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New book on female sexuality offers little

Leo Douglas

Issue date: 1/30/09 Section: Focus
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In general, the worst person to review a how-to guide is someone with no experience in the matter. So, for all one might read about fencing techniques, all that non-experiential knowledge is likely to go out the window the second one actually begins waving around a foil. I bring this all up because How to Treat a Woman is a sex manual, and unlike Katy Perry, I haven't kissed a girl. While this would normally make me supremely unqualified to review How to Treat a Woman by Thomas Paine, the flaws of the book are such that even those who haven't "fenced" before can tell the book is rather lacking in merit.

For one thing, it is a very silly book, and this is entirely the fault of the author's misguided notion that the phrase "good lover" can be replaced with "sex whisperer." Although this seems humorous at first, the repeated use of the term "sex whisperer" eventually becomes rather off-putting. This might seem like a minor complaint, but getting men to feel awkward when reading about female sexuality creates a rather counter-productive association effect. The effect is further amplified by a few of the color illustrations in the book, which seem to alternate between clinical and somewhat pornographic depictions of female anatomy.

This might be forgivable, but How to Treat a Woman doesn't know what sort of book it wishes to be. In most parts of the volume, the author generally focuses on why various aspects of sexual interaction are important. However, the why is theoretical and the book can't be the manual it claims to be unless it gets into the practical aspect. Admittedly, in many cases, this is impossible. For example, the book's section on "creating an emotional connection" cannot really get into the how of things simply because that is case-specific. But even when it gets down to the actual sex, the book retains this extremely abstract and theoretical approach. What we have here is a case of false advertisement.

Worst of all, even the theoretical aspect is done quite poorly. While How to Treat a Woman is very good at pointing out that there is a fundamental difference between male and female sexualities, it isn't very good at doing anything to promote a deeper understanding of that difference. Indeed, I found that much of it was simply a rather verbose way of stating the "men want sex, women want intimacy" dichotomy that every sitcom since 1993 has dealt with. The second half of the book doesn't have this problem, but that's only because Paine moves on to topics such as abstinence-only sexual education.

The problems of How to Treat a Woman are both glaringly obvious and quite crippling to the usefulness of the book. Although it was mercifully short, the book was still altogether too padded in that it existed at all. Do yourself a favor, don't bother, and instead look at the Wikipedia entry on female sexuality. You'll probably learn more, it'll go by faster, and you'll never have to read the term "sex whisperer" again.
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In This Issue


  • Black History Month luncheon
  • Empowered by credit cards
  • Have you heard about: Engineers Without Borders?
  • Integrity Week to kick off
  • Robert Petit lecture elucidates Cambodia's "killing fields"
  • Student State of the University Address looks for improvement
  • Survey results provide new details of SAGES progress
  • Tuition increase scaled back amid tough times


  • A strong finish, finally
  • Browns fans should rethink rivalry
  • Dukes, Gardella place at Wheaton Invitational
  • Hockey: Against Pitt-Greensburg, third period and power play problems
  • Spartan Spotlight: Bryan Erce
  • Swimmers get wins in last meet before conferences
  • Throwback Weekend: Old-school jerseys are a growing trend
  • Track: Case, Mellon go head-to-head in first dual
  • Women's Basketball: Henry's last-second layup lifts Spartans

Fun Page

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  • Letter to the editor: Putting life on hold for inauguration is over the top
  • You don't have to hate Valentine's Day: expand your options


  • Alternative girl band makes its Cleveland debut
  • Case Men's Glee Club sings their hearts out for another year
  • Fantasies come true
  • Film based on self-help book falls flat, despite star-studded cast
  • Listen Up
  • Local band makes name for itself, even across the Atlantic
  • Rocker teaches how to make a band work in new book
  • The Buzz
  • The Secret Ingredient: Popcorn Paradise
  • The Spartan guide to style: Preparing to spring forward
  • The Worst Case Scenario: Saving the economy
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