This witty reference steps in where time-honored discussions of the birds-and-the-bees typically fall short. Each of the 90-some entries are formally defined and further explained through reflective and ribald definitions, essays, and stories by some of today's most exciting writers. Everything from celibacy to swinging, hand jobs to spooning are tackled by everyone's favorite writers including Daphne Merkin, Charles Kaiser, Erica Jong, Thomas Beller, and Jane Smiley. Learn what Philip Lopate has to say about duration and Pagan Kennedy about the phallus. Ravi Shankar lingers on the quickie while Patty Marx waxes poetic about the vibrator. From sexual relationships (monogamy, one-night stand, ménage a trios) to sexual positions (doggie style, 69), from age-old practices (prostitution) to contemporary twists (internet sex), this alphabetical encyclopedia includes everything you need to know about the language of love and more. A perfect gift designed to supplement any good sex education, Dirty Words will find a warm spot on bookshelves and bed-side tables everywhere.
Author Sussman compiled this quasi-reference book as a corrective for not getting the "facts of life" talk that her brother received. The result is an often riveting, and occasionally shocking, essay collection that does much more than define 94 sex-related terms. With close to 100 writers (including Thomas Beller, Antonya Nelson, Pagan Kennedy, Jonathan Ames and poet Stephen Dunn), there's a huge range of styles and sensibilities. The pseudonymous writer tackling "adultery" admits to cheating on his girlfriend with his wife: "six months in and who's to tell whom you're horny for anymore?" Meredith Maran's essay on "bisexuality" has a surprise ending for all involved: Maran reveals her bisexuality to her husband at the very moment she first recognizes it herself. Some essays are romantic; Victoria Redel's impressionistic entry for kissing begins with the delicious line, "The first surprise of your mouth and mine." Some are goofy-Bret Anthony Johnston revives the old what's-your-porn-star-name parlor game-and some are actually fiction-like Lucy Ferriss's brief one-act play script, "Mile High Club"-but most are surprisingly straightforward and entirely unconcerned with shock value, even regarding the terms too dirty to print here.