody

(2 min read)

Unfulfilled desire could not be more needed, more real. More riveting. This is non-fiction storytelling at its best, revealing the pain, pleasure and hypocrisies of love, marriage, infatuation and lust in heterosexual partnerships, everywhere. Well, at least in these three women’s lives. These real-life dramas rival the Greek tragedies of Sophocles  – he skipped the sex, these women don’t.

What the fuck do you know about young women. We don’t remember what we want to remember. We remember what we can’t forget. (Maggie)

Not having a partner was like slowly, quietly dying. (Lina)

It was nice to fuck another man while her husband watched approvingly. She never felt unclean. She felt loved. (Sloanne)

Unseen, unheard truths

Three American women tell their stories to author, Lisa Taddeo and through intimate details they represent, in some part, the stories of millions of women. Not the exact circumstances but the struggle of trying and hoping to be loved, liked, seen, heard and respected and yet, hurt, demeaned, disappointed and damaged. Their stories expose the vulnerable underside of misogyny, women trapped in the desire to be desired, the need to be something to somebody, and the hope for redemption as a human being.

Reading the stories, it’s hard to imagine that any woman – let alone three – could be this embroiled in wrenching emotional voids and remain sane enough to tell their stories of unrequited love, As sad as the might be, they should allow every female reader to walk away with a renewed sense of self and a reinvigorated strength to pursue her own needs and desires.

Lisa Taddeo spent eight years talking to American women about love and marriage and sex and all the incumbent problems, and then selected to write about Maggie, Lina and Sloane. In sum, it’s about three women longing for what too many women want and cannot find, and a clarion call against ingrained misogyny

“Men come to insert themselves, they turn a girl into a city.”

It’s difficult at times to discern between Taddeo’s ‘reporting’ and the women’s ‘telling’ but her lucid metaphorical writing push the narrative along as if you are sitting listening to the women pour out their hearts. And the sex? Not sure who’s recalling who’s details but they are wonderfully real, sensual and erotic, with more than a wet touch of lust. The recollections of sex scenes are … vivid, like the one when Lina introduces Aidan to her “Cadbury Crème Egg.” Well worth the indulgence. We have taken a couple of extracts and set them out under our Quickies section (together less than a 5 minute read).

“There were no complications. It was hedonistic and also caring. They both fucked Sloane a lot, together and separately.”

Much of the picture painted by three storytellers mirrors what so many – too many – women struggle with today,  and at the end of the tale there is a sense of not being the only woman living the quotidian ups and downs of an unfulfilled life of some love, some sex, some recognition, some whatever you can get. We aren’t alone.


At the end, Lisa Taddeo includes notes for a reading group discussion and she answers a number of FAQ questions. Any reading group who wants to further the goals of #MeToo, or #WeTwo, should make this a book-of-the-month assignment. Here are two example discussion questions:

  • Why do you think we have such a difficult—or uncomfortable—time talking about women’s desire and women’s bodies, even in today’s otherwise open cultural discussions?
  • One thing that Lina, Sloane, and Maggie have in common is the way they modify their behavior to fit the needs and desires of the partners they desire. How did it make you feel that these women had to change parts of themselves to try to gain love and acceptance from the ones they are with or the ones they desire? What does this say about power in.

Three, make-you-think, face-up-to-the-reality of being a woman stories. Well worth the read. Especially if you’re a guy looking for some insight into men’s misogynistic behavior – and how to overcome it.

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