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Arousal: Bodies and Pleasures
     

Arousal: Bodies and Pleasures

by Roth
 
A wide-ranging yet intimate look at the contradictions of sexual desire, this book blends personal history with thoughtful reflection about the mysterious nature of sexual arousal and its personal and social implications.

Overview

A wide-ranging yet intimate look at the contradictions of sexual desire, this book blends personal history with thoughtful reflection about the mysterious nature of sexual arousal and its personal and social implications.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this muddled academic feminist discourse, Roth, co-editor of Transforming a Rape Culture, on the one hand deplores the countless images linking sex and violence in movies, TV, novels, adsimages which turn women into objects. On the other hand, her graphic autobiographical account of her own sexual coming-of-age dwells on her ambivalent pleasure in violent sexual fantasiesa predilection she traces to growing up Jewish in Chicago during WWII, when her fear of becoming a victim of violence, fusing with parental strictures to keep erotic pleasure secret, led to fantasies of being a beautiful captured spy or Jewish prisoner. Writing in the tradition of Julia Kristeva and Helene Cixous, Roth meshes a sophisticated feminist critique of Freudian phallocentric society with psychoanalytic insights la Jacques Lacan and Eastern wisdom. Her wide-ranging meditation on women's suppression of their sexuality touches too sketchily on diverse topics (from androgyny to the gynecological profession), using an array of illustrative examples ranging from Plato to Masters and Johnson, and from Colurbet's female nudes to Robert Crumb's comics. Her prescription that releasing the Kundalini energies linked in yoga to creativity and arousal will trigger both a transformation of our sexual selves and a social revolution seems as vague and pointless as Madonna's exhortations that sex is a good thing. Author tour. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
A feminist writer teases, raising some provocative questions about power and pleasure, then pulling out of the discussion too quickly. Why must sexual pleasure be so intertwined with rage and cruelty, submission and dominance, punishment and shame? Can we envision a world in which sex would be "a spiritual path on which we can express our best selves?" In this thin, largely unsatisfying book, Roth (editor of Transforming a Rape Culture, not reviewed) asks such questions. She believes that transforming sexuality, freeing it of the brutality that can turn some people on, will transform the world. Yet she offers no suggestions on how to do that. And she doesn't really make it clear why we should change sexuality per se. It's hard to see what harm many fantasies are doing. Wouldnþt it be better to crack down on real violence: rape, child abuse, and sexism? And Roth is on even shakier ground when she gets more concrete. She writes, for example: "Following the work of Marija Gimbutas, most scholars now agree that early human societies worshiped female fertility, probably in the form of an earth goddess." That's far from the case; many scholars in Gimbutas's own field, archaeology, dispute her interpretations. Too abstract for the general reader, and too shallow and unsupported for those who have a serious interest in these issues. (Author tour)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781571312204
Publisher:
Milkweed Editions
Publication date:
04/28/1998
Pages:
161
Product dimensions:
5.81(w) x 8.75(h) x 0.82(d)

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