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Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhat's Happening to Tom?What's Wrong with Homosexuality?When Jeff Comes HomeWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen the Piano StopsWhere Do We Fall When We Fall in Love?Who Has What?Who's Been Sleeping in Your HeadWilhelm ReichWired for IntimacyWomen and Child Sexual AbuseWomen and MadnessWritten in the FleshZen Sex
This sexual self-help book inspired
by Eastern practices of Tantra, Tao, and the Kama Sutra is mildly informative
and entertaining.† It is illustrated
with tasteful monochrome photographs of attractive couples engaged in sexual
play.† The text is written in
straightforward language, introducing a few Eastern words and ideas.† The explanations are so simple that they
inevitably miss out complexities of actual thought, since they are making generalizations
about many civilizations over many centuries.†
For example, Aldred writes, "In the ancient traditions of Egypt,
Greece, Arabia, India, Tibet, and China, woman was considered the initiator of
love, the embodiment of sensuality, and the guardian of the creative
potential."† There is probably some
truth to this, but to give an obvious counter example, in ancient Greece, at
least according to some interpreters, only men were thought to be capable of true
love for each other.†
The book uses the terminology of
"the lingam" to refer to the penis, and "the yoni" for the
vulva and the vagina.† According to
Aldred, the Kama Sutra has three categories of lingam: the hare, the bull, and
the horse, and furthermore, it claims that penis size is correlated with body
size, intelligence, character, lovemaking style, and semen taste.† Similarly, the yoni is typed as the deer,
the mare, or the elephant, according to its depth, and this is correlated with
the woman's body, enthusiasm for sex, character, and the scent of her
"love juice."† Presumably most
readers will just take this to be a bit of fun, and certainly it would be
foolish to take it seriously.† But then
what other parts of the book are worth taking seriously?†† For those who are prone to giggling and
reading sentences from self-help out loud in silly voices, there's plenty of
material here.† To take a sentence from
the section on "Yoni Kissing": "When a woman's lover experiences
her shrine as a meditation, touches it, tastes it, smells it, and enters it,
something magical happens."† There
is plenty of practical advice about how to perform cunnilingus in following
paragraphs, but it seems very similar to what one would find in any other sex
manual.† The list of "Love
Positions" is similar very much what you'll find in other manuals,
although the names of the positions, such as "Pair of Tongs,"
"Geese Flying on Their Backs," "Mandarin Ducks," and
"Dark Cicada Fixed to a Tree" do make them sound more exotic.† Other parts of the book are quite modern,
and it's a little puzzling quite where they fit with ancient sexual
practices.† Presumably the Kama Sutra
didn't refer to the Hitachi Magic Wand or Astroglide, and it would be
surprising if it mentioned vibrating cock rings too.† That's not to say that Sextasy should not discuss these
things, but it would be interesting to have more explanation of how they relate
to the Eastern themes.†
So Sextasy seems light on
the Eastern themes, and very ordinary as a sex manual.† Some couple may find it entertaining, but it
is very unlikely to be genuinely helpful or enlightening to anyone who has
previously browsed through any other self-help books on sexuality.
© 2005 Christian Perring. All
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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