When I met Allison Moon for the first time, she was explaining to Bawdy Storytelling’s amused audience how she managed to successfully orchestrate a fox-hunt-themed orgy. Remarkably, she has only gotten more interesting since then. Moon is a sex educator and author of the lesbian werewolf novel series Tales of the Pack and the sex memoir Bad Dyke. Her latest endeavor, while just as racy, has a decidedly more educational bent. Girl Sex 101 — available April 7 — is the sex ed you wish you had growing up. (It’s not too late, however.) Informative, thoughtful, and visually charming, Moon’s comprehensive, Kickstarter-funded guide combines information on anatomy, communication, and consent with a sexy road trip adventure theme, snippets from other sex educators across the gender spectrum, and illustrations by KD Diamond. Girl Sex 101 is an engaging, well-researched foray into an activity we all know and love, but that we also sometimes don’t know the first thing about.
Moon began giving Girl Sex 101 workshops at Burning Man in 2006 as part of the aptly titled Camp Beaverton for Wayward Girls — and hasn’t looked back. “I think everyone has a raw deal when it comes to enjoying the fullness of sex,” Moon wrote to me in an email. “Mainstream society sure has its screws in us (no pun intended).” Despite the shame and misinformation that tend to shroud frank discussions of sex, Moon thinks women have “done a great job creating our own forums to talk about what turns us on and how to achieve our sexual goals.” Still, even as an educator with a lot of experience, Moon is constantly forced to reexamine what she knows about sex. “I think that’s something most people have to do at some point,” she said: “Unlearn everything and start with a beginner’s mind.”
Girl Sex 101 includes information culled from Moon’s own expertise, as well as narratives and tips from renowned sex experts, such as Nina Hartley, Ducky DooLittle, Jiz Lee, Carol Queen, and Julia Serano. “Sex is far too multilayered and diverse to rely on any one educator to be the oracle,” Moon said of her decision to utilize other points of view. “I wanted to include voices from folks not traditionally included in books about lesbian sex — such as trans women, genderqueers, intersex activists, and porn stars.” Moon also polled dozens of women online for their perspectives, “so I could do my due diligence to make sure as many different points of view were represented, and so readers of all backgrounds could see themselves reflected in the book,” she said.
The biggest highlights of Girl Sex 101 are the parts on communication. The mainstream media teaches us that good sex should be effortless — for an example of this, look no further than the absurdity of Fifty Shades of Grey. Christian Grey practically only has to breathe on virginal Ana’s face for her to have six orgasms. But even outside the realm of silly erotica, sex guides often focus on technique above all else — even though it’s far more difficult (and important) to be able to articulate one’s desires to another human than it is to say, spell out the alphabet with your tongue. That’s why Moon’s guide is so refreshing. As she describes it in the book, “Part of being a responsible sex-positive person is knowing that no one is going to read your mind. No one is going to ‘just know’ that you like something or not, even if you have all the same equipment. It’s your job to speak up and share the stuff your partners need to know.”
When asked what she hoped would be the biggest takeaway for readers, Moon put it succinctly: “Masturbation, communication, lubrication.”
The Girl Sex 101 release party is on Saturday, May 9 at Love Potion Collective (1960 Mandela Pkwy, Oakland), $20–$40. GirlSex101.com