Bi dare you?
Dare… to Try Bisexuality
By Pierre Des Esseintes Pub. Hunter House £9.99 144 pages.
It’s a few years since The Bisexual’s Guide To The Universe came out with it’s American take on getting bi, so it’s a pleasure to find a book doing something similar from a French perspective. Especially with it being translated into English and so easier to follow for most BCN readers.
This is a more slender tome split into a few simple sections, starting with biology and psychology: a sprinkling of Freud and statistics, and a brief lesson in how humans start out the same but then develop sex characteristics before birth. That sounds dry, but it really isn’t, there’s plenty of smut and pleasure blended in.
There’s what we might think of as ‘sex tips for men’ and ‘sex tips for women’, particularly on the mechanics of same-sex encounters. Then we up the stakes with suggestions on how to arrange the bodies for a threesome, before wondering where to go to explore your bisexuality and a silly Cosmo-esque “are you bi” quiz.
A pause for thought about sexuality being politicised in the age of HIV leads on to a limited filmography and bibliography.
There is a problem, and it’s one we ran in to with trying out getting the UK bi guide Both Directions being translated into other languages: Dare… talks about bisexuality with the assumption that there are no bi spaces at all. No groups, no BiFests, no big annual shin-dig, and nothing like BCN.
In France this seems to be very nearly true, far more so than in the UK. But a little sub-editing to include something about bi spaces in English speaking places for the English edition would have been welcome.
But this is a small flaw in a book that doesn’t try to reflect every bi and queer experience, but to relate to many and to encourage an exploratory and libertine approach to sex and sexuality. Essientes is brilliant at the grand sweep: hold off the “but that doesn’t apply to everyone” for a moment and enjoy a rollercoaster of a book – fun, informative, saucy and frank.