Most helpful positive review
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2011
Can we agree that it's not really possible to review the content of a book about someone else's therapy? I give this a 4 for being a fun read and for opening up some of the things we don't talk about, like the stark contrast between a contented, long-term marriage and a sexually-focused endeavor. "Endeavor" sounds a bit Edwardian but it's hard to know what else to call Madsen's forays into sexual satisfaction. Happily (I guess) married to someone who comes off as a cardboard cutout propped on the couch in prime baseball-watching position, she decided that her marriage lacked spark, but that her married friends' numerous affairs looked tacky and time-consuming. I was drawn to the book because, when my late husband was still alive but unwell, I faced a similar question: love or sex? For Ms Masden, the answer is in paid erotic massage which eventually morphs into involvement in BDSM (whether paid or unpaid isn't quite clear). I appreciated her frankness and laughed aloud a number of times, especially when her teenaged boys gently tried to suggest that Mummy keep the sex vids out of sight in the living room! While brevity is the soul of wit, there were areas in which I would have liked clarification. For example, her massage therapy went on for a year or so before she involved her husband; I wondered why. Similarly, throwaway references to spending thousands on massage and BDSM costumes while her husband remains oblivious, and to losing a 6-figure job by publicizing her adventures, seem like things that would resonate pretty deeply in one's marriage, but they are literally one-liners. Judging the book on its own merits, it's not rigorously scholarly, doesn't bring into play any science for or against the "Divine Intimacy" school of therapy and so on, but it does convey with the verve and pep the value a soi-disant "loud-mouthed, opinionated Jewess" found in remaining technically faithful to her husband while finding a different manner in which to enjoy her sexuality. The most problematic issue for me (and this says MUCH more about me than the writer) is that she started off 70 lbs overweight, "ditched the diet," and dropped 30 lbs...which if my math is right leaves her 40 pounds overweight. As we all know, this is more than enough to have some extremely negative health effects, but she doesn't seem to worry about it now that she knows she can find some (paid, usually gay) man to make her feel attractive. I don't mean to be grouchy here and really hope things work well for the writer, but at times the book did come off like a 250-page apologia for finding intimacy outside one's marriage when it might very well be available inside if one were to give it a fair shot. Just saying...I think the book gives the reader a solid grounding in one option when one's in a long-term, less-than-sexually-spectacular marriage; I don't think it's the only or perhaps the best answer, but Ms Masden never claims it is. She found something that works for her and she explains it frankly, humorously, and with an appealing lack of pretense. Good for her!