We continue to believe that there is such a thing as “too much sex”, as if sex itself is a problem. I don’t think sex is a problem. I think the problem is that people make lousy choices.
Yes: if you want a daily dose of thought-provoking imagery, do sign up for her feed: @DrGloriaBrame . Its definitely NSFW. But its also always interesting: erotica with a twist.
Sex sells – even when its sensible
Back, though, to “The Truth”. Like all such books, it falls between two stools. On the one hand, the mere fact that it mentions the smut-word means that all publicity almost inevitably falls into the category of nudge-nudge wink-wink naughtiness: a sort of tacit acceptance that everything to do with sex automatically places it outside of everyday decency.
Which is ironic. For the book itself is a cornucopia of experience and utter common sense about an activity that has pre-occupied mankind since cavemen learnt to draw. Not only: but its core message is laden with commonsense: that one of the main problems with sex is not sex itself, but the taboos and preconceptions with which society has chosen to load it down.
I love this book. Had I not the privilege of a review copy, I might actually have broken with tradition and shelled out hard cash to buy my own personal copy.
First, because the language is simple, forthright, direct: an absolute joy to read, treating subjects too often shrouded in euphemism with an honesty they all too often lack.
Ms Brame asks – cogently – just how normal is “normal”, suggesting that on the evidence available, the reproductive model (RM) of sex as something set aside for making babies and maybe elevated into “something special”, is NOT the usual. That people in general experience a range of desires, attractions and paraphilias that transcend RM normality.
There is a neat opening discourse on masturbation. A fascinating history lesson that begins with the origins of the myth that masturbation is debilitating (its not: Ms B cites 18 solid, researched reasons why orgasm is actually good for your health) and works its way up to the incredible contribution made by sex crank (and cereal dynasty founder) Kellogg who believed that if only people would eat enough of his cornflakes, they would no longer feel the need to sap their strength through masturbation.
On through bizarre experiments with goat glands and monkey testicles.
On again to 19th century medics who, over-turning a previous medical ignorance of female sexuality, prescribed “pelvic massage”, delivered by selfsame medics – in a most professional manner, obviously! – to induce “hysterical paroxysms” (aka orgasm) as a cure for “hysteria”.
On again through much more modern and more tragic quackery: the fact that as recent as 1961, the American Psychiatric Association – the same body now trying to define “sexual addiction” as a disorder, and to bring transsexuality and homosexuality back into the fold as problematic – regarded masturbation as disease.
And on into case study after case study revealing how individuals suffering from allegedly sexual issues in their relationships weren’t: rather, they were suffering from relationship issues and, in many cases, they were suffering from social prejudices in respect of their own sexuality.
Just buy it: NOW!
This – the first of what is promised to be a series on the subject – is a breath of fresh air. I have one minor quibble – and that is Ms Brame’s delight at the role played by Freud in sexual enlightenment. Sorry, no: for me, Freud will always remain one of the bad guys.
But otherwise, I haven’t enjoyed a book so much in a long time – and would thoroughly recommend it to friends – but not necessarily all my relatives. If your sex life works, its an interesting read: and if your sex life doesn’t, then this (including some very handy self-help exercises at the back) might be a start to understanding why not.
The Truth About Sex, A Sex Primer for the 21st Century Volume I: Sex and the Self. It costs approx. $18 to order it online now.