Hot Safer Sex

{November 24, 2007}   Review: “The Modern Safer Sex Guide” by Violet Blue

It’s very hard to write a “review” of something written by one of your heroes. And Violet is definitely a role model; her tireless blogging, her snarky style, and her generous hospitality (showing me around the Castro when I was visiting for the first time) have been inspirations for my own entry into the sexblog world. But more to the point, I share with her a desire for “Sex-positivity for all genders, orientations, operating systems and devices.

Cheering her on with her own e-book imprint, I was excited to see that among the titles offered for sale on the site is a free e-book: “The Modern Safer Sex Guide.” In keeping with the DRM-free nature of the site,  when you click on the link you get it in three different formats – PDF, PDB (for palm-based readers) and an unlocked text file. This is radical; what, you mean I can actually print it out if I want? I can send it to other people if I want? Good lord, Violet, what are you trying to do, singlehandedly take down the edifices of the publishing industry? (In my mind, I hear her dry chuckle. “Yep.”)

Now, aside from the cover photo (three of my personal favorite things, Violet, teeth, and a Magnum condom) I wouldn’t exactly call this a “hot” ebook. It’s a book of facts, and it very precisely nails down the risk factors involved in pretty much every permutation of sexual contact, without any hetero-centricity and also with a thorough nod towards the use of toys. Going down the list, I was impressed with its thoroughness, as well as amused by some of the side notes (under the risks for “Nasal Ejaculation”, for example, there is the note: “Yes, it is possible to get nasal herpes.“) I could see this e-book being a useful icebreaker, especially since there is a lot of room for discovering personal quirks in your partner (“People do that?” “Um…I guess…actually, I think that’s kind of hot…”) or ways to enjoy risky behaviors in a non-risk way (for example, rimming with a barrier lets a couple try out something “taboo” without either the risk or the ick factor getting in the way.

In all fairness, I did find that the descriptions were a little inconsistent. While the various methods of barriers were thoroughly discussed (and kudos to her for including that something as simple as plastic wrap can be used as a dental dam) the actual activities weren’t – “rimming” in particular comes to mind, with the thought that if someone needs to have a condom defined, they would probably have to have rimming defined as well. I would have liked to have a glossary that precisely described what is meant by “female sexual organs” (is there a risk for ejaculating on breasts? Does the anus count?).

Then again, this is nit-picking. She gives links right up front to the SFSI and CDC sites, and this is really designed, as far as I can tell, as a sort of quick reference (scenario: “We end up at her place. She really wants to give me head. We don’t have a condom. Quick, while she’s in the bathroom brushing her teeth, check the guide…shit! She’s opening up microabrasions in her mouth! What to do?” “Hey…you know what I’d really like? I’d like to watch you masturbate, so I can learn how your pleasure works…and I’ll show you mine, too. Got any candles?” “Thank God Violet’s let me know that I can kiss, at least…says right here on page 6, ‘Making out is not a high-risk activity’“).

One thing I really, really like about it is that it emphasizes the idea of “safer sex”, and personal responsibility to make informed decisions. She acknowledges that “Lots of us want to have unprotected sex. Just know the facts so you can make the best choice for yourself each time you engage in a sex act.”

So, while I don’t have a scale for reviewing things (any suggestions for units of measure for hotness?) while this isn’t going to directly stimulate your gonads, it is one of the clearest and simplest tools I’ve seen for being able to make your own decisions when you venture out into the game of pleasure. And it’s free; you’ve got no excuse not to click right now and get all eight pages (including the awesome photo) and bring yourself up to date. While you’re there, check out the other books (like her How to Kiss) and why not write a review for this site? Hmmm?


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