The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace Through Pleasure is a breath of fresh air for a culture that has been at war with itself for far too long. Written by international sex expert and Yale graduate Dr. Susan Block, The Bonobo Way highlights how humanity’s own lusty relationship with war and violence has not only affected countless human lives, but also the lives of Earth’s nonhuman nature—most notably, the highly endangered bonobos (Pan Paniscus). At the book’s core, it is a call to action, a seductive moan from a lover’s ear to put down the war toys and come learn the ways of pleasure. From the jungles to the bedrooms, this book is an arousing, and downright sexy journey, complete with orgasmic anecdotes, as well as tales of lust, love and relationships built on power exchanges and trust.
What is most appealing about this book is the inclusiveness of Dr. Block’s narratives, she provides practical relationship tools—for the monogamous, the polycurious and the full-fledged swingers—with a tone that is light, uplifting, supportive, and affirming. The tools she lays out are useful for all relationship dynamics; addressing matters of intimacy, tips for role-play, BDSM and sexual etiquette. The information is laid out in a twelve step guide dubbed “How to Release Your Inner Bonobo.” The step work itself is a public and private affair, with strategies for cultivating the (somewhat) dormant sensual self, that which is attuned to primal nature of our “kissing cousins” the bonobos.
The anecdotes from Dr. Block’s personal life, along with inserts about world news, politics, porn, conservation, preservation, and history, make the step work inviting and add a personal touch to the text that make releasing your inner primate seem possible. Her narratives bring the concept of peace through pleasure to life, guiding the reader across this great earth that we love to “make love on”, and down a river of ecstasy towards a destination that is, not only picturësque, but achievable-—that is, if you’re willing to do the work of course.
Due to its broad range of topics, The Bonobo Way can appeal to a wide audience; from environmental conservationists, animal rights activists and ecological advocates to porn stars, feminists, dommes, the LGBTQ community as well as military veterans. On a textual level, the book is an exploration in eco-feminism, with Dr. Block’s own environment described in great detail; the bedroom, the Speakeasy, the Downtown urban jungle and Bonoboville itself. Her connection to the bonobos is never far from the surface of the text; from Dr. Block’s first glimpse of the bonobos while watching a PBS broadcast, to her first visit with Lana the Bonobo at the San Diego Zoo., she narrates how studying bonobos has helped her develop a greater consciousness of empathy, compassion and sexual awareness. The results of her various states of “bonobo liberation” are disclosed in great detail, with an emphasis on preserving the bonobos who “empower the female” and “never kill each other.” Truly, their high level of empathy is something that every peace-advocate, and artivist should be aware of.
As a piece of literature, The Bonobo Way may deserve its own shelf, in-between sexual studies and ecology, in a genre of its own as “ecosexual literature.” The push for the preservation of the bonobos, for conservation of their bioregion, and the call to action to repair our relationship with our “over-farmed and abused mother earth” (83), all help to categorize this book as ecological literature. The book is comparable to the works of Mary Hunter Austin, and Octavia Butler, however, the sexual narratives woven throughout the text are akin to the pages of high erotica a la Penthouse or early Anne Rice, with literary orgasms that details escapades, advances, and near misses. The fusion of both the ecological and the sexual is really what defines this book.
The cost of this book is an investment into your character, and hopefully, your sex life. At 240 pages it is available in print and eBook– the latter includes full color photos. Other features of the book are Dr. Block’s notes, which vary from “hat tips” to writers and rock stars, to supplemental information on clinical and “scene” terms, as well as vital historical references. For those inspired, to take action, the appendix of The Bonobo Way provides a list of sites and organizations that are dedicated to helping the bonobos, and a list of zoos, reserves, sanctuaries where bonobos can be seen. #GoBonobos!
Michael Ray De Los Angeles
Bachelors of English Literature
Humboldt State University.
Freelance Writing, Editing, & Cinematography
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