THE PORNOGRAPHER'S GRIEF by Joseph Glenmullen

THE PORNOGRAPHER'S GRIEF

And Other Tales of Human Sexuality
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 From the files of a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist: ten uninteresting cases centering on sexual problems. Glenmullen contends that recent rapid changes in society's sexual attitudes have created confusion and conflict for many individuals, who are uncertain how to make sense of these changes and how know what values to apply to sexuality. As a psychiatrist, the author is privy to a multitude of sexual conflicts, and here he demonstrates how he gets to the bottom of these problems. Glenmullen has changed names, altered details, even borrowed dreams and images from other cases to create his case histories, which--with their lengthy passages of dialogue- -often read like fiction. In the title case, a young man discovers that his addiction to late-night walks to a porn shop to buy dirty magazines serves as a link to the porn-reading father who abandoned him years before. In ``The Acrobat's Stocking,'' another young man comes to understand why condoms have been ruining his sexual performance. The title of another ``tale,'' ``The Woman Who Thought Her Orgasm Was a Gift,'' invites comparison to Oliver Sacks's The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, but Glenmullen's sex-oriented cases don't have the magnetism of Sacks's neurological ones, and Glenmullen can't match Sacks's gift for words. Although the collection's title may attract some readers, these cases aren't at all titillating--nor, unfortunately, very compelling: The patients lack human dimension, and their problems scarcely seem noteworthy. Even sex, it seems, can be dull.

Pub Date: April 14th, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-016637-1
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1993