The human condition: Kneel down and salute the flag, girls

Oh yeah, really. A new book of sex tips for women leaves Laura Tennant spluttering
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Indy Lifestyle Online
"If you can make the most of your mouth motion," promises Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, "you can have just about anything, whether it's straight As in grad school or the Hope diamond." Hmm, and we thought women didn't need to BJ their way to the top anymore. But this breezy guide to turning "Mr Softy" into "Mr Stiffy" is so crashingly politically incorrect it turns hairs even on this side of the Atlantic. Want to get your husband to buy you "a pair of diamond stud earrings, just for the heck of it"? Perfect your handjob technique! Fancy settling down? After a professional-standard blow job "might be an excellent time to mention an engagement ring".

Maggie (a straight woman) and Danny (a gay man) were friends for years before it occurred to Danny to share his first-hand secrets of what "guys" like. Poor benighted Maggie simply had no idea that men were such demanding creatures. She had always felt that they should be grateful for the privilege of sharing her bed. How wrong can you be. Fortunately, Danny was on hand, and now Maggie and her American sisters can perfect the Princeton Belly Rub, the teabag and the M&M, all with the help of this extraordinary (and best-selling) book.

It's not that one couldn't do with the odd new idea. But I draw the line at the following: "If you want to make him feel that his erection is the most magnificent thing you've ever seen, kneel down between his legs while you adopt an attitude of solemn worship - sort of like saluting the flag." As for the technical wizardry, I've frankly always felt the charm of men lay in the fact they were easy to start and straightforward to run.

But, surprise, surprise, this book tells you more about gay sex than what straight men "really" want in bed. The deification of the phallus, we've covered. Then there's the typically masculine element of military precision. Danny advises having a glass of chilled water by your bed (it's useful for "lubrication", apparently). So, on a first-time visit to his house, your date will "almost immediately turn on the stereo and ask if you want a beverage. This would be a good time to ask for your glass of ice water." See? It's easy if you just plan ahead.

A guide to "cruising" and "scoping" is contained in a chapter entitled "How to Get What You Want (Besides a Great Reputation)". But here I must pause. The only way you'd get a "great reputation" of this sort is by sleeping with a lot of men who all know each other and delight in passing on details of your sexual performance. Hello? Am I missing something here? But onwards. "Sometimes, we have more fun during primp time than when we actually do go out," confides Danny. "First, we'll open a bottle of champagne, or mix up some gimlets, then start with the facials. Gay buddies may watch a Bette Davis movie during this phase..." What decadence! Us dull females would never think to do such a thing. (Readers should be prepared for much more of this ludicrously parodic camp.)

After a lot of scoping and cruising you may pick up a complete stranger and bring him back to your apartment for meaningless sex. If you get into a spot of bother, Sex Tips advises blithely, "Maintain your cool and refuse politely but emphatically... If that doesn't work, butt him in the head, show him the door or use your handy glass of ice water to put a damper on his dingle." If he turns violent, you're on your own.

Aside from the health and safety angle, though, you'd be unlikely to want to have sex if you'd recently read this book. Never have I read a sex manual which is so revoltingly unsexy. To give one of the less gross examples: "While massaging or licking a hairy chest, thigh or calf, do be gentle... " Doesn't that just make you never want to go near a hairy chest, let alone calf, ever again?

Man is at the centre of this book and, boy, is he picky. He doesn't like jewellery (it hurts his delicate, sensitive skin), he doesn't like scent (he might be allergic), he doesn't like unconditioned pubic hair (it scratches his lips and chin) and, my goodness, girl, you'd better brush up on your technique if you want to keep that temperamental "Johnson" of his interested. Can it be that New York women, starved of suitable partners, have turned craven? In a city where the customer is king, it seems men have got the upper hand by sheer force of demographics.

'Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man', by Dan Anderson and Maggie Berman, is published by ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins. For a copy, go to www.amazon.com

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