10 July, 2012

Not Feeling So Hot Now

One of my favorite non-fiction subjects to read is probably anything related to relationships and sex. I love how informative some books are on these subjects. While some books contain a lot of information I already know, there’s still always that little bit I’d never heard before and tons of little bits of information I can share with my friends. One book that caught my eye a while ago was The Hot Woman’s Handbook by Melinda Gallagher, M.A., and Emily Scarlet Kramer.
The Hot Woman’s Handbook is a 285 page paperback published by Simon & Schuster Books. The book measures approximately 8 ½ inches tall by 5 ½ inches wide. It’s quite a bit larger than most of my fiction paperbacks, though about the same size as all of the books and guides I have purchased off of EdenFantasys. The pages inside of the book are normal paper pages without any gloss to them. If moisture gets on the pages, the text does not smear. The font is clear and easy to read. I’d estimate it at about 10 point font for regular text and 8 for the tips placed throughout each chapter.

This book does have some adult language in it, but it is not used really tastelessly. It's spread out pretty thinly, except in the chapter on talking dirty, which has quite a bit. I think you may be able to get away with reading this in public since it doesn't have nudity on it or anything. I've seen other books that have similar photos on the front and back that weren't too sexual.
Here are some photos of the front and back cover:
 
The table of contents lists the following chapters:
1.       From Birth to Babe
2.       Rock Your Body and Reap the Rewards
3.       Play Solitaire
4.       It’s a Vibe Thing
5.       Scream If You Want To
6.       Beyond the Missionary
7.       A Little Help From Our Friends
8.       Dirty Talkin’
9.       Express Yourself
10.   Casual Encounters
11.   The Porn Myth
12.   “Straight” as a Ruler?
13.   Power Play
14.   Birth of the Cake Sam’ich
I don’t want to spoil the book in my review, so I’ll be providing brief summaries of each chapter. As well as a main subject for each chapter, there are different tips, lists, fantasies, and diagrams to add to the content. Each one is very informative and interesting. Chapters 6 and up end with a section marked “Surrender the Pink,” which is a short collection of sexual fantasies of women of varying ages. Each fantasy fits in with the chapter’s main idea. For example, chapter 10’s fantasies are about casual encounters between a woman and man.

Chapter 1: From Birth to Babe
This chapter is all about adolescence and sex. It covers how adolescents are not properly educated in sex, aside from abstaining from it. There is discussion on peer pressure regarding sex, how our parents educate us on sex, and how we viewed sex when we were young. While this chapter isn’t particularly informative, it does make us realize how uncomfortable and difficult our adolescent years were due to puberty and a lack of knowledge on sex. I really got one clear message out of this chapter: When you’re a parent, you want to educate your child on sex in order to prepare them for their adult life. Being able to honestly answer their questions and allowing them to explore their own bodies helps let them know who exactly they are.
Chapter 2: Rock Your Body and Reap the Rewards
This chapter is all about body image. Those who have a poor body image do not enjoy being themselves or exposing themselves to others as much as those who have a good body image. Different media cause women to be insecure, especially when we are constantly reminded of which celebrities are perfect and how aging and looking natural aren’t perfect. Later into the chapter, discussion turns to sexual arousal and a woman’s monthly cycle. This chapter’s message is to know and understand yourself. Understand what turns you on, what happens to your body during your cycle, and that you’re already perfect as you are.
Chapter 3: Play Solitaire
As you can probably guess, this chapter is about masturbation and orgasms. Masturbation allows you to know your body and what pleases it. There is a little information to help you determine what turns you on, like lists of fantasies and books. There are a few diagrams displaying genitalia, erectile tissue, the location of your ovaries and uterus, and so on. Towards the end of the chapter are lots of techniques to try out during masturbation.
Chapter 4: It’s a Vibe Thing
This chapter discusses the use of vibrators. There’s a bit of information on the history of vibrators at the beginning. Did you know, in the 1860s George Taylor patented vibrating devices powered by steam that were used to treat women for “hysteria.” Symptoms listed for the condition included: anxiety, sexual fantasies, irritability, and excessive vaginal lubrication. This quick bit of information is followed by some questions from readers, which the authors answer in a few paragraphs. Next, the authors discuss some basic information on how to use a vibrator, like placement and your position. The chapter ends with a brief description of a few types of vibrators.
Chapter 5: Scream If You Want To
This chapter covers orgasms and the variety of ways women can experience them, like during dreams, without using their hands, and through clitoral stimulation. I like the next portion of this chapter, which discusses female ejaculation. Not all women are aware that they can ejaculate, so it’s great that the authors provided good how-to information on female ejaculation as well as some reader experiences with female ejaculation. The chapter ends with a list of different combinations of places, times, objects, and fantasies you can use to get yourself off.
Chapter 6: Beyond the Missionary
Now that the authors have discussed self-love, the book turns to sexual relations with partners. This chapter is all about positions and sexual acts with a partner. It first covers some information on mutual masturbation and then goes into oral sex. I really like pages 96 and 97, which offer tips on oral sex that you can give your guy. I honestly think every guy can benefit in some way from reading these pages, especially if they are a beginner at oral sex. Next, the chapter very briefly touches on blow jobs. It doesn’t give very much information on technique or anything, though it does cover the issue of whether or not you should swallow. This is followed with some descriptions of positions for intercourse and who will get more pleasure out of them.
The last few pages provide good information on anal sex and emergency contraception. The anal sex portion is informative and offers lots of helpful tips. I think the contraception portion is okay. Reading through it, it feels like the authors only mentioned emergency contraception so they’d have something to carry on about controversy. It mainly goes on about how we can’t get Plan B over the counter as soon as possible, but men can get Viagra very quickly and easily if they want it. I think straight-up information would have been better.
This chapter ends with two short fantasies.
Chapter 7: A Little Help from Our Friends
Like chapter 4, this chapter discusses vibrators. However, this one helps you to introduce your vibrator into a relationship with a partner who has no interest in sex toys. Readers offer some suggestions on vibrators they prefer. The chapter ends with a short fantasy.
I personally did not care for this chapter. It’s only a few pages long and is not informative to me at all. I would have liked to see information on sex toys other than vibrators. There’s such a wide range of toys and gear. Just a brief description of some categories of toys would have been nice.
Chapter 8: Dirty Talkin’
 As you can guess, this one is all about dirty talk during different sexual situations. It offers help on talking dirty without sounding awkward. The end of the chapter briefly touches on role-playing as well. I found the reader submissions very interesting. The readers write about their role-playing and dirty talk. If you’re bad at coming up with such creative things (like me), reading examples of what other people enjoy can help you come up with something of your own. This chapter ends with a fantasy.
Chapter 9: Express Yourself
This chapter is about exhibitionism and voyeurism. It discusses how to show yourself off in a way that you’ll find sexy, too. It’s not all about your viewer’s pleasure it’s about your own as well. Suggestions for masturbating with an audience, dressing in lingerie, and strip teasing are offered. The end of the chapter offers ideas for music to listen to during particular actions. This chapter ends with a short fantasy.
Chapter 10: Casual Encounters
If you’re interested in a no-strings-attached encounter with someone, this chapter is pretty informative. It helps you to identify what exactly you’re looking for, who you’d like to be with, and how to set the parameters of your relationship with this person. It also offers up some suggestions for places for casual encounters, like your workplace, vacation, and the gym. This chapter ends with two fantasies.
I found this chapter helpful in my relationship, since my fiancĂ© and I are interested in the idea of a kind of open relationship. He thinks it would be hot if I were to be in a sexual relationship with another man. I would consider something like friends with benefits since the idea of meeting a man for casual sex is a complete turn off for me. Unfortunately this chapter does not really discuss a “friends with benefits” kind of relationship.
Chapter 11: The Porn Myth
This chapter is all about porn and erotic art. It goes right into how porn is catering mainly to men. This covers several pages. Just when I thought the chapter was getting a bit hopeless, they offer up some suggestions for porn that is a bit more realistic and found enjoyable by female viewers. I like how they divided up the selection of porn that is “CAKE approved” by categories, like retro porn and porn that teaches you something. It also offers up the idea of watching live sex rather than an actual porn. There are plenty of live cam sites online that can show you live sex with real people. You can also arrange to watch sex up close and personal. The chapter ends with a few fantasies.
Chapter 12: “Straight” as a Ruler?
This chapter is about heterosexual women who are attracted to other women. It helps you if you feel confused about your orientation because of sexual thoughts of women. It also discusses relationships with other women and how you’ll benefit from those.
Not too far into the chapter, CAKE offers up a “scale” to determine where you stand when you consider yourself heterosexual. The categories are: rulers, minders, hopefuls, and benders. After reading each category, I determined myself to be a ruler. I do not have any tendencies to fantasize about women and I have absolutely no interest or attraction in other women. The wording in this scale made me feel excluded since they carry on about me being a minority and how I shouldn’t be reading this chapter. I don’t care for that at all.
As someone who is “straight as a ruler,” chapters like this one tend to make me uncomfortable. Authors tout about how amazing and beneficial relationships are with other women and just really make me feel like something is wrong with me for not being interested in this kind of thing. I have absolutely no issues with other women enjoying different kinds of relationships with men and women alike. Honestly, there’s no better way to piss off a reader than by excluding them for being who they are.
This chapter ends with 3 fantasies.
Chapter 13: Power Play
This chapter is about S&M. It discusses domination, submission, becoming a mistress, and switching it up with your partner. It briefly touches on sensory deprivation and fetishes at the end of the chapter. This chapter isn’t particularly too informative. It mainly just showcases reader submissions on S&M. I suggest picking up a book about fetishes, BDSM, or power play if this interests you. It ends with three fantasies.
Chapter 14: Birth of the Cake Sam’ich
This chapter is all about threesomes. No matter what your relationship status or what kind of threesome you’re looking for, this chapter is pretty good. The “Cake Sam’ich” is a threesome of MWM. The tips and main text of this chapter really help you to identify if you’re interested in a threesome or not. It offers up suggestions for rules to set for your threesome and who to look for. Reader submissions of previous threesomes are also informative and can set a good example to help you figure out what exactly you want. This chapter does state simply that threesomes are difficult to work with toward the beginning of the chapter. This chapter ends with two fantasies.

My overall opinion of this book is good. I enjoyed reading it for the most part. Some sections seemed kind of thrown in there last-minute while others were extremely informative and helpful. If there’s a particular topic or chapter you want to find more information on, you can always find more information online or in another book. This is a good read for any woman. I would not consider it a great beginner’s sex guide since it leaves out quite a bit of information a beginner would benefit from, like an introduction to sex toys other than vibrators and bodily safety information. The only mention of contraception is a few mentions of condoms here and there and the section on emergency contraception.
I do not recommend purchasing this book if you are a man who is not in a relationship with a woman. This book is geared towards female readers with sections specifically for female readers in a relationship with a male. Females in a relationship with other females should be able to adapt this easily to fit their needs.
After having read this book, I feel the whole thing was a bit too feminist for my tastes. A little “woman power” is nice, but the whole thing just had an overtone of feminism. I especially don’t like chapter 12. The tone of that chapter makes me feel like I’m broken or something because I do not see women sexually in the least bit. I think that is a pretty bad message to convey to your reader. People should be accepted no matter what their tastes are in my opinion.
If you’re looking for an unbiased, truly informative beginners sex guide, I suggest checking out The New Good Vibrations Guide to Sex. It contains much more information than this book. I’ve read through my copy twice. I also refer to it whenever I need a bit of information. This book is useful for everyone, not just women.
I’d like to note here that The Hot Woman’s Handbook is currently discontinued on EdenFantasys, however it may be found elsewhere online. The cover states the book was formerly titled “A Piece of Cake.”
I give The Hot Woman’s Handbook 3 out of 5 stars.

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