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The New Lesbian Sex Book

Covers everything from tantric sex to menopause

Admittedly, a casual browser’s first encounter with the pretty cover of The New Lesbian Sex Book (Alyson $26) could lead to mild vexation.

Is it a coming out guide for the newly lesbian? Perhaps it’s a manual for “the new lesbian sex” (whatever that might be)?

It’s neither, in fact. The third edition of NYC-based Wendy Caster’s how-to volume aims to talk sex with lesbians — all the while knowing that both “sex” and “lesbian” are radically complex terms, and so striving to encompass as broad a spectrum as possible in 200 pages.

As expected Caster addresses, in convenient alphabetical order and with plentiful photographs, an impressive range of ideas and practices, starting with A (Anal Sex, Anonymous Sex, Armpits, Arguing) and concluding with W (Water, Weight).

Between the covers, the author dispenses information and wisdom about virtually any sex-related topic you can think of (herpes, cuddling, butt plugs, incest survivors and tantric sex to list only a few).

And its contents are impressively thorough, too, explaining in frank and non-clinical language matters that are anatomical (covering head to toe, basically).

As well, Caster dedicates pages to sociological issues such as cross-cultural sexuality, loneliness, body image, rejection, menopause, celibacy and polyamory.

There’s handy science too (for instance, measuring the comparative virtue of lubricants and dildos by type).

Balancing out the anatomy lessons, opinions of PhD’d experts, and resource references, Caster makes frequent use of Maggie, Henri, Sharvani, Leeskater and 36 others, each with her own sexual biography, from Liz, a multi-orgasmic top, to bicurious Lou, who has not yet had sex with another woman.

These ordinary women, varying in age, location, ethnicity and sexual experience, provide interview replies on diverse subjects, from the generation gap and erogenous zones to good lover techniques, online hookups and sexual fantasies.

Their answers, always intriguing and consistently informative, supply readers with a micro-lesson about the astonishing complexity of sexual activity and sexual identity.