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Feminist Writings$

Simone de Beauvoir, Margaret A. Simons, and Marybeth Timmermann

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039003

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039003.001.0001

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Preface to The Sexually Responsive Woman

Preface to The Sexually Responsive Woman

Chapter:
(p.97) Preface to The Sexually Responsive Woman
Source:
Feminist Writings
Author(s):

Simone de Beauvoir

Marybeth Timmermann

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252039003.003.0013

Abstract and Keywords

The Doctors Kronhausen have written a forthright, courageous, and highly rigorous study on the difficult problem of women’s sexuality, about which so little is known. They have gone further and called into question even that which has hitherto been regarded as an unalterable fact of Nature: women’s “physiological destiny.” In this realm as in so many others, male prejudice insists on keeping women in a state of dependency. In contrast to this, the authors grant women an autonomy—both physiological and psychological—equal to that of men....

The Doctors Kronhausen have written a forthright, courageous, and highly rigorous study on the difficult problem of women’s sexuality, about which so little is known. They have gone further and called into question even that which has hitherto been regarded as an unalterable fact of Nature: women’s “physiological destiny.” In this realm as in so many others, male prejudice insists on keeping women in a state of dependency. In contrast to this, the authors grant women an autonomy—both physiological and psychological—equal to that of men.

I am not qualified to pass definite judgment on all the findings and conclusions of the Doctors Kronhausen. On the whole, however, the wide range of documentation as well as their precise and subtle analyses are thoroughly convincing.

Quite aside from this, I have found The Sexually Responsive Woman truly absorbing and fascinating reading. I can only hope that a piece of work such as this will be widely read and stimulate many more analyses aimed at overcoming the myths and clichés with which we are only too easily satisfied.

The authors have done much to set the facts in their true light. My personal sympathies and best wishes are on their side.

(p.98) Notes

Simone de Beauvoir, “Préface” to The Sexually Responsive Woman by Phyllis and Eberhard Kronhausen (New York: Grove Press, 1964); translator unknown; © Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir. This article was originally published in English, and we do not have access to the original French text, but given Beauvoir’s rejection of essentialism, we have changed singular “woman” to plural “women” in cases where Beauvoir means all women or women in general in order to avoid essentialist connotations that Beauvoir would not have intended and to maintain consistency throughout the volume.