By Tashauna Reid
The title of her novel says it all: “The Mandatory Orgasm.” The premise: imagine a world where women had to have an orgasm to be fertile and get pregnant.
“It is assumed that in sex, men are going to get satisfied. But women, whether or not they are, they can get pregnant. If the indication was her not getting pregnant, and we could not lie anymore, what would happen?” says author and Ryerson alumni Junon Macéus, who describes her book in five words, “truth telling in women’s lives.”
However, it is a bit more than that. The heroine in the book is a young dietician whom is told by her doctor that unless she has an orgasm she will not be able to have children.
Here is where the truth comes in, and the truth gets ugly. She is forced to reveal this problem to her fiancé, which has been plaguing their bedroom for years, and the sticky situation unfolds. “Hiding what you think is a human problem. In society, we have all been in situations where we really wanted to say something but we held back,” she says.
Macéus does not hold back in her book. Growing up in a conservative household, Cosmopolitan was not enough to answer her shy questions about sexuality.
“I’m in my mid-30’s now and I found that sexuality is not taught. What I see in the media is distant from what is really happening.” she says. “I thought, am I normal? How come I’m not like these characters in Sex and the City? They are having great fun, and they never get pregnant, they never get STDs. Why is that?”
She spoke with women from various ethnic backgrounds, and all women arrived at the same conclusion. She found female sexuality is told from a male point of view. What is lacking is a realistic female perspective.
“I saw that gap and I felt I needed to start saying something about it,” says Macéus. After 14 months of pouring all her creative juices into her first book, Macéus finally completed her 73-page novella.
In the kitchen of her home, she electronically sent a PDF version to a publishing house in the U.S. Six minutes later she received a response saying; “we don’t do this.” “I thought it was a sign from the universe telling me I have to do something else. I never heard of someone being refused in six minutes,” says Macéus.
Disappointed, she took her rejection as an opportunity to learn. “I said I’m not going to leave this work sitting on the table; I’m going to go for it.”
After endless revisions with an editor, and hiring a graphic designer, Macéus was ready to send it off again. Except this time, she sent it straight to the printing press.
“It was kind of scary at first,” she says about self-publishing her book. After finding a printer, she sent them her book and three days later 50 white paperbacks with a painting of a curvaceous nude woman graced the cover.
Macéus was able to sell advanced copies of her book, in turn using those funds to foot the printing costs. In other words, Macéus did not have to finance her own book.
The project ended up costing about $4,000. Now she’s dealing with back orders. “As long as you are passionate and willing to work, and you have an original concept, then people get on board with you,” says Macéus.
With a B.A.Sc. in Nutrition as well as B.Sc. in Human Kinetics, Macéus uses her knowledge and experience to address issues of female sexuality, health and truth.
“The passion for writing has always been there, so has my passion for health. They go hand in hand. One gives me information to help create.”
But it was a quote from the book The Dance of Deception, by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, that Macéus says inspired her the most: “If women stopped pretending tomorrow, the world as we know it would also stop.”
But Macéus doesn’t see the Mandatory Orgasm syndrome occurring anytime soon. “If that was the truth, there would be a lot less people in the world,” Macéus laughs.
The Mandatory Orgasm can be ordered online at themandatoryorgasm.com which launches Feb. 1, 2008.
The book will be available at Good for Her, 175 Harbord Street and The Women’s Bookstore, 73 Harbord Street. as of Feb 1, 2008.