Desire as we’ve never seen it before: a riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting.
It thrills us and torments us. It controls our thoughts, destroys our lives, and it’s all we live for. Yet we almost never speak of it. And as a buried force in our lives, desire remains largely unexplored—until now. Over the past eight years, journalist Lisa Taddeo has driven across the country six times to embed herself with ordinary women from different regions and backgrounds. The result, Three Women, is the deepest nonfiction portrait of desire ever written and one of the most anticipated books of the year.
We begin in suburban Indiana with Lina, a homemaker and mother of two whose marriage, after a decade, has lost its passion. She passes her days cooking and cleaning for a man who refuses to kiss her on the mouth, protesting that “the sensation offends” him. To Lina’s horror, even her marriage counselor says her husband’s position is valid. Starved for affection, Lina battles daily panic attacks. When she reconnects with an old flame through social media, she embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming.
In North Dakota we meet Maggie, a seventeen-year-old high school student who finds a confidant in her handsome, married English teacher. By Maggie’s account, supportive nightly texts and phone calls evolve into a clandestine physical relationship, with plans to skip school on her eighteenth birthday and make love all day; instead, he breaks up with her on the morning he turns thirty. A few years later, Maggie has no degree, no career, and no dreams to live for. When she learns that this man has been named North Dakota’s Teacher of the Year, she steps forward with her story—and is met with disbelief by former schoolmates and the jury that hears her case. The trial will turn their quiet community upside down.
Finally, in an exclusive enclave of the Northeast, we meet Sloane—a gorgeous, successful, and refined restaurant owner—who is happily married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. He picks out partners for her alone or for a threesome, and she ensures that everyone’s needs are satisfied. For years, Sloane has been asking herself where her husband’s desire ends and hers begins. One day, they invite a new man into their bed—but he brings a secret with him that will finally force Sloane to confront the uneven power dynamics that fuel their lifestyle.
Based on years of immersive reporting, and told with astonishing frankness and immediacy, Three Women is a groundbreaking portrait of erotic longing in today’s America, exposing the fragility, complexity, and inequality of female desire with unprecedented depth and emotional power. It is both a feat of journalism and a triumph of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy, that introduces us to three unforgettable women—and one remarkable writer—whose experiences remind us that we are not alone.
I really enjoyed three women because it explored the sexuality of three individual women and their lives. This book showed women in their sexuality and all their flaws.
Lisa did well with this book. She followed these women through their lives for a few years and wrote about them, their desires, their pain, happiness, etc. The writing does get me because of the weird analogies and puns that just do not make sense. I also hate flipping back and forth between character, but that’s just a preference.
I included trigger warnings at the top because this does cover dark topics and how that affected these women’s sexualities and their desires. It also does not wait until the middle or end. The prologue its self is a disgusting topic. I was not quite prepared for it, so if you can not handle any of those topics, skip.
I was fascinated throughout the book by how vulnerable and flawed the women were, they spoke their truth. I felt bad for them because they felt trapped and encased in a world of misogyny.
Certain chapters angered me for Maggie and I wanted to scream for her. She got involved with her teacher and thought she loved him. She went through everything to try and claim the truth and she was slut-shaming, called ugly and a liar. The Narrator in the audiobook also wasn’t great for her character. I felt the pitch was just way too high.
Lina, I felt awful for, but at the same time, I hate cheating. If you want to leave, leave but do not cheat. At the same time though she was so starved for the basic need we want, to feel loved and to kiss your spouse. My only issue is I felt like she was cutting her self short for the affair with a married man. She could have done so much better and found someone who would cherish her and love her the way she needed.
Sloane was an eye-opener for me honestly. I’ve always heard of Men being turned on by letting their wives have sex with other men in front of them. I really felt bad because to me she felt like she loved her husband but was also trapped because all she wanted was him. Her story was just heartbreaking to me, they all were though.
All of these women were being used by men whenever they called. Both Maggie and Lina just wanted to be loved and were there for married men at there every call and need. Sloane was being used as sex object for her husbands pleasure. These women were being used by these men and controlled. These men made it feel like these women are beneath them and it didn’t matter how they felt or how it affected their lives.
Overall this is four stars for me. What killed it was the analogies that do not make sense and the fact that this is eight years of research. I felt like there just should have been more for being eight years worth.