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Book Review: An entertaining exposition about complexities of sex

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Jakarta | Mon, October 24, 2016 | 02:04 pm
Book Review: An entertaining exposition about complexities of sex

Sex is by no means an easy thing to write about, simply because it’s something so beyond language and words. (Shutterstock/File)

“Sex is both alluring and terrifying… sex is life”, writes Erica Jong in Sugar in My Bowl: Real Women Write About Real Sex. This anthology of essays, stories and drawings by a group of highly prominent women explore the complexity of sex; unfiltered, unfettered and unapologetic.

Sex is by no means an easy thing to write about, simply because it’s something so beyond language and words. How do you express something that is shaped by religion, upbringing, conditioning and society? How do you describe body parts without being too vulgar or too scientific? And how do you begin to outline the feelings that comes (excuse the pun) with it—the electricity that (sometimes) pulses through your veins all the way to your brain and back?

But these pieces about sex are not just entertainment. They’re teachable moments; reflections on how things could have been different for these women. Fay Weldon’s piece about losing her virginity to her best friend’s boyfriend is poignant and hilarious, and despite the fact it happened some 70 years ago it still feels relevant today, as does columnist Liz Smith’s piece about the first man she went “all the way” with. 

Read also: Common problems of the female reproductive system

While sex as rite-of-passage is well documented, less apparent is sex in adulthood proper, which is where this book moves into bolder territory—covering fetishes, masturbation and sexual addictions. While such tales laid bare may raise eyebrows, particularly given the ages of some of the book’s contributors, the reality is these are real women, and these are real stories about real sex.

The only limitation of this book is its failure to be all truly inclusive; it only touches on issues such as transphobia and disability. While these shortcomings don’t detract from the wonderful conversation that Erica Jong has started, there’s no denying that this book could offer so much more. (kes)

Click here to read the book.

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Title: Sugar in My Bowl: Real Women Write About Real Sex

Author: Erica Jong

Publisher: Eco Press

Published: 2011

Pages: 238

Reviewer: Natalie Pang

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.

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