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Intercourse

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  940 ratings  ·  66 reviews
The book that Andrea DworkinOCOs best known for-in which she provoked the argument that ultimately split apart the feminist movement-is being reissued for the young women and men of the twenty-first century"
ebook, 351 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Not Avail (first published 1987)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,656)
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Richard
This book was an eye opener for me, not so much because I agree with the prescriptive aspects of what Dworkin has to say, but because her descriptions of traditional male heterosexuality are, I think, spot on. This book really made me take a careful look not only at what I thought about sex, but about how I had sex; and it changed me.
Ben
Given its reputation, I was expecting (hoping for) something angrier and even more radical. This is mostly a very reasonable book.

Liberals refuse categorically to inquire into even a possibility that there is a relationship between intercourse per se and the low status of women.... What intercourse is for women and what it does to women's identity, privacy, self-respect, self-determination, and integrity are forbidden questions; and yet how can a radical or any woman who wanats freedom not ask
...more
Zach
Jun 09, 2013 Zach rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone willing to consider the ideological consequences of what they do in the bedroom
Yes, I'm a heterosexual man who read Andrea Dworkin, and I not only survived, but I also actually enjoyed it. The fact of the matter is that very little of what has been said about Dworkin and this book in the mainstream media is strictly true; she does not, for example, actually claim that all heterosexual intercourse is rape. In fact, that widely-reported reading in many ways just proves Dworkin's point. What she is arguing is that in our present society, the notion of heterosexual intercourse ...more
Milo
After all of the hype I've heard about Dworkin, I found her book terribly mild to what I was expecting. I loved her style, though; blatant, angry, and poetic all at the same time.

I'm completely befuddled now about her supposed "man-hating" approach. This is what I usually heard from others who claimed to have properly read her, but I never saw the typographical proof. Perhaps I'm reading the wrong book?

As far as I can tell, Dworkin doesn't hate masculinity; she hates patriarchy. She doesn't hate
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Heather
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Holly
Dec 16, 2011 Holly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sex positive feminists
Anyone who hates Dworkin should at least give this book a chance before forming an intractable opinion.

Merging feminist literary criticism with political polemic, Intercourse lays out a psycho-social-political analysis of heterosexual fucking, with chapters on Possession, Dirt, Law, Stigma, Virginity, Repulsion and Communion. Dworkin uses historical and literary texts to explore the meanings intercourse has for women and men, the ways in which women internalise male dominance through sex, the us
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Chantay
Jul 19, 2015 Chantay rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People that use porn as a sexual format
Shelves: fem-lit
Some would have you believe that Dworkin's book was all about the one quote she wrote "all rape is sex." Fully missing out on what exactly she meant or simply ignoring all the reasons she pointed out it every chapter. All sex is rape when you believe the person beneath, above or around you is nothing more then a inferior object to get you to an end goal and to be discard/picked up later at your whim. Refusing to see the person that you are entering as an equal to you. Someone that has needs, tha ...more
Sarah Canavan
Mar 02, 2014 Sarah Canavan added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the strong-stomached
I finally found a copy of this tonight. Unfortunately it smells really, really odd. I think it might be ...(sniffing it)..mothballs and cigarettes. Gross. I'm pretty interested in skimming through this, I've read a few excerpts and it's markedly extremist so I don't think I can viably get involved in it, but it's the versing in the extremes that makes me feel more grounded in my own version of middle-ground. Even with her eccentricism, Dworkin seems to have led a moving, impassioned and enlighte ...more
C.
So, I guess this is the origin of the "all sex is rape" fallacy. Naturally, that's not what she's saying. But apart from the subject matter, which I think I might stay away from, what a strange, rambling book this is! I'm entirely unclear about why it began with five chapters of literary criticism, and whether this was supposed to illustrate the way the world was/is, or the way the world is perceived by men. At least she didn't try to draw sweeping conclusions based on the content of novels. But ...more
JenniferRuth
This book has a serious reputation. It has been both derided and lauded. It's touted as the pinnacle of man-hating radical feminism. It is claimed that within the book, Dworkin says that all heterosexual intercourse is rape. With a reputation such as that, how could I resist reading it?

First things first. Dworkin never says that all heterosexual intercourse is rape. She just asks the question - how does our culture, our politics, our society, our feminism intersect with the act of intercourse? C
...more
Dylan Horrocks
I went into this book expecting something far simpler: angry, caricatured polemic; easy to dismiss and depressing to read. Instead I found an extraordinary piece of writing that will echo through my head for some time to come - as a dark, apocalyptic vision of hyper-gendered sexuality that appalls and disturbs to the core, even as I struggle to reject it.

Difficult, confrontational, unpleasant, idiosyncratic, exasperating - but also full of beautiful, surging - almost chant-like - prose, compelli
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É F.K. Ó Conghaile
After waiting too long and expecting too much, I was thoroughly disappointed to find this book is extremely limited in any ideological benefit to my perspectives, filled with problems, and lacking in any solutions. While I will keep it and my edits/highlights as a form of reference for specific matters, I can say that this book suggests I'm better off writing my own perspective rather than expecting enlightenment from others.

While Dworkin has some powerful wordplay in describing her thesis, she
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cashman_cool
Read this summer 2K12 when I was still in a trance of uncritical Brooksian devotion (also hadn't been exposed to much gender theory/much theory at all) and thought it was fantastic. But looking back on it reveals a lot of disturbing claims that unwittingly amount to essentialist ideas on gender (for example - and despite her claims otherwise - heterosexual sex is almost only presented and described in the narrow confines of dick=dominating intrusive force and vagina=place of domination and subse ...more
Elizabeth
It sounds cliche- but this book changed my life.
I recall making the decision to read it for the first time, knowing I would not be the same at its conclusion. As a liberal feminist, I was fully aware of the mythos surrounding Dworkin and what a derisive figure she was.
Suffice to say, at the end of Intercourse I realized that liberal feminism was simply re-branding womens oppression for convenience, and that liberation was not so easy. I was well on my way to becoming one of those difficult lad
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Dinah
Intercourse happens to be one of those books that everyone in the academic world feels comfortable deriding without going through the trouble of reading it. To be sure, Dworkin is a difficult lady. She is not polite. She is not one to mince words or hide her anger. She is not kind to the dominant paradigm, and she will not take "because it is easy and convenient" as an answer for any sin.

Her critics would have you believe that Intercourse is a diatribe about the evil of heterosexual contact, and
...more
Kirk
I've been trying to read/reread this book since 1989. It took me seventeen years to really get through it and appreciate it---although, I've always wanted to appreciate it. It took me that long to understand it---or at least to feel confident enough to say I understood it. I think it's a great lesson for men to submit (!) to an argument like this, which, despite Dworkin's detractors, ISN'T easy to summarize. Just to be clear: Dworkin isn't saying that any heterosexual sex is de facto rape. That' ...more
Brian
"...fucking, in which both the man & the woman experience maleness, essentially demands the disappearance of the woman as an individual; thus, in being fucked, she is possessed: ceases to exist as a discrete individual: is taken over.
The man is not possessed in fucking even though he is terrified of castration...even though he is terrified of never getting his cock back because she has engulfed it inside her, and it is small compared with the vagina around it...he is not possessed even thou
...more
Varina
This was probably one of the most challenging and inspiring books I have read in awhile, and while I did not necessarily agree with everything in it, every argument did give me something to think about and wrestle with. The writing is also incredible; Dworkin's writing cuts to the bone of every issue and is savagely beautiful. I would recommend it to anyone who really wants to think deeply about patriarchy and violence against women (with the proviso that she uses pretty rough language)
Rowan
Far more even-handed than I would have been led to believe. Its elliptical style can be a little difficult to access, and much of the information is rather cherry-picked to make points. However, this aside, the points are important and extremely valid in today's society.

Clearly grossly misinterpreted by would-be followers on a level unlike anything that comes to mind other than the Bible.
Dave
This book opened my eyes and introduced me to the idea of literary criticism. It's safe to say it was one of the most influential books I have ever read.
Donna
It's not just a town in Pennsylvania.
Carmen
The woman was brilliant. A must-read.
Victoria
It's impossible to truly love what you consider to be inferior to you.
Andrea Dworkin is one of those brilliant writers and thinkers I wish I discovered sooner. Doing so might have saved me so much time wasted on liberal-choice feminism.
And the main reason for that is "Intercourse" entices the reader (provided they came equipped with a mind open to it) to reconsider and analyze something too often taken for granted through and for its biology; along with the feelings we can't articulate but cli
...more
Yeliz
This is an honest and daring text. I especially love when feminism intertwines with a little bit literary criticism.
I found Dworkin's voice to be reasoning contrary to what the text is accused to be (hating-extremist, how?). She is a tormented soul who woes for the woman.
Many questions she puts her fingers on eventually are intriguing. Personally I tried to question every experience I had, relate them to how I am identified, objectified, defined. Sexuality involved inevitably but not the interc
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Darcy Stovall
First, I'd like to say that you can download the complete works of Andrea Dworkin here in pdf, epub, and Kindle formats.

As far as the actual book goes...wow. I wasn't sure what to think when I started it because the first few chapters were very ranty and convoluted, which is the only reason why I knocked my rating down to four stars. She clearly lived up to the angry feminist title, but I believe her anger was definitely not unfounded. Dworkin cites a lot of classic male literature and philosoph
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danielle
This is a book about how other books have portrayed heterosexual sex. It is not a book about intercourse in general. She has cherry-picked texts such as Madame Bovary and Dracula to prove her point.

Her major thesis is that within the texts and the oppressive patriarchal societies that produced them men viewed sex as an act whereby the woman is owned, subjugated, and violently violated by the man. In all these texts any "carnal" woman who enjoys sex is deemed repulsive by the man and ends up bei
...more
Rididill
Fascinating to finally read the famous 'all sex is rape' book. A claim which really belongs to Tolstoy, as she documents in her first chapter.

The book is basically literary criticism - which is interesting, but I don't think a claim to state in a wholesale manner: ALL SOCIETY IS LIKE THIS AND THIS IS EVERY WOMAN'S EXPERIENCE as her critics seem to suggest.

I must confess I did not understand all of it - some of the chapters were a little weird and confusing, 'Skinless' for example. But some of
...more
Duncan Robertson
A primal rhythm courses through Intercourse, transformed by a different melody in each chapter, meeting its end in a crescendo of anguish. It feels like a relentless symphony, with gloriously tender, erotic peaks, and brutally graphic lows. Dworkin's style is unforgiving, poetic; love is a subtext, never a subject. She provides a sweeping account and analysis of sexuality under patriarchy, illustrated by eclectic literary analysis of the highest quality. It’s tragic that she has been so lambaste ...more
Sayerhs
Andrea's message is simple enough; sex needs to be an act between equals. She discusses at length the different circumstances and prevalent heteropatriarchy in society which skew the act of intercourse in to a tool against women. Instances from literature, although dated and unknown for today's reader, help in elaborating her argument.

The book is apparently infamous for stating that "all heterosexual sex is rape". I must confess though, that I didn't even spot that line in the book, much less ta
...more
Esmoi
May 07, 2010 Esmoi marked it as put-aside-for-now  ·  review of another edition
I read one book by Dworkin (Ice and Fire) and was so excited by it that I checked a few more out from the library (including this one). When I started to read them, I found myself so emotionally drained by the writing, by thinking about these ideas, I just had to stop. I got my introduction to real feminism just a few months ago after 27.5 years of life living in a patriarchy and I've found that viewing my life through this new lens is a painful transition. At first I plunged in greedily, but no ...more
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Andrea Rita Dworkin was an American radical feminist and writer best known for her criticism of pornography, which she argued was linked to rape and other forms of violence against women.

An anti-war activist and anarchist in the late 1960s, Dworkin wrote 10 books on radical feminist theory and practice. During the late 1970s and the 1980s, she gained national fame as a spokeswoman for the feminist
...more
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“Being female in this world means having been robbed of the potential for human choice by men who love to hate us. One does does not make choices in freedom. Instead, one conforms in body type and behavior and values to become an object of male sexual desire, which requires an abandonment of a wide-ranging capacity for choice...

Men too make choices. When will they choose not to despise us?”
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“How can anyone love someone who is less than a full person, unless love itself is domination per se?” 14 likes
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