At 27, popular French writer and editor Fontanel lost her taste for sex. With her desire for physical intimacy with another person gone completely, she broke up with her lover and decided to go it alone. She’s surprised and put off by the reactions she gets. Friends try to set her up, assuming she just hasn’t met the right man; men think they can break through her indifference and try to seduce her; and one woman surmises that Fontanel’s rejection of men means that she must be interested in women now. Fontanel holds her ground and finds physical pleasures outside of sex, indulging in lavender milk baths and embracing her pillow. She finds joy in being a party of one and takes note of how uncomfortable this makes her friends, most of whom are coupled—some happily, others less so. In gracefully woven vignettes, Fontanel observes how society disapproves of people who refuse to pair off even as she is steadfast in underscoring the benefits she enjoys from unapologetically listening to her body’s needs and taking time for herself. --Kristine Huntley
“Fontanel’s writing is intelligent, the reading experience is sensual.”
“Sophie writes provocatively about fashion (her signature, after all), the constraints society places on sex, and the vulnerability of desire.”
(Livres Hebdo (Paris)
“Fontanel's admissions offer a salutary lesson to young women everywhere.”
“Leave it to a Frenchwoman to convert even giving up sex into an elegant gesture that reeks of worldliness and sends up a smoky wreath.”
"Her depiction of celibacy isn't prudish or dry but lush; she isn't shy when describing either her previous affairs or her current erotic fantasies, and her frankness keeps the book from straying into polemical territory. The writing is stripped bare, with no extra fat or flair, and this simplicity works."
"In gracefully woven vignettes, Fontanel observes how society disapproves of people who refuse to pair off even as she is steadfast in underscoring the benefits she enjoys from unapologetically listening to her body’s needs and taking time for herself."
Candid, funny... For someone who has been celibate for the majority of her adult life, Sophie Fontanel sure is good at writing about sex.
"A searching investigation into the power of no... a sophisticated bagatelle of a volume, filled with detours to exotic locales."
(Dwight Garner The New York Times
"Fontanel strings together her narrative in a series of lyrical vignettes....No one has written so sumptuously about celibacy.”
(The Daily Beast