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Self-esteem and self-empowerment are vital for a rewarding and fulfilling life and are often bolstered by belief systems and societal views. But what if these systems or views prevent us from truly accepting ourselves because of miseducation or taboo? Such is the case for most women and the vagina, an organ so vital to our very existence, yet shrouded in secrecy and shamefully hidden.

In Maritza Breitenbach's The Cookie Book, she sets out to dispel taboo and promote female self-empowerment through her artistically beautiful and historically rich exploration of the human vagina. Fun, easy-to-read and light, The Cookie Book is a "must-read" for young adults and women of all ages just learning about or ready to take ownership of their own hidden treasure. The Cookie Book also details important rites of passage from tot to teen, pregnancy and childbirth to menopause.

Inspired by her love of research and her own inability to talk about the vagina with confidence and ease, Breitenbach found women embarrassed and anxious about its appearance, aroma, general function, among others issues. Breitenbach believes when we view our vaginas as a source of pride and wonder rather than something of which to be ashamed, we empower ourselves beyond question in the most essential part of our being.

The Cookie Book is filled with rare and interesting historical snippets and has over 100 color photographs and illustrations by famous painters such as Picasso, Rodin, de Goya, among others, all designed to encourage women to share information with friends and loved ones. The beautiful artwork, historical facts and cartoons promotes communication, which Breitenbach says is essential to liberating women and the vagina from taboo and bringing ownership back to every individual that has one or loves one.

10 Things You Probably Don't Know About the Vagina:

1. Female infants lubricate vaginally in the first four to six hours of life
2. The absence of a biological father through separation or divorce is known to bring on early menstruation
3. Famous painter Rodin did an illustration of the vagina titled "Sex of the Female"
4. A scent called "Vulva"--fashioned after the vagina's aroma--can be purchased from Germany and is said to drive men wild
5. Clockwork-powered vibrators were invented in 1734 and used in asylums by doctors hoping to curtail hysteria
6. Napoleon Bonaparte preferred the unwashed smell of Empress Josephine's "Black Forest"
7. What a woman eats can affect the scent of her vagina
8. Masturbation has a wide range of health benefits
9. In China a vagina with all its hair removed is known as a "white tiger"
10. The average vagina has a pH of 3.8 to 4.5, and maintaining pH is important for overall vaginal health

The Cookie Book has invaluable information for every women as they journey through life--from infancy to adolescence, being a lover and a mother, to menopause and beyond. It explores the vagina's anatomy, aroma, function, the effects of puberty, sexual intercourse, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Young adults and women of all ages (even men) can gain insight into the mystical hymen, g-spot, masturbation and the history of contraception
as well as learn how to avoid, recognize and treat vaginal infections and sexually transmitted diseases.

Although based on medical research, The Cookie Book is light, entertaining, fun, and accessible to all women, regardless of academic background. This is the perfect woman-to-woman, mother/daughter, father/daughter gift.



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