Back in 1973 fired a warning shot that reverberates still: Free of constraint, women were not who we imagined.Friday was spurred to write by her own experiences. There was another famous writer in the building, our doorman told me, living high above us in a massive penthouse combination. So-and-So,” using her ex-husband’s last name and blanking on hers. women’s things,” he stammered, and I knew from the way he said it—as if tiptoeing in a minefield—that she wrote about sex.Friday’s interviewees were as untrue and freaky as could be. And in fantasizing during sex, they were sexually autonomous to a degree that was and arguably remains unnerving.
The next she was asking the flummoxed show host Tom Snyder, “Are you ready for a woman to take the initiative?At the same time, she hooked into men’s most retrograde fears about women as sexually secretive and deceptive.She told us that women had inner sexual lives that had nothing to do with the men they were having sex with, even while having sex with them.As one woman told her, “My husband thinks it is him getting me [excited], and it is not at all.” This true and terrifying female autonomy motivated a bestseller list for a year. But if hers is a second-wave success story about a female author scaling the heights until she could dwell, Hefner-like, in her penthouse by examining uncensored female sexuality, it is also a cautionary tale about the fates of women who take themselves and their writing about sex seriously.They may well see their credentials assailed, like Shere Hite, whose 1976 , now a feminist classic, asked readers to sympathize with a married woman who has an affair.