Burning Desires

Steve Chapple, Author Doubleday Books $18.95 (378p) ISBN 978-0-385-24412-1
For all the promise and scope of its title, this field study is only modestly revealing. Examining the effect of AIDS on the sexual mores of the nation, the authors--Chapple is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle , Talbot an editor of Image magazine--start off in Minneapolis following a doctor who brought the news of AIDS to local heterosexual swingers clubs. They finish in San Francisco at the ``World's First Jack- and Jill-off Party,'' a scene that provides the book's gamiest reading. They cover a lot of other territory as well, much only remotely related to current sexual practices. Traveling in time, they report on Greek and Roman excesses and reiterate an oft-chronicled list of U.S. presidential peccadilloes. Researching cross-country, they visit fabled party spots, such as Key West and Aspen, where witnesses of the sexual revolution's first stirrings in the '60s attest to the detumescent realities of sexuality in the late '80s. Checking in on feminist writers, including Germaine Greer and Shere Hite, they move on to producers of feminist pornography (not necessarily an oxymoron). The first-person-plural ``we'' of their account is sometimes societally universal and other times cozily specific to their state (of comfort or discomfort) at the moment, and in the end their report is readable more for its chatty, unclinical and often wide-eyed tone than for its content. First serial to Playboy. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-451-16598-5
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