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Great Sex: A Man's Guide to the Secret Principles of Total-Body Sex    by Michael Castleman Amazon.com order for
Great Sex
by Michael Castleman
Order:  USA  Can
Rodale, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover

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* *   Reviewed by Liz Cooper

In his opening, Michael Castleman enquires 'Would you like to be the great lover you've always dreamed of being?' Targeted at men, his book promises to divulge the secrets of fulfilling, long lasting sex, and deeply erotic relationships both in and out of bed. The theme of the book, or 'the secret to great sex', is simple: 'Stop trying to imitate what you see in pornography.' The author advises focusing on sex as it affects your entire body and mind, and steering away from the misconception that it's all in the genitals.

The book is organized in an easy to read, comprehensive manner. Part One offers advice on 'laying the foundation of great sex'. Just as a great basketball player uses his entire body to shoot the ball instead of only his wrist, so a lover should use his entire body to celebrate the connection he's forming with his partner. All five senses are included in a detailed look at how to use everything at your disposal to make sex a truly fulfilling experience. Massage techniques are outlined, with tasteful illustrations accompanying the directions given.

Fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle choices are covered, with a straightforward underlying message: 'healthy body, better sex'. A chapter on sexual hang-ups takes the form of a question and answer exchange. Issues such as whether it's okay to fantasize while making love, and how to confidently pleasure your partner are addressed in an easy to understand, inoffensive manner. A lengthy chapter on consistent performance is followed by one that details the tricks to 'lasting as long as you want'.

Part Two focuses on 'Women's Sexuality and Pleasure', with the goal of educating men on women's sexual issues. 'Her Body: An Advanced Guide' covers matters from female arousal to the way sex changes once kids are in the picture, from pregnancy to the teenage years. Issues such as menopause, and offering support 'when sex is a challenge for her' are also explored. Part Three is on 'Meeting Everyone's Needs', blending male and female issues. 'You Want To Try What?' looks at 'taking sex to the next level', and also discusses birth control, sexual disease prevention, aphrodisiacs, sex therapy and 'the struggle over desire differences and libido loss'.

Michael Castleman makes it clear in his introduction that he's not 'a doctor a psychologist, or sex therapist'. However, he's been 'a sex educator, counselor, and journalist specializing in men's sexuality' for thirty years. His expertise shows in every page of this remarkable book. Without crossing the line into clinical territory, and while still managing to maintain a conversational, confidential tone, Castleman delivers the kind of knowledge we all wish we'd had when we first started exploring the wonderful world of sensuality and sexual pleasure our own, and that of our partners.

Though it's targetted to men, women would also benefit from reading Great Sex - chapters on men's physiology and emotional well being are particularly interesting for women hoping to get a better understanding of a partner's needs and desires.

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