Everybody loves a good sex guide- especially me! I’m now able to add Tickle My Tush: Mild-to-Wild Analplay Adventures for Everybooty by Dr. Sadie Allison to my ever-growing bookshelf. This pint-sized paperback is a great addition to any sex educator’s collection, as well as a good beginner’s how-to guide for those curious about anal play. I’ve compiled a list of my likes and dislikes below to help MSP readers determine whether or not this is the right book for them.
What I Loved:
-The adorable drawings! The illustrations, by Steve Lee, are done in the style of a comic book or graphic novel, eliminating the discomfort that realistic anatomical drawings can create for some people.
-The light, casual tone of the writing. This goes along well with the great illustrations, and was a clear choice by Dr. Allison to make this book more accessible to beginners. Anal sex is not exactly dinner table conversation, and the lighthearted tone makes the information easier to digest.
-The amazing chapter on sex safety. Dr. Allison has written a comprehensive section on how to stay safe during sex, and included info on all four barrier methods that I would personally recommend (condoms, finger cots, dental dams, and rubber gloves). She also reminds us never to double dip (this may seem obvious, but is often forgotten when things get hot and heavy).
-All of the checklists. My favorite was the “Wants & Desires Checklist” on page 7, to be filled out by both partners. This was a great way to start off the book, and allows for communication between partners. Dr. Allison includes several checklists throughout the book, all of which I appreciated, as it gave me a good reason to pause and think before continuing to read.
-The “DPF,” or designated play finger. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told things like “lesbians can’t have long nails,” and this is the perfect solution. For those of us that like to keep our nails long, Dr. Allison recommends designating one finger to be the play finger, and simply keeping that one nail trimmed and neat.
-Her views on porn. In her cheat sheet titled “Making Your Grand Entrance,” Dr. Allison reminds us that porn isn’t always realistic. She writes, “never think of porn as your guide- it’s a visual medium, where action is king,” writing that instead, it’s important to “be slow and gentle.” Not everybody realizes that the sex we see in porn is often very different from real-life sex, so the reminder was appreciated!
-Her chapter on toys. She includes lots of information on toys that can increase anal pleasure, and they come with great illustrations.
What I Didn’t Love:
-The Analplay Translator. While I appreciated the attempt to make anatomical terms less daunting, I believe that knowing the proper terms for your own body parts is invaluable. Some of the terms were palatable, like the “A Spot” for the anus, and “Rimming” for analingus, Dr. Allison lost me at “pleasure inch” as a replacement for the anal canal, and “pleasure tunnel” for the rectum. Plus, the “A Spot” terminology may be confusing to some as others use the same term to refer to the “AFE zone” of the vagina.
-The assumption of heterosexuality. Every single graphic in this book portrays a feminine presenting female and a masculine presenting male. Additionally, there are sections with gendered titles, such as “Gal’s Guide,” which then talk solely about how to please a male partner. What about a gal that needs a guide to pleasing her female partner? In fact, the only nod to non-heterosexuality was on page 14, when Dr. Allison proves to her audience that unless you’re “already gay,” the idea of anal sex being associated with homosexuality is “impossible when you’re with someone of the opposite sex.” This leads me into my next critique…
-Her definition of sexual orientation. Continuing on page 14, Dr. Allison writes as a note that it’s the “gender of your partner-not the sexual activity- that defines your sexual orientation.” While I agree that no sexual act can be considered gay or straight, her statement that the gender of your partner defines your sexual orientation is really problematic. A queer person can be having sex with somebody of the opposite sex, and that doesn’t necessarily make them straight. A lesbian-identified female can be having sex with a transguy, and that doesn’t make her straight. This blanket statement is not only incorrect, but fairly exclusive. I was surprised to see this from a sex educator.
-The anatomical diagram on page 38. While the diagram is correct, Dr. Allison labeled all the body parts with her nicknames instead of the correct terms for the parts. This can be really confusing for first timers, not to mention that the information is somewhat incorrect.
-The negative attitude towards body hair. Dr. Allison writes that fur is “cute on small animals- maybe not so much on your butt,” and then that in order to not be embarrassed about your hair, you can remove it. While I’m all for hair removal for those that desire it, the tone of the writing in this section is very anti-hair. Everybody’s got butt hair, it doesn’t have to be so stigmatized! A more sex positive attitude might be to help people learn to like/love their bodies and their hair rather than go right to removal to manage embarrassment.
Despite my qualms with the tone and heterosexual attitude of this book, Dr. Sadie Allison has written an easy-to-read, comprehensive guide to anal play that I would definitely recommend to first-timers, perhaps in accordance with a second book that provides proper anatomical information.
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