Dirty Words: A Literary of Encyclopedia of Sex
By Ellen Sussman
304 pages. Bloomsbury.
"Orgy is a word that fills your mouth like a wild oyster that's just a little too big to (comfortably) swallow." That's one of many juicy—or unpalatable, depending on your point of view—revelations in Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex, edited by Ellen Sussman (Bloomsbury). This compendium of highly personal definitions runs the gamut from A, Adultery to W, Wet Dreams, and includes stories and essays by the likes of Joshua Furst (Cybersex), Patricia Marx (Vibrator), and Elissa Schappell (Exhibitionist). Among the stellar celibates listed under C, Celibacy: Isaac Newton, Carol Channing, Antoni Gaudí, and Sigmund Freud, who swore off sex from about the age of 41. This little book of predilections would have knocked him off his couch.