The New Republic Sex Issue

No, we haven't published one. But if we did...

by | October 7, 2013

The New York Times Book Review published a sex issue Sunday, which includes reviews, author essays, and readers’ stories about losing one’s innocence. It's just the latest entry in an increasingly long list of publications with sex-themed issues, including New York Magazine, Esquire, and even Foreign Policy. Not The New Republic, though. We have no immediate plans to publish a sex issue—never say never!—but we’ve published enough material about sex to fill an anthology. Here are a few of our favorites.

“Scenic Beauty," by Michael Lewis (October 3, 1994)

 “The Bloomingdale's model stops to buy a frozen yogurt. I hover several yards behind her. Behind me two men stop and stare. I can't help but notice: they are staring at my wife's rear end. 'Can you believe that shit?' one says loudly to the other. 'That should be illegal,' says the second. It's as if they belong to some sort of sexual tour group, and she is a stop on their itinerary.”

Betty White is Not a Sex Machine: Our Culture’s Cruel Obsession With Dirty Old Women,” by Laura Bennett (June 10, 2013)

“The story of how such a versatile actress was reduced to an adorable receptacle for penis jokes is also the story of the condescending way we treat old people on television today.”

“The Birth Control Debate,” J.M. O’Neill (December 11, 1944)

“Whatever one’s belief is, the intelligent person should recognize this subject is one of genuine importance, not only in the private lives of innumerable citizens, but also in the life of the nation itself.”

“The Data Game,” by James Bennett (February 13, 1989)

“American enterprise is doing an impressive job of harnessing information technology to romantic desperation. The deep, anxious urge to mate, stirred by the sexual revolution and then damned by the growing fear, growing workloads, and various other modern obstacles, has overflowed traditional channels and is spilling into every available conduit.”

“Freudian Slip,” by Jonathan Lear (September 28, 1998)

“We live in strange times. On the one hand, it is common knowledge that psychoanalysis has been discredited; on the other, the nation has spent the year straining to get a peek at what the presidential penis has been up to. Officially, no one is interested in sex.”

GOP String Divas,” by Emily Witt (August 2, 2012)

"Sadly, touring as Sarah Palin for the past four years has showed me how many men would vote for her again just because they want to have sex with her.”

House of Cads: The Psycho-Sexual Ordeal of Reporting in Washington,” by Marin Cogan (February 27, 2013)

“As a political reporter for GQ, I’ve been jokingly asked whether I ever posed for the magazine and loudly called a porn star by a senior think-tank fellow at his institute’s annual gala. In my prior job as a Hill reporter, one of my best source relationships with a member of Congress ended after I remarked that I looked like a witch who might hop on a broom in my new press-badge photo and he replied that I looked like I was 'going to hop on something.'”

“The Joy of Presbyterian Sex,” by Camille Pagila (December 21, 1991)

Keeping Body and Soul Together offers itself as a profound, compassionate, and expertly researched statement on contemporary sexuality. But it is a repressive, reactionary document. Its language is banal, its ideas simplistic, its view of human nature naive and sentimental. Above all, its claims of sexual liberalism are false. It reduces the complexities and mysteries of eroticism to a clumsy, outmoded social-welfare ideology.”

“Lies that Matter,” by Andrew Sullivan (September 14, 1998)

“We are told that this is a lie about sex, and everyone lies about sex. Well, to begin with, not everyone. And not everyone's sex life is conducted in a business office with an employee scarcely out of college. Most lies about sex, after all, are lies about equal, consensual, private matters, not about public acts of exploitation. We have been instructed by third-wave feminists that, since the Lewinsky affair was obviously consensual, it was not exploitative. But is there any greater disproportion of power than that between an intern and the president of the United States?”

“Madame Lewinsky,” by James Wood (October 5, 1998)

“The report notes several times—and repetition is one of Starr's techniques—that the president and Lewinsky began their relationship during "the government shutdown." Thus the relationship occurred when government was derelict, when government itself was absent, and Starr makes this a pattern in his report, suggesting again and again that the president was not really a president during this period but a randy dog with too much time for kicking around the alley.”

“Public Privates,” by Stanley Kauffman (July 11, 1970)

“Pornography is here in film theaters. For years we’ve had skin-flicks, which show plenty of nudity and simulated ecstasy but never really show any kind of intercourse. In the last few months there has been an influx of films about pornography, which include a good deal of it.”

“Rosie the Riveter” by Hanna Rosin (March 23, 1998)

“[Rosie] Osias is the latest of the bit characters to pop up as a TV spokesperson for Monica Lewinsky. Her version of Monica's story, as she's told Wolf Blitzer and Cokie Roberts and anyone else who will listen, is that Monica is our new feminist heroine, doing what every smart woman should: 'using her sexuality' at work, where it counts the most. Men, after all, use golf and football to bond. To level the playing field, women need to show a little leg. 'Monica,' she says proudly, 'has good natural instincts. She dressed more provocatively. She inherently desired this alignment with a sexy, powerful man.'"

“Reconstructing the Sex Ethic,” by William Orton (February 15, 1928)

 “Aside from the innumerable cases in which children—especially girls—were told that any approach to complete intimacy was “bad” or “wicked” or “horrid,” and redeemable only by a ceremony called marriage (of which the relevance to this aspect was by no means self-evident), it is to be remarked that an atmosphere of clandestinity or secrecy…”

"Sex and the Soldier," by Stephanie Gutmann (February 24, 1997)

"But what happens when you try to absorb a population that is not, in unit terms, interchangeable? What happens when you try to integrate into a cohesive whole two populations with radically different bodies? In the elemental, unremittingly physical world of the soldier, sex differencesmasked by technology in the civilian world—stand out in high relief."

Spooky Sex: Inside the Randy Culture of the CIA,” by Reuel Marc Gerecht (February 21, 2013)

“'A cock has no shame.' That’s what it said on the little plaque on the door of the espionage instructor. He’d been discovered a few nights earlier going at it with a female junior officer on a pool table in the recreation room at 'the Farm,' the Central Intelligence Agency’s training facility in the swamps of eastern Virginia.”

“Sexual Revolution: Communism versus Prostitution,” Silvana Paternostro (July 10, 2000)

“By earning lots of hard currency and embracing conspicuous consumption, the jineteras (Cuban prostitutes) had come to embody the "dollar mentality" that the Cuban government perceived as a threat...In the strange world that is Castro's Cuba, prostitution was coming to represent a political threat.”

The Smitten Word: The awkward art of writing about sex,” by Sam Lipsyte (February 8, 2013)

“We delight in the comedy of bad sex writing, probably because it corresponds to the comedy of our bodies, which are, minus the most gorgeous 1 percent, not nearly as delectable and confident as we might fantasize.”

"Take Their Wives, Please," by Isaac Chotiner (September 19, 2013)

"By now this phenomenon has become a dreary cliché: As a politician apologizes for his particular combination of sexual dysfunction and arrogange with practiced, lip-biting 'sincerity,' we can't seem to take our eyes off his wife, standing to one side and looking a little shell-shocked."

“Uma and Me,” by Lee Siegel (March 15, 1999)

“Uma Thurman recently blew into town to appear in an off-Broadway production of Molière's The Misanthrope, and my old ache came to life. It was time for a reckoning. You see, I never made love with Uma. Never even kissed her or held her hand. I have a lump in my throat as I write this. Uma, Uma, Uma.”

“What you do,” by Andrew Sullivan (March 18, 1996)

 "In some ways, of course, homosexual sex is less sinful. The heterosexual who chooses in marriage to use contraception, or who masturbates, is turning away from a viable alternative: a unitive, procreative sexual life. The homosexual has no such option; she is denied, because of something she cannot change, a sexual act which is both unitive and procreative."

A Review of 'Lady Chatterley’s Lover,'” by Edmund Wilson (July 3, 1929)

“I believe, in fact, that in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lawrence has written the best descriptions of sexual experience which have yet been done in English. It is certainly not true, as is sometimes asserted, that erotic sensations cannot or ought not to be written about.”

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