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Sugar in My Bowl: Real Women Write About Real Sex Hardcover – June 14, 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“The women of this collection make the case that good sex is never exclusively about the act, but also about how you approach it.” (NPR)

“Reading Sugar in My Bowl offers a rare opportunity to peer in on a breadth of intimate sexual experiences, a wide variety of motivations, and problems and desires you never knew existed-as well as the little thrill of stumbling upon a story that sounds like your own.” (Slate Double XX)

“Abundant with affairs, marriages, motherhood and our sexual sense of mortality it is a thoughtful read, a perfect aperitif on a summer evening. The stories penetrate a secret space in our brains we so often neglect: our sense of sexuality.” (Forbes)

“Jong has crafted candid accounts of love and passion from renowned female writers into a sensual and sensitive read.” (Interview)

“[Sugar in My Bowl] runs the gamut from pornographic and hilarious to ironic and poignant. The result is a fun, quick, beach read, requiring as much or as little intellectual energy as the reader chooses to invest.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

“You can take these women seriously, laugh, squirm, and put hand over mouth at their weird, exciting, uncomfortable, joyous tales of ardor, while still admiring the agility of their prose.” (The Daily)

“Jong partners with 28 collaborators to create this fierce and refreshingly frank collection of personal essays, short fiction and cartoons celebrating female desire…A smart, scrumptiously sexy romp of a read.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“In this no-holds-barred collection of essays by ‘real women’ about ‘real sex,’ Jong has assembled an eclectic group of authors. [Sugar in My Bowl] is at its most profound when truth illuminates sex as a force in which these women found empowerment.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Jong cast a broad net to bring together women writing about sex. The resulting anthology attests the wide range of female sexual experience.” (Booklist)

“Sugar in My Bowl is proof positive that women can write seriously about sex and live to tell. It represents a remarkable smorgasbord of experience and perspective, and there’s a dish here for everyone.” (Shelf Awareness)

“’The Vagina Monologue’‘s Eve Ensler, New York Times columnist Gail Collins, and Jong’s own daughter, Molly Jong-Fast, all opened up about bumpin’ uglies for this scintillating book we couldn’t put down. Sugar In My Bowl may not be better than the big O, but it sure comes close.” (The Frisky)

“These pieces honestly and thoughtfully explore sex and its role in our society from a woman’s perspective, from its place in youth to the golden years....with Sugar in My Bowl Jong has curated a consistently eye-opening and thoroughly readable volume.” (LargeHearted Boy Blog)

“The enticing, thoughtful Sugar in My Bowl proves to be a powerful exploration of women’s relationship to sex.” (Entertainment Realm)

“This book is a Thanksgiving dinner in which each story is a dish more scrumptious, more touchingly homemade than the last. All are so very different, but together they comprise a joyous feast: [an] examination-cum-celebration of female sex and sexuality. A must-read.” (Gender Across Borders)

“The passion, tragedy, and hope—offered by courageous women who express raw feelings that society tends to silence—will resonate.” (Library Journal)

“A refreshing and new contribution to literature about women’s sex lives.” (HerCircleEzine.com)

From the Back Cover

When it comes to sex, what do women want? In this eye-opening and courageous collection, Erica Jong reveals that every woman has her own answer.

Susan Cheever talks about the "excruciating hazards of casual sex," while Gail Collins recounts her Catholic upbringing in Cincinnati and the nuns who passionately forbade her from having "carnal relations." In "Everything Must Go," Jennifer Weiner explores how, in love, the body can play just as big a role as the heart. The octogenarians in Karen Abbott's sharp-eyed piece possess a passion that could give Betty White a run for her money. Molly Jong-Fast reflects on her unconventional upbringing and why a whole generation of young women have rejected "free love" in favor of Bugaboo strollers and Mommy-and-me yoga.

Sex, it turns out, can be as fleeting, heavy, mundane, and intense as the rest of life. Indeed, Jong states in her powerful introduction "the truth is—sex is life."


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1st edition (June 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061875767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061875762
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #565,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a book that I'd have picked up, turned over, and browsed through at the bookstore but I'm not sure if I'd have purchased it on my own. I got the opportunity to read it through the folks at Harper and I'm quite glad I did. Erica Jong presents a collection of short pieces by a number of women writers. Some are personal memoirs, others fiction, and they focus on a range of topics relating to woman and sex. The pieces range from budding childhood interest to sexual attraction in a seniors sommunity and focus on everything from frustrating fumbles to unexpectedly satisfying encounters and even the sex that never happened. I appreciated that Jong included biographical information on each author and found myself turning to the bios section to read about each author before reading her piece.

As is usually the case with collections, there were pieces where I wanted more and pieces I could have done with out...which is kind of appropriate given the topic. I appreciated the frankness with which the authors wrote and the willingness to own their sexuality and desires that still makes note of how difficult taking ownership and talking honestly about sex can be, especially as women. I highly recommend the collection and happily give the anthology a full five stars. I thoroughly enjoyed it and the essay format makes it easy to read in pieces (I normally dislike short story collections so that's unique for me to enjoy).
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Format: Hardcover
I've tore through this book today. It's entertaining, revealing, and utterly delightful. I think everyone needs a reminder of the importance of sex in our lives, that sex is something to be discussed, sexual experiences deserve to be rehashed. This book also illuminates the freedom and power that comes when we expose our intimate selves, and unearth sex removed of its many veils. In a raunch culture where women are encouraged to remove their clothes and fake orgasms, this book appears as a welcome reprieve from all of that slop.

Thank you Erica Jong for compiling this book that I hope will become a fixture on many bookshelves.
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Format: Hardcover
Erica Jong opening line in Sugar in My Bowl: Real Women Write About Sex, why are we so fascinated with sex? Well, before she gives an answer she sought insight from fellow writers and friends to share their perspective on this hush-hush subject. Jong, who has a long career exploring sexuality, is an award winning poet, novelist, and essayist with eight bestselling novels.
Sugar in My Bowl: Real Women Write About Sex is the end result and the compilation of stories will surprise you. The title taken from an old Bessie Smith blues song "I Need a Little Sugar in my Bowl" who lyrics ring Tired of bein' lonely, tired of bein's blue,/ I wished I had some good man, to tell my troubles to/ Seem like the whole world's wrong, since my man's been gone/ I need a little sugar in my bowl,/ I need a little hot dog, on my roll/ I can stand a bit of lovin', oh so bad,/ I feel so funny, I feel so sad.
Jong gave no real instruction, she just told them to write about sex. Some did, other didn't, one illustrator Marisa Acocella Marchetto drew out a graphic fantasy titled Cock of My Dreams, whereas she had her own cock.
Some were of love found, love lost, motherhood, illness and the whole gambit. Overall a bit tamed in the graphic descriptions but these writings do expose the raw vulnerability of these women who shared from their most intimate thoughts and desires.
Sugar in My Bowl: Real Women Write About Sex is a titillating read on essays and stories on love, lust, and doing it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting to say the least. These are memories of many different women and their
sexual experiences. Some are good and some are not so good.

But I did find it interesting - reading about these experiences. Sometimes, we
as women wonder where we stand in the sexual arena and with this book -
we can place ourselves as "normal human beings".
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Format: Hardcover
I was initially intrigued by Sugar in My Bowl, a collection of essays edited by Erica Jong, because of its premise. In her introduction, Jong raises a lot of great points about the gender-based double standards when it comes to writing about sex. When Miller, Lawrence, and Nabokov wrote about sex, they were subversive and daring. They were breaking down barriers. When women wrote about sex, conventional wisdom said that they may as well have sounded the death knell for their writing careers. Jong was surprised that even now, women were hesitant to write about the subject; she was even more surprised at how many contributors felt the need to consult their significant others before agreeing to participate in this project. Still, it sounded like her main goal was to have an honest discussion about female desire. Sounds awesome, right?

Unfortunately, that wasn't entirely the case. As with most collections, some essays were stronger than others. The subtitle is also a misnomer: while most of the essays were about "real sex," there was also quite a bit of erotica. This wouldn't be a problem had the book been marketed differently-I have nothing against erotica-but I do feel that the inclusion of fiction altered the intended purpose of the book.

Sugar in My Bowl started out strong, and I was really enjoying myself for a while. I loved almost all of the essays by older women who grew up in a different sexual era. For instance, Gail Collins' essay, "Worst Sex," focus on her education at a Catholic school in the early 1960s. Although her mother was open about any questions she and her friends had about sex, her teachers were the exact opposite. It's a humorous reflection about her sex (non-)education.
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