Learning Vicariously

How sexual essays, stories, tales and tell-alls bring us knowledge

Issue #54

By Vivienne Arkell

Sexographies by Gabriela Wiener doesn’t intend to be a guide or self-help book. Yet experiencing a myriad of sensually charged encounters firsthand through the eyes of a seasoned journalist certainly awakens the mind and senses. Care to witness life in a harem, a swinger’s club, visiting a dominatrix or the ‘punch’ of an abusive ex? Immersed in every minute detail of Gabriela’s chosen and unchosen assignments, we come to understand the many complexities of being a liberated woman – plus the messiness of the erotic.

I stumbled upon this gem while looking for something to unblock my flow and found Gabriela, a wild woman with serious integrity. She lures us in by showing her professionalism in handling sticky situations then shakes us up by admitting she is determinedly non-monogamous, never faithful to her lovers and sexually quite uninhibited.

All virtually relatable and vicariously enjoyable, the most exciting essay for me is when Gabriela became an honored guest at the home of Ricardo Badani and his harem of six wives. In the hands of Mercedes, the guru Badani’s possible favorite, Gabriele is taught “to look at myself in the mirror, to confront my sensuality, to seduce with my gaze, to reveal my belly as I swing my hips to the rhythm.” Entranced by the beauty and sisterhood around her, Gabriel reveals that “by the end of the night, I want to be like these women. I want to be lavished with heart-shaped sweets and chocolate roses. I want to live with all of my best friends and play amorous games together. I want to cook for my man. I want to wear Arabian fantasy clothes. I want to love the present. I want a god.”

After reading of Gabriela’s sensual bliss, it was all I wanted for myself as well. Graciously, I prepped my bath and my outfit for a night of luscious romance. I explained to my lover using guru Badani’s words: “Tantra is a four-story building and the ground floor is our body. In order to reach the other spheres, we must start by learning to use our sexuality.”

During other tales, both exhilarated and cautiously doubting, my mind went thru the motions with Gabriela, wondering what I would do next by learning from her lead and insight. Interviews with fellow writers, tales of being a mom, and sharing witticisms rounded out the essays in this articulate medley on womanhood. For a female writer to share self-aware experiences in such an intimate way serves up a delicious treat.

With fierce independence, this self-professed “avenger battling for sexual freedom” gives perspective to the modern woman by suggestively implying there are new ways to navigate, satisfying our sensual selves without worrying about outmoded rules. Wiener daringly shakes it up, “juggling the issues of archaic worldviews” with dexterity.

May Gabriela’s experiences inspire us to expand our own ideas about sexual freedom and be our erotic best.

Dare we follow her lead, in her footsteps, overcoming fear by expanding vicariously? 

To learn more about this book and other recommendations, visit the bookshop.

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