Dr Tatiana offers helpful advice on a full and satisfying sex life (for optimal reproduction purposes) to a wide range of clients, from insects to bacteria, birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, plants and fungi. Occasional comparisons and parallels are drawn between the sexual practices and 'oddities' of the clients and human sexual habits.
This is how it's set out:
• It starts with an explanatory note from Dr Tatiana.
• The chapters each start with a short introduction, followed by a selection of letters (from correspondents troubled about their peculiar sex lives) and helpful replies from Dr Tatiana. Chapters end with a brief conclusion.
• The chapters are divided into 3 parts. Chapters 1 to 5, 'Let Slip the Whores of War!', cover the battle of the sexes; Chapters 6 to 10, 'The Evolution of Depravity', cover the more extreme and beastly methods employed by the warring sexes; Chapters 11 to 13, 'Are Men Necessary?', looks at why sexual reproduction might be preferred to asexual reproduction.
• The book ends with extensive notes, bibliography and an index.
It was a great pleasure to read this hoard of extraordinary sex stories - so many different life-forms and their astonishing variety of sexual behaviours, all tied together to make a sensible whole. It's a fascinating subject and Olivia Judson presents the facts with clarity and humour, bless her. I vaguely remember how sex was covered in biology lessons at school, 3 decades ago - it was dry, boring and embarrassing. This book is the opposite of that. It's unashamedly rude and funny. It sizzles. Now I know that even birds and bees get up to the most incredible antics in their struggle to reproduce. If they could have made the subject seem even half as interesting as this when I was a pupil, I would have bothered to study.