April 15, 2004

Private Lessons

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When I was twelve, trips to Borders were a magical, educational experience. While my mother perused cooking books and Daniel Steel novels, I would casually drift out of sight and make my way over to the sex book section. For a prepubescent male, it was like a trip to Disney World. Full color pages of naked women in sexual positions my young, unformed libido could scarcely process.

Now a semi-pubescent male, I’d like to say that sex books are for guys who don’t have adequate thrust. Hey, women are like cars — just stick your dick in and rev her up!

Much to my dismay, I couldn’t be further from the truth. After suffering through the quagmires of teenage sex, I have come to the realization that, for both sexes and orientations, sex books can be a boon. Guide to Getting it On!, a 700-plus-page wonder from Paul Joannides, is an irreverent text book of every conceivable angle of sex. While the book comes off as one enormous, hard-to-swallow mass, it’s actually a stimulating and mentally arousing read.

No, sad to say, but there aren’t any pictures. Instead of using real, nude couples, the book features cartoon-like illustrations of couples engaged in the joys of intercourse. I’ll admit, at first this was somewhat of a put off, and my interest in Guide began to grow flaccid. I had never masturbated to cartoons before, but I like to say that I’m open-minded and willing try new things. However, sliding through the pages, my interests perked up as it came to me that the illustrations were hilarious. If you hate reading, the drawings pretty much sum up the tone of the book. The work done by Daerick Gross, Sr. ranges from anatomical charts to doggy style cartoons that may cause laughter to ejaculate from your body, to illustrations that are veritable donkey punches, such as one of amputee sex. They look like a commingling of Roy Lichtenstein Pop Art and Playboy cartoons, reserving a frankness suited for Dr. Ruth and a style fit for the Johnson museum. For example, one such image of a coupling couple has a caption that reads, “Snow White and the Prince trying tips from this chapter while the Dwarfs are away in the forest.”

And, after sitting erect in my chair, and studying the Guide long and hard, I entered a zone of sexual enlightenment and can offer personal testimony to its fantastic results. My penis size has doubled, I can fuck for three days straight, make a girl orgasm with a mere hand gesture, and even teleport!

Pictures aside, the writing is excellent, and really comes from behind and shocks you. It’s sardonic yet articulate, equal parts penis and vagina jokes and insightful instruction. Joannides divides his work into chapters featuring such names as “Balls, Balls, Balls,” “Up Your Bum,” “Sunsets, Orgasms, and Hand Grenades,” “Handjobs: Different Strokes for Different Blokes,” “Fun With Your Foreskin,” and my personal favorite, “The Zen of Finger Fucking.” The comedy of these titles is matched equally by Joannides’s off-beat rhetoric. A typical passage reads as such, “Some couples, straight as well as gay, are into anal fisting. You shouldn’t even think about trying this unless you really, really, really know what you are doing. Technically, this act is possible without causing physical damage, since surgeons occasionally stick an entire hand up a person’s rectum. On the other hand, receiving an entire fist up the bum requires the kind of relaxation that is beyond the capacity of the average asshole.” That is not to say, of course, that every passage is about anal fisting (I can just hear the sighs of disappointment now). Joannides blends humor and clinical insight with ease. It takes talent to discuss “rimming,” as he puts it, without sounding ridiculous. The book tows the line between dubious cynicism and honesty. He has the range to transition from chapters on bondage and foot fetishes to ones that address STDs and the moral/religious debate over intercourse. It’s like a Sex Ed. course taught by Robin Williams, something that seems repetitive in its banality but ends up being endlessly provocative.

Regardless of how titillating your gyrations may be, or if you are affectionately referred to as the “Blowjob Queen,” Guide to Getting it On! is so steeped in detail that it would be impossible for Traci Lords not to discover something new. Think of it as The Joy of Sex for generation Y, a book that penetrates every cavity of America’s contemporary sexual culture.

Archived article by Zach Jones
Red Letter Daze Associate Editor