Ian Kerner: Your wife's best friend

She Comes First takes a no-nonsense, but thorough and psycho-educational approach to teaching men, not only about women’s sexuality, but about their own.  The vast majority of the book’s focus is on the art of cunnilingus and oral pleasure, but it is through this lens that an exploration other major areas and ideas around sexuality are explored or touched upon.

Kerner implodes any myths regarding sexual functioning that have received air over the course of our sexual history. For example, the existence of the “G spot,” a distinct target, or a magic area whereby stimulation produces the female ejaculatory response. After clarifying, repeatedly, that all female orgasms are clitoral, and spending several chapters examining the inner and outer parts of the clitoris (head, shaft, base); Kerner explains that, “For all its hype, the G spot…may simply be nothing more than the roots of the clitoris crisscrossing the urethral sponge” (pg.51).  And although the urethral sponge is attached to the vaginal ceiling, it is still a member of the clitoral network and therefore, technically, a clitoral orgasm. This in mind, Kerner renames the “G-spot” the “clitoral cluster” to more accurately portray its role in the female sexual response cycle. 

Illustrations guide the reader through detailed descriptions of sexual anatomy and play for each stage of arousal (eg, coreplay, foreplay, preorgasm, orgasm, and moreplay). Breath, rhythm, kissing and the first kiss, hygiene, fantasy, and body position are all considered as Kerner teaches his audience of the nuances that can “make” a sexy encounter. He spares no detail in his approach to the material, leaving no guess work for his male (or female) audience. The reader leaves with a multitude of approaches to the art of cunnilingus, including the use of teeth/gums (albeit VERY delicately) against the female partner’s clitoris and clitoral hood to achieve orgasm. 

The chapter “Scent and Sensibility” was particularly refreshing as Kerner essentially tells his male audience to turn their fishy whines into enthusiasm. This is not without basis, of course, given the time and attention spent dispelling the myth that vaginas can have an odor and are, therefore, full of bacteria, germs, or just plain filthy. As Ian states, “All this fuss and hullaballoo over hygiene; and yet, in reality, a woman’s genitals are a self-cleaning system-more sanitary than many other parts of the body, including the mouth” (pg.68). No woman tastes or smells exactly like another, a point driven home by the comparison of women to wine, so, as Kerner concludes, “Enjoy and savor her unique cassolette… theres an idea worth raising a glass to and toasting” (pg. 69)!

What I find most helpful about the work, is that it really breaks down the modern sexual script, with penetration being paramount and the ultimate pathway to female orgasm. Too often I see how this script harms not only men, but neglects the basic sexual needs of women; ultimately placing unnecessary strain on the couple. Kerner takes a great deal of pressure off of the penis, punctuating pleasure in all its avenues.

Paula Leech, Licensed Family Therapist, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and Supervisor