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  • Published: 6 June 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473563896
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism

And Other Arguments for Economic Independence




This brilliantly witty and expert book explains why capitalism is rigged against women and what to do about it

Kristen R. Ghodsee’s Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism explains why capitalism is uniquely bad for women and shows that if we adopt and update some ideas from socialism, women’s lives will be better – at work, at home and even in the bedroom.

In the late 1980s and early 90s, sexologists discovered that East German women living under socialism reported greater sensual pleasure and higher rates of orgasm than their Western counterparts.

The horrors and deprivations of Communism are infamous. Less well known is that the socialist insistence in many Eastern and Northern European countries on bringing women out of the home and into the work force – through state provision of education, maternity leave, childcare and domestic support – transformed their lives for the better. Releasing them from financial dependence on marriages and men, socialist policies allowed women to choose partners on their own terms in a way that generations of women before them had been denied.

Drawing on decades of research, Kristen R. Ghodsee conveys what this was like for women at the time and shows how women in capitalist societies today are experiencing the opposite: with systematic restrictions on their access to well-paid work and to child support, women face an impossible choice; for the majority who become mothers, marriage is their primary financial resource. When it’s your only way of paying rent or feeding your kids, little wonder that sex is not so great.

This expert, witty and empowering book provides all the evidence and arguments you need to reclaim your time, emotional energy and self-worth from the reductive logics of capitalism – and shows how collectively young women have the power to re-shape society in their favour.

  • Published: 6 June 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473563896
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

About the author

Kristen Ghodsee

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Kristen R. Ghodsee was travelling in Europe, and spent the summer of 1990 witnessing first-hand the initial hope and euphoria that followed the sudden and unexpected collapse of state socialism in the former Eastern Bloc. The political and economic chaos that followed inspired Ghodsee to pursue an academic career studying this upheaval, focusing on how ordinary people’s lives – and women’s particularly – changed when state socialism gave way to capitalism. For the last two decades, she has visited the region regularly and lived for over three years in Bulgaria and the Eastern parts of reunified Germany. Now a professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, she has won many awards for her work, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has written six books on gender, socialism, and postsocialism, examining the everyday experiences of upheaval and displacement that continue to haunt the region to this day. Ghodsee also writes on women's issues for the Chronicle of Higher Education and is the co-author of Professor Mommy: Finding Work/Family Balance in Academia. Her articles and essays have appeared in publications such as Eurozine, Aeon, Dissent, Foreign Affairs and The New York Times.

Praise for Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism

Wonderful … Kristen Ghodsee doesn’t wear rose-tinted spectacles … but she seeks with great brio and nuance to lay out what some socialist states achieved for women … That Ghodsee also makes this a joyous read is the cherry on the cake

Suzanne Moore, Observer

Ghodsee’s book could not have been published at a better moment ... There are many reasons to revisit socialist policies in a time of widening inequality, but a feminist perspective offers some of the most powerful incentives

Emily Witt, Guardian

Brilliant ... engaging ... Ghodsee is not naive [and] brings the necessary scepticism to her thesis [which] comes into sharp focus when she looks at what happened after the Wall fell ... [a] valuable record of how things were and how they could be

Rosie Boycott, Financial Times

Convincing, provocative and useful

Times Higher Education

Capitalism’s triumph is a calamity for most women. Kristen Ghodsee’s incisive book brilliantly reveals their plight

Yanis Varoufakis

This book is funny, angry and urgent – it's going to make readers think very differently about how they work, and how they live. Ghodsee is going to start a revolution. I'm already making a placard

Daisy Buchanan, author of How To Be a Grown-Up

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