Burning Up



“Wild! Wicked! Burning Hot! This book will make you sweat…” Kimberly O’Sullivan, sex activist and former editor Wicked Women Magazine.

“Wonderfully explicit. An erotic sexual cookbook full of secret recipes and spices. I’d recommend it to all my patients!” Dr Rosie King, The Australian Centre for Sexual Health.

“This book confirms Freud’s view of the world. We don’t become perverts, we remain them. Sexual Fantasies are not repressible…” Gary Dowsett, sociologist and associate professor, La Trobe University.

As part of her legendary column Ruth Ostrow wrote a letter to her readers inviting them to submit their sexual fantasies for publication. What she got back was sizzling-hot, shocking and totally unprecedented.

In Burning Up average Australians reveal in graphic detail their inner lives which Ostrow presents in the tradition of Nancy Friday – erotic delight mixed with ground breaking analysis.

Since compiling this book in 1997 a lot has changed for me. I no longer work as a Sex & Relationships writer/ broadcaster rather have moved into the broader field of BodyMindSoul, incorporating sexuality into my writings about wellness – as in wellness of body, relationships, heart, mind and spirit.

Sexuality is an important facet of overall wellbeing. But for me it has become far more than that. I have come to see it as an important pathway to spiritual growth and enlightenment. Whereas orthodox religions see sex as an impediment to spiritual purity, Tantricis, Taoists and many in the East see it as a key.

As one guru said to me, you can’t become a butterfly until you’ve lived as a caterpillar. Nor can you transcend the human experience and reach Divinity before you have lived fully as a human, with all that that entails – the good and bad, the joyous and sad, the painful and the blissful, the dirty and clean.

Thus I present this book to you from a place of spiritual as well as sexual exploration.

This is not a ‘nice’ book, but nor is it intended to be. In my definition, ‘spiritual’ is not a sugar- coated concept. It is about darkness as much as light. The famous Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung wrote extensively about our Shadow side, the dark side that lies buried within us all. He maintains that this side needs to be explored and embraced if we are to be whole and fully human – which is the first step to being fully aligned with the Divine.

In mythology the hero and heroine often journey into the Underworld to battle demons and monsters before emerging into the light. This is a metaphor for the journey into the deepest, darkest parts of our own souls.

And this essentially is what Burning Up is about. I am delighted to be able to bring together a book which celebrates who we are under the surface. Not who we pretend to be when, as the poet T.S. Eliot described, we: ‘… prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet’. Not who we are supposed to be in our civilised garb.

Not all the acceptable faces we present as mothers, fathers, employees and children. Not the side we present which makes society comfortable and complies with the rules. But who we also are in our most hidden, secret places. Who we are when we dream, when we yearn, when we fear, when we grieve, when we confront death, when we orgasm. It is a book about our pain, our pleasure, our unquenchable appetites and strange lusts. The primal and primitive side of human nature—the rebellious, the perverse, the angry, and untamable side.

It is about the hurt child, and the wounded animal who lives beneath the church going facade. The sexual, sensual, lascivious creature that conservative thinkers have, for so long, tried to deny. It is about the parts of ourselves – as human beings – that we must learn to love and accept if we are ever to be free.

This is a collection of secret sexual fantasies. It’s not always a comfortable book to read. But as a rare and privileged insight in to what goes on in the minds of your average Australian, as a yardstick for what is ‘normal’, and as a journey of exploration into that final frontier of human behavior—sexuality—it is one of the most honest, raw, important and possibly shocking books you will find.

Interestingly, some in my own spiritual tradition believe that to fantasise is to remove oneself from being present and therefore is to be discouraged. I profoundly disagree.

As a practitioner of Tantra, I believe we can enter many states of consciousness at the one time – we can simultaneously be in our fantasy worlds yet electrically in our bodies, we can stare lovingly into our partner’s eyes and yet be playing out a wicked scene in our minds, we can be fully in our genitals yet also in our hearts, in a sexual place and yet at one with God.

To me sexual expression is much like an exquisite piece of music that has many harmonies, instrumentals, moods and rhythms all overlaying each other at the same time to produce one single, resplendent sound.

And so, let the symphony begin!

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