Debby Herbenick & Vanessa Schick | Read My Lips (Rowman & Littlefield)

read-my-lipsRead My Lips is the go-to book for all things lady parts.


It took me some time to fully immerse myself into Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva—partly because life got me busy and partly because I was afraid of what I might read. Contrary to my initial belief that this was going to be some kind of PhD dissertation with no interesting facts and no regular people lingo, this book is laced with laughs, honesty, around-the-way truths, and comfort in exploring the forbidden territory known as the vulva and the vagina—they’re separate, not the same. Herbenick and Schnick created a hilarious study book “for anyone who has a vulva, loves someone with a vulva, came from a vagina, or is just plain curious about their parts.”

Within seven chapters, some entitled, “Meet the Vulva,” “Vulvalicious: Vulvas and Vaginas in Bed,” “The Hair down There,” and “Evulvalution: Vulva Culture,” all walls are covered (no pun intended) of all things vagina and vulva, from attitudes from women about their genitals, grooming, infections, and sexual issues. Read My Lips is the go-to book for all things lady parts. The Ph.D’ers even walk their audience through vulva costume and dinner parties.

The conversational tone makes the reader feel like they’re among friends talking about the “snatch.” Schnick and Herbenick effectively put on a show about the Vs that hooks, entertains, and educates its readers in what is sometimes the most overwhelming, intimidating, and dense information about the female body. This book paints explicit pictures about vibrators, piercings, sex toys, lesbian relationships, and tampons—and let’s not forget about those sexually transmitted infections and pubic hair.

While this book is all fun and games, its final chapter includes a VQ to quiz women on those serious questions like “What is the first vulva image created by a (wo)man?” “What’s a speculum party?” “When do doctors recommend that an average woman douche? Never ever.” Concluding with sex positivity and, of course, V arts and crafts and “vulvactivism,” bringing vulvas to public awareness, it serves as the poster child book for self-love, body awareness, and acceptance.

Read My Lips is also filled with tidbits of other women’s V-stories, which most times disrupt the flow of information presented in the chapter and make you scratch your head; it’s a nice idea that shouldn’t be used as a bubble again. Overall, though, the book is a personal guide that will edutain (educate and entertain) 21st-century women who believe in Sex and the City and birth control and their lovers. So until next time, my lips are sealed. | Ashley White

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