Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex – One of the Most Thorough Sex Manuals Ever!

Nina Hartley’s Awesome Sex Guide
First and foremost, I must admit that I am a sex book junkie. I love books, I love sex, and the marriage of the two, when done right, can send this self-proclaimed sex geek over the edge. It’s phenomenal. I could take a picture to display just a portion of the sex-related books and DVDs (yes, I own those too) I hoard, but you’d think I was a sex-a-holic. (Not to say I’m not, but if I am, I haven’t fully accepted it, so I’ll admit there’s a tiny bit of a chance I’m in denial.)

Either way, I happened upon Nina Hartley by way of an interesting conversation with a male friend of mine. He’s an open-minded sexually free spirit, so I tend to trust his opinion on these matters. When he mentioned her name, I was reminded of all the times I’ve leafed through a Playboy Store catalog or “window-shopped” sexual material on Amazon and totally skipped over her products. Considering our sexually wild kindred spirits, I decided to take his advice just a little and checked out Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex (a book, though he preferred DVD). Needless to say, I was not disappointed.

Quick Summary:

Nina Hartley, bisexual adult film star, discusses the ins and outs of sex for a general adult audience that desires to improve sexual knowledge and performance with a lover (or two – and maybe three or more at once) or by and for themselves. Chapters are broken down to discuss various sexual topics in a detailed, unhurried manner that aims to provide an exhaustive account of the subject that can enhance, refresh or enlighten the reader’s current knowledge.

Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex: Candid Book Review
Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex was one of the most comprehensive and entertaining sex-related reads I’ve experienced in quite some time. Hartley and her co-author, I.S. Levine, clearly know how to describe and explain the sex goddess’ teachings in a manner that’s lighthearted, friendly and even comical at times.

Pros:

* Unabashedly pro-sexual and liberating. A self-proclaimed “unabashed sexual liberationist,” Hartley encourages taking erotic responsibility for your “sexual actions and intentions,” which is empowering, especially if you’ve dealt with negative social and cultural conditioning about how sex and sexuality should be.

* Encourages “know thyself” beyond mirrors and masturbation. We’ve all gotten the proverbial suggestion to “look in the mirror and relate to your vagina” exercise, coupled with “masturbate often” as the primary path to discover your sexuality. There’s nothing wrong with this, however, the most powerful sex organ of all – your brain – is ignored. Hartley pushes beyond this helpful yet relatively superficial advice, and instructs you to candidly address your own sexual identity, as it’s “vital to establishing an erotic link with a compatible other.”

* Organized, entertaining and detailed. As a bisexual adult performer, Hartley literally writes from experience in an intelligent, candid manner that’s peppered with personal anecdotes and goes light on clich├ęs. Thoroughly written and detailed, GTS is over 350 pages, separated into 18 chapters that are broken down and organized into 3 sections: Basics (including orgasms, masturbation, foreplay, sexual positions and anal sex), Extras (toys, swinging, threesomes), and Options (BDSM – and each letter gets its own chapter). Makes for an interesting read – or coffee table accessory.

Cons:

* Too much information for too general an audience. Though Hartley’s book provides an excellent resource for general audiences, I prefer specialized reads in most cases. It might have been useful for her to have three separate books- one book that’s for beginners and novices, another for intermediate lovers, and placed her extra kinky writings in an entirely separate book. Some of the information is at times too basic, and at others, too shocking, which, even if separated can throw the reader around.

* Not enough pictures. As a matter of fact, there really aren’t any pictures, which could break up the monotony of consistent (yet thoroughly engaging) text that comprises this 350 page sex manual. Then again, to be honest, I hate fuzzy black-and-white photographs; they make a book seem 10 years older than it really is.

Final Word: Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex is almost an essential requirement for any sensual connoisseur’s bookshelf. Witty, honest, engaging, and informative, Hartley’s paperback provides a near perfect intersection of sexuality, education and intelligence that you cannot find so easily these days. While some chapters might be too hot for some precious eyes and ears, Guide to Total Sex is one of the most authoritative and trustworthy guides to human sexuality you could ever come across.

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