Let’s admit it, this is a sort of awkward book to review. I mean…it’s about sex, but not just sex. It’s about sex between … what? Strangers? Friends?
Daniel Stern tells this story from personal narrative. No matter how much he tries to tell us that he didn’t write this to talk about himself, but rather to open a door on a private pastime, much of the book still comes across as machismo, bravado, bragging. The numbers of women he’s slept with, the variety of styles and positions and ‘kinks’ that he’s experimented with … it all adds up to a book of boasting.
But to be fair, it’s quite possible that you can’t tell this story without first-hand experience, and with that first-person narrative comes a bit of braggadocio.
So why read this book? It would be only partially true to say that I read it so that I could review it. I selected this review copy because … well … who isn’t curious as to what attracts someone to the swinger lifestyle and just what does happen behind those closed doors?
In my mind, pardon my naivete, I’ve envisioned a swinger’s party like a wild orgy. And while Stern describes one or two that might fit that description, it seems a little more carefully controlled and even business-like than that.
I did learn a few things…being a nice, considerate person is more apt to get you in a few swingers’ doors than a boastful braggart who wears his sexual prowess on his proverbial sleeve (wow…who would have guessed that being considerate actually mattered to other people, right?). And that this life-style is not for me (as if there were any question). I can’t imagine sitting in a room and talking to a man about the kind of sex his wife is looking for and then going off with her while the husband watches or waits outside the room (*shiver*).
It is fun to walk with Stern as he goes from beginner to seasoned pro; from student to teacher, and there are moments that will make you chuckle. But as an expose on the swinger’s lifestyle…this is nothing more than a Maxim-length article padded with personal, sexual triumphs to fill out the book. And as sexual erotica… there are plenty of books, videos, magazines, and websites that would do a much better job.
Interesting, but difficult to recommend.
Looking for a good book? It might be a little embarassing to check this one out at the library.
* * * * * *
SWINGLAND: Between the Sheets of the Secretive, Sometimes Messy but Always Adventurous Swinging Lifestyle
author: Daniel Stern
ebook, 320 pages