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Intercourse
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About the Author

Andrea Dworkin was the co-author, with Catharine A. MacKinnon, of civil rights legislation recognizing pornography as legally actionable sex discrimination. She wrote eleven books, including Pornography, Heartbreak, and Scapegoat. She died in April 2005 in Washington, D.C. Ariel Levy is a contributing editor at New York magazine, and the author of Female Chauvinist Pigs. She lives in New York City.

Reviews

Dworkin argues that in a society where men oppress women, they will use sex for that purpose as well, and that men's sexual dominion over women underpins the whole system of oppression codified in law. Her most provocative point is that sexual intercourse itself intrinsically creates problems for women's self-esteem. She bases this argument on the premise that human beings need to protect their physical boundaries to feel safe. Since women's boundaries are breached in even the most welcome and humane forms of sexual intercourse, they must therefore experience themselves, as part of their normal existence, as more vulnerable than men experience themselves and less able to assert their humanity. Dworkin's argument is obviously one-sided, disregarding benefits women may derive from these intimate connections. Nor does she spend much time on a solution for the problem of boundaries she has identified. Still, this fascinating book deserves a wide readership. Cynthia Harrison, American Historical Assn., Washington, D.C.

"The most shocking book any feminist has yet written." Germaine Greer"

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