Full Exposure: Opening up to Sexual Creativity and Erotic Expression by Susie Bright, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Full Exposure

Full Exposure

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by Susie Bright

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Hailed by Utne Reader as "a visionary" and the San Francisco Chronicle as "the X-rated" intellectual," Susie Bright is indiputably the sexpert of our times.Now, in a frank and intimate look at our own erotic experience, she reveals the ways in which individual sexual expression has the power to inspire, challenge, and transform all


Hailed by Utne Reader as "a visionary" and the San Francisco Chronicle as "the X-rated" intellectual," Susie Bright is indiputably the sexpert of our times.Now, in a frank and intimate look at our own erotic experience, she reveals the ways in which individual sexual expression has the power to inspire, challenge, and transform all of our lives. Bright explores some of the most complex questions about sexuality todaym including:

  • What are the real differences between men's and women's sense of the erotic?
  • Why is it so threatening to conscioulsy address sexual desire?
  • Is there a line to be drawn in erotic creativity-can you go so far?
  • How can articulate erotic expression make us better lovers, more important, better people?

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What is Sexual Creativity?

Nothing really exists except examples.

If I had to judge my sex life by how many times I jump into bed and have an orgasm, I'd get a big fat F. Oh, I'm sure my notches are more than someone else's notches, but I've had long, medium, and short stretches of time in my life where I haven't buttered up to anybody else's body, or even had my own private Jill-off.

Yet this is the last thing I think of when I consider my erotic life. I say "erotic life" instead of "sex life "I because when someone asks me about my sex life, it's like code for, "Are you getting laid?" I need a code for replying, "Getting laid isn't the half of it." My dreams are filled with sex; my work is inspired with sexual energy; my family and friendships are influenced in so many ways by my sexual creativity that I couldn't even pinpoint them all. Most sex experts tell people to search for a sex life, to make it happen by getting out of the house and into the right singles bar, but actually your sex life is rocking your boat every minute of every day. You never even have to leave the house or make a phone call.

I remember snooping in a neighbor's bookshelves when I was a kid, discovering their garishly illustrated Kama Sutra technique manual with more than a hundred pages and a hundred pretzel shapes to screw your body into. It had all the appeal of a periodic table. This is what I had to learn to have sex? It was a strangely unemotional examination. The book's title invoked erotic and spiritual symbols--but the spirit behind the presentation was chopped liver. I had been so excited to think that one day I was going to have asex life, a real adult sex life--and I imagined it would be as exciting and inspiring as the sexy music I heard on the radio, the romantic novels I read, or the passionate embraces I saw dissolve on the movie screens.

My childhood intuition was right. Those top-forty hits I heard on the radio were more sexy than a hundred nudist diagrams. Rock 'n' roll was sex, and so were all those novels and movies I thrilled to-because those things actually possessed sexual creativity, and the people who composed them were probably as inspired as I was when they first came up with their ideas.

Erotic experience is a wake-up call; it's the sign that you're not only alive, you're bursting. As my friend Michael once said, "It doesn't matter whether you're cooking a meal, or playing a game of basketball, or writing a chapter. Sometimes you get this rush of holistic energy, and you'd swear that you just got laid."

"I know that," I told him, "but how come more people won't admit it? It's not like I can line up a row of architects and rocket scientists to admit that, yes indeed, "they split that atom, they built that bridge," and they owe it all to some serious erotic inspiration. Everyone thinks that if they admit how much sexual energy fuels their everyday life and accomplishments, they won't get any respect."

"But it doesn't matter what they say! : Michael is very good at overriding all naysayers. "Haven't they ever heard of a little thing called sublimation? Dr. Freud, hello! You go to any museum, you look at the classic Renaissance paintings, where everyone is supposed to be praising God and fearing the devil, but what is it, after all? Naked bodies everywhere! You're going to tell me these painters didn't get off on that? Their faith, their painting, their sexual energy--it's all the same thing."

People often don't want to hear that their religious feeling is erotic; it's an insult to them. They take the holier-than-thou attitude that any kind of scholarship, any kind of profession or art, needs to be unsullied by sex in order to be worthy.

But what is their worthiness all about? Michael started in describing Dante's Divine Comedy. "Here we have a hero who goes from hell to purgatory to paradise, and at the end of it all after he has seen God--what does he say? He speaks out to the memory of one woman, a woman he saw for only an instant, and she is 'the love that moves the sun and all the stars!' Remember, this is after God!"

"Yes, I think of that quote, 'God is in the details,'" I said. "And so is sex."

Your erotic life is what you notice about yourself--what drives you and thrills you and even maroons you sometimes. It influences our every personal expression, our role models, and the picture of our generation. I can read poems I wrote as a teenager, look at the image of myself giving birth to my daughter ten years ago, or see myself on a stage today-and an erotic thread runs through all of it. My character shows how motivated I've been by sexual creativity, long before I knew much at all about "having sex."

I don't have to visit a museum or look at the classics to see how sex and art intersect from the moment we pick up our pen or our brush. I used to visit my friend Kimi in her art studio, where she made huge abstract expressionist paintings, from floor to ceiling. She routinely had her vibrator plugged in, lying on the rug next to her latest canvas, along with her brushes, rags, and colors. She caught me looking at it one day, and she said, "I can't help it, I get so excited sometimes! And other times I'm so tired, this is the only thing that gets me going again."

People have long debated whether eroticism saps their energy or lets it fly. A physical orgasm can sometimes make you so weak in the knees that you feel closer to a nap than to creating a masterpiece. But that's why it's so important to see the difference between the release of an orgasm and the release of the creative sexual mind.

A fantasy never leaves you exhausted, an erotic inspiration never tires you out. Erotic inspiration can be released through orgasms--but that's just one way. More important is that sexual creativity stems from living life as if you were making something of it-instead of being made over. I'm not talking about denying physical release, or saving your jizz up like some precious reservoir. No, I mean the way we express the juice of our greatest joys, and some of the most righteous justice in our lives. Why don't we recognize the erotic element in that passion?

Full Exposure. Copyright © by Susie Bright. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Susie Bright is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, including The Best American Erotica series, the first three editions of Herotica, Sexwise, and The Sexual State of the Union. She has written for Esquire, Playboy, Village Voice, New York Times Book Review, and is a regular columnist for the on-line magazine Salon. She lectures and performs at theaters and universities nationwide and currently lives in Northern California.

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