In 2006 I had the pleasure of meeting the sex columnist for Essence Magazine, Dr. Hilda Hutcherson. She had just written a follow up to her book What Your Mother Never Told You About Sex and I was assigned to escort her during a stop on her book tour. I was young, married long enough that it wasn’t new but not long enough that I knew anything, and didn’t think I needed to read a book about sex. But I was wrong.
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Dr. Hilda Hutcherson is an OBGYN who specializes in women’s sexual health, so she shares her views on sex from both a technical and a personal point of view. Pleasure is a complete guide to sex from the highly clinical (like illustrating internal and external anatomy) to the incredibly frisky (like explaining what materials are safe to use inside the body for sex toys). Most importantly this book about sex changed my perspective on what sex means to me and my marriage.
I Learned What I Wanted
I wasn’t taught very much about sex as an adolescent except don’t do it. Sex education was a part of my seventh grade health class and the PE teacher came in and said “Boys keep your zippers up. Girls keep your panties up.” That’s all I remember. Basically, I was taught that having sex was a rule not to be broken. So of course, my goal was to break it because I could. And I did.
Harold and I did not wait until we were married to have sex. We met in college and our relationship was based upon the physical attraction we had for one another. So by the time we moved in together three years later I thought we knew everything about each other we needed to know. Wrong.
This book about sex taught me how to achieve pleasure physically in my body and emotionally in my mind. It also helped me realize that I might have to figure some things out on my own so that the process of learning what I didn’t like wouldn’t cause a strain in my marriage.
I Learned To Stop Faking It
Not only was I taught not to have sex, but I was also taught not to talk about it either. True ladies don’t kiss and tell. So when it came to talking about sex with my husband the conversation began and ended between the sheets. And those “conversations” weren’t always honest.
I learned from pop culture movies, music, and books that spirited and raucous responses during sex were required. So that’s what I gave him, even if they weren’t sincere. It was easy to tell that he knew I was faking it at times, but we never talked about it, because you don’t kiss and tell even the one you’re kissing.
Once I learned what I actually enjoy and was able to guide and direct him I didn’t need to fake it anymore. He could tell the difference and was very pleased. So was I.
I Learned New Tricks
Dr. Hutcherson is very clinical because she’s a doctor. OK. But she is also very candid in this book about sex. There is a chapter about using toys, one about physical fitness, one about positions, and two chapters about oral sex. My main take away was that sex starts long before intercourse and it doesn’t end once it’s over.
I am grateful that I read this book very early in my marriage because it helped me set expectations for the changes that have occurred. We’re both heavier and less fit, so I know I need to exercise and stretch to stay limber. It helps me enjoy that position I really like even more. I am less inhibited and more confident trying new things during sex that I would never have tried before reading this book. I even allow him to ask for what he wants too.
This book about sex taught me how to recognize when something was wrong or if it was normal. I am no longer ashamed or embarrassed by the natural changes in my body – from dryness to pain to scent – and I am comfortable communicating that with my husband.
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If you are ready to take your sex life to the next level I highly recommend you read Pleasure. It will be your absolute pleasure indeed.