The trouble with sex (manuals)

Paul Winner criticizes sex manuals, among other things, in an article entitled “Plato’s Retreat.” Here’s his scathing take on Five Minutes to Orgasm Every Time You Make Love (a “bold but simple 3-step program”), which he describes as:

a work that examines—unscientifically—what the female orgasm is all about, yet one feels that if Hutchins had removed her own anecdotal philosophy the book could have been much, much shorter. Like, eight pages. Published on the cheap by some press in Grand Prairie, Texas, it posits a few theories as to why today’s society doesn’t value female orgasms, then why today’s men don’t much care to learn the techniques of arousal, and then, 114 pages later, instructs its female readers to do three things the next time they’re having sex: get on top, fantasize and rub where it feels good. Rub it a lot. The content is about as thin as the production values: spare, unfrilly, no color—though the cheapness lends the book a kind of underground, conspiracy-nut authority. How else is one supposed to feel reading pages that look fresh from a mimeograph, with random leaps into the capital: “ . . . for a significant number of us orgasm is JUST PLAIN DIFFICULT.” The author falls back on this shouting every other page (stimulation FEELS GOOD, the missionary position is for WIVES), especially in the second-person address (YOU can achieve it).


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