Review of Diary of a Nymphomaniac

By Rosa L. Griffin

In the French movie with subtitles, Diary of a Nymphomaniac (2008), a young woman, Valerie (Belen Fabra),  “discovered” sex with a young single man.  And, with any new experience you enjoy, you want to keep partaking of it.  She thought she would stay with him forever, but he refused to keep up with her demands for sex.  Her second man was married and also refused to keep up with her needs.  So, she was labeled as a sex addict or nymphomaniac.

So, with her next man, she attempted marriage and discovered that he was a cruel drug addict, so the marriage was off.   Feeling that she may as well be what she was being labeled, Valerie turned to prostitution so that she could enjoy sex often.  However, she made the mistake of falling in love with a customer who was not in love with her.  She was definitely looking for love in the wrong place.

The most poignant scene in the brothel was her making love with a paraplegic who only had feelings in his hands.   However, she was treated very badly by another customer—her first anal rape by a scraggly old drunk—and her female madam tried to get her to take a dead female lover’s place.

Valerie had a great rapport with her grandmother to whom she could talk with any time about anything, played by Geraldine Chaplin, who spoke French fluently.

The bottom line is that Valerie was looking for love, not just sex.   She was not a nymphomaniac and did not have sex with anyone and everyone she met with no thought for the consequences—which is a loose definition of nymphomania.     I believe that you should pursue sex on your own terms, instead of settling for the first man or woman to come along.    But, how will you know unless you can experiment safely?

I disagree with IMDb (Internet Movie Database) that Valerie eventually found redemption in the version that I saw.    There was no need for redemption as she was, like men, experimenting with sex.   However, what she found was that she was responsible for her own decisions and could handle that responsibility.

P.S. Give foreign films a chance.   Yes, you have to read the subtitles, but most of them are worth taking the time.

Some interesting resources:

https://m.fictionpress.com/s/2034269/Memoirs-of-a-Nymphomaniac.   Delightful poem

www.xojane.com/it-happened-to-me/sex-addiction-more-than-just-a-bad-habit

https://theconversation.com/what-makes-a-woman-a-nymphomaniac-20306

http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-facts-about-nymphomaniacs.php

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/may/07/confessions-of-a-menopausal-nymphmaniac-sex-dating-apps

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