Toronto
2 min

Not that I’m criticizing

But please, perfect your pussy licking

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Nothing beats tongues-on experience, but the On Our Backs Guide To Lesbian Sex may point the way to a better bliss. Credit: Xtra files

There’s no need to be clueless when it comes to dirty talking, anal fisting and pussy licking. And if you’re new to touching tits or aren’t quite sure how to do The Wrap (tying someone’s wrists or ankles with a length of rope between them), the On Our Backs Guide To Lesbian Sex has advice on all these topics and more.



The book is a mix of reader responses (“How do you get a woman into bed?” “How was your sex club experience?”), columns, interviews and articles on dyke desire. Contributors include Annie Sprinkle, JoAnn Loulan and Rachel Venning. There’s also a smattering of photographs by the likes of Phyllis Christopher, Michele Serchuk and Janet Ryan.



The how-to pieces are good for quick hits of practical advice since most of the source pieces are only a page or two in the magazine. What’s more interesting are the interviews with people such as Joan Nestle and Leslie Feinberg. They give a historical perspective as well as a thoughtful analysis of sexuality today. Articles such as “Femmes: A Love Letter” by Patrick Califia and “Desire And Fulfillment: Sex Over 40” by Victoria A Brownworth offer a picture of sex beyond the step-by-step instructions.



In typical On Our Backs (OOB) style, the writing is frank, unaffected and jesting. “It’s good to build up the intensity level of sensation gradually, but once you’re into it, use your whole face,” writes Venning in “Perfect Your Pussy Licking.” “Bury yourself in her pussy, get your tongue in as far as it will go, use your nose for more pressure. Not only does this feel good physically, but it also lets her know you’re really into it and that her cunt is not gross or dirty to you. Hint: If your eyelids are sticky, you’re not doing it right.”



The pieces supposedly represent the best of the mag’s 20-year history, but the majority of them date from 1998 or later. So if you’ve been reading OOB with any frequency in recent years, you’ve probable already seen most of these entries. (This is a conscious decision by editor Diana Cage, who wanted the book to speak “sexually to the way we are now.” There’s no discussion about whether or not to watch porn, just what to watch.) Also, some of the tips seem rather obvious, as in, “Don’t fist the unavailable. Don’t fist someone who is passed out, asleep or doesn’t want it.”



If you’re looking for info on anatomy or coming out, you won’t find it here. (For that, there’s Woman To Woman: A Guide To Lesbian Sexuality by Carol Booth. Unlike that book, however, the OOB guide talks about things such as fetishes.) Another title, Felice Newman’s The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide For All Of Us, has better coverage of many of the same topics as OOB, and includes a bibliography and lengthier resource section, but it’s specifically an advice book.



Overall, the On Our Back Guide To Lesbian Sex is an interesting, practical and engaging start, or addition, to a Sapphic sex library.



ON OUR BACKS GUIDE TO LESBIAN SEX.

Edited by Diana Cage.

Alyson Books. $30.