Brenda Love’s Encyclopedia Of Unusual Sex Practices
The Encyclopedia Of Unusual Sex Practices is a must read for kinky people.
I wish that every little how-to essay in the world didn’t have to be inflated to biblical proportions and sold as more important to human history than the invention of the toilet brush. That’s why I cringed when my mail slot creaked open and something dropped through with the title The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. Well, Brenda Love, the author and editor of this collection, did better than I anticipated. I had neither heard of nor imagined many of the fascinating practices described here. How about nosophilia- being aroused by the knowledge that your partner is terminally ill; kokigami-the Japanese art of decorating the genitals with ornate paper costumes; or psychrocism-stimulation from being cold or seeing someone else who is cold.
A few practices are even more arcane, like the use of bee stings on the penis to swell its dimensions and prolong orgasm, or the idea of permanently inserting pearls or bells under the skin of the penis for extra stimulation. We’re talking about a great bathroom book-open to almost any page and you’ll find yourself fascinated. Whether or not you want to trust this book as an authority is another matter. The editor sets out to describe the various practices without passing judgment on them, although she succeeds better in keeping a straight face with more extreme behaviors.
The closer we get to the mainstream the more she allows her own feelings to show. Thus, she goes no further to discourage cannibalism for sexual thrills than to include a cautionary note: “Anthropophagy is illegal and, because it involves body fluids, is dangerous….” When, on the other hand, her topic is love, she begins with a digest of sociological studies, trying to keep an objective stance, but finally breaks down into Dear Abby lecturing: “Recognition of specific needs that are being gratified by a partner is important before a commitment is made. Ask whether the needs are temporary and rational. Also, are there other methods that could be used to satisfy them?” The study of sex is still, God help us, considered an oh-so- shady business.
Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices
This unusual volume contains more than 700 entries and 150 original and sometimes shocking illustrations. Brenda Love covers strange methods of arousal as will as hundreds of bizarre sex activities such as erotic balls, and love potions. Writing exhaustively and without bias, Love has created a reference source for those intrigued with the full range of human sexual expression.
Although there are more books about sex on the market than Taylor Swift has ex boyfriends, the experts disagree on just about everything. Brenda Love draws liberally from, and attributes freely to, some of the best students of the subject, from Kratft-Ebing and Kinsey to Masters and Johnson. The Bibliography is an interesting read in itself, and assembling the referenced documents was, no doubt, a major feat. Nonetheless, try to find two authors who agree on questions as basic as whether women have a G-spot. Do you want a medical, philosophical or political answer? Brenda Love, incidentally, in her entry on anatomy comes out for the G-spot, although she avoids giving the subject its own entry. Because of the disagreement of experts, compiling an encyclopedia, especially one in which one person will write all the essays, becomes a personal process, subject to whim, anecdote and prejudice.
Many of the longer, more detailed and more interesting essays in this volume involve descriptions of specific sexual scenarios gleaned from personal interviews or stories. But there’s a lot in this encyclopedia that isn’t bizarre at all. It is perhaps a measure of how little we’ve progressed that the word “unusual” has to be included in the title of a book which includes entries on such behaviors as oral sex and lesbianism. This book by no means covers everything but I recommend it, both as interesting reading, and as a jumping off place for further research.
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