Friday, July 08, 2011

Book Review: 365 nights, A Memoir of Intimacy

{(photo credit)}

I'm going to preface this post by saying that a) I'm studying sexuality as part of my Master program, and b) I have not been reading this book at camp =).  For my thesis, I've been reading memoirs, self-help, trashy romance, smut, etc. to get some background information {even though I'm well into analyzing the data)}. So, I've read a fair amount of books regarding sexuality which did not relate to my life {The New Male Sexuality, for example} and, were not particularly helpful to me.

Thus, I wasn't very concerned when Charla Muller promoted her memoir as one which recounts her gift to her husband for his 40th birthday: sex everyday, for an entire year. And as a sex-positive person, I wanted to like this book. I really did. I was prepared for it being risque and full of stories, and I was prepared to read about triumphs, challenges, and utter disasters. I was prepared for this memoir to really have nothing useful helpful for my current life. What I was NOT prepared for was a whiny, rambling mess that really had nothing to do with the title of the book and did not offer any sort of practical advice or memories for readers who might wish to use this book in their own lives.

The premise of the book is simple. Muller's husband was approaching his 40th birthday, and she spent weeks trying to decide on the perfect gift. She wanted to give him a gift that not only would top all other gifts, but would also be something only she could give him. She also noticed that she and her husband resembled roommates more than spouses, and voila! She offered her husband sex every. single. day. for one year. Every man's {and many women's} dream!

So,what should have been an inspirational account of marital intimacy, using sex as a way to strengthen a marriage, and just a general good story, turned into an off-topic essay in book-form from a suburban mother who doesn't actually seem to like sex. In fact, I cannot recall her saying anything in this book that even alludes to her getting anything pleasureable out of this entire "gift." I read through this memoir hoping, itching to read about some joy,  or something funny. Alas, I heard whine.

At the risk of sounding like "that unmarried single girl who doesn't know the first thing about marriage and kids," I have to wonder at Muller's life view. She places a big emphasis on quantity versus quality {ahem}, bemoans her status as a working mother {two days a week is too much, you see} and bequeathing this "gift" upon her husband She jokes about men being sperm donors, outlines her friends' "conspiracy" after pregnancy to "get out" of sex with their husbands, and at several points has her husband asking if she could at least "act interested." In response to that last inquiry, Muller seems confused, as if all men want is an uninterested, pardon me, doll, with whom to have relations. She also seems perplexed at what her husband means; you see, she's planned for this, groomed herself, and is available. Is that not enough for him?

Call me crazy, but I didn't see much intimacy {note: I do not mean sex, although there was very little of *that* in this book, either}, relationship building, or anything in this book. I read a memoir that was whiny, dramatic, and entirely off-topic. There are many, many similar memoirs out there that do a much better job of conveying the {important} message that a healthy sex life leads to or helps maintain a healthy relationship, and many which emphasize the importance of these things within the context of marriage without resorting to gender stereotypes about sexuality {and really, everything else}.

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