It’s been 8 years since Nikki Gemmell‘s international – scandalous! – bestseller The Bride Stripped Bare was released. Did you read it? Millions of Australian women did and it was a watershed in publishing…one of those moments when people collectively said “Ah, yes!”
In that book, Nikki wrote about sex in a long-term relationship. About the secret sexual fantasies of a woman who felt trapped and sexless in her marriage. She wrote the book anonymously but just before it was released, she was ‘outed’ as its author, throwing her life into chaos.
Nikki insisted that the anonymity had been crucial when she was writing the book as it freed her to be honest in a way she couldn’t have otherwise been. And so The Bride Stripped Bare became “that book” which articulated the secret thoughts of millions of married women around the world. What secret thoughts? The “Is this it?” feeling about having sex with your husband – and only your husband – for the rest of your life. And what if bells didn’t ring? And what if you decided to live out your fantasies with strangers while your husband was at work? Her readers were shocked or horrified or left feeling as though their minds were being read. But always they were engrossed in what Nikki had dared to put on the page.
When we invited her onto Mamamia on Sky News last week we spoke about The Bride Stripped Bare and the response was fascinating, particularly from Sean Power, our 20-year-old first year journalism student who had read the book that week and insisted he was both puzzled and frustrated by the way the main character was writing down all these feelings and fantasies instead of just telling her husband that their sex life sucked (I’m paraphrasing).
To him, it was bizarre that a wife WOULDN’T communicate these thing directly to her husband. The rest of us around the table were so interested and refreshed by this view because most of us have had the experience of being in a relationship where that kind of communication just isn’t as straightforward as it seems.
Now, Nikki has written a sequel to The Bride Stripped Bare called With My Body and her publisher Harper Collins describes it like this:
The long-awaited follow-up to the international bestselling phenomenon THE BRIDE STRIPPED BARE, With My Body is an intensely personal tale of sexual awakening as well as one wife′s story about every woman′s marriage.
Locked into an unending cycle of school runs, laundry and meal times, a wife despairs of ever finding a way through her family to her own identity. Even her husband, whom she loves, has never reached the core of her. In desperation, she flees her comfortable life to revisit an old love affair — an extremely passionate, transforming one. The consequences will be devastating, liberating and entirely unexpected …
The conversation it sparked was hilarious – and got progressively more so as Sam de Brito revealed how many people he’d slept with -and so did Nikki – while others of us, coughed and looked at the floor…..
Skip right to the fun stuff, the Nikki Gemmell chat starts at 14:33 and finishes at 37:31:
Did you read The Bride Stripped Bare? Did it speak to you? Have you read the sequel? Any thoughts on sex in long term relationships?