This review is for: Veronica Monet's Sex Secrets of Escorts (Kindle Edition)
For Kinsey, it was a quarter million gall wasps that brought him a sex career as an educator and pioneer. For Veronica Monet, it was boredom at a desk job supplanted by a couple thousand clients over a 14 year profession as a high end working girl. She's taken her love of people, a business acumen and the inspiration of her namesake saint, Veronica Franco, of 16th century Venice and given us this book.
With Monet's work we have the fruits of a soul map, I think, logging helpful lessons from many lovers, mostly men--as the paying part of sex is their world. She writes to women that want to know her secrets. But my guess is that more men read her than women. Off the clock she says she prefers women, yet as a certified sexologist now retired the high end prostitution business, she works as a relationship and love advisor for couples. Her book makes it clear that she loves sex, sees sexuality as sacred. This belief has allowed her to transition to the business of being a teacher of groups and couples as life coach, soul guide, and sex specialist--a world she believes is about connecting with the divine. Yes, no doubt you'll want to go to Tantra church with this fun time girl. But hold your horses. She's married and retired.
I got that she loves the giving and taking of pleasure, sure. But the persons touched seemed to matter to her all along the way as much or more than the joy of the touching. She's as much about the breath and the Tantra (means unity) and the coaching as she is about the bonking. It is life that should be fun and full of joy, not just business time in the bedroom. This is the message I got from Sex Secrets. Yes, some techniques are found in the last third of the book; but they seemed like afterthoughts to me. This book was more about the soul and getting close with someone you care about because that's where the meaning is.
No shock that most of her clients during those working years were married men. And, yes, while working she stashed enough to buy a house and pay taxes and vote, all through courtesan work. Interesting financial outflow here from half dead marriages and men who were dedicated dualists; men who loved their wives but found sex with them lacking. Indeed, many of her clients had church backgrounds. A few were women but most were men that had wives with whom they could not get sufficiently naughty. Monet could tell you a lot about that ancient contract between married people: don't ask for hot sex at home and I won't ask where you've been. Anything to keep the disturbing depth of spiritually and even religiously hot sexuality out of the perimeter of the white picket fence and the business of raising kids. I guess.
Monet explains also that often the men were the problem here as much as the women in this "body be nasty, spirit be pure" disconnect. Her married clients often held fast to the notion of purity and sex having no truck with each other at home. The spirituality of bodily love seemed unattainable with the mother of her client's children. God knows the church had well schooled these men that sex was for procreation if the act had a prayer of being holy. Intercourse is always sin otherwise. Augustine's law. Such nonsense, of course, keeps non consensual sex in the headlines for the church and people like Monet employed.
As to the silent contract between spouses, the wives might have minded if they had looked at the checkbook, as Monet used to charge $500 to $1,000 hour. Some clients had her on annual retainer at $50,000 a year, just to jet to the opera, with a night followed by intimacy. As mentor and friend and bed partner, she was obviously worth it. She explains that these men paid largely for the emotional intimacy and intellectual connection plus just some basic instruction on how a woman's body works.
Indeed, when you've had sex with 1869 clients--and many were repeat and regular clients through the years--you learn what works, she explains. You learn what men want. This woman took notes, thankfully, and the fruit is available in this book.
Monet refers to herself as a scientist and in this hankers back to the post Kinsey sex surrogates that used to work in the 70s side by side therapists and marriage counselors, before the lawyers and the Internet put most of them out of work. Monet's book made me think of sexual healers of old, such as Carolyn Elderberry and Juliet Anderson (of blessed memory), interviewed in Women of the Light: The New Sacred Prostitute by Kenneth Ray Stubbs (Sept. 1994). As to the spiritual and theological side, I especially enjoyed Monet's studies and practices learned from Tantra and how she brought these ideas into a context that is delightful in her writings.
It's not quite fair to review a book as I have when you've had the personal treat to meet and talk with the author face to face. A book should stand on its own. And some have criticized Monet for not including juicy vignettes from her days as a high class working courtesan. But that's just it. Because she knows about love, and the human spirit she doesn't kiss and tell. Because she loves and respects people--almost as a pastor of souls. Yes, this woman is a pastor of souls.
Maybe her bisexuality helps, as she says she also loves women. But because the paying for it part of sex is a man's business, she learned to love and respect her male clients perhaps far more than the average wife loves and respects her husband. She definitely believes sex is a god thing, starting each session with a prayer and a heart chakra hug that not only screens out people she will not work with, but sets the tone and spirituality of the encounter at the outset for those she chooses as clients.
Monet is all about the depth and quality of the personal connection in her work and book. I find her as much a priestess as courtesan in Sex Secrets. She reminded me of another favorite book I liked, Nancy Qualls-Corbett's The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine (Paperback, 1988). Qualls-Corbett's historical look takes in the spiritual calling of the Sacred Prostitute of centuries past and the heat they took then from the high horse piety of uptight Christians and Jews and Muslims of old. No secret why Monet cannot use her real name now. Her old work remains illegal in most states, as does sex surrogate work and probably couples coaching, too.
Her book reminded me also of Nina Hartley's Guide to Total Sex (paperback, 2006). But as wonderful a person Nina is and as fine a sex educator she has become and as personable, Nina's connections have been with what she terms "non-civilians", i.e. professionals. Monet's work has been largely with average and ordinary men.
It occurred to me towards the end of her Sex Secrets that, like many men who are taught falsely to believe that males are born smart about sex, that I'd read a hundred plus books on what women want sexually and otherwise. But until this book I'd never read a title by a woman aiming to teach other women what men might like erotically. I find it rather remarkable that a bisexual woman can be so caring for men. Nice.
The world is a richer place because of the retired and semi retired sex workers who have turned educators, sex counselors and relationship coaches. I've long thought it stupid for married couples to spend thousands of dollars on cerebral marriage counselors when often what the couple really seemed to need was simply to be sent straight to bed without their supper and told do the nasty slow by candle light and a little Enya on the boom box.
Much is said in this book about the sacramental healing available in the old fashioned business of simply getting it on and working through relationship issues at a body level. Yes, Monet's book for me was not unlike the books and seminars of the therapist, David Schnarch. (Passionate marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships, paperback, 2009.)
In summary, let's say you are a lack luster lover--of God or of a man--and want to improve. Or, as Veronica Monet puts it, "your orgasms are on the level of a sneeze". Maybe you are simply a wanna be lover of art and the human spirit but the fire's gone out in that department; and you want to get a little more intensely naked about what all that might mean. Read this book. And meet this author when she comes to town for a lecture. And then go out and love somebody. As the Italians say, "love is poor man's opera". Take singing lesions then and read this book.
Dan E. Nicholas, CLU, CLTC, LUTCF
Long Term Care Solution Specialist, 201 El Soreno Dr., Scotts Valley, CA 95066
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