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Felice Newman Responds - Lesbian Sex Book Author Reacts to Dad's Claims

Book's Authors Discusses Arkansas Library Legal Action


Whole Lesbian Sex Book
Cleis Press
You may have seen the news stories, or perhaps you’ve heard the jokes. A man in Arkansas is suing his local library because his two teenage sons found Felice Newman’s The Whole Lesbian Sex Book on the shelves while they were researching “military academies.”

This parent says his sons were greatly disturbed by the material

What's really at the heart of this issue? I had a chance to talk with Felice Newman, author of The Whole Lesbian Sex Book for her reaction to what’s happening in Arkansas

Lesbian Life: What is your reaction to the flap about your book in Arkansas?

Felice Newman: Of course it’s hysterical that this father wants to sue the city of Bentonville because his teenaged sons had “many sleepless nights” after reading a sex guide. But the more serious concern is that the very entitled right wing Christian fundamentalists put pressure on libraries to pull books. It’s happened before with other books.

If librarians pull such books from the shelves, where will kids find out about sex? Young people have been finding sexually-explicit and sexually-suggestive books in libraries since there have been libraries. Libraries have always been neutral places, where teenagers can find things that because of their age they don’t have access to elsewhere. And in some ways libraries are safer places for finding information about sex than the internet.

My book is recommended for all libraries by The Library Journal. It’'s sexually explicit because I wanted to produce a lesbian sex book that was sexy.

Have you seen a spike in sales since it’s been getting so much publicity?

Actually sales have been really good anyway. The spike in sales came in February when The Whole Lesbian Sex Book was featured on The L Word. Phyllis gave the book to Alice. Now we’re seeing another spike – the publisher, Cleis Press, has gone back to press for a new printing.

I could honestly see some parents, even lesbian parents, not wanting their children to see sexually explicit materials. What do you think is the answer?

There’s a limited extent to which parents can control what children see. We’re not talking about six year olds, we’re talking two teenaged boys.

You can'’t really control what teenagers see about sex. You can have conversations with them about it. You can offer to answer their questions about sex. You can encourage them look for answers to their questions about sex in the library. Let’s face it, the library is the least objectionable place a kid could go for basic sex info, as far as the parents are concerned.

Need some tips about talking to your teenagers about sex?

About Sexuality Guide Corey Silverberg has some advice.

What are your questions about lesbian sex?

Felice Newman answers them for Lesbian Life readers.
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