VOLUME 28 NO. 5 | JANUARY 24 - JANUARY 30, 2009

Lotus flower sex stereotypes in full bloom
Review: Jax Cassidy’s ‘Art of Sensuality’

Last updated 1-22-09 at 7:54 p.m.

“Art of Sensuality” by Jax Cassidy is published by Parker Publishing.

By Jane Mee Wong
Northwest Asian Weekly

Jax Cassidy’s “Art of Sensuality” is the stereotypical “white man’s” fantasy of an Asian woman. Machiko, the main female character, smells of cherry blossom flowers, is exotic like intoxicating tea roses, and is waiting to be “unearthed” by Caleb, the rich, handsome, and brawny Manhattan Beach resident.

Despite some obstacles along the way, Caleb sticks with his first instinct of her. Amid the hardening of his penis and the racing of his heartbeat, he had sensed that Machiko was a masterpiece that “only he, could complete.”

Indeed, through multiple missionary positions, titillating oral sex, and fanatical orgasms, Caleb manages to not only control his own savage sex drive, which threatens to engulf Machiko, but he also manages to revive her long-buried femininity. Under his sensual tutelage, Machiko transitions from a girl to a woman, from shy to naughty, from trapped and pained to carefree and passionate. He even gives her a new name to mark this transition: Mac.

Having the backdrop of Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles, where the rich and beautiful crosses paths with the miserable and entrapped, is another fantastical element of this novel.

Machiko’s mysterious break with her family, reasons for which the reader was kept in suspense for way too long, leaves little room for empathy with her larger-than-life character. The superficial exploration of Caleb’s memories of his deceased father and his need to take over responsibilities of sustaining a hefty family fortune in the dog-eat-dog world of business at a young age appears as forced attempts at making the reader empathize with a rich boy.

Perhaps the inability for the reader to connect with the characters derives from Cassidy’s attempt to fit them into a formula of poor little rich boys and girls rather than depicting the emotional and mental prisons that the two characters actually inhabit.

One has to give Cassidy credit for trying to push the boundaries of women’s submission to heterosexual male desires. Caleb wants to bask in her arms and splash body paint in their sexual reverie forever, but Machiko doesn’t give Caleb what he wants immediately. She is determined to prioritize her own life and even takes time away from Caleb to discover her true self, reunite with her family, and set up her human rights nonprofit organization. However, Machiko’s character is a spectrum of hot and cold, mysterious and gallant, sexually aggressive and repressed (dragon lady anyone?).

As important as Machiko’s transitions appear to be, Cassidy does not seem to think that this aspect is worthy of a single chapter. The transitions occur abstractly and quickly through Machiko’s flashbacks when she is, as you may have guessed, in conversation with Caleb.

Jax Cassidy might be trying to carve out a new niche for herself in erotica literature with sexy, repressed Asian love, but really, missionary positions, heterosexual male fantasies, and the loyal and pining Asian woman, albeit spiced up with moments of oral sex and feminine aggressions, are nonetheless caricatures that have been tried and done. Given the legacy of characters such as Suzy Wong and Madame Butterfly, Cassidy’s formula is 50 years too old. (end)

Jane Mee Wong can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.


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