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Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,515 ratings  ·  252 reviews
A spirited, deeply researched exploration of why capitalism is bad for women and how, when done right, socialism leads to economic independence, better labor conditions, better work-life balance and, yes, even better sex.
In a witty, irreverent op-ed piece that went viral, Kristen Ghodsee argued that women had better sex under socialism. The response was tremendous -- clea
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 20th 2018 by Bold Type Books
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Emily May
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2020
When women enjoy their own sources of income, and the state guarantees social security in old age, illness, and disability, women have no economic reason to stay in abusive, unfulfilling, or otherwise unhealthy relationships.

3 1/2 stars. I keep changing my mind about this book. I actually really enjoyed reading it - the author's style was informal and accessible, and it complemented my previous Marxist feminist readings - but I also think it is a little confusing exactly what the author is i
Quin Rich
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
As an avowed Marxist feminist, I found this to be an utterly infuriating text.

Ghodsee is an academic historian who has written a popular press book that seeks to dispel some widespread myths about the horrors of Eastern European state socialism. She does this with the explicit aim of opening up space in contemporary US political discourse for consideration of how more redistributive and regulatory economic policies would be good for women. All of this is seemingly laudable.

The problem comes wh
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Award-winning author Kristen Ghodsee has written a handful of books exploring communism, gender and ethnicity, and after appreciating Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism, I will be purchasing her other works to dip in and out of. As soon as I read the synopsis for this, I knew it was right up my street. Having had an issue with capitalism for as long as I can remember, I was not in need of convincing that adopting some socialist principles may be a better option for many people, including ...more
Nov 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
Short version: sex was better under socialism for a nut who never lived that.

Long version:

A mystical preacher talking about Paradise.

Under Socialism the woman had both the traditional role - cook, wash, and so on - and the modern role - employee working full time. Food scarcity also meant long queues waiting for food delivery. Poverty meant no washing machine, no dishwasher, everything was done by hand, the diapers also. No hot water meant accidents while moving the boiling water pan from the ki
Sarah Jaffe
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: love-research
A fun and readable trip through the history of attempts to build an egalitarian society, with humor and a grounding in decades of research.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
The problem with this book is that its focus seems to be American centric (which is normal, I guess, it being written in English). Still, limiting communism and socialism to women working, equal wages with men, health care, child care and pension, how women viewed sex is wrong. Let’s look at each.

As someone who lives in an ex-communist country I know that child care, health care and free education were barely there. Just because they existed (and still do with millions in debt) doesn’t mean the
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
4+ stars

A thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening read on the multiple ways women's lives benefit from socialism. Ghodsee was preaching to the choir but her case is incredibly strong and convincing nevertheless, and is backed up with many examples from her research and time spent in Eastern Europe. Highly recommended!

Thank you Netgalley and Random House UK / Vintage Publishing for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The argument of this book can be summed up succinctly: unregulated capitalism is bad for women, and if we adopt some ideas from socialism, women will have better lives" (p.1)

This book is nothing short of fantastic! Ghodsee provides an approachable examination of how economic and social leftism (social democracy and state socialism basically) provide a better sexual life for women and men. Her main case studies are the state socialism of Russia and Eastern Europe, with some focus on Central Euro
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, non-fiction
This was a fascinating read. It's a book about politics which explores if and why women are happier living under socialist/communist governments than they are under capitalist/democratic governments.

The author focuses on data collected from Eastern European countries which used to be socialist but are now capitalist. It comes at the question from a lot of different directions. One fact that comes up again and again is that when a profit needs to be made, the first cuts that are made are ones th
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reads like a dream - I finished the whole thing in one 2-hour sitting. As in her other works, the author demonstrates a very liberal and anglocentric understanding of capitalism and socialism. That she can nevertheless extract some very telling conclusions about the wellbeing of women under socialism versus their deprivations under capitalism, makes the book all the more valuable. In a couple of neat chapters she empirically settles the record on women civil participation, quality of life, views ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't think this is a fully baked book--I wish she would have spent some more time and made it a longer and more fully thought out thesis. As is, I don't think she really supports her thesis. However, this was still an excellent read. The point is obvious, but sometimes forgotten: Women are happier when they are financially independent. They can have better relationships and also better sex.
Sean Estelle
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This very quick read was an overall entertaining, sometimes very persuasive look into the lessons we can learn for women’s liberation from ‘really existing socialisms’ and socialist theorists. I am not really sure what to think of the pieces around sex work (I would have felt better about it if Ghodsee had qualified her critique of sexual economics theory and sex work with a defense of sex workers surviving under capitalism, especially post SESTA/FOSTA). Overall definitely worth the read, even w ...more
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because I wanted to read something on politics and ended up enjoying it much more than I thought I would!

I believe in equality, and both men and women having fulfilling lives. I was born after communism fell in Eastern Europe and I have lived in Denmark, where I could see how socialism and democracy can work together. For men and women alike, the government has put in place policies to protect their quality of life in Denmark, and make sure they are looked after if misfortu
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This work offers a peek through the iron curtain and into the bedrooms of the former Soviet Bloc countries. Sex, it turns out, was both more enjoyable and better understood in the authoritarian regimes of Eastern Europe. While the author displays an excellent breadth of historical and sociological understanding of the 20th century European Socialist states, the book's most profound critique is its comparison with the capitalist West--both then and now.

While rationing, travel restrictions, and c
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: feminism
I read this book for the Tokyo Feminist book club. 🙂 I doubt I would have read it otherwise because the title would have put me off.

OK, so firstly I think about a book about socialism shouldn’t refer to Sweden and Finland as “socialist countries”. They’re social democracies - they're still capitalist countries. In comparison to the US, they're much to the further left of the political spectrum, but I think it's strange to use the Soviet Union and Sweden as your main examples of "socialism" - th
Those reviewers who argue that this book doesn't sufficiently acknowledge the bad elements of life under Eastern European really existing socialism have completely missed Ghodsee's point. While she does repeatedly acknowledge the problems of autocratic single-party states, their misunderstanding is more fundamental than that--her point is not that things were good for women under really existing socialism, just that really existing socialist nations did more to try and promote gender equity, eco ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Her arguments are 95% emotional, and have already been refuted time and again in anti-socialist literature. I lost count of false equivalencies just within the first chapter. The author doesn't understand what capitalism is (most importantly, *not* the heavily related, corporate monopolism we have in the US), or she wouldn't be arguing that it inherently discriminates against mothers. The book was automatically returned to my digital library before I finished it, and I'm not bothering to re-borr ...more
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Despite, or perhaps due to, the salacious title, this book is AMAZING. Incredibly well researched, I learned so much, highly recommend it!
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
The politics book club decided it was time to read something fun and spicy and possibly Valentine’s Day appropriate? I forget if that came up in the discussion, as I periodically forget about most holidays that aren’t Halloween. 

Anyway, for February we landed on Kristen R. Ghodsee’s Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence

It’s a pretty short, pretty easy read, and it lets you know where it stands right off the bat. Page 1 has two paragraphs. Th
Mick Van Rijk
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
sassy stuff
- made me lol but made me col more (cry out loud)
Zuzka Jakubkova
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reading about possibility of economic equality between sexes is something that would make any woman horny, I guess.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, feminism
An academic wrote this book. Geez. It is full of bad errors and not honest comparisons. Look away of every statistic that contradict you. You don’t compare of what you think is worst with capitalism with that what you think is best with communism. The values are skewed as well. Equity is for the author better than freedom, of course then when equity is achieved the author will believe it will save everything including sex. Freedom be damned because equity is achieved by giving people the blessin ...more
Briar Wyatt
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very easy read, but packs a pretty solid emotional punch while investigating the intersections of socialism and feminism. I learned some good tidbits and felt a shit tonne of solidarity!
Mariana Garrido
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best non-fiction book I've read in the last years. Women of the world, please read it!
Ariel ✨
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Smart, funny, enlightening. I made a lot of notes I'll have to revisit in the future.
Brant Roberts
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“If women’s liberation is unthinkable without communism, then communism is unthinkable without women’s liberation.” – Inessa Armand

“What we can now conjecture about the way in which sexual relations will be ordered after the impending overthrow of capitalist production is mainly of a negative character, limited for the most part to what will disappear. But what will there be new?” – Friedrich Engels[1]

After the reunification of Germany in 1990 the Chancellor Helmut Kohl made an appeal to East G
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last chapter changed my rating from 3 to 4 stars. The way this book was structured made some arguments of historical figures quite repetitive, and quite a few parts were simply stating numbers and statistics of what was going on in Eastern European countries during different eras. The arguments that Ghodsee used were interesting enough to keep reading, and the final chapter was written a lot more smoothly without the endless statistics of the previous chapters. Overall I still recommend read ...more
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book helped me better understand the differences between capitalism, democratic socialism, and state socialism, as well as why capitalism discriminates against women.
Matthew Stienberg
A fascinating treatise on both women's issues, politics and economics! Examining women's lives under the Warsaw Pact regimes we see a powerful narrative that women were more empowered, employable and yes, had better sex because of it. When given more power women were able to flourish and have better lives which gave them the ability to enjoy healthier sex lives and deeper relationships. An important read today!
Andy Anaya
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 123, tsx
Weapons-grade literature for the class war, and a beacon of hope. Required reading for the politically curious. This is one of those rare books where I often read a passage worth quoting and keeping as an excerpt, and, as I follow it, the excerpt I'm eyeing ends up exceeding several pages, so really the excerpt I would like to share with friends ends up being just the whole book from cover to cover. Checkmate, Friedmanites--this book exists.

And grabbing the audiobook via phone library app was ef
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Kristen R. Ghodsee an award-winning author and ethnographer specializing in the lived experiences of socialism and postsocialism in Eastern Europe. She is professor of Russian and East European Studies and a member of the Graduate Group in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her articles and essays have been translated into over a dozen languages and have appeared in publications such ...more

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“The state of being female is complicated by other categories such as class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, and so on.” 1 likes
“Слово «пол» означает биологические различия между мужскими и женскими особями, а слово «гендер» включает социальные роли, с точки зрения культуры соответствующие биологии

Гендерная дискриминация возникает потому, что общество конструирует архетипы идеального мужчины и идеальной женщины на основе их якобы биологических различий. Это не значит, что мужчины и женщины одинаковы — они неодинаковы, — я говорю лишь о том, что наши представления о поведении мужчин и женщин являются плодом коллективного воображения — очень убедительным, но тем не менее иллюзорным

Мы не ассоциируем женщин с руководящими должностями потому, что почти не видим подобных примеров.

Мужчинам платят больше, потому что работодателям, клиентам и заказчикам кажется, что они больше стоят.

в обществах экономического неравенства люди, особенно женщины, не могут искать спутников жизни в близких по духу личностях и страдают от несчастливых браков и двойных стандартов в сексе… Капиталистический строй приравнивался к подчинению женщин и патриархальности, а социалистические отношения рассматривались как лекарство против капиталистической эксплуатации женщин, будто собственности».

Если люди счастливы в своей интимной жизни, чувствуют, что их любят и поддерживают за то, что они из себя представляют, а не чем владеют, капитализм теряет один из своих самых действенных инструментов: он больше не может заставить нас покупать больше вещей, чтобы заполнить пропасть на месте отсутствующих личных уз.

многие ее подруги и коллеги в возрасте около 25 лет принимают антидепрессанты, чтобы справиться с давлением повседневности. Эти лекарства подавляют тревогу, но часто уничтожают либидо, превращая молодых мужчин и женщин в покорных роботов-трудоголиков, которым не хватает времени на любовь.

Марк Фишер утверждал, что ухудшение психического здоровья людей на Западе может объясняться ненадежностью капиталистической экономической системы. Как изменение климата и разрушение окружающей среды, стремительное распространение депрессии и тревожности является отрицательным внешним эффектом системы, которая сводит человека до его меновой стоимости

Главное, оберегайте свое время, эмоциональные силы и самоуважение от обесценивания. Вы не товар. Ваша депрессия и тревога — не просто химический дисбаланс в головном мозге, это обоснованная реакция на систему, питающуюся вашим расчеловечиванием.

Личные отношения требуют времени и сил, которых хватает лишь немногим из нас, пытающимся свести концы с концами в неустойчивой экономике краткосрочных контрактов. Мы опустошены и выжаты как лимон и не хотим тратить эмоциональные ресурсы на поддержание отношений с любимыми.

Любые отношения требуют некоторого эмоционального труда, и молодежь усваивает, что этот труд может быть оплачен

Моногамия и фертильность женщины, таким образом, стали товарами, которыми мужчины обменивались с целью передачи накопленных богатства и власти будущим поколениям своих потомков.

секс — это товар, контролируемый женщинами, поскольку, по мнению авторов, женское половое влечение слабее мужского. Поэтому женщины имеют бóльшую власть в сексуальных отношениях с мужчинами. Они могут требовать компенсации, потому что мужчины хотят получить товар (секс) сильнее, чем женщины

Чем выше интеллектуальное и эмоциональное развитие индивида, тем меньше в его или ее отношениях будет места сугубо физиологической стороне любви, тем ярче любовный опыт

равные отношения дают меньше возможностей для манипуляций и обид между партнерами.

За страхом государственной идеологической обработки детей стоит реальный страх экономической независимости женщин и слома традиционной семьи”
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