WARNING: This is a review of a book that covers sexual techniques, positions and erotic play. If these topics offend you, please do not read this review.
I am blessed to have a lot of friends, but sometimes I have to question their better judgment when it comes to gift giving. I received Great Sex For Life - Essential Techniques as a gift several years ago. I'd never complained about my sex life, never mentioned this book or even hinted that something like this would appeal to me – but alas – it was given to me wrapped in pretty pink paper with little ducks on it. Pretty sad when you are more impressed with the gift wrapping than the actual present. The premise of the book is simple ... to teach you the art of enhancing your sex life through creative role playing, positions, sensual massage, sexual aids and "experimental sex". For the most part the book has a good bit of information but if you already know the basics, you might find yourself laughing at some of the text.
Great Sex For Life – Essential Techniques
Author Linda Sonntag has penned many books in the area of sexual awareness and education. Some of her most popular books include The Bedside Kama Sutra, Great Sex Techniques and 23 Positions For Pleasure and Passion as well as non-sexual titles. With this release she shows couples how to add a little variety to their sex lives and things that they can do to make ordinary sex a bit more interesting. No, you won't find specific fetishes like latex or shrimping but for the sexual novice this could be a good investment. The book is fairly even with the amount of text and photos it has and, for the most part, the photos are tasteful but do have nudity, depict sexual positions, situations and fantasy role playing. You could find more shocking things in the pages of Penthouse and Hustler but for an educational book, this is pretty “daring”.
There are topics for singles, couples and those that are married with children so there is something for everyone. The book starts off covering the basics of intimacy, how to know if there is a real attraction between two people and how to go about making the first move. This rolls over into relationships, determining if this is a one night stand and how to read someone’s body language to see if they are ready to take things to a more heated level. Again, all this may seem like basic stuff to some people but you have to remember – there are still some virgins out there. You get a nice coverage of the changes that might take place for both a man and woman and how to spot these signs [erection, hard nipples, heavy breathing etc] and when to slow things down a little. Foreplay is covered but it isn’t until later in the book that oral sex and masturbation are tackled so don’t assume that the author has skipped over these subjects. The differences between the male and female orgasms are covered with information about premature ejaculation and how to overcome it tossed in as well. This is a great section for those that are curious about the actual orgasm and how the body reaches one as well as the before and after effects that may occur.
Homosexuality is touched upon briefly but two pages of information about alternative lifestyles isn't nearly enough in this day and age. Remaining politically correct the author says that homosexuality isn’t wrong but for most “it is a passing phase” or experimental. To call this section lacking of information is an understatement. This book is supposed to be informational about intimacy and how to increase the level of enjoyment from sex, why the act of male / male and female / female sex is skipped over is rather insulting in my opinion. Even if you are not homosexual, curious parties might want to know the different techniques that same sex couples engage in and how they could possibly adapt them to their own adventures.
Intimacy, infidelity and jealousy are all clumped together with subject ranging from affairs to when men check out women in public settings. While the information is there to read, the way it is presented is rather unorganized. Some of the things that the author states are just preposterous, "An affair is unlikely to happen in a relationship that is flexible." [p. 40] The last time I checked, even the happiest of couples hit pitfalls when one person had a fling or one night stand. It's only human nature to want to look at other people and if whether or not you choose to act upon those desires or cravings is the real issue. The author doesn't take a stand on which party is wrong when an affair takes place but offers suggestions on how to avoid having one take place and how to go about salvaging a relationship once one does happen.
If you are pregnant and worried about losing your sexual prowess the book offers you some common and safe sexual positions that can be used as well as how to overcome common struggles that accompany sex during pregnancy. If you are pregnant and looking for information about how to have a healthy and safe sex life, this book shouldn’t be something that you invest it. There are only three or four pages of photos and information and that isn’t nearly enough for this subject. On the other hand, this book isn’t topic specific and is only meant to cover the basics of topics in regards to improving sexual enlightenment. Other chapters that might be of interest are dealing with nosy family members and in-laws, how to turf neighbors when they stop by at the wrong time and of course, how to have sex when you have a family. Chances are if you already have children you will know exactly what is covered in this section - wait until they are asleep, keep noises to a minimum and if possible have a relative watch them every few weeks so you can have quality time.
The bulk of the book is dedicated to the different sexual positions that you can explore with a willing partner. I only mention the word willing because without both parties being open to new experiences, there is a good chance that one person might become embarrassed or feel too reserved to fully enjoy new positions and techniques. The lead up to this section goes over sexual etiquette for men and women including hygiene, respecting boundaries and how to stimulate your partner before the act begins. This includes sensual massage, oral sex and masturbation. These three topics are covered nicely but again, these are just small sections that give you the basics. If you are looking for a lot of detail or "how to" advice, you might be better off purchasing a book specifically for these topics.
Sexual Positions & Experimenting
About half of the book is dedicated to learning and exploring new positions. Each one has a photo of a male and female in the position along with text about how the position is started, where it is best carried out and who receives the most amount of stimulation from it. There are a total of twenty positions in this section with some of the more popular ones being missionary, lap, crawl, spread eagle and split level. Chances are that some of these titles might not ring a bell but when you see the photo you’ll say, “Oh, so that's what that's called”. There are also entries for fellatio and cunni-lingus that I thought were a complete waste of space since these were already covered earlier in the book.
Experimental sex, in this book, is rather humorous – especially to anyone that has ever indulged in this type of act. The history of prostitution is provided as well as the dangers of hiring a paid escort for sexual favors. One thing that had me in stitches was that it was always referred to as a "mans game" and that men were the only ones that ever paid for sex. As much as it may shock the author, there are male escorts and prostitutes that service women – although these are often the rich elite women that parade their prizes around and are never referred to as ‘paid tail’. "Having to pay for sex can make a man feel personally undesirable and therefore less masculine" [p. 102] If this is the case, then what prey tell, is dating? But let's not even get on that subject.
Acts of bondage, role playing, domination, swinging and swapping receive a small mention but only in passing. These are reserved for “solid and stable couples” that have a strong base, no jealousy factors and are in a committed but open relationship. Venturing into these areas isn’t for the weak and timid, nor for those that don’t wish to share their partner with another person. Trust is the number one factor when delving into these areas and is something that isn’t stressed enough in the book. The act of tying someone up, binding them to bedposts or watching them have sex with another person isn’t something that will be appealing to most people but it is something that some do enjoy. The fact that the book skips over the whole “trust issue” almost completely is what really infuriates me. If two people in love make the decision to add role playing or bondage to their relationship without first sitting down and discussing boundaries, safe words [a word that is said to have all actins stop immediately] and personal limits – one well planned interlude might be enough to end a relationship. I would have rather seen the entire “alternative lifestyle” section of the book left out than to have it covered so poorly and with such ill advice.
Sexual toys and devices are also equally misrepresented with only a few paragraphs being mentioned about them and how the can be used to improve sexual performance. Topics such as aphrodisiacs, textured condoms, creams and rubs are mentioned but not with any real merit. You’d be better off visiting an adult toys website and reading their informational pages than to waste your time skimming over what’s included in this book. "Water Play" was one that truly took be by surprise. This includes information on how to have sex in the shower, how shampooing can be sensual and safely having sex in the tub or jacuzzi. I can only imagine the hostility that some internet shoppers may experience when looking for books about "water sports" [those who engage in urine play] and ended up ordering this book because this was one of the sections listed. While this is not something that excites or entices me in the least, it would be funny to see their reactions when they get to this chapter and learn about the wonders of aromatherapy and scented conditioners.
The last sections of the book cover forms of birth control, delayed orgasms, masturbation techniques and the different things that people experience after having and orgasm. Some of the information is rather outdated so in regards to birth control you are best to seek the advice of a qualified physician or gynecologist about your options. The pages dealing with post orgasmic euphoria are vague and for the sexual novice might not answer common questions. In my opinion the book could have had a better and more climactic end but again, for the novice, this is an adequate introduction to sex and sexual exploration.
The Bottom Line
As a whole, the book is well rounded and covers a lot of different subjects but in most cases these are only teasers. There are some areas that, in my opinion, should have been completely left out since they didn't cover the most important aspects of the acts or the serious repercussions of entering into these areas uneducated. If you are someone that has had limited sexual contact or wants to learn more about positions and how to enhance your bedroom time this is a good book, but certainly not the best on the market. My best advice is to sit down and thing about what exactly you want to learn about sex and see if there aren’t other titles that would serve as a better educational tool. If you are a young couple [in relation to the time you have been together, not age] this would make for a good read together providing that you take the necessary breaks between chapters to fully explore what you are reading about.
Sex, intimacy and exploration are all wonderful things that a couple can share. In most cases it can bring two people together and heighten their sexual activities to new levels. However there are some times when some things and topics may not be comfortable for one of the individuals, learning to know what your limits are – as well as those of your partner – is the best way to plan events and escapades. The last thing you want to do is explore bondage and submission only to have your mate think it funny to go grocery shopping or head out with the boys for a night on the town. Calling 9-1-1 and asking the fire department to come cut you free would surely be the stopper in any relationship. Taking the time to learn what pleases your partner will only benefit the relationship if it is a two way street. And that, my friends, is something that no book can ever teach.
^V^ © 2011 Freak369 ^V^
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