Sex position cheat sheet: a guide to love manuals

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get you having and enjoying sex more. These guides accomplish this by challenging you to try new positions or erotic activities. And yes many are silly or redundant, but often so is sex. The major pitfall of all sex manuals is that they can make sex seem like a chore or a scientific experiment. To avoid this, keep in mind that these are just novelty books published for your enjoyment and entertainment. If one of the suggestions seems ridiculous or impractical, just flip to the next one. Also, keeping female audiences in mind, all of the below products are tastefully constructed with NC-17 pictures of muscular models and elusive genitals (i.e. no pictures of dicks, vaginas, penetration, or body fluids).

Position Sex Card Deck by Lola Rawlins ($14.99)[image-1]

Like a sex partner, half of what makes a sex manual enticing is its packaging. The Position Sex card deck is by far the most inventive and fun way to experiment with positions. The deck's 50 cards have one side devoted to glossy models demonstrating the move for visual learners and instructions on the opposite side for those who like to do everything by the book. Something about these positions being unbound and orderless makes them more appealing; like an exciting lover, this deck lends itself to spontaneity. Another plus is that these cards are straightforward with none of the fluff and extras in other guides, which are total boner-kills for hot and heavy couples who don't need relationship advice.

The best thing about this deck is the ease with which it lends itself to sex games. Here are a few off the top of my head: shuffle the deck and perform whichever act you pull; use the cards to aid detailed and spontaneous sounding phone sex; place a card in his or her briefcase with the promise of performing the act the next time you meet; have a scavenger hunt around the house where you must perform each sex act in the location you find the card and next clue; use them as cue cards/storyboards for a personal sex tape... While it's true that there really aren't much more than 50 positions in which two bodies can fit together, part of me would have liked to see a few more exotic positions peppered in the deck.

100 Hot Sex Positions by Tracey Cox ($20)[image-2]

This book is your standard sex manual with unsexy cover art. It offers four chapters for every level of sexual Olympian, categorizing positions as heart felt, steamy, head games, and show off. Along with the various positions, Cox also gives tips on the various areas of interest surrounding the physical act, such as intimacy, dirty talk, and teasing. The most in-depth of these three guides, this book is intended for readers who need a little verbal foreplay.

Sex 365: Dare You To ($16)

"365" is a common theme in sex books. The publisher of this book has five similar titles offering unique sex for everyday of the year. While Sex 365 does contain plenty of sex positions, it also acknowledges the fact that there aren't 365 possible positions, especially for people who aren't sexual elitists who spend way too much time at the gym or yoga. This playbook goes beyond sex and into play. While how-to guides may be more suited for new couples looking to pound their way through every conceivable position, this book is more for established couples who could use some suggestions on how to recreate some of the playfulness and spontaneity that fades with familiarity. It is divided into four types of love dares: romantic dares, playful dares, sexy dares, kinky dares. Some of these are hit or miss (erotic arm wrestling) and some are too extreme for most couples (do it in a cubicle), but in general the book is a good starting point for men who want to make an effort to appeal to their partners' sensual needs. Many of the dares are simple, like warming up to sex by blowing on skin or feeding each other sweets, but I was surprised to find that this book contains some of the more exotic sex positions of the three manuals.

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Sex position manuals have long given legitimacy to adult businesses veiled as adult book stores. Along with the vibrators and lingerie stocked in the novelty section of sex shops, these books are what wives flip through while their husbands are lost somewhere deep in the big butt porno section. Sadly, the reality is that many of these books are purchased and never used. A good chunk are bought as gifts for bachelorette parties,  wedding showers, or anniversaries. They are often a relationship afterthought—-something to spice up your sex life once the honeymoon phase begins to wane. With that said, these guidebooks are slowly becoming more mainstream. New couples are buying sex books as a way to stock their sexual repertoire and maintain their sexual energy.

While it's true that there are only so many ways two regular people's bodies can fit together without the aid of harnesses or thousands of hours spent in the gym, the real purpose of these books is to

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