If you’ve been reading this column long enough, you know that we’re not just interested in sex – we’re also big nerds and love books. So when the folks at Tickle Kitty contacted us to see if we wanted to review Dr. Sadie Allison’s newest book, we jumped at the chance. Even if you’ve never thought about anal play being for you, read on – actually, you’re precisely the audience Sadie is writing for.
(In the interest of full disclosure, we got a free copy of the book in order to do our review. And a kitty magnet.)
Future Mr. paperispatient and I were pretty much on the same page with what we did and didn’t like about Tickle My Tush: Mild-to-Wild Analplay Adventures for Everybooty. One of the major things we liked about the book is that it serves as an excellent primer on all the stuff you don’t necessarily think of when you think “anal sex.” Dr. Sadie doesn’t even cover full-on penetration until halfway in, which is appropriate, since some pretty awesome non-penetrative experiences can be had with any sort of sex, and anal is no exception. As Future Mr. put it, “She spends a lot more time covering light touching, massage, and other priming techniques than most other scholarly works on the subject (and by that I mean such illustrious volumes as Anal Chiropractor and Ultra Kinky #79: Bowlin’ in Her Colon).” So if you’ve only ever thought about anal sex as being like you may have seen in mainstream porn, Dr. Sadie’s illustration of how anal play and anal sex can be gentle and loving offers a refreshing perspective on it.
We both also really appreciated the many examples she gives of how to massage, touch, lick, and do other things to your partner’s ass; we’ve responded to a few questions from Persephoneers who were interested in beginning to explore anal play but unsure about what to do and how to stimulate their partners, so her many suggestions could be very useful. I especially liked her suggestion to try it by yourself if you’re interested but not ready to go there with a partner yet. I don’t know why, but before the two of us starting having various kinds of anal sex, I hadn’t really thought about it being something I could enjoy on my own, and I think that’s a great suggestion too. And I love a sex book with some good pictures or illustrations, and Tickle My Tush had a lot.
Now, you all know that we think of sex as something that can be really fun and funny, and we definitely enjoy a good pun or two. But the language used throughout the book was really distracting and probably the biggest thing we disliked about it. I understand not wanting to use terms that feel clinical or unsexy, especially when you’re addressing a kind of sex that might already make people think about unsexy things (like poo), but I genuinely kept forgetting what exactly the “A-spot” was and how the “pleasure inch” was different from the “pleasure tunnel.” She offers a good discussion of anatomy and some diagrams and repeatedly emphasizes how to engage in all different kinds of anal play safely (which is important), but I don’t think it’s wise to teach people about a part of the body they may never have explored before while using cutesy euphemisms. As Future Mr. noted, “It’s an anus, it’s OK to call it an anus – in my opinion, refusing to use the names of some vital parts just sort of reinforces the taboos that the book intends to break.”
Finally, it’s worth noting that the “everybooty” mentioned in the title really means “heterosexual cis man/cis woman couples.” I understand her goal in targeting that particular audience, and there’s nothing wrong with that – my own personal preference is just for more inclusive sex guides, especially when you’re talking about a kind of sex that couples of all orientations, sexes, and gender identities can have (if they want to, of course).
Overall, it’s a valuable resource for anyone looking to get their foot in the door (the backdoor, that is – sorry) for anal play; the book offers a wide range of suggestions and you’re likely to find something that interests to you, whether it’s something a bit wild, like pegging or rimming, or something more mild, like a nice, relaxing butt cheek massage. Obviously, not everything is for everybody here, and Dr. Sadie knows it – there’s no pressure to try everything, and she acknowledges that you can have a complete and fulfilling sex life without anal play.
Keep the great questions coming! (Hee.) Got a question to ask, subject you’d like us to discuss, or myth you’d like us to bust? You can e-mail us at FriskyFeminist@persephonemagazine.com or send us an anonymous message via the spiffy new Ask Us! feature here.