Naomi Wolf says her critics have problems with female sexuality

The author of "Vagina: A New Biography" defends herself

Published September 25, 2012 5:39PM (EDT)

In a Time article, author Naomi Wolf shot back at critics who attacked her psuedo-scientific, airy-fairy "Vagina: A New Biography," for being too pseudo-scientific and airy-fairy. But much of Wolf's self-justifying rebuttal amounts to her complaining that critics don't like her book because people are afraid to talk about women and sex.

See here:

While many responses to my book were positive, the tone of some of the critiques—from “mystic woo woo about the frou frou"  to “bad news for everyone who has one” — suggests to me that our culture, even one in which Fifty Shades of Grey is being devoured by millions of women, still has problems discussing women’s sexuality in a positive, empowering way. And we need — perhaps women especially — to be able to have that conversation.

And then there's:

Indeed, serious or even remotely respectful discourse about women’s erotic well-being has been so marginalized that in today’s climate, when one brings new findings on female arousal and satisfaction into public debate, as I am doing with my book, I find that one must make the case from the start that these numbers — and female sexual satisfaction — matter at all.

What Wolf doesn't seem to understand is the criticisms against her book --which the New York Review of Books described as "a shoddy piece of work, full of childlike generalizations and dreary, feminist auto-think" -- are not about vaginas or feminism or limiting public debate. On the contrary, they are about smacking down what critics see as a notably flimsy, wrongheaded work, one that might even be capable of setting back what Wolf calls "the supposedly sexually liberated society we now live in."

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

MORE FROM Prachi Gupta

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Feminism Naomi Wolf Sex Vagina Women Writing