Review - Ultimate Sex by Anne J. Hooper DK Publishing, 2001 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. Apr 21st 2003 (Volume 7, Issue 17)
Let me preface my review by noting that
I am probably the last person you would want to ask for advice about sex, and I
make no claims to be a sexpert.So I
come to this book as a layman (no pun intended).Let me also add that I’m there's no reason whatsoever to think
that I'm at all representative of the more general public.What is be obvious to most people may be
news to me, and where an idea seems right to me, many other people could
disagree totally.Nevertheless, I will
attempt to be fair in my assessment of this book.
Anne Hooper is a sex therapist and
the director of a clinic for sexual problems.Ultimate Sex contains 23 chapters each addressing a different
question that she has found her clients asking.How can I overcome my partner's inhibitions?How can I make lovemaking more
intimate?How can I revive a partner's
waning interest?How can we find time
to be lovers?How can sex make us feel
whole?How can I get over sexual
rejection?And so on.Each chapter starts with a brief case study
of a heterosexual couple and their problem.For example, Louis is a 29-year-old stockbroker, and his girlfriend
Charlotte is a 25-year-old librarian with a strictly religious background, and
he finds her very inhibited.Accompanying the study is a therapist's assessment about how best to
deal with that case.Hooper also gives
general recommendations, such as project a sexier image, use relaxation
exercises, give vent to sexual expression, and dress to stimulate erotic touch.Each chapter has plenty of illustrations,
photographs of an adult couple, showing both topless, but never revealing any
genitals.Judging from their looks, the
models in the photographs are mostly in their twenties, and are close to
conventional standards of attractiveness, at least for the early 1990s.Most are white, and all are
able-bodied.Some chapters have more
explicit drawn illustrations about how to perform some sexual acts.
The book is nicely produced, with a
"coffee-table" feel to it, and is not at all seedy.The photographs are tastefully done and the
large format of the book makes it easy to browse.
The book says very little about
serious sexual problems, and makes no attempt to provide advice for people who
are gay, lesbian, transgendered, cross-dressers, or who have unusual
fetishes.It provides no advice for
people with chronic illnesses, disabilities, mental disorders, or unusual
body-types.There's no mention of
Viagra or how to cope with side-effects of the many medications that can
affects one's sexual abilities.
On the whole then, Ultimate Sex seems
of limited use, but it is possible that some people may find it useful.Its frequent mention of meditation and the
use of erotic touch seem like good ideas, and it's conceivable that people may
be inspired by the many pages of illustrations of different positions for
intercourse.Hooper shows some
awareness of the many emotional issues that may interfere in a couple's sex
life, and provides some hints about how to sort through them.Personally, I would not turn to this book as
a first resource for dealing with sexual problems, because I would not identify
myself as the kind of reader it is aimed at.It seems a little conventional and modest in its approach to explaining
issues, and it the photographs of couples struck me as unintentionally funny.I think I'd prefer a guide with more humor
and more details about how real people deal with their problems
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is
Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island, and editor
of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on philosophical
issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.
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