About Sarah
Sarah Barmak

sarah and sockie

Sarah grew up in sleepy Thornhill, Ontario and did a B.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in cinema studies at the University of Toronto – neither of which have much to do with journalism, and yet here we are. While at U of T she became Editor-in-Chief of The Varsity student newspaper, and began working as a freelance journalist for The Toronto Star. Aside from her book, Closer, she has written about the Canadian marijuana business, the beauty of NFL football and the online porn industry. Her writing has appeared in Maclean’s, The Toronto Star, Canadian Business, The Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, VICE, The Hairpin, The Walrus, Marketing, Reader’s Digest and other publications.

Aside from journalism, her trashy short fiction has appeared in the NMA-winning lit humour journal The Feathertale Review. She contributed to Eat It!, an anthology about women and food. And she once gave a Trampoline Hall lecture on the homoeroticism of UFC wrestling. She lives with her partner in Toronto.

Click here to see some of her recent articles.

Overview of book
Closer: Notes from the Orgasmic Frontier of Female Sexuality

A provocative look at why our current understanding of female sexuality isn’t getting us off.

We think of the modern woman as sexually liberated – if anything, we’re told we’re oversexed. Yet a striking number of women are dissatisfied with their sex lives. Over half of women report having a sexual complaint, whether that’s lack of desire or difficulty reaching orgasm. But this issue doesn’t get much press; the urge is to ignore or medicalize it (witness the quest for ‘pink Viagra’). If so many ordinary women suffer from sexual frustration, then perhaps the problem isn’t one that can be addressed by a pharmaceutical fix – or isn’t a problem. Maybe we need to get hot and bothered about a broader cultural cure: a reorienting of our current male-focused approach to sex and pleasure, and a rethinking of what’s ‘normal.’

Using a blend of reportage, interview and first-person reflection, journalist Sarah Barmak explores the cutting-edge science and grassroots cultural trends that are getting us closer to truth of women’s sexuality. Closer reveals how women are reshaping their sexuality today in wild, irrepressible ways: nude meetings, how-to apps, trans-friendly porn, therapeutic vulva massage, hour-long orgasms and public clit-rubbing demonstrations – and redefining female sexuality on its own terms.