Books by Douglas W. Pryor

Released: Feb. 1, 1994

Indiana University sociologists Weinberg and Williams (coauthors, Male Homosexuals, 1974), along with Pryor (Wake Forest), offer ``the first major study of bisexuality.'' Working from the Kinsey thesis that sexual orientation is a choice rather than biologically determined, their study has implications for all sexual behavior. From interviews conducted at the Bisexual Center in San Francisco between 1983 and 1985, the authors concluded that all sexuality is fluid, complex, and socially structured, shaped by initial sexual encounters and altered by later opportunities. Hedonistically motivated, bisexuals, mostly male, self-identify in their late 20s—or, more technically, they either ``fail to unlearn'' or they ``rediscover'' pleasure in the same as well as in the opposite sex: they ``disconnect gender and sexual pleasure.'' In their surveys of behavior, mating rituals, communal ties, marriages, jealousy, and ``outing,'' the authors reveal a group of people who, unlike the homosexuals they have been identified with, have developed no life styles, many believing they are merely ``in transition.'' All of those who participated in the study (about 150) appear self-involved, sexually preoccupied, socially experimental individuals who objectify sex partners and feel that their range of sexual experience makes them superior. This very range, along with promiscuity and swinging, accounts for their rejection by both homosexuals and heterosexuals, who blame them for introducing AIDS into their community. Although their potential for sexuality is greater because of the varieties of sexual pairings they prefer, their numbers are nonetheless declining, their status, according to the authors, resembling that of homosexuals in the Sixties. Drawing conclusions from a small and idiosyncratic community, and assuming the unfashionable, politically dangerous position that sexual orientation is a choice, this study is, at best, a first. The prestige of Oxford and the panache of Mirabella may help it overcome a dry, flaccid style, narrow focus, incomplete theorizing, and outdated methods. (First serial to Mirabella) Read full book review >