Book Review: Playing Without a Partner by Megan Stubbs

Playing Without a Partner : A Single’s Guide to Sex, Dating and Happiness by Megan Stubbs, ED.D

Dr. Megan Stubbs, ED.D has crafted a holistic manual to single life that covers every aspect of actual LIVING – not just hookup culture and the pursuit of happiness through relationships – but also the act of learning to love one’s self. Her lighthearted, relatable approach and expertise in sex education allows her to articulate to everyone, singles and coupled people alike, how to get back in touch with YOUR happiness at the root.  Stubbs provides an inclusive and thoughtful book if you feel stuck in a rut in your relationship with yourself!  

Playing Without a Partner : A Single’s Guide to Sex, Dating and Happiness by Megan Stubbs

  • Publisher: Cleis Press (May 11, 2021)
  • Length: 250 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781627783040

Table of Contents

  • Introduction ix
  • Rethinking Single Life 1
  • Self Care 25
  • Self-Love-Masturbation and Fantasy 51
  • Body Mapping 75
  • Orgasm Basics 83
  • Positive Body Image 97
  • Dating-Want Long-Term, Have Short-Term Connections 121
  • Important Conversations about Health 147
  • Empowered Sex with Near Strangers 167
  • Tips for Great Sex 177
  • Worst Case Scenario Survival Guide 213
  • Conclusion 223
  • Acknowledgement 225

Rethinking Single Life 

Single life can be seen as sad, however, as Stubbs explains, this is far from the reality. Most single people, whether searching for a partner or having chosen celibacy for any reason, live very fulfilling and rewarding lives filled with meaningful relationships, romance and more. The main difference being this occurs in a different “package” than what we’ve been generally sold as a “perfect” life.  

Getting in touch with your true desires –  romance, career, lifestyle goals – helps to achieve a happier life in singlehood or just be happier AS yourself. So much of life can be spent finding the perfect person, not finding out what makes us happiest. Why not spend time alone with yourself trying new things? Going to new places? Meeting lots of new people? Options are endless.  

Self Care

Self care is so important in attracting a partner AND in improving feelings around self image and identity. If we have not learned to address our needs, how can we expect that of others? Stubbs provides helpful context within which we can reframe and prioritize self care so we can better care for ourselves and others. As a sex educator, body image specialist and relationship expert, she has invaluable background to provide a well rounded self care routine.

Self Love;  Masturbatory and Fantasy, Body Mapping, Orgasm Basics

Self Love can be expressed in so many ways! Stubbs’ book expands on the topics of  masturbation and fantasy, Body Mapping and Orgasm Basics over several chapters. One important thing to note is the importance of never faking orgasms with your partner in order to serve what you think are their needs first.  Understanding our own pleasure will provide for better sexual experiences whether it be with regular partners or strangers. As Megan says often throughout the book, “Put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others,” to ensure your needs are met before you attempt to help others.

Positive Body Image, Tips for Great Sex, Worst Case Scenario Survival Guide

Dr Stubbs is also an expert in the field of Body Image and Body Positivity and as such offers an informative voice on how to achieve a more positive relationship with our body through sexual empowerment, masturbation and self care, but also in your day to day experiences outside of your sex life.  Her sex tips are sound and the “Worst Case Scenario Survival Guide” is helpful for those little awkward moments we often don’t consider until we’re back on the dating scene, like if flatulence occurs and other funny situations.

Dating is all about being in the present with people you care for or hope to find a connection with – it shouldn’t be so stressful – but it can be easy to get nervous or retreat to your shell. With Dr. Stubbs’ book, you’ll find a positive, upbeat and humorous voice to guide you through this sometimes lonely and difficult path (alone) but together! There is no shortage of love out there, only fear that keeps us from finding it. 


Dr. Megan Stubbs is a sexologist, relationships expert, and body image specialist. With her degrees in biology and human sexuality, she is able to combine two of her favorite things, science and sex, into a cohesive platform to impact her audience. She is mindful of inclusion and brings a sensitivity to ethnic diversity rooted in her own complex heritage. She believes that sex should be fun and uses her lighthearted, intelligent, and humorous delivery to make it happen. She is the author of Playing Without a Partner : A Single’s Guide to Sex, Dating and Happiness.



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