When confronted with a similar problem to the one I faced at the beginning of the seductions (long marriage; sex feeling a little bit, well, absent), Pamela Madsen comes up with a very different solution: sacred erotic massage. She doesn’t want to cheat on her husband, but she craves the touch of another man. After a couple of false starts, she finds a gifted therapist called Markus who transforms her sexual identity, filling her with new-found assurance about her body and what it craves.
I defy any woman to read this book without secretly hoping that Markus’s number is printed on the back page. Sadly it is not. But Madsen’s approach is completely engrossing, because she de-couples sexual pleasure from the notion of faithfulness. It’s refreshing to see someone exploring their own erotic identity without assuming that her partner must provide it.
I imagine that this book will raise a few eyebrows amongst those who think that marriage is a sexual exclusion zone. But it’s hard not to be seduced by Madsen’s rumbustious voice, with its echoes of hysterical conversations with girlfriends. The world is out there for exploring, and what Madsen learns is that authenticity is the best medicine for whatever ails you.
Perhaps because of that, I found the book’s epilogue quite shocking – without giving too much away, it’s horrifying to see that we still can’t accept people who pin their sexual identities to their sleeves. But then, I get the sense that it would take more than a little social disapproval to keep this wild woman down.