Review of The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices by Brenda Love
You won’t sit down and read this in one sitting, as it is basically an encyclopedia, but it is marvelous fun to pick up and read a few entries at a time. Since it is available in a Kindle edition, you can whip it out and read a little any time you have a few minutes to kill.
There are over 750 entries with 150 line drawings, ranging all across the map of human sexuality. No matter how knowledgeable or experienced you may be, there is still a lot of stuff here that will be new to you.
The book is very well researched and very extensive. In the entry on sitophilia (the practice of incorporating food into sex play), the author also describes several games people play with food. There are more fetishes covered than you probably knew existed. While what is considered an unusual sex practice varies based on what we personally like, some entries will stay in the unusual category for most of us.
For example, there are those who are sexually aroused by bee stings (entomocism), with some putting a jar of bees over their penis. Ouch! Actually, a number of entries might be in the ouch category, and the whole range of BDSM activities is very well covered. There are also descriptions of orgies, sex shows, sex festivals, masturbation techniques, and just about everything else I could think to look up.
There are tons of unusual sex practices, but the author also points out which sexual practices are considered health risks- which includes quite a few of them.
I might have preferred that the main entry on swinging not be under wife swapping. Swinging doesn’t really use the barter system. The entry on snuff films was a major gaff and should have been fixed. Snuff films are an urban legend, the origins of which are fairly well known, but the entry describes them as if they were a real thing.
There are organizations, products, and places mentioned, but there is no additional contact information for them. Since this is an older book, originally published in 1992, most of that information would have become dated anyway. The lack of doing a complete update also means that information on things like sex themed computer games is fairly out of date. For most of the information in the book, though, little has changed and it holds up well.
There is an index and even a glossary, making this an excellent research tool, and it will certainly hold an important place in our library. The Library Journal review called this a marginal buy for libraries, because it will appeal to voyeurs and censors. Since much of this information would be difficult to find anywhere else, and it offers legitimate information on human sexuality in a useful form, it is sad but typical to see this type of censorious attitude. You may not find it in your local library, but we think you’ll enjoy having it on your bookshelf or reader.