Sugar In My Bowl: Is Female-Penned Sex Writing Still Taboo?

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sugar in my bowl erica jong female sex writing
Erica Jong says no! Her all-female anthology of essays captures the multifarious nature of sex.

If you ask author Erica Jong, sex is more than just mesmerizing and pleasurable; it can also be scary.

"Probably because such intense feelings are involved—above all, the loss of control," writes Jong in her latest anthology, Sugar in My Bowl. "Anything that causes us to lose control intrigues and enthralls. So sex is both alluring and terrifying."

Both sides—the pleasant and the not-so—are anecdotally discussed in Jong's smart, sexy romp of a read. Sugar in my Bowl combines the essays of 29 women—boasting names like Eve Ensler, Rebecca Walker and Fay Weldon—into one scrumptiously liberating anthology all about the most taboo of subjects for female writers to discuss: Sex.

Despite our so-called sexually liberated culture, Jong (who edited and contributed to the book) admits in her introduction that many writers sought approval from their partners before agreeing to contribute. Jong then recalls a time in 1971 when Anais Nin told her, "Women who write about sex are never taken seriously as writers." To which Jong countered, "That's why we must do it." Are Romance Novels Bad For Women?

And do it they do within the anecdotal essays collected in Sugar in my Bowl. The subjects range from detailed descriptions of sexual encounters—the working title of the book was, in fact, Best Sex I Ever Had—to essays that examine a child's curiosity about intercourse. One night stands, prudishness, and infidelity are also among the many topics so earnestly discussed in Jong's collection, which perfectly balances raunchy recollections of detail with honest and insightful moments of sexual enlightenment.

Each essay brings the writer's own unique flavor and experiences to the table. Gail Collins recounts her time spent in Catholic school, where nuns expended a great deal of energy scaring students into chastity. In "Sex with a Stranger," Susan Cheever shares why she finds one-night stands so alluring, and what they taught her about doing the deed. She writes, "Sex feels like a series of shared secrets, a passage through a maze leading to the most wonderful feeling available to human beings." And J.A.K Andres admits that her daughter became a "diddler" after discovering her vagina (which, by the way, she named Cho Cho).

There's something for everyone in Jong's collection; if you're not comfortable with the steamy details found in essays like Susie Bright's, you'll love the other stories, like "They Had Sex So I Didn't Have To." In it, Molly Jong-Fast (daughter of Erica Jong) describes the differences in sexual culture between her own generation and her mother's; how, "my mother's generation needed to rebel, to free themselves. Whereas my generation was already free." Has Sex And The City Decreased Sex In The Home?

No matter your preference for sexual pleasure, you're sure to find it within the tasty pages of Sugar in my Bowl.
 

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