Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us Review


One of my biggest academic interests in the field of human sexuality is that of fetishes, paraphilias, and sexual taboos. The psychology, the societal response, the changing opinions on what is “normal” vs. “perverted” throughout history… I thrive on it. So after hearing Jesse Bering talk about his new book, Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us, on an old episode of the Sex Nerd Sandra podcast (#129), I immediately put in a request at my local library.

By page 30, when Bering cracked an amazingly punny joke about bestiality, I knew that my instincts were correct (and that he was basically my new favorite person). The way that he tackles such heavy topics in a nonchalant & nonjudgemental way is extremely refreshing, and it was immediately obvious that nothing was off limits. From harmless taboos that are finally beginning to become normalized (homosexuality) to the most hated individuals in our current culture (pedophiles), Bering examines the research in hopes of understanding what’s behind humanity’s range of sexual orientations —  in the broadest sense of the term.

Perv offers up the latest research, a rich history full of case studies, and plenty of uncomfortable questions: How do we define our morality? Are we using the right parameters — or is the very concept preventing us from observing the world as unbiased scholars? Although I can easily get behind Bering’s idea of judging an action based on the presence/absence of harm, I was still forced to challenge my gut reaction again & again in attempts to combat my own “moral dumbfounding.”

A perfect example of this was when I read about Milo & Elijah Peters; two gay adult film performers who not only are biological brothers (twins actually), but also claimed to be in a committed romantic/sexual relationship with each other. With full adult consent and no risk of creating offspring, can we still say that there is “harm?” Or in cases with obvious physical harm, such as that of Armin Meiwes (the cannibal who found a surprisingly willing victim in Bernd Jürgen Armando Brandes), I had to ask myself… How much can we really consent to? Where exactly is the limit?

Perv by Jesse Bering will teach you extremely random sexual trivia (like the definition of “melissaphilia”), make you chuckle at the ridiculous beliefs of our ancestors (perfectly evident in St. Thomas Aquinas’ original definition of the word “prodigy”), and cause an intensely uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach while you slowly begin to challenge your own sexual biases. Buy it, borrow it from the library, do whatever you need to do so that your coworkers can give you strange looks as you proudly read this book in the break room.

The Big Book of Bondage Review

Many thanks to Cleis Press for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review — and for donating a second copy to a lucky reader! You can order The Big Book of Bondage directly from Cleis Press’ product page or from other book retailers, such as Amazon.

bigbookbondage edit

The Big Book of Bondage is edited by the wonderfully talented Alison Tyler and contains 25 short erotic stories penned by 25 different contemporary writers. At well over 300 pages, it’s definitely a large volume — even when you consider its slightly squished format (5×7 vs. the 6×9 of a typical trade paperback). It was published in 2012 by Cleis Press, a prolific company specializing in sexual how-to’s & erotic literature of all varieties.

As both a bookworm & sex geek, I read a lot of erotica. Unfortunately, my standards are pretty high and I often run into the same two problems: horribly tacky sexual metaphors (“His rigid sword pushed its way past her moist petals and plunged deep into her castle.”) and an imbalance between variety & unity (the stories either blend together or they feel too chaotic to fit under one theme).

The Big Book of Bondage was a refreshing respite
from mediocre (and just plain bad) erotica.

Without a lot of cheesy sex slang to disrupt my reading experience, I was actually able to connect with the characters and immerse myself in the plot lines. I was able to get turned on by the fantasies that resonated with my own and appreciate the creativity of the few that just “weren’t my thing.”

Which brings me to my next point: The variety is such that no two stories in this collection are the same. “Bondage” can mean anything from simply following verbal commands to physically being bound by cuffs, ropes, even vacuum beds. Other kinks and fetishes make their way into the stories with ease. (Into exhibitionism? Pain as pleasure? Pet play? It has you covered!) Sexual acts are not limited to “the usual” oral sex or penis-in-vagina intercourse. (Fisting, figging, and anal play all make appearances; sometimes there’s surprisingly little “sex” at all.) If you’re into kink, there’s a good chance that you’ll find at least one story that reflects your own unique desires — and many more that you will be able to enjoy.

The tingling moved through her teeth, sang in her scalp, tickled the ends of her hair. She was limp and weightless, she was floating free. – Vida Bailey, Life Drawing

Thanks to the editor, Alison Tyler, there’s an inclusiveness in The Big Book of Bondage that I appreciate when it comes to the characters & their relationships. Although the majority of the stories feature heterosexual couples with a male Dominant/female submissive power exchange, there are still plenty of stories that break the monotony. Gay/lesbian characters were not forgotten or ignored. Femdom fantasies were given space to shine. And “untraditional” relationships were included in the form of group sex, open relationships, & various arrangements between play partners.

As a big believer of the fact that erotica/porn can be educational and still hot, I was also thrilled to see the occasional mention of safe sex and BDSM practices. (Condoms, safewords, checking to make sure that rope isn’t too tight, etc.) Of course there were some stories that made me cringe (anal sex without any lubricant) and others that made me very uncomfortable (a boss whose behavior I interpreted as sexual harassment instead of sexy fun time), but I understand that others’ fantasies differ from my own.

When I came, someone paused the universe. I shattered into a million little pieces and was blasted across time. – Kristina Lloyd, The Bondage Pig

Overall, I highly recommend The Big Book of Bondage if you’re into kinky erotica. It’s got some great writing talent, a variety of different characters/scenarios, and sexy descriptions that will get your heart pounding. It even offers a pretty good insight into the nature of BDSM & bondage play.

It may just be the best erotic anthology that I’ve ever read.


Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir Review

Borrowed Time

I was born in the late 1980s and raised in the rural midwest; the U.S. AIDS epidemic was barely even on my radar growing up. I was too young and too removed from the fight that was going on in places like New York and LA. As a teenager, my education about the disease was limited and never touched on the powerful work of AIDS activists. Honestly, I still get the sense that my home community views it as primarily a “gay man’s disease” — a holy punishment carried out via death sentence. It’s simply not their problem.

I got my first real glimpse of this terrifying time period during a screening of How to Survive a Plague, a powerful documentary that follows the ACT UP and TAG organizations in New York. (If you have Netflix, it’s currently available for streaming.) Impassioned and wanting to learn more, I recently enrolled in a Coursera class on HIV & AIDS. The reading list included Paul Monette’s Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir. Instead of focusing on the community at large, this book narrows the scope to focus on one couple and how the disease personally affected their lives.

Pieced together from memories and journal entries, Borrowed Time tells the story of Paul and Roger’s life together in LA from roughly 1982-86. It begins with the first stirrings of the epidemic, when the two of them were likely infected but still blissfully unaware. How it went from a disease that seemed so vague and far away to being a prominent part of their social circle — bringing home the true scale of the epidemic.

It will be recorded that the dead in the first decade of the calamity died of our indifference. – Paul Monette

Chapter by heartbreaking chapter, it chronicles Roger Horwitz’s diagnosis in 1985, his doctors’ confusion, his battle to obtain experimental drugs (that sometimes did more harm than good), his deteriorating health, and eventually his death. All the while, the story is told through Paul’s acceptance of his own diagnosis, his effort to stay strong and take care of the person that he loves, and his denial that they’ve reached the end of their time together.

I won’t lie; this book was definitely a difficult read. My mood bottomed out for the better part of a week, and the ending filled me with more grief than anything else I’ve ever read. It was especially hard because I saw so much of my relationship in Paul & Roger and the way that they seemed so comfortable together, like they had truly found their other half. It forced me to imagine if my own love was taken by a disease that was shrouded in fear, stigma, and guess-work…with no answers in sight.

For those in my generation, raised during a time when the beginning of the AIDS story has ceased to be told, Paul’s account can feel like it occurs in an entirely different world — which is exactly why it is so important. We cannot allow these brave individuals and their struggle to be forgotten.

The Secrets of Great G-Spot Orgasms and Female Ejaculation Review

Secrets of Great G-Spot Orgasms

Discovering my G-spot is proving to be a long and difficult journey. My current partner is its Christopher Columbus — finding it before I did, even though it was there all along. I’ll never forget that moment: my eyes opened wide, my mouth making the perfect O of surprised pleasure and awe. Over the last few years, I’ve discovered the joys of blended orgasms (those arrived at from both clitoral and G-spot stimulation). Sex toys have taught me a lot about my body. The Tantus G-spot Vibrator, Lelo Mona 2, and Jopen Key Comet 2 have all allowed me to take control of a pleasure center whose very existence I once doubted. Still, a purely G-spot orgasm has eluded me — and my experience with squirting is limited to a single trickling instance of maybe sorta.

Being the sex nerd that I am, this is the point where I start reading everything I can on the subject. And the first book I got my hands on was The Secrets of G-Spot Orgasms and Female Ejaculation by Tristan Taormino.

Taormino does a wonderful job of presenting information in an educational but totally relatable way, with bits of erotic fiction, high-quality softcore photographs, and fabulous quotes interspersed throughout. She starts with a short overview of G-spot science & depictions of internal genital anatomy that are perfect for G-spot beginners. But what I really enjoyed were all the practical suggestions: toys, positions, even step-by-step advice for myself AND my partner.

In fact, she makes squirting seem so easy that I finished the book with complete certainty that the next time would be THE time. It wasn’t, of course. Learning how to master one’s G-spot can take a lot of time & effort — and still there are no guarantees. But this book has helped me to make huge strides in letting go of the fear and stress that I experience from that familiar “Do I have to pee?” feeling. It’s helped me to push past the overwhelming sensations to arrive at the most pleasurable & exhausting blended orgasms that I have ever experienced.

As always, it’s important to remember that a person’s sexual experiences are unique. Not every individual will find G-spot stimulation enjoyable, and not everyone will be able to experience a G-spot orgasm or female ejaculation. But if you’re curious about exploring this area of your body, Tristan Taormino has created a truly fantastic resource!

If you’re interested in adding The Secrets of G-Spot Orgasms to your sexual library, please consider purchasing from my affiliate, Good Vibrations.

When Your Sex Drives Don’t Match – Review

 As many of you know, I’m a huge bookworm. I’m always trying to further my own education about sexuality and gender through reading — and I’m the first to suggest that others do so as well. Although I’ve done a few book reviews here at EROcentric in the past, there are so many other amazing books that fall through the cracks…usually because I don’t want to write an intricate and polished post about them.  

So I want to try something a little different from here on out. I want to create more short & informal blog posts focused on what I’m reading in real time: part review, part suggestion, and part reading journal. These posts may appear randomly as I complete a new book, or they may be posted on schedule particularly hectic weeks. As always, my favorite books will be listed on my Library page for quick reference. 

Pertot - Sex Drives

In my recent search for sex-related reading material, I stumbled upon Sandra Pertot’s When Your Sex Drives Don’t MatchReaders of mine may recall that I have been trying to navigate a lower than “normal” libido (compared to both my partner & my past self). And although it may be too soon to tell for sure, I feel that this book has potentially been a relationship changer.

In the first part of this book, Pertot (a practicing sex therapist) lists & describes 10 different “libido types” — the ways that each of us, as individuals, relate to sexual activity. She reassures readers that there is no right or wrong libido type, and remains optimistic that many couples who differ in type can still maintain a satisfying relationship.

In the second part, Pertot provides readers with a detailed plan for communicating with their partner. She has developed several exercises, with plenty of questions to clarify not only what is “ideal” — but what is “good enough” in your sexual relationship. She makes you confront your fears & insecurities, while also identifying your strengths. She asks you to put yourself in your partner’s position, answering questions from their point of view, in order to clear up misunderstandings. Finally, she has you brainstorm ways to achieve mutual satisfaction. 

If you and your partner are experiencing a mismatch in libido (whether it’s in frequency, type of sex, methods of initiation, etc)…I highly suggest reading this book and completing the exercises together. Even though my partner & I had discussed this issue many times before, Pertot’s “Talk” gave me a better understanding of how we each approach sex (what it means to us, what we need from it, what we can compromise on, etc). Through that, I have seemingly developed more confidence and a renewed sense of my sexual self. I’m not feeling so “broken” anymore.

(This mini-review was originally featured on my Tumblr.)