OBJECTS OF DESIRE by Rita Catinella Orrell and Jason Scuderi

Sometimes two things are combined that had never been put together before but seem like a perfect match in retrospect.  The latest example of this: sex toys and the coffee table book.  Objects of Desire: A Showcase of Modern Erotic Products and the Creative Minds Behind Them, written by Rita Catinella Orrell and designed by Jason Scuderi, provides a visual and written journey through the current world of a very wide range of sexual items.

The subjects of Objects of Desire are beautifully photographed: often on a solid background, sometimes partially or fully submerged for waterproof goods, infrequently worn by a model.  These objects are usually showcased over two or four pages and include the date they were made/released, what they're made of, the manufacture's website, and several paragraphs describing their origin, use, and appeal.  Categories for the book's subjects include Remote- and App-Controlled Toys, Kegel Exercises, Vibrators, Fashion and Jewelry, Cock Rings & Anal Toys, Male Strokers, Dildos and Harnesses, Light BDSM, and In a Category of Their Own.

The items featured in Objects of Desire are impressively varied.  For every item whose sexual purpose is glaringly obvious, there's another that can be "hidden in plain sight" as artwork or jewelry.   There are things made of hand-carved wood and technical marvels that include wireless connectivity, data storage, and even artificial intelligence.  While this book isn't a historical trip or comprehensive guide to this ever-growing area, it certainly showcases the beauty, functionality, and artistry of these devices.
But there's more than just item descriptions.  Scattered through Objects of Desire are interviews with sex toy designers, company business owners, artists, and several sex bloggers (which is my new dream job).  These folks talk about their favorite and least favorite items (toxic materials and crude designs are almost universally hated), customer/reader inquiries, sources of inspirations, trends, and more.  There are also a "foreplay" (forewords), preface,and introduction -- plus where to get (most of) the objects in the book, along with other resources for learning more about this area.
Sex toys have evolved from crude novelty gifts and basic devices.  Objects of Desire highlights the results of this evolution, and the material here -- whether terrific photography or informative descriptions and discussions -- makes for a wonderful treat.
Overall grade: A+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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