Closer by: Sarah Barmak GLOBE AND MAIL BEST BOOKS OF 2016
CBC BEST BOOKS OF 2016
NATIONAL POST BEST BOOKS OF 2016
QUILL & QUIRE BEST OF 2016


We think of the modern woman as sexually liberated – if anything, we’re told we’re oversexed. Yet over half of women report having a sexual complaint, whether that’s lack of desire or difficulty reaching orgasm. Perhaps we need to rethink what’s ‘normal.’ Using a blend of reportage, interview and provocative reflection, journalist Sarah Barmak explores the cutting-edge science and grassroots cultural trends that are getting us closer to truth of women’s sexuality. Now in its second printing.
14.95 - BUY BOOK
"(A)n engrossing look at the state of female desire in 2016... Barmak believes that if we accept the complexity of female desire and actually work to figure our partners out, our sex lives might become less 'predictable and porn-mechanical' – and more hot. In that, Closer is a provocation for women and men alike."
  • Zosia Bielski
  • The Globe and Mail
"Closer: Notes from the Orgasmic Frontier of Female Sexuality (is) an exploration of the ways female sexuality is being redefined in scientific research and today’s sex-obsessed culture. The book takes readers from a feminist sex shop in downtown Toronto to an orgasmic meditation demonstration in the Nevada desert, shedding light on the fears, hopes and frustrations of modern women and anyone identifying as female."
  • Lauren Pelley
  • The Toronto Star

Redefining Female Sexuality | TEDXToronto Talk 2016

About the author
Sarah Barmak

Sarah Barmak is a Toronto freelance journalist and author whose writing has appeared in Maclean’sThe Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Chatelaine, VICE, Canadian Business, Marketing, NOW and Reader’s Digest.

Closer: Notes from the Orgasmic Frontier of Female Sexuality is her first book.

Click here to see some of her recent articles.

Click here to read more about Sarah.

http://Sarah%20Barmak

EVENTS

9781552453230_Barmak_Closer

September 7, San Francisco: Closer book signing, reading and Q&A with Sarah on women’s sexuality and today’s female sexual underground. 7:30 p.m., Green Apple Books (1231 9th Avenue, San Fran).

September 15, Montréal: Closer book signing, Q&A with Sarah and onstage conversation with Ashley Opheim, editor of Metatron. 7 p.m., Librarie Drawn & Quarterly (211 Bernard Ouest, Montréal).

September 21, Toronto: Sarah talks female sexuality and pleasure with Good For Her founder and author Carlyle Jansen. 7 p.m., Good For Her (175 Harbord St., Toronto).

October 16, Brooklyn, New York City: Closer Book Brunch! Enjoy a midday morning book signing and Q&A about female sexuality and pleasure along with your coffee and pancakes. Vulva colouring, Babeland sex toy raffle and more. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The House of Yes (2 Wyckoff Ave).

October 27, Toronto: Sarah gives a talk at the TEDxToronto Conference on why women’s sexuality is uniquely important, and how women are countering centuries of misunderstanding and oppression in order to redefine sex for themselves. Koerner Hall, Telus Centre for Performance and Learning (273 Bloor St W., Toronto).

May 2017: Sarah appears at the next PEN World Voices Festival. Date TBD. Check this space for updates!

June 2017, Toronto: Sarah speaks at the upcoming Ideacity conference. Date TBD.

BOOK EXCERPT

 

How Not to Have an Orgasm

In a sex-obsessed culture, women still have trouble asking for what they want in bed

The ladies trickle, slowly and tentatively, into the sex shop. Rather than turning right through the main door toward the sales floor’s hot-pink vibrators and tattooed staff, they keep left, climbing a narrow staircase into a little carpeted attic. They shake rainwater off their umbrellas and find seats in the circle of chairs, scooting around each other and mumbling “excuse mes” and “sorrys.” They look shyly at their laps, poke at their phones. One floor above the array of silicone toys promising advanced pleasure to the adventurous, these fifteen or so women aged twenty to sixty are here on a much braver quest: to learn how to have an orgasm. For nearly all, it will be their first one.

In contrast to the riotous main floor of Good For Her, Toronto’s sex store built for women, the quiet attic is solemn, its lights soft. The five-hour workshop, held on a drizzly Sunday morning in April, isn’t meant for drop-ins. Participants have planned many weeks in advance, driving in from surrounding suburbs, leaving kids with grandparents or husbands.
The store’s founder, Carlyle Jansen, stands, tall and self-contained. “This is probably the first time you’ve been around people who understand you,” she says softly. She asks everyone to say their name, a little about why they’re here and, lastly, to share something they have recently learned.
Porn has become our mainstream aesthetic where our ideal body is one that is sculpted, tanned, and hairless—ready for nudity at a moment’s notice.
The room is quiet. Someone clears her throat.
“Hi, I’m Sherry. I’ve never had an orgasm,” begins one woman, with a mix of reluctance and relief. “Um . . . and I’m learning to salsa dance.”

To read more from this book excerpt published in The Walrus Magazine, click here.

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