The Guide to Getting it On: For Adults of All Ages
By: Paul Joannides, Psy.D.
If you’re looking for a good sex manual, this is it. This hefty tome (992 pages!) really does cover “everything you ever wanted to know about sex.” And some you didn’t.
It’s now in the 6th edition, and just keeps getting bigger. Written in a wry, smart, and appealing style, with line drawings throughout, it covers a wide range of sexual activities and related topics, such as birth control, circumcision, explaining sex to kids, men’s underwear, and sexual health in general. It’s got some really great chapters, and information, and some really strange ones; e.g., Barbie the Icon. It’s basically a compilation of every fact (or theory) about sex out there from a variety of sources (without attributing the sources), and the author is not shy about expressing his own opinion. Therein lies both the book’s strength and weaknesses. It baldly states that “vanilla is the Guide’s favorite flavor,” so although very comprehensive, useful, and interesting to read, it has to be said that the content on piercings, bondage, kink, et al. is rather weak. Plus, the book uses the pseudo-word, “vajayjay” which I loathe!
Among the tidbits for Pierced Consumers:
In a section addressing painful intercourse, it says: “One of the top experts on vulvar pain recommends using fresh olive oil for lube. Almond oil and grape seed oil are also on some physician’s lists.” So, you can use up that leftover oil for piercing aftercare.
There’s a whole section on soap for feminine hygiene, something that concerns many piercees, in the chapter about “Vulva Care–Keeping Your Kitty Happy.” It’s a dilemma: You want to be clean, but you don’t want to use a lot of perfumy soaps that could mess up the balance down there. The need to keep piercings clean, both during the healing stage, and during the life of the piercing, leaves some girls scratching their heads over what soap to use and how to clean their piercings. Here’s what the Guide states:
Do not overclean the puss. It only needs soap once a day at the most. . . .
Do not use liquid body gels or cheap washes because it’s “‘basically like douching with those chemicals.” . . .
Let’s say your kitty is a persnickity little puss who doesn’t like soap every day. Unless your gynecologist says something to the contrary, you should still clean her with water. Part of the reason for her not doing well with soap might be the kind you are using. Consider trying a high-quality, low-pH soap like SebaMed between your legs. Your vulva and vagina are a bit acidic, with a pH of around 5.2. However, most bar soaps are alkaline, with a pH of 10 or higher. Some women who have struggled with vaginal infections swear by the lower-pH soaps. . . .
Avoid Run-Off from Above: Shampoos tend to be h arsh and perfumy. Make sure the shampoo and conditioner don’t stream between your legs and through the lips of your vulva when you are rinsing them from your hair.
It goes on to say not to use powders, lotions, or feminine hygiene sprays. I agree that piercees should look for a product that works well for them, and it’s worth looking at the pH level. Male piercees don’t seem to have the problems with soap that females do, so there doesn’t seem to be a corresponding washing section. Read my post on aftercare and soap here.
And the chapter on piercings:
Nestled between “Rape and Abuse” and “Threesomes” is “On Needles and Pins: Piercings, Tattoos, & Sex,” the chapter on piercings and tattoos. In keeping with current trends, this chapter is greatly expanded in this edition. Most of the info in the chapter is pretty good, but as an experienced piercee, I do have some serious issues with it. The author, Paul Joannides, is a nice guy with whom I’ve interacted a little bit on another forum where I recommended his book. Fine. However, the author obviously is not pierced himself, and it’s very apparent that all the information comes from third party sources. That’s okay–no one could possibly expect one person to have first-hand knowledge of ALL the sex stuff in the book. What I don’t like however, is the negative and somewhat uninformed attitude of the Guide. For instance, the book implies that only students get pierced and emphasizes the risks. There are risks associated with piercing, of course, and it is responsible to address them. However, I would have anticipated that a writer about sex, no matter how vanilla, would be more open minded than to say: “if nature wanted you to have extra holes through your nipples or between your legs, she would have put them there. ”
The second jarring note is the vocabulary and sloppy editing. Several of the terms used took me aback. Now, piercing terminology is tricky, but the book uses the term, “AP” for an apadravya which I haven’t come across in common usage, and also refers to a “magic cross,” a term for a penis pierced with both an apadravya and an ampallang. Haven’t heard of that one, either, but it’s in the BME Encyclopedia, so what the hell. “Ring tossing” — apparently a term for dislodging a diaphragm with a piercing during intercourse–isn’t, though. One section quotes an experience on BME and appears to confuse which piercing it refers to. Further, there are aggravating misspellings, the most serious of which is “naval” for “navel” throughout that section! (And we hate that, don’t we?)
It really tries, I think, but there’s such a mix of good and bad (or maybe, less-than-good) information, so I’m left wanting. It’s a pretty thorough treatment, but with some glaring omissions. There’s no mention of the problems people have with partners if one person is into piercing and the isn’t, for example, and there’s no sympathy for or understanding of the allure of sexual piercings. It’s nice to have a published treatment of sex and piercings, since they are often (but not always!) connected, but I can’t say The Guide to Getting it On “gets it,” at least on this topic. I’m holding out for The Piercing Bible, coming to your bookstore soon!
Despite its shortcomings when it comes to treating piercings, I still highly recommend this book. I guarantee you will have a good time reading it, and an even better time trying some of the tips out. You can buy it here on Amazon: Guide to Getting It On.