Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex: But Were Afraid to Ask by David Reuben Until GR friend Henry Le Nav recently rated and commented on David Reuben's EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX: BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK, this work hung out in the "cold storage" unit of my memories. The only way in which my familiarity with it would show up was in some variation of Sol Weinstein's mockery of Reuben's book: EVERYTHING YOU NEVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX*: *BUT I'LL TELL YOU ANYWAY. No surprise here -- I have a tendency to share boring information (i.e., not about sex) that other people don't want to hear. My seeing the work mentioned in a GR daily update, though, dragged it out of "cold storage." And while I hold the popular view that its audience grew up, grew old, lost control over bodily functions, remembers only stuff that happened a long time ago, and thinks a six-hour erection is Cialis's best side-effect, I also want to say that Reuben's book had its day, actually many days, in the sun. Yes, if you didn't own a copy when I was an undergraduate, then you became the friend of someone who did, or you were part of a group lying in the sun and listening to the book's owner read the "good parts" aloud. Very valuable -- this Reuben book -- and very enlightening if you were born in the 1950's. Bibles were holy one day a week- that book with the sun-colored cover was holy on the other six. It gets a five-star rating from the eighteen-year-old in me. ADDENDUM I seldom read reviews of books that I've read. And I don't ordinarily write a review of a work that I haven't recently read. But having posted a "review" of a book that I read too long ago to remember well, I decided to look at other GR members' responses to EVERYTHING. . . . I discovered that some readers found parts of the work -- particularly Reuben's discussion of homosexuality -- misleading and offensive. The refuted / discredited material is not entirely useless- it does, after all, illuminate prevailing attitudes and beliefs of a bygone era. Nevertheless, I understand the complaints- and I hope that anyone who notices that I gave Reuben's book five stars will not mistakenly conclude Reuben's discussion of homosexuality -- misleading and offensive. The refuted / discredited material is not entirely useless- it does, after all, illuminate prevailing attitudes and beliefs of a bygone era. Nevertheless, I understand the complaints- and I hope that anyone who notices that I gave Reuben's book five stars will not mistakenly conclude that the rating reveals something other than the importance of the work to many baby boomers.|This was fairly forward thinking for its day for some things like masturbation: "The only thing harmful about masturbation is the guilt drummed into children." It also appears to support greater access to abortions for pregnant women and discusses many varieties of birth control. But it's take on homosexuality is appalling. Here are a few of the statements in the book: "One of the main features of homosexuality is promiscuity...The homosexual must constantly search for the one man, the one penis, the one experience, that will satisfy him. Tragically there is no possibility of satisfaction because the formula is wrong." In regards to those gay men who live together happily for years: "The bitterest argument between husband and wife is a passionate love sonnet by comparison with a dialogue between a butch and his queen. Live together? Yes. Happily? Hardly." On gender reassignment surgery: "...Two homosexuals who had undergone these operations five years previously died of cancer. Ironically they succumbed to cancer of the breast--their new femae breasts. Ironicallyl these men who wanted to be women died of a woman's disease. that's as close as they came." Seriously? LOTS of men get breast cancer. LOTS. Here are some estimates from the American Cancer Society for breast cancer in men in the US for 2014: About 2,360 new cases of invasive breast cancer in men will be diagnosed About 430 men will die from breast cancer For men, the lifetime risk of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 3,333 slightly more likely than dying from natural forces (heat, cold, storms, quakes, etc.) is 1 in 3,357. Back to the book: "All [homosexuals] have this in common: the primary interest is the penis, not the person." "Those who combine homosexuality with sadistic and masochistic aberrations are among the cruelest people who walk the earth...they filled the ranks of Hitler's Gestapo and SS." However, although the author thinks heterosexual S&M fetishists are childish, they are just "harmless." After describing very promiscuous and impersonal behavior (including a glory hole), the question is asked whether all homosexual contacts are as impersonal as that. The answer is, "No. Most are much more impersonal." (And why is impersonal sex and promiscuous behavior automatically wrong? It's not like heterosexuals don't do those things.) Transvestites are listed under perverts. For someone so forward thinking in some areas, to be incredibly backward about gay issues, is disturbing. It was only a few years after the book was written that psychiatrists removed homosexuality as a disease in and of itself from the DSM. Considering how many years it takes to publish a new edition of that book, there had to have been a lot of talk at that time about homosexuality being normal. |Oh, where to begin with this heap of libelous garbage? I'll be reviewing the first edition of the book because it was the one I snatched up as a teenager after finding it in the free section of a used bookstore. As an asexual young person eager to learn about the obsession that the other ninety-nine percent of the human population harbored, I thought that Reuben's well-known bestseller would serve its promised purpose. The introduction asserted that no one could "live up to his human potential" without having an active, healthy sex life, which should have been my first hint that the author was writing with an agenda in mind. I don't know what the more recent edition says about transsexuals, and, for personal reasons, I would serve its promised purpose. The introduction asserted that no one could "live up to his human potential" without having an active, healthy sex life, which should have been my first hint that the author was writing with an agenda in mind. I don't know what the more recent edition says about transsexuals, and, for personal reasons, I don't want to know.) Well, it's been over forty years, and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex has become more and more risible as more time passes. From start to finish, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex is a transparent attempt to convince the reader to practice vanilla-flavored marital intercourse to the exclusion of all other forms of sex. The descriptions of the male and female sexual organs, as simple anatomy lessons, are exempt. The chapter titled "Male Homosexuality" is particularly notorious for insisting that gay men are prone to anonymous hookups in public bathrooms, cannot live together lovingly ("The bitterest argument between husband and wife is a passionate love sonnet compared to the average conversation between a butch and his queen"), can be "cured" of their homosexuality by visiting psychiatrists, and, most bizarrely, get pleasure from penetrating themselves with foreign objects such as fruit and shot glasses. The "Prostitution" chapter is similarly defamatory--it is the only section of the book that discusses female homosexuality, and asserts that the lesbians who become prostitutes do it to take the money of the men they despise and infect them with diseases. After all, who needs factual information when you can have the wise doctor confirm widely held prejudices? (He must be all-knowing, he's a doctor!) Reuben bestows his blessing upon oral sex between a man and a woman but cautions them that they may have "emotional problems" if they prefer it to intercourse. "The ideal sex act" adds procreation to pleasure and an emotional connection, according to him. Yes, he actually uses the phrase "ideal sex act." Plato may or may not be proud. Modern readers will also note that the book is totally innocent of the concepts of fisting, lesbian sadomasochism, and heterosexual anal sex. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex does offer some entertainment value: the "interviews" from medical clients who are obviously the author's inventions provide most of the laughs. A prostitute visited in the daytime by a stingy john apparently dealt with him by saying, "What do you think this, the kiddie matinee? You can come over here for half price but you only get half a screw!" If you wish that your sex manuals of choice had the tone of judgmental sitcoms, this book may be to your liking. Just put "Reproduction" from Grease 2 on repeat, and you'll be all set for an evening of stern lectures against almost every conceivable sex act. Otherwise, stay very, very far away from this thinly disguised propaganda. ETA: I read the 1999 edition, and--if you can possibly imagine this--it is even worse than the original. The updated edition must have been written for the same people who were teenagers and young adults when the original was published, because there is no way that these attitudes would pass without scorn from '90s youths. One has to imagine the author getting a letter from his publisher: Dear Mr. Reuben, We reaped great rewards from your runaway bestseller once upon a time, and we would like to see you repeat the formula. Unfortunately, thirty years have passed since we last published your authoritative tome, and our audience of vanilla heterosexual Baby Boomers is largely no longer scared of homosexuality. Would you please find another group or two to defame at length? We suggest painting sadomasochists and transsexuals as this generation's bogeymen. Also, we'd appreciate it if you barely toned down your anti-gay attitude. You can still portray gay people as crusaders for anonymous public hookups as long you don't prescribe psychological "cures" for the orientation itself. What's more, you can leave the prostitution chapter virtually untouched, because our readers' contempt for hookers is boundless. We look forward to seeing your new efforts. Sincerely, Bantam Why, oh, why did I decide to buy this book at the used bookstore one day and not Sex Lives of the U.S. Presidents?|Woody Allen se la voló con ésta cinta. Es una comedia brillante, absolutamente imprescindible, no sólo en la filmografía del cineasta neoyorquino, sino en la historia de la comedia estadounidense. De chusca Why, oh, why did I decide to buy this book at the used bookstore one day and not Sex Lives of the U.S. Presidents?|Woody Allen se la voló con ésta cinta. Es una comedia brillante, absolutamente imprescindible, no sólo en la filmografía del cineasta neoyorquino, sino en la historia de la comedia estadounidense. De chusca inteligencia, Woody Allen nos muestra una serie de… episodios, o sketches, donde se reúnen varias de las dudas más básicas de la sexualidad humana, planteadas en maneras irónicas, situaciones satíricas y diálogos geniales. Yo no sabía que Woody Allen se había basado realmente en un libro teórico. Más bien un libro de consulta. Éste libro con el mismo nombre, fue escrito a finales de los 60 por el psiquiatra californiano David Reuben. Traducido a más de 50 idiomas, se convirtió en un libro clave de la Revolución Sexual en América. Woody Allen se sirvió de ésta material para hacer una de las mejores parodias que se han realizado sobre un tema, digamos, “serio”. Todos sabemos que la sexualidad es quizás el tema que más se presta a suposiciones, teorías, memes y demás invenciones y ocurrencias. Pues bien, éste libro me resultó sumamente entretenido. Los ejemplos del Dr. Reuben son, desde luego, parodiables en el buen sentido. Sus explicaciones no me parecieron un sermón más para adolescentes calientes. Creo que es un libro consciente de que la curiosidad sexual es realmente una hermosa ingenuidad. El libro es ingenuo, sus ejemplos son cómicos, aunque el Dr. Reuben nunca haya tenido esa intención. Y vaya que no, ya que no le gustó la película, sabiendo que Woody Allen la hacía por una pequeña venganza hacia él. ¿Por qué? Pues bien, durante una gira de su libro, el Dr. Reuben apareció en el programa de Johnny Carson. Éste preguntó “¿El sexo es sucio?”, a lo que Reuben contestó con una frase de Woody: “Lo es cuando lo estás haciendo bien”. Woody lo tomó a mal y salió algo muy bien. ¿Qué quería el Dr. Reuben? Es un libro muy chistoso. Y en fin, con la sutileza que sólo Woody Allen sabe marcar entre el sarcasmo y lo chusco, y sin el tedio de los libros de consulta, éste tema en particular, se vuelve un excelente tiempo de calidad entre tú y la curiosidad. El libro está chistoso, échenle un vistazo|I rated this book for the humor value. I read the thing cover to cover the day I got it. Reuben has some awesomely misinformed sections in it. He takes a stance on homosexuality as being sexually depraved and his descriptions of how gay men act had me cracking up. His suggestion for the best spermicidal douche was unbearably funny. Some of what he says rings true, but mostly it is an amusing glance into society's view on the topic in the late sixties. Do not read it to educate yourself about all things related to sex. Read it as a history lesson and/or for it's absurdities. No wonder Woody Allen made a spoof about it.