Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0821261754, Hardcover)
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 Interview with Kim Cattral
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. It’s 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. and also show what an enduring and central role sexuality plays in being human. 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. Their worship of the phallus mines a very rich vein of human drives and drama. The mythical figure of Aphrodite or Venus, the great Goddess of love, is an invention of pure cultural genius in how well it expresses the complexity, allure and power of sexuality.
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. Some of the most revelatory material to me centered on new brain research and learning about what actually happens to us on a physiological and biochemical level during arousal, and even throughout a sexually charged relationship. Another area that offered so much new insight was learning how sexual fantasies actually function and how better to approach and understand them, even when they're quite odd -- which of course, being fantasies, they certainly can be. Also, examining the underpinnings of eroticism was very exciting. It's like we live with all of these images -- icons really -- like the dominatrix, the masked man, the naked half beast, or even from a classical standpoint, Venus on the half-shell. The images are achingly familiar, they've been with us for centuries, but what ever are they supposed to actually mean? Getting into all of that was extremely enriching. Images like those endure for reason. They speak to something elemental and universal.