Book Review : Urge

As a practicing sex therapist, Dr Gabrielle Morrissey was always referring her patients to books to help them have a greater understanding of their various performance problems and sex-related issues. Acutely aware of the ever increasing range of titles available in the sex-self-help genre, Gabrielle dreamed of the day when she could recommend a single, easy to follow bedside companion covering sexual health, relationships and fascinating tit bits about bits, bobs and what to do with them. Rising to the task, Gabrielle put her years of clinical experience (and the odd personal anecdote) to good use wrote her own book. ‘Urge’ is a saucy little number designed to entertain, inspire and educate on all things down under? Jam-packed with sexual trivia, fascinating sex terminology and hilarous/amazing/just plain scary personal accounts, this book is a must for everyone who has ever had sex!Ever wanted to know the average length of a penis? You’ll have to get ‘Urge’ to see if he measures up! Want to know more about multiple orgasms, one night stands, celibacy, safe sex, fantasies and sexperimenting? This is the book for you. But be warned, it’s not for the faint-hearted? ‘Urge’ is a no-holds barred romp through the bedroom and out into the wild world of truly liberated, luscious and loving sexual experiences. Read it on your own, explore it with your partner, dissect it with your best girlfriends at your next girl’s night in?

Read our interview with Dr Gabrielle Morrissey ? everything you wanted to know about sex (but were afraid to ask).

By Sally Schofield

Buy Urge! from the SheSaid Bookshop.

June 25, 2002

Australians Make the Best Lovers!


Dr Gabrielle Morrissey is head of the Sexology Unit at Curtin University, WA and has she’s just written one hell of a book about sex. Gabrielle took time out of her busy promotional schedule to chat with SheSaid about Urge her no-holds barred bed-side sex manual.

Urge started really when I was doing sex therapy two years ago. I was getting a lot of questions across a broad range of topics and I would recommend books and I would recommend web sites. I kept thinking it really is, for some of these people, like trying to find a needle in a haystack,” says Gabrielle identifying a common problem in the over-saturated self-help marketplace. “To find the answer to their problems, they keep having to sort through mountains of manuscripts and web sites and I kept thinking there should just be a really simple, one book answer to all different kinds of things,” she says. Finding a book for ‘you and me’ was also becoming frequently frustrating with the ever-increasing range of titles available in what Gabrielle identifies as a niche-marketing overload. “I think it went too far. You know, I’m a Former Transexual Gay Man Who’s Been Married Twice… it’s getting ridiculous!” she says of the glut of sex-self-help books saturating books shop shelves with titles that make your average episode of Jerry Springer seem, well, normal.

“You have to buy twelve books just to get yourself going!” she laughs. “I thought there should be one book that covered when things go wrong but that also didn’t assume everyone was having problem. It would have a lot of fun chapters as well, and it would have a lot of trivia and information from around the world and historical stuff. I come across lots of quirky stuff all the time in my research and my work, and I kept thinking ‘These are gems, people should know about this kind of stuff!’ You know, like where does the word fuck come from?”


Urge is part self-help manual, part encyclopedia, part glossary. Comic, serious, sexy, this guide covers everything you need to know about sex, sexual health, being sexy and sexuality. Cover to cover, this volume explores every aspect of loving and relationships in a fascinating, interesting and informative way. If only sex education was like this when I went to school!

“The idea was that it’s the kind of book that provides helpful hints and answers to those frequently asked questions. My intent was never to make a book that when people went to the cash register, they felt like they were highlighted in neon, screaming out to the rest of the shop ‘Yes I have a sexual problem and I’m embarrassed about it!’ she says.

Far from being a blush-worthy ‘brown paper bag job’ Urge doesn’t focus on being a self-help guide that by association would mark out the buyer as a hapless, sexual retard or on the other side of the coin, a sex-obsessed deviant. Rather, it presents itself as the latest must-have guide for the awakening sexuality of a culture obsessed with up-to-the-minute information.

“I wanted it to be the kind of book that was very groovy and funky to buy that didn’t smack of any embarrassment. I was just in a pub in Paddington (Sydney) and a group of men were thumbing through it and I was mightly impressed,” says Gabrielle with a sense of satisfaction.

“Women have less of a hang up towards saying ‘I don’t know that…’ Men, because most of their questions about sex are performance-centred, it’s hard for them to admit that there are things that they don’t know. They generally say ‘Oh, I know all about that and I’m really good at that… But just for a change of pace, if I wanted to try something different, what would it be?’ And that’s really their way of saying ‘Help.’

I think there’s a lot of information in there for both men and women and I wrote it for both. Each chapter is broken down for both men and women and I was hoping that people would read it by themselves, lovers would pillow talk with it and that groups of friends would read it.”

Sex is certainly the topic of the moment. Make the most of the new breed of sex books around. Get Urge and impress your lover, your friends (and most importantly, yourself) with all there is to know about sex…Enjoy.

By Sally Schofield

June 25, 2002