book reviews

Repost: My review of Sex Disasters

I wrote this review of the excellent and funny book, Sex Disasters, for in September 2003. I am reposting it because it’s a great book and marks the beginning of my career as a book reviewer on Epinions.

I also reposted this on my old blog… and this was what I had to say about it in March 2014…

Back in 2002, I bought a hilarious book called Sex Disasters.  While I can’t say that I have ever experienced any of the situations outlined in the book, I can say it’s a hilarious read.  And I enjoyed writing this book review back in 2003.  I’m reposting it here for posterity. 

I shared this book with my older sister, Becky.  We had a big bonding moment over it.  I count discovering this book as one of the happier times in 2002.

Warning- This review contains frank sexual content. If this kind of stuff offends you, please skip this review!

Last summer, while wandering around the Border’s in Fredericksburg, Virginia, I happened to gaze upon a paperback book with a picture of a pair of sock and shoe adorned male legs wearing a pair of gathered pants dropped around them. Intrigued, I moved closer to see what the title of a book with such interesting cover art might be. Aha! Charles Moser’s, Ph.D. and Janet W. Hardy’s Sex Disasters and How to Survive Them (2002) was the object of my interest. This had to be good, I thought to myself, as I opened the book and immediately beheld a crudely drawn picture of a dripping condom with a couple of lightening bolts strategically positioned over it. I smiled slowly… heh heh heh… I hate to admit it, but this is my kind of book!

I love funny, factual, ribald books that offer to teach me new stuff while still entertaining me. And I’m certainly not above laughing at crude body humor at all. I like gross humor, and some might think that makes me immature. This book is full of gross humor. But it’s also full of a lot of great information that may very well save someone’s… ahem… well, you get the idea. Think of it as a “Worst Case Scenario” for the sexual arena. The authors have teamed up with lawyers, doctors, EMTs, cops, veterinarians, therapists, and sex educators to help readers deal with all sorts of nasty surprises that can arise during the glorious act of sexual intercourse. Speaking of which, here are a few scenarios that are addressed in this handy gem of a book.

*I can’t get this cock ring off! What follows is advice on how to get the device off of that, ahem, part of the body without doing permanent damage to the male anatomy. The authors have consulted doctors from emergency rooms so that readers will know when they can do the job themselves and when a visit to the hospital is in order.

*Ewww, look at these sheets! Here, readers learn how to remove stains effectively so that their linens aren’t ruined. One can find out how to get out all sorts of body fluids, from blood to semen to urine to feces. Handy information to know, even if you didn’t get the stains on your sheets from having sex!

*Well, she said she was eighteen! In this situation, the authors consulted a lawyer who provides readers with advice on what to do if it turns out their date isn’t as old as he or she presented themselves to be.

*I think my cat ate a used condom! You guessed it… a veterinarian was consulted in this case, so that readers will get expert advice on what to do if their beloved Fido or Fluffy gets ahold of something yucky.

*Hey, where’d the condom go? Believe it or not, this is probably NOT a medical emergency! The authors tell you how to find the condom, even if it’s, uh, not in the sheets somewhere.

*But officer, it’s just a little sex party… The authors tell you how to prevent a visit from the cops in the first place and what to do if they happen to show up at your door.

There are, of course, a lot of other, even raunchier situations listed that I won’t include here for obvious reasons. I think ya’ll get the point, anyway, that this is a fun book if you’re into books about sex. The book also contains useful sections aimed at men and women, such as “A Man’s Guide to Menstruation” and “A Woman’s Guide to Erections”, as well as instructions on how to put on a condom. Those of you who are concerned about the mysteries pertaining to your partner’s body may be happy to read these sections explaining body processes that not everyone experiences. The authors do a good job laying out what goes on with men and women in a layman’s terms.

I brought this book with me to my sister’s house and she happened to read it after I finished it. She thought it was hilarious. I also thought the writing was very funny and witty and the fact that it was written by both a man AND a woman gives the book a little more credibility than if it were just written by someone of one gender. Sex disasters, after all, happen to everybody and since men and women have different plumbing, it’s good to have representatives from both genders on hand to lend their expertise.

Now for a few cons… if you’re in the least bit a prude, this book probably won’t appeal to you. It’s quite graphic and the authors go ahead and use dirty language. Personally, that doesn’t bother me, but it might offend some people with more delicate sensibilities. Others, who unlike me, have their minds out of the gutter, might say that it weakens the authors’ case if they’re trying to make a statement that this book should be taken seriously. After all, this book is written in anything but an academic style! However, this book was not written for academics. It was written for everyday people… people who might find themselves in these kinds of situations… people who are maybe just a tad irresponsible sometimes… people who get into a little mischief… people who are accident prone… people who like to party a little bit… and maybe those people would respond to a few cuss words and some graphic language regarding the act of sex. I think the authors were targeting the right audience. Prudish people probably wouldn’t find themselves having trouble removing cock rings, anyway!

Also, this book is not really organized. There’s an index and a table of contents, and subjects are cross-referenced if they relate to another subject that is covered, but it’s not like the book is laid out in an orderly fashion. On the other hand, at less than 200 pages, this is not a big book, and if you don’t mind reading about this stuff, you’ll probably read it straight through anyway. It’s that entertaining!

I think this is a great book and if you know of a swinging couple about to get married, it might make a good shower or bachelor party present! Shoot, it might even make a good wedding present! One never knows when or where a hairy situation might arise, especially within the bonds of matrimony!

If you’re a really liberal parent, you might even consider giving a copy of this book to your college student. It’s pretty frank and gross, but let’s face it, the information is accurate and it’s written in a way that will speak to college students, especially the guys. You may not approve of your college aged kids having too good a time at school; but if they do party, at least if they have this book around, and they’ll be informed of what to do if something bad happens. It’s definitely something to think about. 

Edited to add in 2021: I liked the hard copy of this book so much that I downloaded another copy.

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book reviews, psychology

Repost: A review of The Loving Dominant…

In the interest of encouraging and providing more diversity in reading materials, I’m reposting this book review as/is, originally written for on February 7, 2011.

And now for something kinky… a very informative beginner’s guide to BDSM…

I have a little confession to make.  I’m just a trifle bit kinky.  While you’ll never see me donning leather, piercing my nipples, or cracking a whip, I have always been intrigued by the BDSM lifestyle, if only as a voyeur.  Until recently, I had never done much official reading on the subject, other than check out a few Web sites when the mood struck.  About a week ago, the mood struck while I was in bed, searching for something new to read on my Kindle.  I came across John and Libby Warren’s very well-regarded book, The Loving Dominant, and decided to read it myself.  The Loving Dominant has been out for years, even before the Internet was a part of the average person’s life, but this review refers to the updated 2008 edition.  I finished the book last night and I have to agree that this book is great for those who are curious about the BDSM lifestyle and want to learn more about it.

What’s BDSM all about?

BDSM stands for Bondage, Domination or Discipline, and Sadomasochism.  John Warren, who is the principal author of The Loving Dominant, describes the term in detail and offers some of his own thoughts on what it should really mean.  Suffice it to say that when most people hear the acronym BDSM, their thoughts turn to a couple exchanging power in some way.  The Dominant (Dom) is the person, male or female, who takes the leadership role.  The submissive (sub) is the person, male or female, who takes the submissive role.

John Warren is the Dom in his relationship with his wife, Libby.  He’s also a former Marine.  Having spent a good portion of my time around military folks, I easily caught Warren’s authoritative and often matter-of-fact tone as he explains what it means to be a “loving dominant”.  I was impressed by Warren’s rather serious attitude when it comes to protecting the well-being of those who trust others to dominate them.  Warren is also careful to point out behaviors that may come across as rude or poor form when a person is just getting started with BDSM.  This book is mostly written for those who wish to dominate, but it’s really useful for anyone who is interested in the BDSM scene.

Very complete

I’m impressed by how complete this book is.  Warren has chapters on everything from tying knots, to leather working, to meeting other kinky people, to setting up convincing scenes with submissives.  It really is a good primer on the many different aspects of BDSM.  John Warren seems to have thought of just about every subject a kinky beginner would need to know about and includes just about all of them in his very handy book.

It’s all in your head…   

Warren seems to understand that a large part of BDSM’s appeal is psychological.  Therefore, when he sets up a scene, he’s very creative and quick to place elements in them to make them seem more real.  For instance, in one chapter, he describes a scene involving making love in a gas station.  His submissive is blindfolded, so he makes it more real for her by scattering oily rags around so that the room smells like it could be a gas station.

In another chapter, Warren describes a submissive who wished that he would brand her with the first letter of his last name.  Warren was very leery about using a branding iron; nevertheless, he aimed to please.  He borrowed a small branding iron with the letter “W” on it.  It was originally used to mark the temperatures on steaks.  He heated up the branding iron, allowing his submissive to watch until it was red hot.  Then he blindfolded her and asked her if she was absolutely sure she wanted to be branded.  He held the searing hot iron close to her flesh as he asked the question.  She could feel the heat reddening her skin and anticipated extreme pain, but said she was sure.  Quickly, he switched out the iron for an ice cube and held it against her skin.  The submissive screamed and passed out.  She was later upset, yet relieved, that he didn’t actually go “all the way”.  While branding is definitely not a turn on for me, I had to admit I was very impressed by Warren’s ingenuity in creating a convincing and thrilling scene for his playmates.

Mind your manners

Another aspect of this book that I found interesting was Warren’s chapter on attending parties or going to BDSM clubs.  He explains the etiquette of such gatherings, which tends to be different than that of vanilla gatherings.  For instance, Warren explains why it’s important not to be fashionably late to a scene party.  He explains why the host might prefer that attendees park away from the party’s actual location.  He lets his readers know why it’s important to dress appropriately and listen to what the host says regarding appropriate behavior in the venue.

Warren also explains some behavioral issues between Dominants and submissives.  He explains why Dominants should have as much respect for their submissives as much as they demand respect.  On the other hand, he warns Dominants not to allow submissives to “top from the bottom”.  If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry.  Warren has thoughtfully included a glossary of common terms associated with the BDSM lifestyle.  He also includes illustrations and plenty of sources so that his readers can do extra reading on the subject.

Not everything in this book turned me on…   

Although I can admit to being kinky, I’m pretty vanilla as kinky people go.  I’m not turned on by “water sports”, coprophagia, forced enemas, catheterization, electricity, piercings, extreme humiliation, blood sports, or anything else that has to do with extreme pain, body fluids, or being forced to eat gross things.  But Warren recognizes that many of his readers might like to read about such types of play, so he’s very careful to include chapters about each and consults outside sources, even as he admits that he doesn’t participate in all of them.

I will warn that some of Warren’s descriptions are pretty graphic and may gross out the squeamish.  He also unashamedly uses four letter words, including the often offensive “p” and “c” words.  That aspect of the book didn’t bother me, but I wanted to mention it for other potential readers.

Safety first

Safe, sane, and consensual are three very important catchwords in the BDSM community.  I am happy to report that John Warren also takes those terms very seriously.  Each chapter of this book emphasizes safety; in fact, Warren even includes a chapter on basic first aid.

Warren recognizes that those who get involved with BDSM might feel embarrassed about their interests.  In the unlikely case of a medical emergency, Warren is careful to point out that medical people, especially EMTs, have “seen it all”.  He urges his readers not to let their embarrassment about being kinky override their good sense.  He also adds a couple of practical tips on how to minimize embarrassment when dealing with medical personnel, should the need arise to call them.


I think The Loving Dominant is an excellent book for BDSM beginners.  It is mostly aimed at people of the Dominant persuasion, but more submissive minded readers will also find it worthwhile reading.  Warren is a pretty decent writer and, while I didn’t always agree with everything he wrote, I did find most of his ideas sensible and even exciting.  While I did catch a few typos, redundancies, and editing glitches in this book, I would still recommend it to anyone who wants to learn the basics of BDSM.

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