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Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex Hardcover – June 10, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1st edition (June 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596914742
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596914742
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #453,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Author Sussman compiled this quasi-reference book as a corrective for not getting the "facts of life" talk that her brother received. The result is an often riveting, and occasionally shocking, essay collection that does much more than define 94 sex-related terms. With close to 100 writers (including Thomas Beller, Antonya Nelson, Pagan Kennedy, Jonathan Ames and poet Stephen Dunn), there's a huge range of styles and sensibilities. The pseudonymous writer tackling "adultery" admits to cheating on his girlfriend with his wife: "six months in and who's to tell whom you're horny for anymore?" Meredith Maran's essay on "bisexuality" has a surprise ending for all involved: Maran reveals her bisexuality to her husband at the very moment she first recognizes it herself. Some essays are romantic; Victoria Redel's impressionistic entry for kissing begins with the delicious line, "The first surprise of your mouth and mine." Some are goofy-Bret Anthony Johnston revives the old what's-your-porn-star-name parlor game-and some are actually fiction-like Lucy Ferriss's brief one-act play script, "Mile High Club"-but most are surprisingly straightforward and entirely unconcerned with shock value, even regarding the terms too dirty to print here.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Reading Dirty Words cover to cover isn't so much an exploration of sexual tastes and boundaries as it is a celebration of our splendid imagination and capacity for tolerance. Refer to it for the things you don't know (cicibeo) and for the things you think you know (tantric), then keep it on the top shelf. One day it'll come in handy for a talk on the birds, the bees ... and bestiality.”   —npr.org

“A book that will broaden and enrich your sexual vocabulary and cultural literacy indelibly.  Some entries are comical, others poignant, many confessional, others academic. But each is unique and exceedingly well written, with more than a few gorgeous gems of short, sensuous prose scattered throughout.  All of the entries in Dirty Words have something to offer, in their earnest efforts to illuminate our occasionally clumsy, but always very human, acts of love.”   —Metro Santa Cruz

“This catalog of the carnal is such wicked fun to read: Like its subject material, it's sexy, silly, and full of savory surprises.”  —Elle

“Ellen Sussman has compiled the outrageous book we all wish we could’ve snuck into our school bookbags.”  —Penthouse

“An often riveting, and occasionally shocking, essay collection that does much more than define 94 sex-related terms... surprisingly straightforward and entirely unconcerned with shock value.”   —Publishers Weekly


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Margaret on June 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'll confess to blushing more than once while reading this engaging encyclopedia of all the things my mother didn't want me to know - and no doubt many she doesn't know herself. I surely learned a few new terms here! The sexy was the least surprising, though. These short pieces by an amazing gathering of writers are alternately funny, sweet, and enlightening - and often even poetic! But definitely sexy, too!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Groves on July 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Wow, this book is interesting, full of the unexpected and a great read! For the mature audience, this book is a good conversation piece and anything but dull!! Enjoy!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pinkie on June 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been very entertained by reading about each word, the other synonyms for said word, and what the individual essayists have to say about each word. A lot of fun.
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By L O on May 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A good book for a young virgin to read. I was looking for something that had adult words that associated with sexuality. I was better off using the internet in finding almost what I was looking for, for free. Who ever said that this book was a Literary Encyclopedia of Sex, was dead wrong...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So entertaining! Got me to think of terms and words in a completely different way and helped with writing my own book series. Very creative. Great job Ellen.
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