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Sorry to disappoint many of you, The World’s Best Sex Writing 2005, edited by Mitzi Szereto, is not a compilation of an exposé of steamy sex stories. However, the twenty-five contributions that have been gleaned from such well-known publications and Internet sites as the New York magazine, Newsweek.com, Salon.com, The Sunday Telegraph (London), The Miami Herald, are rather a collection of thought provoking essays, memoirs, and opinions from a wide spectrum of writers and journalists, all pertaining to different aspects of the sexual culture of our times.

Freelance journalist Barry Yeoman relates how one research scientist’s study of pornography, prostitutes, and seedy truck stops was questioned as to its integrity and its usefulness, and why the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development were funding the research. Initially, the NIH were delighted when the grant proposal arrived in 2002. Apparently, there were very few studies pertaining to long-haul truckers and sexual health. It was pointed out that in the USA there was evidence of an outbreak of HIV among truckers. Furthermore, truckers can affect other groups, once they arrive home. It all blew up when a journalist questioned why the NIH was funding research pertaining to porn and before you knew it congress stuck their noses into the fray, such as Representative John Doolittle, a California Republican, who stated, “this flagrant frittering away of federal funds is borderline criminal.” As the Yeoman asserts, “the incivility of the NIH debate has promoted neither good dialogue nor good science.”

Sherry F. Colb, a professor at Rutgers Law School, fills us in on the details of a most unusual law suit wherein the plaintiff sued his ex-girlfriend whom he had engaged in oral sex. Apparently, unbeknownst to him, his girlfriend allegedly saved the resulting semen and used it to inseminate herself. The defendant subsequently gave birth and the DNA tests proved to be that of the plaintiff. Interesting enough, the plaintiff only learned about the pregnancy and the birth when he was ordered by the court to pay approximately eight hundred dollars a month in child support.

There is a an OB/GYN who recently founded the Laser Vaginal Institute of Michigan. This enterprising doctor offers his patients several elective female genital surgeries-the primary objective being to enhance sexual gratification for women.

In Alabama, there is a sex-toy ban that was passed by their legislature in 1998 that makes it unlawful to distribute “any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.” As a result of this law, Sherri Williams, owner of a chain of adult stores has spent the past six years suing the state of Alabama to overturn the law.

These are just some of the intriguing commentaries that shed light on our society's sexual hangups, some of which are quite hilarious and at times hypocritical. The World’s Best Sex Writing 2005 is a joy to read; hopefully the right open minded readers will discover it.

Norm Goldman, Editor Bookpleasures.com



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ngoldman



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