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by Philip Toshio Sudo
HarperSanFrancisco, 2000
Review by Dana Vigilante on Apr 11th 2006

Zen Sex

When this book came across my desk, I was pretty psyched.  I thought I was going to learn some new positions to enhance my pretty demure sex life.  However, I soon realized that I had Zen sex a bit mixed up with another type of sex that a very famous rock star practices with hours long stamina results.

However, all was not lost.  Based more on answering questions designed to enlighten your sexual awareness, than fun positions, this book is definitely not for the lay (excuse the expression) Zen follower.  However, if you have an extremely keen attention span during sex (which I absolutely do not), and are able to answer questions in your mind as your doing the deed, this book might just actually do the trick for you.   However, the advise offered here entails the reader to have an above average willingness to remain still and quiet during sex, as well as the ability to leave their mind and picture themselves in a green field with rain falling on them, among other things. 

Written by the late Philip Toshio Sudo, who also wrote The Zen Guide, this small paperback starts every chapter with a question that one should ask themselves as they delve into love making.  This is definitely a deep book.  The one time my mind wandered to painting the ceiling while making love, my boyfriend had a fit. 

This book touches on Yin and Yang, Tao Te Ching, The Way of Giving, The Way of Rebirth and several other deep Zen issues that the author advises the reader to ponder as they make love, or at least prepare to make love.

I considered bringing this book into the bedroom last night.  After giving it some thought, I realized that by the time I went over all of the feelings and questions with my boyfriend, he would probably be either asleep or frustrated by the time I was finished.

I did, however, love the black and white Japanese "shunga's" (early 17th Century pictures) of the various sexual positions scattered throughout the book.  As a matter of fact the book lists the galleries as well as websites you can visit to see more of these very interesting pictures. 

Again, definitely not a book for Zen Sex beginners, but possibly an interesting read for the more experienced. 


© 2006 Dana Vigilante


Dana Vigilante is a hospice educator as well as an advocate for proper end-of-life care and a certified bereavement group facilitator. Currently writing a book based on interviews with terminally ill hospice patients, she divides her time between New Jersey and San Francisco.


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