Finding Normal: Sex, Love, and Taboo in Our Hyperconnected World (Hardcover)
A candid and voyeuristic look into the lives of people living outside sexual norms. The book focuses on how the internet has provided connection and community to people who live polygamously or with large age gaps. Written with sensitivity and care about people’s lives, Alexa’s approach is adjusted around the subjects and not herself.— Jesse
Alexa Tsoulis-Reay's Finding Normal is an author's up close tour of people who are using the Internet to challenge the boundaries of what's taboo and what it means to be normal.
Finding Normal explores how people are using the internet to find community, forge connections, and create identity in ways that challenge a variety of sexual norms. Based on a highly candid interview series conducted for New York magazine's human science column—"What It's Like"—each story in Finding Normal intimately immerses the reader in the world of a person who is grappling with a unique set of circumstances relating to sexuality.
Finding Normal at once celebrates the power of our evolving media landscape for helping people rewrite the script for their lives and offers a wanring about the danger of that seemingly limitless freedom. Tsoulis-Reay shows the enduring power of the search for belonging—for humans and society. Like happiness of life purpose, finding normal is perhaps the definitive human struggle.
About the Author
ALEXA TSOULIS-REAY grew up in New Zealand. She spent her adult years living in various countries, with graduate degrees in media theory and working a range of jobs: an investigator for a pornography regulator, a complaints officer at a taxi cab regulator, a recruitment consultant, and a mystery shopper. After graduating from New York University’s journalism program, she worked as a fact checker at New York magazine, eventually becoming a senior writer. She lives in Australia.
“A sharp take on society’s relationship to the concept of 'normal,' and the bargaining people take part in to appear so. The result is courageous, curious, and vivid.” --Publishers Weekly
“Unflinching, searching, vivid, and intimate.” --David Wallace-Wells, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Uninhabitable Earth
"Tsoulis-Reay's engrossing narratives and empathetic conversations compel us to confront our own attitudes on sexuality, the boundaries of what constitutes 'normal,' and in one particularly challenging instance, to the proper scope of criminal law. Prepare to be challenged." --Peter Singer, professor of bioethics, Princeton University
"Finding Normal is fearless and feisty. Tsoulis-Reay has a gift for listening to strangers— it’s a ground-breaking, comprehensive work covering what sex and sexual identity has become in our hyperconnected era, and as unique as the stories shared in it." --Vanessa Grigoriadis, Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus
"When the subject is sexuality, some people seem to believe that the word 'normal' is synonymous with 'ideal.' In Finding Normal, author Alexa Tsoulis-Reay neatly dissects that myth by introducing us to various people whose sexual explorations travel far beyond the average. They teach us that the 'ideal' is to follow our desires honestly and to treat our partners with thoughtfulness, respect and caring love. Maybe that’s what should be 'normal'." --Dossie Easton, co-author of The Ethical Slut
“Alexa Tsoulis-Reay has a remarkable journalistic gift of empathetic engagement: she takes us deep into the heads and hearts of people, and asks us to consider what feels “normal” to them. Some stories may push your own borders, but even where the writer struggles to find her own footing, she maintains a commitment to explain what makes these choices meaningful for those whose stories she has been entrusted to share.” --Henry Jenkins, author of Convergence Culture