Dr. Ruth's Encyclopedia of Sex

Ruth K. Westheimer, Editor
Ruth K. Westheimer, Editor Continuum $29.5 (319p) ISBN 978-0-8264-0625-5
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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Since 1980, Westheimer--more familiarly known as Dr. Ruth--has worked to eliminate sexual illiteracy. Here her campaign to expand sexual knowledge beyond the birds and the bees continues. Her most recent educational tool is an A-Z compendium of sexual subjects, edited and introduced by the good doctor. The book contains more than 250 separate entries, including 100 illustrations, and is written with the high school or college student in mind, though others can also benefit. As such, the encyclopedia seeks to include not only standard information, but also the more offbeat. Entries address all aspects of sexuality--from mechanics and biology to cultural, legal and religious concerns. The range of material covered in this volume is impressive, ranging from sex in the Bible to call girls. The book's information is often deadpan-funny; the entry for zoophilia, for example, ends with a cautionary note that such ``practices are not recommended and are often illegal,'' while under the heading of affairs one learns that ``if it lasts only a few weeks or a month it might be called a `brief affair,' but a weekend dalliance should be called a `fling,'' not an affair, and a `one-night stand' is just that.'' The final pages offer a glossary of sexual slang guaranteed to teach even the most worldly reader a term or two. (Aug.)
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