An intimate look at the transformative power of women's sexual experiences.
Based on the stories of ordinary American women, Aphrodite’s Daughters explores the central role of sexuality in women's spiritual journey. Witty, wise, entertaining, and compassionate, Aphrodite's Daughters quickly became an underground classic, and has changed the lives of thousands of women.
Bonheim claims to be karmically linked to a lineage of ancient Hindu sexual priestesses, and she offers a four-page invocation to Aphrodite as part of her introduction, but even readers skeptical of the New Age should appreciate her presentation of accounts by 30 mature women about their sexual experiences. From the first chapter, in which a Mormon-born woman, a survivor of a rigid, patriarchal marriage, describes life at 59 with a new partner and lovemaking as a sacred ritual, Bonheim (The Serpent and the Wave) proves herself a gifted commentator. She gracefully interweaves informal psychological analysis and testimony culled from workshops into her interviews with single, married, heterosexual, bisexual and lesbian women. Many of these women have suffered from abuse, addiction or terrible relationships, and, while the narratives explore and celebrate sensuality, they also discuss sexual obsession, rage and betrayal. Yet their stories are not only compelling but upbeat and uplifting, and are free of gratuitous male-bashing. The ability to tap into the power of Aphrodite, as Bonheim and these women demonstrate, depends upon the daring to meld spirituality and eros.