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Chastened: The Unexpected Story of My Year without Sex Hardcover – June 24, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (June 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670021865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670021864
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Everything but the sex seems to be the theme of this fluffy dating chronicle by British journalist Anderson. Having recently turned 30 and being determined to break a baffling, bruising cycle of consistently mistak[ing] casual hookups for rose-tinted beginnings, Anderson decided that she'd had enough sex without love; it was time to try love without sex. The purpose? Not, as she hints with feminist bravado, to become faithful to my instincts nor even to achieve emotional self-sufficiency (as she enjoyed some playful banter with potential boyfriends like Dan, Jake, Quiet Guy, the Beau, N, Rafiq, and so on), but to snare a mate—and that sadly didn't happen at the end of this year. Using an unwieldy chronological structure by month, Anderson moves from her resolve to embark on a year of chastity after a final emotional disappointment with Jake in late summer (You sleep with these men too soon, her mother had warned her), through numerous travels and dissatisfying encounters between London and New York. Along with way, Anderson lards each chapter with ponderous emotional reflections, injecting just enough research and quotes from heavies to keep the reader engaged, such as brief mentions of psychotherapist Brett Kahr, a Hepburn-Tracy movie, chastity rites in ancient times, and Samuel Richardson's Pamela.(June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Can a smart, attractive 30-year-old woman go a year without nookie? That’s the question pondered in British writer Anderson’s titillating, if surprisingly tepid, memoir. For Anderson, the sight of her college boyfriend exiting a jewelry store with his smiling fiancée makes an unsavory reality crystal clear: it’s been years since a man told her he loved her. Sure, she’s had plenty of sex, but has she—gasp!—been mistaking the physical act for love? To test her theory, she continues to flirt and date but resists succumbing to sweaty sessions between the sheets. Her willpower weakens when she spends time with sweet and sexy Jake, who has a girlfriend he refuses to break up with. (Anderson had been involved with Jake prior to her celibacy vow, and his response to her proclamation is a hearty guffaw.) Anderson interweaves her confessional tales with commentary on the likes of chastity belts, corsets, and porn. Readers may find all this a bit too much information, without the insight to make it worth their while, but the premise alone will keep them reading. --Allison Block

More About the Author

Hephzibah Anderson graduated from Cambridge University with an English degree and has worked as a journalist ever since. She was the fiction editor at the Daily Mail and covered first novels for the Observer. She has also written about contemporary art, food and futurology, and interviewed the likes of Germaine Greer, Juliette Binoche, and Judy Blume. Her recent work has appeared in Vogue and Bloomberg Muse and on BBC Radio, where she regularly guests on an early-hours books phone-in show.

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By user23 on April 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
As a woman, this was a fantastic book to read. After a break up and suffering with vulvodynia, I was inspired to take care of myself and stop suffering through sex, which resulted in me going to Mayo and getting the issue resolved. Might me a long shot reason for others to purchase the book, but for those that experience pain during sex, maybe it'll inspire you to look at it from a different perspective and take charge of your body, rather than letting the pain consume your life.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Mark on March 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a man, I was interested to get the female perspective on dating and sex (or lack thereof). I never fully got a sense of why she withheld herself, and there are several parts about clothing and other female things that (for me) didn't contribute that much to the story. Also historical and film references. I'm not interested why she wore certain outfits or why nuns decided to be chaste.

The writing style is British (though much of the story is in the States), with some slang words that require a visit to Google dictionary.

This could easily have been a short story akin to a teen's version of "What I didn't do this Summer."
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By shoes4fun on August 3, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Chastened is read by a lovely British voice and is very enjoyable and soothing. The author is a great writer with a clever wit that comes through in this challenge she made to herself. I was intrigued to find the scholarly references interspersed throughtout the book. My only objection is to the frequent skips in the CD. This has never occured to me except for copies I have made. I wonder if I got an original CD?

A good, thoughtful read by a clever writer.
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20 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Main Line Mama on July 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book came at the perfect time as I was evaluating my behavior in dating relationships. After two divorces and more dates than I can possible count this book put a lot into perspective. This is not a book from the religious right...it is written by a fairly young woman who is dealing with sexuality in the search for love. This is a very hip analysis on why you really have to use your head and not your hormones to protect your heart and your mental health. Give this to any woman who feels like she is overwhelmed by the choices she needs to make to find a truly appropriate mate.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert H. Appleby on February 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The premise of the story is fascinating. However, the author goes into so much trivial detail that the message is lost.
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