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Erotic Integrity


A bold, refreshing call to discover and own one’s sexuality.

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A debut self-help book that aims to help individuals and couples work through their sexual fears.

The cornerstone of French sexologist Six’s therapy, “Erotic Integrity,” incorporates three principles: self-examination, self-acceptance, and self-actualization. She corrects important misconceptions regarding the differences between intimacy and sex, desire and arousal, and fidelity and nonmonogamy. She points out that couples will often misguidedly enter into open marriages or secret affairs to “spice up” the marital relationships or to find intimacy on the side. However, she says, these are both losing prospects when people embrace self-deception instead of informed choices. Erotic Integrity, she says, requires honesty, not exoticism, and the key component of honesty is communication. The book includes 10 chapters on a wide range of subjects, including lies and secrets, sexual boredom, sexual violation, dating, performance anxiety, gender nonconformity, and sexual addiction, followed by relevant, probing questions that underpin the author’s insights. Through case studies, Six details real-world couples coping with complex issues of misunderstandings and miscommunications. She says that low desire, a common problem in women, especially during menopause, has a psychological component and can be treated as long as a person wants to change. She stresses that the purpose of her work is not to “fix” people but to help them discover who they are and what they truly want. This book will calm the secret fears of even casual readers, as Six speaks with authority, compassion, and humor: “The term ‘sex addiction’ has been popularized, overused, and misapplied to anyone engaging in sexual behavior that someone else disapproves of.” She’s also critical of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and clearly explains how and why she thinks it’s inaccurate in certain cases. Overall, she’s emphatic that no obstacle is insurmountable, that no honestly confessed desire is shameful, and that no one need follow anyone else’s choices. Sexuality, she emphasizes, takes place in the heart and in the head—as well as elsewhere.

A bold, refreshing call to discover and own one’s sexuality.

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63152-079-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2016

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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