THE CATHOLIC GIRL'S GUIDE TO SEX by Melinda Anderson and Kathleen Murray is not so much a "how to" book as it is a "how to, maybe, if you won't feel too guilty doing it and afterwards," or "how not to, unless you love him as much as you love HIM" book.
The book begins with some historical background --- reminders for those of us who attended parochial school but may have forgotten (in the heat of passion or not) what the Vatican teaches us about the big C. No not Christ. No not Communion. No not Church. Celibacy, celibacy, celibacy! A Catholic girl stays chaste up until the priest says, "I now pronounce you man and wife," at which point bride and groom are free to "achieve congress" as they're exiting down the center aisle of the church. Oh, and if they're "getting randy to make a baby" --- the only acceptable excuse for doing the nasty. That is until Vatican II recognized mutual self-giving as a fringe benefit of babymaking.
History reviewed, Anderson and Murray proceed to cover such topics as nuns, health class and moms in an effort to explain why it is that Catholic girls seem "sexiest at their most pious." Moms in particular are portrayed in all their variations, like the "loud and proud" mom who sneaks the issue of sex into every conversation: "Would you like French fries, onion rings, or sex with your burger." There she is, always on duty, always reminding us that unsanctioned sex can "ruin the rest of your life."
THE CATHOLIC GIRL'S GUIDE TO SEX asks those age-old questions that have mystified the plaid beskirted for centuries. Does sex with an ex, a Protestant, or Richard Chamberlain really count? What really is the difference between an atheist and an agnostic, and is it okay to have sex with either one of them? If "playing with yourself" is bad, will you go to hell for playing alone in my room with my Ken and Barbie dolls? How can a thong possibly be comfortable? (Actually that last one was Mom again ... you know ... wearing a thong will lead to sex, which will "ruin the rest of your life.")
Chockfull of handy references, definitions, explanations and quotes, THE CATHOLIC GIRL'S GUIDE TO SEX includes such helpful tools as the Penance Chart, useful for instance if you're wondering what the House of the Lord is expecting from you if you slip up --- or slip him the tongue. For example, if you have gone to third base with your boyfriend of three years, you need to recite 1 Hail Mary and 2 Our Fathers. If, however, it's the "I-can't-believe-I-finally-had-my-chance-to-be-with-him" guy that you rounded third base with, then expect no less then 12 Hail Marys, 6 Our Fathers, and no meat on Friday! And then there's the "edited" list of sexual euphemisms designed to improve your slang vocab. It offers alternative lingo for having sex (all varieties) and body parts, such as buttering his bread, banana split, nooner, satisfying King Solomon (which sounds religious to me, so why is it bad?), gagas, headphones, love whistle and the Pointer Sisters. Don't miss the Bible Pop Quizzes, the Roving Reporter, and the firsthand testimonials --- all frighteningly funny and all-too-familiar for the Catholic set.
Sexy and entertaining, THE CATHOLIC GIRL'S GUIDE TO SEX is destined to invoke a host of memories if you were raised a naive, innocent Catholic girl --- or even if you weren't. Now if Woody Allen would just write a Jewish Guy's Guide to Sex, the canon would be complete.
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara, Author Event Coordinator at the Princeton U-Store. on September 9, 2003
The Catholic Girl's Guide to Sex