cover image Satyricon USA: A Journey Across the New Sexual Frontier

Satyricon USA: A Journey Across the New Sexual Frontier

Eurydice. Scribner Book Company, $22 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-684-83951-6

Hip without being glib, smart without being smug, Eurydice takes readers on an eye-opening tour of the American sexual underworld and emerges with the news that sexual deviance isn't deviant at all: it's deeply embedded in mainstream, middle-class America. In Greek mythology, Eurydice was the unfortunate bride of Orpheus, who tried to lead her out of Hades and failed. As a writer for Spin, this modern-day Eurydice reverses the journey, willingly descending into dank bars and addict meetings to explore the terrain of sexual deviance in America. Setting out to discover perversion behind the accepted norm, she finds instead that normalcy abides within such practices as necrophilia, sadomasochism, cybersex and erotic bloodletting. She also devotes considerable space to soldiers and priests who struggle with the conflict between desire and duty. Rising above voyeurism, moral judgment and titillation, the work is an intelligently and beautifully written collection of the author's thoughts as she watches drag queens, lap dances, whippings and even a sex addict making an illicit score. The cast of real people, who readily tell all in response to the author's gentle inquiries, prove that seemingly perverse proclivities aren't limited to the fringe elements of society. Offering exemplary insights into how unusual sexual practices are perceived in our culture, the book also draws strength from Eurydice's honest confessions about how she feels about what she observes, sustaining a wonderful balance of intellect and emotion throughout her illuminating trek through contemporary sexuality. (Feb.)