I have a confession to make… I’m a bit OCD when it comes to my DSO business. I check my sales numbers every day. Throughout the day. Multiple times per day. I refresh my Paypal and Stripe accounts to see what sales comes in. I check my Amazon author rankings. I see where I stand in the Audible category rankings. Yes, it’s a bit of a sickness. I’m trying my damndest to limit my scorekeeping to just an hour a day… but it’s hard. All I have to do is pick up the phone, hit refresh on my app, and get the latest stats. Hey, I’m a competitive dude. I like keeping score. I like winning.
I’m blessed that my first book, The Dead Bedroom Fix, has done so well. As of this writing, it is ranked #6 in its category… and it rarely bumps out of the top 10. I always look at what other books are out there, and I find it very interesting how many of the top 20 books are aimed at women. Right now, four of the six top books are aimed specifically at the ladies, and it could be argued that another one is probably predominantly read by women, as well. There is one book in particular that does REALLY well and is routinely in the top spot, and that is Emily Nagoski’s “Come As You Are”. To quote the publisher’s summary of the book:
“An essential exploration of why and how women’s sexuality works – based on groundbreaking research and brain science – that will radically transform your sex life into one filled with confidence and joy.
Researchers have spent the last decade trying to develop a “pink pill” for women to function like Viagra does for men. So where is it? Well, for reasons this book makes crystal clear, that pill will never exist – but as a result of the research that’s gone into it, scientists in the last few years have learned more about how women’s sexuality works than we ever thought possible, and Come as You Are explains it all….”
Sounds good, right? Sounded interesting to me, so I gave a good read.
There’s one thing that I hear again and again about my own writing, and that is something along the lines of “I like how you just got right to the point and didn’t waste a lot of time like other books on the subject”. If you would agree with that sentiment, then “Come As You Are” is not for you. Emily’s book, while very well done and deserved of its high sales numbers, is what you would call…. verbose. I always find it amusing how men and women are so very different when it comes to topics like love and marriage. Books aimed at men tend to treat the subject like an owner’s manual or assembly guide. “Put tab A into slot B. Repeat.” Women’s books tend to go on and on about the feelings and emotions surrounding the deceivingly simple act. They take every avenue of examination and explore it thoroughly… and they do so while being careful not to step on any toes. They don’t want to offend. They don’t want to leave anyone out. Emily’s book is no different.
In my typical man style of “getting to the damn point”, I will do my best to summarize Come As You Are:
“Hey… it’s okay. Really. Whatever you feel about sex… it’s okay. Really. You’re way too hard on yourself. Don’t be ashamed of who you are. Some women are like this… some women are like that. Some like it a lot. Some don’t. Some like it only in in a particular atmosphere. Some like it in a totally different atmosphere. For some, atmosphere doesn’t matter. Some have bodies that behave in THIS way… some have bodies that respond in a completely different way. Sometimes our brains don’t go along with our body. Sometimes our bodies have a mind of their own and completely go against what our brain is screaming in our head. Hey… that’s okay. Welcome to being a woman.”
The book, like every other book aimed at women and sexuality… is exhausting. It seems to go down avenues of “Ah ha… interesting” only to detour right back to, “Yeah, but this may not pertain to you, and that’s okay. Everyone is amazing and perfect.”
Yes, the book very repetitive. If there are women out there who are somewhat freed by information outlined by Emily, then that’s great. Women need to be more comfortable in their own skin and with their own flavor of sexuality. Unfortunately for many women, that comfort comes in the form of a book that could’ve been summed up as, “Whatever it is you got going on… it’s okay.” Not the deepest dive into the subject matter, I’m afraid.
Emily kind of dodges the topic of innate and biological impulses/instincts and instead focuses on the impact of culture. I would assume Emily is no fan of evolutionary psychology (she is obviously of a more “progressive” mindset), as she instead chooses to promote the concept of culture and feelings over human behavior and mating. For example, she takes a left-turn at one point and say that being morbidly obese is okay and people that are super heavy can in fact be healthy… because to say otherwise would be exclusionary and mean-spirited. That’s just wrong, and downright dangerous.
To summarize, men’s books on the subject tend to veer towards the tone of “Hey dude, here are some ideas for how to fix things and get better at this love/sex thing. Give it shot. Don’t be a wuss. Put in the work. It’s worth it.” Women’s books, on the other hand, tend to go down the route of Emily’s book. “It’s okay. Everything is okay. Nothing is normal. Normal doesn’t exist. Go be YOU.” Sounds great. Makes you feel warm and fuzzy… but what does it actually accomplish? Confusion masked by the emotional high of feeling like you belong? If that’s your thing, then go for it. Who am I to judge? We need more happy and content people in this world. As for me, I think I would be majorly turned off by a book that so bluntly tries to pander to my inner child.
Men: This book is not for you. Us dudes, as I often say, are fixers. If you pick up “Come As You Are” book with the purpose of better understanding your wife’s sexuality, you may come away with a better understanding and a more nuanced look at what makes your wife tick. But… that’s the problem. This book is so all over the place and so “everything is wonderful” that literally any woman with any type of libido or sexual “problem” will relate to it. In fact, I think if you were to give two copies to a couple and tell each of them to read it and come back to discuss, both would have different “ah ha” moments when it comes to figuring out their wife’s sexual proclivities. The man may say, “Honey! I think you have genital non-concordance! You probably really DO want me in your mind, but your body says no! We just have to figure out how to get your body in line with your brain!” The wife would look at him, sneer, and say, “No… that’ not my problem. I don’t have a problem. I’m perfectly fine and normal the way I am. Sometimes us women just don’t think about sex.” Then the man is dejected and sullen and back to square one. There is no hope. Then he sees that well-worn vibrator tucked away in the nightstand, or an an inappropriate text from his wife’s ex-boyfriend from college…
Sexuality can be a complicated thing and overcomplicating it to the point of throwing up your hands and saying, “You know what… there is no one answer. Everyone is good and amazing. Go home!” … well, I’m not sure that’s the answer most are looking for. Then again, maybe it is… and maybe that’s why Emily has sold a bazillion copies of this book.