Dirty Word: How a Sex Writer Reclaimed Her Sexuality (Paperback)
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Steph Auteri is a sex writer. In her 15 years as a journalist, she has reviewed sex toys, attended sex parties, researched sexual health, and even participated in "cuddle parties." There's only one small problem: her sex drive is in the gutter.
A beautiful and hilarious mixture of cultural essays and poignant personal stories, A Dirty Word shines a light on what it's like to feel broken, only to realize that there is no right way to be sexual. From her earliest sexual experiences, Auteri felt there must be something wrong with her. As an adult, her career in sex writing was meant to be a type of shock therapy--a way to fix her "sexual dysfunction." But her career, exciting as it was, could not provide a roadmap through her struggles with a low libido, painful sex, fertility problems, negative self-image, marriage woes, and the aftermath of sexual assault.
In A Dirty Word, Auteri boldly exposes her own stumbles and triumphs as she explores topics like consent, body image, sex-negativity, and the seeming impossibility of raising a daughter in a culture that is constantly twisting female sexuality to fit its own needs. In the end, Auteri has found peace through one startling realization: she doesn't need to be "fixed" after all.
About the Author
Steph Auteri is a writer and editor who has written about women's health and sexuality for The Atlantic, the Washington Post, VICE, Pacific Standard, Salon, Undark, and other publications. She also volunteers for the Center for Sex Education, the national education division of her local Planned Parenthood. She lives with her husband, daughter, and three cats in Verona, NJ.
"A must-read for anyone who has experienced sexual trauma and wants a no-holds-barred account of what recovery might look like. Steph isn't afraid to lay it bare." -Tracey Cox, bestselling sex and relationships author
"In A Dirty Word, Steph Auteri applies the power of personal experience to an important larger conversation about sex, female sexuality and desire. Her story and the earnest curiosity she brings to the page work together to create an open-minded, open-hearted discussion that women of all ages, who have ever wondered if they're normal in bed, will appreciate and learn from. Yay for truth telling!" --Lisa Romeo, author of Starting with Goodbye: A Daughter's Memoir of Love after Loss
"This book is for any woman who wants to reclaim her self and her sexuality. Stephanie's personal journey is revealing and relatable. Her honesty, candor, humor and hope will provide inspiration to many. " ---Jamye Waxman, sex therapist, author, and educator
"In A Dirty Word Steph Auteri writes intimately and painfully about the gap between the sex positive, aspirational adventures she was covering as a professional sex writer and her private struggle to feel desire for and pleasure from partnered sex. As we culturally move past the glamour of sex positivity, Auteri is guiding us into a deeply needed unvarnished sexual realism." --Audacia Ray, social justice advocate and the author of Naked on the Internet
"Steph Auteri is a remarkable writer -- wise, funny, and self-aware. A Dirty Word is an honest, smart analysis of the complicated dance women do with their own desire, especially in this culture. Most importantly, though, it is deeply personal. I love the way she writes about sex and marriage, fully seeing all of it, giving the rest of us permission to be ourselves. Treat yourself to this excellent read." --Rebecca Barry, author of Later at the Bar and Recipes for a Beautiful Life
"A Dirty Word is a brilliant combination of incredibly relatable personal detail and scientific accuracy. Auteri captures the realities of the balancing act of being a sex writer and being human. She provides the reader with striking contemporary insight into the implications of our attitudes around women's sexuality. It is a must-read." --Kristen Mark, PhD, Associate Professor, Sex and Relationship Researcher, Director of Sexual Health Promotion Lab, University of Kentucky
"What a read! Can a young woman who feels broken by her date-raping boyfriend fix herself by writing about sex? A Dirty Word explores what Steph Auteri learns about herself and her own sexuality, the dichotomy between her public and private self, and the many ways that other people view and experience sex. It's a memoir plus so much more." -Joan Price, author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50
"Brave, bold, and utterly unique! A first-rate sex writer, Steph combines personal experience with professional expertise to create a work that is at once illuminating and inspiring" --Ian Kerner, PhD LMFT, author of She Comes First
"A bold, brave, and ballsy look at the secret life of a sex writer post-Carrie Bradshaw." --Susan Shapiro, bestselling author of Unhooked, Five Men Who Broke My Heart, and The Byline Bible