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Tag Archives: self-help

The 30-Minute Blowjob (XXXX): After Reading This, You Still Have 28 Minutes to Practice

The 30-Minute Blowjob (XXXX): After Reading This, You Still Have 28 Minutes to Practice

photo credit: Oregon State University

Eva Arlington, The 30 Minute Blowjob: How to Give Him the Best BJ Ever in 30 Minutes or Less (no publisher listed, no date listed)

bj

I’m always impressed when a cover design uses a fresh, exciting metaphor. photo credit: my copy

In the bedroom, tramp, bitch, slut, and whore are all interchangeable and synonymous with babycakes, honey, and ‘I Love You’.”

Even if the rest of the slim, common-sense volume were packed to the brim with the Secrets of the Ancient Mayan Temple Prostitutes or something, that sentence on its own would drop my rating here three stars or more. And since it’s not, well, there’s not too far to go before hitting zero.

The Ethical Slut (2009): I Don’t Know, You Naughty Boy, I’ve Never Kippled!

Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy, The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Other Adventures (2/E) (Celestial Arts, 2009)

Four happy woodcut-looking figures with big hearts adorn the cover of the book.

Your soul is in trouble and requires repairs.
photo credit: Wikipedia

Perhaps the most important thing to know about The Ethical Slut, if you’re just hearing about it for the first time, comes from Annie Sprinkle’s blurb on the back. “The Ethical Slut is one of the most useful relationship books you could ever read, no matter what your lifestyle choices.” This is indeed the case. Even if you’re a committed monogamist (like most folks around the globe today who are in serious relationships), there is a great deal of information in here you can use; given that polyamory is simply an exponential projection of normal relationship dynamics, the books presents a masterclass on the same stuff about relationships that’s covered in every other self-help book. And since they’re looking at situations that most people will consider absurd, they’re going well out beyond what the monogamous will think of as the worst case scenario. As a result, simply put: this is the best self-help book, not only about relationships, but about anything, that you will ever read.

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The Five Love Languages (1992): Salty, Sweet, Bitter, Sour, Umami

 Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages (Northfield Press, 1992)

A couple wanders away from the camera on a beach after drawing a large heart in the sand

“I like long walks on the beach, horses, and people.”
photo credit: paralyzedwithjoy.blogspot.com

If you know me, you’re probably well aware of my stand on self-help books (if you don’t, you can get a very quick primer in my review of Stanton Peele’s essential The Diseasing of America). So when I got this one as assigned reading, I can’t say I was overly enthused. Still, it was an assignment, so I took it with me on the bus and cracked the cover. Two days and two round trips later, I had finished it. The short answer for the tl;dr crowd is that while there are some things about this book that I find truly horrifying, there’s just enough pearls cast amongst the swine to make it worth your time as long as you can willfully blind yourself to a few things.

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One Simple Change (2013): One Really Good Reason to Fact-Check Your Sources

 Winnie Abramson, One Simple Change: Surprisingly Easy Ways to Transform Your Life (Chronicle, 2013)

The title in plan text on an orange background adorns the book cover.

One simple cover.
photo credit: Barnes and Noble

I keep picking up books along these lines and being disappointed by them. You’d think by now I would know better, but I still suffer from what seems to be a fundamental illness—believing that it is possible to write a self-help book that doesn’t come from the same sources. A sane one, in other words. There’s also the problem that I keep listening to the media and the public when it comes to self-help books, and why would anyone who likes self-help books be promoting one that went against the grain like that? But still, I drank the Kool-Aid(TM) with this one (something Winnie Abramson would frown on, obviously) and grabbed a copy of One Simple Change from the library after dozens of positive reviews and recommendations. What I discovered was part what I expected and part absolutely terrifying.

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