Ask the Loveologist: Who to Trust About Sex Expertise?

My boyfriend recently brought home a book called something like, What Every Man Wishes Every Woman Would Know in Bed. Some of the ideas in that book seemed ridiculous to me and are a real turn off.  The person who wrote the book is no different than me, by that I mean, she is not an educated expert on sex. I often look at the columns about love and sex in the magazines I read too, but it is hard to tell fact from opinions when it comes to this subject. Who do you trust with your questions?

This is a great question and one that has been on my mind lately as I too am frequently offered a wide range of books on the topics of love and sex to review.  Like you, I am disappointed by the opinions that parade as facts as well as the lack of background  that stands behind them. This is the gift and challenge of living in  a country that protects  free speech, where anyone can say anything and these days, publish it at little expense.

For me, the best and most reliable way for me to  interpret the wide range of  sex columnists, book authors and bloggers on love and sex is to begin with a basic understanding of what good sex education consists of. The first criteria of sex education, whether it is something you read in a book, magazine, blog or hear in a bathroom is that real sex education provides accurate, evidence based information. This means that the information should be based on scientific knowledge about how bodies function and work together, rather than an expression of  the writer’s values, morals or political point of view.

Good sexual writing should help the reader to understand that sexuality is an intrinsic part of what it is to be human. A lot of opinion writing separates sexual behaviors and ideas from the rest of our life experience, which does a disservice to both sex and life. Too much of  sexual education in the media is interpreted by people who are not always developmentally prepared for the information presented. Finding developmentally appropriate resources that apply to the person’s experience  is essential for any real learning to take place.

Reading books that claim to know “What women really want in bed”  presumes that the prescriptive ideas will fit for all women. Human sexuality is probably the most subjective and individual experience we have in life. The materials you read and advice you get is only as good as it is at acknowledging the diversity that exists among people’s sexuality. While this includes things like differences in cultural or religious orientations, it also should embrace the wide range of sexual orientations and experiences of pleasure that make us all unique.

The most engaging columnists in sexuality and relationships capture our attention because they offer new ideas and ways of thinking about your sexuality in the life-long learning process that it is.  Reading a book or a post by someone who makes you feel included in a larger community and who speaks to your curiosity while also encouraging you to think in new ways is a gift.  If you feel alienated, excluded or misunderstood when you are engaging in learning about your sexuality, it is time to find another teacher.

Real teachers help you to find the best in yourself and there is no place in life that deserves this learning integrity as much as our sexuality.


Dorothy Ferguson
Dorothy Ferguson7 years ago

Mac you are correct!!

mitch m.
mitch m7 years ago

Follow the old street saying: Do you!

Lauren Josey
Lauren J7 years ago

thank you for this!

Mac R.
Mac R7 years ago

One thing writers need to do is stop generalizing about the sexes (and Wendy does not. I'm talking about others). Yes, among males, a good percentage fit the stereotype of 'wanting' to screw anything they can get to stand still (or lay still), but as true as that is, there is a good percentage of men who are all about bonding in love to one person and being monogamous, nurturing children etc., and the entire range in between. And women vary with attitudes just as much. A good percentage of women LOVE sex just as much as most men are expected to, and a good percentage just don't need it or want it *as much* in their lives, which is the way all women are often portrayed. As Wendy noted and I say often, the way we percieve sex and relationships is mind bogglingly varied, so there is no "one thing fits all" ever.

Read or watch a variety of sex and love advice and info pieces, and sooner or later you'll find one that you connect with, that matches your natural inclinations and attitude, then you can learn and experiment, and most of all, communicate, with your lover-- who should be reading and watching all of it with you and discussing it with you as you go.

As someone else pointed out, the book the man brought home may or may not be worth reading, but the real point is that he was trying to tell her something about his desires. As long as they use this as an opportunity to talk about what both of them want and need, then they can both learn from it, and find better books.

Mac R.
Mac R7 years ago

Kristi O, his statement about cutting male genitals IS correct. The foreskin is cut away, so there's no other way to describe it, and no, it is not a necessary procedure at all. When you realize that the vast majority of males around the world are not circumsized, now or through history, and they are and have been healthy and fully functional with what God or Nature gave to them, there is no evidence to recommend circumcision being done routinely. The problems only come when parents don't teach their boys proper hygiene.

Last week Wendy posted an intro to Tantric sex, 4 simple tips to make your lovemaking better. We got a good indication of how repressed many Americans are (not to say other populations aren't also repressed or even worse) when a woman commented that she was disgusted by the pornography being posted on Care2.

When schools are forced to teach abstinence only classes, and teens are given absolutely no honest and frank information about the mechanics of sex (and don't even THINK about teaching them anything about sexual relationships!) how can we expect them to form healthy relationships when they get out and get together? The majority of people are ignorant about sexual functions and even moreso about HOW to relate to and please each other. In reality, this is probably the biggest setback to humanity! If people generally understood their own sexual selves and their lovers' needs, then the world would definitely be a more peaceful place!

Dorota Janik
Dorota Janik7 years ago

thank you!

Erin R.
Erin R7 years ago


Morgan G.
Morgan Getham7 years ago

The one absolute, as far as I've been able to find, is that good communication makes for better sex. "What every man wishes ..." and "What every woman wants ... " is nonsense! People are DIFFERENT. The best thing anyone can do to improve their sexual experience with a partner is to establish an open and honest dialog with that partner about what you and they like, don't like, want, and imagine.

Get it out in the open. Get playful (or serious, if that's what you both need). But work it out. COMMUNICATE.

Yes, there are some basics about "how bodies work together", some basic "sex ed 101" that a couple should have before they start. It's tough when it's the blind leading the blind in the bedroom (or wherever!). But given the basics, being open to communication (and, hopefully, experimentation) make for a MUCH better experience for all concerned.

THAT'S what it REALLY takes. All the how-to manuals in the world can't take the place of open and honest communication.

Kay L.
KayL NOFORWARDS7 years ago

What a wonderful, intelligent statement: "...information should be based on scientific knowledge about how bodies function and work together, rather than an expression of the writer’s values, morals or political point of view." Just insert "[functionality of the subject in question] for "how bodies function and work together", and this should be our criteria for accepting any subject-matter advice offered by any authority, especially self-proclaimed ones, of which the Care2 website is full.

Thank you for such an intelligent, commonsense statement. It is a method of evaluation that I hope to be able to emulate.

Jessica G.
Jessica G7 years ago