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Publisher's Summary

From the number-one New York Times best-selling author of Primates of Park Avenue, a bold, timely reconsideration of female infidelity that will upend everything you thought you knew about women and sex.

What do straight, married female revelers at an all-women's sex club in LA have in common with nomadic pastoralists in Namibia who bear children by men not their husbands? Like women worldwide, they crave sexual variety, novelty, and excitement. 

In ancient Greek tragedies, Netflix series, tabloids, and pop songs, we've long portrayed such cheating women as dangerous and damaged. We love to hate women who are untrue. But who are they really? And why, in this age of female empowerment, do we continue to judge them so harshly? 

In Untrue, feminist author and cultural critic Wednesday Martin takes us on a bold, fascinating journey to reveal the unexpected evolutionary legacy and social realities that drive female faithlessness, while laying bare our motivations to contain women who step out. 

Blending accessible social science and interviews with sex researchers, anthropologists, and real women from all walks of life, Untrue challenges our deepest assumptions about ourselves, monogamy, and the women we think we know. From recent data suggesting women may struggle more than men with sexual exclusivity to the revolutionary idea that females of many species evolved to be "promiscuous" to Martin's trenchant assertion that female sexual autonomy is the ultimate metric of gender equality, Untrue will change the way you think about women and sex forever. 

©2018 Wednesday Martin (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Scientifically literate and sexually cliterate...an exuberant unfettering of female sexuality that challenges us to 'think outside her box.' Viva la Vulva!" (Ian Kerner, sex therapist and author of She Comes First)

"Wednesday Martin understands female sexuality - from the #MeToo movement and polyamory to women's prehistoric and cultural heritage. She goes far beyond our current psychological understanding of women's infidelity to tell the real story of women's ubiquitous, tenacious, and primordial sexual strategies. And her writing is not only informative, timely, and refreshing but wonderfully engaging. Brava, Wednesday." (Helen Fisher, author of The First Sex and Why We Love)

If you have ever felt different, other, or just weird when it comes to love, sex, or intimacy, read Untrue. In it, Wednesday Martin bulldozes the sexual stereotypes that have silenced and constrained us for centuries, bringing the voices of women who love in a range of ways to the surface. Dazzling." (Rachel Simmons, cofounder of Girls Leadership and author of Enough as She Is and Odd Girl Out)

What listeners say about Untrue

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    3 out of 5 stars

A couple critiques & a bit of my story

There are some good points in this book, especially the stories on AshleyMadison.com . That was facinating, and changed my whole outlook on women who cheat. But unfortunately, there are a few points in this book that are not true (pun intended) & is spreading a negative & false view of women. Quoting that "we live in a world that prioritizes male sexual pleasure & male sexual privilege." She provides no real evidence of this, only stories. I don't believe this is reality at all, and if you teach young women this, will create a mindset that is just that.

Furthermore, I almost jumped out of my seat when she said that Hilary Clinton was hated so much, because of her display of female autonomy. Give me a break. People hate Hilary Clinton, because she is a liar & a snake. If the right female candidate had presented herself, she would have won the election. It has nothing to do with her being female, and the fact she presented it that way is extremely asinine.

All in all, I'm glad I read it. I am a young female myself, 24 yrs old & just graduated college. I've been with my now fiancee for 5.5 yrs & we have been best friend's since High School. He's basically been my only relationship, but I wouldn't trade him for the world. We are passionately in love, & I'm completely smitten by him. However, as I find myself getting older, I am fantasizing about being with other men. I felt awful at first for feeling this way, but after thinking about it and approaching it from an evolutionary standpoint (I am an engineering major & look at everything from a science perspective), I realize it's completely normal and natural to be attracted to more than one person.. even if I want to spend the rest of my life with just the one. This book helped me understand those feelings, and if nothing else, help me to know that I'm not alone. My fiance and I are talking about the possibility of becoming "open" or "non-monogamous", but he is naturally taking it very hard. Personally, I think it would create even more love, intimacy, & sex in our relationship. Either way, it is a facinating journey.

16 people found this helpful

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Garbage

I've been in every variety of relationship. Monogamy, marriage, ethical non-monogamy and poly. This book is just a justification for impulsive and low integrity behavior. Welcome to the age of narcissism.

14 people found this helpful

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Interesting, Not Regrettable, But Kinda Angry Feminist-y

I really enjoyed learning about women’s (previously unexposed) high sex drives and desires for variety/cheating. I agree there are a lot of women like that, and I believe the author that it’s far more pervasive than we all imagined, but in no way do I believe it’s rampant.

The author often compares women cheating to men, and she seems to believe women have much greater social consequences than men. It also seems as if she borderline believes men get away with anything, and women are socially, if not physically, murdered for adultery. I believe there’s a slight disparity, which is unfair and requires education and correction, but men and women are judged in (almost) equally scornful ways. Both sexes are called names; they’re just different names. Men are called “dogs,” “players,” “cheaters,” and “scumbags;” women are called “sluts,” “home-wreckers,” and “whores.”

It’s also apparently not enough for the author to say that women have desires for variety too, which are similar, or borderline equal, to men’s desires for variety; she seems to need to say that women have a MUCH greater evolutionary desire to cheat, and they borderline have a NEED to cheat, which justifies any amount of dishonesty and infidelity with their partners.

I’m all for talking & learning about women’s issues in an objective, realistic, honest, and possibly surprising or shocking way; but it seems as though most modern North American “feminists” (including this author, apparently) want to beat everyone over the head with the idea that ‘women are better than men,’ ‘women deserve more than men,’ and ‘women should be treated better than men.’ Equality and realistic investigation is not enough.

The thing that irritated me the most in this book was when the author was headed to an all female sex party (for research), and her husband told her goodbye and said she had permission to do whatever she wanted. She was irritated and told him SHE DIDN’T NEED HIS PERMISSION. What an angry feminist! What if a guy said that to his wife? All he was saying was that he was OK with whatever she might do, he would not react emotionally, and he would not consider it a violation of their marital commitments. How generous of him. Relationships are built on mutual commitment, expectations, and some sacrifice of desire for the greater good. His granting “permission” was more than reasonable.

The entire book seems to justify and encourage female cheating, in spite of any relationship commitments that are in place. I doubt she encourages men to do the same.

(I don’t believe in all monogamy all the time, btw...I just believe non-monogamy needs to be honest and mutually agreed upon in a relationship, otherwise move on.)

24 people found this helpful

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The truth revealed in Untruth. Or is it?

I picked up this book due to the eye catching title and after a bit of research on the author, Wednesday Martin. Wednesday appears to be a woman with a curiosity about things asking the why behind the what. A woman in transition who is sharing her journey of growth and knowledge with us.
As a 51 year old man who has now lived several decades of change, varying relationships styles and marriages, I was interested in reading this new voice describing the experience of women today and through the ages.
This book delivers on describing through historical records, various interviews with diverse women and the authors own experiences the challenges woman have faced and the very real struggle today.
At times I questioned on where she was headed in the story, as each example and interview both added to the last and sometimes contrasted the last. Wednesday was describing accurately how the current and deeply ingrained male oriented social narrative was false - Untrue. Yet, the unfolding story wasn’t pointing to a single truth.
As I contributed to read, I began to feel secure in the story that the point isn’t to direct the reader to one replacement truth, but rather describes the very fact that there isnt one truth for all. Women are not the narrow definition that the standard narrative describes or demands they subscribe to. The truth of Untrue is that what we have been taught to believe is deeply flawed and that is exactly enough to bring about change.

7 people found this helpful

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Great study spoiled by male bashing

The book starts with the premise that society accepts infidelity for men but not for women. The book then goes on to study various perfectly valid arguments as to why women cheat which is great to hear and is well written. However, the bulk of the book is about women who were somehow not sexually satisfied in their marriage; she never talks about women who are satisfied with their marriages. Do they want to cheat also? Small detail, but the one that makes the study seems incomplete.
The bigger problem with the book is the theme that women are struggling for "equality", meaning the right to be non-monogamous "just like men" keeps appearing over and over again. Men are "allowed" to cheat, but women are not. A deep vein of hatred for the male and his role in society runs through many parts of this book, and she justifies this hatred with the "male imposed" rules that suppresses the women's urge to cheat.
This assumption it is socially acceptable for men to cheat is false; infidelity is NOT acceptable for men either. "Infidelity is a male privilege" is something mentioned over and over again. It is not a privilege that men enjoy, at least not in Western societies. No one congratulates a married male for cheating on his wife. Using that premise to justify the idea that cheating is therefore OK for women is not valid.
The problem arising from this false assumption is that Wednesday Martin does not, in any part of the book, address the broken promises, lies and deception that goes with cheating. She does not address the pain that accompanies the partner who did not stray. Instead, the books says biology dictates non-monogamy, Therefore we must accept that ALL women should be allowed to cheat, and there must be no consequences. The betrayed partner has a problem with that? Well that is HIS fault; he does not understand female biology. Never mind that he too has the urge to cheat, but chooses to honor his promises instead. This is brought home in Chapter 1; she says she wanted to cheat, but did not want her male partners to cheat. She does not address the issue of WHY she does not want her male partner to cheat. Could it be that there is a biological and social reason for that also? She tells her husband "no you cannot have permission to have an affair" in the beginning of the book. Later on in the book she goes on to chide her husband for saying that she has his permission / blessing to go to a sex party alone, a party where cheating was the main activity. I DON'T need your permission, she snaps at him. The irony is lost on her.

3 people found this helpful

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Based on 32 interviews, not well supported

Drones on a bit. Not really well researched and shows significant confirmation bias. I celebrate the author's strength but wished she had gone beyond just retreading.

3 people found this helpful

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Everyone should read this

I’m sure Ms. Martin will get a lot of backlash for writing this book, but the topic is one that needs to be talked about more. Women have been stigmatized for far too long if they have the audacity to enjoy sex and then actually admit it. And women tend to be some of the worst offenders of propagating the beliefs that women should be shamed for it. We need to empower ourselves and other women to take back the autonomy of our sexual beings. We need to support each other’s choices whether it’s to be monogamous or explore other options. We need to respect others choices and know that we are all different and what works for one person may not work for someone else. And that’s OKAY! We don’t have to live in cookie cutter box houses and dress alike and behave for someone else’s skewed view of morality.

6 people found this helpful

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Provocative Subject, Well Researched

The subject manner of this book is female infidelity, which is not necessarily something we all want to think about, especially not as "good" wives and mothers, but the author presents the facts and research that support that even "good" wives may be untrue. She presents the research of others, but also directly interviews many of those researchers for further insight, which makes the studies more relatable. The stories she tells from women, and a few men. about their own experiences with female infidelity give the book even more depth and make it an easier read. I recommend this book to women and men who are just curious or really looking for information to back up the feelings, or ideas they may already have. It will likely be a somewhat uncomfortable, but also very interesting, talk at our next women's book club.

2 people found this helpful

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very informative book all women need

i cried at the end of the book because i felt such a relief

2 people found this helpful

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Absurd neo-feminist propaganda

I dropped this title after chapter 1.

This book was clearly written by a leftist ideologue, as evident by the wide use of buzzwords such as "privilege", "the infidelity gap", "non-binary" and "women of color".

Distasteful display of ideology aside, the book contained some specific claims that have no connection to reality. Examples:
1) The author claimed that cheating is a male privilege.
That is of course absurd, as who cheat have always been judged. Anyone with a set of eyes and a functioning prefrontal cortex should know that this is obviously not true. But if any proof is needed, the easiest and clearest example is the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. If cheating was condoned for men, as the author suggested, then clearly the president of the U.S. cheating on his wife wouldn't be a scandal.
2) The author claims that the MeToo movement is about women's right to want sex.
It is exactly the opposite - MeToo is about sexual harassment, and women's right to refuse. This claim that sexual perpetrators are somehow doing it to oppress female sexuality is patently insane. I'm sure those same perpetrators would be glad to have more women with the same mindset as the author.

The author also keeps conflating polyamory, promiscuity and infidelity, as though they are the same thing. She also groups together thoughts and actions, as though fantasizing about someone else and cheating are the same.
This is of course a blur tactic, designed to excuse the author's selfish and disgusting ambition to lie to her partners while having sex behind their backs, knowing full well that they would not accept it had they known.
Having open consensual relationships is OK.
Having different desires is OK.
Cheating on your partner because you want to have your cake and eat it is not. You are not judged for your sexuality, you are judged for your lack of character and values, as you should be. It is entitlement and narcissism, plain and simple.

This might be the most horrible book I have ever picked up to read.

1 person found this helpful