July 1, 2009

Book Review: Good Vibrations Guide to Sex

Posted in 1, sex, Sex Toys tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:49 am by Femme Mystique

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What is it?
The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex is a 300+ page mega resource of sexual knowledge from the Good Vibrations company.

Who is its target audience?
All people who are even remotely interested in sex.  It deals with sexual issues of males, females, young people, seniors, people with disabilities, sexual assault survivors, and everyone in between. The book is written in a way that is humorous and accessible while still providing a ton of information. Did you know that vibrators were invented in 1869 to treat “hysteria” in women, which was thought to be the womb’s reaction to sexual deprivation. Doctors would use the vibrators to produce “hysterical paroxysm”, known today as an orgasm.

How is it laid out?
The book is separated into 20 chapters, each with several subsections.  The chapters are:

1.  About Good Vibrations
2.  Sexual Self-Image
3.  Sexual Anatomy
4.  Sex Over a Lifetime
5.  Communication
6.  Masturbation
7.  Lubrication
8.  Creative Touching
9.  Oral Sex
10.  Vibrators
11.  Penetration
12.  Dildos
13.  Anal Toys
14.  Fantasies
15.  Books, Magazines, and Videos
16.  World Wide Web
17.  S/M and Power Play
18.  Where Sex Toys Come From
19.  Safer Sex
20.  Censorship

These chapters are sprinkled with illustrations, the most helpful being a comparison of aroused and unaroused vulvae, circumcised and uncircumcised penises, and how to put on a condom.

Is it queer-inclusive?
Good Vibrations has been diligent about including queer sex issues in this volume.  The illustration of fellatio, for example, shows two men instead of a heterosexual couple.  Similarly another image shows two women using a double dildo, which appears to be the Nexus. The book also lists many good resources for queer people and touches on using toys for gender expression.

What is the quality of the information?
There is a lot of great information contained within this book, with the only real glaring error I could find being the suggestion of wearing two condoms at once, which is a very unsafe idea. Besides this statement, the rest of the safer sex chapter is exceptionally well written.

What about toys?
This book is several years old but gives a nod to some classic favorites such as the Hitachi Magic Wand, Rabbit Pearl, Wahl, Eroscillator, Nexus, Fleshlight, and the Tristan anal plug. It refers to cyberskin as one of the “latest” innovations in sex toys. It has helpful information about the maintenance of sex toy materials and unique ways to use these and other similar toys.

Is it worth it?
Absolutely. I don’t think this book was intended to be read cover-to-cover, but it is a well organized go-to manual for many sexual questions or new ways to spice up your sex life.


product picture
Book by Anne Semans / Cathy Winks
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Cleis Press Inc.

June 26, 2009

Confessions of an Ex-Catholic: Sex and Guilt

Posted in 1, Gender Politics, sex, Sex Education tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:58 pm by Femme Mystique

Religion and mainstream media have ingrained in us very disturbing attitudes about women and sexual pleasure.  If we as women like sex too much, we’re slutty and whorish.  If we don’t want to have sex or don’t enjoy the sex we’re having, we’re uptight, frigid bitches.

It has also been taught to us that we are not the focus of sex.  For many of us, receiving pleasure is a source of guilt–what if the other person isn’t enjoying this?  Do I look OK?  Do I smell OK?  Does my partner like the sounds I make?  And, of course, am I taking too long?

A quick internet search produced a ton of results of women who were afraid they were taking too long.  One even said her partner rarely tried, and she didn’t blame him.  This attitude is pervasive even in women who have sex with other women.  Our roles as pleasers of others too often come before our roles as recipients of pleasure.

Many women are not just not having orgasms though, they are going a step further by faking it.  An article in Slate reports that 72% of women have faked it in their current or most recent relationship.  Still more have likely faked it at least once in their sexual histories.  What causes faked orgasms though?  I speculate that it is a combination of guilt about the time we’re taking and an unwillingness to hurt our partners’ egoes.  Faking it allows us to avoid confrontation, but hinders us from getting what we want.

I wish we could free ourselves from the cycle of sexual guilt and dissatifaction.  It’s obvious that attitudes need to change, but how do we go about making those changes?

June 1, 2009

Antidepressants and Sex

Posted in Sex Education tagged , , , , , , , at 11:17 pm by Femme Mystique

Antidepressants are a tricky thing to deal with when it comes to sex.  One of the most common types of antidepressants, serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), works by raising serotonin levels.  Conversely, these drugs lower dopamine levels, which are responsible for a person’s sex drive.  According to an MSNBC article, the number of SSRI users who experience sexual dysfunction is between 50 and 70%.

In addition to decreased libido, antidepressants can cause decreased sensation, delayed orgasm, and a host of other sexual side effects that are less than fun.  For many of us, however, antidepressants are a necessary evil, so we must learn to deal with the unpleasant side effects.

Several sites I have seen suggest that the majority of people see improvement of their sexual symptoms with ginkgo biloba.  Others supplement testosterone or aphrodisiacs.

For those of you who take antidepressants, what do you find helps the pesky sexual side effects?