A provocative, moving, kinky, and often absurdly funny memoir about Shakespeare, love, obsession, and spanking
When it came to understanding love, a teenage Jillian Keenan had nothing to guide her—until a production of The Tempest sent Shakespeare’s language flowing through her blood for the first time. In Sex with Shakespeare, she tells the story of how the Bard’s plays helped her embrace her unusual sexual identity and find a love story of her own.
Four hundred years after Shakespeare’s death, Keenan’s smart and passionate memoir brings new life to his work. With fourteen of his plays as a springboard, she explores the many facets of love and sexuality—from desire and communication to fetish and fantasy. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Keenan unmasks Helena as a sexual masochist—like Jillian herself. In Macbeth, she examines criminalized sexual identities and the dark side of “privacy.” The Taming of the Shrew goes inside the secret world of bondage, domination, and sadomasochism, while King Lear exposes the ill-fated king as a possible sexual predator. Moving through the canon, Keenan makes it abundantly clear that literature is a conversation. In Sex with Shakespeare, words are love.
As Keenan wanders the world in search of connection, from desert dictatorships to urban islands to disputed territories, Shakespeare goes with her —and provokes complex, surprising, and wildly important conversations about sexuality, consent, and the secrets that simmer beneath our surfaces.
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“Calling this book brave is an understatement. We often talk about other people’s kinks, but rarely does someone open up about their own kinks—and really own their kinks—as fearlessly as Jillian Keenan does in her moving and funny memoir. This book will help people, and this book will entertain people. And Keenan’s original takes on Shakespeare are just as fascinating and insightful as her takes on sex, lust, and love. Fans (kinky or not) of Shakespeare will love reading this book, and anyone directing Shakespeare should be required to read it.”
Dan Savage, New York Times bestselling author