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The Cartoon Guide to Sex (Cartoon Guide Series) Paperback – May 19, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Cartoon Guide Series
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (May 19, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062734318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062734310
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If others have shown that sex can be tragic, existential, fun, meaningful or meaningless, Gonick (The Cartoon Guide to Physics, etc.) and DeVault prove it can also be raucously entertaining. With an absurdist sensibility, the pair begin with the reproductive predilections of other species (female dung beetles probably won't consider a male unless he presents her with a fair-sized piece of dung), and then move on to such topics as anatomy and communication, before homing in on sex itself. They juxtapose straight-faced narration ("Dealing with our sexuality is a lifelong process that never ends. Well, eventually it does end") with comical, minimalist drawings and dialogue ("Grandma, can necrophilia ever happen by mutual consent?" "Read my will"). Despite the occasional generalization ("Looks matter to everyone, but they matter more to men"), the authors do a good job of conveying lots of information within an inherently limiting format, whether they are detailing methods of contraception, discussing the effect of the media on sex crimes or characterizing how lesbian and gay dating patterns contrast with heterosexual ones. If the book has a flaw, it's in its mixed signals: some of the pictures are too risqu? for adolescents, while much of the material will be redundant for anyone older. Fortunately, however, the humor is both fundamental and sophisticated, so even the most sexually seasoned will find something to laugh about. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Larry Gonick has been creating comics that explain math, history, science, and other big subjects for more than forty years. He has been a calculus instructor at Harvard (where he earned his BA and MA in mathematics) and a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, and he is currently staff cartoonist for Muse magazine. He lives in San Francisco, California.

Customer Reviews

I would recomend this book for every one.
bob mathews
Although the book is cartoon in format, the information provided is professional at an introductory level.
F. Orion Pozo
Gonick handles sensitive topics with humor and clarity, without dumbing down or trivializing the message.
Christopher Beck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Finally! A book on sex good enough good to solve the problem ofexplaining the birds and bees!
When we raised our five boys, the pickings were poor -- mostly deadly-academic (too close to the sex education segment in Monte Python's 'Meaning of Life'). Where was the humor? But even if the presentation had been good enough for a young audience, what was presented then was woefully scant. Where were discussions of the role of sex in loving? Of why commitment was significant? Of gay sex, and sexual variations? How were our children supposed to form informed sexual values?
If sex is stripped of its human values, it can become a competition. If it's stripped of caring, it loses its lasting value. Without good discussions of what sex really consists of, it can't make contact with teens.
I applaud 'The Cartoon Guide to Sex'. It's humorous, complete, progressive and enlightened. It's also clever and fun to read. If it tests your limits -- as it clearly did for some other reviewers - perhaps that's a sign that you aren't quite ready to accept sex as it is.
But for me it solves a problem. Our five boys have produced four more. I'll be pleased to give these grandchildren this book when they're old enough to understand it.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By F. Orion Pozo on November 21, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Larry Gonick is famous for his cartoon approaches to education, especially his books on history and science topics. In this book he teams up with sex educator Christine DeVault. The combination produces a good introductory text on sexuality that is lots of fun to read.
Narrated by a cartoon Mother Nature and a cartoon fairy called The Etiquette Elf, the book covers reproductive biology, sexual anatomy, developmental biology, gender roles, gender identity, interpersonal communication about sex, romantic love, the sexual act, birth control, health issues, STDs, non-consensual sex, and sexual function problems. All of this is done in delightful cartoons that are clear yet not overly explicit. Although the book is cartoon in format, the information provided is professional at an introductory level. The end of the book contains two pages of further readings, a list of journals devoted to sexuality, and eight resource organizations. An index allows you to find just what you need when you need it.
This is a valuable addition to the library of anyone who is sexually active or has plans to become so. Readers who expect Gonick's humor to dominate this book may be disappointed, but people who are looking for a good introductory sex manual will be overjoyed.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Banshee on October 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Already an acclaimed cartoonist who did the world's thickest comic books on the great history of our universe (in two volumes the size of phone books), Larry Gonick goes on to create a very informative book all about sex - with lots of really funny cartoons thrown in, of course! In fact, this nifty book really covers just about everything you would ever want to (or not) know about - ranging from mating behavior amongst the critters to women's self-defense to all types of contraceptives and how they actually work (or don't work!) Even the most "repugnant" subjects are included here, like gynecological exams and the "fetishes" of breastfeeding. Once again, we are warned here that we need to be careful about the great riskes of unwanted pregnancies and STDS whenever we "make love" (oh, yes! Even the most baffling term, "love" is discussed here!) Serving as illustrations are all those really cute and (sometimes very frank) line drawings so typical of good ol' Dr. Gonick you can even expect to see a funny dinosaur or two! Those cartoons are really bursting with such good-natured humor it would certainly put even the most squirmish reader at ease. Nevertheless, such a wealth of sexual and biological facts (as well as such zany comic art to go with it) seem to be printed on rather flimsy, low-grade paper so typical of any illegal porno pulp. Too bad, but it looks like those newprint-like pages would quickly turn yellow and become quite brittle and dog-eared the moment you brought it home from the bookstore!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
First time I encountered this book was in a doctor's waiting room. Picked it up idly and then couldn't put it down. Alas, the nurse called my name and I had to buy a copy later to find out what happened. The CGTS is an absolutely hilarious book of cartoons that just happens to have a lot of fresh, illuminating--even shocking things to say about sex. If you don't know about sexual dimorphism, or which is the sexiest mammal on the planet, or how "honor" can be surgically restored, get this book. At the very least, your cocktail party conversation will never be the same!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
If there's anything more confusing than physics, it's sex, love, relationships.... Larry Gonick is a master at taking hard concepts in math and physics and presenting them with surprising depth and clarity. Plus, he makes you laugh. Now, he's accomplished the same amazing feat with an even more difficult subject: human (and, yes, animal) sexuality. This guide to sex is so charming you won't mind leaving it around on the coffee table. In fact, it's probably a good idea. There are things in here you want your teenager--and your partner--to know. I especially enjoyed the light handed way he deals with hard subjects like sexually transmitted diseases, differences between men and women (surprise!), the importance (and art) of communication between partners. The bit with the chicken suit alone is worth the price of the book.
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