MAN TO MAN: Gay Couples in America by Charles Silverstein

MAN TO MAN: Gay Couples in America

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Some exploration of ""couple"" issues such as monogamy and intimacy, yes, but also a treatise of questionable validity on the childhood genesis of homosexuality, and its regional variations. Silverstein, an ex-closet gay who bases his conclusions on a ten-year psychological practice concentrating on homosexuals, plus 190 interviews with gays across the country, believes that the traditional explanation of the Overprotective Mother has been overdone; he concentrates instead on the distant father, alienated from and alienating a ""different""--i.e., not traditionally ""masculine""--son. To lend weight to this thesis, Silverstein talks about sons' sexual fantasies vis-à-vis dear old dad--only rarely gratified--and the hurt of being called a ""faggot"" because interest in sports is lacking. He doesn't so much set out to prove that such relationships cause homosexuality, however, as dwell upon the kind of homosexual relationships such painful antecedents eventually produce. The basic information is that homosexuals fall roughly into two categories, the ""home builder"" (interested in permanent relationships) and the ""excitement seeker,"" more gratified by variety and novelty (judgmental terms like ""promiscuity"" are carefully avoided here). Meanwhile, Silverstein exhibits some whopping biases--such as his characterization of the entire Midwestern United States as a place where information is ""tightly controlled"" (therefore ""men can be prevented from even knowing that they are gay""). And he presents lots of case histories where we are treated to such intimate details as ""Julius could fuck animals but not his lover."" But whatever its voyeuristic appeal, the book has little to offer the serious student of gay lifestyle.

Pub Date: March 23rd, 1981
Publisher: Morrow