7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest and fascinating account of one womans quest for full sexual awareness.
This book was sugggested by a member of the book club I belong to, I don't remember much information being given about it prior to reading, except it was described as being a bit 'raunchy' which to most of our group, is a recommendation in itself! Well it certainly lived up to that expectation and probably more, however unlike others of its type, this one kept me engaged...
Published on 18 Oct 2011 by Amazon Customer
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nearly there, but not quite.
I read & reread "With the Kisses of his Mouth" because of a recent favourable review & article about Monique Roffey in a national paper. I'm all in favour of aspirational quests of any kind & this is just such. (Also, I couldn't resist an offer of a hardback by Amazon of 400+ pages for under £8!) As a man of what I believe to be a particularly liberated generation,...
Published on 30 Jun 2011 by Gorilla
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nearly there, but not quite.,
I read & reread "With the Kisses of his Mouth" because of a recent favourable review & article about Monique Roffey in a national paper. I'm all in favour of aspirational quests of any kind & this is just such. (Also, I couldn't resist an offer of a hardback by Amazon of 400+ pages for under £8!) As a man of what I believe to be a particularly liberated generation, married for 50+ years and aware retrospectively as an adult of how miserable pre-war marriages could be for many women I am naturally prone to celebrate most pro-feminist views in all their forms, but I was disappointed by this book. It is very articulate, even page turning, because you want to know what happens but it contains very little that is new & which has not been said by others before & better. It is also rather long.
Describing the events of about the middle six years of a woman writer Roffey covers a wide spectrum of themes. Firstly there is the tension that can be generated within a longish & truly loving relationship with a partner in the absence of a relevant & practical sexual attraction of/by him.
"What I said to my ex about not being attracted to him, sexually, is the worst thing a man can hear."
Then there is the realisation as a result of counselling that things often occur in cycles or at least change their nature over time & the book itself is an account of such evolution.
"Loving attraction needs to be fed or else fades into an affectionate regard"
The effects of the sexual failure of the partnership, counselling & browsing through the sexual liberation literature from the 60's onwards leads Roffey into her own sexual Odyssey, the main theme. Internet dating -"no strings attached sex"- & her own definition of "an ethical sexual slut" emerges. This ought to constitute a seminal position paper for the future of these arrangements! The contrast between her own broken relationship & those which remain satisfactory for the few married men she dates is very sharp.
"He loved his wife, but the sex had dried up between them years ago"
They'd been married for over twenty years; they had kids. He had no intention of leaving her.
"I just miss sex"
These early encounters by computer dating seem to read well but somehow they do not stick in the mind. They are not individual enough & not particularly graphic for this day & age. It leads to meetings with sex therapists, sex therapy & eventually Tantric Sex. Roffey seems overly surprised by the effects of simply being in a group of people with a common interest & the close connections there are between mind, perception & what is being done by, or to, the body. She learns a lot about her own responses in group sessions with other women & the use of massage & sex yoys.
"I was happy to be alone with the women. It was easy & comfortable with my own sex.....I sank into a sublime comfort"
She found her "..crystal wand..perspex/plastic, bulbous at the end.." particularly effective. I loved that but found it strange that she could have lived into her middle years & neither she nor her male partners had been curious about such things before.
It was the tantric sex theme - where attempts are made to explain sexual responses & their potential in the terms of New-Age type spiritual (I would say pseudo-spiritual)- that is the longest & most tedious part of the book. The geographical travelogue part is fine but the tantric & spiritual journey described fails to convince me. I'm not impressed by claims that "energies" exist out there which can be experienced but not measured by anything. Roffey is. Intersecting Ley Lines, Yogic spiritual energy, Chakras & Medicine Wheels to my mind are very poor explanations of perceived changes in the states of mind & body. The effects are real enough, like those seen in placebo effects, but I prefer explanations based on nerves, neurotransmitters, neuroreceptors & brain activity patterns. These can be objectively correlated with subjective states of mind. Roffey is poetic but extreme about thisv stuff:
"The second level orgasm can be achieved by conscientious students of tantra & yoga. These are orgasms that reach the heart....Third & fourth level orgasms unite the body & soul with the rest of the universe"' Really?
But OK, this is a memoir of experiences not a biology text book. Quotes on the cover of the book indicate that it is a redemptive book; I suppose it is. If you don't enquire & question the significance of your own life in the broader cntext of whatever aspects concern you then you neither receive answers nor new perspectives & Roffey does both. Even so, I would sooner not have been told that of the nine female genital types espoused by certain shamans Roffey is that of the fox. Foxy Lady! Perhaps this may come in handy in a future Trivia quiz.
Originally I gave this only two stars & tried to post this on the 30th of June but failed to register it with Amazon for some reason. I re read it - there was only Wimbledon to watch on TV - & revised it to three stars. I thought it OK, nearly there, but not quite.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading, if a bit long,
This book is amazing, moving, irritating and important - and without question, as so many reviewers comment, brave. It raises as many questions as it answered and those questions it set out to answer aren't necessarily the ones I would have asked in the first place.
MR makes the common human mistake of looking for simple answers. One of the main characteristics of human psychology, and one that we kid ourselves about over and over, is that our behaviour is over-determined. That is we do the things we do for multiple reasons not just the one or two we give ourselves and others.
These are some of the questions posed by `With the Kisses of His Mouth':
Why does love turn cold? It inevitably does turn cooler in most long-term relationships and requires commitment and effort to kindle and rekindle desire against a background of daily companionship. In this specific case, MR suggests that it is ultimately because she has never really desired her partner. She certainly goes to great pains to remind the reader over and over of his physical unattractiveness in a way that would be decidedly ungallant in a man describing a woman.
How could he betray her? This is the area I struggled most with. Adultery happens. It's a staple of novels, drama, gossip and life between men and women. Email makes it easier and, regrettably for this couple, leaves an evidence trail. He is in a stale relationship that is on the point of ending and it's a commonplace that men often start new relationships with foot still in the old one. Her surprise on finding out about the affair by receiving a letter from the other woman is perhaps an indication of how little she knew about her partner. I wish she'd read Louise de Salvo's intelligent book on the subject. If her partner is a loving, sociable man, in a sexually dead relationship that's obviously coming to an end and has the added advantage of being pursued by a series of writing students, it would be surprising if he didn't succumb.
Why was it such a disaster? Her unfaithful partner insulted their relationship by saying he'd stayed with MR for `career reasons'. A horrible thing to say. My instinct is that MR's massive grief reaction was triggered partly by the shock of finding out about the affair when she was already unhappy at the relationship ending along with their joint job but was probably also about earlier losses and previously unexpressed grief.
Why the rush into `no strings' sex? This puzzled me. MR is relaxed with sexual encounters with strangers. In the course of the memoir, this includes twelve men she has intercourse with from Craig's List ads, a few professional tantric masseurs / ses plus there are numerous people she engages in tantric structures with that include intimate touching. Yet, she is still furious at her partner's betrayal. When she starts falling for one of the tantric masseurs, who doesn't want monogamy, lots of old buttons seem to be pressed. There's an overlong section where she describes a visit to Cap d'Agde, a naturist town in the South of France, which incorporates a `libertine complex' which in a cariacture of most pornography, populated by orange, shaven and pierced people having sex, with single men wanking around them. Even MR, open to everything, finds it all distasteful at first. Why, I kept thinking, are you there? I can't imagine what answer to what question she'd hoped to find. She does try conventional internet dating but doesn't explain why she preferred Craig's List.
Those are just some of the puzzles. On the plus side, the description of tantric sex was fascinating and the way in which MR reclaims her body, not just sexually but in many ways is heartening. Like yoga, I can see how tantra can benefit the whole person. I was fascinated to learn that women's genitalia are one of eight types and not surprisingly, that the way vagina and clitoris are put together, impacts her sexual response. That so many women don't enjoy conventional heterosexual intercourse largely for simple anatomical reasons is deeply sad. I wholeheartedly agree that we are doing girls a dreadful disservice by not talking openly about sexual pleasure, power and responsibility.
I enjoyed too the bigger picture and would have liked more on MR's Catholicism and why the Song of Songs meant so much to her. The Mary Magdalene pilgrimage was beautifully described.
MR is a lively writer and the book is full of her asides so it feels like she's right there at the kitchen table chatting over a glass of wine. In fact, I'd like to invite her via this review to pop round, so I can ask her some of these questions in person! She's also gossipy and names names. Although I've never met her, I found I knew some of the people she mentions and was amused by an incident she describes with my former step-son.
But where was the editor? There were so many repetitions which excised would have reduced the book by a quarter. Spelling mistakes. Weird sentences like `The students, were on average, mostly female' which conjures a sex club for transgendered people rather than Totleigh Barton.
But, yes, read it and, even more, talk about it.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest and fascinating account of one womans quest for full sexual awareness.,
This book was sugggested by a member of the book club I belong to, I don't remember much information being given about it prior to reading, except it was described as being a bit 'raunchy' which to most of our group, is a recommendation in itself! Well it certainly lived up to that expectation and probably more, however unlike others of its type, this one kept me engaged throughout. This is a book principally about female sexuality and is approached in an interesting, honest and I think respectful way. I was also struck by Monique's courage in choosing to identify herself as the author and therefore accept some of the evitable criticism that could follow. Not only is this book a personal oddissey but it also represents a very powerful, contemporary message about womens sexual relationships. I loved the liberating, non judgemental message threaded throughout the book about nudity, along with the emphasis on touch and sensation - the tantric approach to sex. I was also fascinated by the other opposing sexual styles which seemed crude and tacky by comparison. This book really got me thinking and has inspired me to further investigate the topics covered. On a lighter note there were some very funny moments too!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars life changing book,
i read about this book in the sunday papers and womens magazines and was intrigued by the author's honesty, especially given the subject matter.
i ordered the book and for the next 2 weeks it went everywhere with me! i was rivetted by the beautiful writing, the honesty and bravery of the content and the emotional journey.
it struck cords with my own life, and that of many friends. i passed it on to 2 friends after i read it and each had an equally powerful response to the book.
for me it opened a whole new way of thinking, responding and finding a way forward after years of feeling stuck.
the changes i have made in my life since reading the book are phenomenal. i have found how to do things and also how not to do things. i cannot ever imagine how i would have progressed through life in a way that allows me to be whole, without having read this book and being introduced to the ideas it discusses in such thoughtful and thought provoking ways.
i cannot thank the author enough for her bravery in putting her experiences out there. I and my 2 friends are indebted to her for the phenomenal life changes we have experienced as a direct result of knowing about tantra, loving touch and the capacity for joy and healing.
i was a very sceptical reader and almost anti-hippy things, so my response has surprised me greatly. but the best thing is that the book has allowed me to have much more fulfilling relationships with my family and friends because of my introduction to tantra and the ideas that surround it.
i cant recommend this book enough. thank you monique for writing it. it was not gratuitous in the least; it was honest, gritty, painfully real at times, but most of all it was heartfelt.
3.0 out of 5 stars A dissappointment.,
This review is from: With the Kisses of His Mouth (Paperback)
My wife has read many of Monique Roffey's books but she felt that most of the contents of this book was unneccessary and she dos't reccommend it.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars much more than navelgazing,
A literary and thoughtful account of a long period of sexual and emotional exploration following the end of the author's long-term relationship. In some ways I found the emotional candour even more shocking than the sex--a reminder of how fragile we are and how powerless when in the grip of a grief, despite having the courage to be intimate with new people in new ways. This is an important book for women. It shows us there are many ways to live more fully if we open ourselves--if you feel alienated by conventional dating behaviour you're not alone. I was grateful to the author for taking the time to explain some of the philosophies behind (largely tantric) sexual practice as well as telling us how it felt to her to try out these many new things. Not all of us can live this way but we can make more conscious choices about our bodies and our relationships with others, thanks to Monique Joffrey's willingness to share her story.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Risky business,
A friend bought this for me and I read it (at first) so I could say I had for my friend's sake. It's a strangely compulsive read. Yes, there are some things that are annoying - Ms Roffey's obsession with a man who sounds pretty gross for one. And, let's face it, a little bit of self-absorption too (it's impossible to write a nearly-500 page book 'all about me and my sex life' without coming over a tad self-absorbed I suppose). But altogether I thought this was an extremely courageous 'project' - both to live and to write/publish. I hope it has been as cathartic as, I suspect, Ms Roffey hoped it would be.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars honest and brave but,
To me this is more a story about lost love and grief than wild sex . Yes there is reference to craigs list , tantric , swinging etc but I can tell Mons heart is never in that . All she really wants to do is go on and on and on about her ex , who seems truely horrid . So I gradually became disolutioned with this memoirs , instead of it being an erotic truth it became a woman whinging. Get over him , I imagined going round and hitting her with the book . Prob this would have worked better as fiction, she could have added a plot and been less self indulgent and more Erica Jong for 2011 than eat pray love new age moan .A lost oportunity.
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Average at best,
If you bought this book on the basis of the very positive write up in a recent copy of The Sunday Times "Culture" section then prepared to be disappointed. Was just not the book I expected at all and not especially well written or crafted too.
Her descriptions of her original boyfriend/partner are so unflattering that her credibility is questionable right from the start of the book. Also the voyage "through sexual odyssey/discovery" is not in the least bit erotic or, it has to be said, that interesting either.
One to borrow or get from the library if you are interested though.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant,
I completely disagree with most of the reviews here. I really enjoyed the book, it was compelling, interesting and brave. I have already lent it to two friends and they have also loved it.
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With the Kisses of His Mouth by Monique Roffey (Paperback - 1 Mar 2012)