Powerful Stuff!
— Maureen Langan, KGO Radio Host, Comedian, "Daughter of a Garbagemen"

From Sex Appeal to Self Appeal:
Stripping Barriers to Recovery—Leaving Addiction, Returning to Body and Mind

with a New Introduction from the Author

What happens when a middle-aged scientist gets sober, then embarks on a second career—as a stripper?

This is the story of one woman’s sexual odyssey as she turns the microscope on herself and looks inward to determine what is real and what is not, what is merely dogma or childhood and cultural indoctrination, what her truth really is.

Uprooted and shuffled around in a military family, Susan turns to drugs and boys. Although she’s intelligent and beautiful outwardly, internally she’s chaotic, confused, hollow, and disconnected. At thirty-four she gets sober. Then, awakened to new feelings that had previously been stuffed through addiction and encouraged by an unconscious acceptance of the cultures’ fixation on appearance, sex, and money as ways to happiness and love, she is lured into working in the strip club to escape her drab twelve-year career in science. This is when “Vixen” is born and the most important scientific work of her life begins. 

From Sex Appeal to Self Appeal chronicles Susan’s life as she struggles to grow her emotional maturity with a sober mind while her sexually-empowered carefree night persona is pitted against her good-girl, people-pleasing, repressed daytime self. She’s forced to confront her ignorance, immaturity, and loneliness while her recovering mind questions long-held thoughts and beliefs around body, sex, and relationships. Ultimately, she learns how to stop looking outside herself for love and acceptance and changes her life-long pattern of distraction. This new positive relationship with her own body and mind leads to a bond and marriage with one man in her late forties. Susan’s story is a powerful and compelling memoir about sexuality, self-respect, self-love, and self-appeal.

From Sex Appeal to Self Appeal: Stripping Barriers to Recovery—Leaving Addiction, Returning to Body and Mind, 354 pages, ©2014, Revised 2018

 
 

 

What Women Are Saying about From Sex Appeal to Self Appeal

 
 
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I recommend every woman who is struggling with self worth to read this book.  It takes you on a personal journey of low self esteem to having what the author calls “self appeal.”  It will change your life.  It changed mine.
— Oleta Kay Ham, Author of Migrant Mother, the Untold Story 
 
 
What an amazing life story! Life lessons around every corner. I did not want to put it down!
— Christine Baily
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Each woman’s sexual development and experiences are unique to her, but all women can identify with the feelings and the needs bared so skillfully here, no matter how different their own sexual experiences may have been. I was both moved and inspired by the book, and I only wish I had read it in my early twenties or late teens instead of in my early sixties. With soulful honesty and a tender vulnerability, she shares the story of a young girl turned woman searching for love, acceptance and meaning in both a successful career and a series of affairs, only to find real healing and her true self in some very unusual places and ways. Both suspenseful and satisfying, this book may well end up being required reading in many Sexuality 101 courses throughout the nation, as well it should, for its gritty reality coupled with sweetness and hard-won insights reveal necessary truths to males and females alike. It liberates, empowers and heals women in so many ways, but could also hold the key to helping men relate more successfully to women as well.
— Carol Pinckney, MJC English Instructor
 
 
With superlative writing skill, this author opens my consciousness to a very different life than the one most women readers have lived. Her intelligence, courage and stalwart confidence in the life she cuts out for herself have lifted my awareness into a sense of feminine power I had not previously known.  Hers is a story well told and a life well-lived!
— Shirley Irving
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A magnificent journey that has gone full circle, proving that inner strength, diligence and discipline win over and over.  There are so many wonderful life lessons – it doesn’t matter that her path was different from other women – what the author struggled with are what many of us struggle with at all ages, and we all can learn so much from this! Every woman (and men too!) should read this memoir.
— Karrin Dalton