I am very much the sort of aggressively-obsessed-with-vaginas type who is drawn immediately to books like Elizabeth Hall’s “I Have Devoted My Life to the Clitoris”—but that doesn’t mean that you have to be someone with a deep love for clits to really, truly need to read this book. Because, I promise, you need to read this book.
“I confess: the first time I fucked paled in comparison to the first touch wherein I spent hours pressed flush against a stranger’s immaculate nakedness as the afternoon sweat itself out. I could remain unfucked forever, but this I knew I would devote my life to.” I could remain unfucked forever, but this I knew I would devote my life to.Click To Tweet
Reminiscent it its intelligent narrative of Maggie Nelson’s much lauded “The Argonauts,” Hall’s “I Have Devoted My Life to the Clitoris” is a text for everyone who has ever questioned what it is to seek without being able to stop. Reading the book feels like coming: you have to keep going, because if you don’t you’ll never reach a conclusion, will never really understand what is happening, will never really be able to put a word to the feeling, to the takeover, to the need. I lovingly, hopefully, imagine the research felt the same way.
The list-style essays illustrate a mastery not just of form, but of readability. Hall knows just when to pull back from history and philosophy and glance inward, or, most often, downward. The sense of timing is astounding. You can’t get bored in this book despite its smartness because of its vulnerability. Because the writer is welcoming us to her body.
This is a book about every clit in the world. But this is also a book about Elizabeth Hall’s clit. The smallness of that, the closeness, is felt. The lack of shame in that openness is refreshing and necessary. It feels so good to read.
“It is not that every time I come, I tread the infinite. It is enough to feel as if I am the highest hollyhock on the stem.
My body is all I’ve ever had.”
And, within its obsession over the clitoris, it is a book about the body. How the body hurts, makes us ache, is inhabited by and produces pain. How we fight by bringing our own pleasure to its surface, suffocating everything from patriarchy to our own brains for a brief moment.
“When in the midst of an otherworldly migraine, or eight-day insomnia haze, I endure a near constant communion with my body: I am aware of its immense powers, limitations, ability to humiliate my intelligence entirely. No sooner do I feel as if I have ‘figured it out,’ could predict the onset of a migraine down to the most infinitesimal detail, do I find myself leveled out in bed, face spangled with sweat, hair slicked with vomit.”
And it is beautiful.
I found myself wanting to sext nearly every line to everyone who has ever loved me, or wanted to.
You can buy a copy of “I Have Devoted My Life to the Clitoris” from Tarpaulin Sky here.