Sunday, August 12, 2007

Your Erotic Personality: Identifying and Understanding Your Sexual Self

Okay, this shouldn’t be a surprise given the fact I write erotica, but the truth is I not only spend a lot of time writing about sex, I like to think about it and read about it, too. The reading part, of course, is also research for the writing, but it tends to be enjoyable as well as educational. I was expecting a good read when I picked up Sage Vivant’s Your Erotic Personality: Identifying and Understanding Your Sexual Self. After all, it’s Sage’s business to translate her clients’ fantasies into stories at Custom Erotica Source. That means she’s heard a lot of secrets from a lot of different people, and it’s not surprising she’s discovered “distinct personality trends” in the erotica she is asked to create. I’ll admit, too, there is a bit of the thrill of the voyeur (or Watcher as Sage calls it) in stepping inside the fantasies of so many people who’ve whispered in her ear over the years. Don’t we all want to know more about what goes on in other people’s minds and bedrooms?

Well, I was not disappointed. I got my good read and more. Your Erotic Personality is hard to put down. It breezes along with smooth prose and laugh-out-loud wit, especially the quizzes that open each chapter profile. I can only imagine how much fun it was to think up those! But this isn’t just a sit-back-and-let-it-wash-over-you sort of book. By the second chapter, you’ve become an active participant with a quiz that makes you think seriously about your own erotic yearnings. Not that I expected to be “found out” as early as chapter three. Yes, Sage has us erotica writers pegged. There is definitely a lot of the Escapist in me—wild flights of fancy combined with a need for security. Are we that easy to read? But it didn’t stop there. As I read on, I recognized other aspects of my psyche in the chapters to follow. Apparently I’m also a bit of a Wanderer and have clear Show-Off tendencies, as well as a healthy dash of the Student’s scientific curiosity.

Gee, I’m more interesting than I thought!

Sage writes that for her clients, the very process of articulating their desires--yearnings we are rarely if ever encouraged to talk about--brings self-knowledge. Knowledge, of course, is power, in this case, the power to accept, explore and enjoy who you are. The pang of recognition I felt not only made me feel less alone, which is always good, it also made me realize how my erotic imagination offers me so many flavors, so many options to explore.

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe exploring your own erotic map is an immensely valuable thing, whether through reading this book, articulating your fantasies with a partner or writing your own erotica. Perhaps the only erotic type Sage profiled that made me sad was the Name-Dropper, a person who allows media images to define what is desirable. Okay, we’re all vulnerable to this to some degree, especially as teenagers, but how much happier would we all be if we could break free of junk-food, ready-made, overly-processed porn and find out what really turns us and our partners on? (See my earlier blog entry on Junk-Food Porn and Mom’s Homemade Erotica).

Throughout the book, Sage speaks with authority and a generous, nonjudgmental spirit. I found I not only understood myself and my partner better, but I got some intelligent insights into other lifestyles, for example BDSM and sex with multiple partners (at the same time, that's the Partier). In fact, I quickly realized that when I finished the book I would not put it on the shelf with my other erotic books and guides (of which I have a considerable collection). Where it really belongs is with the writing references, because I know this will be a very useful aid for my own writing. If I have a character in a story who gets off watching his wife have sex with other men, I’ll turn to the Cuckold chapter for some clues into what makes him tick—his dreams, his vulnerabilities, the range of behaviors this might involve. And because every human being is motivated by her/his sexual desires to some degree, the book could be a gold mine for all writers.

Smart, witty, fun and educational. What more can I say? Your Erotic Personality is a great book and I hear there’s a sequel in the works. I can’t wait!

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