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

Erotic Integrity

HOW TO BE TRUE TO YOURSELF SEXUALLY

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

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

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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A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

THE ESCAPE ARTIST

Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.

At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982113-60-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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