Reflections on Female Sexual Desire: Anais Nin, Marilyn Monroe & Isabelle Allende Join Forces with Anne
(From Anne’s original journal) Anais Nin, the deeply sensual, erotic writer, has lived with me most of my life. Marilyn Monroe arrived five years ago, and now the Three Sisters trio is complete.
I crashed into writer Isabel Allende yesterday afternoon, when I wasn’t even looking for her. She was living all this time in plain view on the bookshelf facing my bed, waiting patiently on the top shelf, about six inches from Marilyn Monroe.
Hovering overhead on the bedroom wall, my guardian angel Marilyn emits a soft sigh of relief: ” Honestly, Anne, I thought you would never find Isabel. Sometimes you are so obtuse, almost defiant in your inability to see the life path before you.”
American women continue to struggle with the idea that sexual focus is not only in her heart, but is also expressed in her sexual core, the sensations of physical desire below her waist, between her legs. Anne
Sometimes it helps to be sick. I am always the go-go woman, but I’m consumed with malaise this weekend: coughing, chills and Theraflu, which did absolutely no good.
My unconscious mind knows when to seize an opening, and it grabbed the precious moment Saturday afternoon at about four o’clock.
I was sitting in the Western sun, like a cat lounging in a window, except that I was attached to my laptop as usual. I could make up some wonderful story about an exciting Internet adventure in learning, but truthfully, I was organizing my Firefox bookmarks into a workable system, five years too late. Pathetic, I know.
“Anne, the Internet is great,” my inner voice spoke to me. “Your writing is coming along beautifully, except that you’ve left Mrs. Khaki Pants lying on her dining room table for almost six months now. This is the longest prologue of sexual foreplay in American literature”
“Let’s talk about an important subject, Anne. When are you going to put down your Powerbook and read a book?”
I am guilty as charged, when it comes to devouring literature these days. Especially now that we are expanding three websites simultaneously, I am consumed online.
This reality is not all bad. For me, the Internet is a miraculous enterprise.
Moaning, groaning, coughing, I put down my laptop, pushed my tired, aching body off the leather sofa, warmed by both my body and the sun splashing over it, and walked into the bedroom.
Meeting Isabelle Allende
Without a moment’s hesitation, or even acknowledging Marilyn Monroe’s presence, I picked up one book from the top shelf: “Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses” by Isabel Allende.
I have no idea how long she has lived there, South American novelist’s Allende’s “Aphrodite: a Memoir of the Seneses”.
Published in 1995, she could be some long-suffering woman, waiting years for my attention. Amazon can tell me when Allende first arrived in my life, but the fact doesn’t matter.
Frankly, I was astounded to be holding “Aphrodite: a Memoir of the Senses” in my hands. The Greek Goddess appeared in my own writing a little over a week ago: POTUS, FOTUS & Scallops: Sexy Food, PDAs and Smiles All Around.
Like Allende, I wrote about Casanova, who admitted to seducing 122 women in his lifetime, beginning his day with 50 raw oysters.
Flipping through the pages, ravenous with a sudden hunger for printed words, I found each page drenched in the intimate details of living a sensual life. How is it possible that this Aphrodite book has lived unread in my life, for nearly 15 years!
Simmering Sensual Hunger
Allende’s writing is not sensually drenched erotica like Anais Nin’s, but it simmers in pent-up sexuality, like a stew that is simmering on the stove on page 88.
I don’t find stews sexy and have so far refused to post them in my Food Porn blogging. An hour prior to meeting Allende late yesterday afternoon, I rejected a stew with lots of lemon and overcooked meet. I want fresh Food Porn, not apples sold at the Farmer’s Market with that winesappy smell of having lived in a closed cupboard in the cellar all winter.
Food should be alive and jolting our sensations, even when it’s designed to promote comfort. I do understand that we can’t eat oysters every day, unless we are totally decadent like Casanova.
Unable to put down this sexy new discovery Allende’s “Aphrodite”, written by a fearless sensualist, then over 50, I have an epiphany on page 86.
Allende: ‘Inappropriate’ Yet Popular
Stew has become a curanto for serving at a ‘bacchanal’.
Even I will not be writing about orgies in my sexy food blogging, but I’m intrigued as Allende shares her thoughts about preparing the perfect sensual feast:
“A bacchanal is a rather delicate undertaking, so choose your guests carefully. Not everyone is up for abandon. Forget your solemn friends, the silly ones, anyone overly religious or overly married, the hypochondriacs, and the melancholics. From among those left, select a group with robust constitutions and open minds. In order to avoid misunderstandings, notify them in writing of the time, place, and conditions of the fiesta, adding the traditional RSVP at the bottom, so you will know how bounteous your curanto must be; nothing more embarrassing than having to interrupt an orgy to send out for pizza… . Using the excuse of not ruining your clothes as you clean the shrimp, peel onions, and chop chickens, you can begin to shed your clothes early in the evening: lively music and wine are de riguer; other aphrodisiacs are optional. “
I smiled. What can I say? This is amazing literature.
Wasn’t Allende’s book “Daughter of Fortune” an Oprah’s Book Club pick? Yes, along with a recipe for Chilean Seafood Stew, with no mention of serving it at a bacchanal.
No matter about the orgies and my being a private person; the damage is done.
Isabel Allende has taken proprietary control of my mind, calling in the other girls Marilyn Monroe and my old friend Anais Nin for a meeting of the minds in my bed, lights out, 1am.
I’m sipping my new 50 calorie, 12 oz “passion” drink, that would not pass muster with Team Obama or the healthy food movement. It’s Crystal Light pink lemonade, with a dash of grenadine.
Anne: Is this an intervention of some kind?
The Three Sisters: (as a chorus) Yes, it’s an intervention of a positive nature. We’re not putting you away anywhere. There’s no need to fly out the window.
Anne: I’m flattered to be in the company of three incredibly talented, sensual artists.
Anais and Marilyn have been with me for a long time. Anais, forever actually, since I was 20 years old. You were shocking Anais, but in a totally delicious way. I read every word that you wrote.
Marilyn for only five years, although your images lived a long time in my unconscious before I found you in me.
Isabel … well, what can I say. I don’t know how many years you sat on the shelf next to Marilyn’s picture. I hope you didn’t gather too much dust up there.
The Three Sisters: Anne, do you know the meaning of the word epiphany?
Anne: Of course. It’s a sudden insight of meaning into a situation, triggered by a commonplace occurrence or experience. Is that what’s happening here? I’m about to have some life revelation moment?
Anais Nin on Lou Salome Nietzsche
Anais: Anne, I’ve known you for many years. I was so annoyed with you that you missed meeting me, when I spoke at the university. In your position, you had a special invitation that night. What were you thinking, not coming to my little speech. I came to you in your dreams that night. Do you remember?
Anne: Yes. We were sitting in my grandmother’s house, having a very nice chat. Had she had any inkling of the range of your literary talents, Anais, we would have revived my devoted Catholic grandmama from a thundering feint.
Anais: Oh I don’t know, Anne. Your grandmother was unusually permissive about you. I think both grandmothers saw a lust for adventure and creative, sensual expression in you, one that reflected a passion they secretly harbored in their own lives.
Isabel: Let’s get to the epiphany, Anais. No time for historical chit chat. We must talk about Anne’s life today and get some order in her consulting and writing house.
Marilyn: Agreed. All that matters is the personal and professional present for Anne … and where she is going in the future.
Anais: True, but she must consider who it is that she set out to be in the first place. This American economic mess is creating new life choices for millions of people. I’m curious about Anne’s true passion in life. From what we’ve observed, our Anne is in reinvention mode.
I know her better than anyone here, and I sense that she’s only beginning to live life on her terms, with her own vision. Journal writing will do that for you, Anne.
We have only one question for you, Anne. You’ve always been a no cop-out kind of woman. You swallow the bitter pills and keep swinging. You have … I believe the word is ‘perspective’.
At the risk of sounding like Oprah, we ask you: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up? You seem to have a new vitality in your posts the past two weeks.
Marilyn Monroe, Always Trying for Grownup Status
Marilyn: I noticed that you wrote a rather radical column earlier this week … a couple posts, actually. Younger men and older women … MILFS and GILFS. Yummy Mummys.
Anne: But I’ve talked about those topics with clients for years. I’m a fraud not to speak of them publicly.
Isabel: And your tantric orgasm, Anne? You swore that you would never write about your sex life online.
Anne: Now I understand your intervention! You disapprove of my discussing tantric sex orgasms on my own website.
The Three Sisters: Not true, Anne. It just seems that the volume of your conversation on sexuality and sensual living is escalating. True?
Anne: Here we are celebrating women in the month of March, and we still haven’t given ourselves the license to celebrate the eroticism of our own bodies. We continue to struggle with the sensuality of food, flowers, music and art.
We refuse to listen to our physical selves in Western culture, giving our bodies nourishment in the form of love and passion and appreciation. We make commitments to everyone but ourselves, and then we blame these people for our restlessness, our unhappiness and lack of fulfillment.
All day long, I we post articles about how unhappy and stressed American women are, in and out of the bedroom.
I didn’t mean to write about my own orgasm, but it taught me all that I don’t know about sexuality. And I know a lot, compared to most women. I was shocked over my tantric sex experience, and that New York Times writer belittled the concept, in my opinion.
In all seriousness, I wanted to march her over to my friend’s house, let him perform the same act on her, and then read what she has to say about women understanding the pleasures and release that is possible, when sexuality is about communion and not duty or making babies.
American women continue to struggle with the idea that sexual focus is not only in her heart, but also expressed in her sexual core, the sensations of physical desire below her waist, between her legs.
Why must desire and pleasure be elevated to our hearts, and not coexist in the parts of our bodies designed for pleasure?
Eastern religions don’t believe in these principles. The physical is integrated with the spiritual.
We’ve intellectualized sexual desire to death, in our search for permission to enjoy our own sensuality. I’m tired of hearing that desire is only in the mind.
Deceiving the family next door is small potatoes. But self-deception is destructive for women. It’s bad for our health, for our marriages, for our self-motivation. The self-deception derails us from our goals. It makes us fat and unhappy, unable to love the woman in the mirror.
I speak from experience on this subject.
Anais: We know, Anne. I’ve told Marilyn and Isabelle that you’ve personally worked very hard on this subject. You’re not just being an arm chair critic here.
Anne: Of course there are anthropological, gender-based, hormonal and brain circuitry differences between male and female sexuality. But I’m tired of reading that with women, sexual desire is all in our minds.
Anais Nin: Henry & June
Beyond the science, we must rationalize and ‘approve’ sexual desire, before allowing ourselves to feel it. Yet behind closed doors, on the Internet, women leave a very different digital footprint regarding our privately expressed desires.
I want science to explain this erratic behavior among women, a pattern totally different in men, who are consistent in their behavior.
This is why women are caught in lies, watching erotica. Women say they hate it, but in fact, our pleasure zones are lighting up across America. Brain scans are documenting our deception.
Some of these sex books need a rewrite, based on new research. Women DO feel sexual desire and lust, just by watching sexy encounters. They may be creating fantasy connections with the actors, but they’re not planning to live happily ever after with the two guys in bed together, having sex.
Their brains and bodies are responding to the erotic imagery, while women write: “disgusting, hate it, get me out of this joint’. That my dear sisters, is called self-censorship.
The Three Sisters: Anne, Anne, that’s quite a mouthful. Lots to process here. It’s time to stop for tonight. Can we make a suggestion?
Let’s get poor Mrs. Khaki Pants off the dining room table for next week. Surely, she has an opinion on this very important subject, and she’s had plenty of time to think about your point of view.
This is why women are caught in lies, watching erotica. Women say they hate it, but in fact, our pleasure zones are lighting up across America. Brain scans are documenting our deception. Anne
You’ve been a bit reckless with Mrs. Khaki Pants, Anne, and you may have to do a few mea culpas with KP. You left here naked on the dining room table for months. It’s irresponsible behavior on your part, under any circumstances.
If you want women’s confidence on this important topic, you cannot be reckless with women’s lives.
Let’s reconvene again on Tuesday for a little old-fashioned consciousness raising on this very important topic of sensual living in America. Perhaps we should bring a bit of structure to the conversation for readers.
Anne: You mean bullet points? This is not a Top Ten, bullet-point conversation. This is exactly my point. Sex in America is about bullet-points in a 500-word or less Internet document.
The Three Sisters: Yes, yes. Anne. We understand. But it’s important that you bring clarity around your point of view, if you want to be effective with your readers.
We will help you. For now, say ‘good night’, Anne.
Anne: I think I have been clear, but it’s Tuesday then, my three Sisters … my oldest muse Anais, then Marilyn, and now Isabelle.
The Three Sisters: Anne, we’re on your side in this argument. You know that, right?
It seems that you have found your passion, Anne. As many Journals as it takes to discuss this story from all angles, we will do it.
Let go now, Anne. You’re sounding like a bull terrier and not the loveable bijon frisse that you are.
Good night, dear readers. The Three Sisters have closed up Anne’s Journal for tonight. To be continued … Thanks for joining us.