A Decade Without Sex

Sophie Fontanel, whose new memoir The Art of Sleeping Alone records a decade spent celibate in France, reflects on the social stigma she faced:

I was discovering conventional behavior in the most liberated milieus: broad-minded people, against any form of censorship or constraint, who boasted about how they pushed boundaries. Well, I blasted them back in the other direction, and they flung their hands up. They had ingested the most useless hodgepodge of drugs, blitzing themselves so completely that they’d forgotten I’d seen them do it, whereas I was mainlining the purest of ideals, of the very highest quality–and this shocked them.

Hanna Rosin reviews Fontanel’s book:

American books about abstinence end with important feminist lessons about dating and advocating for yourself. Fontanel’s ends, of course, with the sudden, final-chapter appearance of a mysterious beau who asks intriguing, loaded questions: What would happen if we fell in love? I suppose we should not be surprised that Fontanel’s ultimate revelation is no revelation at all. She does not emerge more empowered, enlightened, or even necessarily more in control of her own desires or body.