“I was intending to read the book [Toni Weschler’s Taking Charge of Your Fertility] as an instruction manual, but I kept recognizing myself in the stories of the women who she worked with. At least twice, I dog-eared a page not because it would be relevant to charting for my married life, but because Weschler was explaining that something about my body was normal—maybe not the median experience, but well within the range of normal. I’d gotten used to the idea that there were always a couple things wrong with my body, in this domain and others, because all the discussion I’d heard was about either ideals or averages. Learning NFP has meant reacquainting myself with my body and its own, particular dignity.
But maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised. Whenever I read books about women, written for women, I tend to have this experience, whether it’s Weschler’s explanation of NFP and why women can’t be rounded down to the median menstrual cycle or Emily Nagoski’s book on female sexuality, which explains that women don’t need to feel deficient when they don’t match the model of spontaneous (as distinct from responsive) sexual desire. The problem isn’t the way most women are built, but rather the fact that we’ve been told to accept the median male experience of sexual desire as the normative ideal for everyone—women included.”