The Joy of Gay Sex

Charles Silverstein, Author, Felice Picano, Joint Author, Joseph Phillips, Illustrator HarperResource $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-001273-1
Anal sex, Barebacking, Cruising--the ABCs of gay male sexuality get neatly presented here in an encyclopedic format with a savvy, knowledgeable attitude. A good number of the entries, though, seem unnecessary: perfunctory explanations of kissing (""an integral part of the entire experience of making love""), pornography (""the object is to turn you on"") and phone sex (""use adjectives describing yourself and your favorite sexual scenes. If you don't know which words to use, watch a porn video and note those words that turn you on""), for example, will enlighten only the very inexperienced. Psychologist Silverstein and author-poet Picano make a notable attempt in this edition to define crucial elements of the""changing sociopolitical landscape of gay men's lives in the early twenty-first century"" by including such topics as HIV""cocktail"" treatments, bisexuality and transgenderism and the Internet's role in helping fetishists connect. But many entries continue to feel sanitized, despite the authors' decision to use sexual slang and expletives. Others need a dose of editorial Viagra to provide clued-in readers with the kind of candid, useful information they might be searching for. Entries addressing issues such as domestic violence, gay liberation and civil rights feel out of place in a manual dedicated to the machinations of sexuality complete with illustrations depicting everything from fisting to sex parties. Originally published in 1977, four years after the American Psychiatric Association reversed its decision labeling homosexuality a mental disorder, The Joy of Gay Sex continues to be a popular resource due to its""permissive tone about sex,"" an important feature and one that has been carefully retained in this revised edition. Readers may object to the title (which lacks the word""male""), the illustrations (which almost solely feature wiry, tattooed and hairless men) and some of the theories (the""daddy/son scene"" may be enjoying increased popularity owing to a""greater need for good parenting""), but this is nevertheless a needed title.
Reviewed on: 05/01/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-06-001274-8
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