Sex Guides? How About The Last Word?

I currently have no fewer than a half dozen open/opened/started/unfinished documents on my desktop. I’m flummoxed, at a loss for words, of late.

I’m new. That’s the problem. I’m popping the employment cherry at a new place of business and it’s taken the cocky surety from my swagger. Heck, I’ve even broke out in a few “but I’m 33!” stress pimples!

But I have the distinction of being a completely different kind of person than all my coworkers. We’re all artistic, to be sure, but I’m that intellectual, cerebral artist with a keen eye for analysis. I’ve been a bookkeeper in the past, is what I’m saying, and can finagle my way through computer applications of all sorts. They’re all the less-linear types. It’s making me think a lot about learning styles, because, hey, I’m at an art school every day now.

So, learning styles. I learn by doing. I’m one of those girls who buys the cookbooks with the pretty pictures. The only recipe book without pictures that gets used is The Daily Soup Cookbook and that’s because, well, how could I not use it? But I learn very visually. I also learn by being given great detail. If I understand why something works as it does, I’ll be able to do it better. It’s not merely a follow-the-technique thing for me. I’m all about reason, cause, and effect.

I’ve been leafing through the really great Susan Craine Bakos’ book, The Sex Bible, thinking how disappointed I am that it’s not the perfect sex book. Damned good, I’ll give it that. But not perfect.

Perfect would mean it’d be at the very least a compendium. But a compendium is often a concise form of a more exhaustive work. Kind of like the Oxford Pocket English Dictionary versus the all-powerful true 26-volume OED. (If you’ve never read Simon Winchester’s brilliant look at the birth of the OED, you should.)

No, what I think would really be perfect is a sex book that’s encyclopedic with a thesaurus-like “concept” index.

Concept 110 Bondage: The practice of being physically restrained, as with cords or handcuffs, as a means of attaining sexual gratification. See sadism, masochism, leather, restraint, submissive, dominant, slave, et al.

Yeah, see, what we need is a reference geek to go and make the uber-sex book. There are some great fucking books out there (literally), like The Guide to Getting it On and this, the new Bakos’ burst of brilliance, The Sex Bible, but there’s no be-all, end-all to the good word of sex, is there?

What we really, really need is a sex encyclopedia with a concept index, thorough annotation, and comprehensive cross-reference capacity. We need the ghost of Kinsey to rise up and inspire a new kind of sex book.

Yes, yes, yes, all the information is out there. Yes, one could have a nice little section of their bookshelf piled with everything from Games for Lovers to Play through to Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask, but in this day and age of the 550-square-foot apartments, who has the space? And books are better than computers when it comes to sex savvy because it’s a more organic, physical experience. There’s something sadly disconnected about learning about sexuality through this medium (but you should keep reading me!) while there’s something pretty hot about lying naked in bed and letting a finger trace down the gorgeous colour photo pages in The Sex Bible. And it’s hotter to have a book in bed with a lover, over which you scheme and plot your future antics, than to be tabbing through webpages at a boring desk. Now maybe you’re on the desk, and that’s another story altogether.

But the sex encyclopedia would probably not be a hot read. Or would it? Ah, have I ever got an idea or two about that. That’s for another day, another story.

My little lit-chick writer-girl fantasies, though, have it as an anthology spearheaded by Alfred C. Kinsey about sex, to which sex writers of all kinds contribute bits on different sexual moves, techniques, positions, fantasies, all that, and there are glossy photo prints all over the place, with an assortment of real bodies photographed in beautiful ways. There’d be comprehensive indexes, definitions, explicit basics, and everything from beginners’ need-to-know through to advanced savvy. It’d be published in conjunction with Taschen or Phaidon and would be hundreds of pages. It’d be a discussion of sexuality, a look at the psychology behind the physiology, a look at the sociology of it, too. It’d be every aspect of sex all wrapped up in one package. It’d be expensive, a monolith. A status symbol in better bedrooms everywhere.

Fat fucking chance that’ll come about, but a book geek of a girl can dream, can’t she?

You tell me, what are sex guides missing?

And for tomorrow, probably a redux treatment on my two cents about why Valentine’s day is the biggest fucking joke ever. I’m not wild about the day. Commercial propaganda, yada, yada. Or maybe I’ll surprise myself and write something entirely different. Tune in and find out.

Photo’s from The Sex Bible.