It was a really interesting reading experience, and overall, I thought Ward did a nice job explaining her points, but I also felt that it was a case of her having opinions (that are maybe right) but not enough evidence to back any of it up. She takes all these incidences and cultural stories and tries to work them into a theory, but the book almost entirely lacks hard scholarship or backing by scientific studies. Partly, that’s because the theories she’s working with are brand new and there is none of that stuff to back it up, partly because I think she assumes her examples are more convincing than they actually end up being. In what I thought was the most egregious error, the book entirely lacked first person sources. She should really have made an effort to interview men who partook in the behavior she talks about so she isn’t constantly impressing her own ideas on them from the outside.
I’ve always been really interested in reading about sexuality in all its forms, especially in a more thinky way that academia provides. There’s a detachment there that appeals to me, that you can examine something so fraught from such a remove and learn something about it.
Her overall thesis is one I agree with, I think, that male sexuality is constrained by culture, and that sexual desire (which she posits as separate from sexual identity) is much more fluid and complex than most people think.
Overall, I’d recommend this to people who are interested in sexuality, or who like reading interesting academic works, but it is pretty dense with jargon at points, and you have to know how to read it. People not practiced at reading academic works will not have an easy time reading it.