Between the Palms: A Collection of Gay Travel Erotica

Michael Luongo, Author, Michael Luongo, Other
Michael Luongo, Author, Michael Luongo, Other Southern Tier Editions $16.95 (183p) ISBN 978-1-56023-416-6
Reviewed on: 05/01/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
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The rudder guiding this collection of erotic travel essays is cultural enlightenment, according to its editor, who claims that sex abroad is more than just sex--it's a way of understanding difference.""After all, what more intimate way to discuss culture and country than in bed,"" reasons Luongo, a writer and editor who has worked on safer sex programs for gay men who travel. And yet, sexual encounters and cultural insight do not always intersect, at least not in this anthology. Sure, it's interesting to note that African gay men refer to active and passive sexual positions as""king"" and""queen"" respectively, or that some Ghanaians have small penises because of the lack of protein in their diet, as Matthew Link explains in""Ghana's Kiss of Love Without End."" But these observations hardly qualify as cultural epiphanies. In fact, the connection between sex and enlightenment is more fully realized when the writers ponder issues beyond the bedroom. For example, in""Desert Bloom: Memories of 'Burning Man,'"" author Tim McKenzie carefully immerses himself in the free-love,""no spectators"" world of the famed Nevada festival and discovers that in such a welcoming community""queer space"" doesn't always have to be""physically defined."" Other stories are set among the pyramids of Giza, in the toilet of a German cabaret, the cool gardens of Granada and the harbors of Kerala--a variety of locations that gives readers a much needed vacation from travel memoirs set in stereotypical""gay"" destinations. In the end, such unusual and inspired settings may draw many curious readers to these engaging, pulse-quickening narratives about sex in strange lands.
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