cover image The Art of Arousal

The Art of Arousal

Ruth K. Westheimer. Abbeville Press, $35 (180pp) ISBN 978-1-55859-330-5

Well-known sex therapist Westheimer here presents a provocative, richly eclectic, inspirational collection of erotic art. Chapters proceed methodically from flirtation and seduction to foreplay, the embrace, solitary and group pleasures and conclude with blissful exhaustion--a loose framework for organizing more than 100 color reproductions of works by Georgia O'Keeffe, Titian, Watteau, Durer, Manet, Courbet, Egon Schiele, David Hockney and others. The scope is multicultural, embracing Persian miniatures, a Cambodian sandstone female torso, a Dogon primordial couple from west Africa and Hopi carver Fred Koruh's interlocking male and female kachina dolls. Westheimer's exhortatory interjections on foreplay, lovemaking positions and so forth seem intrusive amidst the shrewd art-historical commentaries of her anonymous, albeit acknowledged cultural adviser. Overall, this is a delightful bedside companion. (May)