The Facts of Life From a Mommy Who’s Been Around the Block


Mommy’s Little Girl may have the naughty ring of a porn title, but in Susie Bright’s experienced hands, the phrase is both a reference to her 12-year-old daughter Aretha, whose budding sex education features in several of the essays included here, and a nod to our dirtiest fantasies.

Bright shines when she peels away her own mystique and takes us inside the uncertainties of her sex life. These include a fling with a farmer who’s taken her vibrator advice to heart and a frank assessment of her own “terrible” blowjob technique.

In the past, Bright saw sex everywhere; it sometimes seemed as though that were the only lens through which she viewed the world. Here, she tackles other topics, such as a friend’s suicide, and looks at some of the downsides of our in-your-face sexual era. She still has strident moments of pro-sex propaganda (“I don’t want to see any more young women turn thirty years old before they understand what a female orgasm is”), but there is a maturity to her writing. Rather than offering knee-jerk reactions to conservative attitudes toward sex, Bright grapples with the much tougher question of what sex can and can’t add to our lives, most delightfully in twin tongue-in-cheek guides for men and women on “how to ruin your sex life.” Bright doesn’t try to make sex a panacea. Instead she attempts to leave a legacy for her daughter’s generation, of adults who view sex as vital, political, powerful, and ever changing.