Lo-tech review: Sex in the Outdoors - a humorous approach to recreation
by Robert Rose and Buck Tilton 86pp. ICS Books £4.99.
Reviewed by Gavin Smith
The whole idea of sex in the hills is a dark undercurrent that has swirled through the pages of TAC on many occasions. Consider away back in TAC3, "Perversions of the Scottish Hills No.1 - The Snow Bath", in which an unnamed pedestrian frolics naked in the snow. Oh aye. Or the cartoon on TAC5, p12. Or even Mike Madden's letter in TAC10, where he tells of his club, SIMISG - Sex In Mountains Involves Shedding Gear.
TAC's mutterings have reached America, and lo and behold the Yankees have produced the ultimate guidebook for all budding Ben-bonkers. Who says TAC has no influence? The book is an antidote to the acres of glossy Munrobagging dross clogging up bookshops the length and breadth of the land. It gives an elegant two-fingered salute to the increasing commercialisation of outdoor sports. And for that we should be thankful.
The book bills itself as the ultimate guide to outdoor sex: "A humorous and fun look at a common camping skill. Everything you wanted to know about sex in the outdoors but were afraid to ask. From the history of sex to the reasons for sexual contact in tents, this book is thoughtful and provocative." It considers an environmental perspective to sex in the outdoors, saying that it is the ultimate expression of ecosensitivity: "strip poker for example is far less disruptive than strip mining". And also in outdoor sex, the view is better than indoor sex.
We are given detailed points to ponder, eg weight of the rucksack which is considered in relation to how much energy it will leave you with at the end of the day. The wonder of sleeping bags that can be zipped together is considered along with mood creation with campfires and even physical and mental training.
Dangers are considered later, with emphasis on prevention of hypothermia, frostbite and sunburn. Altitude problems are looked at too, although this is unlikely to be a problem on a mighty windswept top in Galloway. Marauding animals are also touched upon, although being American the book considers bears ahead of biting insects. If only they knew.
Outdoor sex etiquette and, ahem, risk prevention techniques are discussed, although this seems a token gesture after previous discussion of climbers fornicating on mountain ledges (see the section on "Laying while belaying" for further details). The book ends with a few narratives of experience that make Richard Gilbert's "Big Walks" seem a little run-of-the-mill by comparison. I shudder to think what Poucher would have made of them.
This book is a good belly laugh, and should be compulsory reading for all outdoor folk. In the words of the authors: "If anybody takes anything in this book seriously, they could be in serious trouble because 1 - Life is far too short to be taken seriously. And 2 - If anything in this book bears any resemblance to anything true, it is a serious mistake. These words are intended to be entertainment. If the reader gets any ideas, that's great! But don't try this stuff in your own backyard, kids... at least not without adult supervision."
If this masterpiece had been entered for the Booker Prize, Kelman would have had no chance!
TAC 23 Index