email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
269 Amazing Sex GamesA History of MarriageA Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth CenturyActionAll the WayAmerica UnzippedAmerica UnzippedAmerica's Sexual TransformationAmerican EugenicsAmerican GirlsAmerican HookupAn Interpretation of DesireAnarchism & SexualityAnatomy of a BoyfriendAnatomy of LoveAnthony GoicoleaAnticlimaxArt and HomosexualityArt/PornAssuming a BodyAutoportraitBachelors and BunniesBecoming OrgasmicBehind the Red DoorBest Sex Writing 2005Better Sex Through YogaBetter Sex Through YogaBetter Than EverBetween Mom and JoBeyond Diversity DayBeyond SexualityBeyond ToleranceBig Porn IncBill HensonBodies in DoubtBody ImagesBonkBoys Don't CryBreasts - A DocumentaryBrothelBuying SexCase Studies in Communication about SexCase Studies in Sexual DevianceCaught in the WebCelibaciesChildren and SexualityChildren and the Politics of SexualityChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChristy ReportClay's WayClinical Manual of Women's Mental HealthClose toYouClumsyCold HitCollege SexComing of Age in AmericaConfessions of the Other MotherCybersexCyborgasmDare... to Make Love with 2, 3, 4... or MoreDare... to Try BisexualityDating: Philosophy for EveryoneDeadly ButterflyDebating Same-Sex MarriageDeep GossipDeparting from DevianceDesire, Love, and IdentityDigital DiariesDilemmas of DesireDirty MindsDirty StoriesDisorders Of DesireDisorders of Sex Development:Doing ItDoing ItDoing It Down UnderDown and Dirty Sex SecretsDude, You're a FagEarly Embraces IIIEmerald City BluesEmotionally InvolvedEnjoying Guilty PleasuresErotic CapitalErotic InnocenceErotic PassionsEthics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about ChildrenEveryday PornographyEvolution and Human Sexual BehaviorExploring TranssexualismFade to BlackFagbugFaking ItFamilies Like MineFast GirlsFinal JeopardyFinding H. F.Fire on the Mountain DVDFor Lesbian ParentsFor The Bible Tells Me SoForbiddenFrictionFrom Disgust to HumanityFrom Shame to SinFuckologyGay, Straight, and the Reason WhyGender in the MirrorGender OutlawsGeography ClubGetting RealGetting the Love You WantGirls & SexGirls Gone MildGirls Gone SkankGLBTQGoddess WorshipGoing DownGood GirlsGood PornGood Sex IllustratedGreat Answers to Difficult Questions About SexGuide To Getting It OnHandbook New Sexuality StudiesHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHard to GetHardcore from the HeartHear Us Out!HeterosyncraciesHit & MissHomosexualitiesHookedHooking UpHow Sex Became a Civil LibertyHow Sex ChangedHow Sex WorksHow To Be GayHow to Do Things with Pornography How to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Have Magnificent SexHow to Make Great Love to a ManHow to Make Great Love to a WomanHow to Make Love Like a Porn StarHow to Think More About SexHypnography for MenHypnography for WomenHysterical MenI'd Rather Eat ChocolateI'll Be Your MirrorIf Men Could TalkImpotenceIn a Queer VoiceIn Praise of the WhipIn the Mood, AgainInsatiable WivesIntense Games DVDInvestigating Young People's Sexual CulturesIt's Perfectly NormalIt's Perfectly NormalItís Your HourJane Sexes It UpJock SturgesJust Between UsKama-Sutra--The Secrets to the Art of LoveKids Gone WildLegalizing ProstitutionLegalizing ProstitutionLet's Get This StraightLets Talk about SexLetters to Penthouse Vol. 50Likely to DieLittle ChicagoLoose GirlLosing Matt ShepardLoveLove and DesireLove and SexLove JunkieLove Lust DesireLove SickLustMad for FoucaultMagical ThinkingMaking American BoysMaking Babies the Hard WayMaking Chastity SexyMaking Peace with PornMaking ScenesMale SexualityMalefemaleMaster BreastsMating in CaptivityMedicalized MasculinitiesMelancholia and MoralismMenMental Health Issues in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities MiddlesexMoney ShotMoral Panics, Sex PanicsMy Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me UpMy HeartbeatMy Horizontal LifeName All the AnimalsNatural BeautyNerveNerveNew Sex Now DVDNightswimmingNone of the AboveNormalNormalNot GayNot The Marrying KindNot Under My RoofNothing PinkOedipus WreckedOn Being RapedOne Hot SecondOne Hour in ParisOpenOrgasmOrgasm Inc.OrgasmologyOrgasmsOver 100 Truly Astonishing Sex TipsOverexposedPeekPeriod PiecesPervPhilosophizing About Sex Philosophy of Love, Sex, and MarriagePin-up GrrrlsPINSPlease Don't Kill the FreshmanPolicing SexualityPolyamory in the 21st CenturyPornPorn NationPorn StudiesPorn UniversityPornifiedPornlandPornographyPornographyPornography, Sex, and FeminismPosition Of The Day PlaybookPray the Gay AwayPredatorsPremarital Sex in AmericaPrinciples and Practice of Sex TherapyPrivate Dicks - Men ExposedPrivate Practices DVDProblem GirlsPrudePsychopathia SexualisQueer PhilosophyRapeRape Is RapeRated X - A Journey Through PornRazmatazRecruiting Young LoveRedefining GirlyRedefining RapeRegulating SexRethinking Gender and Sexuality in ChildhoodRethinking RapeRunning with ScissorsSatan's Sex BookScreening SexSelling Sex ShortSexSex & Single GirlsSex (Ed)Sex and SpiritSex and the American TeenagerSex and the SoulSex and the Soul, Updated EditionSex and WarSex at DawnSex by NumbersSex DetoxSex Fiends, Perverts, and PedophilesSex in CrisisSex ObjectSex OffendersSex on the BrainSex PositionsSex Q & ASex, Family, and the Culture WarsSex, or the UnbearableSex, Therapy, and KidsSex, Time and PowerSextasySexting and Young PeopleSexual ArtSexual Boundary ViolationsSexual DevianceSexual DisordersSexual EcstasySexual EthicsSexual FluiditySexual IntelligenceSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapySexual Orientation and School PolicySexual PleasureSexual PredatorsSexual Teens, Sexual MediaSexuality in AdolescenceSexuationSexyBookShameShamelessShy GirlSlutWalkSmall FavorsSmutSocial Control of Sex OffendersSome Assembly RequiredSplit ScreenStir-FryStraight to JesusStrange BedfellowsStripped BareSurviving Sexual ViolenceSymptoms of Being HumanTalkTalk to Me FirstTechniques of PleasureThe Anthropology of SexThe BabiesThe Better Sex Guide to the Kama SutraThe Big Book of PornThe Birth of the PillThe Blue Moon Erotic Reader IIIThe BodyThe Breast BookThe Breath of Tantric LoveThe Busy Couple's Guide to Great SexThe Case of the Female OrgasmThe Chemistry Between UsThe Clitoral TruthThe Education of SophieThe Emergence of SexualityThe End Of AliceThe End of SexThe Erotic EdgeThe Erotic Lives of WomenThe Essential KamasutraThe Fate of GenderThe First Man-Made ManThe First TimeThe Gay Baby BoomThe Good Vibrations Guide to SexThe Happy Hook-UpThe Hite ReportThe Humble Little CondomThe Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive OrgasmThe Illustrated Story of OThe Love CureThe Madness of WomenThe Men They Will BecomeThe Mirror of LoveThe Miseducation of Cameron PostThe Moral Panics of SexualityThe Naked Truth About SexThe Nature of Sexual DesireThe New Erotic PhotographyThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Only Girl in the CarThe Order of the Poison OakThe Origins of SexThe Other HollywoodThe Other PlaceThe Other Side of DesireThe Perils of MasculinityThe Perversion of YouthThe Philosophy of PornographyThe Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary ReadingsThe Pleasure's All MineThe Politics Of LustThe Porn TrapThe Pornographer's GriefThe Pornography IndustryThe Praeger Handbook of TranssexualityThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Purity MythThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Right to Be ParentsThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Addiction WorkbookThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Sex MythThe Shared HeartThe Sleep of ReasonThe Smart Girl's Guide to PornThe SurrenderThe Ten Minute Sexual SolutionThe Tenth CircleThe Transformations of GwenThe Transformations of GwenThe Trauma MythThe Ultimate Guide to Sex and DisabilityThe Vagina MonologuesThe ValleyThe Violence of CareThe Virgin BlueThe Virginity ClubThings Tom LikesThinking KinkThinking XXXToo Hot to HandleTransTransTransgender Children and YouthUltimate JudgementUltimate SexUndoing GenderUnlikelyUntangling the WebVirginVirgin NationVirgin Sex for GirlsVirgin Sex for GuysVirginity LostWhat Women WantWhat's Happening to My Body? 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
For those whose only goal is to sell books, choosing a universally
exciting topic is a good first step. Sex, for example, never seems
to go out of style. The word alone is guaranteed to capture attention.
In the long run, though, it's helpful if the book has something
more to offer than a mere hot-button subject. For example, good
writing, new information, interesting new presentation of timeless
material-something. Sadly, the titillatingly titled Erotic
Passions by Kenneth Ray Stubbs and a couple of friends of
his, never goes far beyond his pride in having chosen this topic.
On its cover, this book claims to be "A Guide to Orgasmic
Massage, Sensual Bathing, Oral Pleasuring, and Ancient Sexual
Positions." That's overstating it a bit. You are not likely
to come away expert at all of those things if you do buy the book.
On the other hand, that description does give some indication
of the hodge-podge that follows. An Appendix called "A Philosophy
of Pleasure" attempts, in two pages, to explain Zen Buddhism
and Chinese Taoism as they apply to sexuality. Oh yeah, and to
everything else. A couple more appendices follow, one that we
are to read only when we are "feeling academically inclined,"
and one that cursorily takes on the issue of safe sex ("Another
alternative is to be sexually exclusive with one person . . .")
But none of those topics are integrated into the body of the book.
Instead, Erotic Passions offers some groundbreaking generalizations:
"Even with religious and parental ghosts lurking in the back
of many of our minds, we still enjoy sex . . .," some startling
news: "Fantasy games are fun," and some trenchant advice:"
Use your imagination."
Use yours, Buddy, thinks the reader. You're charging $17.95
for this thin book. Tell us something we don't know.
This is not to say that all of his tips are worthless. Some carefully
diagrammed techniques for female and male genital massage may
give you ideas you hadn't thought of (if you are new to sexual
play), or offer a little refresher in basic anatomy (if you are
not). Still, given that there is unlikely to be anything truly
new under the sexual sun, the reason to read a new text on the
subject would be that it described things in a way that was more
beautiful, more creative, more something, than works that
have come before. Stubbs's book does not bring such gifts. His
list of massage techniques, for example, includes "The Scrotum
Ring" and "The Hair Tease," and there's nothing
wrong with these activities in practice. How much more intriguing,
though, to read of "The Kiss That Awakens" or a method
of sensual nibbling called "The Coral and the Jewel,"
from the Kama Sutra.
Stubbs gives us awkward sentences that often seem confused about
how many people are involved: "The greatest barrier to experiencing
pleasure is our mind." "To be a better lover, we could
linger together a while after making love." Nor does his
penchant for self-aggrandizement make the book any more appealing.
For instance, the brief explanation of the G Spot may be helpful
to the uninformed, but then Stubbs quickly follows that with a
story of the "S Spot," named, of course, for himself.
(It's in the neck.) Similarly, a note on the dedication page,
warns that "Not all the sexual positions in this book are
for every body. Some of the positions were accomplished only after
years of yogic practice." Aside from a couple of pages, near
the end, of unattributed illustrations of cavorting Asians, it
is difficult to say what "positions" he is referring
to. Nothing in the text seems difficult to achieve, with or without
yoga. ("Now quietly cuddle up next to your lover. Softly
embrace." ". . . gently slither a finger up and down
between the toes . . .") Maybe it took you years of
yoga to accomplish these things, but don't pass judgment on us,
thinks a reader. The reader may also, at this point, be moved
to refer to advice from the Kama Sutra: "The following
kinds of men may be taken up with, simply for the purpose of getting
their money: . . .Men who are always praising themselves."
The attractive, sensual, if simple, illustrations by Kyle Spencer
are the most appealing part of Erotic Passions, but without
beautiful language to accompany them, they seem a little lonely.
Stubbs's awkward statement about the importance of the mind, referred
to above, is well worth his consideration as well as ours. It
is the mind that transforms our sexuality into something
beyond "The Juicer" (another of his physical techniques)
and makes it worth celebrating and savoring. This work of his,
unfortunately, delivers little to the hungry mind.
© 2001 Heather Liston. First Serial Rights.
Heather Liston studied
Religion at Princeton University and earned a Masters degree from
the NYU Graduate School of Business Administration. She is the
Managing Director of the National Dance Institute of New Mexico,
and writes extensively on a variety of topics. Her book reviews
and other work have appeared in Self, Women Outside,
The Princeton Alumni Weekly, Appalachia, Your
Health and elsewhere.