[This is the text of the book review from episode 45.]
This week’s book review is Girl on the Net: How a Bad Girl Fell in Love by Girl on the Net.
The author has a sex blog called Girl on the Net, where she writes about her fantasies and actual experiences with men in graphic detail.
Even I, an asexual lesbian, find this heterosex hot. The lady is an excellent writer. She’s also hilarious as hell.
The book is broken into chapters, each of which is titled with something from an actual blarf-worthy magazine article like 13 Scientifically Proven Signs You’re in Love and Can You Have Sex Without Love and Is It Healthy? And 10 Simple Ways to Get Laid. I read the digital version and there was a hyperlink to each of those articles. I didn’t click on them, but I’m pretty sure that last one was just: If you’re a heterosexual woman, Step one: Go outside.
Each chapter is then similar to a long-form blog post, in that it explores one particular facet of Sarah’s life, whether it’s the howling terror of being outed as a sex blogger and how to prevent that, the joys of anxiety (hi! Hello!), or the societal double standard of why women should have kids even though all the work will be put on them.
There’s also lots and lots of sex. Dirty, raunchy, hot sex.
The over-arching story—it’s a memoir so it’s not a story like fiction, but it’s still a story because she understands how writing works—is how someone so fiercely single, happy to shag her way through the men of Britain wound up ensconced in domesticity with a quite nice, if equally filthy guy. I nearly said bloke and I’ve only been here six months.
Speaking of how writing works—this is exceptionally well-written. I was expecting moderate-to-good with the focus being on her life, but it turned out to be remarkably well-done.
Not to mention a fucking riot. I was laughing out loud nearly every page.
It’s not all fun and games, though—she doesn’t hold back. If regular readers of her blog would like to maintain the belief that Sarah’s life is spanking and genitals and bodily fluids all the live-long day, then they should avoid this book like … whatever they would each most avoid.
This is the time when they will find out their Lady of Perpetual Shagging is, gasp! A human woman! With faults and insecurities and hair in weird places! Oh noes!
Some people don’t want to know—this is a warning.
Respect for being that honest. I guess I’m pretty honest here, but she lays it right out there. When she’s not getting laid like parquet flooring.
So let’s do some quotes.
This book is not just about the sex and her personal life—there are also many observations about the way we view sex as a culture for example:
Whether it’s envy, disgust, or naïvety about what humans get up to in the bedroom, sexual confessions turn everyone into judgmental tabloid editors. It’s easy to break this cycle, though: talk more. Moral outrage and envy generally spring from a place of ignorance: ‘I don’t know what that’s like, but I have to have feelings about it, so I am either jealous, angry, or both.’ If we strip that ignorance away, all that’s left is the titillation: ‘Really?’ someone chips in. ‘You’ve had a wank in a train station?’ ‘Of course – I paid thirty pence to get into the toilets so I wanted to get my money’s worth.’
Hey, guys! There was once a woman who enjoyed dick pics! She doesn’t anymore—don’t send any—but this is the story. The section about them started with:
if you have a fetish for contextless, blurry phalluses then the Internet is the place for you.
Then she requested some, thinking she’d enjoy them, but it was too much.
In the first two years I was blogging, I received 708 pictures and videos of people’s penises. Not from 708 individuals – there were 395 people in total who sent me a snapshot.
She also talks about what it’s like being a sex blogger in general and how you can see the search terms people use to find your site—I also find this interesting and have written a couple pieces addressing some of the more intriguing ones. One of hers:
I really hope that the person who asked ‘what if a girl’s vagina is fucked 50 times’ now understands that the vagina isn’t a limited-use item, like a sponge that gets gnarly after two weeks next to the sink.
Then there’s a chapter about porn—she and her guy, Mark, vary wildly in their tastes. This is how he sometimes like to watch his pornography:
Sometimes – and I find this strangely adorable as well as intensely hot – he will sit in the lounge with every available screen tuned to a different part of the same video. TV, laptop, second laptop, iPad, phone: each one showing a slightly different moment in one glorious, high-definition visual orgy.
What?! That’s waaaaay too many orifices. At that point it’s just mechanics, right?
Sarah is more into ethical porn, while Mark is into the mainstream deal, and, being the rad feminist she is, makes the observation that his kind is more about women than for women and talks about what it would look like if the roles were reversed when it came to watching porn, since heterosexual women do, indeed, look for porn on typical sites:
Would a straight guy wade through an obstacle course of cock in order to get a five-minute glimpse of the kind of porn he fancies? A guy with splayed buttocks inviting him to enter? Ads for hot DILFs who really want to fuck?
She doesn’t really blame the porn companies, though,
But that’s unsurprising: given a fairly misogynist world, in which women are often told that our place is to inspire arousal but not experience it, it would be a genuinely newsworthy miracle if porn itself were immune.
Earlier in the episode I talked about how her life is so different from mine in terms of all the sex and wanting to have it, but in many ways we are so similar I found myself doing the ‘I get you, lady’ gesture at my phone screen. We weren’t Facetiming—I read books on my phone. One of those moments was when she said:
the idea of having nothing to do is far more terrifying than the idea of fumbling madly through a forest of tasks.
I used to be fine doing nothing whatsoever for weeks at a time, but now, if I try to take a day off I panic. I panic if I’m only doing one thing because it feels like I should be doing five other things simultaneously like some sort of cracked out octopus.
So you don’t get intimidated by all the sex—one of the things the author is up front about is how sometimes sex doesn’t work. How, sometimes, the human body doesn’t cooperate. She didn’t believe in the popular tale that sex dies once a couple has been together long enough.
If your relationship is built on a foundation of angry banging, then it’s not like the fuck police will turn up at your door seven years down the line and confiscate your libido.
But then… oh dear… The fuck police didn’t show up, but things didn’t go so well. She talks about how they dealt with it. Even sex bloggers get the blue labes.
Basically, if you’re looking for an incredibly well-written memoir about kinky sex with some feminism, pathos and gold star comedy thrown in go to here. Read this thing.
Girl on the Net will be at Eroticon in a couple weeks and I am beyond excited to meet her now—even more so than before.
5/5 if I need to say so.