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Not a scholarly book
on December 26, 2011
I'm writing this review in response to Midwest Book Review's summary of the book as "A serious and scholarly treatment of an often-overlooked portion of the human body". It is an interesting book, but it is definitely not scholarly. The complete lack of referencing or footnotes is instead incredibly frustrating. Combined with Philip W. Bennett's identification of inaccuracies with a single source, this makes me very cautious about trusting the information in this book, let alone citing it.
There is a small section of "further reading" for each chapter, but it is hard to know if it covers all the material included in the book. One small example; on page 182 Blackledge refers to Wallis Simpson's noted control of her vaginal muscles, which she quotes as having "the ability to make a matchstick feel like a Havana cigar". I've long read coy allusions to the Duke of Windsor's sexual dysfunction, and Wallis Simpson's compensatory sexual skills, but never found any source detailing these. I was interested, therefore, to see where Blackledge found this quote, however no source is given, and the further reading section has no title specifically relating to the Duke and Duchess. Did she simply not list the source she found this quote in, or does it rather come from one of the number of broad-ranging sex advice books included in the list, such as "Sexual Secrets: The Alchemy of Ecstasy" (1979) or "Are We Having Fun Yet: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Sex' (1997)? I certainly wouldn't assume content of these was well-researched.
The lack of references means I feel my time was a bit wasted reading this. However I do like the way Blackledge includes her own subjective opinions and experiences regarding the vagina, orgasms, and sex. For a generalist reader it's a good book on a very interesting topic, just not a scholarly one.