Arrite people. I’m now listening to Michael Pollen’s In Defense of Food: an eater’s manifesto, and it constitutes the fifth book I’ve read that says that really it’s the refined carbohydrates – flour and sugar, basically – that cause heart disease and overfat. (See also Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, and At Home by Bill Bryson, and best of all Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy by Walter Willett, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health and therefore no wackanutty journalist but an honest-to-god expert.)

Now, this idea has been around a long time and there have been books written about it for several decades, but only now is it seeping so thoroughly into the mainstream that even *I* am unable to avoid it.

I, like you, grew up hearing that it was the fat in our diets that caused the negative health consequences (this is “the lipid hypothesis”), and it is simultaneously appalling and liberating to learn that that is wrong. It’s a revolution, and yet it makes perfect sense and feels very, very good.

Can you tell I’ve been reading a lot, and a lot about health? I’m totally That Crazy Lady with the Nutrition and Exercise Books. I always have been. My mother was an aerobic teacher before I was born (the fitness club was called a “figure salon” then) and sprinkled wheat germ on our food; there was a rotating library of diet and exercise books in the house; we watched PBS specials about food and exercise science (Covert Bailey FTW!)

But there were no sex books!! None! Despite that being a central component of my wellbeing as a person. (There were also no books or PBS specials about sleep, about which I’ve been reading a great deal and have strong feelings, but this is a sex blog. So.)

So tell me, peoples of the interweb: where are the revolutionary, liberating sex books?

What are you reading that makes you go, “Oh my god, I’ve been lied to, I’ve been manipulated, I’ve been made to believe things that have actually hurt me, when the truth is that all I need to do is be like a monkey!” or “Holy crap, all this time I’ve been worried about THE WRONG THINGS – and actually the main thing is I just need to worry less!” or “Ohhhhhhhhhhh… christ, if someone had told me this 10 years ago, I’d be in a really different place right now.”

Seriously. Tell me. I’m desperate to know.

Example of why I’m desperate to know: A week or two ago, I watched students reading Paul Joanides’ bewitching Guide to Getting It On (which is one of the textbooks for my class) and learning the kinds of things I forget people need to learn: what is erotica? Why is he in a wheelchair? What exactly is a vagina? I had no idea you could do it in so many positions!

Despite being intelligent, highly educated, and mostly middle-class or higher women, they were, to an astonishing degree, absolute, utter beginners. Through no fault of their own – no one ever told them this stuff, and shame on the world for allowing that to be true!

Indeed, I’ve gotten frustrated in the past because the occasional student will tell me, “Well I didn’t learn anything new [in your TWO HOUR LECTURE THAT IT TOOK YOU 10 HOURS TO WRITE, DURING WHICH PROCESS EVEN YOU, THE BONA FIDE EXPERT, LEARNED SOME STUFF]. But it was nice to have the review.” If you fail to learn anything during one of my lectures, you really, truly, seriously, are not paying attention.

But I don’t hear from the students who are sitting there having their mind blow by stuff that I assume everyone already knows – like what a vagina is, what erotica is, that people in wheelchairs have sex, etc.

So what is there in the world these days that lifting the veil and changing/improving the way you think about your sexuality? (And I’m most interested in the ones that improve just that, YOUR sexuality, as opposed to changing the way you think about sex culturally. The food books talk about the cultural/infrastructure issues related to food, but that’s not as important for my day-to-day life.)

I think Sexual Fluidity (a chapter of which is in my course reader) might be one of them.

What else? Tell me, tell me!

More in body image
“apologetically but insistently”

(conversation about consent below; proceed (or not) accordingly.) I've been listening to Bill Bryson's "Life and Times of...