Journalist Mara Altman is on the ultimate quest to decode the O, consulting doctors, therapists, and, of course, a series of sex toys and subjects in Thanks for Coming: One Young Woman’s Quest for an Orgasm.


Orgasms elude 26-year-old journalist Mara Altman her entire life. Boyfriends, vibrators, sexually progressive parental units—none of it helps, and Thanks for Coming is the humorous story of her quest to find out what her problem is.
To that end, Altman questions and consults an assortment of individuals about orgasms, vulvas, and vaginas. While continuing to explore sex and relationships through regular old dating, her more formal research includes orgasm workshops, a sexuality convention, and even spending some time at an “orgasm community” in rural Northern California. Her interviewees span the gamut, including several bona fide sexperts (including a sex surrogate, a sex therapist, and a Tantra teacher), her grandparents, a guy who sells vegan baked goods at the open-air market downtown, and random people she meets on a trip to Israel. For all her orgasmic inhibitions, the candor with which she can question her interviewees is refreshing, amusing, and inspiring.
A few people along the way tell Altman that if she wants to have an orgasm, she basically needed to cut out the writing about it and just get down to business, and that’s probably good advice. Ultimately, though, the nuggets of wisdom and insight scattered throughout the book about the nature of orgasms and how they fit into the grand scheme of things are so valuable and thought-provoking, you end up being glad she dragged out the journey a bit after all.

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