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A Review of: The Sexual Life Of Catherine M. Catherine Millet
by Gordon Phinn

The ineluctable glamour of scandal seems to be why the brisk trade in confessional memoir continues unabated. For some reason, which may one day be unveiled by psychiatry, militant feminism, or aliens with a kinder, gentler agenda, the female of the species is especially keen on kissing and telling. Transgression, it would seem, remains ever so tempting, the season of indulgence it generates quite irresistible, while the lure of hard won redemption vies with public acclaim for the big prize. While guys, when not boozily unemployed or dreaming of fly-fishing, seem keener on the debilitating effects of war on the testosterone charged psyche and the paranoid phallocentric cultures it upholds, gals still much prefer to gore that virgin/madonna ideal with the kind of carefree sluttishness previously the preserve of the indolent rich. It sure looks like brazenness has supplanted modesty in the panoply of desirable attributes. And apparently discretion, decorum and restraint have been a cheesy sham all along. Carefree, immediate indulging of desire is definitely what the doctor ordered. Perhaps even stuffed shirts will soon be in short supply.
Catherine Millet, a middle aged Frenchwoman of quite singular enthusiasm and enterprise, manages to push the envelope of erotic abandon quite beyond all previous estimates. The editor of the Paris journal Art Press and the author of eight books of art criticism, her disturbingly eloquent disquisition encompasses the most energetic romp through the life libidinous yet encountered by this reviewer.
>From languorous afternoons in sunny back gardens with old friends, through less than fussy mate swapping, threesomes with new acquaintances culled from club and bar, innumerable quickies in orchard and forest with car engines idling nearby, to full blown orgies in private homes in the blessedly anonymous acreage of sweat slicked flesh, Millet turns her memoir into a libertine's manifesto, thankfully minus the sadism of the renowned Marquis. She envisions "an easing of human relations, an easing facilitated by an acceptance and tolerance of sexual desire" which her tales recount in a "clearly utopic, fantastical way," and she encourages us to take pleasure as "we rejoice in the vision." That this vision includes spontaneous eruptions of intercourse against the walls of busy railroad termini while commuters cast their eyes elsewhere seems not to trouble Ms. Millet one whit. I guess you just have to be French. It is one thing to be in societal denial of sex trade workers and their continued travails, but bringing the grab-ass esthetic of the bordello into the street reeks of the usual anarchic overkill to me. Let's keep the orgasm safely tucked up in bed, shall we?

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