by Tina Hess
2004. Renaissance E Books.
Being a fan of resourcefulness, anti-consumerism and DIY solutions, I enjoyed the premise of this e-book. A guide to repurposing household objects as sex toys is a great idea! Tina Hess offers a wide variety of great toy suggestions plus some bonus masturbation resources and household toy erotica, but I couldn't help but notice shortcomings in the areas of safety, positivity, and diversity.
Hess says in the introduction that she began the book as something of a joke, but during her research realized that it could actually be important to support female sexuality by providing information and resources about masturbation. Her execution reflects that somewhat, in that she is skilled at writing and research, but seems still a bit inexperienced or confused about how to promote positive female sexuality. In my emails with the author, she was very interested in using more inclusive, positive language, which made me inclined to just deal with things like a collection of (well-written) erotica that consistently presents masturbation as a poor substitute for sex with a man or the lack of acknowledgement of non-heterosexual fantasies.
The range of objects profiled in the Around-The-House Guide is quite wide. Besides the various and inevitably repetitive items that can be used for penetration, Hess suggests objects that vibrate, provide suction, allow for temperature play, and can be used to stimulate the clitoris in a variety of ways (tapping, rubbing, brushing, watering, and more). I found a few of the suggestions frightening due to the lack of explicit safety tips for some techniques. If Hess explained why, for example, the recommended vacuum attachment wouldn't suck my clit right off, I might try it out. I found the book's suggestions inspiring, but I wish I didn't have to do my own safety research.
Overall, I found Hess' suggestions intriguing and the erotica well-done. The limitations of the book were not offensive to me, but they made the guide seem incomplete. This book could round out a masturbation booklist that already covers hygeine and safety.
Also in this issue, Tina Hess gives sample tips from the book.
The vulvovaginal care and safety principles in The V-Book could help you get the most of the toy tips in this book.
For masturbation basics and a super-positive outlook on self-love, Sex For One is a classic.