Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 9. 1967.
An Analysis Of Human Sexual Response. Ruth and Edward Brecker (eds.) (Andre Deutsch NZ Price $8,30). Secret Techniques Of Erotic Delight. Dr. Vyvyan Howarth (Luxor Press $1.25 NZ Price).
These two books represent the extremes in erotic literature—the former a well-written and documented clinical study of sexual behaviour and the latter an attempt to cash in on current pornographic trends by a shoddy introduction to the Art of Seduction—to quote the blurb—"a sort of Everyman's Guide to the Secrets of Bliss in Bed."
An Analysis of Human Sexual Response is divided into four parts: the work of Masters and Johnson, other sex research, the practical application of sex research and finally a discussion of the place of sex research in our society. Perhaps of the roost interest is the controversial Masters-Johnson project in which the sexual response of 382 women and 312 men were observed and analysed. The team of Dr. Masters and Mrs. Johnson furthered Kinsey's basic research and by their well controlled and extensive programmings and experiments have made headway into the comparatively unknown field of sexual response.
Among the many results of their studies their observations have disproved three widely held sexual myths: (I) The myth that a man's sexual performance is related to the size of his penis. (II) The myth that women can have two kinds of orgasm—one clitorial and the other vaginal and (III) The myth that a woman, like a man, is limited to one climactic orgasm that produces satiety. It is perhaps interesting to note that Dr. Masters was strongly advised not to commence sex research until he was at least in his forties—Kinsey too had already established himself as an ecologist before he began his sexual investigations. This section of the book is a condensation of the much longer and technical Human Sexual Response by Masters and Johnson. This analysis together with other well-written papers on similar topics gives the general reader a clearer idea and deeper understanding of the recent discoveries in sexual behaviour.
The author of "Secret Techniques of Erotic Delight" states in his foreword that he originally intended to call the book "Seduction as a Fine Art" but decided on reflection that he might be misunderstood. Instead he has chosen a title which is however a gross misnomer. Similarly a chapter titled "Extremes and Further Perversions" disappointingly only deals with homosexuality, promiscuity, pro-stitution and nymphomania in general terms! The case histories interspersed throughout the book are in the most part humorous rather than instructive ranging from a problematic lover with halitosis and sweaty feet to a long involved discription of an elderly man's dreams of flagellation. Ironically this book perpetuates all the types of hoary myths exposed by the Masters-Johnson team and it would be interesting to know why Dr. (?) Howarth, so called; International Consultant and Sexologist is content to produce commercial trash rather than explore the more fruitful grounds of scientific sexual analysis.