Katherine Angel’s excellent academic study Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again concerns the politics of sexual expression.
The book addresses consent, desire, arousal, and vulnerability in turn, explaining each in terms of their history, the science behind them, and pop culture references to them. It covers prominent rape trials wherein women’s desires and sexual pasts were used against them, as well as the acts committed by serial rapists like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, revealing immense sexual power differences based on gender.
The book also incorporates the research of sexologists Alfred Kinsey, William Masters, and Virginia Johnson, showcasing their scientific work on arousal in relation to sexual and nonsexual stimuli. The studies are compared to lie detector tests, showing how reflexes can be inconclusive. Sexuality and desire require contextualization, Angel argues: the body’s natural responses do not equal consent.
Much of the book’s information is objective, but it devotes too much space to critics of the consent movement, including those who have challenged colleges’ campaigns against sexual violence. Those campaigns emphasize affirmative consent and the message that no means no, which critics have complained negates romance and encourages attitudes of victimhood. However, the book’s emphasis on counterpoints is off-putting, even if critics are combated with powerful arguments: “The onus is not on women to have a sexuality that admits of no abuse; it is on others not to abuse them.”
Though academic, the text is accessible. It takes a taboo topic and removes the stigma by providing facts. Its titular refrain, derived from a critique of sexual liberation movements that mocks the notion of a tomorrow that may never come, advocates for a better tomorrow.
Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again is timely academic work that addresses consent from all angles.
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