Chastened: The Unexpected Story of My Year Without Sex

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"sex and its pursuit seem to have become such blood sports, their rules so confusing and their standards so exacting, that it is hard not to wonder occasionally whether it's worth it."

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Chastened: The Unexpected Story of My Year without Sex

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Overview

"sex and its pursuit seem to have become such blood sports, their rules so confusing and their standards so exacting, that it is hard not to wonder occasionally whether it's worth it."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Everything but the sex seems to be the theme of this fluffy dating chronicle by British journalist Anderson. Having recently turned 30 and being determined to break a baffling, bruising cycle of “consistently mistak[ing] casual hookups for rose-tinted beginnings,” Anderson decided that she'd had enough sex without love; it was time to try love without sex. The purpose? Not, as she hints with feminist bravado, to become “faithful to my instincts” nor even to achieve “emotional self-sufficiency” (as she enjoyed some playful banter with potential boyfriends like Dan, Jake, Quiet Guy, the Beau, N, Rafiq, and so on), but to snare a mate—and that sadly didn't happen at the end of this year. Using an unwieldy chronological structure by month, Anderson moves from her resolve to embark on a year of chastity after a final emotional disappointment with Jake in late summer (“You sleep with these men too soon,” her mother had warned her), through numerous travels and dissatisfying encounters between London and New York. Along with way, Anderson lards each chapter with ponderous emotional reflections, injecting just enough research and quotes from heavies to keep the reader engaged, such as brief mentions of psychotherapist Brett Kahr, a Hepburn-Tracy movie, chastity rites in ancient times, and Samuel Richardson's Pamela.(June)
Kirkus Reviews
A journalist's account of her voluntary chastity. Anderson, a 30ish, single woman about town in London and New York, had always found sex easy but love elusive. She was spurred to rethink her approach to relationships with men after seeing an ex-boyfriend escorting his girlfriend into a jewelry store. Saying no to sex would, she hoped, help her find love. The story of her venture into a flirty sort of chastity began in July and ended in August of the following year, with most chapters dealing with a single month. While recounting her adventures and misadventures, she philosophizes about sex, dipping into feminist history, psychology and sociology. While shopping for a chaste wardrobe, she muses on what women communicate by what they wear, and a movie date launches her into a discussion of the depiction of sex on the screen, from Hepburn and Tracy in Adam's Rib to Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn in The Break-Up. Men abound in this memoir, some alive and present, others as colorful memories. The author asserts that "while closing myself off physically, I've opened up more psychologically," and that her year without taught her many things about relationships. However, a disastrous sexual liaison at the year's end indicates that may not have been quite the case. Though her experience didn't bring her true love, it provided her with some titillating journalistic material. The author's romantic entanglements may fail to engage the reader, but she provides a vivid portrait of the currently pervasive culture of casual sex. Agent: Elizabeth Sheinkman/Curtis Brown
From the Publisher
"[Anderson] provides a vivid portrait of the currently pervasive culture of casual sex." —-Kirkus
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670021864
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/24/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author


Hephzibah Anderson works freelance as a critic, feature writer, and broadcaster for various British and international outlets, including Vogue, Bloomberg Muse, and BBC Radio Five Live.

Justine Eyre is a classically trained actress who has narrated over two hundred audiobooks. With a prestigious Audie Award and four AudioFile Earphones Awards under her belt, Justine is multilingual and is known for her great facility with accents. Her recent television credits include Two and a Half Men and Mad Men.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xi

1 My First Time 1

2 ...And My Last 20

3 September or Dressing Around 34

4 October or Brief Encounters 56

5 November or At the Movies 77

6 December or Party Time 94

7 January or Sexual Sobriety 109

8 February or Romance on the Dance Floor 128

9 March or Swooning to Conquer 145

10 April ... in London 162

11 April in New York or Chasing Tales 184

12 May and June or Vive la Différence! 195

13 July or Mirror, Mirror 214

14 August or What a Woman Wants 228

Epilogue 243

Acknowledgments 263

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2010

    Don't waste your time

    Chastened, is the biggest waste of time! I really thought this was going to be an interesting book. I think of myself as a pretty fast reader going through 6 or 7 books a week (depending on my work schedule) however, it has taken me over 2 weeks to get about 50 pages into this book. There is no flow, one minute the book is talking about one story and the next second it's moved on to something totally different. This is one of the hardest books to follow, and it makes it impossible to read. I hate giving up on books, but I have to put it back on the shelf, it's not worth my time, don't waste yours!

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    Posted December 21, 2010

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    Posted July 28, 2010

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    Posted September 8, 2011

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