Cover image for Full exposure : opening up to sexual creativity and erotic expression
Full exposure : opening up to sexual creativity and erotic expression
Bright, Susie, 1958-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
[San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, [1999]

Physical Description:
ix, 163 pages ; 22 cm
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BF692 .B746 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Hailed by Utne Reader as "a visionary" and the San Francisco Chronicle as "the X-rated intellectual," Susie Bright is indisputably the sexpert of our times. Now, in a frank and intimate look at our own erotic experience, she delves into the most personal aspects of sex and shows us how our sexual passion can be a source of creativity and inspiration. By her own example and insight, she helps us to discover our own erotic story and sexual philosophy.

How do talking, reading, and writing about sex affect your actual sex life? What are the real differences between men's and women's sense of the erotic? Why is it so threatening to consciously address sexual desire in the first place? Is there a line to be drawn in erotic creativity--can you go too far? Is the best erotic expression soulful? How can articulate erotic expression make us better lovers and, more important, better people?

Bright concludes with an "erotic manifesto" that is a call for everyone to reclaim sexuality, cast off sexual shame, overcome repression, and become true sexual beings. She offers up "rules to live by," which include debunking your own fantasy life, appreciating the simplest erotic gesture, and taking inspiration from everyone but instruction from no one. Bright's work celebrates the joy of sexual creativity--and the very uniqueness of each individual's sense of the erotic.

Susie Bright is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, including The Best American Erotica series, the first three editions of Herotica, Sexwise, and The Sexual State of the Union. She has written for Esquire, Playboy, Village Voice, New York Times Book Review, and is a regular columnist for the on-line magazine Salon. She lectures and performs at theaters and universities nationwide and currently lives in Northern California.

How do you really feel about sex?

"I want to cut through all the labels and politics, and reveal what I've learned about sex - what has been transformational for me as a lover, a parent, a daughter, and an artist. I want to argue that sexuality is the soul of the creative process, and that erotic expression of any kind is a personal revolution." -- from Full Exposure

Bestselling author and erotic pioneer Susie Bright boldly crosses our culture's most private boundary--our personal eroticism--and reveals the ways in which individual sexual expression has the power to inspire, challenge, and transform all aspects of our lives. Bright explores some of the most complex questions about sexuality today, including: how our emotional and sexual lives intertwine, how we can come clean about our true desire, and what sexual expression teaches us about our bodies. She offers an erotic manifesto of seventeen straightforward guidelines for gaining erotic freedom.

Author Notes

Susie Bright is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, including The Best American Erotica series, the first three editions of Herotica, Sexwise, and The Sexual State of the Union. She has written for Esquire, Playboy, the Village Voice, the New York Times Book Review, and is a regular columnist for the online magazine Salon. She lectures and performs at theaters and universities nationwide and currently lives in Northern California.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bright (The Sexual State of the Union) uses the topic of sexuality as a way to promote a larger self-help philosophy of empowerment. She says, "Sexuality is the soul of the creative process," one with revolutionary and transformative potential. Bright, a public performer as well as a columnist for Playboy and the Web's Salon, weaves her own personal experiences into an extended pitch for bodily liberation and feminist enlightenment. She starts by giving a portrait of her own "personal erotic identity." This includes a healthy discussion of the role of fantasyÄheterosexual, gay and S&M. More earthily, she discusses child-bearing and parenting. Best, though, is Bright's gift for slinging outrageous phrases, as in her discussions of "overgeneralized heterosexuals" or "libido storms." Her persona is uncanny: she sounds earnest, helpful and American-as-apple-pie even when using profanity to prove points about sexual stereotyping. On tape, her message comes across as intimate, real and convincing. Simultaneous release with the Harper San Francisco hardcover. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In her latest book, Bright (a.k.a. Susie Sexpert) writes aboutÄbig surpriseÄsex. But don't be fooled by the subtitle: this is not a how-to sex manual. Bright is a noted essayist and editor of, among other things, the popular "Herotica" series; here she considers the importance of individual sexual creativity and personal eroticism and their power to influence our lives positively. That is, she thinks we should all acknowledge ourselves as sexual beings as a means of inspiring our latent creativity. In the book's first chapter, she raises thought-provoking questions about sexual expression and erotic identity; in the chapters that follow, she methodically answers these questions, peppering each section with stories from her own experience. Overall, Bright is her usual engaging self, offering lucid meditationsÄand even wisdomÄon one of society's most taboo subjects. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.ÄKimberly L. Clarke, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Full Exposure Opening Up to Sexual Creativity and Erotic Expression Chapter One What is Sexual Creativity? Nothing really exists except examples. --Wittgenstein If I had to judge my sex life by how many times I jump into bed and have an orgasm, I'd get a big fat F. Oh, I'm sure my notches are more than someone else's notches, but I've had long, medium, and short stretches of time in my life where I haven't buttered up to anybody else's body, or even had my own private Jill-off. Yet this is the last thing I think of when I consider my erotic life. I say "erotic life" instead of "sex life "I because when someone asks me about my sex life, it's like code for, "Are you getting laid?" I need a code for replying, "Getting laid isn't the half of it." My dreams are filled with sex; my work is inspired with sexual energy; my family and friendships are influenced in so many ways by my sexual creativity that I couldn't even pinpoint them all. Most sex experts tell people to search for a sex life, to make it happen by getting out of the house and into the right singles bar, but actually your sex life is rocking your boat every minute of every day. You never even have to leave the house or make a phone call. I remember snooping in a neighbor's bookshelves when I was a kid, discovering their garishly illustrated Kama Sutra technique manual with more than a hundred pages and a hundred pretzel shapes to screw your body into. It had all the appeal of a periodic table. This is what I had to learn to have sex? It was a strangely unemotional examination. The book's title invoked erotic and spiritual symbols--but the spirit behind the presentation was chopped liver. I had been so excited to think that one day I was going to have a sex life, a real adult sex life--and I imagined it would be as exciting and inspiring as the sexy music I heard on the radio, the romantic novels I read, or the passionate embraces I saw dissolve on the movie screens. My childhood intuition was right. Those top-forty hits I heard on the radio were more sexy than a hundred nudist diagrams. Rock 'n' roll was sex, and so were all those novels and movies I thrilled to-because those things actually possessed sexual creativity, and the people who composed them were probably as inspired as I was when they first came up with their ideas. Erotic experience is a wake-up call; it's the sign that you're not only alive, you're bursting. As my friend Michael once said, "It doesn't matter whether you're cooking a meal, or playing a game of basketball, or writing a chapter. Sometimes you get this rush of holistic energy, and you'd swear that you just got laid." "I know that," I told him, "but how come more people won't admit it? It's not like I can line up a row of architects and rocket scientists to admit that, yes indeed, "they split that atom, they built that bridge," and they owe it all to some serious erotic inspiration. Everyone thinks that if they admit how much sexual energy fuels their everyday life and accomplishments, they won't get any respect." "But it doesn't matter what they say! : Michael is very good at overriding all naysayers. "Haven't they ever heard of a little thing called sublimation? Dr. Freud, hello! You go to any museum, you look at the classic Renaissance paintings, where everyone is supposed to be praising God and fearing the devil, but what is it, after all? Naked bodies everywhere! You're going to tell me these painters didn't get off on that? Their faith, their painting, their sexual energy--it's all the same thing." People often don't want to hear that their religious feeling is erotic; it's an insult to them. They take the holier-than-thou attitude that any kind of scholarship, any kind of profession or art, needs to be unsullied by sex in order to be worthy. But what is their worthiness all about? Michael started in describing Dante's Divine Comedy. "Here we have a hero who goes from hell to purgatory to paradise, and at the end of it all after he has seen God--what does he say? He speaks out to the memory of one woman, a woman he saw for only an instant, and she is 'the love that moves the sun and all the stars!' Remember, this is after God!" "Yes, I think of that quote, 'God is in the details,'" I said. "And so is sex." Your erotic life is what you notice about yourself--what drives you and thrills you and even maroons you sometimes. It influences our every personal expression, our role models, and the picture of our generation. I can read poems I wrote as a teenager, look at the image of myself giving birth to my daughter ten years ago, or see myself on a stage today-and an erotic thread runs through all of it. My character shows how motivated I've been by sexual creativity, long before I knew much at all about "having sex." I don't have to visit a museum or look at the classics to see how sex and art intersect from the moment we pick up our pen or our brush. I used to visit my friend Kimi in her art studio, where she made huge abstract expressionist paintings, from floor to ceiling. She routinely had her vibrator plugged in, lying on the rug next to her latest canvas, along with her brushes, rags, and colors. She caught me looking at it one day, and she said, "I can't help it, I get so excited sometimes! And other times I'm so tired, this is the only thing that gets me going again." People have long debated whether eroticism saps their energy or lets it fly. A physical orgasm can sometimes make you so weak in the knees that you feel closer to a nap than to creating a masterpiece. But that's why it's so important to see the difference between the release of an orgasm and the release of the creative sexual mind. A fantasy never leaves you exhausted, an erotic inspiration never tires you out. Erotic inspiration can be released through orgasms--but that's just one way. More important is that sexual creativity stems from living life as if you were making something of it-instead of being made over. I'm not talking about denying physical release, or saving your jizz up like some precious reservoir. No, I mean the way we express the juice of our greatest joys, and some of the most righteous justice in our lives. Why don't we recognize the erotic element in that passion? Full Exposure Opening Up to Sexual Creativity and Erotic Expression . Copyright © by Susie Bright. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Full Exposure: Opening up to Sexual Creativity and Erotic Expression by Susie Bright All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1 Opening Upp. 1
2 What Is Sexual Creativity?p. 5
3 Big Enoughp. 17
4 Alone at Lastp. 23
5 Talking About Itp. 29
6 Gradingp. 35
7 The Price of Titillationp. 43
8 Uglyp. 51
9 Women and Children Worstp. 60
10 The Sexual Revolution Cracked Upp. 72
11 Celibacyp. 84
12 Sex Jagp. 94
13 Nurturep. 101
14 Souled-Out Sexp. 111
15 Between Sex and the Devilp. 121
16 Losing It Allp. 128
17 Lovers' Ethicsp. 137
18 Absolutionp. 144
19 Electricityp. 151
20 Roll Your Own Erotic Manifestop. 156