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THE PARADOX OF PORN

NOTES ON GAY MALE SEXUAL CULTURE

A relatable, timely analysis of pornography’s history and its effect on the mindset of the gay community.

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A New York writer and sex therapist’s treatise on pornography and gay men portrays the genre as a double-edged sword.

Long before the days of internet porn and smartphone hookup apps, Times Square grind houses were teeming with adult films that catered to the curious, the horny, and the ubiquitous men in old raincoats. To Shewey (Sam Shepard, 1997, etc.), the 1970s gay porn films helped the audience connect with their erotic selves and filled a void in representation, showing a fledgling gay audience “a world where everyone is enthusiastically, unapologetically gay.” As porn theaters gave way to home video, and the classified ads gave way to online dating, people’s mindsets changed along with the innovations in technology. Solitary and repetitive home viewing of porn began weakening relationships while the impossible male porn standards of everlasting strength and massive endowment were altering ideas of what was normal. As a sex therapist, Shewey is able to recount many complaints from people who grapple with feelings of inadequacy and performance problems, and he writes about how pornographic images have exacerbated his clients’ unrealistic expectations. Though he is clearly a lifelong fan of adult films and credits them with teaching him and others a great deal, he also blames porn for “liberating some inhibitions but installing others in their place, enslaving us to libidinal impulses at the expense of our health and mental well-being.” He concludes with results from a study he conducted that included 50 men who were interviewed about their habits and feelings about porn. The author’s effort to dive into the gay male psyche effectively touches on many significant topics, including the challenge of enjoying sex in times of great fear and calamity, such as during the height of the AIDS epidemic. Gay community history is skillfully told here, especially as it relates to the erotic side of things, and his warnings about subscribing to porn norms in everyday life sound important in an era of muscle clones and smartphone app players. Stories from his clients are told somewhat rapid-fire, but the intent is to remind people they aren’t alone in their struggles and that intimacy can be rediscovered. There are many intriguing excerpts from other writers, including heavyweights in and outside of the gay community.

A relatable, timely analysis of pornography’s history and its effect on the mindset of the gay community.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-73213-440-9

Page Count: 226

Publisher: Joybody Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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