The controversial author of a memoir about the lives of New York’s Upper East Side wives is back, this time with a book about the female libido.
The new book’s title, Untrue, is a play on the idea of fidelity and its traditional association with women — but perhaps also a nod to the factual errors that caused her last book, The Primates of Park Avenue, to be reprinted with amendments.
Keen not to risk a repeat of earlier criticisms of shoddy research, 52-year-old Wednesday Martin has called on the work of more than 30 social scientists, social anthropologists, psychologists, and primatologists to strengthen her argument in Untrue that women are not naturally monogamous. “It’s untrue that women are [evolutionarily programmed to be] less sexually adventurous than men,” she told The New York Post. “It’s only yesterday — 10,000 years ago in evolutionary terms — that we started being monogamous and sexually exclusive.”
In spite of its unwieldy full title, Untrue: Why nearly everything we believe about women, lust and infidelity is wrong and how the new science can set us free promises plenty of froth, insists Martin’s editor Tracy Behar to The New York Times. But, she adds, is still “offset by copiously footnoted research.”
Not that Martin is hoping the presence of solid data will relegate the book to a kind of safe zone. “My goal is and always has been to pursue my interest in topics that inflame people,” she told the Times. (A stepmother to two daughters, she also wrote a book in 2009, titled Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do.)
And not all her findings were made via scholarly interviews. An entire chapter is devoted to her night spent at an upscale club for women who want to explore their sexuality, including an account of eight women on a bed together having “sex in every possible configuration.” Another chapter features a professional Manhattan-based “throuple,” in which the husband and wife and their kids live with the wife’s other male sexual partner. Laughing, she tells the Post, “The neighbors refer to Tim, Lily and Rick as ‘those orgy people.’ ”
She herself has no time for women being shamed for their desires.
“I’m trying to give women permission, through data and opinions of experts I’ve interviewed, to feel less weird about their urges, fantasies and desire to be sexually adventurous,” Martin tells the Post. “ Untrue gives [women] a hall pass. It gives them permission not to step out or cheat, but to feel more comfortable in their skin, sexually speaking.”
Below, watch the book trailer for Untrue and hear Martin talk about what motivated her to investigate this topic.