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Sex Outside the Lines: Authentic Sexuality in a Sexually Dysfunctional Culture
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Sex Outside the Lines: Authentic Sexuality in a Sexually Dysfunctional Culture

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Is Your Sex Life Normal?

Boy meets girl. The connection is electric. They fall in love, marry and have amazing sex. Soon there are children, and then grandchildren. They grow old, loving one another for the rest of their lives.

What’s wrong with this picture? Absolutely nothing, if you are one of the relatively small group of people whose lives work out this way.

What’s wron
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by BenBella Books (first published April 14th 2015)
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Average rating 3.30  · 
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 ·  169 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Nate Dorward
Oct 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one!
I was somewhat blindsided by this book, the selection du jour of a bookclub I joined. It's a book that advocates many positions I'm sympathetic to--for instance, that it's OK for people to have adventurous sex lives and engage in casual sex, if that's their bag; that "slut-shaming" is abhorrent; that sex work should be decriminalized; that nonmonogamous relationships are valid; that sex and gender and identity are often resistant to labelling and we shouldn't enforce labels or valorize certain o ...more
Jul 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
I got a whole 13% into this one. And that was probably about 10% further than I knew I should have gone.

I guess what I was looking for in this book was a more professional treatise on modern sexuality, delving into why shaming and repression occurs. That's what the description said to me anyway.

What I got was paragraph after paragraph of gross generalizations. The worst ones were the rants about therapists (no supporting evidence, just a rant) who he saw as trying to fit everyone who came to th
Apr 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
Donaghue has a great many points I agree with, but the delivery is hamfisted at best, and there are more gross generalizations that I'd think would fit in a book this length. The amount of repetition was staggering, each rant circled back to the ones before. This book needed a wise editor to say, "Chris, what you have here is a really nice magazine article." ...more
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
So many issues with this book. For one (and confirmed by author when I asked him on Twitter) there is a dire lack of illustrative case studies to illustrate the preachy prescriptiveness we get here. There is little in the way of helping one navigate any anxiety questioning sexual and romantic assumptions involve not to mention guidance or suggestions or even exercises. Two, for a book called Sex Outside the Lines I had to read a lot about straight people. When he gets to gay people it’s to berat ...more
Paula Valenca
Oct 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
The sad thing is that I've been active in bringing some of the changes the author champions and, if this was an opinion article of a couple of pages instead, I would probably nod and quote them.
So when I heard the author recently promoting the book on Sex Nerd Sandra podcast I thought "this sounds interesting!"
Unfortunately the book comes across more like a repetitive 7h long rant from the author than an actual treaty on the subject. Which is sad because it completely drowns the occasional insig
Apr 28, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm torn about this book. I like many of the ideas espoused by the author but he's walking a slippery slope. Some of his ideas could be used in really evil ways; cheating as opposed to ethical non monogamy, redefining sexual harassment and other ideas that he preaches as "freedom" but, as a woman in our current society, concern me as furthering rape culture.

The author has really important ideas about erotic diversity and justice too. So I'm not sure how to feel about it overall.

On a style note
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book, but I was pretty disappointed. A lot of dubious claims without much backing. The majority of citations are just quotes pulled from papers to make a minor point, while the author's actual assertions remain un-cited and without evidence. I don't feel that I have learned much other than the author's opinion.

I do like the content, so if future editions add more evidence it could turn into a pretty good book.
Apr 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I somehow stuck with him through his over the top defense of cheating, and only gave up on this 149 pages in, right at "We have journeyed from penis to posthuman cyborg 'phallus'" like wtaf. ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I had to abandon it. I really wanted to love it as I enjoy his interviews and podcasts a lot, and agree with some of his viewpoints, but the writing is excruciatingly difficult to get through and he really tends to repeat himself and go on and on without saying anything particularly compelling. Hard pass for me on this. Somebody get this man an editor.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
I read this book because Conner Habib told me to! I guess he's friends with the author. I didn't like this book. I don't think Donahue is a good writer. I like that he's trying to deconstruct cultural beliefs around sexuality where stigma is concerned mainly (related to non normative sexuality, gender or relationship style)--this is all good by me. However, beyond that here are just lots of silly things here. I understand his assertion that there's no such thing as 'sex addiction'--but the fact ...more
Dre Battles
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Chris Donaghue’s Sex Outside the Lines: Authentic Sexuality in a Sexually Dysfunctional Culture is very eloquently written. Donaghue book is very concise and easy to read. It’s a thorough and in-depth look at how society’s view on sex is harming both men and women. Donaghue leaves reader’s feeling empowered and ready to reclaim their sexuality. The text commands that we, as a society, need to deconstruct our view on sexuality. Society need to embrace sexual diversity and sexual freedom. Once a ...more
Marquita Seven
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was excited to hear about the "Open-minded" approach in this book in the beginning. After Chapter 4 it was very obvious that the author did not enjoy "Vanilla" sex and I stopped reading after arousal due to children was brought up. I am not that open minded. ...more
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's refreshing to read such a sex positive book. Unfortunately we live in a world that has become very sex conservative, so this book and its views are a fresh breath of air. I highly recommend it ...more
Bjarke Raabjerg
Aug 18, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
I agree with him on many of his positions, and I really wanted to at least like this book, but I just can't...

In multiple places, this book isn't coherent, it's repetitive, and contains some gross generalizations.

One example:
Despite his own dating rules (at the end of the book, he has a list of 13 rules), he also, in another part of the book, says to "Get rid of any guide or program for how to date." Coherency is not one of his strong suits.

The final nail in the coffin for me, was his pathologiz
Felicite Reads
May 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
This book is a little different from what I thought it would be. I thought it would at least spend some time on sexual identity but that was not the case..

Okay, so, I did agree with parts of this book but there are chunks that I rolled my eyes at and turned the page. This book offers no advice on how to deal with relationship problems that revolve around sex; instead, it puts sex on a pedestal and shit talks monogamy (which I admit isn't for everyone tho again, the book offers no advice on how
Julia Astakhova
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
For me having a conservative background this book was a revelation and a long-waited affirmation of my relationship with the sex topics. But I can imagine how it can be just a sweet repetition of a well-known stuff if you grew up in an open-minded environment without a strong taboo. The author proclaims freedom for all sorts of consensual sex relationships and play. For him most "non-normative" (stated by main-stream) behavior is an act of confidence and health as it is healthy people who choose ...more
Mar 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
DNF at 23%. I agree with many of the points in the book, but the broad generalizations and tone were too much for me.

One specific thing I'd like to point out is the use of "alternative sexualities" (aka paraphilias) and the lack of a conversation about CONSENT in reference to them. For example, voyeurism and exhibitionism are by definition nonconsensual, but many people use the terms to reference similar, consensual acts. It is not just as a point of sex negativity that we as a society characte
Beverly Diehl
3.5 stars. There are some provocative ideas and propositions in this book, and something to offend almost everyone, whether you believe in monogamy or ethical non-monogamy.

Disclaimer: I'm acquainted with the author via social media.

The writing style is a little aggressive, almost as if it's carrying on an argument, and dude, we were on the same side! I felt like some of the claims made weren't as well documented, and other points were hammered on over and over again. Yes, masturbation is health
Aug 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I agree very much with the place that the author is coming from. But I abandoned this book after spending too much time waiting for the hard-held opinions presented to be supported by evidence.

The other reviews of this book might be little more than a show of solidarity for commonly held values finally put into print. But in terms of enlightenment, it's left me starving for a more substantial meal. No matter how much I agree with the opinions stated herein, that temporary pleasure does not last
Hannah Silver
Jul 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Conceptually, I'm on board. But I couldn't get behind the communication style/writing and organization of the book. Seemed forceful in some way. I hate to say masculine, because it seems like I learned nothing... But definitely reads as a little aggressive. Like, if you don't GET IT, you are trash!! Which is weird because I do get it. And still felt a little accosted as I read. Still a lot of nice tidbits and references. ...more
Aleisha  Zolman
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting point view on sex. I would not recommend it to most people as it does challenge many cultural beliefs. But one thing that it did for me was to "normalize" my experience in my marriage. It made me be able to more quickly move on instead of continuing my victim mentality. I ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
I managed three chapters and just couldn’t bring myself to keep reading. Three chapters may not be enough for a real review, but the writing seemed to only scratch the surface and at times felt like I was reading a university paper. Wasn’t quite what I hoped it would be.
Ashley Tanasiychuk
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not the strongest writing, but the intention is beautiful and positive. "There is no normal." This mantra could save so many people from thinking there is something wrong with us if we don't perform as expected. ...more
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked the topics but I felt like it barely skimmed the surface. I would have liked a little more in depth. Overall a very fascinating read.
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars review coming soon
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This really made me think differently about sexual retaliations.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
While I agree with most of his views, his manner of writing seems combative and condescending, with few facts and illustrations to support his case. Not the best book on the subject.
alicia benefield
Great read!!!

This was enlightening and a good discourse on the state of sexuality today. I enjoyed this perspective and feel like I’ve learned a lot from this read.
Patricia Bowden
Nov 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
All I have to say is WHATEVER THE PATRIARCHY. And while I'm at it, hey Goodreads, your 5 star rating system is less than satisfying. I know you can do better. ...more
Gigi Engle
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sexuality
Really great book. Lots of good information and an easy read.
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