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On nice weekends my husband and I take the kids and walk around downtown visiting local shops, getting ice-cream, and generally enjoying getting out of the house. The children love to visit bookstores (they’re more likely to get a new book than a new toy), and we’re quite fortunate, our town has two.
The other weekend while perusing the bookstores my husband slipped Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life into the pile with the explanation of “It looks like something you might find interesting.” I rolled my eyes a bit, the bright pink cover was slightly off-putting, but he generally has good taste in books so it came home with us and was added to the pile of books on my nightstand, next to my partially ready Steiner and Dennett.
A few days went by, and curiosity got the better of me (and Steiner got a bit esoteric and Dennett got dense), so I climbed over my mental barrier (it has sex in the title!) and decided to give it a try. Three, maybe four, days later, I was done and I felt like a huge weight had been lifted.
This is probably one of the best books I’ve read all year, and if you’ve been following along on the blog, I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading. Using the example of a garden and a sleep hedgehog (as well as some other fabulous anlogies), Emily Nagoski guides the reader through anatomy, biology, physiology, chemistry, etc. in a way that is accessible to the average person.
I think it helped that I didn’t take it too seriously, it is about sex after all, and I happen to feel sex should be fun (and consensual and enjoyable), and reading about it should be fun too. I found it to be unintentionally hilarious, overly-obvious at times, and all-around enjoyable, your results may vary.
After I finished it, I handed it to my husband to read, he asked what I’d learned from it:
me: I learned we all have different gardens, some are arid and grow aloe vera, others need more water and grow tomatoes! Different gardens need different care, and I get to decide what I want to plant. Also, don’t upset sleepy hedgehogs.
him: But you don’t water your garden, that’s why I spent a lot of money to put it on a drip system, so you don’t kill all the plants.
I really like the garden analogy, quite a few years ago, my garden was choked with weeds: weeds from the media, weeds from “morality” (thanks Christian Science and deep south “morals”), weeds from awkward/traumatizing medical moments (thanks again CS!) I’m still in the process of uprooting weeds, and I’m sure some will attempt to grow back, but I’m going to be mindful and patient with myself, and remember that garden’s just don’t grow overnight, and sometimes gophers come eat them, or there’s a nasty frost.
I wish this book had been available sooner, like 10+ years ago, before I got engaged (or even earlier), but I don’t think I would’ve been as open to reading it during my Principia years (sex is distracting and unnecessary!), and giving it to my high-school aged self would not have ended well either (southern morality, sex is icky!).
My perspective has changed (sex -in the proper context- is fun!), and in the years since leaving Prin (and Christian Science) I started pulling these figurative weeds a few years back (I’ll spare you the details), but it would’ve been helpful to have this books a reference point for the process. Yes, I am being vague, this blog is not about sex, it’s about other things! So yes, if you want to read a fun, nonjudgmental book about sex, based on science and biology (yay science!) I highly recommend Come as You Are.
Weeds in the Garden (thanks Christian Science!)