Book Review: Readings

Ayn Carrillo-Gailey


Pornology: Noun – 1: A Good Girl's Guide to Porn; 2: The misadventures of the world's first anthroPORNologist; 3: A Hilarious Exploration of Men, Relationships, and Sex

by Ayn Carrillo-Gailey

Running Press, 238 pp., $13.95 (paper)

In Pornology, Ayn Carrillo-Gailey places herself high in protagonist heels while trying to debunk the "pornophobic" reputation draped upon her by an ex-boyfriend. Motivated by the harsh reality that she may be lacking in the boudoir and haunted by her collection of unfinished lists, she announces her intent to break into what she considers the "bad girl" world.

Armed with an exploratory to-do list that would make many women blush, she embarks on a virtual treasure hunt in which she runs the gamut from tame (reading erotica) to tart (indulging in a weeklong marathon porn-viewing session, à la Super Size Me). Her trusty circle of Naughty Knitters cheers her on as she stumbles, trips, and guffaws her way through her trials as she discovers the art of vibratory masturbation (marital-aid usage, sorry; we're still in Texas, right?), gets schooled by a bona fide sexpert, and attends a blow-job seminar. She manages to master the laugh-out-loud anecdotes while baiting the reader's interest with real-world tips for hand motions, product tests, and self-esteem boosts.

However cringe-worthy losing her shirt while dancing on a bar, having her mother unexpectedly show up at her sex-toy party, getting ditched at a brothel, or the spattering of the many other foot-in-mouth scenarios she encounters, Carillo-Gailey plays them off with aplomb. While the stereotypical clumsy babe in the woods might not be anything new in this genre, she gains and conveys enough knowledge about sex and the single woman to keep the story moving at a good speed. We probably could have done without the Mr. Darcy romantic angle, but what chick-lit book would be complete without it? Luckily, it manages to play out just far enough along the sidelines as to not overshadow the thrust of the book: sex, porn, party tricks, techniques, and trivia. Enlightenment, not so much for the masses, but the many XXX virgins among us.

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