Download the PDF's
SH Magazine has taken a look at
some of the latest paperbacks
in the adult market - our reviewer has
made his appraisals purely on the
quality of each book, and whether they
really do offer what they claim for quite
Author: Ewan Morrison
Published by Jonathan Cape, 352 pages
David (30s) is a man with an ex-wife,
a daughter (baby-sitting rights only),
a girlfriend - and an erection problem. He and
Alice have just moved into a flat in Glasgow's
upmarket West End - a step up which will put
both their salaries under pressure at the small
TV company where they work. It's an alltoo-
familiar scenario - life becomes focused
on maintaining the precarious hold on work
status, social standing - and the very
possession of their home.
Ewan Morrison portrays all these
anxieties with a deft and humane touch, the
perceptions swinging (no pun intended)
between David and Alice as he confronts his
return to work after the house move, then
she experiences the crisis of artist's block in
the break she takes to rejuvenate her lapsed
calling as a painter.
In many ways they've got lots going for
them - they're in love, give each other
support and handle each other's frustrations
with sensitivity. Theirs is essentially an urban
love story - but with quite a number of
issues, obstacles and hang-ups - enough to
keep a whole convention of shrinks going.
Alice tears her hair at home, unable
even to find a subject to paint - while David
watches, powerless, as his colleagues are 'let
go' or made redundant around him in a
merger/take-over. Soon he's sitting at his
desk, nothing to do and no-one talking to
him - so it looks like it won't matter if he explores that swinging website (swingingparadise,
actually), over which one erstwhile
workmate had been fired for 'inappropriate
use of internet access'.
When, inevitably, David's job collapses,
he's left home alone with his insecurities and
his computer, and he furtively uses the
website more and more - for titillation,
curiosity - and escape.
It's a combination of causes which brings
swinging into the David/Alice equation. On
the evening of David's as yet unconfessed redundancy there's an encounter with a
neighbouring couple who are throwing a
moving-out party. Then there's David's
daytime dalliance with the website - and
finally, Alice's desperation to come up with
one brilliant series idea which will secure her
job. The idea dawns - it's swinging. This would
be a responsible social study - with unlimited
opportunities for sexual revelation. All she
needed to do is find a group of people
prepared to participate.
The search - and research - legitimise
their swinging forays - and Morrison
handles their encounters, anxieties and
performances with gentle humour (but no
cheap shots), and great realism - all
supported by excellent dialogue, both
heard and in David's and Alice's heads. Alice
feels that if they explore and experiment
enough they'll find some miracle formula
to sort out David's impotence. For times
when they are alone together, Alice swots
up some horny stories and tells them to
David, for him to visualise other people
having sex. However, he might not even
need the stories if he can watch for
himself. Being with another couple might
be what he needs.While it's acknowledged
that swinging won't mend a broken
relationship, it's not their relationship that's
broken - it's just David's erectile function.
So perhaps the pair of them are in with a
chance after all.
As they approach their encounters,
David examines the universally used swingspeak
- and wonders what lies beneath
some of the terms - but they meet,
predictably, nice couples. The sex scenes
are, if anything, underplayed - this is not a book about graphic titillation for the reader.
It's about what's going on in these new
swingers' heads. Both hit mental brick walls
and vacillate precariously between wanting
commitment - and simply running away, as
both have done in the past. But run to what?
So they stay together and keep persevering.
Irvine Welsh has acclaimed fellow Scot's
first novel as 'genuinely ground-breaking in its
scope and insights', and another reviewer
called it, 'that rare thing - a serious book
about sex' - high praise indeed, and I wouldn't
argue with any of it.
It is a novel, so I don't want to give away
the plot - and once you start reading, any
psychoanalysis of what's happening to David
and Alice is redundant. 'Swung' is simply
wonderfully written - the characters heartachingly
credible as, caught in the pathos of
their situation, they are propelled through
their sexual and mental explorations. It's a
search for something that will convert their
sense of failure, frustration and powerlessness
into the modern 'feelgood' ideal. Their journey
is mental, physical - absolutely compelling -
and will resonate with anyone who's taken
the first tentative forays into swinging, or
who's confronted the pressures of modern life
and emerged feeling they've been sucked dry,
chewed up and spat out. Probably most
'Swung' is entertaining,
and achingly real - I give it
the full five stars.
Turning her on to Anal Sex
Author: Kim Powers
Published by Carl Stephenson Verlag
Another self-help book? Well, 'Yes', really.
The first problem with this offering is that it
is written by someone who quite possibly
doesn't exist. Is 'Kim' Austin's older brother or
sister? We don't know. Kim being an
androgynous name we could be reading the
opinions of a Scandinavian referee, Ms.
Basinger or an invention of Kipling.
I assume, from the German publisher,
that the text was originally written in German
and was then published in Denmark - so one
can forgive the occasional stunted prose,
typos and spelling mistakes.
What does the book really offer? I guess
the answer is 'solace'. To those of us with
great sexual experience it is affirmation that
when we reached the stage of 'Greek love'
then we achieved it in the right way. 'Softly,
softly, catchy monkey' could be the sub-title
to this book - indeed to life in general.
Without doubt, anal sex can be one of
the most erotic experiences in life, for both
women and men, and has been practised
throughout the world for thousands of years.
If you have not and are
not indulging, then you
could be missing out.
does well to
explain this and,
says, 'If it's
you and you're
happy with it,
then do it.' Great
advice. And if reading this
book together helps you to
achieve a new level of close
awareness then it is worth
its cover price.
I was pleased that the book had the
courage to highlight the condemnation of
anal sex by the Catholic Church. For centuries,
anal sex was used as a form of contraception
and the doctrine of Catholicism opposed all
forms of contraception, essentially to ensure
that more little Catholics were conceived.
Also, a brief review of the rantings of the
Marquis de Sade will make a lot of people
rush out and buy Justine.
All in all, a useful little book that, if
nothing else, offers reassurance to those of us
who are already that way inclined, but that
will also encourage the curious and
I give it 7 out of 10
How to Dominate Him
Author: Kim Powers
Published by Carl Stephenson Verlag
Another book by the ubiquitous Kim Powers.
(I have problems getting to grips with this
name. It sounds like the dinner party game:
'What was the name of your first pet and
what was your mother's maiden name?' My
girlfriend's first pet was a rabbit called 'Bunch'
and her mother's maiden name was 'Rogers'
If you can come up with a better name for a seventies American porn-star than 'Bunch
Rogers', then please let this organ know).
As a vehement hater of 'How to' books,
I surprisingly found the opening of this
offering not too bad - especially considering
its appalling front cover.
Whoever wrote this, I doubt that their
first language is English, but the book starts
well, explaining that true domination has to
be just that.While it's a game, it has to be
played seriously. The introduction and much
of the book is OK.
Most people enjoy a little bit of fantasy
domination - one way, or the other, or both.
But extreme S/M can literally be for a dying
breed (remember the well-publicised case of
Milligan, MP?) and to be fair, the book does
point out some of the dangers - although the
warnings about fire and erotic asphyxiation
could be made a tad stronger!
The book includes a couple of extracts
from The Story of O by Pauline Reage - which
is a far more erotic and stimulating tome
than this one. But, hey, if you're reading this
magazine, you've probably already got O and
read it a number of times. (The Story of O, by
the way, I would give 9.9 out of 10).
However, this little book is quite a useful
'pocket-guide' to most elements of BDSM and
contains a few, probably, true stories from
practitoners. Strangely, 'water-sports' - a very
popular pastime, both ways, within a
dominant situation is conspicuous by its
absence. There is another title in this series
entitled How to Dominate her Sexually, by Ina
Stein, and, possibly, it would be a good idea to
buy them both and discuss with each other
the areas of commanality and the areas that
are a complete 'no-no'.
While everyone's sexual preference is
down entirely to personal taste, the Epilogue
says it all, really: 'Live out your sexual
predilications instead of letting your
relationship die because you're stifling your
longings. Allow small rituals to enter your
partnership, experiment together. Dominance
and submission, punishment and obedience
are terms that deter many of us; for others,
however, they mean heaven on earth.
In short: enjoy your desires!' (sic).
I give it 6 out of 10
Author: Kim Powers
Published by Carl Stephenson Verlag
This is a much better offering from Kim
Powers. Fisting is a high-quality production
in terms of information, writing, illustrations
and pure production values (such as paper
weight), and while that is reflected in the
price, the extra money is worth it for a more
than satisfactory volume.
This book tells you all that you need to
know about how to fist and how to be fisted.
Explaining both vaginal and anal fisting, the
book covers all of the aspects and topics that
you should understand before even embarking
on this activity - especially the importance of
safety, cleanliness and comfort.With the
exception of a couple of 'GCSE Biology'-type
anatomical diagrams, the illustrations are
informative and give good guidance.
Fisting - the penetration of the vagina or
the anus with the hand or fist - is a very
specialised kind of sexual stimulation. It is
often viewed a taboo subject and is seen by
many people as perverse. But nothing that a
loving and consenting couple does together is
'dirty', let alone 'sinful' and the book is at
pains to point this out. Indeed, its subtitle,
'Care, Responsibility and Trust', sums it up.
If you and your partner are happy to
experiment with this pastime - or even if you
are already indulging - then this book is
almost 'a must'.
I give it 8 out of 10.
Author: Sadie Allison
Published by Tickle Kitty Press
This book, from a well-established
sexpert, is great. Thirteen excellent
chapters that cover every single
commercial sex toy that I have
heard of - and some that I haven't.
It focuses, of course, on women,
but there is a chapter dedicated
to men's toys and most of the
book is about toying with a
partner rather than simple
self-pleasure. (A previous
book by the same author
entitled Tickle your Fancy, covers the full gamut of female
Toygasms is concise, well-written, welledited,
full of useful information and
reassurances - and is beautifully illustrated
with line drawings. I know that monochrome
illustrations are cheaper to source and to
publish than photographs, but for this type of
book, they work far better than the
alternative. It is also clear that Sadie has
researched it personally!
Finding little to fault, there is not much I
can honestly say further, other than 'buy it'.
Any woman and any couple will really benefit
from reading it.
I give Toygasms 8.5
out of 10. It would
have got a 9, but
for the American
spellings - 'color',
'labor', 'center' -
All books supplied by