MSP Book Review: The Many Joys of Sex Toys by Anne Semans


Regular readers of MSP and the sex columns I write for Kinsey Confidential, Time Out Chicago, Men’s Health, Velocity and Cheeky Chicago may recall how much I like – or at least how often I’ve recommended – The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex. I even wrote a review of it for MSP more than a year ago. I’ve recommended it for years and for a variety of issues including learning to communicate about sex, to explore/diversity one’s sex life, and to learn about sex toys, too.

Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that I would also be a fan of The Many Joys of Sex Toys, a book written by one of the Good Vibe’s co-authors, Anne Semans. As the book was published in 2004, it doesn’t include all of the latest, greatest toys – but that’s what the internet is for: to complement hardcover reading with information about even more toy options. However, the book does provide details about some of the most important issues related to sex toys including:

- how to introduce a toy into a relationship
- how to communicate with a partner about sex toys
- a wide range of toys that are marketed or designed for clitoral, vaginal, g spot, breast, or anal stimulation
- tips for the use and cleaning of sex toys
- first-person stories of women’s, men’s and couple’s use of sex toys
- a few erotic-ish tales of toy use
… and more!

The book is written in a friendly, accessible, reassuring voice and is perhaps best for people who have at least some comfort reading about sex – and the diversity of sex (e.g., in regard to sexual behaviors, orientations, stimulation, etc) before they come to the book. Those who are still feeling a bit squeamish about sex and toys more generally might want to start more slowly by going to an in-home sex toy party, talking about sex with friends or a partner, perusing woman-friendly sex web sites (such as MyPleasure or Babeland) or reading a book such as For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality (to get comfortable with ideas related to sex, for women) or The New Male Sexuality (to get comfortable with ideas related to sex, for male readers). For those who are in a place where they are ready for some more intermediate or advanced level tips and information related to sex toys, this may very well be a good book for you. It’s certainly one that I find useful to recommend to women and men who are interested in improving their knowledge related to sex toys… and yes, their “many joys”.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at