365 Days of Sensational Sex

Will Lorraine Smith have 365 days of 'sensational sex' by following sexpert Lou Paget's suggestions? (It's a tough job being a reviewer for The F-Word, ain't it?)

, 11 August 2004

You may have heard of Lou Paget, especially if you watched Channel 4’s series ‘Sex Tips for Girls’, but no one could ever seriously think they have heard everything she has to say. On the subject of sex, this woman is a marvel. Absorbing every bit of knowledge and every story she has been told, Paget really does appear to be the best person you could talk to about anything, err rude! Born in Canada and currently living in Los Angeles, Paget runs ‘sexuality seminars’ on both sides of the Atlantic and uses her knowledge to help couples who attend and readers of her four books. The first three were: a handbook for men entitled ‘How to Give Her Absolute Pleasure’ one for women called ‘How To Be a Great Lover’ and the orgasmic resource for couples, ‘The Big O’. Book number four however is unlike its predecessors, not that you’d believe it from the title!

I thought that ‘365 Days of Sensational Sex’ was going to be another instruction manual full of positions and techniques, but the title is actually quite misleading. This is in fact more than a sex book – it’s a guide to a good lasting relationship and, as the cover suggests, contains tips to keep the fires burning. There is something here for everyone, whether you’re just starting out in a relationship or have now been living together for most of your lives. The tips themselves have been divided into six categories which works well, but I’d recommend reading the introduction first and then delving into the other sections when you feel the need. It could be read from beginning to end as I did, but also makes a great reference book. Paget stresses in the introduction that, “What makes you a great lay is not necessarily what makes you a great lover”, and turning you into the latter is really the aim of the book.

some tips just smack of reinforcing gender stereotypes

Starting at the beginning with an open mind and great anticipation, I was surprised that Number 55 was the first tip I really got something out of. Thinking about it more carefully I realised that this isn’t at all bad out of 365, especially when I wouldn’t really describe myself as a novice at such things. There’s a nice use of real life examples throughout the chapters – the author has spoken to so many people in her seminars over the last decade that you just know they’re genuine too. Some tips can be a little cheesy (like #157 which suggests men name their favourite part of their woman’s anatomy and leave answer-phone messages for it!), but I suppose it’s horses for courses. What we must always have in mind when reading a book like this is that not all tips will be relevant to all readers and the examples help to remind the reader that, although it may not be relevant to them, that tip may help someone else.

It’s worth warning you now that some chapters will make any woman who describes herself as a feminist want to scream. Things like #5 “Treat Her Like a Lady” and the pointers in #53 “Court Your Lover, Forever” just smack of reinforcing gender stereotypes. Holding open doors and rising when a woman returns to the table in a restaurant may wash with some women, but I think most would view it as pointless or even patronising. Still, there is so much in this book that is focussed on a perfectly balanced relationship rather than 1950s values that anyone who doesn’t share the views of Glen Close in The Stepford Wives remake will not be disappointed.

Although most advice is open minded, when describing some fantasies Paget becomes very disapproving, pandering to the traditional ‘it will ruin your relationship’ line rather than allowing people to make up their own minds. She speaks a lot of truth but can be heavily biased towards the ‘don’t try it’ attitude. This is especially true for tips #298 “M”nage ” Trois and #299 “Swinging”. I know it’s not a book for alternative lifestyles, but it seems odd that men’s fantasies of dressing up in women’s underwear and women using a strap-on to pleasure their man are dealt with in a far more straightforward and unbiased manner. Perhaps Paget has encountered a lot of failed swingers in her seminars. She also seems to think that a lot of what we get up to in the bedroom these days is due to what is shown in porn films rather than what we actually want; that we are “programmable”. What a generalisation! Perhaps it is to reassure women who don’t want to try these things that there is nothing wrong with their response, but it may alienate the more broad-minded reader.

I still found it rather an interesting read; it’s well written and researched

Even taking all the little faults of this book into account, I still found it rather an interesting read. It is well written and researched, comprehensive and would make a useful addition to the bookshelves of anyone who is after a bit more excitement or feels their relationship may need refreshing in the more physical aspects. Don’t get your hopes up for the ‘Resources’ section though as it only lists stockists in the US and Canada, but anyone with an internet connection won’t find that too much of a hardship. The detailed index and contents pages make navigating the 365 tips easy going and diagrams assist some of the more difficult to describe techniques, plus the style and layout mean it’s never hard going. If you want a, for want of a better phrase, ‘sex book’ that’s informative yet easy to read I’d suggest you get down to your local bookstore now or add it to your wish list. It could be a tome that’s useful in years to come.

For the sake of equality, Lorraine Smith has now left the book on her boyfriend’s side of the bed.

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