Professional motorcycle racer Bud Clay heads from New Hampshire to California to race again. Along the way he meets various needy women who provide him with the cure to his own loneliness, but only a certain woman from his past will truly satisfy him.
In London, England, love blooms between an American college student, named Lisa, and a British glaciologist, named Matt, where over the next few months in between attending rock concerts, the two lovers have intense sexual encounters.
In 1931 Paris, Anais Nin meets Henry Miller and his wife June. Intrigued by them both, she begins expanding her sexual horizons with her husband Hugo as well as with Henry and others. June shuttles between Paris and New York trying to find acting jobs while Henry works on his first major work, "Tropic of Cancer," a pseudo-biography of June. Anais and Hugo help finance the book, but June is displeased with Henry's portrayal of her, and Anais and Henry have many arguments about their styles of writing on a backdrop of a Bohemian lifestyle in Paris.
Novelist Catherine Tramell is once again in trouble with the law, and Scotland Yard appoints psychiatrist Dr. Michael Glass to evaluate her. Though, like Detective Nick Curran before him, Glass is entranced by Tramell and lured into a seductive game.