What do women really want? Many have wondered, and now, finally, thanks to Wendy Jones’s collection of “intimate interviews” we have some answers. One wants to swim in a pool with no edges filled with molten chocolate; another wants to re-enact a porno version of a 1970s Fry’s turkish delight advert; another to have a sexual encounter while participating in Question Time. Some women want to have sex every day; some don’t want to have it at all. Some like whipping, others like vampires. The shocking news seems to be that women are individuals, with desires and fantasies peculiar to themselves.

If there are any more general conclusions to be drawn from what was originally half a million words of material, Jones isn’t telling, which makes one wonder what the point of her project was. “When I began, I had no agenda,” she writes in her introduction. “I wanted to listen to women, to give women space to speak.” She found her subjects seemingly at random, through sitting next to them on the train, through friends, or on social media. “Every woman has a unique sexuality and a unique story to tell about her sexuality,” she writes – and yet she also seems to want these individuals to tell us a bigger story. Each of the 24 interviewees is given her own chapter with a bossy, generalising label – “Muslim”, “Mother”, “Lesbian”, “Nun”, “Feminist”, and so on – as though each woman were not simply herself but representative of a whole demographic. Sometimes the interviewee obligingly conforms to expectations (“Muslim” tells us that “society is too sexualised” and that the main thing is to ask “how do I please the Lord?”, while “Mother” describes sex as her “marital duty”), and other times she comically doesn’t (“Nun” wants a threesome). Either way, what Jones’s subjects say is coloured by her one-word characterisation.

To read the full review in the Guardian, click here

AuthorAlice O'Keeffe