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Kim Cattrall Sexual Intelligence Paperback – Bargain Price, February 11, 2008
The Amazon Book Review
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This may well be the sexiest coffee table book ever created. A companion to the HBO documentary of the same name, Sexual Intelligence is a follow up title to Kim Cattrall's simpler, more technical Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm. Gorgeously sensual photos and a sprinkling of poetry cozy up to science, combining experts like Betty Dodson and Thomas Moore with Sappho and Georgia O'Keefe; this time around, the goal is exploration, rather than instant delivery.
Specifically, all this lush intelligence directs itself towards education about why we want what we want. After poring over the five lovely chapters (Desire, Messaging, Arousal, Fantasy, and Release), you still might not have a definite answer, but the final pleasure far outweighs the impression of flightiness. Straightforward explanations of anatomy (a definite step up from school health class) intermingle with tales of ancient gods and goddesses that liven up facts, while the layer of glamour over all wraps the package in a big fluffy bow. Shots of classic paintings mix equally with shots of Kim, each providing eye candy that is tailored to please.
Six "average folks," ostensibly representing a wide sample of sexual interests and ideas, provide quotes throughout the text; sometimes offering a complex thought, other times simply throwing in something along the lines of, "I drive a nice Porsche so I can get chicks." While their voices do help make the book more representative of the general population, it still feels like a book aimed mostly at straight women--which might make it a very handy title for straight men to keep in their living rooms.--Jill Lightner
Amazon.com: Can you explain what you've got in mind by the phrase "sexual intelligence"?
Kim Cattrall: A person who knows what they like! And has some idea why. Intelligence is traditionally defined -- Webster's for example would define intelligence as success in coping with situations and solving problems. Intelligence can also mean a collection of useful insight and information that enriches understanding. I used the word "intelligence" in the title of the book and the documentary because it reflects my desire to gather whatever insights, inspirations, and information that could nourish the part of us that is sexual and sensual, so that it might be strong and function well.
Amazon.com: What was the starting point for Sexual Intelligence?
Kim Cattrall: My previous book Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm was unabashedly a how to, complete with colored arrows and schematic diagrams by way of demonstration. People responded so positively the book -- they wrote me these amazing letters and I could see there remained an enormous amount to explore and learn -- for myself as well as everybody else. Orgasm is fabulous, but I realized I had started at the end of the story. Writing a book on how to satisfy sexual desire lead me to become more interested in what its roots and sources actually are. What inspires arousal in the first place? Where does it come from? What can it tell us? How does it keep us engaged with the world?
Amazon.com: Of the five chapters (Desire, Messaging, Arousal, Fantasy and Release), the one on desire is by far the longest. What makes this topic so much more important?
Courage! [Samantha Jones] was courageous and totally without prejudice.
Kim Cattrall: The idea of "desire" is really the central theme of the book. At one point I even thought of calling the book "desire" but it sounded too much like another celebrity fragrance, you know -- Kim Cattrall: Desire. But really, an investigation of desire was the key idea growing out of my previous book. Its funny, in a way this book is almost like a pre-quel to my previous book Satisfaction 'cause without desire, there ain't no "satisfaction." Something that came up right away in regard to desire or arousal, is that men and women tend to experience it differently and of course we wanted to include both points of view, so that made the chapter even longer!
Amazon.com: Your book draws on so many eras and cultures. Which one is the most inspirational for you?
Kim Cattrall: Looking at the stories and images that have informed and given expression to erotic impulses over the centuries was fascinating to me. They help give shape to the individual struggles and joys we experience through sex
The classical era of Greece and Rome are endlessly fascinating because those cultures so openly celebrated sex on both a literal and a metaphorical level.
Amazon.com: Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm came about in relation to your character on Sex in the City. How did your role as Samantha Jones influence this project?
Kim Cattrall: Courage! She was courageous and totally without prejudice. She was also self-accepting. Those are three valuable characteristics that I had the benefit of continually rubbing up against in the skin of Samantha Jones and I believe they came strongly into play on this project.
Amazon.com: What was the most surprising thing you learned while working on the book?
Kim Cattrall: Well, after living inside Samantha Jones for 6 years, you would think nothing would surprise me! But I learned an ENORMOUS amount. Even in areas that are very familiar, like looking at parts of the body or discussing the differences between men and women. I think "revelation" might be a better word -- there were so many instances of insight -- moments of -- "Aha, so that explains it!" Sexuality is such a vast subject and so complex. You realize you've been going on a trickle of knowledge when there's like gushing waterfall out there.
Examining the underpinnings of eroticism was very exciting.
From Publishers Weekly
In an attempt to give readers a greater understanding of the sources and inspirations of sex, Cattrall, aka the seductive Samantha Jones on Sex and the City, has wound up producing a weird mix of art book and sex manual, addressing the roots of desire, messaging, arousal, fantasy and "release." The text isn't written in the first person (in fact, there are references to "we"), and Cattrall's well-known sexiness isn't glaringly on display, with the exception of grainy images of her smirking as she holds an oyster, or dressed up as a dominatrix, floating in what appear to be Photoshopped clouds. Other pictures feel like stock photography (indeed, the credits at book's end confirm this): a photo of a zucchini next to a paragraph on nicknames for the penis; a sepia-toned shot of two feet crossed, with a daisy tucked between two toes, alongside a section on "lust and laughter." The same interview subjects (identified by first name and a head shot only) are quoted throughout; readers learn, for example, that Natasha doesn't like the way her vagina looks, nor is she attracted to "the metrosexual, hair-product type guy." Master works of art—a carving of a vulva found in a cave in France; Antonio Canova's marble sculpture of lovers embracing—are used to beautiful effect, but don't help the book rise from fluff to something of substance. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
And who says there cannot be a science of sex? Many of the standard methodologies appear: geometry via the cylinders, cones, triangles, and spheres of all different sizes; physics via friction and the large expenditures of energy; biology via the flow of blood and the abundance of neuronal synapses. One supplements this science with aesthetics: with poetry, art, and imagination. The result is a complex picture, but one definitely worth examining, and of course eventually indulging oneself in: any real science requires experimentation.
For its size, the book is full of interesting information and some surprises. One would like a more detailed reference list, but if one overlooks this oversight it is worth the time. Important contemporary issues arise in the discussion early on. One of these concerns the belief that the ability to get and maintain a rigid cylinder via the use of the big-pharm potions of lust does not imply one will optimize one's pleasure. Sexual pleasure is the result of carefully planned choreography as much as it is a spontaneous random walk. Typically the cylinder enters the triangle, but it can also walk into the other hallways. Sometimes the fit is tight, sometimes loose, and sometimes momentary. Geometry again is the final arbiter.
And do the holders of the XX chromosomes have needs identical to the holders of the XY? Not really, writes the author, the XX has "more plasticity" than the XY, and when indulging in fantasy has a greater likelihood to create "complex narratives". To most readers, these claims will not be new, and are in fact very believable. Experience with the XX reinforces these beliefs, as does a reading of the history in this book (albeit very brief).
As expected, many photos of the author decorate the inside of the book. They do not detract from the case she is presenting, but they do serve to distract (in a delightful way of course). The other photos included in the book are also tastefully done and serve to remind the reader of the cultural context in which sex has been displayed.
This will no doubt not be the last book written by a celebrity on sex, but it does stand out from the rest in its attempt to present a case that is based on what is known in the scientific and historical community, even if the discussion is brief. Further refinement of what is presented is needed if one is to develop a more detailed notion of sexual intelligence. The author's approach is both fun and interesting, and is a good start to such a project.
Overall, I found this to be an interesting book. It is not a "How-To" book by any stretch of the imagination, but it makes a wonderfully sensuous and entertaining read.
With its huge print fonts and minus the illustrations, the 130 pages here could have been reduced to probably less than 20 pages -- so at $30 there's absurdly little value. I enjoyed Kim's earlier book on sexual techniques, so I was really bummed to have her follow-on volume fail utterly to inform or entertain.