If "In & Out" writer Paul Rudnick and Bette Midler teamed up to write a how-to sex manual, the result might resemble the hilarious "Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man." Certainly it's shocking that this book hasn't been written before -- after all, who do women ask their most intimate sexual questions if not their gay male friends? And who knows more about what men like than a gay man?
Part sexual etiquette and part how-to, "Sex Tips" is a cannily entertaining romp through the nuts and bolts of sex from the male perspective. Freud may have been puzzled by what women really want, but ask any straight woman and she will confess to a similar dearth of knowledge when it comes to the male orgasm. Taking a brisk, no-nonsense approach, Anderson and Berman boldly assert from the outset that "taking up these techniques while you're dating will surely lead to a quick proposal of marriage." Rules Girls, take note.
It certainly enlivens the prose that Anderson and Berman happen to be mistresses of the campy take, sprinkling their observations with just enough irony to let you know they're in on the joke. On perfume: "If (straight men) can hardly remember your birthday, why would you expect them to remember your perfume?" Or, "Gay men who at one time had sex with women say the difference is that women rarely go hard and fast enough toward the end," admonishes the fellatio chapter. "Don't forget to let go after the first few spurts ... and now might be an excellent time to suggest that trip to Paris."
So what are these tips? It's clearly accurate, just for starters, that most women are "mystified" by the role of testicles in the carnal drama. "We believe that balls have always been treated like unwelcome country cousins," the authors write delicately. "You recognize them when they show up at the door, but you're not so happy to see them because you have absolutely no idea of what would keep them entertained." Kiss confusion goodbye after reading the "Play Ball" chapter.
Which leads to one of the main purposes of books such as these, which I suspect is simply validation. "Sex Tips" works from the premise that sex is the most fun when it is honestly and frankly addressed, with a dash of humor thrown in for good measure. Some of the tips are good, some are plain funny and a few are incomprehensible. (Unless she's a contortionist, a fellating woman surely risks death via suffocation in The Upstanding Citizen position.) Nevertheless, the book's boldness is irresistible. "A little ladylike initiative goes a long way," they write encouragingly. "As a last resort, just grab it."
Lest you think that's a bit obvious, look at it this way: "'Just Grab It' is more than a piece of advice," our authors remind us. "It's a way of life."