What We Don’t Talk About: Sex and the Mess of Life by Joann Wypijewski

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An exquisite examination of a sexual culture in crisis

What if we took sex out of the box marked “special,” either the worst or best thing that a human person can experience, and considered it within the complexity of reality? In this extraordinary book, despite longstanding tabloid-style sexual preoccupations with monsters and victims, shame and virtue, JoAnn Wypijewski does exactly that.

From the HIV crisis to the paedophile priest panic, Woody Allen to Brett Kavanaugh, child pornography to Abu Ghraib, Wypijewski takes the most famous sex panics of the last decades and turns them inside out, weaving what together becomes a searing indictment of modern sexual politics, exposing the myriad ways sex panics and the expansion of the punitive state are intertwined.

What emerges is an examination of the multiple ways in which the ever-expanding default language of monsters and victims has contributed to the repressive power of the state. Politics exists in the mess of life. Sex does too, Wypijewski insists, and so must sexual politics, to make any sense at all.

What We Don’t Talk About: Sex and the Mess of Life by Joann Wypijewski
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