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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AN INVISIBLE THREAD

THE TRUE STORY OF AN 11-YEAR-OLD PANHANDLER, A BUSY SALES EXECUTIVE, AND AN UNLIKELY MEETING WITH DESTINY

A straightforward tale of kindness and paying it forward in 1980s New York.

When advertising executive Schroff answered a child’s request for spare change by inviting him for lunch, she did not expect the encounter to grow into a friendship that would endure into his adulthood. The author recounts how she and Maurice, a promising boy from a drug-addicted family, learned to trust each other. Schroff acknowledges risks—including the possibility of her actions being misconstrued and the tension of crossing socio-economic divides—but does not dwell on the complexities of homelessness or the philosophical problems of altruism. She does not question whether public recognition is beneficial, or whether it is sufficient for the recipient to realize the extent of what has been done. With the assistance of People human-interest writer Tresniowski (Tiger Virtues, 2005, etc.), Schroff adheres to a personal narrative that traces her troubled relationship with her father, her meetings with Maurice and his background, all while avoiding direct parallels, noting that their childhoods differed in severity even if they shared similar emotional voids. With feel-good dramatizations, the story seldom transcends the message that reaching out makes a difference. It is framed in simple terms, from attributing the first meeting to “two people with complicated pasts and fragile dreams” that were “somehow meant to be friends” to the conclusion that love is a driving force. Admirably, Schroff notes that she did not seek a role as a “substitute parent,” and she does not judge Maurice’s mother for her lifestyle. That both main figures experience a few setbacks yet eventually survive is never in question; the story fittingly concludes with an epilogue by Maurice. For readers seeking an uplifting reminder that small gestures matter.

 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4251-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Howard Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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