New books — From the January 2011 issue
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Speaking of how-to books—and pleasant surprises—this month Harper’s was kind enough to send me THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CUNNILINGUS: HOW TO GO DOWN ON A WOMAN AND GIVE HER EXQUISITE PLEASURE (Cleis Press, $16.95), by Violet Blue, now in its second edition. I read it with interest. Blue’s website describes her as “the foremost expert in the field of sex and technology,” a wider field than some readers may expect. She is big on accoutrements:
I don’t know about you, but when the gloves go on I think of a smooth and slippery hand, and I purr. Especially if they’re put on with a devious smile. And when that dam is dangled knowingly before my eyes, my sexy partner is telling me there is no escape from pleasure now—and I melt.
The Ultimate Guide contains no fewer than seven pages of shopping recommendations. As with magazines devoted to home decorating, or cooking shows, it’s not always clear how much of Blue’s advice is actually meant to be followed and how much is meant to inspire envy at other people’s powers of organization. With a little forethought, one might conceivably arrange for a bowl of ice cubes at the bedside, or mentholated breath mints, or clamps, or a rubber “slapper,” but when a tip begins: “In warm water, have a number of items heated and ready: dildos, waterproof vibrators, vegetables,” I give up. I have never gotten a warm vegetable to the dinner table. My sexy partner will have to wait.
Lorin Stein is the editor of The Paris Review.
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