Book Reviews

Recent posts

Good Vibrations Guide to Sex: MSP Book of the Week


This week’s MSP Book of the Week is The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex - one of all my all-time favorite books about sexuality, sex toys, introducing toys into a relationship and trying new things by yourself or with a partner. I’ve long loved this book for its thorough coverage of sex toys, tips for communicating about sex with a partner, it gender and orientation open tone (meaning, people of any gender and orientation would feel welcome in it), as well as tips for safer, more pleasurable sex. I recommend it quite often in my columns in Time Out Chicago, Velocity Weekly and Kinsey Confidential and for good reason – it’s excellent. Continue Reading →

“The Fertility Diet” and its associated controversy

This New York Times article briefly discusses the new book, The Fertility Diet, and makes a good point that has been over-looked in much media coverage related to infertility and dietary changes. Much of the research on nutrition and fertility is correlational – meaning that it shows that certain types of fertility problems are associated with certain types of nutrients or eating patterns. That does not mean that if a woman changes her eating behavior to follow "The Fertility Diet" that she will suddenly (or even gradually) become more fertile. To learn more about the book and the concern that the Times article raises (chiefly, that couples who are already struggling with infertility may now blame themselves for not eating well), read the article here. Continue Reading →

Holiday Gift Suggestion #2

2. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work – good for yourself, good for your partner, and a good gift for a young couple trying to make it work. Unlike a lot of pop psychologists out there, Dr. John Gottman is one of the most respected researchers in the area of relationships and marriage. This man knows what he’s talking about PLUS his books are really interesting and provide concrete tools for working on your love life. Continue Reading →

MSP Book of The Week: Our Bodies, Ourselves


This week’s BOTW is Our Bodies, Ourselves by The Boston Women’s Health Collective. There are few books that I think most women should own, but this is one of them. Our Bodies, Ourselves came from a time during the women’s rights/women’s health movements. A group of women – calling themselves The Boston Women’s Health Collective – got together and decided that women needed to learn about their bodies and about their sexual and reproductive health. Out of their work came Our Bodies, Ourselves – a book that many moms have gifted their daughters with (and really, many daughters have gifted their moms with too!). Continue Reading →

MSP Book of the Week


This week’s BOTW is For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality by Lonnie Barbach, PhD. This book has long been recommended by sex therapists who work with women facing a variety of sexual issues. Many women find this book helpful for issues such as: learning to relax during sex, learning to have an orgasm, dealing with pressure to have sex, desire discrepancy (when one partner wants more or less sex than the other partner), low sexual desire or interest, or feeling curious – but perhaps not confident about – sexual self-pleasuring or masturbation. It is truly amazing what a wide range of issues this book can be helpful for. Highly recommended. Continue Reading →

MSP Book of the Week


This week’s BOTW is Coping with Premature Ejaculation: How to Overcome PE, Please Your Partner and Have Great Sex by Dr. Michael Metz and Dr. Barry McCarthy. I have heard these men speak at conferences and they really know their stuff. This book includes the classic methods that sex therapists and educators have historically recommended to men looking to improve their ejaculatory control as these methods are successful for many men. However, the book also includes contemporary information related to how some healthcare providers will prescribe certain medical treatments for harder to treat cases of premature ejaculation, and other strategies that men can use alone or with a partner to improve their sexual lives. Continue Reading →

MSP Book of the Week: The V Book


This week’s BOTW is The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health by Dr. Elizabeth Stewart – in part because this is also the week that I join Tyra Banks on her television show to teach women about their vaginal and vulvar health (on the Monday Nov 5 episode titled "What’s up down there?"). The V Book is one of my all time favorite books related to sexual health. It highlights very important information related to female genital parts, yeast infections, what’s normal (and not) in terms of lumps and bumps and skin color changes, bacterial infections, sexually transmissible infections (STI), gyn exams, vulvar and vaginal cancers, Pap tests, whether cranberry juice really prevents UTIs, whether yogurt really is an effective remedy for yeast infections, and much more. 

Dr. Elizabeth Stewart is truly one of the most respected vulvovaginal health experts in the country and has been a prominent member of the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD) for years. There are very few groups that focus on vulvovaginal health in the world but the ISSVD is one of them. If you would like to connect with a group working to promote research and education related to vulvovaginal health, pain disorders or other health issues, consider learning more about The Patty Brisben Foundation, The National Vulvodynia Association or The Gynaecological Awareness Information Network (GAIN). Continue Reading →

Must must must read

Romantic relationships are important to most of us – not necessarily all of the time, but at many points in our lives this tends to be true. Women and men have long been fascinated, pained, enthralled, saddened and mystified by romance and sexuality, and how people come together, stay together and/or fall away from each other – and sometimes, how they return. Human beings have looked at relationships from diverse angles – science, art, story telling, painting, sculputre, music, and comics. Though I had evidence of the ability of comics to do this, largely through reading Calvin and Hobbes, it is my dear and wonderful friend, artist Rama Hughes, who I credit for opening my eyes to how comics can be used to explore relationships in interesting ways. 

Some of this has been through showing me other people’s work – one of the more beautifully painful, and heart wrenchingly true examples of this is Blankets by Craig Thompson (really, please consider reading it). Another example is this very touching comic by Rama that you can view here - it is something I’ve come back to again and again that, when I’ve been alone, has made me miss being in a relationship. And when I’m loving and being loved, it warms me to know that I can experience that unusually good place where you have a private world all of your own within someone else’s arms or bed. Continue Reading →

MSP Book of the Week: The New Male Sexuality


This week’s Book of the Week is The New Male Sexuality by Bernie Zilbergeld, PhD. Men often don’t buy sex/relationship books – or at least not often as women do – but this is truly a book that I think most any man would benefit from reading. Women and men who like, love or are interested in becoming romantic or sexual partners with men might also enjoy reading this book. It is packed with information about how men shape up to be the lovers and partners that they become, as well as techniques for dealing with common problems such as occasional or even ongoing erection problems, premature ejaculation, and performance anxiety. This is truly one of my all-time favorite books about sex and relationships and one of the few absolute "must-reads" I suggest. Continue Reading →

MSP Book of the Week


This week’s BOTW is The G Spot: And Other Discoveries About Human Sexuality". Most of us have heard about the famed "g spot" – this is the book (albeit the newer, updated version of the original) that started the whole craze – that actually, back in 1987, named the "g spot" (after Dr. Ernst Grafenberg who described this area of the vagina that, for some but not all women, seemed to be erotically sensitive).  What I like about this book is that it mixes scientific information about the g spot (the moderate amount that we have) with personal stories from women about their experiences with g spot and clitoral exploration and pleasure, and it also spends some time talking about a few other areas of cool sexual science. Continue Reading →