Hornboy and a friend recently delivered a piece of artwork to a man in LA, who happens to be Margaret Cho’s husband. When they told me about it I said, "I thought she was gay!?" Yet, I was wrong. When I mentioned this "new" fact to my gay friends, they acted like I lived in a cave, but all my straight friends, like me, were surprised. Apparently this is no secret, but us straight-ish peeps all seem to think otherwise. I wondered why.
At the same time I noticed that Tiny Nibbles was getting a lot of traffic from salon.com, and I traced it to an interview where my cunnilingus book is mentioned and they linked to me. The article is an interview with a new author who is claiming he’s written the "cunnilingus manifesto" ("She Comes First"), and seems to have got himself a nice fat contract with Reagan Books. In the interview I get a mention when the interviewer asks, "Did you speak with any lesbians about cunnilingus? Girl-girl sex doesn’t really come up in the book." His answer is:
"No, it doesn’t come up. Frankly, a lot of sex books that are written from a bisexual or lesbian or alternative perspective face the danger that they may alienate the average heterosexual guy or the average heterosexual couple. I was really conscious of bringing my message to mainstream America. There are already books out there, written by women, that deal with cunnilingus: "The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus: How to Go Down on a Woman and Give Her Exquisite Pleasure," by Violet Blue; "Box Lunch: The Layperson’s Guide to Cunnilingus," by Diana Cage, coming out later this summer. I am a straight man and I deal clinically with straight couples. I think if this book were written from an alternative viewpoint, it might give men an excuse not to read it or not to take it seriously."
Yes, because straight men should definitely never ever ever take sex advice on female sexuality from lesbians seriously. Umm… but wait a minute. I’m not a lesbian. I’m barely a bisexual. Okay, I recently assumed that Margaret Cho was gay because her humor is inclusive, my bad. But I wonder, what does an author’s sexual orientation have to do with anything, especially when it comes to accurate sex information? What does this author think that straight men need to fear from lesbians? Why not include every resource on female sexuality available? Also, with six years of marketing experience in the sex business, I seriously differ on his notions of "average Americans." Straight men seem to be the opposite of afraid of lesbian sex, if you know what I mean. I had to wonder, was this the same guy who wrote the single negative review about my cunnilingus book on Amazon? The tone is strikingly similar:
"Also, this writer is lesbian, which I have nothing against, but her approach to the subject made me nuts. It is not written for men (in order to know more about pleasing women) but, instead, written by a lesbian for other lesbians, etc., but the book cover and copy try to make it look like it was written for both: men AND women."
It’s funny that in the years these books have been bestsellers, I have never once received an email or read or heard criticism from women (or gay men) about the fact that my fellatio book is written for straight *and* gay readers. (Well, except the few odd Christians who wrote negative reviews, but their problem was the whole enchilada, if you will.) I make a particular point in both books that same-sex advice is a gold mine for information on pleasure physiology and sexual response. Yet with the cunnilingus book there is the lesbian-phobic review on Amazon, and I received one email about eight months ago asking why my book "leaves out" straight men and where can he find information on female sexuality that isn’t "for lesbians."
Now, I understand inclusivity, and wanting to feel like a book’s sex information includes your sexual identity, and doesn’t purposely exclude your sexual orientation. Being left out of the sexual pleasure discussion seems like a form of discrimination to me. That’s how gays and lesbians and trans people have felt for decades. And think about it — as straight people, their vast sexual knowledge has been off-limits to us forever, unless we actually got in there and "got gay" ourselves. For some that sounds fun, and clearly for some that is a threatening nightmare, but now that we don’t all live in the 1950s all you have to do to access the information is open a book. But I think that if someone is hungry to know all there is to know about a topic, like oral sex, *everything and everyone’s* perspective should be researched. Why wouldn’t a straight man want to know what lesbians do — and how to do it well? And on a business level, with my knowledge that right now big publishers are trying to cash in on the "fringe" sex book boom, it seems like Reagan books blew it by pushing an author who tows that tired old homophobic line — all-orientations writing is what *makes* the fringe, and gives us the permission (and in many cases, the language) to talk frankly and intelligently about sex.
I find it all very interesting. Writing with sexual inclusivity is actually my job at Good Vibrations. Keep in mind that my next three sex guidebooks are written for straight and bi women, but with a warm welcome to readers of all orientations — does that make me gay, or the information any less helpful? Definitely both. I am a gay man. My boyfriends are lesbians. I checked out the rival book’s status on Amazon, and it’s selling quite well, no doubt with a big push from the monstrous mechanics of a big publisher behind it, and the mainstream palatability of couched homophobia. Read the book’s reviews on Amazon and you’ll notice a very striking similarity in tone in all of them, no joke (and four duplicates). I’ll read a review copy at Good Vibes, you bet — especially based on the author’s comments in the interview. "… female ejaculation has never been conclusively linked to physiological pleasure. Research has shown that most women don’t even know whether they’re ejaculating or not." Yeah, all the lesbians I know just sort of wake up in a big puddle and they’re like, "Fuck, I think all that organic brown rice and Indigo Girls gave me bad gas. Phew!"
Whatever. I spent a nice week working down at SRL, sorting through boxes of gigantic rusty lag bolts and installing a "nice rack" behind one of our lathes. It hurt me to have to take down an ancient embattled "jesus is lord" sign, but we’ll put it somewhere nice, maybe in the Warning: Radioactive poster area by the milling machine. The rack was heavy and my framing job using an impact wrench was overkill, yet satisfying. My dear, dear friend (and fellow gay man) Xeni Jardin gave me permission to share her pictures from Wired’s Nextfest. Enjoy — the only thing I liked that is missing from her pics (though impossible to photograph) was the incredible 3D scanner and printer. Yes, it scanned a three-dimensional object and "printed" it in razor-thin plaster-like layers, resulting in an exact copy of the object (though I’m sure you could tweak with output size). Very cool.
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