Book Review: Enjoy Sex: A Practical and Inclusive Guide
If you’re going to write about sex, sexuality, gender, relationships, and/or the issues associated with any of it, I believe it’s necessary to learn as much as you can. One way I love to educate myself is through reading. Every so often, I’ll share a book I’ve read and why you might want to read it, too. Affiliate links are included in this post. If you click an affiliate link and buy something from the site, I make a small commission and buy a little more coffee.
Technically, I reviewed this book on my personal website in August 2017 so this might seem like a repeat, but it’s not. Instead of discussing Enjoy Sex by Dr. Meg-John Barker and Justin Hancock as a reader, I want to look it at from the perspective of someone who gives advice about sex or relationships on a regular basis.
I joined a fun summer book club hosted by two of my sex writer friends, Amy of Coffee and Kink and Jenny Guerin of Written by Jenny. Although I was willing to read all the books they chose, this one had me skeptical. I’m not a big fan of how-to-have-the-sex advice books. Thankfully, Enjoy Sex was so much better than I imagined it would be!
About Enjoy Sex
From Goodreads: “Enjoy Sex is a truly practical, friendly guide through the confusing, and sometimes alarming, world of sex and sexuality. Its radical approach puts your experience at the heart of the book, and invites you to explore what might be enjoyable to you. With the authors’ engaging and thoughtful style, the book challenges the messages we receive about ‘normal’ sex, looks at how to understand and care for yourself, delves into ideas of pleasure for different bodies, ages and tastes, explores relationships, and tackles the tricky topics of communication and consent.”
My Take on Enjoy Sex
My view on this book and giving sex advice is fairly simple. Before you write the first word of “knowledge” or tell anyone how to fuck or have a relationship, I want you to read this book. If you’ve been giving advice or writing articles and haven’t read Enjoy Sex, I want you to stop what you’re doing and go read it.
Because this book gives the perfect example of how we should share what we know. We know one thing for certain in terms of sex and relationships – our own experiences. The scientifically minded will know the research but the rest of us know what we know and little more. There is no way for us to know what another person thinks, feels, or genuinely wants. When we give advice that comes across as Always Do This or Never Do That, we may be less than helpful for someone who desperately needs it.
Don’t get me wrong – you need to share what you genuinely believe and what you know to be true. We can’t be all things to all people. But when sex writers or content creators start telling people how to Have All The Sex, we can’t know our audience’s experiences. Dr. Meg-John Barker (who I met at Eroticon but didn’t realize who I was talking to…doh!) and Justin Hancock strike a great balance. They navigate between giving people ideas to have a better sex life and understanding that they are very real social, emotional, financial, mental, and physical reasons that impact their experiences.
Why I Love Enjoy Sex
Because I gushed in my original post, I don’t want to rehash all the same reasons of why I love Enjoy Sex but here are a few that I think relate to the smutlancers of the world…
- Each chapter includes great activities that you might want to do yourself to get an idea of where you stand on specific topics. What could you understand better about yourself? Where do you need a little extra help?
- The authors emphasized that we’re all unique and that it’s important and necessary to find what works for our unique selves multiple times.
- They checked their assumptions at the door. This meant explaining “basic” terms from time to time. Treat your readers like they’re intelligent but don’t forget to include a reminder of what you mean when you use certain terms.
- They emphasized and repeated the idea that there is no single right way to experience sexual pleasure.
- It wasn’t all about the physical side of sex but also the non-verbal communication and body language we use – two big topics I personally forget to discuss when talking about communication.
- Gentleness was prized over getting to the end goal – whatever that might be.
- Enjoying the moment with yourself or a partner is more important than an orgasm.
- They told the reader to worry a little less about what “should” be done or what they “ought” to do in sex and focus on what feels good.
Basically, this book was an absolute breath of fresh air, and I am so grateful to my sex writing friends for getting me to read this.
Read It or Not
Sooooo, should you read Enjoy Sex? If I haven’t made that clear, let me say it now.
Get it. Read it. And for the love of all that is sexy and smutty, think about how you talk about sex, kink, or relationships as you do. You may find that you gain new insight. Maybe (like me) you’re reminded of the things you tend to gloss over. And if it helps you become a more inclusive sex advice provider, even better!