This book has a simple premise: 'Unregulated capitalism is bad for women,' Kristen Ghodsee argues, 'and if we adopt some ideas from socialism, women will have better lives.' ... Her argument, however that socialism leads to 'better sex is harder to substantiate ... Ghodsee’s book could not have been published at a better moment. In many wealthy countries, people are getting married later or not at all, they are having fewer children, and a higher percentage of those children are born to unwed parents ... Ghodsee spells out the capitalist incentives behind policies that are so often disguised as 'culture wars', and ends her book with the exhortation to 'push back at a dominant ideology' that confuses social bonds with economic exchange: 'we can share our attentions without quantifying their value, giving and receiving rather than selling and buying.'
The book isn’t nearly as silly as the title suggests. Ghodsee’s real argument in Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism is that capitalism is bad for women. It is bad for women for the simple reason that it dumps us with the childcare, pays us less and so makes us financially unequal and dependent on men ... Is modern capitalism perfect? Of course it isn’t — which is why it never stops evolving. It has survived because it works better than all other systems. Sex may be better under socialism (who really knows?), but so far history tells us clearly that nothing else is. As Ghodsee notes, one reason that East Germans were thought to have better sex lives than West Germans was not just because everyone had an equality of economic security (or in most cases economic misery), but because the 'East German regime encouraged people to enjoy their sex lives as a way of distracting them from the monotony and relative deprivation of the socialist economy'.
... the book is a straightforward account of how capitalism harms women—including, yes, in our intimate lives—and why women (and men) are comparatively better off 'in nations where state revenues support greater levels of redistribution and larger social safety nets' ... Ghodsee’s reclamation of this socialist history is timely, particularly as capitalism’s defenders attempt once again to wield it like a cudgel ... After starkly outlining the degree to which women suffer under capitalism and stressing that not only is another world possible, but it has already, at least partially, existed (and continues to exist in the social democratic countries of Northern Europe), Ghodsee’s prescription for contemporary American women feels anemic ... This points to the limits of Ghodsee’s political imagination: by her own admission, she’s no advocate of revolution ... Reading these limp prescriptions, I found my thoughts returning again to Kollontai, and what she had written back in 1909 about 'the bourgeois women's movement...'