Naomi Gets Her Groove Back
‘I realised one day, as I gazed out on the treetops outside the bedroom of our little cottage, that the usual post-coital rush of a sense of vitality infusing the world, of delight with myself and with all around me, and of creative energy rushing through everything alive, was no longer following the physical pleasure.
Naomi Wolfe in the Mail Online
Ms. Wolfe, author, consultant and feminist, has a new book out entitled, Vagina: a New Biography, which is apparently just that, wherein she details the loss and subsequent recovery of a full-fledged orgasm. The Amazon review gushes, “Utterly enthralling and totally fascinating”, “Exhilarating and groundbreaking.” Many are those who have found the vagina enthralling, fascinating and certainly exhilarating. Groundbreaking? We’re not so sure.
During her career Ms. Wolfe has weighed in on a range of topics spanning abortion, democracy, pornography, freedom in post-9/11 America and women in Islamic culture. (What must the mullahs be thinking about this latest creation?)
She even assisted with Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election bid, “brainstorming with the president’s team about ways to reach female voters”, something that Mr. Clinton seems to have figured out on his own.
Feminism is steeped in the culture of liberation. After all, feminists express their emerging awareness and power through public expression where their new found status is celebrated. But the culture of liberation is hardly confined to women. It is as old as we are. Radical Americans like Adams and Otis in the 18th century, pamphlet-ed and protested to celebrate their burgeoning freedom. What they didn’t do was write about the last time they got off and what they thought about afterwards.
Even Ben Franklin, still amorous in his eighties, kept his sexual dalliances and reflections about them, private. (Franklin was neither a puritan nor a prude; perhaps he thought he would be taken more seriously if he kept his ejaculations to himself.)
It is true that people who have been effectively punished through sexual repression have basic rights, at least in America, to express themselves in order to gain equal status with oppressors. It takes courage and conviction to fight to be free, especially when equality is based on the norms of oppressors.
But, Ms. Wolfe, with her nearly encyclopedic oeuvre, from abortion rights to democracy and on to Islamic culture, has sought to be a modern day Apostle Paul who said, “I have become all things to all people…” Even for Ms. Wolfe, it just cannot be done without a cost. Can even the most savvy intellectual dabble both in fascism and orgasm and still maintain a serious public persona?
How we deal publicly with the issue of sex is fascinating. Most people engage in it while maintaining a general reticence about public discussion of the mechanics or the pleasure of it. In our “share all” age via Twitter, Facebook, etc., perhaps we are destined to dissect our latest sexual experience in the style of a restaurant review: “The service was great but the main course arrived cold.”
On that level sex manages to be simply banal. It’s just another bodily function like eating, sleeping or going to the bathroom. Perhaps Ms. Wolfe’s next book will explore her regularity and how she achieved it. Metamucil or high-fiber? (I sat on the toilet staring at the blossoming roses, seemingly finished but still with that bloated feeling…)
True societal liberation is probably incremental. It takes decades or longer for people to come to terms with change. Is Ms. Wolfe the future? Can we expect serious thinkers and leaders on the order of Condoleezza Rice or the presidential candidates to switch seamlessly from foreign policy or the economy to the intensity of their last orgasm? Let’s hope not.
In keeping with its weighty content, Vagina is slated for “release” on September 11.
(Sources: Wiki, Daily Mail, Amazon)