Pierre Des Esseintes's Dare to Try Bisexuality is a short book that focuses on bisexual sex and the advantages of bisexuality. Des Esseintes only discusses bisexuality and distinguishes bisexuality from heterosexuality and homosexuality.
The book discusses everything from the use of the word bisexual, to statistics, research on sexuality and bisexuality, personal stories of interviewees; to tips concerning sexual positions and sexual activity (emphasis is placed on promoting and highlighting the importance of practicing safe and consensual sex). The book also includes a quiz and a description of different categories of bisexuality, while also mentioning that there is no single bisexual category and that bisexual behavior ranges and differs from person to person. It also discusses swinging and bisexual couples to a fairly great extent, mentioning the double standard in which it is more socially approved for women to be bisexual than it is for men.
Des Esseintes writes in a very open manner and does his best to not categorize bisexuality too much while emphasizing the fact that bisexuality is inherently different from heterosexuality and homosexuality. The book is an open and honest discussion about sex and sexuality from the perspective of bisexual preferences and feelings. The use of interviews, quotes, and interviewees stories brings many examples to life and shows the diversity of interests that go along with bisexuality, for both men and women and for different age groups.
On the down side, the book does however focus more on sex than on feelings, emotions or love, which it never really mentions. It discusses the many advantages of bisexual sex, but hardly mentions the advantages of bisexual love. In fact, this book more or less suggests that bisexuality is inherently only about sex, not about love.
Des Esseintes appears to focus more on male bisexuality and sexuality than female sexuality and bisexuality and the tips on how to pleasure your partner appear to focus more on male pleasure and the pleasing of the man than on female pleasure. The sex positions recommended by Des Esseintes and his interviewees also appear to be more focused on male pleasure (one example includes one male being pleasured by two females, even when focus is placed on the woman's bisexuality). The portion of the book that focuses on female bisexuality is shorter and less detailed than the portion focusing on male bisexuality.
Even though Des Esseintes attempts to not generalize or make use of stereotypes, he does not quite do so successfully. Instead, a few stereotypical ideas about male and female sexual activity, level of emotions and sensitivity are mentioned. Finally, Des Esseintes also appears to buy into the stereotyped belief that all women are bisexual.
This book is intended for a mature audience since the language used is highly sexual, sometimes even crude. The descriptions and interviews are sometimes accompanied by illustrations which are also intended for a mature audience. This book would be of interest to individuals who are bisexual or curious about bisexuality. It is not academic as such but is more of a discussion about, and an introduction to, bisexuality. It could be used in the classroom on discussions about sexuality but would be best suited for adult students at the college level.
© 2012 Elin Weiss
Elin Weiss has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Women's Studies from University College Dublin, Ireland.