Book Review: Come As You Are (Pt 1)

Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life

By Emily Nagoski, Ph.D

This book is organized into four parts, 9 chapters (plus an introduction and a conclusion), and 335 pages (400 including acknowledgments, appendices, index, and reference). Since the book is pretty thick and contains such a wealth of information, I’ve decided I will review it in its four parts. Here’s an outline of Part 1:

  • Introduction: Yes, You Are Normal
  • Part 1
    • Chapter 1: Anatomy: No Two Alike
    • Chapter 2: The Dual Control Model: Your Sexual Personality
    • Chapter3: Context: And the “One Ring” (to Rule Them All) in Your Emotional Brain

Book Review

Yay! I made it through part one which consists of the first three chapters. I’ll warn you, this book is a lot to take in. Make sure you’re in a distraction-free setting while you’re reading it. You’ll be making a lot of personal references. My mind kept straying so often to how each part applied to my own sexual experience that I couldn’t remain focused. Reading it provides quite the cathartic release.

You know how when you’re actively reading the words on the page, only thing is, your thoughts are elsewhere. Then once you realize this, you bring your focus back to the passage only to realize you didn’t comprehend a thing you read. . . “Just calling words,” as my granny calls it. Only you’re doing it in your head and not out loud. So I had to reread a lot.

Isn’t it amazing how you’re able to do things simultaneously!? Further proof that the mind is separate from the soul is separate from the body yet all have to function in a single form: the metaphysical. No wonder the world is so crazy. Even within our individual selves we function in form yet not in sync the way that we should. What an epiphany!

Any who, back to this review.

Throughout Part I, the author gives the most awesomest analogies. I love analogies. I am the queen of analogies. They work so well in putting life into simplified perspectives. My ex-boyfriend used to tell me my analogies didn’t apply to everything. Oh but they do, and Dr. Emily Nagoski proves it in “Come As You Are.”

I appreciated Dr. Nagoski’s suspenseful prelude leading into the subsequent chapter and her exquisite introduction to each new chapter. Everyone, one sprinkled throughout with just the right amount of imagery in the short stories to give this visual learner a well-informed illustration of the science behind the sex.

Yes, You are Normal (Intro)  & No Two Alike (Ch 1)

I used to skip reading the introduction. Sometimes I still do but in this case, do not skip the intro. It’s an important component to understanding the book and its organization. Also it explains how it applies to you (or doesn’t apply to you). So transgender ladies, this may be the book for you but it’s not a guarantee.

The first chapter was all about the sexual hardware, brain and body. It emphasized how we all (anatomically), men and women, have the same parts organized in a different ways yet no two are alike. If you’re having any concerns about your physical make-up, you’re likely to find the answer here. My favorite part of this chapter is the garden analogy which explains that our sexuality is cultivated by our family, our culture, and our religion until we are able to cultivate it on our own. I learned that there isn’t a lot of information on the anatomy of women of color. This has me wanting to take pix of my moon flower and donate them to science instead of sexting them to my forever boo.

We spend so much time in school, isn’t there a way to incorporate teaching students about themselves. It would definitely help them navigate their life more easily. I have digressed once more.

The Dual Control Model (Ch 2)

Although we have the same parts organized in different ways, as men and women, we learn and respond to sexual stimuli differently. If you’re curious about why men have a pill and women don’t, this is the chapter for you. Chapter two is in some ways a foundation for chapter three and I suspect three for four and four for five and so on and so forth.

Chapter two explains a little about the study of sexual stimulation, arousal, desire and the introduction of context. It explains how there are stimuli, physical and psychological, that makes us go and those that make us stop. Dr. Nagoski tells us all of these stimuli are learned through that garden metaphor mentioned in the first chapter.

The part about the rats had me thinking, “Nah, I’m much more complicated than this,” but as you progress through the chapter, it will all come together. I haven’t made all of the connections however, I’m also still reading so we shall see.

Context (Ch3)

And here is where your “Ah-ha” moment will occur. I’m not usually an excitable person outside the bedroom but chapter 3 is certainly a cause for arousing curiosity.

Emily teaches us about the emotional one ring (you’ll definitely want to get the book for this one) and provides a beautiful context analogy about how 72 degrees feels on a scorching hot day versus how it feels on a bitterly cold day. Perfect, perfect analogy; My entire sex life starts to make sense right here.

It explains why I mourned the temporary loss of my sexual interest after giving birth to my daughter. I was so relieved to discover that it was indeed, only temporary **PHEW**

This is the chapter where you take full control of your sexual transformation.

Artist Feature

Woman Reading Book with Orange” by Georgy Kurasov

“Georgy Kurasov was born in 1958 in the USSR, in what was then Leningrad. He still lives and works in the same place, but now the country is Russia and the city is called St Petersburg. Without any effort on his part whatsoever, Georgy seems to have emigrated from one surreal country to another.” -Excerpt from Georgy Kurasov personal website

To see more of his art visit Kurasov Fine Art

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