(Masterpieces of Women's Literature, Critical Edition)

The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study on Female Sexuality shocked the scholarly and popular media because of the findings of its controversial author, Shere Hite. Many people could not accept a book about sexuality from a former prostitute. Some analysts criticized her research methods as sloppy, while her defenders argued that those with a hidden agenda can criticize any piece of research on such methodological grounds. Others have contended that a more serious examination of Hite’s findings is desirable because she addresses long neglected, crucial sexuality issues and reaches conclusions vitally important to women.

For her study, Hite sent questionnaires to three thousand women aged fourteen to seventy- eight; she tried to reach all geographical regions and several types of women. Advertisements were placed in Ms. magazine and church newsletters, two sources that presumably would target very different groups of women. Quotations from these questionnaires are used for each of Hite’s points and consume a sizable amount of all sections of the book. At the beginning of each section, she also gives a concise overview of other research in the field, making The Hite Report an especially valuable tool for the casual reader.

The Hite Report contained much groundbreaking information about women’s sexuality, particularly the sections on myths. One myth is that women are irregular in frequency of orgasm and slow...

(The entire section is 563 words.)