If you want to win the Pulitzer Prize, you need to have better orgasms.
How do you get your creative juices flowing? Maybe you take long walks around your neighborhood like Charles Darwin, who was known to crawl around the streets of London till dawn, or perhaps you pursue an endless, alcohol-fueled inspiration. I feel these small hacks are but the tip of the iceberg, since there's more out there to be explored. Writer Naomi Wolf has spotted a catalyst that sparks this sudden burst of talent and creativity, and it's not what you would normally consider. In her book, Vagina: A New Biography, she states that several Victorian and Edwardian female writers went through intense sexual experiences that allowed them to reach higher levels of insight and energy than in their previous works. So, basically great sex makes you more creative and talented. If you feel like I'm conning you, then here are four authors that, according to Wolf, found inspiration through very pleasurable means. So let's get those juices flowing, shall we?
In 1908, American novelist Edith Wharton began a steamy affair with the bisexual journalist Morton Fullerton. Before that, her sexual experiences with her husband Teddy Wharton were, well, not great. She was 46 years old and had never experienced an orgasm. But then, fortunately for her and for all of us, she finally did. As Naomi Wolf describes: “Wharton’s prose becomes richer and more tactile; the world of pleasure and the senses enters into it more fully, as does a sense of feminine longing for ecstasy, life, and sensation at all costs.” Edith Wharton later became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1921 for her novel The Age of Innocence. So, now you know, if you want to win the Pulitzer Prize, you need to have better orgasms.
Naomi Wolf describes female writers like Kate Chopin discovering their own creative force by exploring sexuality like “a mist falling way” after a powerful orgasm. In the case of Kate Chopin, it manifested through her 1899 novel (rightly named) The Awakening. Her protagonist, Edna Pontellier, goes through the same kind of sexual awakening without any regrets and finds pleasure outside marriage, something that during those times was bound to shock readers.
Anaïs Nin is known for her intimate and confessional journals and letters. Her sexual awakening began in 1931, when she met Henry Miller and his wife June. That year, she fell in love with both of them, and began an affair with Henry, which expanded her view on sexuality and double standards on morality. After that, she continued to write about her self-discovery in her journals and began experimenting with eroticism in her fiction. In A Spy in The House of Love, her protagonist Sabina juggles with her sexual expression and with strict social expectations that end up smothering her. We cannot help but see the parallelisms between Anaïs and this beloved character.
Gertrude Stein is famous for her salon at 27 rue de Fleurus, where she frequently met with iconic writers and artists like Picasso, Hemingway, Matisse, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. However, her most important artistic contribution happened after she met Alice B. Toklas, her lifelong partner. As Naomi Wolf describes, meeting Alice B. Toklas gave her the confidence to explore her sexuality and, consequently, her creative potential: “her work leaped forward in terms of the level of its experimentation, as well as in terms of its sensuality.” Gertrude Stein’s confidence was evident in her bold and experimental work and her personality as an imposing figure who influenced the whole artistic scene in Paris.
These authors were already talented before their sexual awakening, but the self-discovery that comes with a satisfactory sex life helped them overcome the insecurities that restricted their full capacities. Now that we know this, we shouldn’t wait for someone to give us the best orgasm of our lives. We can take matters into our own hands.
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