Sunday, June 1, 2014

Brainy Sex Books, a reading list. Plus, for no good reason at all, Scary Robots.

A while back on the IBWMW Facebook page, I capriciously volunteered to compile a list of books referenced on In Bed With Married Women. Once it got down to actually doing it, however, I became acutely aware that the task bore an uncomfortable resemblance to actual work. In private retaliation--fight the power!--I spent a morning on non-reading-list-compiling activities like watching YouTube videos of creepy-ass real-looking robots. Look at this Japanese nurse one:

GAAAhhhhhhhhhh! She's alive!

And look at this one (below) of three robots and their comic resemblance to their human inventors. I kind of want the stern-looking Middle-aged Asian Man Robot in the center so he could stare contemptuously at me all day with his downturned mouth and eyebrows knitted in consternation. "Shouldn't you be getting to that reading list you promised over a month ago?" he'd finally say. And, damn it, he'd be right.

For you, stern Asian robot man who I imagine harshly judging me*, Thy Will Be Done. Here goes.

Books I can personally vouch for:

Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships: I wrote a whole big post on this because it kind of made my brain explode. It's about non-monogamy, sperm competition, the societal components of sexual jealousy, penis shapes and all kinds of brain-sparking topics. It's not meant to be hardcore science, but a jumping off point to rethinking all kinds of relationship/sexual things.
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex: I am madly in love with Mary Roach because she is so funny and smart and well, here... I just opened to a random page in which she is touring a sex toy factory and describing the crew of middle-aged Latina women working the assembly line. "Now we have paused to watch a team of women, wearing latex gloves, whose job is to rub a light film of red paint into the testicles and glans of large fleshtone dildos, to pinken them, 'to give them the realism.'....The women are laughing and chatting as they work. Their movements are inadvertently erotic; the hand-staining of a dildo tip could be the efficient caress of a sex worker." See what I mean? (Even better is Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers but that is about dead bodies, not sex, which may well be a dealbreaker for you.)

Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray or Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love by Helen Fisher: Deliciously passionate writing on the science and anthropology of sexual attraction, crushes, the body language of flirting, brain chemistry and reasons we act like such fucktards when we're "in love." (Is the term "fucktards" offensive? If you are a fucktard, I mean no offense.)

Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody, penner of "Juno." So funny, completely dirty, very fascinating look into her experimental stripper phase. Some parts are so graphic--like the particularly vile (to me) fetish of one repeat customer at her seedy San Francisco peep show booth--that I can't stand even repeating it. Oh, don't worry, you'll know when you get to him.
The Art of Love: Ancient Roman poet Ovid offers instructions on conducting oneself before, during and after a love affair. So fascinating to see that the games and subterfuge of passion are pretty much unchanged (except for archaic bits such how to whiten your skin with the ground-up horn of a lusty stag. As we now know in modern times, non-lusty stag horn works just as well.) Here's Ovid on taking your time in love: If you will listen to me you will not be too hasty in attaining the culmination of your happiness. Learn by skillful maneuvering to reach your climax by degrees. When you are safely ensconced in the sanctuary of bliss, let no timid fear arrest your hand. You will be richly rewarded by the love-light trembling in her eyes, even as the rays of the sun fitfully dance upon the waves. Then will follow gentle murmurs, moans and sighs, laden with ecstasy that will sting and lash desire.

A Natural History Of Love: Diane Ackerman writes with a florid (in a good way) style on how the historical and anthropological ideas of love have developed and changed over time.

Anything by Dan Savage. Start with Savage Love: Straight Answers from America's Most Popular Sex Columnist (from 1998!) and move your way forward.

If you have something to add in the way or smut and/or sociological treatises, do let us know.


*My need for Robot Judgement probably indicates all sorts of psychological things wrong with me, but I'm gonna handle it like I do all such issues. I shall ignore it.

(photo source) 


Anonymous said...

another thing you should do for work: read this book for me

it's a general guide to polyamory but i have found this guy's writing about communication and ethics to be very helpful for a monogamous relationship.

Walker Thornton said...

Fabulous list of books. I can see a shopping trip is in order!

in bed with married women said...

Anonymous--Will do! thanks!

Walker--Cmon, you must have some others.

in bed with married women said...

plus this from smallwonkydachshund: --Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in the United States by John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman
--The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction by Rachel P. Maines
--Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture by Carol Queen

Anonymous said...

Jill, I'm halfway through Sperm Wars and really enjoying it. Any reason it didn't make your shortlist? Does anybody know how the science has held up? Is it still reasonably valid?

I will say that SW's vision of men and women locked in an eternal game of "cheat as much as you can, but don't let your partner cheat" is a bit (!) depressing, however. I much preferred Sex at Dawn's mutual satisfaction society.--Mike

Anonymous said...

The photo with this article is particularly awesome, even by your normally very sensual standards.

Jill Hamilton said...

Anonymous 2: Sperm Wars didn't make the cut cause I haven't read it. Will put it on my list. The librarian already thinks i'm a freak after I checked out Naomi Wolf's Vagina a million times. the book. (rim shot)

Anonymous 3: oh yes.

Anonymous said...

The early "smutty" Sandra Brown ( and her copiers) were decent erotica. There was one where an older woman seduces a teenager, that always does it for me. Big problem now is that I am past 60, that fantasy (the older woman)is about impossible to find. Thank goodness for pro-domes

in bed with married women said...

Anonymous, the recent: ok, wtf are/is "pro-domes." my furtive googling led me to nothing..

also, this in from erotic_academic:

Bonk is simply fantastic, isn't it? I love Mary Roach's writing style! Also glad to see Fisher on your list. I attended a guest lecture of hers last fall and have been meaning to do some further reading ever since. Really interesting research, I just have too much on my 'to read' list!

Here's some that I've enjoyed recently:
The Prehistory of Sex by Timothy Taylor
Sadomasochism: Powerful Pleasures by Kleinplatz & Moser
The Pleasure's All Mine: Memoir of a Professional Submissive by Joan Kelly
Read My Lips: Complete Guide to the Vagina & Vulva by Herbenick & Schick
Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti
Sex & Punishment by Eric Berkowitz (currently reading)

Desi said...

Anonymous meant pro-dommes, female dominants that you can pay for a session of whatever your kink is, medical, feminization, role play, usually up to but not including actual sex.

Jill Hamilton said...

Thanks for schooling me Desi!