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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 FleshYou Know Me WellZen Sex
At 782 pages, the Guide to Getting It On must be one of the larger sex manuals. With 58 chapters, and an additional 42 page glossary, and the whole book being mostly text, it's rather daunting. I don't imagine that many people will read the book from start to finish, but it is also not such an easy book just to dip into. The writing style is casual and breezy. It's not going to suit everyone, because it's quite eccentric. Consider some of the chapter titles: "Barbie the Icon -- No Parents & No Panties," "What's Inside a Girl?," "Sunsets, Orgasms, & Hand Grenades," "Techno Breasts & Weenie Angst," "Fun with Your Foreskin," "Dyslexia of the Penis." Obviously they give some indication about what they are about, but they are not transparent. Furthermore, the index is just 7 pages long, so it can't be exhaustive. This all makes the book difficult to approach.
Other aspects will make readers warm to the book. There are wonderful drawings by comic book and graphic artist Dærick Gröss; they are in a mixture of comic book styles, medical, and artistic. The book also includes many quotations from regular people talking about their own experience. Joannides' writing is pretty easy-going: he keeps his sentences short and uses everyday language. Most parts of sexuality are addressed: not just the mechanics, but the psychology, variations, virginity, STDs, pregnancy, sex for people with disabilities, sex during illness, gay and lesbian sex, sex with yourself, and sex in cyberspace. Joannides knows few taboos and is willing to discuss just about everything. The book contains answers to just about every sexual question you ever had, but the trouble is finding where the answers are. The related website gives sample chapters and a great deal of related information, and also conveys Joannides' style, so if you like the website, you will probably like the book.
[Note: the fifth edition of Guide to Getting It On has been reorganized and expanded. We hope to review it soon]
Link: Book companion website
© 2007 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.
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