Sex Q&A is aptly named because the format, other than a few asides, in-depth tutorials and quizzes, is simply question-and-answer. A quick Google of Anne Hooper shows that she has been a columnist for several outlets including Cosmo and the Daily Mail. Ms. Hooper’s introduction states that the questions in the book are based on the many questions she’s received as a columnist; although, some of them could very well be reprints. It does seem as though the questions in Sex Q&A are specifically worded to hit on a variety of sexuality subjects.
This book is split into eight chapters, each of which ends in a quiz that tests your knowledge and skills about the subject of that chapter: sex in relationships, questions en ask, questions women ask, sex when you’re single, spicing up your sex life, pregnancy and beyond, questioning your sexuality, and your sexual health.
As I mentioned, each chapter ends with a sort of skills test. It’s all very Cosmo, but I didn’t find it particularly revealing. In fact, I skipped right over the quizzes. Some people might find them entertaining or perhaps useful if they’re struggling with sex in their relationship or are less well versed in this subject than I am.
Most sections also have a “Case history” or two where Anne describes specific problems experienced by couples or individuals and how the general advice can specifically be applied. But some of these cases don’t show how the advice actually helped; they’re just Ms. Hooper describing what could help. Without proof of improvement, the advice can seem a little weak,
Although printed nearly 20 years ago, Sex Q&A manages to be ahead-of-its-time in some ways. It’s incredibly sex-positive, accepting of casual sex and masturbation, and pretty body-positive, too. It’s not homophobic, and Anne does a good job at answering questions about what is “normal.” She recommends a variety of sexual activities and doesn’t just focus on the man’s pleasure like so many sources. Anne also mentions science and theories about science that have only recently come across my radar. They certainly would have been new to be 17 years ago!
But Sex Q&A isn’t perfect. First, I would have liked a dedicated section on kink. Ms. Hooper does mention some kinky activities and related concepts such as contracts and negotiation, but she doesn’t explicitly introduce certain ideas or tools. For example, she casually mentioned caning during a section on impact play without discussing how many consider caning to be a more extreme form of impact play. I think she could have recommended a paddle or flogger that might have been more beginner-friendly, especially because the target audience of Sex Q&A doesn’t seem to be especially kinky.
Similarly, I would have liked to see more information on toy and lube safety as those two topics have come a long way since the early 2000s. Aside from recommending them in general and advising against using oils with condoms, Anne doesn’t include a lot of specifics. She does try to define a few type of toys, but it doesn’t seem incredibly inclusive, and there’s so much more information to be had these days. One thing I noted in particular is how Ms. Hooper defines a clitoral stimulator only as a part of cock ring and not as a standalone toy.
Although it’s not homophobic, it certainly is cis-normative. The assumption is that men are having sex with women, and they’re cisgendered. I realize that there has been a lot of advancement in the last two decades, however. For the time, I’m sure those conservative attitudes were pretty contemporary. Sex Q&A is also dated. For example, more recent research has cast a shadow of doubt over the significance of testosterone on sex drive, and most people now consider the G-spot as part of the clitoris. These answers could use some clarification.
There are a few topics that were all the rage when this book was published but proved to be fads since then: penis piercings and autofellatio, among them. The distinct lack of information on the contraceptive sponge is also indicative of the time when this book was printed.
Despite being a bit dated, Sex Q&A is full of a lot of information. Because it runs the gamut, Sex Q&A is not ideal for everyone. But the generalized advice would be great as part of a sex ed library or perhaps for young adults and the sexually inexperienced.