Saturday, September 26, 2015

'The Threesome Handbook: A Practical Guide to Sleeping with Three' by Vicki Vantoch


I love nonfiction books about sexuality in general, and I wanted to read this one specifically because I thought it might be good research for future short stories and novel scenes. I’ve written threesomes before, but I could always learn to write them hotter.

I started reading this book ages ago, but I kept putting it away when guests came over and then getting distracted by other books. That's not to say that it's uninteresting or boring - far from it. Granted, I did skip a few passages that didn't apply to me, but overall, I enjoyed this very much. It's really more 4.5 stars than 4.

Vicki Vantoch is the kind of smart girl who makes me want to do stupid things. She’s brilliant and witty. I laughed out loud several times throughout the book, just like I do with Lemony Snicket things. She has one of the best jobs I could imagine: anthropologist and historian who specializes in the history of sex. In physical appearance, she reminds me of the singer Sara Bareilles. Funny, smart, cute, openly bisexual – Vicki Vantoch is my kind of writer.

She’s also the mom of two adorable kidlings, son West and daughter Maison. Their dad is Vantoch’s life partner since they were 16 years old, the actor Dimitri Krushnik. But, as she writes on page 328, “Yale law professor Kenji Yoshino argues we are all pressured to ‘cover’ or to downplay stigmatized traits to blend into the mainstream. We do this in various ways—by hiding hearing aids or changing ethnic-sounding names to commercially viable ones.” In that exact manner, Dimitri is better known as Misha Collins. Which, I suppose, is not quite as Russian-sounding, even though Misha is still the traditional Russian nickname for Dimitri. (Didn’t Dimitri Belikov’s sisters call him Misha in the Vampire Academy novels?)

Vantoch is candid about her own three-way relationship with her husband and her female best friend, but Collins is more guarded. She writes in the Acknowledgments, “And finally, M, my sweet coadventurer in love and life. Even though this book wasn’t his cup of tea, he was supportive from the beginning and was always there when I needed him with encouragement, egg sandwiches, and a brutally-honest critical eye. His patience, humor, openness to change, and super-human ability to love me without crushing me, continues to amaze me. I feel enormously lucky to be sharing this journey with him.”

My favorite chapter is Chapter 5, which gets into some of the issues that not-bisexuals might face when in multiple partner relationships. It encourages people who consider themselves straight to be open to a range of experiences that might be pleasurable even if a bit outside their usual comfort zone, without obsessing about labels. Human beings seem to have an innate tendency to want everything neatly categorized, but our sexuality is much too fluid and varied for that. Vantoch gets that, and she’s able to write about it in a way that’s not only humorous but also quite sexy.


Whether they read it for research, for practical tips, or simply out of curiosity, readers who are brave enough to pick this one up will be rewarded. 


I purchased this book with my own funds and was not obligated in any way to review it.

No comments: