On Our Backs Guide To Lesbian Sex - erotic book by Alyson Publications - review by deceased

On Our Backs, and Not For A Nap Either!

It's great to read a book that gets right to the point, and is not full of extraneous superfluous information. I can't wait till they update this book (it's the first edition, it was published in 2004)
The authors have years of knowledge on their subjects, it's fast paced and graphic.
If dyke, cunt, etc offend you, don't buy this book.
Rating by reviewer:
useful review
On Our Backs was edited by Diana Cage, author of books like Box Lunch, etc. She was also an editor at the notorious On Our Backs Magazine. The magazine started in 1984, and there was nothing like it at the time. The early eighties were a time when lesbians began to write a lot of politically charged books, and start to demand visibility. The magazine, like the books published in the eighties were anything but vanilla.

You had notable people like Karla Jay (who isn't in this book, but is listed in the reference section) interviewing women on their sexuality. You had Leslie Feinberg, a gender bending dyke writing articles that liberated gender bending, and transgenderism for women. She is interviewed in this book. There is a poem by Patrick Califa honoring fems.

Pat Califa is a FTM, and a writer of such books on S&M for dykes like "Coming to Power", where he got into the proper ways to safely torture for fun and hanky codes, etc. Pat Califa also wrote an important book called Sapphistry (out of print), that was the no holds barred book of the how to’s and the whys of lesbian sexuality. At age 40, Pat transitioned and became Patrick. Patrick writes novels these days.

The people who have written short articles in this slender volume are pretty much "celesbians". The book is not aimed at those who are bi or questioning it, like On Our Backs, it’s aimed at those who are already "out there". It's not about coming out, it’s about "going far" and exploring your dykehood. It's graphic.

There are 12 chapters in this book. The first chapter deals with cruising and flirting. It deals with handling rejection," flirting tips for fat girls", and hooking up on the internet. No more hanky codes and labrys jewelry like the eighties.

The second chapter goes into masturbation and foreplay. Famous sex writer JoAnn Loulan talks tribadism (mutual rubbing), Diana Cage discusses tits. Some butches don't like theirs acknowledged. You have to find out, not just assume a woman wants breast worship.

The third chapter goes into kissing, licking, and talking. The fourth chapter goes into playing with pussy, and here Dr. Annie Sprinkle, Carol Queen and JoAnn Loulan give some really good advice on pleasuring your partner.

The fifth chapter goes into strapping, packing, fucking and sucking dyke cock. It's not really role playing anymore when the role is a lifestyle. Karen Venning (who wrote Sex Toys 101) leads this section of the book.

Chapter six goes into butt play with Tristan Taormino, no less! The seventh chapter goes into BD/SM; not just bondage and leather whips, but cutting, piercing and cunt torture.

Chapter 8 is Fetish and Fantasy; mostly about role playing, dyke daddies and the like. Chapter 9 goes into Polyamory, threesomes and moresomes...

Chapter 10 is like "Butch, Femme, and Beyond" (no, its not a department store) Leslie Feinberg is interviewed, and so is Kate Bornstein. Patrick Califa writes an "Ode to Femmes". It’s mostly into transgenderism, FTM, or MTF.

Sexual Health is the eleventh chapter, written by the illustrious Victoria Brownworth; who edited erotica books, wrote all types of books on gender issues, had a column in the Phila Gay News, and writes for Curve. It’s a very slim chapter, however. There are more issues in lesbian health than STI's, and depression. We get more cancers of all types, especially reproductive cancers.

The last chapter talks about suggested porn for those who choose to watch it.

There is no index at the end, nor are there autobiographies of the authors in the book. This would be a huge plus. There are some nice black and white photos.
I loved this book. I wish it was bigger and more in depth, but the editor wanted to make it touch on as many important subjects as possible; and acknowledge points of safety as well. Having been a baby butch in the early 80's, and living in the Gayborhood in Philly after getting out of the Army, I had no TV, so I hung at Giovanni's Room Bookstore (it’s still there, off Pine Street) and read things I couldn't get in the public library. This book was like a family reunion of sorts (it’s missing Susie Bright, Tee Corrine, and a few other notables).

Whether one chooses to call themselves a lesbian, dyke, genderqueer, butch daddy, high femme, or boi (etc) - they will get something from this book. It doesn't really mention bisexuals, and it isn't for those who are closeted. It’s a very out loud and out proud book.
Follow-up commentary
Still remains the most topic oriented, graphic sex guide on the market for lesbians. There is nothing vanilla about this book.
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  • Victoria
    Great review! This book sounds like a must have!

    Ah the Gayborhood...Giovanni's Room, the now (sadly) defunct Cheap Art Cafe, Spruce Street Video, Venus in Furs vintage... you're bringing out my Philly pride Smile
  • deceased
    I'm dreaming of moving back in the future. Its a great city! Lots of great museums and restaraunts and people!!!
  • Adriana Ravenlust
    Is this specific enough? Does it get confusing at all with multiple authors like that? Do their styles work well together? Can you just pick any chapter and go from there or do you need to read it front to back?
  • deceased
    I did make a point and say it was graphics, so yes, its specific enough . There is no (pardon the pun) beating 'round the bush.

    I do not think too may authors make a book more confusing if there is a good editor, which Diana Cage is an excellent editor.

    I did give a preview of what is in the chapters,and this book also gives a preview (more in depth), so it makes it easy to select what your interest is. It is not necessary to read front to back,although its well enough written that a person would want to, but chapters do not build upon one another.
  • Eden C.
    Great review!
  • Jenny Smith
    thanks for the info
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