At first read (and blush) it is difficult to ascertain whether these women (one primly named Emma, the other provocatively named Lorelei), popularly known as Em and Lo, are writing practical advice or pristine humor. After all, chapters like "The Unmentionables" (which includes a chart on degrees of potty problems) and "Protocol for Specific Embraces" are laden with real-life know-how --- but one wonders at times, Gentle Reader, if many of those engaged in threeways are actually interested in etiquette at all, much less nitpicky specifics such as "A gentleman or lady never has a threeway with a coworker." (One doesn't know your specifics, of course, Gentle Reader, but few Readers these days have much opportunity to meet anyone at all outside of the office, let alone contacts suitable for a "threeway!")
However, Em and Lo would beg to differ: "There is nothing wrong with being a stickler for politesse, especially when one considers its origin: Good manners are part of the social contract we voluntarily enter into, in order to create a more harmonious society. And where can we benefit more from a little harmony than in the boudoir?" They're right, of course --- and despite its screamingly funny moments, this book answers many questions that dare not speak their own names, from safe, sane pickup lines to STD-discovery decorum.
Their answers are also right. You may quibble on points of morality, but Em and Lo are so over that. They know from both personal and professional experience that folks will do what they do, and they might as well have a safe, sane book from which to glean correct behaviors in sticky situations that range from first date to first … oh, you choose!
Chapter heads and divisions make it easy to flip to just the section you need ("Chapter II: Formal Sex/The Deed"), while boxed tips, hints and lists provide excellent breaks for those who find themselves becoming a bit faint over specifics (although boxes such as the "Intricate Dance of the Wet Spot" may induce fainting for the feint of heart).
Caveat emptor (and they might have covered buying sex, too; perhaps a topic for a sequel?): this is not a sexual "how-to" guide. There are guidebooks aplenty on every topic covered in this one in case you need to learn. Em and Lo are firmly committed to putting down the rules about going down as they stand today: "We are delighted to take a place in the long tradition of etiquette doyennes --- to reaffirm the constants and add some new, saucier suggestions to the canon for these more modern, salacious times. Of course, we expect to blush ferociously when we read whatever sex manners manual will be published fifty years from now. But perhaps then, at least, there will be a sex manners genre to speak of. For it is our immodest goal to make the world a better place, one sex act at a time."
Perhaps, then, being So Genteel, Em and Lo will not mind two teensy-weensy suggestions. One: since they're not writing a sex manual, stop already with the dominatrix-like statements about everyone having to try Act X or Position Y "at least once in a lifetime." Sex --- it's all about choice, you know?
However, grammar ain't (so to speak). So no more prepositions at the end of sentences, ladies, or it's off to the bondage wheel with you … hmmmm, perhaps they do have a series in mind.
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick on January 26, 2004